January Redux: a fresh start?

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

I am managing my expectations for 2021, which started with me noticing on New Year’s Day that I had acquired a large and rather painful bruise on my knee: 2020’s final gift. It seems as good a metaphor as any for this year. In case I was hoping for better from 2021, I promptly head-butted a door handle. Yes, ridiculous household accidents are my superpower. At least I remember this one…

Reading Round-up

I got off to a slow start, partly because I became obsessed by Bookburners in the final week of 2020 and partly because I wanted to hammer out outstanding 2020 reviews before I got lost in a new read. This backfired, of course, resulting in me struggle to settle in to read anything for the first two weeks of January. Sadly, that put a stop to my plan to take part in Vintage SciFiMonth as by mid-month I had ARC deadlines coming due. Next year… On the plus side, my reading picked up in the last ten days of the month so it’s not a bad start to the year in the end!

  • The Echo – James Smythe ★★★☆
  • The Obsidian Tower – Melissa Caruso ★★★★
  • The Forever Sea – Joshua Phillip Johnson ★★★★
  • Bite-size Books: Fireheart Tiger – Aliette de Bodard ★★★★
  • Audio reads:
    • Bookburners – Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, Amal El-Mohtar, Andrea Phillips and Brian Francis Slattery ★★★★★
    • The Vela: Salvation – Ashley Poston, Maura Milan, Nicole Givens Kurtz, and Sangu Mandanna ★★☆

My January BookSpin was Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy, which should have doubled as a Vintage SciFiMonth read. I struggled to settle into it; while I admire Piercy’s character choices, the downbeat tone and slow pace wasn’t what I was looking for this month. I’m keeping it on the back burner for now.

Additional Reviews

I kicked off the year with the second half of my Twelve Days of Bookmas: a round-up of overdue 2020 reviews. I didn’t quite manage a post per day in the end, but I did put a satisfying dent in my review backlog. We’ll see how long that lasts…

Stacking the shelves

New Year sales are the bane delight of any bookworm, and the year got off to a strong start on the 2nd when Alix E Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches went on offer (I couldn’t resist The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, either, in spite of the mixed reviews). I also requested All The Exciting Things on NetGalley over Christmas; I’m taking it as a Good Sign for 2021 (rather than another confirmation that no, I never learn) that they have all been granted. Yay!

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. I decided not to set any particular targets for my reading this year – no Goodreads Challenge or even Game of Books – although I continue to monitor my reading mix.

Books completed: 6 | DNFs: 1

  • 3 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2021)
  • 2 ARCs
  • 1 bite-size (excl. short stories)
  • 2 audio reads

Authors: 2 male (28%) / 3 female (43%) / 0 trans, enby or genderqueer (0%) + 2 collaborations (29%)

  • Authors of colour: 2 (28%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 3 (43%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: 1 (14%)

BookSpin: [1 WIP]

What’s coming up?

My birthday! Other than that, February promises to be a quiet month focused on reviewing new releases and reading down my backlist. We’re still locked down here in the UK, so I expect very few distractions.

How was your January?