Everyone is talking about how damn long January felt, but I think I fell behind somewhere along the way because I’m not quite convinced it’s already February.
Here’s what I got up to in January.
I celebrated my 32nd birthday. As a self-employed individual, I get to choose my own time off, so I took advantage of that and gifted myself a 5-day weekend for my birthday. I ate some really delicious food, wandered around a museum, and shared cocktails out with some friends at my favorite local bar.
I did yoga (almost) every day thanks to Yoga with Adriene. Ok so I skipped 5 days, but caught myself back up each time with a double yoga session the next day. Now I’m still going (no days missed yet this month!) with her perfectly curated monthly calendars. Honestly, her YouTube channel is a lifesaver.
I started a habit of doing some light meal prep on Sundays and made this really delicious cashew turmeric granola a few times as part of my regular rotation. Last time I made it with walnuts and dried cranberries instead of cashews and dehydrated fruit and it was SO GOOD.
This collection of essays made me feel like Tolentino was inside my brain, pulling out all my half-formed qualms and questions about modern culture and turning them into deeply smart, well-researched speculations about what the internet has done to human society. She peels away the layers on topics like the performance inherent in social media, the ridiculous extravagance of modern weddings, and the surprisingly similar experiences offered by religion and the drug Ecstasy. It’s a dense read and worth taking some time to fully digest. 4/5
The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
I was expecting to like this series more than I did. I’m usually a sucker for fantasy stories with magic and witches and prophesies, but this one just wasn’t that exciting. The world-building was inviting, but the story dragged a bit and the romance had me rolling my eyes every few chapters with its Twilight-like undertones. The heroine spent a good portion of the books being a wet noodle and literally got swept off her feet too many times to take any of it very seriously. 2.5/5
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Running 600 pages, this book had the confusing problem of being too drawn out while also making me wish I’d gotten more details on certain plot points and characters. Until the last part of the book, the narrative felt more like vignettes of the characters’ lives instead of a cohesive story, making it hard to stay engaged. There were, however, some really fascinating character relationships and illuminating points about race and the immigrant experience that definitely makes this book a worthwhile read. 3.5/5
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
If internet memes are any indication, lots of us can relate to a desire to forget the incessant traumas of the world and sleep a year away swathed in easygoing movies and a full bank account. This story is bizarre and unsettling but also tender and hopeful. Writing style is a big factor in whether I can really connect with a book, and Moshfegh’s unsentimental boldness telling this truly weird story totally captured me. I’m looking forward to reading everything else she’s written. 4.5/5