Hey friends! I set a goal on Goodreads of reading 52 books in 2019. I’ve got to admit it’s not a goal I’ll feel terrible about if I don’t hit it, for three reasons:

I read so much in my day job that reading a lot outside of it can be a challenge.

I already have 10 New Year’s Resolutions already, several of them are quite ambitious, and this one isn’t on the list.

I’m not in the habit of feeling terrible if I don’t always achieve my goals.




Nonetheless, I’m ahead of pace for January! Now, when I read a book and it’s not for me, I just sort of put it on my “Read” shelf without rating it or talking about it. But these were books I really enjoyed in January.


January 2019 Recommended Reads #best books about animal rights #Alyssa Cole reviews











Dominion: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and a Call to Mercy, Matthew Scully.

This book about how humans treat animals was on my “50 Books That Might Make Me Smarter” list. “Enjoyed” might actually be the wrong word to describe my feelings about it.

It was heartbreaking, meticulously considered and researched, and the kind of intellectually serious book that can change one’s worldview. (Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond was another book like this for me.)

Most people concerned about the suffering of animals identify as political liberals, but this author is a conservative: he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, an editor for the National Review. I give him a lot of credit for thinking for himself and not just going along with the prevailing opinions of his peers—which, to be honest, the vast majority of us do.

Scully examines the meat and dairy industries and trophy hunting from a lens of Christian morality. For me, the most disturbing part was the way pigs—intelligent and affectionate animals—are treated in factory farms.

I am a vegetarian and mostly vegan, and I know very well that nobody wants to be reminded that their favorite food depends on widespread animal cruelty. I also know that most of my consumption relies on exploited workers, so it’s not as though I can take any high ground. Even if I’m not perfect, I can try to find small ways to lead a kinder life.


January 2019 Recommended Reads #best books about animal rights #Alyssa Cole reviews


Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, Alyssa Cole.

Well, this book isn’t nearly so weighty, either in mood or in size. It’s a new release: a smart, sweet, and sexy romance novella in her Reluctant Royals series. This actually may have been the first lesbian romance I ever read.

I enjoyed the characters, and I loved how the story’s structure—alternating from the present-day to the past—gradually revealed the truth between them. The grown-up flirting in this book was a delight.

I’ve read a few books by Alyssa Cole, and she has a great prose style. She writes sentences I wish I’d written. While this story did touch on some serious issues, overall, it was a fun read.

How cute is that cover, by the way? I love everything about it.





January 2019 Recommended Reads #best books about animal rights #best lesbian romance #Alyssa Cole reviews











Becoming, Michelle Obama.

In fifteen days after its release, this became the top-selling book of 2018. Like most people, I thought it was terrific.

I grew up in a working-class family in Illinois, and some elements of Ms. Obama’s growing-up years felt familiar to me. I thought that part of the book would’ve been enjoyable as a memoir even if she wasn’t famous for anything. I had to laugh at her resistance to her husband’s involvement in politics. Getting her thoughts and feelings about historic events and stories in the news was fascinating. (I did skim the section about Sandy Hook because it was so painful.)


January 2019 Recommended Reads #best books about animal rights #best lesbian romance #Alyssa Cole reviews


Did you start out your 2019 with some good reading? Are you having trouble finding time to read? Let us know about it in the comments! Have a great week!