January 2021 Reading Recap

We made it through January 2021, the longest month in a while. I managed to read 18 different things, and thus, I am switching up the format of these recaps. I’m going to show a grid of each work by category with links to the reviews to read at your own leisure. Feedback appreciated.

This month’s author interview was with S.T. Gibson, to celebrate the release of her Dracula’s brides retelling, A Dowry of Blood.

ARCs

  • The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett (2020, YA contemporary thriller, queer)
    • A girl goes missing presumed dead and three seemingly unconnected classmates are possible suspects
    • Complex, evenly-paced, with compelling characters who are neither good nor bad
  • Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha (2021, YA science fiction, SEA rep)
    • Cyberpunk world that’s grounded in its dystopia
    • These kids just want to save each other, not necessarily the world
  • The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey (2021, Adult science fiction)
    • A researcher teams up with her illegal clone to figure out how to get away with her husband’s murder
    • Heart-wrenching and hopeful
  • A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson (2021, Adult fantasy, queer)
    • Emotional, sexy retelling of Dracula’s brides
    • Epistolary and told in second person
    • First author interview of the year (link)
  • The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec (2021, Adult fantasy, queer)
    • Retelling of Angrboda, her idiot husband Loki, and Ragnarok
    • Norse mythology fans are in for a treat
  • Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire (2021, Adult fantasy, intersex rep)
    • A book written specifically for horse girls
    • Being a ten-year-old is so hard
  • The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck (2021, Adult fantasy, queer)
    • Reads like a fairy tale where names have power and there are gardens of immortals
    • A noblewoman also discovers time
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (2021, Adult non-fiction, writing craft)
    • Goes through short stories page by page
    • Very aware that the advice might not be universally relevant

Audiobooks

  • What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (2017, YA contemporary)
    • Girls works at a high-kill shelter while pondering the conditions of love
    • About sexual and personal autonomy, cw: abortion
  • The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller (2021, Adult horror, gay)
    • Gentrification, whale ghosts, disaster gays
    • It’s interesting to me what seems scarier or more heart-breaking on audio
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2016, Nonfiction, American Indigenous)
    • Deeply personal and poetic creative nonfiction
    • Introduced an interesting way of thinking about the ways people, plants, gifts, and thanks are all connected
  • The Abstainer by Ian McGuire (2020, Adult historical fiction)
    • Cover nineteenth century English-Irish tensions through two specific POVs
    • Brutal in a way that is period-appropriate
  • Red Pill by Hari Kunzru
    • Writer goes to an exclusive workshop, does research on the violent cop show he’s binging
    • Not as subversive and clever as White Tears was

Manga

  1. Azumanga Daioah Vol 1. by Kiyohiko Azuma (2003)
    • Classic slice-of-life anime
    • Relatable in its presentation and charming characters
  2. Chainsaw Man Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (2019-2020)
    • Boy fuses with chainsaw dog to become chainsaw man
    • All he wants to do is be cozy and so he joins up with demon hunters
  3. Requiem of the Rose King by Aya Kanno (2015)
    • Richard III but he’s intersex, with elements of Henry VI
    • Beautiful art with great lingering shots

Until next month,
Jo

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