Reading Wrap-Up: January 2017

Hello there, loves. It was a bit of a month. I’m a week late wrapping things up, but the effort is sincere. I wish I could say all of January was filled with the positive momentum of the Women’s March (and meeting Cheryl Strayed!), but the last few weeks have been a serious struggle for me in terms of balance and anxiety over how quickly the new administration is gutting our democracy. Right now I’m super thankful for things like the Action Now TinyLetter and How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind (both thanks to Kerry), which are helping me disconnect enough to work without losing focus.


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Loner by Teddy Wayne
Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch

Best Book of the Month

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin – BY FAR!!

Listening To

Still going with a decent amount of audiobooks lately (Hoopla for the win!), but squeezing a few podcasts in, too. I’m glad the Keepin’ It 1600 crew is still around as Pod Save America because I’m not sure I could make it through without them.


Hubs and I just finished watching The Fall because we love our British crime shows and now we’re catching up on this season’s Top Chef. We also hate-watched the newest season of The Affair, which was a pile of garbage, so maybe avoid that (Fiona Apple’s intro is the very best part of every episode).

On the School Side

So, this semester came in like a lion. Does that mean it will go out like a lamb? I’m crawling out of my comfort zone and sharing some of my research ideas outside my classes, which is both scary and rewarding, and just finished proposals for two conferences later this year. Fingers crossed!

How was your January?


  • Sounds like you’re working your tail off. Glad to hear things are going well!
    Thanks for sharing about the 1600 guys moving over to Pod Save America…I thought they’d just stopped recording new episodes since nothing new had popped up in my feed for awhile. Will pop over to their new space.
    And – The Affair. That Season Finale really sh*t the bed! I watched it all, but think the whole season kind of jumped the shark. Helen is kind of the only thing keeping me interested at this point. I also felt like the finale was somewhat wrapping things up and maybe it’s not coming back? Though I haven’t heard anything about that. And my husband HATES the intro song…I play it loudly and won’t fast forward through it just to annoy him (hear me cackling over here).

    • I actually kind of hope it doesn’t come back (even though it was a pretty weak way to wrap it up)…everything just went so downhill!

  • I’m checking out the links above to keep sane as well as Pod Save America. I need to stay engaged while keeping some sanity. I also put Fever Dream on hold after your review. Can’t wait to get it. Also…The Affair. I have no words. Well I did throughout the season with the amount of ranting I did to the TV. So many loose ends and obvious “mistakes” with the plot. Hopefully it will improve next season. I’ve watched series where certain seasons didn’t hold up, but this was just plain bad. Good luck with school/work. Thinking of you!

    • Yes, SUCH a terrible season! The plot was just awful. I’m kind of curious what the big change was with writers, etc.

  • For someone in school full time it always amazes me how much you get done. You read so many books, were active in the Women’s March, and keep up with the sad state of our country! You’re amazing!

    I keep going back and looking at Fever Dreams over and over, I guess I need to stop looking and start reading!

  • Hmm, I haven’t started watching The Affair but, now that I have access to Showtime, I’ve been considering it. Should I give it a try? I hear so many things about it; seems like people either love it or hate it. Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing your work with others; opening up to judgment/vulnerability is a bitch, but the rewards are a gift. Keep up the efforts, Shannon!

    • I loved the first season of The Affair and the second was good, too, but just be prepared for a letdown in season three if you give it a shot.

  • I’m with you on the presidency thing and I’m Canadian!
    Happy February!

  • Rebecca Anthony Foster

    Is that you in the photo with Strayed?!

    • It is!! I met her when I was at the march and an EW photographer was following her around that day.

      • Rebecca Anthony Foster

        Oh my gosh! (Wasn’t 100% sure I recognized you in profile.) That must have made your year.

  • I’m wondering the same thing as Rebecca!
    I imagine it’s hard concentrating on school work with all the craziness in the news pooping up at all hours, but you seem to have a pretty good balancing act going so far! What’s your verdict on Lincoln in the Bardo?

    • It’s me, crazy huh?!?
      Lincoln in the Bardo was SO different than I expected (much different than any of his story collections)….I think I appreciated it more than I enjoyed it, but it’s a great book.

  • How was/is Loner? I decided to give it a miss on account of I didn’t necessarily want to read a story about a stalker dude, but I am still kind of curious about it. I’ve been trying to read down my ridiculous stack of library books, and I’ve also been watching a fun, silly Syfy show called Killjoys that’s about SPACE BOUNTY HUNTERS.

  • Kailana

    It is definitely scary to watch things unfold at the moment in the US. Glad you were able to find some good things among the bad!!

  • Lisa Almeda Sumner

    I read Purple Hibiscus in January too! After reading and loving Americanah in December, I decided to read Purple Hibiscus, and I thought it was just perfect. Now I’ve got We Should All Be Feminists and The Thing Around Your Neck lined up. I really love Adichie’s writing.

    The month of January was challenging, as I had to actually wrap my brain around the reality of the election. As a public school teacher I took the election results very hard–and I think I was in a semi-depression from November 9th on. I know some people who went to the Women’s March, and I know I want to be there next time. Even my 84-year-old mother wants in on the action. Sometimes I think I should leave teaching, because I might be able to fight the fight better from the outside. Discouraged but not giving up is where I am.

  • I thought I was doing something special reading three books at a time, but you have me beat!
    My class is blogging. They collaboratively wrote their introductions today from their individual attempts, so we should have three or four different blogs up and publishing by next Wednesday.

  • Sounds good Shannon, glad you are trying to keep your head above water, so to speak. You have a lot on your platter, but I wish you success with your classes. Did you get to see the movie Lion? It’s pretty darn good; we just saw it last night. cheers.

  • That’s a good chunk of reading considering how busy you are! I’ve got C conditioned where she’s asking to go to the library all the time now (woohoooooo) so we’ve been using the library a ton lately. I’m going to have to start doing the Library Checkout (Charleen has it now, right?).

  • I’m so excited for Fever Dream! I just picked the audiobook version up from the library after reading your review. :)
    I love The Fall but I haven’t watched the most recent season after being big time spoiled. I still might watch it though… we’ll see!

  • That’s a lot of books for a busy month! I’ve heard quite a bit about Chimamanda Ngozie….. I’ll have to check out some of her books!