Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Month In The Life: January 2018

One month down, eleven to go! After basically hibernating to end 2017, this month had a lot more going on. Which was nice! I usually enjoy the indolence of the holiday season, but by the end of it I'm ready to get back to more structure and activity. And this month featured a holiday weekend visit from my best friend and my first trip to a new state, so it was extra exciting!

In Books...

  • Fourth of July Creek: My first book of the year! This book, about a messed-up social worker in rural Montana and the even-more-messed-up people he tries to help is beautifully written, but a super downer. 
  • Pond: This was our book club selection for the month, and it's structured's more a string of loosely connected vignettes than a novel, per se. The writing is lovely, but it never really goes anywhere as it meanders along, which would have been more frustrating but it's also quite short.
  • Ghost Wars: This book took me about a week and a half to get through, which for me is quite a long time. About the modern history of American involvement in Afghanistan, it is very well-researched to the point of being dense. I'm glad I read it, but whew!
  • An Untamed State: This book was at the same time very hard to read and very compelling...Roxane Gay is really a master of her craft and told an incredible story about a woman who lives through almost two weeks being kidnapped in Haiti, both how she's broken and how she puts herself back together. 
  • An American Marriage (ARC): This book, about a young couple whose marriage is strained when the husband is wrongfully convicted and sentenced to over a decade in prison, tells a story made more powerful by author Tayari Jones' refusal to make either of them the hero or the villain. It didn't quite get to great, for me, but it's very good and certainly provoking. 
  • Mansfield Park: I love Jane Austen, but I'm glad that I read this one now as opposed to earlier. Its heroine, Fanny Price, is quiet and reserved and very concerned with moral virtue...she's not the sparkly and witty Austen heroine we tend to imagine. But as always, Austen's keen observations about people and society are charming and delightful and I really liked this book.

In Life...
  • My best friend came to visit: My best friend lives back home in Michigan, but she found a cheap flight so she and her son, who's almost two now, came out over MLK weekend! We went to the park and played, we hung out and ate pizza, and we went to the Discovery Museum (which the baby was generally more excited about than he looks in this picture), and it was super fun and I can't wait to see them again the next time I'm there or they're here!
  • Work retreat in Seattle: I'd actually never been anywhere in Washington before, so I was excited to take my first visit to the state to spend a long weekend in Seattle. It was very fun but it was also very cold by the waterfront and we definitely want to go back when it's a little bit warmer and explore more! 

One Thing:

Tracking my reading is something I just started to do in earnest since I started this blog, but I think it's been super interesting to see what patterns do or don't exist. I've always thought about getting more hardcore about it, but I'm much too lazy to do the formula stuff in Excel to make that happen. And then Sarah's Book Shelves, one of my favorite book bloggers came out with her Rock Your Reading Tracker and did it all for me! I've only been using it for about a month but I think it's going to be super helpful for me in understanding my reading better (and pointing me towards my best sources for suggestions on what to read next!). I paid for this with my own money and I'd do so again and if you're looking for a tool like this, I'll heartily recommend it!

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. Thank you so much for the shout-out and I'm thrilled to hear you're liking the tracker! It's helping me so much too to be able to monitor my stats throughout the year and keep tabs on my recommendation sources.
    And - An American Marriage did make it to great for me and Untamed State is so good, but brutal. I read it a couple years ago.

    1. It was definitely 11.99 well-spent, and it's going to be super interesting to see thinks like debuts and diversity at the end of the year because those aren't things I've actively tracked before. I've found myself continuing to noodle on American Marriage, trying to decide who's to blame for what and it's stuck in my head since I finished it for sure. Untamed State made me really excited to read everything Roxane Gay has ever written and never pick up that particular book again because...geez