Looking back on what I accomplished reading-wise, I think I had a pretty good month. I managed to start and finish two audiobooks (one is a rare feat for me), read and review an ARC, and get to a few other things I was excited about reading. The beginning of this month marked the end of my Master’s journey, which accounts for some of the extra reading time I had in December.
I had two clear favorites this month: Catch and Kill and House of Salt and Sorrows, both of which were highly anticipated reads, and they did not disappoint. Catch and Kill is the culmination of Ronan Farrow’s Pulitzer winning investigation into sexual harassment and assault (and cover ups) in Hollywood. This book was so engagingly written, even though the content itself was pretty tough. The conspiracies, lies, and threats Farrow faced during this investigation, as well as the behavior from Weinstein and others is almost unbelievable. Almost. Women, as well as minority groups, have been watching and experiencing these events all our lives. It was quite gratifying to read about how a man – white and privileged – approached this investigation and pursued it at the cost of his career at NBC. The way Farrow handled the victims with respect, making sure they were at the forefront of this story, and gave full credit to these women for their bravery and strength is so impressive. It shouldn’t be, but I guess that’s where we are.
House of Salt and Sorrows is probably the best fairy tale retelling I’ve ever read. The best word I can think of to describe it is delicious. It has elements of gothic romance, horror, mystery, and suspense, and it is so wonderfully atmospheric. It probably helped that I wasn’t especially familiar with the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Also, this book has a beautiful cover. I will admit, though, that it is a bit misleading. There are no seahorses!
I started using an app called Bookly (not an ad) to start recording my reading stats. Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but I love tracking and reviewing stats. One of the features I like the most is that it will tell you how long it will take you to finish a book based on how fast you have been reading up until that point. When I was reading Catch and Kill, I averaged about a minute per page, whereas House of Salt and Sorrows was about 40 seconds per page. The app also gives you badges for reading streaks and the number of hours read. I thought it would be interesting to see how much I read per day, week, and month. What I learned is that there is no “average” reading day for me. The time I spend reading can range anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours, partially because I have an unpredictable work schedule. It’s also very easy for me to get sucked into scrolling endlessly on social media, so I have to be more intentional about making sure I put my phone down and do something I actually enjoy/want to do, which is read more. I think I’ll keep using Bookly to see if I’m able to quantify any changes I make in my reading habits, especially in the new year.
Happy reading and happy new year!