January Wrap-Up and a Look to February

by Kim on February 1, 2013 · 22 comments

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I had a relatively slow reading month in January, although I’m really not surprised. Between travel, vacation, and work-related travel, this week was the first time I spent five working days in my office since before Christmas. Being gone that many days — coupled with the getting caught up that happens after being away — really put a damper on both my reading and blogging.

But, I have no plans to go anywhere during all of February (save a trip to see some friends and their beautiful new baby), which means I hope I will have plenty of time to read, watch movies, and get caught up on television. I also have big plans to start cooking and exercising more, but the best laid plans always seem to get derailed.

I’m trying out a slightly different template for my wrap-up/look ahead posts, so I’m curious what your thoughts are on it.

Books Read in January

  1. Groff, Lauren: Arcadia (fiction)
  2. Konnikova, Maria: Mastermind (nonfiction)
  3. Pessel, Marissa: Special Topics in Calamity Physics (fiction)
  4. Georges, Nicole: Calling Dr. Laura (memoir/comic book)
  5. Flora, Carlin: Friendfluence (nonfiction)
  6. Walker, Karen Thompson: Age of Miracles (fiction)

Other Reviews Posted in January

Books I Want to Read in February

  • The Illiad by Homer and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: As part of Book Riot’s Tournament of Books reading project, I’m on tap to discuss The Song of Achilles at the end of the month. And since it’s based on The Illiad, I’d like to read that one first.
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and/or Twilight of the Superheroes and/or The Amazing Absorbing Boy: This is part of another Book Riot-related project that I’ll share here when it’s finished. I don’t know if I’ll get to all of these books, but I’m hoping for at least two of three.
  • Where the Peacocks Sing by Alison Singh Gee: This memoir by a journalist (a super weakness) is all about a woman who falls in love with an Indian journalist who turns out to be a landed prince (of sorts). While there are a lot of ways a memoir about “a glamorous magazine writer with a serious Jimmy Choo habit” could go wrong for me, I’m optimistic.
  • Outlaw Platoon by Sean Parnell and John Bruning: I’m reading this memoir of a commander of an elite infantry platoon in the Middle East as part of a tour with TLC Book Tours at the end of the month.

Writing Around the Interwebs

I didn’t do much writing other places online this month, other than a few posts over at Book Riot:

2013 Goals Review

  • Essay a Day, Take Two: Mild success? I’m about half finished with a collection of essays called The Atlantic Ocean by British journalist Andrew O’Hagen, which are fine, but not blowing me away. I want to give the whole collection a chance though, so I hope I can finish it (and maybe another?) in February.
  • 12 Ebooks and 12 Audiobooks: (1/12) Friendfluence by Carlin Flora | (1/12) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Balance Books In/Books Out: At the end of the month, I’m at +5 (so, five more books came in than I read/donated)
  • Balance Review Copies (40%), My Books (30%), and Borrowed Books (30%): It’s hard to measure this one after only one month, but it looks like I split my books and review copies right down the middle.
  • Leave One Comment Per Day: I feel mixed about this one. I left a lot of comments, but not entirely consistently.
  • Read My Shelf of Doom: I got a good start on this one, finishing up the longest book on my shelf, Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
PHOTO CREDIT: ROB WARDE VIA FLICKR

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane@BibliophilebytheSea February 1, 2013 at 6:15 am

Your plans could very well be my plans as well –LOL You had a good month and some great plan for February.

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Charlie February 1, 2013 at 7:24 am

The Illiad and the other books? That is going to take some time, though more power to you if you get it done! Good start on your goals overall.

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

I read The Odyssey last year (or maybe the year before), and it didn’t actually take that long — I was really surprised by that. So I’m hoping The Illiad will be similar, but I guess we’ll see.

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Nikki Steele February 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

I like the new layout for these wrap up posts! Bullet points are nice and easy for end of the month, early morning coffee reading :D

I hope you enjoy The Song of Achilles paired with The Iliad. I did them a few months ago on the blog and was delightedly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Iliad. But, remember, there be lists. Get your skimming on when it comes to those lines and lines of armor descriptions.

