Like a lot of people I know, I keep track of the books I read each month. Mostly, I just update Goodreads (you can follow me on there). But I thought it’d be a fun feature to add to the blog.
Unlike the newsletter, where I recommend a killer series of books, this “Monthly Reads” series is going to focus on what I’ve actually read during the course of the previous month. You can check out last month’s list right here.
At the end, I’ll also include some great articles I’ve read this month about books.
Alright, so away we go.
MONTHLY READS: BOOKS
This month I’ve slowed down a bit. While my yearly goal is way down from past years, I am working on a project where I have 2 genres of books that are my ‘must reads’ each month (in addition to whatever I read). One is a classic book (written before 1950) and the other is a book written by a non-American author about non-American places and life.
After initially struggling with the concept of audiobooks, I’ve really started to add them into my rotation. I’ve been using Playster for all my audiobooks, and really recommend it. They don’t have the library of Audible, but it’s only $9.95 per month for unlimited listens. This month, my only audio book was The Devotion of Suspect X.
Anyway, to the books!
FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH
A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW BY AMOR TOWLES
I absolutely, positively, loved this book. Wow, I know it’s only January, but it’s going to take something great to top this as my favorite thing I’ve read in a while. Long story short, this follows the story of Count Alexander Rostov who is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel for the crime of being an aristocrat.
Of course, keep in mind that the book starts shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1918 and follows The Count as he navigates life through the hotel and the adventures he has with both staff and guests. I never thought I would be so fascinated to follow a man who’s trapped in a hotel for decades, but I was hooked. I loved how Towels crafted the characters, I just really truly enjoyed learning about The Count.
I’ll be sure to check his other book, Rules of Civility, soon.
More Reads: Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Grammarly Park
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS BY HG WELLS
After spending my entire life never reading a single sci-fi or fantasy book, I now find myself turning to them again and again. I chose The War of the Words as my classic book of the month. It was written in the late 1800s but I honestly think it stands the test of time. Plus, it was a nice introduction to Wells, I can certainly see myself reading more from him in the future.
One thing is for sure, Wells knows how to tell a good story. I could feel the narrator as he went from a sort of calm smugness to full out panic and dispair as the story unfolded. I’d never seen the movie so I actually didn’t know how the book ended, which was awesome because the ending was my favorite part. I loved it and thought it was really clever.
THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X BY KEIGO HIGASHINO
Beyond reading a classic each month, I’m also planning on reading a book by a non-American author about non-American topics. Yup, this American wants to know more about the world. So, when I was browsing the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge forum on Goodreads for suggestions, I came across this gem. Higashino is basically the James Patterson of Japan, he’s hugely famous and writes a lot of murder mystery and crime novels.
There were a couple of things I dug about this book. The biggest is the setup. Unlike a lot of these types of books, you know exactly who killed the victim and why they did it from the jump. But as the book goes on, it’s sort of a cat and mouse game between the perpetrators of the crime and the police, who bring in a very Sherlock Holmes-esque character dubbed ‘Professor Galileo’ to help solve the crime.
Not to give anything away, but wow, the end was a total twist.
THE COPYWRITERS HANDBOOK BY BOB BLY
Womp, womp. Yup, I included a business book this month. I’m always trying to improve my writing and that goes doubly for my copywriting skills. Since Bob Bly is one of the copy greats, I figured this would be a worthwhile read to take some notes and pick up some skills.
I’d say the biggest negative of the book is that you can tell it’s age, which is right around when the Internet was becoming mainstream. Needless to say, I did a lot of skimming. But, the beginning of the book gave me lots of great info on copywriting in general and how Bly approaches it, so I ended up taking a ton of notes. If you do pick up this book, you don’t have to go much past the first few chapters.
MONTHLY WEB READS
I figured I’d add in this little section about some of my favorite reads specifically about books.
- A Bookish Tour Through Obama’s Years in the White House
- 13 Books on the Influence of Geography in Our Everyday Lives
- 19 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters in 2017
That’s all for this month. Feel free to share this post. And don’t forget to follow me all the places I talk about books: Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads. If you want more book stuff from me, be sure to sign up for the newsletter.