Monday, January 31, 2022

January Reads: The 2022 challenge begins

 Each year, I set a Goodreads challenge for 52 books. That amounts to a book a week. Of course, it doesn't fall out that way. Some books take way longer than a week to read; some take less. 

So, right now, I'm "behind schedule." But I'll finish two more books in the next couple of days, and it'll even out again. 

So, here's my relatively short summary of what I read in January 2022. 

As we moved into the new year, I hadn't quite finished all the books I picked for my "Get Your Holly Jolly On" holiday reads project, so I began the year by finishing one more Christmas book: Carol by Darin Kennedy. 

Full disclosure: Darin is a friend and colleague (we share a publisher, and we used to share another publisher before we both escaped!), but that doesn't merit automatic praise from me. 

It just means that if I hated his book, I'd avoid talking about it at all. LOL. 

Luckily though, I didn't hate Carol. In fact, I quite liked it, um, her? (Carol is both the name of the book and of the main character). It was a fresh take on a familiar story, enlivened with younger characters and a contemporary setting.  A good holiday read. 

Maybe put it on your list for next winter if you enjoy Christmas stories. 

The only other book I finished in January was Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. I'd picked this one up because it was one of the "buzz books" and I'd heard good things about it. 

In the end, I was "meh" on this one. Interesting concept, but meandering story telling and no explanation at all of the main magical sort of thing that happens. I've definitely read deeper, more innovative work exploring the ethics of AI (artificial intelligence). I wonder if this one attracted attention mostly because it was written by a big-name literary author and not someone who normally writes sci-fi/fantasy? 

So, if you're thinking about this one, I recommend Becky Chambers instead, in particular A Closed and Common Orbit, which is a very layered consideration of the ramifications of artificial intelligence and the difficulty of defining the line of sentience. 

Or for more of a horror take, Ungirls by Lauren Beukes. 

Or even The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey, which is more about cloning, but still delves into the ethics aspect of artificial life interestingly. 

Here at month's end, I'm in the middle of two more books which I'll tell you about in February: Another Country by James Baldwin and The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. 

How about you? How did your reading life go this month? Read anything fabulous? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! 

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