Reading Round-Up: January 2020

So it has been a crazy year so far, a crazy few months. I have been MIA because I actually moved! Same city, different part of town for those who know me well enough to know where I am (I don't like divulging online). I moved into a new house. I've still been reading, but the first month and a half my internet capabilities were spotty. I'm currently working with cellular hotspot internet, so it isn't ideal, but it is better than nothing right now. Can't really do anything about the internet at the moment, as I'm sure you all know. The world has gone a bit crazy since last I wrote to you all.

That being said, I'll be putting up a few reviews. I'm inside until at least May due to immunocompromisation in my family. Due to that, I'm actually already pretty used to quarantine and staying in. It doesn't drive me too crazy to be in my home. I watch a lot of TV and read a lot of books, so isolation is pretty good to me in general. The main bummer is that I had several job applications out, and I'm fairly certain those are on hold at the moment (still trying to break into the library business). Better to be in than out of the house though, for my family, so I'm still pretty thankful despite the potential hiring pause.

Anyway, like I said, there will be reviews! I've had family and friends ask me if I'll be putting things up and telling me they'd love to read some new reviews. I was able to make a library run BEFORE things got crazy, my personal to-read pile of things I own is large, and I can always borrow some e-books through my library, so there is definitely a supply of reading material here with me. During this move, my major solace in the craziness of finding places for things, has been my reading. I've read a lot the last couple months, but haven't written any reviews, so I'll remedy that. For now though, I'll just provide a recap of what I've been reading, for January, February, and this month since its already about to come to a close. Let's start with January 2020!

So in January, I mainly read the following things:

The MallTwelfth Night Switched Cut Me In Henry VI Part 1 Of Mice and Men King Henry VI Part 2 Halo: Oblivion

In 2020 I've taken up a challenge that was presented by an author of a book I read a while back and reviewed here on the blog. Maybe some of you remember the Star Wars books that were rewritten as though they were done by William Shakespeare. I believe I reviewed one and I wasn't very pleased with it, ironically enough. I'm not sure I reviewed anymore of them here, but I read at least one more that I enjoyed a bit more. The author of that fun little project is Ian Doescher. He has come up with a schedule for all of Shakespeare's works and made a Facebook group where readers can discuss the works. Throughout the year of 2020, the challenge is to read...all of Shakespeare's works. I was able to make it through all of January and February, but then somehow got knocked off the wagon in March (I have missed the dates for Richard III, Julius Caesar, and Two Gentleman of Verona. I'll probably also miss King John). However! I'm still going to read these works, and try to jump back onto the wagon, in April! The one constant for a while was that I was making sure to hit my Shakespeare reading according to schedule, then things got messy, but I did last a good two months.

The Shakespeare works I read in January were Twelfth Night, because it lines up exactly with the 12 days of Christmas, as that was what it was written to do. Twas the season. Then we moved to some of the histories with Henry VI Parts 1 and 2. I had read Twelfth Night in one or two of my undergrad courses (I did my English concentration in Shakespeare), and it is one of my favorites. I was really glad to start off with that one. Henry VI I have not read before. I had read Henry IV, maybe Henry V, but never Henry VI -- yes, that's a lot of Henry's and parts of Henry to keep up with. I enjoyed these more than I thought I would. I've never leaned towards the histories, but really the story boils down to this: someone has the throne, one group is okay with this, another is not, lets dethrone him/lets protect our king! Then, in typical Shakespeare fashion, lots of people don't make it out by the end and the throne is one big mess of people fighting over it (where do you think George R. R. Martin got it from? The British loved their throne fights apparently if these plays are anything to go by). Either way, I enjoyed them, but I don't know how many of my readers would want to sit through an English lecture right now so I won't go too into depth about those unless its requested or unless I decide to do a broader Shakespeare focused post for this particular challenge. I have not actually read all his plays, so I'm really loving this challenge for the year.

Not shown above, I also read Ranma 1/2, which is an older manga series involving curses that toy with gender norms, martial arts, and over the top characters...all the usual things you find in manga & anime. I really enjoyed that one, but I don't think I need to get too in depth to that. It's more fun to just read and experience for yourself if you're into manga. I haven't covered much manga on my blog, as I find it can be difficult to locate volumes when you need them and long ones...take a while to get through (I'm STILL in the middle of Naruto).

As far as what else is up top we have:

  • The Mall by Megan McCafferty
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Cut Me In by Ed McCain
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Halo: Oblivion - A Master Chief Story by Troy Denning
The ones in this list are probably ones I'll review for your reading pleasure. Between these and the ones I pull up for February, this month, and whatever else I pick up, we should have LOTS to enjoy together! 

The Mall is a book that does not come out until June of this year. My sister won an ARC in a giveaway on Goodreads, and she let me read it first, to see what I thought. 

Switched is the first in a YA trilogy that my sister also won, but she read it before me and told me I needed to read it. She won the entire trilogy, so all 3 books will be covered...although I have yet to read books 2 & 3. 

Cut Me In is a Hard Case Crime (HCC) novel. I think it is my third HCC, but the first I have read that was not written by Michael Crichton (under the pen name John Lange). I wanted something random and the library had this ebook, so I figured why not? 

Of Mice and Men is, of course, the classic novel by John Steinbeck about a couple of friends who go to find work, but always end up finding trouble instead. I last read it back in 6th grade as required reading in school. I'm sure many of my classmates from those days will recognize it and still remember it quite well. I've seen references to it pop up in my Facebook feed a couple times when cruising through. I remembered the main parts of the story, but had forgotten a lot so I wondered what would happen if I were to revisit it now. ---It has been over 10 years since last I read it. 

Halo: Oblivion is a book based on the popular video game series of the same name (HALO). It came out last September and I was lucky enough to win a copy of it on Goodreads. It blew my mind that I could be so lucky! It is a standalone semi-sequel to another book by Troy Denning, which my library does not have ANY copies of, and which I've not yet had the privilege of reading...but oh well! I read it anyway and will review it, cause I know I got a lot of gamer buddies out there who would be interested in it. 

That sums up the reading I got done in January. Tomorrow I will come back with what I read in February. Maybe I can get up the March tally tomorrow too...that would be fantastic, cause I could start working on actual reviews faster too! I will probably only finish up about 2 more books this month, so it shouldn't be too big a deal to put it up just before the month ends. 

I'll see you all tomorrow! Try and stay safe everyone!