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January’s Stories and Poems

Written by Rachael Norris, 11th January 2022
January’s set of Stories and Poems offer a little bit of something for a range of different needs and feelings. Perhaps you’re not quite ready to let go of the festivities, especially during the longer evenings. On the other hand, you might be yearning for some peace and quiet, a bit of precious time to yourself. Or maybe you’re after adventure, but have misplaced your hiking boots…

It can sometimes feel like we’re trying our utmost to get through the first month of the year. Survival and ways of surviving come through in January’s prose choices: from families who can, at times, feel a little too close for comfort, to people who strive to make their voices heard amongst a crowd. Even the physical challenge of surviving cold temperatures can bring with it other tests and predicaments. After what might have been a hectic end to the previous year, catching up with relatives and friends, many of us may relish some time to be alone. But what does it mean to be ‘alone’, particularly in a world where distractions seem to be everywhere we turn?

January’s stories and extracts:

You shall go through it all (extract from To the Lighthouse) by Virginia Woolf

Alone (extract from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Meaning of Everyday Wordsby David Whyte

‘Excepting Mrs Pentherby’ by Saki

‘Let It Snow’ by David Sedaris

Frost and Snow (extract from The Living Mountain) by Nan Shepherd

We might find ourselves looking for inspiration as a new year begins, or perhaps be reflecting on where life has brought us so far and where we might end up going next. This month’s poetry selections give us the chance to look forward as well as back, and think about what it is we want from our lives. Perhaps being able to appreciate the simple things, such as admiring the blossom on a tree or having a table in which to eat around and place our material possessions, is a good place to start…

‘The Cherry Tree’ by Vicki Feaver

‘Maracas Beach Prayer’ by Roger Robinson

‘Table’ by Edip Cansever (translated by Julia Clare Tillinghast and Richard Tillinghast)

‘Sonnet 59’ by William Shakespeare

‘How Stars Start’ by Al Young

If you're a Reader Leader head to the Online Community Hub to download this month's selection.

We’re always keen to hear about the stories, extracts and poems that have worked well in your Shared Reading groups; might 2022 be the year that you put forward a piece of literature to recommend in a future Monthly Stories and Poems pack? If you have a text to share, please email us on

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