A Look Back at January 2020 ~ A Monthly Review

I kicked off the year with participating in Cleo’s The Iliad read-along and the Japanese Literature Challenge 13. I also started a couple of year-long projects:Β  Nick’s War and Peace Read-along and the Deal Me In Short Stories project.

Also, I am trying to write more reviews about the books I read. And so I am happy to say that I wrote reviews for all the books I read in January except for one. For the most part, I typically don’t write reviews of children’s books I read. Mainly because I just read a lot of children’s books between pre-reading and reading aloud. However, every now and then, you might find me writing about them. πŸ™‚ Anyway….I am excited that I did write 3 book reviews this month! Okay….now on to my January reading recap.


The Iliad Read-Along

The Iliad Read-Along

Welllll…… I guess this is going okay. I posted my thoughts on that so far HERE. I admit that things are running together at this point. But I am determined to keep reading and trying to work through this epic poetry work. I’m almost to the halfway mark!


War and Peace Read-Along

War and Peace Read-Along

This is a year-long project. It is a chapter-a-day read-along and my translation has exactly 365 days. I am on track so far with reading a chapter a day. So far, I am actually liking this novel more this time around. However, I am just now beginning to come across some of the war chapters. So……we shall see how it goes.


Deal Me In Challenge 2020

Deal Me In Short Stories Reading Project

I read four short stories in January. The one picked for this past week I actually read yesterday (Feb. 1st). So I’m counting it in February. πŸ™‚ Here are the four short stories I read for January:

  • “Sieur George” by George Washington Cable – A man disappears then reappears. His landlord sees him initially carry in a trunk before his mysterious disappearance. When the man reappears, the landlord obsesses over what could be in that trunk. There’s a turn of events and then the story ends kind of abruptly. I thought the writing quality was good; the story was somewhat odd though.
  • “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving – The classic story of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman. I thought the writing was very descriptive and I wanted to keep reading it. This was my favorite of all the short stories I read this month.
  • “The Wife of His Youth” by Charles W. Chestnutt – A man is preparing to marry when another woman comes to him seeking her husband whom she hasn’t seen for many years. There’s a turn of events and it has an ambiguous ending. This story was just okay. But I really think another read of it would be beneficial. I read that this is Chestnutt’s most anthologized work.
  • “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry – Two men decide to kidnap a boy in order to get the ransom for money that they need. I didn’t care for this story at all. I thought the plot line was thin and it just wasn’t that good.

Japanese Literature Challenge

Japanese Literature Challenge 13

I kicked off the Japanese Literature Challenge by reading The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a re-read for me. You can read my review HERE.

I am currently reading The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura and have just started reading Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro.


Other Things I Read

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan – Review HERE

Still Life by Louise Penny – Review HERE

Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty


Books In Progress

The Iliad by Homer

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt


January Stats

4 Books Read
4 Short Stories Read
6 Books In Progress
Favorite Book Read in January:Β  Still Life by Louise Penny
Most Visited Blog Post:Β  The Evolution of My Reading Journal


2020 Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up Graphic

This is my first time joining in on this monthly wrap-up round-up. Nicole hosts the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up, which is a Month In Review Round-Up where you can link your monthly recap posts.

12 thoughts on “A Look Back at January 2020 ~ A Monthly Review

  1. congrats on your month and on reviewing all your reads. I know it can be a constant struggle. Can’t wait to see what you think of The Book of Tea and Never Let Me Go, very very different books for sure, but both excellent in their own genre, I think.
    PS. I know I have an email from you I haven’t answered yet. maybe tomorrow

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    • Thanks Emma! The Book of Tea, thus far, is interesting. It feels a bit dry at times, but I have highlighted several different things already. Right now I’ve been reading the part where it talks about the Japanese formal tea ceremony. Very interesting. I have just barely started Never Let My Go – as in like just the first page or two. I was hoping to get to more of it today, but it’s been a busy day. πŸ™‚ I hope to get to reading it more tonight. And no worries on the email! Whenever you have time. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to hearing from you!

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  2. Good heavens, where did my comment go? I’ve had disappearing comments on a couple of blogs now.

    Well, I said that it looks like you had a great January! Your books-in-progress look impressive. I’m actually keeping up with the War and Peace read-along, which is shocking! But not so much making comments on other’s blogs because of the time required for The Iliad read-along. But I will have more time at the end of February, thankfully.

    Keep up the impressive reading!

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    • Reading just a chapter a day of “War and Peace” I think makes it more manageable when you are reading other things too. Many of the chapters are short and even the longer ones still aren’t that long. I’ve read several of the war chapters now and I’m still liking it more this time around so far! Yay!

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  3. I admire your honest reviews of the 4 short stories you read. I’ve read O. Henry too but don’t remember NOT liking any of them, so maybe The Ransom of Red Chief is an outlier. I’m a big fan of Irving and have read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow several times over the years. I also lived for five years in a suburb of Indianapolis named after the author – “Irvington,” – so maybe that’s why he’s a favorite.

    I look forward to seeing your February update and hope you are enjoying the Deal Me In short story reading challenge. πŸ™‚

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  4. Thanks Jay. And while I didn’t like The Ransom of Red Chief, I am looking forward to reading some other O. Henry works. I really liked The Legend of Sleepy Hollow! Rip Van Winkle is in the mix and I keep hoping each week I will draw the card for it! LOL I read it years ago and can’t remember much about it. So I am really looking forward to reading it again. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I like the variety of books that you are reading. I’m interested in Japanese culture, but haven’t read these books. I researched the Japanese tea ceremony a few years ago and was fascinated by it. It does feel good to get reviews written so bravo on completing your reviews in January.

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  6. Pingback: A Look Back at February 2020 – A Month in Review |

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