January/February 2021 Reads
It’s been a slow reading year for me so far, and I only read about half as many books as I usually would. I’m chalking this up to general 2021 blues as I’ve struggled to focus on reading, which has been frustrating as books have always been my refuge, my joy, my education and my inspiration.
Still, the books I did read were basically all killer, and if you’re also in a bit of a reading slump, I highly recommend any of these to help get you out:
The Last Thing to Burn, Will Dean – An intense, vivid story of survival with an ending that took even this jaded old writer by surprise.
The Mercies, Kiran Millwood Hargrave – This steadily-paced and immersive novel swept me away. I had the pleasure of speaking to Kiran along with poet Rebecca Tamás for Paisley Book Festival; you can watch the conversation on YouTube here.
English Animals, Laura Kaye – I thought I was tired of bisexual love triangles in novels, but Laura Kaye breathes new life into it by showing not the exotic experimentation of the woman at the centre, but the grief and betrayal of being used as an experiment.
Because Internet, Gretchen McCulloch – A deep-dive into internet culture and language; this book is a joy from beginning to end, and is fascinating even if you think you’re not into linguistics.
The Love of Good Women, Isabel Miller – A classic queer text with beautiful prose and vivid characters.
Butcher, Natasha T. Miller – Such a beautiful, readable collection, touching on experiences of grief and loss, Black lives, and being a queer woman (and being a queer, Black woman experiencing grief).
Savage Appetites, Rachel Monroe – A new type of true crime, and one I’d love to read more of. I don’t even care what Rachel Monroe writes about next; I’m reading it.
Trysting, Emmanuelle Pagano – I read this over several months, as it’s the sort of book that rewards reading in small bites. Hundreds of tiny, perfect love stories.
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters – A re-read of one of my favourites. Even though I know what happens, it’s incredible to see the plot twists unfold. I’ve read this book three times and I still don’t know how Sarah Waters managed this narrative magic trick!
Want to keep up with what I’m reading? Follow me on GoodReads.
What are the best books you’ve read recently?