January Redux: getting started

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

It’s been a slow start to the year for me in terms of work (at least by comparison), so I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and catch up on reviews. I say catch up – I’ve also done a lot of reading, so the net result feels like treading water, but at least my backlog is more recent…

Reading Round-up

I began the year with an attempt to inhale as many 2019 reads as I could before the Subjective Chaos nominations deadlines. Thankfully, most of the panel were far more organised than me and nominated a lot of the books I was planning to read (I AM EXCITE. I can’t wait to share our final shortlist with you), so I switched to 2020 ARCs mid-month. Because bloody hell there are some AMAZING books coming out in the next few weeks!

  • Ormeshadow – Priya Sharma  ★★☆
  • Sisters of the Vast Black – Lina Rather  ★★★★
  • The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper  ★★★★★
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers  ★★★★★
  • Today I Am Carey – Martin L Shoemaker  ★★★☆
  • The Light Brigade – Kameron Hurley  ★★★★
  • Bone Silence – Alastair Reynolds  ★★★

Additional Reviews

I halved my review backlog this month, including a couple that had been lingering on my conscience since Spooktastic Reads back in October. I feel much better for it (although I’ve read more than I’ve reviewed so technically I suppose I’m going backwards).

Stacking the shelves

New Year isn’t always a good time for self-restraint and I proved that by yelling OH HELL YES to an abundance of review copies. Have you seen the 2020 release line-ups? Aren’t they amazing? How could I say no? Well, quite.

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. This year, I’m also planning to read more backlist. I have joined some challenges, but this year they’re more about fun and helping me pick my next read than pushing me to read specific things.

Books read: 7 / 70 | Game of Books: 54 / 600

  • 1 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2019)
  • 2 ARCs
  • 3 bite-size (excl. short stories)

Authors: 2 male (29%) / 5 female (71%) / trans, non-binary or genderfluid (0%)

  • Authors of colour: 1 (14%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 3 (43%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: (0%)

I’m still trying to gauge my Game of Books target based on this year’s scoring mechanics (mine are slightly more generous that last year in points awards for page count, and include an extra point-scoring metric), but so far it feels about right.


I haven’t made a dent on my self-set Contrition of a Bad SF Fan Backlist Bingo challenge. I’m targeting 12 reads for this, but the challenge is likely to lie dormant until the second half of the year. Ish.

I always said I would target 6 #BookSpin reads this year (hosted by TheAromaOfBooks) to chip away at the unread tomes on my shelf. Whilst the January spin picked out a book that was very tempting, I always knew this month was about Subjective Chaos and ARCs, so sadly Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land will just have to wait a little longer!

However, I’m off to a strong start with BookishMarginalia‘s fun LitsyAtoZ challenge! For this challenge, I’m only going to consider the first letter of the book title (rather than allowing myself the first letter of author surnames as well) to complete my alphabet, and rereads don’t qualify.

Letters completed: B, L, O, S, T.

What’s coming up?

The Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards shortlist will be announced this weekend!

In reading, February promises a heap more ARCs and possibly 2 buddy reads (the Runalong Readalong of Darkspell, the second Deverry book, and potentially The Monster Baru Cormorant with my Baru buddy Maryam the Curious SFF Reader if we both have time and get ourselves organised).

I’ll also need to start feeding up the dragons in preparation for Wyrd and Wonder, which will be back in May.

How has your year started?