Month In Review – January 2019

A timely recap post? On my blog? There’s a first time for everything.


Really got into podcasts this month and… uh, I originally typed “started a few new podcasts” but that’s not the whole truth. I subscribed to new podcasts (plural) then ignored them to burn through 70 episodes of The Adventure Zone (@thezonecast). It’s been great fun! I’m sad that the Balance arc is finished but looking forward to the next story.

I read 7 books in January: 2 adult fiction, 3 young adult fiction, 1 middle grade fiction, 1 graphic novel. A big increase from 14 books total in 2018! Also 15 new-to-us children’s books… this was a big month for rereading books we know and love (Olivia) and trying to eat board books (Johnathan).


Maintenance mode. This is the final year for my current 101 in 1001 so I’ve gone through the list to figure out what to finish, what to drop, and what to save for next year’s brand new list. More on that later.

As for Mel vs Shelf, I’m going to retire the project for now, as it didn’t help my reading slump in 2018. I still plan to pick away at my physical TBR but tried to work books I own into Popsugar and Book Riot prompts for this year instead.


Not gonna lie, I read – and listened – to more than usual because we spent most of January stuck inside… ice, snow, wind, sickness, January had it all. There’s very little to do around here that’s worth dragging two small children out into -30 temperatures and we’re in limbo between winter and spring organized activities.

We’re also deep in the trenches of infant survival mode. The baby is teething. Goodbye, a good night’s sleep… may we meet again, hopefully sooner than later.


Picking away at prompts from Popsugar 2019 and Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge – more on those in another entry. Currently reading Acceptance and To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure.

January was a month of planning and revamping. Hoping to put some of those plans into motion in February!

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent TBR Adds

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List, which should have been a simple topic… except that my TBR is currently a rat’s nest spread across Goodreads, several spreadsheets for brainstorming/tracking this year’s reading challenges, Libby’s tag/hold system, and physical shelves.

With the exception of the actual most recent addition (featured in the header), Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant, the rest are adds from the past month or so, broken into categories by reason for adding. All recent, all anticipated, but not strictly chronological!

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2017 In Hindsight; 2018 looking forward

Banner Photo by Kristopher Roller via Unsplash

Content warning: Discussion of suicide, pregnancy loss, and mental health.

2017 started with a suicide in my husband’s immediate family followed by a miscarriage. Grief left me feeling wrong-footed and cotton-mouthed; I managed to talk about the latter but remain tongue-tied by the former.

(Where would I start? We were never close. His death revealed decades of abuse and years of deteriorating health. A lot of what I felt – still feel – is ugly and raw and flies in the face of loved ones who have a balance of more good memories than bad. It’s taken a year to come to terms with these feelings and with myself as someone capable of feeling that way.)

There are plenty of happy memories; it wasn’t an entire year of doom and gloom. With everything underpinned by these two events, however, a lot of my memories are emotionally dissonant:

Long nights spent with grieving relatives, surrounded by flowers and condolences and tears, while Olivia and her cousin played and startled laughs out of everyone present.

Welcoming a new nephew less than a week after actively miscarrying.

Drifting through holidays like a bad dream, dodging the inevitable well-meaning but nonetheless invasive questions.

Wishing happy birthday to my grandma-in-law who, for one horrible night in January, didn’t think she would live to see another birthday.

It’s laughable to think that the year also ended on a low note – a household case of the flu – but getting sick turned out to be 2017’s parting sucker punch. All’s well and good while you’re busy and focused on the future! Until you find yourself couch-bound with nothing but time to reflect on a year’s worth of things you tried very hard to think and talk around instead of about.

In a way, though, I think this was the best possible ending to the year, despite starting the new year both physically and emotionally raw. Goodbye and good riddance to 2017. 2018 won’t be a clean slate, but I’m in a better place to make peace with the bad and choose the good going forward.