Wrap-Up: January 2021

  • The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall (★★★★☆)
  • Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women Reporting From the Arab World by Zahra Hankir (Editor) (★★★★★)
  • White Ivy by Susie Yang (★★★☆☆)
  • How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price (★★★★☆)
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (★★★☆☆)
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (★★★☆☆)


I think I read so much in December that my brain kind of rebelled in January and was like, I’m gonna take a break. So I only read six books, and half of them were quite short. Which is fine! I also watched a lot of TV this month and am working on revising a book, so I have other things going on that are taking away from my reading time.

One highlight is that I read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen as part of an online Jane Austen book club! As someone who has never really taken English Lit courses, I am very excited to be embarking on this journey and reading Austen’s entire oeuvre.

Another highlight is Our Women on the Ground, which taught me that journalists who cover war zones really are on a whole other level from the rest of us mere humans. I read this one story about a photojournalist who was shot in the mouth in Bosnia and had her tongue and teeth blown out and then as soon as she was able to she just…got right back out there to do her damn job, and I’m like, I get nervous going on public transportation because of the rona.

One other thing I wanted to mention is how utterly frustrated I was by White Ivy as a novel; structurally, I think it was a complete mess. I gave it a higher rating than I otherwise would have because I really enjoyed the first 20% and I found the novel compulsively readable, but ultimately I think it tried to do way too many things at once and threw in some strange plot twists just for shock value.

I am currently reading:

I am very excited for all of these books! Aside from my Black History Month TBR, I will also be reading Pride & Prejudice for book club.

Television Update


What is there to say? The whole world has been watching Bridgerton, and I am no exception. It was pure serotonin injected into my veins, the perfect escapist, fantastical fluff to sink into at the beginning of the new year. I loved the bright colors and the costumes and the fact that there were so many people of color (I am loving this trend of colorblind casting!!!) and oh, the drama! My absolute favorite character was Marina; I loved her storyline and her pragmatism. Great stuff, can’t wait for season two.

You (Season 2)

I would be lying if I said that Victoria Pedretti wasn’t 90% of the reason I decided to finally catch up on You. The second season is…even crazier and more batshit than the first in a lot of ways, but in other ways it’s not quite as shocking, because we’re already familiar with Joe and the lengths he will go to. It was a hell of a wild ride, though.

Criminal: UK (Season 2)

I actually enjoyed these episodes more than the first season’s; I thought they were overall better scripted and dealt with more interesting cases. You wouldn’t think bottle episodes with police interrogating people for an hour would be this interesting, but I marathoned all the episodes in a day and I want more. I hate that I’ve watched pretty much every British crime drama available on streaming services.

Big Sky

I started watching this a few days ago because of an Instagram ad, and then I realized Kathryn Winnick is in it and I love looking at her face, but this is actually a really intriguing show! It’s framed around the kidnapping of two teenage girls and one trans/genderqueer sex worker, as part of a larger sex trafficking ring, but rather than having them be faceless figures to be saved, we get to see their point of view and watch them struggle and try to escape. The first episode features one of the most shocking plot twists I have ever seen, one that literally had me shouting, “What the FUCK?” several times in a row. I do dislike the interpersonal drama shoved into the show for the two female private detective leads, but hey, there’s two female private detective leads, one of whom is black, so that already negates the unnecessary soap opera shit.

Other Reading

The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class: I don’t even know how to begin to describe this article but it’s one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read. It sort of looks at American social class through the lens of the characters on The Office; it’s a really unique look on organizational structure.

Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong: Title kinda says it all; the article provides an overview about misconceptions regarding obesity through the lens of obese people who have suffered bigotry and medical discrimination. There are plenty of pieces like this out there, but there was something about this one that was super compelling and kept me reading.

Where Year Two of the Pandemic Will Take Us: This was published a month ago and is quite long, but is such a good overview of the state of things regarding the pandemic and vaccinations in the US right now. It’s particularly scathing in its indictment of how the US’s mishandling of the pandemic from the get-go, and how that mishandling is compounded by historical social and racial issues that have continued to plague the US.


I…have nothing to add here. I’m revising a book. I’m chilling at home. Work is unchanging, which I appreciate. I don’t know. January was uneventful and I think February will be similarly so.

4 thoughts on “Wrap-Up: January 2021

  1. “Kathryn Winnick is in it and I love looking at her face” Oh gosh this made laugh – mostly because I have a huge crush on her and that’s exactly how I feel anytime I see her on screen. I haven’t heard of the show, though, so I’ll definitely be scribbling it down for the watchlist. Two female detective leads? Heck yes.

    How are you liking When No One is Watching? I’ve been thinking about getting to it this month! Also, it’s very cool that you’ll be reading through Austen for the first time. I hope you enjoy 😄


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