Bookish links, author interviews and more I loved in January!

Hi hi, how are you? This post was supposed to go up early this morning, but alas it’s ten in the morning and I’m only just writing it! Still, better late than never eh? January was a weird month. For more than half of the month, I struggled to find some semblance of routine. I can now inform you that I seem to have struck a good enough balance between my volunteer work, job applications, reading and blogging! More personal updates at the end of this post.

First, what I read in January…

Bookish links + interviews

This month I’ve been enjoying Madeleine’s blog, TopShelfText and I especially love this post on her bedtime routine. Looking to implement some of these strategies myself since I’m in need of a better night time routine.

Naima Coster’s Paris Review interview is high on my list of favorite things read this month. She writes about using bodies in fiction, Brooklyn and of course Halsey Street:

In fiction, I understand bodies as a site to begin my study of character. Bodies tell the story of how we spend our time, who we come from, and how we’ve been read in the world by others.

Nicole shared her book recommendations for every mood, if you’re looking to add a new, quick read.

Why audiobooks definitely count as reading. I can’t believe there are actually people who think listening to audiobooks  doesn’t count as reading :/

If you’re a historical fiction buff, here’s a list of forthcoming titles in 2018.

An exciting list of books becoming movies in 2018!

Zadie Smith answers questions from other famous writers. I enjoyed this. Then I read this ‘interview’ of her husband, poet Nick Laird. Loved it even more.

Life, Friendships & Relationships

The 8 kind of friends you have in your twenties. Numbers 3 & 5 are definitely real. I’m learning that friendships need to be actively cultivated and this article echoes my thoughts perfectly.

Cup of Jo was on fire this month, first with this piece on having an only child and this post about friendships. I’m allll about ‘introvert bonding’.

In semi book news, Paul Kalanithi’s widow, Lucy, found love. With Nina Riggs’ widower! If you’ve read When Breath Becomes Air or The Bright Hour (which I’m reading at some point this year), you’ll understand why this makes me cry happy tears.

Speaking of Lucy, have you watched her INCREDIBLE Ted talk? No? Here, fix that. I also somehow missed this piece by Nina Riggs on The New York Times. It’s beautiful.

How one young woman overcame the stigma of being in a wheelchair and is thriving in spite of disability.

This story broke my heart. Highly recommended reading.

After reading this excerpt in The New Yorker, I can’t wait to read Yemisi Aribisala‘s book!

Is Mary really the mother of God? What does the Bible say?

Money, Business and Creativity

I’ve been thinking of side hustles a lot lately and I enjoyed this piece about why every hobby doesn’t have to become a side hustle.

Are you lazy? Or just afraid to try… and fail? This is thought provoking.

I really just enjoy reading Ashley Ford’s words about money and saving and financial wisdom. Read this.

Thinking of going into business with a friend? Read this first.

How Instagrammers are ruining the beauty of travel. This is necessary reading on what really matters when we travel.

What I’ve been watching…

The Unrest documentary sheds light on chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalopathy). I highly recommend it. Also, its just so well done and intimate.

I finally watched The Greatest Showman and the obsession was real! I still can’t help but swoon at this song and everything happening in this scene.

Saoirse Ronan playing ‘Who’d You Rather?’ is the cutest thing ever.

I watched The Arbitration on Netflix and I was pleasantly surprised. Great movie.

What I’ve Been Listening to…

Besides obsessively playing The Greatest Showman soundtrack on a loop, I’m also really loving Camila Cabello’s debut album! Every song is such a hit. My favorites are Consequences, Never be the Same, Real Friends and Something’s Gotta Give (listen to this first!).

I’m also getting back on my podcast grind, woo-hoo! I LOVED Sara Tasker’s interview with Beth Kirby on running a creative business while managing mental illness. I’d never heard of Kirby before and her backstory is something.

What I’ve been cooking… 

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good curry! I’ve been using a modified version of this recipe. (I never follow recipes to a tee. Ever. I feel like I’d never make anything if I waited to have all the ingredients, so I’m huge on improv). After much searching, I finally found a pancake recipe with the right balance of baking powder and baking soda. I can’t wait to try this recipe later this month.

Personal Updates

January was a month for rejuvenation, reading, focusing on me and my priorities. This past month, I also started a book lending service. I’m still adding books and plan to actively begin sharing and publicizing in March but I’m excited to try to get more people to read books. I’ve been taking a break from photography because I got a bit bored and am in the process of regrouping and deciding where next to go with it. In January I learned that taking breaks and stepping back from things is so important for perspective. So, I’m deciding to take more guilt free breaks whenever I need to. Something I’ve taken a huge break from is Twitter. Deleting the app from my phone has been such a relief. Now I schedule 90% of my tweets and only check book news, notifications and messages.

I read six books this month:

The Boat People by Sharon Bala – 4 stars

Pachinko – 4 stars

This book is sooo engrossing and riveting! Someone told me it was just like a soap opera and I agree, in the best way possible. Lee says in her acknowledgment that the book was thirty years in the making and it shows. It is so well researched and yet the history is not its complete focus. Full review here.

In Dependence – 3.5 stars

I was torn on this one because I enjoyed parts of it tremendously. The love story between Tayo and Vanessa is moving, but at times, the novel felt too slow for me. At other times it felt like things were moving too fast, especially toward the end. Full review here.

The Welcome Home Diner – 3 stars

A Hallmark movie basically. I really enjoyed the culinary focus of this book and the fact that it is centered on Detroit, family and choosing love that you deserve. Peggy Lampman is not afraid to mention race and the danger of gentrification and even though there are scenes in the book worthy of several eye rolls, it’s also more enlightening than many books you’ll read. Full review here.

Diamond Head – 5 stars

A soaring family saga, this book is an emotional rollercoaster, deeply engrossing and so true to life. Every member of the Leong family, especially Bohai, is engraved on my heart. It’s not a perfect book and I honestly found Theresa annoying, but Wong will have you grappling with all the issues these characters face.

Diamond Head is writing well done. Full review here.

The Girlfriend – 4 stars

Michelle Frances' The Girlfriend



How did your month go? What were your highlights? Was January a trial month for you? Let me know which links you check out and your thoughts on them. Have a great February!

Afoma x