The Short Stack: January Favorites
The Short Stack is a list of UT iSchool student Alex Peterson's favorite reads for the month.

The Short Stack: January Favorites

I have some great news.

I might be out of my reading slump.

December was jam packed with a trip to New York to see Hamilton(!!!) and the New York Public Library, a ridiculous cold and then Christmas, but January…January was a great month for reading. I read 10 comic volumes, one memoir, two books of poetry and five novels. I’m sure this will slow down some because school and my internship have started, but I am thrilled. The best part is that so many of the things were actually good!


Alex Peterson at Hamilton on Broadway
Yes. Yes, I did.
Alex Peterson at New York Public Libary
Visiting the kitties at the NYPL

But first, some things to talk about. I’m not one of the ALA/TLA directors anymore. There are four great new leaders and you can follow their plans and announcements on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. They have things coming up soon, so check them out!

Second, goals. Do any of you have reading goals for the year? I like Goodreads’ annual challenge, which lets users set their own number goal, but I also wish I were the type of person who actually finished Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge. The difference is simply reading enough versus reading specifically, which I have a hard time doing. Challenges like Read Harder are great though, especially if you’ve had a hard time diversifying your reading. I think I’m sticking with Goodreads and aiming for 100 books, but I might try a few of the Read Harder goals just to switch things up. I make no actual promises though.

To the list!

The January Short Stack:

1. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

I came very late to the Star Wars fandom, only voluntarily watching them the weekend before Episode VII came out. So while I can’t say that I was a lifelong fan or in love with General Organa or Carrie Fisher, I am sad that she is gone. Like many who turn to the artists’ oeuvre for comfort, I picked up her last memoir in the days after her passing. It’s a combination of recollection and diary entries from the making of the first film, both of which are funny and better written than anything most of us will ever do. This memoir will make you cringe and laugh, but it will also be a reminder that Carrie Fisher won’t be making us cringe or laugh anymore. If you’re still upset by her passing, hold off, but definitely give it a read.

2.  Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was lured into this by the promise of a better vampire novel and it delivered. While I don’t have a problem with shiny vampires (and have a picture of myself being bitten by a fake Edward at a midnight release party for Breaking Dawn to prove it), I want them to go along with great stories. In this world’s version of Mexico, vampire clans control the drug trade outside of Mexico City and human gangs control it within the city. The human gangs have worked together to keep vampires outside the city limits, but a turf war that leaves most of an ancient Aztec clan dead pushes lone survivor Atl into the city to hide. On her tail is Nick, a Necros vampire who has a personal vendetta and helped destroy the Aztec clan, and Ana, a cop following the trail of bodies that vampires tend to create. Other great characters round out this dark and gritty story that you will definitely want to finish.

3. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

I will pick up almost anything that combines magic and the circus, but this adds in some family rivalry and a mystery to make for a fun, immensely readable story. A teenage high-wire artist named Jules runs away from her family’s circus to join another circus, forcing her family to follow her or lose her to it. At the center of their new circus is a family of trapeze artists who have a long-standing feud with Jules’ family for reasons that absolutely no one will explain to her. As items that are bad luck in circus lore start showing up on Jules’ costumes and she starts losing her footing, the stakes are too high for her family to keep secrets. But even after her grandmother owns up to her part in the feud, Jules can’t find the person who wants her to fall.

4. the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

This will be hard to get your hands because the original print was small, but it’s being reprinted for release on Valentine’s Day. This collection of poetry is divided into four sections: princess, damsel, queen, and you. The first three sections are autobiographical, but still manage to hit relatable notes. It won Goodreads’ 2016 Choice Award for Poetry, so maybe don’t take my word for it.

I hope you’ve found some time to read over the break!

Alex Peterson
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Alex is a second year iSchool graduate student focusing on library studies. She was one of the 2016 co-directors for the ALA/TLA Student Chapter at UT. When she's not reading, she might be knitting or playing a Geeks Who Drink pub quiz. Her best friend is her dog, Dwight, but her husband is okay too.

Alex Peterson

Alex is a second year iSchool graduate student focusing on library studies. She was one of the 2016 co-directors for the ALA/TLA Student Chapter at UT. When she's not reading, she might be knitting or playing a Geeks Who Drink pub quiz. Her best friend is her dog, Dwight, but her husband is okay too.

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