December Summary and January Preview

Good-bye, December! I’m not all that sad to see you go. I do love the winter months, but with so much going on, I’m completely worn out by the time the thirty-first rolls around. Happily, I have a whole two days off in a row! I know that’s a common occurrence for most people, but it doesn’t happen to me very often, and I am making the most of it.


Because it’s bitterly cold outside (0°F with a windchill of -17°F), I am A) not going anywhere for New Year’s Eve because the windchill could drop down to -30°F after night falls, and B) baking, baking, baking. Last night, it was a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and then first thing this morning I got a loaf  of Icelandic rúgbrauð in the oven. Rúgbrauð is a dark rye bread that’s traditionally baked in geothermal vents. Because I don’t have a geothermal vent handy, I get to bake it in my oven for about seven hours. Right now, there’s an hour and a half left on the timer. It has to be wrapped in foil for the entire bake, so I have no idea if it’s baking correctly. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

I’ve also made two different types of croutons- from wheat bread and cornbread- and tonight I’ll be making a beef pot pie from one of my Irish cookbooks. I’ll have to figure out what to bake tomorrow, or it’s going to feel weird not having the oven on!

Books bought in December:

  • Through the Lens- National Geographic’s Greatest Photographs
  • Sisters of Heart and Snow by Margaret Dilloway
  • Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
  • Travels with Myself by Tahir Shah

Books I got for Christmas:

  • Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
  • The Black Flower by Young-Ha Kim
  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabó
  • The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

Books read in December:

Thanks to a crazy work schedule, I didn’t read as much as I wanted to in December. Perhaps if I’d chosen lighter fare for my five books back at the end of November, I might have gotten through more of them. The Dictionary of the Khazars bogged me down a little bit not because it was a bad book, but because it was dense and demanded a lot of attention and energy that I just didn’t have. Early Color and Ansel Adams in Color feel a bit like cheating, since they are books of photographs with a short introduction.

I don’t have a list of books lined up for January. I tried the ‘Five Books for _______’ monthly list all through the year, and I didn’t really stick to that. I’m a bit of a mood reader, and with my Read the World challenge going on for 2018 I know I’m going to have to break up the many heavy reads coming at me with some lighter books now and then. I already have 18 books on my ‘Read the World’ shelf, and a lot more will be coming in through the year. Thankfully, my public library system is excellent so I’ll be able to check out many of my pre-selected world-lit titles instead of having to buy them all.

I’m also planning to rearrange my bookshelves tomorrow to get all of my unread books in one place so that I can see what I should try to get through before I buy more by US/UK authors.

For the past few years, I’ve been participating in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure to spruce up my apartment and get the place cleaned up a little more than it already is. This time, I’m going to work on my studio. Because it’s not terribly well organized and sometimes hard to find things, I don’t use it as often as I should. Which is a problem. I have an art degree! I should be making art, and yet I don’t in part because it’s hard to find my supplies. It’s also not as attractive or as comfortable as my living room is, so it’s just not as much fun to make things in there as it should be. That will change!

And, last but not least, here are a couple of articles if you’re needing a few ideas about books to read in the new year:

“Just Trust Me: In Praise of Strange Books” by Victoria Schwab, from NPR

“Around the World in 80 Books: A Global Reading List” by Kate Scott from Bookriot

That’s all for now! I’ll see you all in 2018!

5 thoughts on “December Summary and January Preview

  1. Well look how shamefully behind I am on my blog rounds.. sigh. You did have an incredibly busy December as I recall, with work and all. And you can keep the cold temps. Still in 40s here haha. I have to ask about Dear Fahrenheit 451. The title caught my attention. I need to look it up! No clue what it is about.

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