200 Books: January and February

One of my resolutions for 2017 is to read 200 books. Since high school, my hobby of reading has dwindled spectacularly and I hate it. I miss getting lost in books, staying up all night for just one more page. I miss carrying a book with me everywhere instead of just playing on my phone, and the smell of old pages, and I have easily 30 books on my sinking bookshelf that haven’t even been opened. So, I have decided to go big. 200 books in 365 days. I can do this.

To keep myself accountable, I will write about all the books I read throughout the month. This time, about January and February. I also put together an Instagram for my book posts and study posts. I love posting photos and taking photos, but I want my personal Instagram to have a certain look and feel, so I thought it’d be better to keep the two separate.

January was a slow month for reading. I was in my weekly infusions and tired all the time. I started 3 books, but I only finished one. Netflix had released The Series of Unfortunate Events, and all my childhood curiosity had hit me all over again, so I reread the 13th book The End by Lemony Snicket.

I loved The Series of Unfortunate Events series when I was younger. I started reading them after I’d finished all of my school’s Nancy Drew books, at the recommendation of the librarian. And while I loved the mystery of the series, it drove me nuts. I read them around the time that the movie was coming out, and Lunchables was doing this special promotion with a little mini newspaper in the style of the book’s Daily Punctilio. Had I been less invested in the mystery of the books, perhaps I would have realized that the newspapers wouldn’t offer any extra clues. I vividly remember sitting on the playground with my best friend as we would compare notes and our mini newspapers (she had two that I didn’t have, and I had one she didn’t have). I also had two of the buddy books, praying they would help me unravel this intriguing world. Anyway, I was really into the books. (I loved the Netflix series, in case you were wondering).

The last book, The End, is my favorite. After traipsing all over the world in efforts to escape Count Olaf, the siblings end up on a relatively empty island. This book offers the most insight to what their parents were like, and answers many of the questions asked over the series. “Lemony Snicket” is the champion of surprises, and even though I have read this book EASILY six times, rereading it this time around I was still surprised by some of the twists. I read it the day I finished watching the Netflix series, and that’s all I did, the whole day. It was glorious.

The rest of January was spent working on By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall, and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s not that these books weren’t interesting, but with Bacall I kept having to watch movies of hers to understand the references; and with Rubin’s book I was purposely only reading one chapter at a time.

February, I started to panic a little bit. I had only finished one book, and a whole month had gone by! So, I finished The Happiness Project. I am so glad that I read this, and at the beginning of the year. Somehow it is always easier to initiate life changes at certain points of the year. Really, any new month is a good time, but January and September are the most ideal Begin Again times. Anyway. The Happiness Project has given me so so much to think about. It’s made me rethink who I want to be, and what I want to do, and how to go about all of those life changes. I highly recommend it to everyone. And I will probably write a post just about it, so let’s continue through February.

In 5th grade, every so many days we separated into different reading groups. I was super proud of myself because I had made it into the highest reading group with all the smart kids. Of all the books we read, I actually only remember one of them; Island of The Aunts by Eva Ibbotson. And I’d found it for a dollar on a Half-Priced Books run months ago. On a whim I decided to pick it up, and it was refreshing to reread it. My favorite bit in the entire book, is probably the first two sentences; “Kidnapping children is not a good idea. All the same, sometimes it has to be done.” The book is about an island, a very special island. One of the reasons I loved it when I first read it, was because it brought magical creatures into a nonmagical world, but the plot wasn’t really about the magical aspect of it. It’s not a realistic book, but its close enough that the world feels like this world, not a fantasy world.

Then I read Eligible by Curtis Littenfeld. This book was given to me by a family friend, and I had started it but stopped after a couple chapters for some reason. The book is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I am a fan of Jane Austen, especially the Pride and Prejudice story. I’ve seen the BBC series, the Kiera Knightly version, the Bollywood version, and followed the Lizzie Bennet Diaries Youtube show. I watched Pride Prejudice and Zombies. I read the original book multiple times, and I played Mrs. Bennet in high school. I love the simplicity of the story, it’s a story that doesn’t say very much. Littenfeld took these characters and rewrote them brilliantly. Each character she made bolder and deeper, and the scenarios she came up with were delightful and surprising and so obvious I was shocked I hadn’t thought of them sooner. The only thing I didn’t like was the new relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. In the play and the book, it always felt like Mr. Bennet was amused with Mrs. Bennet’s antics, but still loving. Like her crazy was endearing to him. But in Eligible, it felt more cold and humorless. Throughout the whole book the sisters talk about whether the Bennet’s should get divorced. I didn’t like it. But everything else I loved, and I found myself laughing repeatedly. I also really liked the structure of the book. She used chapters as the cue for a scene change, which meant some chapters were half a page, and others were several pages long. I thought of it as a nod to the stage production.

This month I’ve already finished a book this month, and hope to get back into the Lauren Bacall memoir. I read three books total in February, I hope to beat that. What are you reading? Do you have any suggestions? I have a list going for the year, so send me your favorite books, maybe I’ll read them!

For more frequent book posts, follow me on Instagram @readingRaelee


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