Best books of January 2019

January Reading Roundup

Better late than never! Here’s my reading roundup for January.

It was a month in which I did a lot of travelling, driving from Greece to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and now Croatia (via Romania again and a brief stop in Serbia). So I didn’t spend as much time reading and blogging as I wanted to, but I still managed to read some excellent books to start 2019.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

This was my contribution to the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Dolce Bellezza (which you can still join if you want). The Great Passage is a novel about a bunch of people compiling a dictionary. It’s a novel about obsession, about books, about language and the way we are shaped by it. Read my full review.

Mobility Justice by Mimi Sheller

Mobility Justice by Mimi Sheller

“Mobility justice” was a new term for me, so it was interesting to read this book and discover what it means. Essentially, it’s a way of synthesising a bunch of different social justice struggles into a single framework. In a whole range of scenarios, from transportation justice to the refugee crisis, privilege is often about mobility, while exclusion is about lack of mobility. It’s an interesting read, and I plan to write about it more. On a side note, I have no idea why the cover design is so amateur.

The Wind Among the Reeds by William Butler Yeats

The Wind Among the Reeds by WB Yeats

I’d never read any poetry by Yeats either, so this was another new one for me. It was a good introduction to his poetry, with extensive notes to explain the many allusions to Celtic mythology. I think it would be easier to read in print, where you can flip back and forth more easily between poem and notes, but I enjoyed by ebook nonetheless.

At the End of the Century by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

At the End of the Century by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

I discovered this book in one of Karla Strand’s excellent monthly “Reads for the Rest of Us” features. It was a sharply written collection of short stories by a German Jewish refugee who lived for many years in India before moving to New York. The stories have a variety of international settings reflecting the author’s background, but they have a lot of common themes: characters dominated by stronger, more charismatic spouses, others who are fascinated with gurus and/or geniuses, love triangles and ménages à trois. Some of them felt a bit repetitive, but overall it was a good read. On a side note, what is with the covers this month?

The Verdict

These were four very different books, so it’s hard to compare them, but I think The Great Passage by Shion Miura is the one I’d most whole-heartedly recommend.

This month, I plan to travel much more slowly, so I hope to read more, write more, and catch up with other people’s blogs. Hope you have a good reading month! Let me know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below. And you can catch more bloggers’ roundups over on Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

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There are 16 comments

  1. A very interesting sounding bunch of books. The Great Passage sounds so very good. I love books about books and libraries. The title is clever.

    Mobility Justice seems like an important concept. I never thought of it this way, but the ability to move and travel can make such a difference in terms of things like well being, suffering, Justice snd a whole bunch of other things.

    1. I never thought of it that way either, Brian. The book does tie together a lot of different issues in a convincing way – many more than I covered here. And yes, The Great Passage is a great metaphorical title!

    1. Hi Nicole, Yes, it’s wonderful to travel so much. I’ve been on the road for four years now and am not getting tired of it yet! I loved The Great Passage, and I think it’s a great book for booklovers to read 🙂

    1. Yes, I’m not complaining, Annemieke! It’s so fascinating to see new places all the time and learn about different cultures. This month is quieter, so I’m doing much more reading, and hope to put together some more blog posts too. Hope you’re having a great month!

  2. Sounds like a busy month: congrats on keeping up with any reading at all, along the way. I like the sounds of The Great Passage. But, obsessive about books? I just don’t know if I could relate. 🙂

    1. This one made me laugh! When I reviewed The Great Passage, I thought I was making it sound dull, but all my commenters seemed to love it. Then I remembered that my readers are mostly book bloggers 🙂

  3. Your travels sound amazing! And The Great Passage intrigues me and is new to me. I have many Japanese friends and their culture and food is my favorite to learn more about. Languages have always interested me.

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