January Wrap-Up

This month was surprisingly successful in terms of reading. I read a total of 13 books and, although they were mostly on the short side, I’m still not sure how I managed to read as much.

Some other book-related things happened this month. Firstly, inspired by all the 2021 stats posts, I also started using a bookish spreadsheet by Hardback Hoarder on YouTube. I made some slight changes to make it perfect for my needs and it’s made me ridiculously happy to use it. I’d been wanting to track my books outside of social media for a while, so I’m glad I started using this. I still have to figure out how to track some of the aspects I want to—mainly related to author identity or diversity—in a way that makes sense to me, but for now I’m content.

I also finally made a Storygraph account, so feel free to add me as a friend there if you use it! I’m certainly still way more active on Goodreads, but I hope I’ll use Storygraph more and more as I get used to it.

What I Read

Cover of Erotica Universalis

Erotica Universalis by Gilles Néret

This was my very first read of 2022, which picked up right where I left of in 2021. It was definitely a fast read, since it’s mostly pictures, with very little context. However, I did not really enjoy this. Surely, it’s interesting to see the evolution of erotica in art, but let’s just say I got very sick of the same depictions time and time again. There are a few pieces which I enjoyed, but they’re few and far between.

Cover of Manifesto

Manifesto: On Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo

I had read Blonde Roots a few years ago as part of my university compulsory reading and I really enjoyed it, so when I was sent this by Libro.fm as part of their ALC program I was really excited to learn more about Bernardine Evaristo. However, despite this being an interesting read and although it cannot be denied that the author has lived quite an interesting life, I didn’t love this as much as I hoped. At times, I wish we would’ve got more insight but instead some major events were brushed over.

Cover of Fetish Girls

Fetish Girls by Eric Kroll

I had a whole breakdown trying to decide whether I should log this as a read book because all the words in it are on the cover. But my friends convinced me that yes, it is a book after all. So, I thought I’d also comment it here.

This is a collection of erotic photography—you know by now that I’ve been interested in it lately—by Eric Kroll, a pretty well-known photographer in this field. I liked most of the pictures but I’m still not sure how I feel about men in general photographing women like this, male gaze going full force. But that’s another topic that I don’t necessarily have the knowledge to discuss.

Cover of I'm with the Band

I’m with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres

I came across this book browsing through Audible and, despite having no previous knowledge of it, I decided to give it a try. I really love the film Almost Famous—or I did, I haven’t watched it in years—so I thought this would be a book I might enjoy. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

This was simply just annoying. It felt like the worst type of boy-crazy teenager ramblings which, at the beginning made sense—the narration starts when Pamela is a teenager—, but there was no real evolution through the years depicted. It became a tedious read quite fast.

Cover of Vírgenes, esposas, amantes y putas

Vírgenes, esposas, amantes y putas by Amarna Miller

One of my wishes this year is to read more non-English literature, with an emphasis on Spanish or Catalan books, so I’m happy to say I’m already on the right path.

When I came across this, the title—which translates to Virgins, Wives, Mistresses and Sluts—instantly piqued my interest. I immediately started it, and I’m very glad I did, because I really enjoyed this. This is a feminist non-fiction that discusses many topics surrounding womanhood through exploring the author’s own life experience.

Cover of The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

Although I have read and enjoyed Poe in the past, I was never fully satisfied with his stories. The Tell-Tale Heart is probably the first one where I had no such feeling. This was really enjoyable and just the perfect amount of unsettling. It is definitely my favourite Poe story I’ve read so far.

Cover of The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

This I decided to finally pick up because a Spanish publishing house put it as part of their “1 year, 12 classics” challenge, which I decided to participate in.

This had actually been on my TBR for about eight years but I never gravitated towards it—I’m not a sci-fi reader at all. In the end, I ended up enjoying it and it gave me Doctor Who vibes.

Cover of A Sunday in Ville-d'Avray

A Sunday in Ville-d’Avray by Dominique Barbéris

I recently mentioned this book in my 2022 reading wishes post, but I didn’t think I’d get to it quite as soon.

This was an interesting and unexpectedly unsettling read. It did not necessarily blow me away, but I also don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it.

Cover of Helena de Esparta

Helena de Esparta by Loreta Minutilli

I first saw this book at a shopping centre in August last year, and the cover and title—Helen of Sparta—immediately caught my attention.

