January 2020 Reads

Welcome to 2020! If you’ve been keeping up with any other book bloggers or bookstagram accounts, you’ve probably seen that the books this year are already getting some SHINING reviews!

That’s so exciting but so overwhelming if you’re like me, and you’re still trying to keep up with the books people raved about last year… and the year before that… and the year before that!

I guess the good news is, we’ll never run out of great literature!

I read a few great new books this month and a few older gems that I probably should have read years ago.

Let me know if you have any recommendations, new or old!


The Only Plane in the Sky: and Oral History of 9/11 by Garret M. Graff

5/5 Stars

FIVE STAR ALERT! Yeah, that’s right, we started the year out with a banger. We also started it with perhaps one of the hardest books I’ve read in my entire life.

This book is a collection of over 500 accounts of 9/11, the day before, and the days that followed. It went hour by hour providing context from all over that day from the Pentagon to New York to the president’s security team. It provides context to one of the most monumental and tragic days in history in a way that has never been done before.

I highly recommend that if you choose this book, you purchase the audio version as each interviewer personally recounts their part in the experience. My heart broke more with every second of this book, but in an important way.

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

3.5/5 Stars

I expected a lot out of this book, and while the writing was lovely, it dragged a little too much for me.

I kept pushing through as many shared that it gets better after page 200, but let’s be honest- 200 pages is A LOT to drag through. When I finally made it, it did pick up speed, but it also became incredibly depressing.

If you have thicker skin and a lot more patience than me, you might find immense adoration for this book. For me it was way more struggle than enjoyment.

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

2.5/5 Stars

As I read this book I kept thinking, “wow, this reads a lot like a New Yorker Article.” I then read the author bio at the end and realized that she is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. I also came to remember why I stopped subscribing to The New Yorker. This style of writing is just not my thing.

It could be that I’m just a little too shallow minded for this kind of writing. It could also be that the author tried too hard to be intellectual, and as a result, she lost a lot of narrative thought and creative license.

The book had no true flow. Every chapter was just another off beat story from the narrator’s life, typically with some political or moral lesson to be learned.

This may be your cup of tea, I’m just more of a coffee kind of girl.

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

4.5/5 Stars

Why why why did it take me so long to pick up a book by this author? This book raised so many questions about family, ethics, and purpose, all while being presented in a narrative that I just devoured.

While this book absolutely stomped on my heart, it was impossible for me to put down. the characterization, conflict, and unexpected turns kept me driving forward and left me hungry for more at the end.

Get ready, because I’m planning to read a lot of her books this year!

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

4/5 Stars

The way this book handled the mind, and grief, and guilt, and tragedy… just wow. It follows the story of a single survivor of a plane crash, a twelve year old boy, as he grieves not only his own family, but the hundreds of strangers that went down in that plane with him.

Eventually he finds his own way of dealing with the grief, and rediscovers purpose in the life he was granted.

This book was beautifully tragic, and incredibly intuitive.

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