• Erin Zaranec

Two Sentence Reviews: January Reads

I got a jumpstart on the year by reading 12 books in January. I was lucky enough to start the year off with all three to five star reads - here’s my two sentence reviews so you know what to add to your bookshelf!

How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi

This book is a must read for anyone and everyone. It breaks down such a complex, and often uncomfortable, issue into such a digestible read by using personal narrative and relatable stories that highlight how we can all be antiracist in our everyday lives.

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Flashing between the current life of eighteen-year-old Deya and the past of her mother, Isra, this book is an emotional and moving read. Giving an inside view into a deeply male-dominated culture, this read is honest and raw about the struggles of what it means to be a woman with no voice.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

We all have moments in life where we wonder “what if” - questioning how many different forms our lives could have been molded into. This book takes those thoughts and turns it into a beautiful, powerful, and thought provoking read about family, love, and the paths our life could take.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This read highlights how love can be such a double-edged sword - as the Walsh-Adams family works to protect one of their children from the harshness of the outside world, they are also causing cracks to run through their family’s foundation. This is a story of acceptance, of change, of family, love, and connection.

Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin

This read is entertaining, dark, witty, at times dramatic, and a bit mysterious - making it a perfect fast-paced read. It felt a little less dramatic than Gossip Girl, but with the same ‘unrelatable rich girl’ twists throughout the plot.

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

I know nothing about chess but do know that I’d recommend this read. After Beth Harmon loses her parents at a young age, she leads a life of addiction - primarily to pills and chess - but only one addiction can put her on a path to success.

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

A story of three generations of midwives who have plenty of stories to tell about lives they’ve brought into the world, but are a bit more private about sharing certain stories of their own lives. With three strong female leads, I enjoyed this read that’s about love, loss, and new life.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Goodreads describes this book as “both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men or color” and I honestly feel like that’s a great wrap up of this book in a nutshell. Written in a series of personal essays exploring Johnson’s life from childhood through adulthood as a black queer man, I apprecaited this YA read even as an adult.

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

This book is magic and whimsy between two covers. An ambitious book spanning time and place, the prose is so strong you have to pay keen attention in this read - which speaks to the relationship between humans themselves, humans and the earth, and the overall human experience.

Holding On To Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

Small town fiction + a doomed love story + Dolly Parton references… this book is a down-home comfy read about two small town folks whose paths don’t just cross, they become quickly intertwined - altering the course of both of their lives. The characters are so flawed, yet so intriguing which makes for a quick read.

A Year After Henry by Cathie Pelletier

Grief doesn’t discriminate and leaves everyone in its wake in a different state of distress, as illustrated in this novel. Although a book focused around death, it has peaks of humor and relatable content from characters so flawed, you can’t help but love them.

Akin by Emma Donoghue

A multi-faceted family journey about a 79-year-old man who takes on legal custody of an 11-year-old great-nephew he’s never met. It reveals the importance of family connections while dashing in a bit of mystery along the way, resulting in a thrilling tale with plenty of compassion mixed in.

My February goal is to get through ten books, stay tuned for next month’s two sentence reviews!


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