Rearview Mirror // January 2019

It’s FEBRUARY!??!?  That’s crazy talk!

As I am writing this, there is about 5″ of snow on the ground (maybe more, I’m bad at measuring by eye, I just know it’s a LOT) which is more than “they” said we were going to get.  The birds are very busy around the birdfeeder, and the dogs and I took a lovely snow walk around the village this morning, despite the fact that it was only 11*.  Actually, 11* feels like a heat wave after the truly frigid temperatures we had earlier this week.  And now it’s supposed to be 50* by the end of the weekend!

Anyway, January has been a pleasantly busy month.  I’m off work for now, so I have been working on several projects around the house.  The big one is trying to finish our NEVERENDING project of turning our back porch into a sun room.  This month finally saw some big leaps in the process – there is paint on the walls and a new floor and things are being stored in the storage loft and it’s fantastic!  There are still a few details to wrap up, but that project is finally very, very close to the finish line.

Of course, that means we’re on to new and exciting projects, most of which involve creating storage of some kind.  So I’ve also been cleaning things out, hauling things away, and scrubbing things down.  How, how, I ask you, does one accumulate so much stuff?!  I cleaned out just the area around my craft desk and got rid of – either giveaway or just plain trash – and entire garbage bag of stuff.  Where did it come from?!  Why did I think it was a good idea just to stuff it on a shelf instead of getting rid of it at the time??  For the first five years of our marriage we moved annually, so this wasn’t as much of a problem.  Now that we’ve been here for over four years, I have to actually focus on decluttering, especially since this house is on the cozy side.  I’ve really been working a lot on sight lines, because our house has a fairly open floor plan.  I just stand or sit somewhere and look around to see what horizontal surface is getting on my nerves, and then attack it!  Progress is being made.

ANYWAY apparently I need to write a post just focusing on my organizational adventures!  On to the books!

Books have been good this month!  I read 27 books this month and reviewed 21 of them, although three of the 27 were novellas and a big chunk of the 21 were part of my review of the Kate Burkholder series.  Still, short days and long evenings make for lots of reading, especially when you’re like me and read every time you’re folding laundry or working on other projects where your eyes aren’t COMPLETELY necessary.

Favorite January Read:

Although I really enjoyed Linda Castillo’s mystery series, I think this slot has to go to Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell.  There was just so much depth to that book, and I still find myself thinking about the characters.

Most Disappointing January Read:

I didn’t have any horrific duds this month, but Peter Swanson’s All the Beautiful Lies was probably my least favorite, despite the fact that I raced through it.  I just wasn’t comfortable with some of the subject material, and I was frustrated by an ending that didn’t really make any logistical (yes, logistical, not logical) sense.  Still, it hasn’t put me off his books as the writing itself was still fantastic.

By the Numbers:

In January:

  • I read 7174 pages – an average of 231 pages per day.  Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m proud or embarrassed haha
  • My average star rating was 3.54.
  • Eleven books were from my personal library.  The rest were either from the library or via Kindle Unlimited.
  • I read five Kindle books and 22 physical books – 18 of which were hardcovers.  Book muscles!!!
  • The oldest book I read was The Secret of the Barred Window by Margaret Sutton – published in 1943 with a great little note stating that despite the fact that a war is on and paper conservation is in affect, this book is complete and unabridged!
  • I read three books published in 2018, so I’m doing better at reading books closer to their release dates!
  • Eagle & Crane was my longest book at 434 pages, while a short story by Linda Castillo (Long Lost) was the shortest at 52 pages.

TBR Update:

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:

  • Standalones:  887 (holding steady!)
  • Nonfiction:  84 (up 1)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  667 (down eight!  I discovered some Kindle books that I had read but hadn’t marked off the list!)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  238 (holding steady)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 107 (down one!)

Awaiting Review:

I read the next five books in the Judy Bolton series, and also a ridiculous P&P variation that will probably get reviewed on my other blog at some point.  Otherwise I’m all caught up!!

Currently Reading:

I just started Fiona Barton’s The Suspect this morning.  I enjoyed her first two books (The Widow more than The Child) so we will see where this one goes.

The Probably Next Five Reads…

I’ve tried to get more organized at sketching out my future reads, but it’s still a work in process.  All part of the Year of the Spreadsheet!!  :-D  But here’s my best guess:

  • Fields of Wrath by Mark Wheaton – I got this as a free Kindle book a long time ago, so this is part of my ongoing (and neverending) project of sifting through all the Kindle books I’ve collected.  If it’s any good, it’s actually the first in a trilogy.
  • Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills – this one came in at the library, so it got bumped up the list (as did The Suspect, actually).  I really, really enjoyed This Adventure Ends when I read it last year.  I still have Mills’s other books on my TBR, but a new thing I’m doing this year is trying to read author’s new books as they come out instead of just throwing them on the TBR for the next six years.  So here we are!
  • Another set of Love Inspired books – I actually got rid of most of these without reading them, but there were a few where I had the full series, so I hung on to them, figuring that I could read the first book and see if they were any good, and then go from there lol
  • Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon – Emily over at When Life Reminds You of a Book recommended this one after reading my review of Illusionarium by the same author.  It’s free on Kindle Unlimited right now, so I thought I would give it a go!
  • A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse – still working my way through all of Wodehouse’s books.  I actually just got them moved out to a new bookshelf where they are more visible and accessible, so I’m stoked!

Happy February, everyone!  Keep an eye out for the groundhog’s shadow tomorrow!!

NB: All links go to my old reviews (unless specifically noted).