Wrapping Up My January Reading Month


Beginning the 2023 year off with a bang, I set a slow, steady pace, reading only six books at 2,067 pages. According to my StoryGraph Stats, my most read genre of the month was Literary Fiction, Thriller, and Classics! I even had a True Crime read in there as well. Unfortunately, the only five-star read I had was The Secret History, a reread. So I’m hoping for a better outcome for my February reading month.



Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Written by J.D. Salinger

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction is two novellas written by the iconic J.D. Salinger. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, was initially published in the November 19, 1955, edition of The New Yorker.

Narrated by Buddy Glass, Raise High is set in New York City on a hot summer day. Buddy is on leave from the Army, back in New York to attend his brother Seymour’s wedding. The wedding doesn’t go as planned. Seymour stands his bride, Muriel, up. Buddy is trapped inside a limo with a bride’s loved ones. And then, they decide to ditch the limo while in traffic to go back to the Glass apartment.

Throughout the novella, we get glimpses of who Seymour is through Buddy’s mind and Seymour’s diary left behind at the apartment. However, like all stories written by Salinger, he feels very mythical and mysterious. He is flawed yet beautiful. I wonder if Salinger’s unpublished work delves deeper into who Seymour was. Do we get to know him more? Do those mystical barriers lower?

Initially published in an edition of The New Yorker in 1959, Seymour: An Introduction is also narrated by Buddy Glass, introducing the reader to Seymour before his suicide in 1948.  However, like Raise High, Seymour is once again posed as this mythical and mysterious creature. Unfortunately, this story left me wanting more. And there is no more.


Tell Me Everything

By Erika Krouse

My second read of the year was, Tell Me Everything, a true crime novel by Erika Krouse, a private investigator. I found this novel to be compelling and loaded with information. However, I wasn’t much of a fan of Krouse’s writing structure. I found each chapter jammed with information that could have been easily divided up so that the information and story wouldn’t feel so overwhelming.

Also, I wouldn’t say I liked how she discussed certain people in the book in the past tense while others weren’t. I kept wondering, is this person going to die? Or, what’s about to happen to this person? But not in a suitable, edge-of-my-seat type of way.


When We Were Bright and Beautiful

Written by Jillian Medoff

What a freaking ride! When We Were Bright and Beautiful took so many twists and turns, which kept me guessing. Also, many themes felt reminiscent of Cruel Intentions. Unfortunately, I haven’t dug into it to back up my theories, but there were a few ah-ha moments.


The Rabbit Hutch

Written by Tess Gunty

When I initially heard the synopses for The Rabbit Hutch, I immediately predicted that this book would be an instant five-star read. But unfortunately, I found that that prediction needed to be corrected.

Following summary: “Four teenagers recently aged out of the state foster-care system. (cont.) Set across one week and culminating in a shocking act of violence, The Rabbit Hutch chronicles a town on the brink, desperate for rebirth.

Tess Gunty is a fantastic writer; however, I’m unsure if she’s found her voice. The book is all over the place and, at times, felt more like an anthology of stories set in Vacca Vale, Indiana. Unfortunately, in the case of this book, less might be more. That said, I do look forward to more of her future stories. She has a fantastic way with words.


The Secret History

By Donna Tartt

When I read The Secret History in 2020, I found an instant favorite. There is so much to digest when reading it, which meant there would be a reread in the future. The future became the present this month when I decided to give this a second read.

Taking place at an elite Vermont college in 1983, among a group of classics scholars, The Secret History introduces the reader to Richard Papen, a California native searching for his place in the world. Enrolled at Hampden College, Richard finds himself among five hand-picked students studying the ancient Greek classics. There is Charles and Camilla, Francis, Henry, and last but not least, Bunny Corcoran, the one who drives them all mad.

What I find compelling about this novel is that while it’s a murder mystery in a sense, we know is murdered, and we know who did it. What we don’t know is why.

Now, rereading novels that we love can be the biggest mistake. Especially as we grow older and our tastes evolve. When I originally read this novel, I felt that Holden Caulfield from Catcher and the Rye could have easily navigated this world. However, this time around, I didn’t have that same feeling. Granted, I haven’t read Catcher since 2020, so maybe when I reread it this year, I feel like Robin could easily fit into his world.


What Lies in the Woods

By Kate Alice Marshall

A challenge I have given myself this year is to read all my Book of the Month novels. Especially the new release on the month of its release. My mission was accomplished as I finished, What Lies in the Wood.

This was an entertaining thriller; it kept me guessing and questioning everyone. Elements of the story gave me Ted Bundy and Slenderman vibes. However, I don’t know if this will leave a lasting impression.

The novel revolves around Naomi, a girl who survived a vicious attack and was left for dead in the woods as a child. Returning home and reuniting with her friends, truths and mysterious happenings begin to occur, leaving Naomi to question everything from her past to her present.



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