Why does January always feel about a billion years long? It seems to go on and on, and I’m always excited when February comes around. I’m *still* very slowly recovering from that horrible infection I got last year, so tried to take it easy/not get ill again this month (a very silly aim, January = illness).
Despite still feeling a bit blergh, I started the year off with, IMO, very good reading resolutions: my TBR wasn’t overly ambitious, and I was pushing myself out of my literary comfort zone.
SEE? Four books. That’s manageable, right? The problem is, in a characteristic Laura move, I got distracted and accidentally read things not on my TBR. I did however, read A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED and LIGHTNING CHASE ME HOME. (Yay me — sorta sticking to my own self-imposed rules!!) But the first book I read in 2019 was a non-fiction book: MRS PANKHURST’S PURPLE FEATHER.
This was a very engaging book about the links between the leader of the Suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst, the feather trade, and the formation of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I sped through this one, and I really enjoyed reading about one of my favourite subjects from a different standpoint. I actually reviewed this book on my PhD blog, so if you’re interested check it out here.
I was obviously on a non-fiction hype, coz I followed it up with BODY POSITIVE POWER by Megan Jayne Crabbe. January is often crammed full of diets, and weight loss tips/plans, and I really didn’t want to get sucked into that this year. This book was the perfect antidote to that–very informative and empowering and life affirming. I’m gonna recommend it to all my friends! I also read THE HUSBAND HUNTERS — another non-fiction (can you spot a pattern yet) about American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy in the late 19th/early 20th century. Again, I found this fascinating. It was something I didn’t know much about, in a period that I love.
After loving a lot of non-fiction, I then read my first story of 2019. As many of you know, I am a true crime fanatic, and I have slowly but surely been getting into classic murder mysteries over the last couple of years. I loved Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, but hadn’t yet picked up her other most famous sleuth. That all changed with THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY.
Did I pick this up purely because of the title? YES. And I also picked it up knowing that I’d put a different Marple book on my TBR. What can I say, I was drawn to this book. (That look is gorgeous, isn’t it?) I was pleasantly surprised with this, and didn’t guess the murderer for one second, although I wish Miss Marple had been more involved– she seemed kind of on the periphery for the most part.
Annnd back to non-fiction. I wasn’t overly impressed with this one (I’m sorry Lucy Worsley, I still love you!). This looked at Queen Victoria’s life through the prism of 24 important days in her life–a format I didn’t warm too. I also found some of Worsley’s conclusions confusing, and I’ve read biographies of Queen Vic that I enjoyed more. However, this was written in a very accessible way, so would be perfect for those who maybe what to dip their toes into Victoria biographies.
And my first middle grade of the year. I ADORED this one–it was smart, heartfelt and courageously written. I’ve written a full review here. [note: the lovely folks at Scholastic sent me a copy of this book for review]
More Christie. Are we surprised?? I LOVED this one, so much more than A BODY IN THE LIBRARY. Again I did not guess the culprit (in fact, I might give up doing that–I always get it wrong!). This was SO clever, and I am still reeling.
This Podcast Will Kill You // Hosted by Erin Walsh and Erin Allmann Updyke.
This is all about infectious diseases–which doesn’t sound like a very fun topic for a podcast, but trust me–it is! As someone not very science/disease savvy, I was so taken aback by how much I loved this. Each episode traces the history and science of a famous disease, and its status in the world today. It’s very informative, but in a highly accessible way, and the hosts are JUST delightful.
Shedunnit // Hosted by Caroline Crampton
Can you spot a murder mystery/ true crime twist in my interests this month? I stumbled across Shedunnit whilst searching for new podcasts, and it’s become my new favourite. Analysing classic murder mysteries with a feminist twist, it is essential listening for anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie. It also has an AWESOME soundtrack.
That’s about it for this month. The only other things I did was work on a PhD chapter, read lots of PhD books and avoid everybody who sneezed. I also got a really cute new phone case: