Hello everyone! So yes, I was a horrible blogger in February. I never posted a January Wrap Up or a TBR and I think my reading definitely suffered because of it. Therefore, today I will be including both months in one post!
First, let’s see how I did with my January TBR! I didn’t make one for February, so… yeah.
I had four books on my January TBR:
- Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
- An einem klaren, eiskalten Januarmorgen zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts von Roland Schimmelpfennig
- The Silhouette by Georges Vigarello
- The Office of Gardens and Ponds by Didier Laurent
I did pretty well- I read the first two, I unhauled The Silhouette after flipping through and realising it is something I have no interest in anymore (I got it like 5+ years ago), and I DNF’d The Office of Gardens and Ponds. It didn’t grasp my attention and upon reading some reviews and flipping through, I decided I probably wouldn’t enjoy it.
Books I Read in January and February
Men without women by haruki murakami
Men Without Women is the second full-length Murakami work that I have read, and was the first of his more realistic works that I have read. This contains seven short stories about men who find themselves alone, without women in their lives. With the exception of one story (*cough* Samsa in Love *cough*), this could have easily been 4-4.5 stars, but that story disturbed me, and not in a good way, so I am giving it 3.5 stars.
This was the Jan-Feb book for the International Reading Book Club that Adele @bookishdella and I host. If you want to join in the challenge or read books with us, you can find the goodreads group here. I will be posting a full review of this book shortly.
An einem klaren, eiskalten Januarmorgen zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts von Roland Schimmelpfennig
English title: One Clear, Ice-cold January Morning at the Beginning of the 21st Century
This is the debut novel of one of Germany’s most famous contemporary playwrights, and is described as a “contemporary fairy tale”. The book follows the path of a wolf moving from Poland towards Berlin and the lives that this wolf effects. Certain parts were less entertaining than others and I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters, but the story itself was quite interesting, and the writing style was good as well. 2.5 stars.
Also, I started reading this book in April of last year or something ridiculous like that, but I bought the audiobook in January, which helped me finished it, so yay!
Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson
Bird Hugs is a children’s picture book about Bernard, a bird with wings so long he just can’t fly. Bernard struggles with this realisation, until he finds out that his unusual wingspan can be a force for good! This book shows how what makes us different is something to celebrate, and also explores the importance of friendship in a way that I think would be very accessible for younger children. The illustrations are also gorgeous. 4 stars.
Small Hours by Valérie Minelli
Mrs Frollein is a character based off of the author Valerie Minelli, and this collection brings together the various comic strips that Valérie Minelli has drawn based on her relationship with her boyfriend, plus 25 new comics! There are some more solemn comics, but for the most part the collection was uplifting and intensely relatable; I found myself laughing out loud. (Full review.) I gave this book 4 stars!
The Driftwood Girls by Mark Douglas-Home
I decided that I wanted to find some crime fiction that I would actually enjoy (I’ve historically disliked the genre despite loving crime shows), so I requested this ARC from NetGalley and it was so good. I gave it 4 stars and when I saw it at the bookshop where I worked, I immediately picked up a finished copy. The Driftwood Girls follows Cal, a sea detective, as he solves a missing persons case. It alternates between many perspectives, all of which are endlessly exciting and interesting. Highly recommend!!! (Full review.)
The Other World: Asian Myths and Folklore Illustrations
As with any art book that features art from various artists, some of the art in this book was more to my taste than others, but overall this was an amazing collection of artwork based on various Asian folklore and myths. They are accompanied by little written explanations of the folklore itself, as well as some interviews with the artists. The book is gorgeous and well put-together as well, which is always a bonus. 4 stars.
The Royal Tutor Volumes 4 & 5 by Higasa Akai
The Royal Tutor series is my favourite manga series so far. It has a place on my “favourites” bookshelf, and it’s the one that I would recommend for anyone to read, even if they don’t like manga. In the series, Heine Wittgenstein moves to the palace to teach the teenaged sons of the King and prepare them to take the throne.
On the surface the series is fairly innocuous, a sweet story about princes and their new child-sized tutor, but I think it really beautifully captures the importance of teachers and each of the princes are unique and complex characters, if perhaps a tad exaggerated. Volume 4 is my favourite installment so far (4.5 stars), and Volume 5 was very good as well (4 stars). I can’t wait to continue with this series!
