Blabbing what I’ve read in January and February 2024

I planned to do this monthly, but again I was busy with everything else, so this is a recap of the first two months’ reading.

Before we get to reading, book lovers, have you been following The Queen’s Reading Room on Instagram? Yes, we’re talking about that Queen, I don’t know why everybody’s so surprised that she has a book club. Anyway, I’ve been following it for years, and a few weeks ago they even started a podcast. They talk to authors about their favorite books and love of reading. I enjoyed every episode so far, even when I didn’t know the author, I highly recommend it! 

Also, they held the first The Queen’s Reading Room Festival last year in June, a book event with conversations with authors and other literary programs. Last year it was the weekend before my final exams at university so it was out of the question, but I was eagerly preparing for the next one ever since. There were vouchers available before Christmas and the date was promised to be announced in February, but it didn’t happen yet. I am afraid King Charles’s condition and the higher workload on Camilla is to be blamed. I was even joking about it (not about his health of course, I wish him well!), that as much as I don’t care about the royal family any more than they are people like us, at this point my travel plans seem to be highly dependent on the King’s health. I do hope he gets well soon!

Now, on to what I’ve read. I am a bit behind with my plans and my Goodreads count as well this year, but due to my longer than normal workdays, I only have the weekends off to do everything else and it turns out that 48 hours are painfully short if you want to work on your goals, get ahead in your studies, meet with your friends, do house chores, go outside and read and rest too (that’s not even everything I try to pack into each weekend, I didn’t even mention sleep). Here’s what I could fit into the first two months in terms of reading.

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Is this surprising that this was the first book I’ve read in 2024? For me it’s not. This is the MinaLima special edition of the first book in the series, and I actually bought it for myself for Christmas one year ago (one of my last BookDepository orders). I was determined 1. to  collect all the books in this beautiful edition, and 2. that I will read each one before I put them on the shelf. I didn’t have the time to fit it in my reading schedule last year, but once I did I actually enjoyed it so much, and discovered so many new things that I cannot wait to continue with the next one which I don’t even own yet. There are only the first three out yet, I guess the fourth is coming this year, so I do have to pace myself.

Nicola Kearns: Under a Maltese Sky

I read this one in Malta. As it now became a habit of mine when traveling, I was looking for something set in contemporary Malta to accompany my trip there, but this was a hard feat. What surprised me is that there are lots of World War II stories out there that are set in Malta. This one is also one of them, but it goes in two different timelines and one is early 2000s. I did like the story, the history around it, what this small island went through during WWII was heroic to say the least, I understood a lot of things about the British colonial past and really loved experiencing the same vibe in person that came through in the book in terms of the people, the places, the weather, everything. I hated the ending though, I was expecting something like that, but still it was so sad. (I know it’s a sequel, but I’m not sure I’m interested in the rest, maybe on a travel to Italy I’ll continue with the next part…)

Deborah Feldman: Unortodox

This was on my shelf for years now, and I really wanted to read it, although I’ve never seen the Netflix series, but generally I am interested in the topic. It’s an astonishing read with lots of shocking details, but what I would have loved reading more about is the psychology behind getting from fully subjecting herself to the traditions and “planning” her life accordingly to wanting to get out. I didn’t think it was laid out in full. Otherwise I loved it, and I have its sequel, Exodus on my shelf too, so I’ll try to get to it soon.

Erdélyi Boróka: Élet, cél, idő

This was a January book club pick, and although goal setting, planning and time management and basically everything about this topic is very me, I got to it later in the month and couldn’t finish it by the end of January. It wasn’t because it’s not good, it is, but it’s full of tasks to complete and questions to think through that I didn’t want to rush with, and because I took a lot of notes, couldn’t just throw it in my bag to read wherever either. Very few things were new  to me, most of them I knew already, but I did adjust my planning system a bit according to the book. And even where I didn’t, even when it’s just a reminder, I love reading about this stuff and this book is perfect, it’s for real human beings with only 24 hours in their days, I highly recommend it!

R. F. Kuang: Yellowface

And this was the February book club reading, I read it in Hungarian. I was intrigued about this ever since it was a Reese’s Book Club pick and the hype got ever bigger around it since. For me it’s a love-hate thing. I think the genius of it is that nothing significant happens throughout except for the one big thing in the beginning and yet it keeps maintaining your attention. What really bothered me is that I couldn’t find a single character that I could empathize with, even just a bit. The main character was so unsympathetic that I kept waiting for the big terrible thing to be revealed about her, other than the one big terrible thing that we know from the beginning of course. One of  the cover reviews (that ChatGPT just told me are called blurbs, who knew?) said it was a thriller, and that also made me expect something terrible to happen, but I think another one that called it a satire is much more accurate. Anyway, I’m glad I read it, but it didn’t become a favorite.

Váli Mari: Emlékeim Jókai Mórról

This is the one I’m not going to finish by the end of February, I will bring it on to next month, I’m around halfway now. Jókai is one of my favorite authors ever, and besides his own works I love reading books about his life. This one is written by his niece, unfortunately her literary talents are far from the famous uncle and that makes it a bit hard to read, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I’ll keep going with it. (Also here: does anybody happen to know whether and how I can add a book on Goodreads without an ISBN number? This one is so old, it’s from before the ISBN system.)

What about you? What have you been reading at the beginning of the year? As the weather gets better, I can’t wait to be able to go and read outside. Perhaps some of my March reading will be conducted out in the sun. I’ll keep you posted about them.

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *