January Reads

I only read two books in the month of January. While not as much as I’d hoped, with everything I’m focusing on this year I suppose something would get left a bit behind. And last month it was reading. I’m hoping to step it up this month! However, both my January reads were excellent so that’s a bonus.

the year of the flood january reads

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Overall Rating:

really like it rating

The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power. By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, “The Year of the Flood” is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.” – via Goodreads

While thoroughly enjoyable, I didn’t find book two in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam series as great as book one, Oryx and Crake. With the dystopian world already established, The Year of the Flood follows the lives of two female characters, Toby and Ren. It takes place during the same time period as Oryx and Crake and I loved that the overlaps with it were subtly written in. (Personally, I find Margaret Atwood is amazing at subtlety…she has a knack for slipping in these really horrible things without you even noticing, and then you do a double take like, wait, what?! It’s excellent.)

My favorite part of this story was learning about one of the religions during this time, The Gardeners. Think of them as extreme hippies…all vegan, respect the earth and all it’s creatures, nothing but natural and earth-made products and so on. They believe that this is the way God intended human kind to live. I found their way of life so fascinating, and also could easily see myself falling into that route were I living in that world.

The only thing that really bugged me about this book was many of the names given to things in the story. For instance, animal hybrids are commonplace in this world, and most of the names drive me nuts. For example: rakunks (skunk/racoon hybrid) and liobams (lion and ram/sheep I believe?) Neither one flows off the tongue nicely, and every time I read them I felt like it totally broke my immersion from the novel. And unfortunately, it was full of such names.

the first fifteen lives of harry august january reads

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

Overall rating:
just outstanding rating

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.” – via Goodreads

This book was utterly fantastic. An epic adventure following a man named Harry August through multiple lifetimes, hundreds of years, and a mission to save the world from destruction by one of his own kind. Harry is a very special person, an Ouroboran or Kalachakra, someone who when they die, is reborn again, at the same place and time, with all the memories of their previous life. He and others like him receive a message one day, passed down through time: the world is ending, and they must figure out how to stop it.

I honestly don’t want to say anything else about this book because it’s worth it to read it completely fresh. But trust me when I say it is brilliant. Not only is it a good story, with excellent writing, but I am incredibly impressed with the amount of research that must have gone into this book. Writing a novel that spans through multiple time periods can be tricky, and Claire North does it brilliantly. The attention to detail throughout it was wonderful. (For example, the name Ouroboran comes from the Greek symbol of a snake eating it’s own tail…a never ending circle. I like that she used something with real history to describe these special people, instead of just inventing a new word for them.) Little tid-bits like that are sprinkled throughout the book, and I loved it.

On top of all the excellent things above, this story is fun. It’s an adventure though time, involving espionage, cunning, and wit. Harry is a wonderful protagonist, and he keeps you compelled for the entire book. I think this is a must read for everyone!

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What books did you read in January? Anything good on your TBR for February?

  • Love reading book reviews from friends, so I can add new titles to my TBR list! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Kay

      You’re most welcome, glad you enjoy them! And I do the same thing – so many of the books added to my TBR are because of reviews from friends!

  • Danielle Knapp

    Ohh I have to read the Harry August book!

    • Kay

      Yay! I hope you love it too!

  • I really need to read more Margaret Atwood!

    • Kay

      I’m learning that I really enjoy her books. I have another I’m waiting to read later in the year as part of the Novel Tea Cook Club and I’m so excited!

  • gamerwife

    I mostly read graphic novels last month, but I did start a couple of novels I have yet to finish. That Harry August book sounds fantastic. Will have to check it out.

    • Kay

      It was so fascinating. There were so many discussions about the paradoxes of time travel and I loved every second of it. Plus, there’s also this espionage adventure plot driving it all – I hope you love it too!

  • I really enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale but have yet to get into her other books. Also, have heard mixed reviews about this one so am a little hesitant. She also recently wrote a graphic novel, which I am curious to see how her writing fits into the graphic world but am a bit wary of the name “Angel Catbird” : /

    The second books sounds great, I have been looking for a new world to dive into. The whole premise is intriguing and am looking forward to seeing how the author built this new place. Sounds like it could be a movie too. Thanks for mentioning it!

    • Kay

      I’ll have to check out Atwood’s graphic novel (though I agree the name is a bit odd). I really hope you enjoy The First Fifteen Live of Harry August if you check it out!

  • Ciera Sugden

    I have Oryx and Crake on my to-read list, and now I’ll have to add The First Fifteen Lives as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jas

    Ooo these two look really interesting. I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood while I was at school, and it’s definitely stuck with me ever since. 🙂

    • Kay

      I struggled a bit to get used to the setup of that book (the lack of quotations for dialogue, things like that) but I adored the story. To me it’s such a great example of Atwood’s brilliance to write about really horrible futures with such nonchalance and grace. So many aspects of that book are downright horrific, and yet as you read it everything seems so casual at first. Her writing continues to impress me!

  • Nichole

    Need to add both of these books to my list!

    • Kay

      I hope you enjoy!


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