January Book List (Day 31, Year 3)

Alright friends, the first (and longest) month of the year is a wrap, which means my January reading is a wrap too! This month, my family did not even complain that I was ignoring them, which means they are adapting OR they are happy to have some free time without me asking them to empty the dishwasher or scoop the cat litter. 

The reading this month definitely got darker and more dysfunctional and less real as it went along! I began with rom com then jumped to celebrity memoir then dove into man hating psychological thrillers and sped ahead to a new genre for me, horror. 

I never read horror before and only accidentally began reading "How to Sell a Haunted House," thinking maybe it was a ghost story or something. Instead it is straight up horror with demonic, haunted puppets. I LOVED IT, but more on it later. 

Let's start in order first, with my two books by Beth Moran. 

I wrote a very special, slightly insane ode to Beth Moran earlier this month. Beth is the author of "Just the way you are" and "How not to be a loser." I did end up having an interlude with her on Instagram and she said my blog meant a lot to her! 

I am going to see if I can visit her in the Sherwood Forest! Might be best to surprise her! I am sure she'd love that! 

I took a break from Beth's WONDERFUL Ed Sheeran song-esque Rom Coms to read another Brit's work with Spare. I did a partial review of Spare and then I paused to think about it all amidst my own sibling drama. I did talk Spare through with my husband extensively who told me with all my wild theories that I should write fan fiction. He might be right, but when would I write fan fiction? I am busy here and there and also planning my trip to the Sherwood Forest. 

Anyway, here's where I landed with Spare: I am think it is a well-written memoir, but what irritated me is the pillars of perfection Harry places his mother and wife on. It feels obsessive and strange. It is the sort of love that raises up the object of affection while very directly putting everyone down (sort of like: "no Mummy, only the pink crayon is pretty! Purple is ugly! I love pink! It is perfect!")  Maybe it's just not my kind of love. 

Also, when it comes to his sibling/royal drama, I just want to say: THE ROYAL SIBLINGS ARE JUST LIKE US! They have ridiculous misunderstandings, endless dramas and sibling rivalries that last a life time. Harry seems to point out sibling rivalry as if it is dysfunctional or abnormal; but I think all of us with siblings (even me with one dead and another maybe dead or faking it) know that sibling rival is real. 

Honestly, I hope the Princes work their shit out and stop acting so weird. Although I am sure they cannot help it, they are like fancy prisoners. 

Next, I switched my addition to some man hating psychological thrillers with female characters that absolutely had a little bit of con artist in them. I love a good con; but don't like to be conned. This con artist information is not relevant to the books. Anyway, I so enjoyed The Villa by Rachel Hawkins and then Two Reckless Girls by Hawkins was divine. Both books delivered on the confusion and unraveling and even when you figured it out, there was more to unravel! The Villa is set in Italy and Two Reckless Girls begins in Hawaii and ends on a creepy, island in the Pacific. Everything about these two stories made me happy. 

Then it was onto "How to Sell a Haunted House" by Grady Hendrix. This book was recommended again and again in my Peloton Moms Book Group. I dove right in and was surprised by the genre--and then delighted by it. The book has themes of long buried family secrets and dysfunctions--which I can totally relate to. There is the horror element of demonic dolls and puppets--that while utterly ridiculous is somehow redeeming and healing and like some sort of play therapy or allegory for the unraveling of long ignored family issues when the matriarch and patriarch die. I loved how this book did not take itself too seriously. 

Now that I love horror, I had to jump into The Final Girl Support Group also by Grady Hendrix. I am about 30-percent of the way through and I love it more than the first Hendrix book I read. The Final Girls are the women who survived horrendous, horror movie like massacres and they are traumatized, routinely stalked and now being hunted by someone. It is a book with serious themes; but somehow the horror bit of it allows it to not take anything too seriously and instead you are left unraveling and working through whatever trauma in the book speaks to you. 

For me, I identify with the being hunted part. Sometimes, as a childhood cancer family, I feel like we are hunted by childhood cancer. It's a real trauma for me--really for all of us--but I appreciate how this book is working through that feeling. 

For February: I think I might turn to a biology memoir written by retired neurosurgeon Henry Marsh called "And Finally, Matters of Life and Death." Marsh is a legend and you know I love this science-y stuff. I also have two more sweet Beth Moran books to read and some messed-up psychological thrillers burning a hole in my Kindle reading list.