January in Review: A Good Start to 2010

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

At the beginning of the month, my friend gave me a calendar called “The Reading Woman.” Apparently she knows I like to read. Each month has a different painting of a woman reading. I’ve decided to use it to keep track of the books I’ve read each month: when I finish a book, I write the name and author in on the date. That way at the end of the year, I’ll see where I’ve been and it will be full of books finished by date.

I liked January’s lady, but I rarely read sitting at a table and not with such a huge book. It’s calming all the same. As you can see (although you problem can’t read it), it took me a week to finish my first book in January. But I got plenty of reading in overall! I really enjoyed the books I read, for the most part, and while a few were not favorites, I’m ultimately glad I read them. I think finishing each month with “no regrets” is a goal for the year!

Because I have red hair, February’s picture kind of looks like me (but not really). I like it already and I look forward to another great reading month. I’m going to try to get a number of African-American books read in honor of Black History Month, but I also have my book club books, the start of the Lord of the Rings readalong, East of Eden, and some other classics and retellings. We’ll see how it goes this month!

I was going to get my Langston Hughes review up, but I figured the “month in review” would be quicker to get up. And since I wrote half of it and then my laptop turned off (apparently it wasn’t plugged in) I had to start over so it’s even later than I intended. And I’m not as long-winded as I was the first time (which you’ll probably consider a good thing). I guess later postings is what happens when I unplug for Sunday and Saturday my blog was down for about 16 hours.  Oh well, we do what we can.

My February project book is DNA by James Watson. Since it’s about 400 pages it may not be tough going. I may try to read my mom’s PhD dissertation as well. It’s about Eve’s role in Medieval English literature.

How was your reading January?

Have you ever lost a blog post after writing a good portion of it?

Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews

In January, I reviewed a few things I finished previously:

I also read the following:

  • Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad (50 pages; poetry).
  • Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (about 12 hours audio, equal to about 400 pages; children’s fiction).  Began in 2009.
  • The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (380 pages; fiction/really old classic). Began in 2009.
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (195 pages; fiction).
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (350 pages; fiction). (a reread)
  • Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (124 pages; fiction). (a reread)
  • Jazz by Toni Morrison (230 pages; fiction).
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A New Verse Translation trans. Simon Armitage (200, but half of that is the original Middle English; fiction/really old classic).
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa (190 pages; fiction).
  • Golden Slippers, an anthology of Negro poetry for young readers (200 pages; poetry).
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (310 pages; fiction).
  • History of the English-Speaking People by Winston Churchill, abridged by Henry Steele Commager (470 pages; nonfiction).
  • Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neale Hurston (300 pages; fiction).

Children’s Literature

I discussed the following picture books as a part of the 1000 books project.

Non-Review Posts

Not all my posts were about books I reviewed.

Finished Challenges

The Japanese Literature Challenge [ended 31 Jan 2010]. 2/1.I enjoyed my first two Japanese books and it’s alerted me to fact that I need to learn more about this literature. I’m starting my own personal  challenge; see below.

The Really Old Classics Challenge [ends 28 Feb 2010]. 4/4 old classics + 1/1 retelling. I enjoyed all the books I’ve so far. Although I’ve technically finished, I still want to read the Christopher Logue retellings of the Iliad that I checked out.

New Challenges

Clover, Bee, and Reverie [ends 31 December 2010]. 0/14. A poetry challenge! YEAY! The fun is the “expert” badges: we choose our poetry to fit in certain categories so we can gain some level of “expertise.” I’m going to have figuring out which types of poetry to read this year for this project.

Scottish Literature Challenge [ends 31 December 2010]. 0/1. A challenge to read pre-1914 Scottish literature. I am not very familiar with it, so I’m hoping to read a few things. Maybe Burns’ poetry. Maybe some children’s literature. Maybe Boswell’s Life of Johnson (abridged!). I haven’t decided yet. Amateur Reader’s goal is open discussion about these books.

JLit Personal Challenge [ends 31 Decmber 2010]. My goal is to read as much as I can from Japan and about Japan during 2010.

Challenge Progress Lists

These link to my internal pages where you can see my ongoing progress, updated as I get the chance throughout the month.

