What I read in January

One of my goals for 2017 is to read 50 books. A pretty standard number, I think, amounting to roughly one a week with a bit of wiggle room in case I get ambitious, but still way more than I managed last year.

I'm off to a pretty good start. Five down in month one.  I even resisted the temptation to begin on New Year's Eve, as I didn't feel I could count anything that wasn't fully read in this exact calendar year.  I'm a stickler for rules (as long as they aren't the kind of rules that dictate what I can and cannot eat, that kind I don't even bother with).

So, here are a few thoughts on the books I read in January.

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. I already want to read this one again.  Her first book as well.  And I want to break with my cheapskate ways and actually buy them.*  Mindy Kaling deserves every bit of love she gets.

Upstream by Mary Oliver.  This one I did buy, as it wasn't available at my library.  Good thing too, as it wasn't a quick read for me.  It's the kind of collection you have to really dig into and one that made me wish I lived somewhere much more beautiful than where I actually do.

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. An encyclopedia of perspective, on writing and writers, comics and science fiction, and touching tributes to the important people in the author's life.  I admit to skipping a few bits that didn't call out to me quite so loudly but I read enough to confidently include this in my count for the month.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  I have mixed feelings about David Sedaris and, indeed, about the origins of some of the essays in this book.  They are undeniably funny but less undeniably true.  He's a controversial dude, no doubt about it, which makes some of the stories difficult to trust, but I appreciate the humor enough to read through my reservations.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Kind of a cheat, as I have read this one before.  Years ago.  It was an assigned book for school and I remember being surprised by how much I liked it (I made a point of firmly resisting all assignments that felt like the school establishment encroaching onto my private time, and paid dearly for my principles).  My daughter, age 10, is a very advanced reader.  She has been through the entire Harry Potter series, all of Tolkein, The Hunger Games, Rick Riordan.  You name it, she's read it.  But, despite her ability to comprehend the words, she is still very much a 10 year old.  She is innocent and sensitive and, as her mother, it feels like part of my job to tread lightly around her tender heart.  The Hunger Games in particular was a rough ride for her but she responded to the social message of it, the wrongness of the world of Panem, just as she has responded to the wrongness of the real world and the things we are facing as a society right now.  So I have no doubt she will embrace Bradbury's message...eventually.  But after re-reading with her in mind, trying to see and hear and feel the story the way I know she would see and hear and feel it, I'm putting this one back on the shelf for at least another year. 

*To be clear, I borrowed both of Ms. Kaling's books. I am a frequent patron of my local library, not a book-stealer.