I Read 10 Books in January. Here Are the Best and the Worst.

And why you should read these books.

I Read 10 Books in January. Here Are the Best and the Worst.
Anangsha Alammyan’s YouTube channel

And why you should read these books.

I read ten books in January 2022.

No, that’s not a typo. Trust me; when I checked my Goodreads stats, I was shocked too.

In January, I was caught up in a whirlwind of work, but I also found some super exciting books that were so incredible I couldn’t stop myself from reading more and more.

If you’re a reader and wondering what book to read next, don’t worry, I got you. In this post, I’ve discussed all the ten books I read in January, what makes them so unique, and what you need to keep in mind before picking them up.

Before we begin, you can watch this in video format here:

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

Genre: Urban fantasy/ Magical realism
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

This book is the story of Deen Dutta, a rare book collector.

The story starts in the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, where Deen lands upon an old temple of Lady Manasa, the goddess of snakes.

Inside the temple, he meets a young man who tells him a folk tale of the Gun Merchant, who quarreled with Goddess Manasa. She gets furious at the Gun Merchant’s arrogance and curses that he will never find happiness.

The Gun Merchant runs away from Bangladesh. He goes on a tour worldwide to run away from the snakes that Lady Manasa sends after him. But he’s unable to outrun her and finally, has to bow down in front of the goddess’ might.

When the protagonist, Deen, hears the story, he’s chilled to the bone, but he thinks it to be random folklore and doesn’t pay much attention.

But later on, when he goes back home, he starts seeing instances of how his life must be connected to this ages-old story involving the goddess of snakes and a gun merchant from the Sundarbans.

That’s exactly what this book is about. I wish I could tell you how interesting and different it is from the other books I’ve read. The author has done an incredible job of making the reader aware of the current ecological condition of the planet and the breakdown that we’re going to face soon in the future.

If you want to read a book that’s very different from your usual thriller, then you should read Gun Merchant. It has all the elements to make it a true entertainer.

Get this book here.

2. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Genre: Psychological thriller.
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

Two men meet on a train.

One of them’s going through a divorce, and the other has an abusive father.

They start talking and sharing stories.

They end up plotting what if they each kill the other’s enemy? Aside from both of them being on this train simultaneously, they don’t have anything in common in their lives, and the police would never be able to trace these murders back to them because they’d never be able to find any motive.

What happens after that? Do these men go on and execute that evil plan? And if they do, is it the most unsolvable crime of all time?

You have to read this book to find out. If you’re into fast-paced psychological thrillers, you should read this one.

Get this book here.

3. Pretty Thing by JA Huss

Genre: Romance, contemporary fiction
My Rating: 3/5

Image: Goodreads

Two best friends reconnect at their third best friend’s funeral.

This is the story of how they find love that helps them cope with the sadness and the grief of losing someone close to them. This is a spicy book with many NSFW scenes that make for some light-hearted reading.

If you like reading erotic fiction, you should pick this book up. The chemistry between the protagonists is palpable, and some scenes are insanely hot.

Get this book here.

4. A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

Fifteen years ago, Vera Hilliard was hanged for the murder of her sister.

Now, so many years after her death, a journalist tries to uncover the story of how Vera was like in her life and what led her to commit this heinous crime that shook the whole country.

Set in London in the 1940s, this book is an incredibly fast-paced and intense psychological trailer. The author does a fantastic job of creating a very tension-filled environment without using too much violence, blood, or gore.

When you are reading the book, you will be so engrossed in the lives of all the people in this family that you won’t be able to put it down for even one second.

It has about 300 pages, but I finished the book in less than 24 hours. That’s how addictive this book is.

Get this book here.

5. Blindness by Jose Saramago

Genre: Post-apocalyptic fiction/Dystopian.
My Rating: 5/5

Image: Goodreads

Jose Saramago is a Nobel Prize winner for literature. This book was originally written in Portuguese but has later been translated into English.

What shall I say about this book? It’s one of the most disturbing yet addictive books I’ve read.

The premise of this book is that suddenly every person in the city wakes up and finds that they are blind. This blindness is not the typical blindness, where all you can see is darkness. But here, when these people open their eyes, all they can see is a thick sea of milky white.

Tormented by a blindness epidemic, the only person in this country who doesn’t go blind is the wife of a doctor, the protagonist of this book. This is her story of how she takes care of her husband and the people she loves in a world where everyone is blind.

The author raises some critical questions in the story. When you’re blind, all the important things to you — like your name, job, social status, or how big your house or car is — lose meaning. The only thing that’s important now is to have enough food in your belly so you can stay alive to see the next day.

In this world of utter chaos, how does humanity survive? How does the doctor’s wife manage to use her eyesight in places where sight has become entirely meaningless?

