What I’ve Been Reading Lately & Reading Goals (January 2024)

It’s a new year with new beginnings, and it’s been a fun, strong start! I’ve set some reading goals and recommitted myself to reading challenges. I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where I join other readers in sharing what we’ve been reading lately.

A highlight of 2023 was the diversity of books I read both in regards to author perspective and genre, so in 2024, I am once again participating in the #DiversityAcrossGenres reading challenge. This year I am tweaking the genres a little. I’ll be reading General Fiction (a catch-all for all fiction that may otherwise not be included in the challenge), Romance, Mystery/Thriller (instead of Thriller/Horror), Historical Fiction (instead of Sci-fi/Fantasy), and Nonfiction.

I am also traveling around the world again using the The Book GirlsBook Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge as a framework. Their intent with the reading challenge is to travel from region to region together, but I will be jumping around as desired. My goal is to read more books set in countries I have not visited yet.

As for my Scandinavian/Nordic reading challenge, I am still thinking about the best way to proceed in 2024. When possible, I will certainly be reading Nordic books for the other challenges I am participating in, but I do want to plan a specific reading challenge as well to keep me focused throughout the year.

And finally, always a reading goal but really this year, is reading my own book shelf, especially unread Book of the Month selections. I’ve paused my membership until I’ve made greater process on that goal. I love exploring the new books every month, but I don’t normally get around to reading my selections in a timely manner. Once I clear some space on my unread shelf, I’ll start up again.

What have you been reading lately? Are any reading challenges on your horizon this year?

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022) 📖

There was something about this book that kept me from reading it for a long time — the supposed disconnect between cover and story, the mixed reviews, etc. I finally read it now when my sister and nieces gave it to me for Christmas for a read-along. I loved it and zipped through it in no time. I admired the main character – her quirkiness and all – and loved all the supporting characters, especially the dog. The setting of the early 1960s in STEM and TV was both interesting and frustrating. The ending was very satisfying. It was a fun read with depth which I wish I had read sooner. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Read My Own Shelf: Gifted

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (2015) 🎧
Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda

This was a book club selection which I was not thrilled about reading since fantasy is not my favorite genre and I have so many other books I want to read. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I was not expecting the romance aspect of it; I thought it would be pure fantasy. I learned a new term, “romantasy.” I just let myself enjoy the ride. I did not question any world building. I appreciated the strong, independent, willful female protagonist. Listening to this book was a great escape and took me to a world I wouldn’t be surprised if I returned to when I needed another escape. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

American War by Omar El Akkad (2017) 📖

This was an interesting book. I can’t really decide how I liked it, but it intrigued and engaged me until the end. The book takes place in the near future, 50 years from now, when the second American Civil War breaks out. Political and geographical US borders have shifted. Besides the North and South being divided, Texas is part of Mexico and much of the coastal land, including all of Florida, is underwater. Oil is outlawed. It’s about Sarat, only 6 when the war begins, her father is killed, and she and her family are displaced to a refugee camp in the South. Over time, she is influenced by a mentor and plays a significant role in the war. And there’s a plague that affects the whole country (interesting after our own pandemic). This would make a great book club read to discuss with others. ⭐️⭐️⭐️(⭐️) Can’t quite decide 3 or 4!

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb (2022) 🎧
Narrated by J.D. Jackson

I loved this book. I listened to it. The narrator was excellent and there was even music included between parts of the book. Ray, a Black boy in love with playing the violin, did not get any support from his mother or his school to pursue his dream. Luckily for him, his grandmother saw his talent and believed in him, even giving him her grandfather’s old fiddle, which turned out to be a Stradivarius. What ensued was all sorts of drama and stress for Ray as he became an up-and-coming musician in a predominantly white field, most notably his violin getting stolen and held for ransom right before he was scheduled to compete at the most important competition of his life and in the world. I was immediately sucked into the mystery of who stole the violin and then the additional drama of who really owned the violin (Ray, his mother and her siblings, or the descendents of the slave owner who originally owned it). It was a great mix of coming-of-age, family drama, mystery, and history. I highly recommend it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • #DiversityAcrossGenres: Black / General Fiction or Mystery/Thriller
  • Read My Own Shelf: Little Free Library find

What have you been reading lately?

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

4 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately & Reading Goals (January 2024)

  1. Patricia, how do you pick your books. I am reading and listening to The Violin Conspiracy. I usually find it hard to pick a book when it’s my turn. I think this time you helped me. Your reviews are great. Thanks, Marilyn You can always text me at 213 369-7616

    • Hi Marilyn! Thanks for your comment. Picking books isn’t easy! I follow a lot of readers on Instagram and get ideas from there. Hope you enjoy The Violin Conspiracy as much as I did!

  2. I loved Lessons in Chemistry, what a great book! I just read The Storyteller by David Grohl: Tales of Life and Music which is a fabulous memoir. Grohl rose to fame as the drummer for grunge band Nirvana, founder of the band the Foo-Fighters, drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, and has toured with Queens of the Stone Age (a personal favorite). Grohl has a reputation as a humble, kind, funny, all-around good guy and that persona really shines through in this memoir. This review posted on goodreads captures the essence of the book, “His memoir is full of warmth, humor, absorbing behind-the-scenes stories of rock’n’roll adventure, heartbreak and mischief, and, yes spirituality, but not of the esoteric kind, but of the “music, friends and family are my religion”-conviction. While other rock stars spend their careers trying to build elaborate badass images, Grohl is like ‘my mom is my best friend, and my daughter taught me the names of all Disney princesses; and oh, I partied with Pantera, played a stadium rock show with a smashed leg and, you know, changed the landscape of rock with two of the biggest bands ever to exist on this planet. Now let me tell you about my friend Tom Petty. Isn’t life wild?'” I highly recommend it. As far as Scandinavian books/authors are concerned, I gave my 86 year old retired lawyer and now conspiracy theorist father a copy of Norwegian author Hanne Herland’s book, “How Marxism Serves the Elite” because Herland is the sister of a Norwegian friend Putting politics aside, my father said that Herland was extremely well-read and that the book was well-written and argued.

  3. So fun to read you loved 2 books I also loved…Lessons in Chemistry and The Violin Conspiracy. I also kept putting off Lessons in Chemistry. January was a slow reading month for me. My daughter was here from Sweden until Jan 10th, so my reading time was limited. Number 1 for 2024 was Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, The (historical fiction) book is about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong done to her patients. It angered me, frustrated me and brought a few tears. After that I needed something light, so turned to Donna Leon’s Wilful Behaviour (Commissario Brunetti #11). Reading Brunetti’s walk through Venice and the lunches he eats is always fun. I’m behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge so hope I can catch up.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.