Black Butler Vol. 2 by Yana Toboso
Black Butler follows the 13-year-old owner of a toy manufacturing company, Ciel Phantomhive, and his supernatural butler Sebastian. This is a lot of peoples favourite manga, or at least one they love a lot, and I’m not sure yet what the hype is about. Volumes 1 and 2 are good, but they haven’t been incredible. I will probably continue with this series for a little bit longer, but I hope they get a bit better because this is a long series. 3 stars.
Fascism and Democracy by George Orwell
This one is small collection of five essays that Orwell wrote during WWII concerning, well, fascism and democracy, especially in relation to the media, freedom of speech and the survival of literature. I gave it 4 stars, and highly recommend it as a short introduction to his more political essays. His writing style suits the essay form particularly well.
Traditional Chinese Painting: Masterpieces of Art by Sharmaine Kwan
After reading The Other World in January, I was really in the mood for some more art books, specifically ones that focused on Asian art. This book has a chapter explaining the general principles of Chinese art, which was very interesting, as well as explanations of the styles and theories of key Chinese artists from different eras. I felt that these explanations were a bit dry, and would have been better had they been supported by annotated illustrations or art pieces to exemplify the techniques discussed.
The rest of the book consists of photos of Chinese paintings: one chapter on close ups of birds and flowers, another on landscapes, and one on depictions of everyday and court life. My favourite of these chapters was definitely the birds-and-flowers one, which was stunning, but the others were interesting as well. 3 stars.
So, that’s it for the books. I read 11 books, with an average of 3.7 stars. I also DNF’d one book. As far as my challenges go, I read one classic, and I read 7 or so books that count for my International Reading Challenge, so that’s great!
MUSIC OF THE MONTH
Of course, this isn’t just a book blog, so I thought I would also mention some of my favourite music releases of January and February, as well as some older songs and albums I have been loving.
CHERRY BULLET- Hands up (2020)
Cherry Bullet’s Hands Up is my favourite K-Pop single so far this year. I’m not sure how long it will stick, but it’s fun, loud, and the addition of that Für Elise melody in the chorus is golden. Guaranteed to get suck in your head.
bts- friends (2020)
The newest BTS album didn’t impress me that much (maybe a review to come?), but I did like a couple of the songs, and Friends is definitely my favourite. We love friendship. Also, this is low-key catchy.
the big moon- walking like we do (2020)
The Big Moon’s Walking Like We Do album has lots of good songs, mixing a sort of R&B/Alternative vibe. I’ve never listened to anything by this group before, but I will definitely keep an eye out for their future releases. I particularly recommend ADHD (above).
DREAM STATE- PRIMROSE PATH (2019)
Angry? Feel like some cathartic screaming? Primrose Path is the album for you. The heavier rock sounds is perfect for some headbanging or some yelling into your pillow. Spitting Lies in particular has been my go-to song.
Izzy Bizu- GLITA (2019)
A gorgeous contemporary soul album! I highly recommend Doorstep (above), but the album in general works excellently as mood music.
LAST THING… MY POSTS!
Okay, we’re almost done, I promise! CONGRATULATIONS IF YOU ARE READING THIS. You are dedicated. I appreciate you.
Anyway, here is just a quick list of the posts I wrote in the past two months in case you’re interested or missed out on some!
2019 WRAP UP POSTS
- 2019 in review: reading stats
- 2019 in review: top 5 books of 2019
- 2019 in review: music stats
- 2019 in review: the best songs of 2019
WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR POSTS
- International Reading Challenge 2020 (Announcement)
- Reading and Blogging Goals 2020
- #ClassicsCommunity Reading Challenge 2020 TBR
- International Reading Challenge 2020 TBR
- January 2020 TBR
- DEUTSCHE NEUERSCHEINUNGEN 2020!
AWARDS AND TAGS
Did you make it to the end? Well done and sorry for the behemoth that is this post- this is why I am supposed to do monthly wrap ups (scolds self).
How were your reading months? Let me know what you thought of any of the books I read.
Also, do you want to see reviews for any of the books/albums mentioned here?
Happy reading + listening,