What I Read in January 2021

It appears I can read again! Like, actual long-form books! Downside is that it all appears to be really heavy non-fiction, but perhaps that is because the outrage caused by the words on the page are drowning out the usual voices of outrage in my head about 2020-2021? Who knows! I’ve just settled in to a 500-page book so it will be awhile before I finish that. But here is what I got through in January:

The Times I Knew I Was GayThe Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this relatively quickly – I ordered it thinking it was a graphic novel but it’s actually a collection of zines that the author did during her formative years while I guess “realizing” she is gay.

It’s cute and amusing, and probably a great book to get into the hands of a young adult who might be going through similar things, but it didn’t do a whole lot for me.

Undocumented: A Worker's Fight

Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 – a very quick read, a short graphic novel attempting to show the struggles of what it is like to be an undocumented worker in the United States and how they are demanding to be treated with respect. I picked this up off the return card at work because of it’s very unique art style and format – the pages fold out and then the whole book flips over.


Fangs by Sarah Andersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one popped up on the GoodReads “best of” list so I put it on hold. Less of a story and more of a collection of comics, this is a really fun read about a vampire and werewolf that are dating and it highlights little moments in their lives. Very cute and a quick read – I think I read it in 10 minutes.

The Magic Fish

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gorgeous book both literally and figuratively. A young boy tries to help his Vietnamese immigrant mother learn English, reading fairy tales together. She has a long history she wishes she could share with him, a life of challenges that she has overcome. And he has secrets he is struggling to share with her. I love the interpretation of each fairy tale and the choice to use an art style that made it feel tied to Vietnamese culture, even when it was Hans Christian Anderson.

Going to recommend this one to a lot of people.

The Sacrifice of Darkness

The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxane Gay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ordered this book because it was on the GoodReads “best of 2020” nominations list. It is apparently based on an acclaimed short story by Roxane Gay and I kind of want to hunt down that story and read it. I felt the graphic novel was probably missing some of the nuance of her language in that story.

It was an interesting tale of a planet covered in darkness, children held responsible for the sins of their fathers, and class. But, in the end, I felt like the power of the story had probably been in Gay’s words and the transition to the graphic novel format robbed it of that power.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I can say about this book that has not already been said. Stevenson and his legal team have been working hard to rescue so many people from the cruel and unusual punishment that is the United States Prison Industrial Complex. The “Redemption” in the title does not refer to the citizens locked away in jail, but for the soul of our country.

Field Trip (Sanity & Tallulah Book 2)

Field Trip by Molly Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More adventure and fun than the first book! I love these two BFFs and this book was action packed with more peril than I expected.

I like the idea of kids that grew up on a space station trying to grasp what life on a planet would be like. It also gave a little more depth to the universe as we learned about some fighting that is going on between some of the deep space factions. Does this series take place in the same reality as ‘The Expanse’ series?? (It does in my head now)

And a third one on the way? YES PLEASE!

Not too shabby for my first month! Yes, they are mostly graphic novels, but the point is that I am getting back into the habit of reading again and it feels wonderful to be exploring new worlds or just new points of view and ways of thinking.

What have you read so far this year? Did you set any reading goals or are you just going to read what you read? Let me know in the comment!

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