Hello, dear readers! How’s your week going? Anything exciting on your TBR? I, for one, am happy to report I finally defeated the January slump and ticked off my first book of 2023.
I’m tremendously happy about that. Every January comes with a lot of reflection, distractions, and almost zero reading appetite for me. And this year is no different. But in the past week, not particularly energised by my other hobbies, and successfully getting into a routine, my reading had everything to gain.
I’ve been finding myself saving slots of time during the day just to relax with a book, and that’s how I got to finish The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides. This is a dark academia murder mystery which was guaranteed to get me out of my slump. For about three days, this book kept me in a chokehold.
And it was worth it. While not a literary masterpiece by any margin, The Maidens was dark, gripping, atmospheric, and delivered a satisfying plot twist at the end. Because of how shocked I was by the plot twist in Michaelides’s other book, The Silent Patient, I was eagerly expecting something similar and he did not disappoint.
The book played with my mind too, which I love in a murder mystery, and it got me completely fooled more than once. I enjoyed the academic motifs and all the references to Greek mythology. Was it a little over the top? Definitely, but not in a cringey way. I rated it 3.75 stars.
If you’d like a more thorough review, this one from Nayanika Saikia perfectly captures it:
What I’m Reading and Book Club News
Another book I haven’t been able to put down is Matrix by Lauren Groff. This is a weird but very interesting book I got for my birthday and finally committed to. When I started reading it, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I chose it. It’s got almost none of the plot and genre elements I usually enjoy. It’s about a super fierce French crusader princess who gets exiled to an English abbey where she is put in a position of power.
The book is set in the 12th century, way too far in history for anything I’d normally enjoy. But despite the sometimes graphic depictions of life in the 12th century, I’m oddly fascinated by it. The queer and feminist themes probably have a lot to do with that. It’s a nice, short, concentrated gem of a book and I’m savouring it greatly.
And I’m also reading Out by Natsuo Kirino, which is considered a Japanese modern classic. This is my book club read of the month and definitely an out-of-my-comfort zone read. It’s a thriller set in late 1990s Japan, where a group of women working the overnight shift at a lunchbox factory get involved in a domestic murder.
I’m not very far in the book, but the pace seems to have picked up. It’s not a happy book by any stretch, which can make it difficult to digest especially if you’re not in the right headspace. Lots of trigger warnings for domestic and sexual violence, so be wary of that if you’re thinking to read it.
New Book Release
Small World by Laura Zigman is today’s pick. This has been out for a couple of weeks and it sounds like an ideal end of January read.
Written with wry humor and keen sensitivity, Small World is a powerful novel of sisterhood and hope — a reminder that sometimes you have to look back in order to move ahead. — the Publisher
When divorced sisters Joyce and Lydia move in together as they navigate their new lives, the hope that they would bond and become closer than ever quickly frays. A tragic family past, the grief of losing their disabled sister, Eleanor, when she was just ten years old, and frustration from their neighbours puts the sisters’ relationship to test.
I love a novel centring sibling relationships — I find them fascinatingly complicated. I’m curious what will happen to Joyce and Lydia in the end.
And that’s it for today’s Coffee Time Tuesday. What are you reading and can you relate to the January slump? Let me know in the comments!