So far this year, I’ve managed to read a book a week – we’ll see if this keeps up! – and even better, all four titles were ones I enjoyed. One of them especially so; you can imagine my surprise when, two weeks into January, I found myself sure I’d just read one of my favorite books of the year! But without further ado, here’s my January-2022-reads-in-review (reposted from my Tumblr):
Bird Box / Josh Malerman
This short novel was the first book I picked up this year. I remember the Netflix film pretty well – I think I watched it three or four times when it was first released (not because I was so in love with it but because I just kept watching it with different people, haha)! But it’s been a few years since then, and the adaptation differed plenty from the source material, both character and plot-wise, so it was almost like reading a different story set in the same universe. It was just as fast-paced and exciting, though, too, so this was a great choice for an easy, beginning-of-the-year read.
The City Beautiful / Aden Polydoros
THIS BOOK! There’s just so much I could say about The City Beautiful, I think I’ll probably end up writing a post at some point dedicated to it. Set during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, it’s a new Jewish YA historical fantasy about a young man who finds himself possessed by the dybbuk of his close friend Yakov after his murder. I don’t remember where I first heard about the title (maybe a BookRiot newsletter?), but I put in a staff recommendation of purchase at the library for this title months ago (and to be honest, I think I submitted it twice), so I was the first one to get my hands on it when it was finally added to the collection at the beginning of the year. It’s just so well-written, and I loved the characters, the setting, and and and… You can definitely expect me to write another post about this book, there’s just so much I want to say about it! I loved it so much, I went out and bought myself a personal copy as soon as I finished reading the one I’d gotten from the library!
We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep / Andrew Kelly Stewart
This novella was my second post-apocalypse title of the year – a theme I didn’t intend on focusing on, but seeing as my hold arrived at the library on a day when I had a free afternoon…We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep is a distinctive story set in an alternate-timeline, post-nuclear-apocalypse version of the 1980s, and focuses on a group of doomsday cultists living on a submarine. The main character is a young girl who must pretend to be a boy to ensure her survival amidst the all-male cultists, an issue she must deal with in addition to planning her escape after discovering the new captain’s plan to release a decades-old nuke on what remains of Australia before sending their decrepit submarine to the depths of the ocean to die. Very niche novella, intriguing idea, and well-executed.
The Cat Who Saved Books / Sosuke Natsukawa
This one was my second favorite read of the month, behind The City Beautiful. Another quick, atmospheric novel, this one is about a high schooler in Japan who, after his grandfather’s death, faces the loss of the bookstore the two owned and called home for years – and the sudden appearance of a talking cat, who convinces him to follow along on journeys into mysterious worlds to save books in peril. It’s a fun work of magical realism, and I feel like I read it at the perfect time, as I’m currently playing through Persona5 again (a video game that shares some similarities with this book – talking cat and all!). In fact, I listened to this track off the Persona5 soundtrack the whole time I was reading, since it fit so well with the vibes of the story 🐈 Fun read for cat and book lovers alike!