If you can handle the triggers of mass murder, rape, and cannibalism, then it’s a fascinating book. Despite being a book about blind people, reading this is a visual experience. If you like reading books that make you think deeply about what it means to be human, then you should read Blindness.

Get this book here.

6. Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of Marin Machado, who seems to have everything that a woman can ever want. She has a great business, is one of the richest women in the country, has a loving husband who can’t get enough of her, and a beautiful four-year-old son who thinks the world of her.

Her perfect life suddenly shatters when her son is kidnapped, and the police can’t find any leads as to who to catch.

Fifteen months later, Marin is now a shell of her former self. Her business has gone to crumbles. Her husband spends more time away from home than he spends sleeping with her. The FBI and police have given up any hope of ever finding her son.

Every day, Marin wakes up and wonders if this is the day she’d kill herself. And then suddenly, she finds something that shakes her all over again. Her husband is having an affair with another woman.

But now, Marin is not as helpless as she was when her son was stolen. She knows exactly who’s trying to ruin her happiness: the other woman. This time, Marin decides to get rid of this problem. Permanently.

Little Secrets is a story of love, lust, loss, and betrayal. The characters are very well-described, and the author does an incredible job of showing us the emotions and thoughts that go into a person’s head before they make any drastic decision.

If you like character-driven stories that have very shocking twists in the end, then this book is definitely for you.

Get this book here.

7. Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai

Genre: Historial Fiction, Queer coming-of-age
My Rating: 5/5

Image: Goodreads

This book is the story of Arjie, who lives with his mother, father, and two siblings in Sri Lanka. The story of Funny Boy spans the seven years leading up to the 1983 riots of Sri Lanka. It shows us the sexual awakening of a boy and his journey set amid the social-political backdrop of Srilanka in the 1980s.

The protagonist, Arjie, comes from a Tamil family. In 1983, there was a massive riot between Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka that led to the immigration of many Tamils into European countries.

This is the story of Arjie and how he manages to be different amid a world that’s already going to pieces.

This is one of the most potent and heart-wrenching books I’ve ever read. If you’re into historical fiction and like reading queer stories, you should pick up Funny Boy.

I loved it with all my heart. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to read it all over again, soon.

Get this book here.

8. Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Genre: Literary fiction.
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

This is a fascinating book because the protagonist doesn’t have a name or the city where she lives. The book doesn’t have a story as is. It’s a collection of chapters with titles like At the Library, At the Bookstore, At Dawn, At Sunrise, etc.

It shows us glimpses into the woman’s life and how she chooses to live a life of isolation, detached from all the people and things she loves. This book was originally written in Italian and then translated to English. It’s also one of Jhumpa Lahiri’s finest written works. You’ll be mesmerized by her ability to describe complex emotions by using the simplest of words.

This book has a special place in my heart, but I understand it’s not for everyone. If you’re a casual reader who’s only looking for a plot-driven story, then this isn’t for you. Like I said before, Whereabouts doesn’t have any story. But it has fantastic characters, and you get to see their journey and evolution throughout the story.

And that’s what makes it such a fascinating read.

Get this book here.

9. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Genre: Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 4/5

Image: Goodreads

Jar of Hearts is the story of three best friends whose lives are upturned when they are 16. Angela Wong suddenly disappears, and the police can’t find any trace of her. Her best friends, Georgina and Kaiser, are clueless as to what might have happened.

Eighteen years later, the police find the remains of Angela’s body buried in the backyard of Georgina’s childhood home.

And as Georgina gets arrested for murder, this is the story of how the other best friend Kaiser, now a police detective, uncovers the story of what happened when Angela went missing and what led to the events of her body being buried in Georgina’s backyard.

The author does an incredible job of leaving a strong sense of mystery pervading through every page. The cliffhangers at chapter ends make you want to keep reading.

This is one of the books you can’t stop reading once you start. It’s highly addictive fast-paced, and the ending is also one of the most unexpected and surprising I’ve read in a long time.

Get this book here.

10. The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker

Genre: Crime Thriller
My Rating: 5/5

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of what happens when you neglect a child and then don’t take care of her when she grows up in a world where all her friends have happy, functional families.

This is the story of eight-year-old Chrissy, who longs for a tiny, morsel of love from her parents. But her parents, who were never really interested in having children, have mostly abandoned her.

This is Chrissy’s story of how she journeys through this world and handles her complex emotions of being abandoned by choosing to hurt people and tear other families apart.

This is a challenging book to read, but it’s also essential. The way the author has handled such a delicate subject makes it a super interesting read.

You know Chrissy is not doing good things, but you also see the reason why she’s committing those crimes. You want her to stop, but you sympathize with her. But then you have this feeling in your head that you’re sympathizing with a criminal.

This book made me feel all sorts of emotions, and I’m still processing them. If you like reading crime fiction and having insights into the mind of a murderer, then I’m pretty sure he would enjoy this book a lot.

Get yourself a copy here.

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