What I read in January 2023

I’m not saying that January was a ridiculously long month, but I read 15 books, wrote two short stories (one for a performance, one for a challenge-competition) and a bunch of blog posts, and streamed a bunch of shows.

Can February live up to it? I’m not sure. The trouble with being a) a short story writer, and b) primarily motivated by upcoming performances/competition deadlines is that I tend to crash after each show/completion, and wonder when there’s going to be another suitable opportunity/whether I’ve used up all my ideas.

Anyhow, I have five complete short stories in my repertoire now. One is in the WriteNight anthology; who knows what will become of the other four. Here’s what I read when I wasn’t writing, watching stuff, playing board games, or doing my actual job.

The Things That We Lost, Seven Empty Houses, Maskerade, Someone Is Coming, The Burning Girls

The Things That We Lost, by Jyoti Patel - 5*

Seven Empty Houses, by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell - 4*

Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett - 4.5*

Someone Is Coming, by T. A. Morgan - 4.5*

The Burning Girls, by C. J. Tudor - 4*

Tiding, Bournville, Cold Comfort Farm, Expectant, Greywaren

Tiding, by Siân Collins - 4.5*

Bournville, by Jonathan Coe - highly readable, but I didn’t love it - 3.5*

Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons - I wanted to like this more, because so many people seem to really love it, but a lot of the humour went over my head, and it dragged towards the end. It did amuse me when I realised that my mental image of Seth was exactly the same one I get of Nanny Ogg’s cat Greebo when he’s in human form. 3*

Expectant, by Vanda Symon - 4*

Greywaren, by Maggie Stiefvater - I want to go back and re-read all the Raven Cycle and Dreamer novels again now, but will I ever have time? Probably not. 5*

Carpe Jugulum, Manifesto, AHH! That's What I Call Horror!, Sell Us the Rope, This Could Be Everything

Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett - 4*

Manifesto: On never giving up, by Bernadine Evaristo - 4*

AHH! That’s What I Call Horror!, edited by Chelsea Pumpkins - 4*

Sell Us the Rope, by Stephen May - 4*

This Could Be Everything, by Eva Rice - 4.5*

Looking ahead…

Mort, Our Missing Hearts, Mouthful of Birds, Violeta, The Dead of Winter

What do you do when you’ve read all of the Discworld Witches novels? Move on to Death, of course! Mort is a re-read, but the other Death books will all be new to me.

Having started it yesterday, I’m already halfway through Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng and it’s going on my end-of-year list for sure. I’m usually a bit on the fence about speculative/dystopian novels, but what with Ng being one of my favourite authors, I’m loving every minute of this one.

I got a taste of Samanta Schweblin’s unsettling short stories last month with Seven Empty Houses, and I’m back for more with Mouthful of Birds.

I’m also hoping to read Violeta by Isabel Allende, having enjoyed one of her books the other month, while Stuart MacBride is an auto-buy for me, mainly because the dark humour in his crime novels is off-the-charts.

Alice Violett's Picture

About Alice Violett

Writer of blogs and short stories, reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK https://www.draliceviolett.com