New year, new books! After a kind of weird reading year in 2022 (see everything I read here!), my goal for this year is to read more of what I enjoy, DNF books that I can’t get into, and not put so much pressure on myself to read constantly. Afterall, reading is supposed to be a fun escape, not feel like a chore. I kicked off the year reading two really great books this past month. If you’re looking for something new to read, make sure to add these two to your list! Here’s what I read in January.
What I Read in January
THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF 9/11 BY GARRETT M. GRAFF
In The Only Plane in the Sky, Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.
Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker under the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.
More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real-time: the father and son caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from trying to rescue their colleagues.
My Review: I was gifted an ARC of this one when it first came out and while it looked really interesting and had heard good things about it, I for some reason never got around to reading it. After all of the holiday-themed books I read over the winter, I figured I’d start the new year off with something a little more serious and I’m so glad I finally picked this one up! In The Only Plane in the Sky, Graff interviews over five hundred officials, first responders, family members, witnesses, and survivors to recount the fateful date of September 11, 2001. I love that even though Graff shares these interviews and information, he sets it up in a way that tells a story in the order that the day took place. He also did a wonderful job educating readers on what happened at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, which you see little about. I learned a lot and cannot wait to continue recommending this to friends, family members, and strangers.
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A SPECIAL PLACE FOR WOMEN BY LAURA HANKIN
For years, rumors have swirled about an exclusive, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: Membership dues cost $1,000 a month. The last time Rihanna was in town, she stopped by and got her aura read. The women even handpicked the city’s first female mayor. But no one knows for sure.
That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she’s going to break into the club. With her career in freefall, Jillian needs a juicy scoop, and she has a personal interest in bringing these women down. But the deeper she gets into this new world–where billionaire “girl bosses” mingle with the astrology-obsessed–the more Jillian learns that bad things happen to those who dare to question the club’s motives or giggle at its outlandish rituals.
The select group of women who populate the club may be far more powerful than she ever imagined.
And far more dangerous too.
My Review: The premise of this book is SO good! It gives a mix of fake dating (my favorite!), women empowerment, some romance, and so much more in a fun and intriguing way. It veers away from being oblivious, which I can always appreciate. It does slow down a bit toward the middle of the story, but the twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hankin does a wonderful job wrapping everything up in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied. Love the cinematic feel to it, too!
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️