National Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15th as a way to celebrate histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) gained independence on the 15th, while Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on the 16th and 18th.
One of my reading goals for the last few years has been to read more books by BIPOC authors or about BIPOC characters, and I have to admit, they’ve been some of the best books I’ve read lately. The Hacienda and Mexican Gothic are definitely in my top 10 for recent years. There’s something so refreshing about learning more about different cultures and histories, and for me personally, there’s something comforting in reading books with the Spanish language in it.
This month, from September 15 to October 15, I’m going to aim to read eight Hispanic novels. Eight seems like a high number considering I’ve been in a reading slump most of the year, but I’ve been highly anticipating a lot of these stories for a long time and can’t wait to finally get to them! As always, I’ll do a wrap-up at the end of the month and review everything I’ve read.
Does anyone else feel completely shocked by the fact that the first month of the new year is already over? I don’t know where the time has gone, but I simultaneously feel like all of my days drag on. I definitely wanted to write more reviews for the month, but truthfully my personal life has been all over the place so far this year, which has caused some setbacks in not only writing reviews but also in reading.
I’ve also been playing a lot of video games with a group of my friends lately, and I’m not allowing myself to feel guilty for that. Like I mentioned when I set my 2022 reading goals, I want to take all the stress away from reading, which means I don’t beat myself up for enjoying other hobbies that aren’t reading. We’re only a month in, but it feels really good.
That being said, I still managed to read 8 books in January! It might not seem like a huge amount, but one of those was the compendium to the Saga comic series, which was over 50 single issues and 1,300+ pages. Here are all the books I read this month:
Looker by Laura Sims was an extremely old ARC that I received a copy of. It was arguably my least favorite that I read in January, despite being one of the shortest. It was marketed as a psychological thriller, but I was bored as there was little to no plot. I also didn’t enjoy The Push by Ashley Audrain, mostly because I felt it had already been done before. All of my friends ranted and raved about it, but to me it felt like a blatant copy of We Need to Talk about Kevin or Baby Teeth.
Six Crimson Cranes was my favorite read of the month, and I have a full review coming soon, because that book truly deserves all the praise and key-smashing. Saga and The Burning Girls were other top favorites in January for completely different reasons. Saga is arguably the best space opera of all time (I said what I said), and The Burning Girls was a great thriller with twists and turns I didn’t see coming.
The other big project was rebuilding my library! This happened way faster than I was expecting it to, but once I found the perfect shelves I bit the bullet and committed. I was tired of having cheap shelves that bowed with the weight of all my books; I wanted shelves that are more sturdy since I have so many books. I absolutely love the shelves I bought! I also moved my shelves from my office into their own room (complete with reading/lounge chair, naturally) that gets a gorgeous amount of sunlight and is quickly becoming my favorite room in the house.
I don’t know what I’ll do when I inevitably buy more books and run out of room with these shelves, but for now, I’m extremely happy. I do keep my BOTM picks on a different shelf in another room, so that helps clear space as well.
In terms of reading goals for February…I have none! And it’s great! In January I was part of a book club where we get paired with a buddy who picks three books for us to read based on a selected theme. In January I read only one of those books, but honestly I just wasn’t in the mood to read the others, and that’s okay! That’s the approach I’m taking into February with me, and it feels amazing to have no stress about my favorite hobby anymore.
1) pick out a book that sounded interesting 2) enjoy the book that I picked 3) made strong progress or even finish the book
That’s not to say I haven’t read great books in the last few months; I’ve given plenty of them four or five star ratings. But in the midst of the highly-rated reviews, I find myself frustrated with my options for new books (despite having 40+ in my physical library and 400+ in ebooks). I oftentimes will pick out a book that’s been on my tbr for literal years, and after reading the first 20 pages, I realize I’m just not interested in it anymore. That doesn’t mean I won’t go back to the book at some point; it just means not right now.
When I was cleaning my house over the weekend, I found barely-started books strewn all over the house. They were ones I’d attempted, gotten only a few pages into (hereis an angle from the top of the books to see how far I truly didn’t get), and put down with the promise of coming back to them, which I obviously never did. I was talking to my husband about them, and how frustrating being a mood reader can be sometimes. He suggested maybe picking a different genre to read, and that’s when I pointed out that every single book I’d abandoned in the last few months was a different genre. And that’s when I realized I have a slight problem.
Part of being a bibliophile means I will probably always own books that I’ll never read, so if I’ve truly come to terms with that, this list seems a bit futile. That being said, I’ve always dreamed of reading every book I own, of that number on my Goodreads shelf dwindling until finally it hits a single-digit number (at this point that seems more realistic than getting it to zero – mostly because I’m brave enough to admit I have a problem and have no self control when it comes to buying more books).
But I’m joining the rallying cries of “but this year will be different!” because after a truly unremarkable, depressing year, I think it’s good for everyone to create small, attainable goals for themselves so that we all achieve some semblance of happiness. That way, no matter what is thrown at us, we have a realistic goal to work toward, something to look forward to, something to keep pushing us forward.
I know I won’t read all of these this year. There are a lot of heavy-hitters in this list, and if anyone has read Stephen King before, they know he’s a special kind of author, one you can’t read in bulk because they’re dense, heavy, and all-consuming. And yet, because I’m a glutton for punishment, his books make up half of this list.
My plan is to write a full review of each of these books, something else I’ve been slacking on in the last few years that I’d like to start doing again, so I’ll be continually updating this list to add links to each review as I go.