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Richmond Reading: Every Book I Read in January

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at LSU chapter.

Before the start of 2024, I told myself I would read at least one book a month and dedicate a lot of my personal time to writing. To kill two birds with one stone, I’ve decided to write about the books I read every month, which led to Richmond Reading!

Thanks to winter break, January was a good month of reading for me. I read three books, which is a lot for me considering I only finished one book in 2023. Yes, one book the entire year…already off to a better start!

Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

To my surprise, “Funny You Should Ask” is a book I could’ve survived without reading.

Probably my favorite part of the book is the main character, Chani Horowitz. I was so embarrassed for her while reading sometimes, but it only made her that much more relatable. Horowitz is a struggling writer trying to find a story she’s proud of (same) and somehow gets tangled up in all sorts of mess with Gabe Parker, the movie star she gets hired to write a profile on.

The book really makes you feel embarrassed for Horowitz and Parker, who are probably the two worst communicators ever. With that being said, Sussman does a nice job showing how annoying miscommunication is and how much it hurts a relationship. It’s a hidden theme that I think is there, or maybe I’m wrong and just took the secondhand embarrassment from miscommunication too personally.

The plot is fun and every girl dreams about getting to one day meet their celebrity crush, so this is sort of fulfilling in that way, but I can’t look past the rest that I disliked. 

If I’m being honest, I started this book in July 2023 and decided to finish it over winter break…but I’m counting it for January because if I don’t tell people I read this book, then it feels like I read it for nothing.

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

The Love Wager by Lynn Painter

This is when things start to pick up a little bit. “The Love Wager” is the second book I read in January, and it’s what I consider to be the book that got me back into reading.

Right off the bat, I was already a fan of the book because it’s a dual point of view between main characters Hallie Piper and Jack Marshall. Piper wants to get her life together and Marshall is looking to get over the awful ex-girlfriend he almost proposed to. Here enters “Looking4TheReal,” the dating app they find each other on after an interesting night together.

There’s more that goes into it, but I’ll spare the details just in case you want to go pick it up.

Once I started this book, I think I finished it in four or five sittings because it was THAT good. I don’t know what Painter has up her sleeves, but her books will always do it for me.

The book has slight miscommunication throughout and it kind of makes you want to step into the story and yell at Piper and Marshall, but their dynamic was too good to put the book down. The way Painter writes characters just makes them so likable, so I’ll 100% be picking up more Painter books on my next shopping trip.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

I read the Epic Reads edition of Johnson’s “13 Little Blue Envelopes” and I’m not ashamed to admit that it was solely a cover choice at first. I mean, tell me you’d see this cover and walk away from it…right.

The book follows Ginny Blackstone through a mystery scavenger hunt created by her Aunt Peggy, who had been dead for three months when Blackstone received the package of 13 envelopes. Aunt Peggy’s letters send Blackstone all over Europe, and for a girl who mostly limited adventure and chaos in her life, this was a LOT for Blackstone.

It’s definitely a cliche type of story; Blackstone goes on this journey for her aunt, but eventually continues it for herself. She learns a lot about life and love, who she wants to become, and much more. 

It was a hearty story paired with a little pessimism from Blackstone, but that’s what made the story a little different from the rest. She’s constantly questioning her purpose on the journey, yet pushes anyway. See, cliche but cute.

What sucked the most is definitely the ending, though. I won’t even try to lie about that. The ending took my heart out of my chest and stomped on it, but at least there’s a second book that will probably be covered somewhere down the Richmond Reading road.

I could go on about how this book was much more than I expected, but I’ll save you from it and just tell you this: go pick it up. It felt like a book I should’ve read in middle school, but I’m glad I read it now during my sophomore year in college.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

January reading had its highs and lows, but the books I read were enough for me to continue reading other books. See y’all at the end of February for the next recap!

I’m a sophomore at Louisiana State University and I’m majoring in mass communication with a focus in journalism and minoring in sociology. I’m the Senior Editor for Her Campus at LSU. With a degree in journalism, I plan to follow the career path of becoming a sports writer. Right now, I’m a sports reporter for LSU's student newspaper, The Daily Reveille, and I write about women's volleyball. I’m also an ambassador for the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU. In the future, I want to work in the Big Ten Conference with a focus on producing human-interest stories that highlight athletes as people beyond their sport.