January was a pretty good reading month for me. Here are the 6 books I read and loved this month…
You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris, translated by Sam Taylor
This short memoir is one of my favourite January reads. I’ve never read anything more beautiful and it had me in tears.
On November 13 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène was killed by terrorists while attending a rock concert at the Bataclan theater in Paris. Leiris was left to care for his seventeen-month-old son. Days after the attacks, he shared an open letter to his wife’s killers on Facebook. Here’s a snippet from his post: “You want me to be scared, to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.”
With grace, honesty, and vulnerability, he shares the story of his grief and struggle in the days and weeks after his wife’s murder. A gorgeously written, incredibly moving memoir about love, loss, and our power to choose love over hate.
Fractured by Catherine McKenzie
Catherine McKenzie is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Her latest novel is psychological suspense at its finest. Bestselling murder mystery author Julie Prentice and her family move from Tacoma, Washington to a picture-perfect Cincinnati neighbourhood to escape a stalker. Told from the perspectives of Julie and her new neighbour John, the story is brilliantly structured and packed with twist after twist. You know something horrible has happened in the neighbourhood, but you don’t know exactly what or to whom. I read it from cover to cover in one weekend.
Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
Schantz’s debut novel was my pick for the “book with an unreliable narrator” category for the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge. I don’t usually read young adult novels, but this one came highly recommended by the teen librarian at my local library. Narrated by Fig, from ages six to nineteen, it’s a painfully accurate portrayal of life with mental illness and a mother-daughter relationship. Fig’s voice is so authentic and I can’t stop sharing it with everyone. Highly recommended for both teens and adults.
Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
I love memoirs and I’ve added quite a few to this year’s reading list. I kicked off the year with Lakshmi’s bestselling memoir. In it, Lakshmi opens up about her childhood in India, moving to the U.S. at the age of four, her immigrant experience, and her journey to self-acceptance and feeling comfortable in her own skin. She talks candidly about her family life, marriage, divorce, and of course, her love of cooking and hosting Bravo’s Emmy award-winning Top Chef. Bonus: Lakshmi shares some of her favourite recipes throughout the book. Vivid, beautifully written, bold, and brave.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
In his final novel, Haruf transports us to the fictional small town of Holt, Colorado. Addie Moore and Louis Waters have lived in Holt for decades. Both their spouses died years ago and they have been living alone in empty houses. One day, Addie unexpectedly shows up on Louis’s doorstep with an invitation to spend the night at her house. After some thought, Louis accepts. As Addie and Louis get to know each other through their nightly conversations, a beautiful and honest relationship blooms.
Told in plain English, it’s a story about love, companionship, grief, and second chances.
Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
Sam and Hadley meet at high school. Sam falls for Hadley, but then he finds out her last name. I read this in an afternoon. Blake does an excellent job of exploring the impact one choice has on two different families. Written in stunning language, this is an achingly beautiful and realistic love story for our times.
What did you read in January?