What I Read this Month: January 2017

I love to read. LOVE it. I love nothing more than reading for hours, accidentally staying up until 2:00 AM because I can’t put my book down. There have been multiple occasions where I have been known to read a book cover to cover in less than 24 hours.

I know what you’re thinking…it must be nice to have all of that time to read. Well, it is. But the truth is that I have (almost) always been able to find time to read. I am a firm believer in making time for the things that make you happy. If you love something you will give something else up to make time for it.

Like sleep, which I don’t necessarily recommend.

Many of the very best people I know share my love of books. Since some of you also read this blog, I thought you all might be interested to hear about the books I read in January. I also set a goal to read at least 30 books in 2017, and thought this would be a great way to keep track of my progress.

4 down, 26 to go!

What I Read in January

January started out with me lounging on a boat on the Great Barrier Reef, which allowed for ample reading time. I love taking my Kindle (which just happens to be $20 off right now!) with me on vacation, and often add at least one travel-related book to it when I am getting ready to go on holiday.

Here’s what I read last month:

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

This is the travel book I added for our Australia trip. It has been on my list for a few months but I can’t remember where I first heard of it.

Side note: I tend to collect random book titles on “to read someday” lists and haven’t really had a great way to organize them until now. With my reading goal in mind, I decided it was time to finally create a Goodreads account. If you are unfamiliar with Goodreads, it allows you to track and review the books you’ve read, as well as create a list of books to read in the future. You can also get recommendations based on what you loved. You can add friends to see what they’ve read and loved, too. Leave me a comment with your username if you’d like me to add you as a friend!

Okay, on to the book: Instead of settling down and having babies in her late twenties and early thirties, Newman was traveling the world (often by herself) for multiple weeks each year. This is a great book if you want to live vicariously through her travels. It was interesting to notice how her personality changed when she left the country. I was also interested to hear the lessons she learned about being a good travel partner. Finally, I enjoyed getting to peek into her life since it is so different from my own. She talks about traveling solo because she didn’t want to wait for others to be ready and willing to travel with her, and I can definitely relate to that. If you like hearing peoples’ travel stories or just like reading memoirs in general, I’d definitely recommend.

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim

Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim

I have been intrigued by North Korea for a long time, even more so now that we live in close proximity. We are planning to travel to South Korea later this year, and are hoping to make a trip to the DMZ when we do. You’ll see that I tend to follow my curiosity when it comes to my book choices, and in January I wanted to learn more about North Korea and the people who live there.

Unfortunately, the only way we outsiders will ever learn about the people of North Korea is if brave journalists like the author of this book put their lives at risk to bring their stories to us. I have such respect for Kim, a journalist, who posed as a teacher and a Christian missionary (she is neither a teacher nor a Christian) in order to investigate the lives of the North Korean elite. She was given permission by the North Korean government to teach at the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and along with her position came unprecedented access to the students there.

She was able to fool everyone, but was constantly worried about being found out by the government — or her fellow teachers. I found this story fascinating, and it piqued my desire to do more research. If you are at all interested in North Korea, I consider this a must read.

Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea by Jang Jin-sung

Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea by Jang Jin-sung

I told you I was on a North Korea kick this month! This incredible story follows the author on his journey to defect from North Korea. Jin-sung, an elite member of the North Korean government, escaped via China in 2004. This book tells the story of his escape, along with what he saw while working for the government. He also delves into the history of the country, detailing Kim Jong-il’s (and consequently, Kim Jong-un’s) rise to power. It’s a fascinating look in to the world’s most brutal regime. Reading about the methodical way the regime controls absolutely everything was equally fascinating and terrifying. I couldn’t put this book down. Another must read for those interested in this mysterious country.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Sadly, I considered this psychological thriller to be light reading after my previous two books.

This story follows Rachel, a divorced alcoholic who rides the same commuter train each day. One day, she sees something shocking during her commute and becomes involved in the investigation of a local missing woman. If you like psychological thrillers, chances are that you’ll like this.

What are You Reading?

I think I need to add some lighter reading next month, what do you think?

What have you been reading? I’d love some (fiction or non-fiction) recommendations!

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1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on What I Read this Month: January 2017

  1. […] had a 50/50 split between fiction and non-fiction this month, which is an improvement over last month. But the fiction was still pretty intense. I’m going to keep this in mind over the next month […]

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