This is a retelling of The Illiad from Helen’s point of view, and it’s done masterfully. As a greek/roman mythology enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading this.

Cover of How to Be Perfect

How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur

I’ve you’ve read my review of this book, you already know how much I loved this. It was such an impromptu decision to listen to this—it was one of Libro.fm’s monthly ALCs—, but I’m super grateful I did. If you’re interested in philosophy or if you like humour, you’ll definitely like this one.

Cover of The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

I was browsing through Gutenberg Project looking for other books when this popped up. So I though, “Why not? It’s only 50 pages” and proceeded to get it. This was certainly an interesting read and I’m happy I’ve read it, despite how much I might have enjoyed it—which wasn’t all that much.

Cover of Crank

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

I started reading this because it was available on Riveted and I had already enjoyed People Kill People by the same author. It did get me a bit to get used to the writing style—it’s a novel in verse—but eventually I got over that and I really enjoyed this story. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

Cover of The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus

I decided to pick this up for two reasons: 1) Camus was mentioned in How to Be Perfect and I really enjoyed his philosophy and 2) I’ve been watching a ridiculous amount of Jack Edwards’ videos. Jack made a video reading every book recommended by Namjoon from BTS and I decided to give this double recommendation a try. I ended up really enjoying it, so it was a great decision to on my part!

What I Wrote

Here are my favourite posts I wrote this month:

Blog Posts I Loved

Besides all the posts about end-of-year stats—which I’m not gonna mention because we’d be here forever since I loved them all—there are quite a few posts I really enjoyed reading this month. As per usual, these are posts I read this month but were not necessarily published in January.

How was your reading month? Did you have a good start to the reading year? What’s the best book you read in January?

See you next time, Maria

19 thoughts on “January Wrap-Up

  1. Hey, thanks for mentioning my blog post! I really appreciate it. 😊

    It looks like you had a great reading month. A lot of the books you listed aren’t really familiar to me, so I’ll definitely check some of them out. Especially the nonfiction!

    Hope your February is even better! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Edgar Allan Poe! I’m kind of obsessed with creepy stories, and his are some of the best ones out there 😁 So if you’re looking to get into more of his work and haven’t already read it, I’d highly recommend “The Black Cat”. That’s probably my favorite story of his 🥰

    I also had to read The Time Machine for Uni, but apart from the underlying idea, I wasn’t super impressed… 😅

    And yes, Jack Edwards! I’ve become even more obsessed with his content since he moved to Paris – I AM SO JEALOUS! – so it’s nice to hear he’s being appreciated 😄

    Also, thank you so much for mentioning my post; I’m thrilled you enjoyed my cover designing wisdom so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually haven’t read that one, so I’ll make it a priority for next time!

      I thought The Time Machine was a cool concept but it did lose me a bit in the middle. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.

      His videos are really cool, and his enthusiasm about books is definitely contagious. Also, he’s a great source for recommendations of books I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on my own, and that’s always nice.

      That post did genuinely make my day!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope it gets a translation too, I feel like it’s a book maaaaany mythology enthusiasts would love.

      I haven’t actually watched The Good Place, but my friend swears by it so I gave the book a try based on that. I know I’d like the show, but I still haven’t got around to it.

      And you’re very welcome, that post was super nice and lovely to read. It also made me think back on my own bookish memories.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a really good read. I especially enjoyed the second half as I felt the first half dragged on a bit (although this might be because I knew what happened and I couldn’t wait for that moment). I’ll have to read more by Camus because I’ve really been enjoying learning more about his philosophy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. the telltale heart is such a classic! sorry to see that you didn’t like manifesto on never giving up, i’ve been eyeing that one for a bit. my reading spreadsheet is my life, so i’m glad you’re enjoying using yours! thank you so much for sharing my post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was still a solid three stars, but I was expecting a bit more from it. However, I’d still definitely recommend it, I know a lot of people would genuinely love it. And yes, that spreadsheet is soooo much fun, I’m glad I decided to join in on the hype!


  4. Ooh it looks like you’ve been reading some great books recently! I’ve had The Stranger on my TBR for ages so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it – I’ll have to push it up to the top of my list. I really want to read Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo too, even though I’m not expecting to love it quite as much as her fiction 📚❤️ X x x

    Liked by 1 person

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