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:12 am

That’s right, I remember that post! I was surprised by how much I liked The Odyssey, so I’m actually quite excited for The Illiad. I did some skimming in that one too :)

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Joanna February 1, 2013 at 11:41 am

I so so so wanted to love Special Topics but it ended up as one of my DNFs last year… I love that you’re already checking progress on your goals for the year. I’m doing it too, but on the blog. Hmm, an idea is dawning…

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:13 am

Last year, I never remembered to check in on my goals, which is, I think, why I fell so far behind with them. I’m hoping a monthly or semi-monthly check-in will help.

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bewhatwedo February 1, 2013 at 5:26 pm

It’s not SUCH a slow book month! I like your sum-up posts. Cool way to keep track.

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:15 am

That’s true, it wasn’t too bad. I guess I always hope to get about eight books in per month, although that hasn’t happened in awhile either — too many episodes of The West Wing!

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Laurie C February 2, 2013 at 6:04 am

Ack! It’s already time to check progress on 2013 goals?? I like the look of your look-back post, although I think it was fine before, too! You always mention so many interesting nonfiction books that you’re reading; I’m looking forward to reading your review of Where the Peacocks Sing.

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:16 am

I added the goals review because last year I never remembered to do it! This way I have to make myself accountable, which I hope will help me complete more of them this year!

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Jennifer February 2, 2013 at 8:28 am

I like this, love the bullet points and that you’ve reviewed your goals. It reminds me to review my own!

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

Thanks! I do love a good bulleted list :)

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Alex in Leeds February 3, 2013 at 5:04 am

I love the way you’re tackling essays. I’m reading about five a week and was aiming to write about them once a month but the post for January was enormous and I had to break it down into weekly chunks. I love the regular dose of essays though, so much variety and inspiration to be had from a good example. :)

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Kim February 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

I really love it too, which I can remind myself to read them. I haven’t been as good as this as I hoped, but I’m reading more than I would have otherwise.

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Susan February 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I really want to read Age of Miracles, so I’m waiting for your review now! lol It sounds like January was so busy for you…..and February blissfully quieter. Here’s hoping to lots of reading time for you :-) and some writing. I had a so-so month for reading too in January, so hoping to catch up in February. You are braver than I at posting your goals out here for everyone to see!

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Kim February 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I liked Age of Miracles a lot — I read it in one sitting. I’ll have a mini-review up on Thursday, I think.

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Emma @ Words And Peace February 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm

wow, you seem to have ambitious plans for February, the Illiad is not a short book, lol. See my recap: http://wordsandpeace.com/2013/02/02/2013-january-wrap-up/

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Kim February 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

No, it is not! I’m hoping it’ll go quickly though, once I get into the swing of it.

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Florinda February 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm

By my standards, your January was NOT a slow month! And I’ll be interested in seeing what you think of WHERE THE PEACOCKS SING–I reviewed it for Shelf Awareness (won’t publish till later this month).

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Kim February 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Yeah, it’s all perspective :) I usually think of an “average” month as about 8 books, but I don’t think that’s been my average for awhile now. I may have to adjust downwards a bit. I have many thoughts about Where the Peacocks Sing, but I’m having trouble deciding if it’s thoughts on the book or on the characters, if you know what I mean.

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Alison February 16, 2013 at 12:41 am

Dear Florinda and Kim,

I just stumbled upon your conversation. Thank you both for reading Where the Peacocks Sing. I poured five hard years of work into that book, so I am excited to hear your thoughts about the narrative and craft. Connecting with readers for whom the story resonated has been the most astounding part of this process. I’m not sure if you saw this but Don George named Where the Peacocks Sing National Geographic Traveler’s Book of the Month — total thrill. http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/04/triplit-best-new-travel-books/

Please be on the lookout for reviews in People, Entertainment Weekly and the NYT, too. The response has been so buoying. I thank you both for taking the time to share in my story. I teach creative nonfiction at UCLA Extension — do either of you have books on the go? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Best regards, Alison

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