Well, well, here we are, a whole week into February! Of 2020! Seriously, 2020 doesn’t even sound like a real year, and I definitely can’t believe that over a month of it is gone already! January was a busy month. I wrapped up my season at the orchard, and worked a few random days at my new spring job at the greenhouse (regular hours should start late Feb-early March). Tom built a crazy cupboard for the end of the lower room AND a gorgeous sideboard. I’m actually filling them with stuff today and it’s SO exciting! It finally feels like things are coming together in this crazy lil house. We actually have snow today, which is exciting – we didn’t get any to speak of in January, kind of weird. I love snow when I’m not driving in it, so I’ve been happy looking out my window today.
Favorite January Read
My overall favorite read was a reread, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. But my favorite new read was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, mostly surprising because I wasn’t even expecting to particularly like that one, much less absolutely love it.
Most Disappointing January Read
Probably How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I know that part of my problem with that book was reading it at the same time as Stoner, but still the overall down tone of the book, combined with some ?!?! moments left me feeling a little underwhelmed.
Other January Reads
- Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
- Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason (ARC review)
- Cordina Royal Family series by Nora Roberts
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
- The Decorated Garden Room by Tessa Evelegh (nonfiction)
- Off Balance by Aileen Erin (ARC review)
- Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
- The Secret Quest by Margaret Sutton
- Some Kind of Wonderful by Barbara Freethy
- Total Number of Books Read: 29 (25 physical; 4 Kindle)
- Total Pages Read: 8030
- Average Star Rating for January: 3.72
- Longest Book: Jurassic Park (448 pages)
- Shortest Book: A Mouse Called Wolf (98 pages)
- Oldest Book: Around the World in Eighty Days (published 1872)
- Newest Book: Off Balance (published February 2020)
- Number of New-to-Me Authors: 11
Only one this month – Not the Girl You Marry by Andie Christopher. It was SO. AWFUL. I don’t mind a little bit of steamy in my books, but this one was wayyyy on the vulgar side of the line and led to me instituting a new personal rule: If a book uses the phrase “dipping his wick” more than once, it’s not for me. Geezy crimeny, it was dreadful. Every single page was just about sex – having sex, finding sex, wishing for sex, wondering if someone else was thinking about sex, angling for sex. UGH. After a multi-page dissertation about the main character’s “bush” and whether her embarrassment about how “out of control” it was would be enough to keep her from giving into her desperate inclination to have sex with a guy that she apparently shouldn’t, I threw in the towel. To top it off, both main characters were just horrible, obnoxious people. I despised Hannah, who was abrasive, vulgar, selfish, and annoying. Jack was also vulgar, selfish, and annoying, but instead of being abrasive he was slimy. And of course the entire premise is that they are both lying to/using each other. Setting aside the utter vulgarity of every page, it felt like the whole story would have read better as a fake relationship story, where they both knew the other was using them?
In fairness, there are LOADS of good reviews for this one – I’m definitely in the minority. But I have zero regrets about bailing on this one, and wouldn’t touch another of Christopher’s books if you paid me.
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: 483 (up THIRTY-SEVEN! This is because I finally transferred random books I’ve been adding from Litsy onto my official TBR. Sigh.)
- Nonfiction: 115 (up ten… see excuse above!)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 660 (up fifteen – this one is because Mom was getting rid of a bunch of gardening books and also Ohio history books… my weaknesses!)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 243 (up six)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 115 (up three)
Okay, so not so hot on reducing the TBR this month (despite reading 29 books!), but I’m sure I’ll see a difference in February, right??
Reading Challenge Updates
- #ReadingEurope2020 – visited two countries: Belgium and Sweden (total 2/46 complete)
- #ReadtheUSA2020 – visited seven states: California, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont (total 7/50 complete)
- #SeparatedbyaPondTour – visited the seven states above, plus one Canadian province (Ontario) and three English counties/regions (Bristol, Devon, and Greater London). (Total 14/159 complete.)
- #LitsyAtoZ – 17 books (17/26 complete)
- #BackwardsAtoZ – 11 books (No A – No K complete – I’m trying to do this one in order)
I’ve also been doing a bunch of book bingos, which are kind of my new favorite thing!
I picked up The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons last night. I’ve had it on my shelf for a while (one of those random book subscription box books). It’s a gorgeous hardcover copy, and the premise sounds intriguing, but it’s almost 600 pages long, has multiple narrators/timelines, has 10+ pages of glossary information in the back, is full of footnotes, and of course is set in an entirely different world from our own. All that to say, I’m not completely sure this book is for me, but I’m going to give it a hundred pages to see how it rolls. My usual method of reading is snatching pages here and there all day, but this is NOT that kind of book, at least not to start, so it’s currently my eating book (because yes, I’m one of those terrible people who reads every time she eats… my husband does, too, so we get along fine haha), and I’ve picked up Well Met (by Jen DeLuca) for my floater book. It’s lighthearted and fluffy, so a perfect counterbalance.
On deck… probably going to be –
- The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehad (he’s Litsy’s #authoramonth for February, so I’m interested to try some of his writing)
- How to Save Your Child From Ostrich Attacks, Accidental Time Travel, And Anything Else That May Happen on an Average Tuesday by James Breakwell – I have a lot of love for this guy, whose weekly newsletter totally makes my day. Even if this book ends up terrible, it’s still worth the price just to thank Breakwell for all the laughs he gives me for free.
- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – this one came in for me at the library right around Christmas/New Year’s, and I just didn’t have the head space for it. I sent it back and put my name back on the list, and here it is again! I think I’m ready to actually give it a go this time.
- Jane in the Orient by Louis Swinehart – I’ve had this book forever, picked up at some yard sale or something, and have never gotten around to read it. Funny story, the only place I can find it is on ebay for almost $200, and my edition happens to be signed by the author so. Now I need to get on Antiques Roadshow, apparently.
- Summer by the Tides by Denise Hunter – I have an up and down relationship with this author’s books, but this one should at least be worth a try.
So that’s the update here! Hope all is well with all of you out there, Happy reading!