The BFR Round Up – January 2021

Like a lot of people across the world, our January plans changed massively because of lockdown. We are now homeschooling Little M alongside our day jobs – a huge learning curve as her lessons have become a lot more demanding (subordinate clauses/conjunctions anyone?). We had also planned to travel and this is no longer allowed.

However, on the positive side, we have read some fantastic books and somehow, I’ve managed to write a few blog posts in between the insanity. I shared our favourite 15 reads in 2020, listed 10 life-changing books (new and old) and curated 23 Valentines Gifts for Book Lovers.

There have been surprises too – our Facebook page suddenly exploded after one of our photos went viral (ditto on Bookstagram) and a couple of my NetGalley requests were approved. This more than made up for the lack of physical adventures.

I’ve debated whether to keep this monthly update going, but as I’m rubbish at maintaining Goodreads, I use this as our family reading diary so it’s going to stay for the moment. I have set myself a CRAZY goal of reading 80 books this year and this will be a way to track my progress.

Because I missed the November and December book updates, these are included below (not in the 2021 total though!):


I’ve had a great run on books over the winter. When I was rating these, it struck me that admiring a writer’s craft doesn’t always equate to fully enjoying their work. Sons and Lovers has moments of incredible beauty, but I didn’t always connect with it. On the other hand, Power Hour wasn’t a masterpiece, but it resonated on lots of different levels.

Shuggie Bain was as accomplished as everyone says, and although not necessarily a joy to complete, it satisfied my needs as a reader. It warrants the highest score with Dara McAnulty’s impressive Diary of a Young Naturalist close on its heels.

Books Read

November and December 2020

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (4/5)
  • The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (4.5/5)
  • The Cousins by Karen M.McManus (4/5)
  • Serpentine by Philip Pullman (4.25/5)
  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5)
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (4/5)
  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (4.75/5)

January 2021


Al’s determined to read more books this year and gave Paper Girls Vol 2 his highest score this month for the characters, story and artwork.

Books Read

November and December 2020

  • The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds (3.5/5)

January 2021

  • Paper Girls Vol.2 by Brian K.Vaughan (4.5/5)
  • Stamboul Train by Graham Greene (4/5)
  • Ghostland by Edward Parnell (4/5)

Little M

Bedtime has now extended to include 3 sets of reading (Little M to us/us to Little M/Little M to herself). I’ve annotated independent reads with an M and all the scores were given by M. She liked The Truth Pixie best because of the rhymes!

Books Read

November and December 2020

  • Help, I’m Trapped at Witch School! by Em Lynas (4/5)
  • The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig (5/5) M
  • The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hicks (4/5)

January 2021

  • Beast Quest #1: Ferno the Fire Dragon (5/5) M
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl (4/5)
  • Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (5/5) M
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (partial) (5/5)

So a promising start for all of us this month. It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to travel in February but hopefully staying at home will help us to reduce our TBR piles. There’s no shortage of reading material here. I’ve lined up a couple of e-books courtesy of NetGalley – Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi and The Kingdom by Natasha Pulley – and have two audiobooks which I bought this month. I also plan to experiment with creative bookish photography again. Until then, wishing you all the bookish magic!

Mel, Al & Little M


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  1. January 30, 2021 / 10:12 pm

    Great wrap-up! It’s amazing that all the books you read were at least four stars 🤩 I loved Amari!

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      February 2, 2021 / 3:59 pm

      It was a fantastic month! Amari was a really memorable character – can’t wait for the movie adaptation!

  2. February 1, 2021 / 12:04 pm

    So many great books. You certainly get through them. I’ve really struggled to concentrate with long covid, but want to get back into it. I want to read Amari and the Night brothers soon xx

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      February 1, 2021 / 7:01 pm

      Oh you have been through the wars. I hope you manage to get your strength back soon xx

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