January Summary and February Preview

It’s been a cold, cold January, but it’s almost over. Not that February is much better for all that it’s shorter, but we’re edging that much closer to spring. Thanks to all of this cold weather and snow, I’ve been perfectly happy to stay close to home and read.

And read.

Holy buckets, did I ever read in January.

According to Goodreads, I am six books ahead of schedule in my 2018 reading challenge. My goal is to read 100 books this year, and I’ve already finished fourteen. Six of those fall under my Read the World challenge, so I’m pretty much on schedule for that, too. So far, so good. I doubt that I’ll be able to maintain this pace, since averaging a book every two days isn’t something I can do throughout the year. Especially when the weather warms and the days lengthen. It will be harder to keep my nose in a book when the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.

Books purchased in January:

  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  • A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé
  • Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East edited by Reza Aslan
  • The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen

Books read in January:

  1. Monstress, vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  2. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  3. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  4. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  5. Travels with Myself by Tahir Shah
  6. A Collection of Uzbek Short Stories edited and translated by Mahmuda Saydumarova
  7. Bringing up Bebé by Pamela Druckerman
  8. Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
  9. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano
  10. Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński
  11. Flame in the Mist by Reneé  Ahdieh
  12. A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
  13. Longbourn by Jo Baker
  14. Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

For my Read the World Challenge, I read books by authors from six countries:

  • Cameroon- Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  • Mexico- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • UzbekistanA Collection of Uzbek Short Stories edited and translated by Mahmuda Saydumarova
  • Poland– Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński
  • Japan– The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano

Of the fourteen books I read in January, twelve were primarily written or edited by women. I wanted to read more books by women in 2018, so I’m off to a good start there, too.

Much of this reading spree is thanks to the fact that I have cut back on a lot of social media. I’m barely on Facebook these days, and I’m starting to cut back on Instagram, too, though I have to admit that doing book photos for Bookstagram is a lot of fun and ensures that I’m using my camera, as well as learning how to set up still lifes.

I completed other goals, too! Thanks to my new obsession with the fiction podcast, Wolf 359, I’ve been crocheting more. It’s easy to sit down with a project and listen to a few episodes at a time. I don’t do that with television shows, since it’s harder for me to pay attention to my stitches with such a visual medium. I completed a set of dish towels for my kitchen and have made a lot of progress on a lightweight scarf for spring. I bought a bunch of yarn during a sale at Michael’s, but I still have to restrain myself from buying even more yarn for projects that are still pipe dreams.

I have to admit that my yarn bowl helps to keep me working on things. It’s pretty enough that I just leave it out, so I’m more likely to pick up my projects and work on them. In this case, out of sight is out of mind and having things front and center makes it harder to overlook them.


And before you start thinking that I accomplished all of my goals for January, know that I did not work on the photo books I intended to at least start putting together. Silly me was doing everything else, like reading, baking, and crocheting. I make myself sound like a little old lady with all of that!

So what’s on for February? A lot! I haven’t set a particular goal for a number of books to read next month, but it should probably be somewhere around ten if I want to stay up with my 2018 goal. I also have to read about 6.5 books/month to keep up with my Read the World challenge. I’m planning to read Laurence Cosse’s A Novel Bookstore, Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, and Samrat Upadhyay’s Arresting God in Kathmandu. Other books will depend upon my reading mood, I suppose.

Although…. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden was automatically checked out to me on Monday! I was in the middle of four books at the time, so I decided to finish at least two of them before starting on it. It makes a good incentive, since I’ve been wanting to read it since before it came out!


Otherwise, I’ll be keeping up with my French and Dutch studies. I’m watching the French film, Le Pacte des Loups, while writing this and I plan to add at least a few French and Dutch titles to my Netflix queue, if only so I can get a better handle on pronunciations. My French is getting much better, thanks to my having taken three years of it in high school. I had a good teacher, and her lessons have stuck with me all these years. I’m getting a better handle on Dutch, though I have to remember that when translated directly, the word order reads like old Anglo-Saxon poetry at times. So basically, I have to keep my mind on Middle Earth and remember that je in French means ‘I’, while je in Dutch means ‘you’.

It’s not confusing at all. Really.

Don’t mind the sarcasm there….

Because I still have a full season of Wolf 359 to listen to and several of my regular podcasts subscriptions to catch up on, I’ll be doing a lot of crocheting in February. I want to finish the scarf I’m currently working on and start on a sort of patchwork blanket using yarn leftover from other projects. That will be an ongoing thing, to be worked on whenever I have a decent length of yarn that is thick enough to match what I already have for it.

Aaaand… I’m going to get those photo books worked on! One is for my Photo 365 project from last year. Just a little thing for myself so I have a physical result of the whole thing. Another will be of the windows and doors I’ve photographed during my travels. If I can get a cohesive look to the whole thing, it might end up being something I could try to sell…. We’ll see how that goes.

4 thoughts on “January Summary and February Preview

  1. Pingback: Sunday Sum-Up | Traveling, Gladly Beyond

  2. I would love to start knitting again and sewing, but I feel like with the muscle spasms and tremors it will just be a frustration in the end. Who knows.. maybe one day.

    I cannot wait for you to start The Girl in the Tower. You are killing it with the Read the World Challenge!

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