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January Reads 2023: 52 Books in a Year Challenge

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So January is over and I wanted to bring you up to date with the books I read during the first month of the year.

This is for the 52 Books in a Year Challenge, and it’s a big focus for me in 2023. You can read more about this reading challenge for adults here. You can join my free Facebook group here, and you can download the challenge printables here if you want to track what you’ve read. This is a challenge you can start at any point in the year, so do join us.

I’m sharing these because I know many of us want to create a to-be-read pile, particularly for any holidays we may have during the year. I’ll be watching out for your recommendations too! If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on my monthly updates, then sign up for my newsletter here.

My January Reads

So I managed to get through 3 books in January. Not as many as I wanted to, but I have to accept that with everything else I have going on, I’m not always going to reach my monthly goal – and that’s ok.

What I’m finding with this challenge is that it’s encouraging me to read more – but I don’t feel under any pressure. This is the perfect place to be, as sometimes too much pressure can lead me to falling off the wagon entirely, and I don’t want that to happen. For me, reading is about pleasure, escapism, and walking in another’s shoes.

With that said, let’s dive into the three books.

Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries

I always loved Alan Rickman as an actor, and his was a sad loss in 2016. Even as I write that, it’s hard to believe he died 7 years ago now.

I was very interested in reading his diaries as soon as I heard the announcement of their existence a few years ago. I love diaries as you get such an insight into the person’s thoughts and, of course, events as they saw them.

It’s important to remember, though, that these diaries were not written with publication in mind. They were Rickman’s own personal domain and an outlet for his creativity. As a talented designer, there were a couple of examples in the book of the drawings he did to accompany some of the pages.

As such, the entries are relatively short and there are some gaps, either when he didn’t write or maybe some entries have been removed in the editing process – I am not sure of that. What is there though I found really interesting. You have the backdrop of his movies as the diaries run from 1993 until his death. There are his thoughts on actors, directors and producers, and an insight into the process of a film or play going from first inception through to production.

If you love the films of Alan Rickman, or movies in general, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s easy to dip in and out of and you can almost hear that beautiful voice of his as you read.

The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop – Cressida McLaughlin

I am not a person who usually reads a huge amount of romances, I’ll be honest. However, of late I have thrown a few into the mix and what’s important to me is setting. What I love about this series is first that it’s set in Cornwall, and second that it focuses on a dream of the protagonist – something they want to achieve. Of course, there’s a nice man thrown in for good measure, and that is always a good thing!

The series started with The Cornish Cream Tea Bus and book seven brings us to The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop, with lots of adventures along the way. I have to say that I loved these books from the start, but I also love the series a little more with each subsequent book. I have also just seen there is a new title coming out later in the year, so that will definitely make it into the challenge.

You know how much I love Cornwall and if you want to check out more about the county then read my post on 8 magical places to visit in Cornwall.

The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop is another book I highly recommend for a fun, escapist read.

This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell

The first book I read by Maggie O’Farrell was her debut novel After You’d Gone and I fell in love with her style of writing and was hooked from the start, going on to read several more of her novels.

In recent years, through changes in my life, I just hadn’t had the headspace to focus on reading, but picking up This Must Be the Place, brought me back to the excitement of text created by someone who is a master of what they do.

The ability of the author to control the narrative as they move between perspectives, time and place was breathtaking and I inhaled this novel, never wanting to put it down. A sign that you are reading something you love.

The book is about two people in a marriage. One a woman who walked out on life as a film star at the height of her career, and simply disappeared. And the other a man who is hiding some secrets of his own.

I highly recommend This Must be The Place and actually any books by Maggie O’Farrell. I am going to be returning to the ones I’ve missed out on. First up, I want to read her memoir I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death. Stay tuned for that review coming later in the year.

So those were my January reads. A great selection and I’m excited to move into February. It’s only a short month, so let’s see what I can do.

If you want to share your own reads, get recommendations and connect with other book lovers, join us in our free Facebook group.

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