Fun books for dreary January days

It’s January. It’s deep winter, the snow won’t stop, the wind-chill has been fluctuating between -25°C and -35°C (-13 to -31°F), we’re all poor because of Christmas, the sun sets before we even leave work, and we’re all a little depressed. And, cold.  Have I mentioned cold? As I write this, we’re having “extreme cold” conditions and expecting wind chills as low as -40°C/F, maybe lower (mind you, by the time this is posted, we’re supposed to be enjoying warmer weather, just above 0°C or 32°F).

Instead of talking about the book that shocked me enough to get an audible gasp,  the book that drenched my heart in sorrow, or even the first book I quit of the year, I’m going to tell you about some of the amusing books I’ve read. I feel like this time of year requires a few fun books, and these are some of my favourite reads from the past month.

Sad Animal Facts

This book is adorable, amusing, and educational. I found myself muttering “aww” throughout the book. But, then I was able to regain my composure, put on a serious face and read the appendix, which provided some more detail about each of the facts presented in the book (it’s not extensive – just a few lines per fact).

You can see her work on Instagram. Which begs the question, why buy a book full of content that’s free online? It’s because I believe in supporting artists and writers. I don’t buy every book I read (I make full and frequent use of my library’s collection), but I try to buy books that I love or books from indie artists, writers or publishers as much as I can. They may only get a few cents from my purchase, but that’s better than nothing. Plus, book purchases, book reviews, and even book borrowing all help. They’re like voting – your action may be a tiny drop in a large barrel, but it can still tip the scales for someone.

OK, enough soap-boxing. On to the next read:

The Fairyland series

I just read the last book in the series, The Girl who Raced Fairyland all the Way Home, but this whole series is delightful. It’s so full of the kind of imagination we usually only find in a child’s unabated creativity. There are cities that move, herds of migrating velocipedes (the bike, not a raptor), a wyvern whose father was a library, a woman made of soap, and winds that ride large cats. The series will delight your inner child while still piquing the interest of your stodgy adult brain. It’s fun, adventurous, and beautiful.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts

This is very much like Sad Animal Facts, except that it’s interesting facts instead of sad facts. It’s done with beautiful Scandinavian styled illustrations, in simple black and white (I would love a print of moose). It’s a quick read and would be a lovely gift for a kid who loves animals. Or, adults. Adults deserve fun, too.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

It’s been a donkey’s age since I worked in retail, and even then I worked in the back room, but I am well aware how silly customers can be. If you work(ed) in a book story, you will love this. If you work(ed) retail, you will be glad to know that book shops have as many silly customers as any other shop. Everyone else will have a few good chuckles while patting themselves on the back for being slightly less ridiculous than some of the customers in this book.

Also, if you go to an independent bookstore to get book recommendations, but then order them only from Amazon? That’s just rude. Pay the damned book store for the services they’ve given you. Tsk tsk.


Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade: How to Survive Life’s Smaller Challenges

I’m in the middle of listening to this and it’s incredibly amusing. I keep catching myself smirking or coughing away a little chuckle while in public (because, apparently, having a cough is less embarrassing then listening to something funny). Anyone British or who grew up watching British TV (like myself) will find this especially amusing, as it’s steeped in British sensibilities (or, quirks, really).

If you have any suggestions for amusing or easy reads that might brighten my January, please let me know.


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