January has been a busy month reading-wise, as we’re finalised things for the Aurealis Awards (as I’m a fantasy judge, as well as convenor for that section) which means finishing reading the last few books, discussing and finalising the short list, then managing somehow to also finalise the judging report – I love my team! Beth, Cathie and PRK have been a joy to work with and Beth and I are now book buddies and co-instagram spammers.
I’m also one of eight judges for the Children’s Book Council, which means having read a total of 370 books over the past few months. We had to finalise reading by 27th February but I somehow finished that also within January, which is a relief.
This does mean my reading for January of my own books has been sparse (and next month I have no excuse!) but I did manage to read the following:
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, which was recommended to me by my book-twin Sam. I picked this to be the first book read for the year as I like to start the year with a very enjoyable book, and I wasn’t disappointed! This is a juvenile book, but goes to show that as long as it’s well written you can enjoy anything. This was a lovely tale with a very effective magic system, delicate prose, and engaging characters – everything was so easy to visulise that I didn’t want this book to end!
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, a book I’ve been meaning to read for countless years. It was even better than I was expecting. I read most but not all of the manga series, but other than that I haven’t seen anything else from the countless adaptions/versions out there (such as the tv show/movies etc). The book wasn’t as disturbing as I thought it would be, and I loved how it focused more on the Japanese psyche as well as the ideas of nationalisism (or is it patriotism?) and the Government’s force/influence. It was fascinating.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker is a book I’ve meant to read almost since it came out, and now I finally had the excuse of the Hugo Awards. It was utterly gorgeous, a wonderful historical urban fantasy that had fascinating characters set in New York in 1899 who are all brought there by circumstances out of their control, yet they find it’s exactly where they want to be. If you only read one book from my list here, please let it be this one.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab is another book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and finally did as I pre-ordered The Unbound (second in the series) and wanted to be able to read that one as soon as it came out. I came to Schwab’s work from her novel Vicious, which was pretty darn excellent also. I adore the idea behind this series, and the characters are beyond wonderful.
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab is the second book in the series and possibly even better than the first. I’m a sucker for books that include academy-style schools, and it has the bonus of showing more of the world and its ‘magic’ system. And the characters. These are characters you just want to yell at (though I won’t say why, for the sake of spoilers.)
So not many books read for my own enjoyment, but I read 93 books in all – phew! Some were picture books and early reading books but still, what a crazy amount. I’m glad CBCA judging is over, and I’m looking forward to applying to be an Aurealis judge for the fourth year in a row. Tehani currently runs the judging part of the Aurealis and she’s a joy to work with. Though if I get to be a judge for that again, reading won’t start until July or something, I think.
Currently I’m reading two books, one for reviewing and one for enjoyment – The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, and This Star Won’t go Out by Esther Earl (as well as her parents, friends and John Green of vlogbrothers fame). Both are very good books so far, and shall be in the February post!