January was a bit of a slow reading month if you look at number of books completed, but, given that these were both audio books if you look at hours listened it was a bit of a marathon with nearly 60 hours of listening time combined.
I started off the month listening to Sand: Omnibus Edition. The goodreads description of this one intrigued me, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. Some of the reviews are kind of ehh, so I was a bit worried, evenso I like the read. I especially like it as an introduction to Howey’s work. I think many of the not-so-great reviews were disappointed with the work due to their experience with his other novels. I however, found it well written and captivating. What appears to be a series of short stories quickly blends into an over-arching plot featuring a dystopian world where scavengers dive through sand dunes looking for lost treasure – all the while Howey encourages readers to examine familial ties and interpersonal relationships. And, while I probably won’t read the book again, it did intrigue me enough to want to check out Howey’s other works, specifically Wool.
After Sand, I read 1Q84 – at over 46 hours long, the audio book took me the rest of the month and a few days into February to finish. Originally written in Japanese and then translated to English, the book itself is a bit tricky to explain. At it’s core I would say it’s about a woman, a man, a girl, and how they end-up in and try to escape from an alternate world. Drawing heavily from Orwell’s 1984 there are themes of big brother, espionage, and overtly controlling organizations. There’s also a heavy dose of Bradbury-esque sci-fi with “little people” spinning “air chrysalises” that serve as cocoons for alternate versions of the characters. It can be a bit dense and a bit slow, but was perfect as a sewing companion and later as a “I’m sick in bed and can’t just lie here” read. Overall, I really enjoyed the book – I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say I loved it, but I think it’s one of those that will grow on me as time goes by. There are definitely some themes and scenes that will stick with me.