Month in Review: January 2018

This month I started the Les Miserables Chapter-a-day Readalong, an experiment in “slow reading” that I’m enjoying very much. It’s sometimes hard to resist continuing to the next chapter when the action gets exciting, but it’s not difficult at all to complete one chapter per day – they’re usually very brief. I look forward to each day’s installment, as I feel as though the characters are truly becoming a part of my life. The language (in the translation by Julie Rose) is  rich and gorgeous, and a pleasure to linger over.

I also started on my three-month project of only reading books from my own TBR pile, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know my own books better in this way. You’ll see that I’ve done quite a few rereads this month — these tend to languish while I’m lured by the new and shiny, and yet I’m so glad I revisited these wonderful books that still have so much to say to me many years after my first encounter with them.



  • The Populist Explosion was my sixth book from the New York Times list of books to understand Trump’s win — I almost didn’t read it, but I’m glad I did.
  • The Girl in the Tower is the follow up to last year’s favorite The Bear and the Nightingale, and it’s a good one.
  • I read Part I of Don Quixote, a fascinatingly timely but sometimes frustrating classic.
  • Walking with Our Children is a lovely book for parents from the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.
  • Three story collections from Tachyon offer storytelling magic from Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, and Jo Walton.

Other Books Read

  • Westmark, The Kestrel, The Beggar Queen by Lloyd Alexander – Reread
  • The Blue Hawk by Peter Dickinson
  • Ancient Myths and the New Isis Mystery by Rudolf Steiner – Reread
  • The Darkangel and A Gathering of Gargoyles by Meredith Ann Pierce – Reread
  • Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood – Reread
  • The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro – Review to come
  • The Small Rain by Madeleine L’Engle – Reread

Other Features and Events


Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

36 thoughts on “Month in Review: January 2018

  1. I love your decision to only read from your existing collection for three months. Though I can’t resist reading ARCs for that long, I’ve definitely been reading more from my own collection lately. I’ve also been more open to reading older books based on the recommendations of other bloggers and Goodreads friends whereas for a while it seems I was only reading ARCs. I’m looking forward to your review of The Art Forger. It’s one that I’ve considered reading several times.


  2. Thank you for mentioning the “Les Misérables Chapter-a-day Readalong”! This definitely sounds like a fun year-long challenge. I remember toting the unabridged version with me everywhere I went, back when I was in high school, and I don’t think I ever finished it – probably due to the fact that virtually EVERYONE would ask “Why are you reading that?” and interrupt me when I opened it up, or they’d suggest that I “just see the play” instead!


  3. Oh what a good idea – to have a Month in Review! I didn’t think of that. I will have to do that for February. Have everything in there. But, that would be a really long list – maybe I shouldn’t! LOL, have a great week of read! I have to do that too read more of my own collection. You get so stuck in the habit of reading ARC’s. I don’t want to do that.

    Mary @StackingMyBookShelves!


    1. I got all excited about ARCs when I started blogging, and was amazed that publishers would send them on my request. But I had to pull back because I just do not have time! I wish I could spend all day reading and blogging, but it’s not possible.


  4. Great wrap up! I’ve been semi-failing on the goal of reading what I already own… I’ve requested a few books from the library. Oops! At least I’m not buying new books…right? haha


    1. Oops indeed! But the library is better than buying. At least you can return them unread, unlike those books I’ve purchased that then sit on my shelf for years.


  5. I find I remember a novel so much more when I read it slowly, especially those long, complicated Victorian novels. I even have done a chapter a week reads, following serialization schedules. Enjoy Les Mis!


  6. I applaud you in your projects and efforts! I think I could do something like that if it was broken up in chunks. I really want to take care of my NetGalley list. I didn’t do so well with that in January.


    1. It’s really making it manageable, and I now have a daily “Les Mis” habit. Good luck with NetGalley (from which I must abstain completely or bust my TBR resolution).


  7. I too am really enjoying the Les Miserables read along at this gentle pace. The option to catch up or read ahead a chapter or two when needed is also great I am finding. I really hope that, as Jane suggests above, that reading slowly will help me recall the story better than reading quickly in one go. We’ll see!


    1. I’m hoping that too. I wonder if as the story goes on, I’ll have trouble recalling what happened earlier as needed…so far there’s no issue with that.


  8. I love the idea of slow reading! I used to work in a bookshop with a man who allowed himself to read three pages of Proust every day. When he got to the end of A la recherce du temps perdu, he simply started again at the beginning…

    I didn’t know Lloyd Alexander had written anything other than the Chronicles of Prydain. Now I’m curious. Did you enjoy what you read by him?


    1. Lloyd Alexander has written many wonderful books! The Chronicles of Prydain were actually never my favorites.

      The Westmark series has been called “Les Mis” for kids, it’s set in an imaginary country on the verge of revolution, exploring issues of freedom and justice. I did enjoy this reread very much. Others that I remember loving as a child are Time Cat (I just gave this to my son and he liked it), the Vesper Holly adventures, and (though I read it as adult) The Arkadians, a riff on Greek myth. I recommend looking at his list and seeing if something appeals to you.


  9. I think it is amazing that you are reading more of your own books! That is something I really want to work on this year, yet I can’t stop requesting books at the library. It looks like you had a great reading month and I hope it continues into February.

    Will you be doing like a wrap up post or something about your experience of only reading books you own?


    1. Thanks Tina! Last year I tried to do the Mount TBR challenge and it went well for a few months, then I got pulled away … so i decided to try this for three months and get through as much as I could in that time, rather than trying for a whole year at once. I will definitely do a post at that time saying how it went and what my plan is going forward.


  10. Oh, I LOVED Westmark! As you said, Chronicles of Prydian are just the tip of the iceberg with Alexander. I however did NOT love Cat’s Eye. I have really strong feelings about most the Atwood I’ve read. Handmaid’s Tale is a lifetime favorite. Cat’s Eye creeped me out.

    You Les Miserables project sounds brilliant. Maybe this summer I will choose a big classic to approach that way. I had an app on my phone for awhile that let me read a bit of a book each day; I re-read The Jungle Book and Three Men in a Boat that way, but those are both pretty slight in the first place.


    1. Cat’s Eye is a harrowing book, but I found it cathartic somehow. The Handmaid’s Tale is one I find too painful to reread, on the other hand … I think everyone must have her personal reactions to Atwood. No question she is a powerful writer.


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