on the bookshelf :: January

on the bookshelf :: January

January is a month flush with holidays and down time and sneaky getaways for long weekends. There’s day trips and hours spent poolside and beachside. With so many moments finding myself at a loose end, it’s no wonder January is generally always my biggest reading month.

It was a pretty even mix between hard copy/ebooks/audiobooks – of the twelve books I read over January, three were hard copy (two from an indie bookshop, one from BigW), two were kindle, three were ebooks borrowed from the library via the IndyReads app, and four were audiobooks keeping me company as I crafted.

There were four classic sci-fi, two non fiction (both history), and six fiction – three Aussie (one suspense, one drama, one family saga), and three international (one UK centric, one South African/Zimbabwe, one American/Korean). The four audiobooks were rereads/listens, while all the text based books were new to me.

The links below are mostly affiliate links – I have included Amazon, Book Depository, and for the Aussies, QBD options. Where I have listened to an audio book, it is through my Audible subscription and I have linked to the version I listened too. If you haven’t signed up for audible previously, you can get a free 30 day trial here. Books marked with a ^ mark are also available with a kindleunlimited subscription that also has the option of a free trial here.

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish – Douglas Adams {audible // book depository}
The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe – Douglas Adams {audible // book depository // QBD}
Life, The Universe And Everything – Douglas Adams {audible // book depository}
Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams {audible // book depository}

We are huge Douglas Adams fans in this house, so when I need an audiobook I don’t have to think too hard about while I craft, they are my go to. They are simple, uncomplicated sci fi, in that classic 80s British way, that make them just fun to listen to or read. The versions I listen too are narrated by Martin Freeman, who plays Arthur Dent in the movie. I listen at 1.4x and it only takes four hours or so to get through one book. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve engaged with these stories, so clearly 5 stars for these ones!

The Cartographer’s Secret – Tea Cooper {kindle // book depository // QBD}
I picked this one up on a whim while at BigW ostensibly shopping for a beach umbrella. But what beach day is complete without a new beach read? This was a family saga, mostly suspense with a side serve of light romance, and between the three hour road trip to the beach, and the hard days work I put in under the umbrella watching the kids play, I was closing the back cover as we hit the foothills of the range on the way home. It was, for me, the ideal beach read – enough depth to keep me interested and turning the pages, light enough to not get bogged down and need to think too hard.

No Hearts Of Gold – Jackie French {kindle // book depository // QBD}
An IndyReads find, it took me a while to get into this one. In places I found it a bit wordy, and I would get distracted by the extra scenes and lose the thread of where I was in the story. There was also a plot point that just felt a bit too neat and convenient. Overall though, it wasn’t a bad read over the holidays.

Mary Ann & Captain Piper – Jessica North {kindle // book depository // QBD}
This one has been sitting on my TBR shelf for ages, and it was great to finally get into it. It is a dramatised biography of Mary Ann Piper, who went from convicts daughter to the leading socialite of colonial Sydney. My main takeaway? Colonial Sydney was nepotism central, and they handed land grants out like lollies to their mates. It was an interesting read to peek behind the scenes of early Sydney society.

Crows Nest – Nikki Mottram {kindle // book depository // QBD}
Another IndyReads find, Crows Nest was a gripping murder mystery. Set around the Toowoomba area, with those small town feels and some complex relationship keeping things lively, I really enjoyed it. The protagonist is a family & community services social worker, with her own trauma buried beneath a professional front, leading her to get over-invested in her cases. (I will flag a content warning for those who limit their exposure to the kind of situations community services would deal with)

The Ship That Never Was – Adam Courtenay {kindle // book depository // QBD}
From the depths of my TBR, this non-fiction was half finished before the start of the month, but it was harder to get into than I expected. It tells the story of ten convicts and their daring escape plan, stealing a ship and fleeing from Van Diemans Land to Chile. It was a wild ride, and you have to give them props for never giving up, will multiple recaptures and escape attempts.

The Paris Affair – Pip Drysdale {kindle^ // book depository // QBD}
A nice easy poolside read, probably best described as suspense? It was fun, and I was almost at the end before I worked out whodunnit, which is a plus. Being on holidays, I knocked this one over in a day. Some dark bits, some fluffier bits, a murder or two, a bit of romance, a bit of character growth. Overall not a bad book, even if I do hate first person stories!

Critical But Stable – Angela Makholwa {kindle^ // book depository}
A drama told from multiple perspectives, this story is all about the truth that lies beneath a thin (and often tenuous) veneer of respectability. Lie after life followed by an unexpected death, and a group of wealthy South African power couples starts to crumble. Another holiday read that kept my nose in my kindle from start to finish.

Re Jane – Patricia Park {kindle // book depository}
The final book of the month came via IndyReads. From Queens to Korea, Jane is on a journey to discover where she’s from, where she’s going, and underneath all the expectations she feels coming her way, who she really is. Through in the dot com bust and 9/11, and this early twenties drama had me hooked!

And that was January! I’m sure my reading tally will slow down quite a bit now school and real life demands my attention. What good books did you read over the holidays? I’d love to know what I should add to my TBR list!

**I am an affiliate with Amazon, Book Depository & QBD, which means if you click the links in this post and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only ever affiliate link to products and places I genuinely use and love. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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