External/Timed Challenges

Women Unbound
Black Classics Challenge
Graphic Novel Challenge
Our Mutual Read
Clover, Bee, and Reverie
Scottish Literature Challenge

Personal Challenges

Monthly Project Books
A Year of Classics
Forget-Me-Not Genres
Balanced Reading
JLit Personal Challenge

Ongoing Progress

(links to pages on this site)

1000 Books
A History of Children’s Literature
Pulitzer Project
Read the Nobels
Newbery Award
Caldecott Corner
U.S. Presidential Reading
LDS Presidents
101 Great Books

Reviewed on February 1, 2010

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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  1. I didn’t picture you with red hair at all. Light brown hair, straight, long. You really need to do a vlog for us one day. 😀

    Ugh, sorry you lost your first post. I’ve lost pieces of posts in the past, but thankfully blogger auto-saves every minute or so. Still, even losing a piece is frustrating. I can’t imagine losing so much. 🙁

    I have a sort of project book myself this month – a 450-page biography of Virginia Woolf by her nephew Quentin Bell. I’m about 100 pages into it and have been reading for at least a week. I’m hoping to finish by the end of February. I’m so bad with nonfiction.

  2. Amanda, I just keep chickening out of the vlog thing. I hate hearing my voice. And I look and feel so awkward.

    I lost the post on my computer. I was writing it in word and my computer was not plugged in and it didn’t give me a low battery warning and shut off all at once. I know word does autosave, but it was in between and hadn’t saved for a while for some reason. Quite a pain.

    I’m very interested in Woolf now that I’ve been reading her! You can do it: slow and steady wins the race! (I love nonfiction but that Churchill book took me FOREVER so I understand.)

  3. So glad to hear your first month of reading in 2010 has been so rewarding, Rebecca! I think I’ve been in a somewhat similar state as you – I’ve read fewer books so far as compared to this time last year, but I’ve been enjoying my reading immensely! I’ve already read two 5-star books (review to come some time this week on the second one)! I think your idea of reading without regret is the way to go!

  4. Gah! Rebecca, this is such a great idea!

    I was given the same calendar a month ago, but unlike you I’m just letting mine sit unused because I have nowhere to hang it. After reading your post, I realized I shouldn’t let this calendar go to waste — thanks for the great post!

  5. I hate the way I sound, too. And the way I look. So I sympathize. Vlogs are my way of forcing myself into becoming more accepting of myself. Like breaking a phobia.

  6. I use a calendar to record blog posts, mostly so I remember to post things when they’re supposed to post. I never thought about using one to record the date I finished books, but I like that idea.

    And can I second the ‘we need a vlog’ comment? I was scared of doing my first one, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think I sound like a 12-year-old girl, but oh well 🙂

  7. It must have been a very popular calendar for book bloggers, because I have one too! My favorite month — July — Reading on the Rocks by John George Brown. Although, I’m not sure how much reading I would get done in that very uncomfortable dress sitting on a rock!

  8. I got a Book-a-Day calendar this year and all it does is add to my to-read pile! I have a set of Reading Women notecards and they are really quite pretty.
    I read 10 books in January, which is my usual pace.

  9. Steph, one month without regrets: 11 more to go!

    Biblioalatrist, I had a place to hang it, but since my daily schedule is all digital, I didn’t want it sitting vacant and lonely! I like this idea and I hope you enjoy it too!

    Amanda, nope not willing to break myself of my phobia quite yet….

    Kim, ok, some day, not today…

    Jackie, I think 2010 will be JLit and next year I’ll try Chinese!

    Melissa, yeah, the pictures are great — but not always practical reading positions!

    Suzanne, I think the notecards have the same pictures on them. I like them very much.

    Amateur Reader, I just have to figure out when to read the Scottish stuff!

  10. I’ve lost posts too, very frustrating! I like what you are doing with you Reading Women calendar. Many years ago I had a calendar of women writers, a writer for each month, and I spent the year reading at least one book by the featured writer for that month. It was a lot of fun. But I never thought to write down my books read on the calendar. Brilliant idea 🙂
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..Reading in Bed =-.

  11. I’m glad you decided to read more JLit! It’s not a secret that I love JLit, so I so look forward to what you’ll be reading this year!
    .-= mee´s last blog ..Japanese Season Has Ended, For Now =-.

  12. Stefanie, Mine has quotes on the bottom too. I like the idea of reading the author pictured! I think I’m going to have to find a calendar every year, this is fun.

    Mee, I’m looking forward to it too!

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