January Reading Wrap-Up

I set several reading goals this year. The main one being my Read Off My Shelf challenge.

After I counted and logged all my books, I decided that reading 50 books from my current hoard stash of books was a good goal, with a stretch goal set at 75. My overall reading goal for 2023 is 156 (3 books per week). So 50 off my TBR bookcase, nearly a third of my overall goal, means 1 out of every 3 books I read should be off my shelf.

The catch? I pledged not to buy any new books until I clear those 50 off my TBR bookcase.

To keep me on track, I’ll be posting a monthly reading wrap-up on the last day of each month. The end of January is here, so let’s see my January reading stats.

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Update on 2023 Reading Goals

In my 2023 Reading Goals post, I wrote that my main reading goal this year is to Read Off my Shelf.

Or rather shelves as in plural.

Okay, honestly, it’s 2 entire bookcases.

There, I admitted it!

Yes, I have 2 bookcases full of books just waiting to be read.

I finally went through and catalogued all my books. I have, give or take a book, 754 756 books in my house. I say give or take because it’s likely I missed one or two or five, because while the majority of my books are in one of 6 bookcases, I do have books stacked everywhere. Like pretty much on any available surface. Including the floor.

Out of the 756 I logged, 319 321 are TBR (to be read). I figure that less than half is not a bad radio of read-to-unread. Of course, I won’t mention how many of the 756 books involves multiple copies of the same book. (I’m not looking at you Good Omens (5) or Pride and Prejudice (4)). Hey, it’s not my fault that publishers make special editions or that the British versions have a different, and often more awesome, cover.

Anyway, on this fun year-long journey of trying to read off my shelf, I figured some accountability might help. Especially since I have pledged not to buy any new books until I clear 50 off my TBR shelf. (We all know I’ll fail at that, but it’s good to have goals.)

I’ve set up a separate page for the Read Off My Shelf Challenge so everyone can easily track my progress. As I read them, I’ll mark them off and add the date read.

Let’s see how many I can get through this year!

Top 13 Puzzles of 2022

Despite moving and living without my puzzles or my puzzle table for over 4 months, I still had a good puzzle year.

I completed 58 puzzles from 21 puzzle companies. My smallest puzzle was 60 pieces, the largest 1500 pieces, and the majority were 1000 pieces. (I don’t currently have a table big enough for anything over 2000 pieces.)

That’s over 48,000 puzzle pieces!

I completed so many awesome puzzles this year, I had a hard time narrowing it down. I had as many as 25 puzzles picked out until I realized that was almost half of my yearly total. But I finally narrowed it down to 13. To see more, check out my Instagram, where I post puzzles, books, adventures, and more.

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Thoughts On a New Year or The Beauty of Being 40-Something

It’s a new year. And with the start of a new year, I tend to reflect on life, the universe, and everything. As a 40-something-year-old, I’ve had some time (a few decades in fact) to consider life and what’s important to me. What success means. What happiness means. And I’ve come to some conclusions.

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10 Most Anticipated Book Releases for 2023

Happy New Year!

A new year means new books and new reading goals. I have already scoped out so many awesome books that will be published in 2023. Because I clearly need more books on my TBR.

I will also be tackling a few reading challenges this year. Read about my 2023 Reading Goals and my Top Reads of 2022.

While I have picked out 10 upcoming book releases, I know I will find so many more. So these 10 will only be the start of an awesome 2023.

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Top 10 Reads of 2022

Well, another year has flown by. This was a weird year in a trilogy of weird years. Let’s hope this was a true trilogy and not a Douglas Adams trilogy.*

My 2022 was a bit crazed. I started 2022 in Okinawa, Japan, where I lived since the start of covid. In April, I finally got to return to the states for the first time in two years. I secured a new job in May, said goodbye to Okinawa in July, and move back to Washington D.C. I lived like a nomad for a couple months until I bought a condo. My stuff and my books finally arrived in mid-October. So I spent a lot of the summer under stress and read very little. I mostly reread old faves. Comfort reads. Or rather, I listened to my fave books on audio. Over and over again.

Does anyone else do this? I’ve read that it’s a trait of a type of introvert to relisten/reread/rewatch faves. Over and over and over.

Despite the craziness and stress and lack of any significant reading May through October, I did read some fantastic books this past year. So with the countdown to the New Year, I’m taking a moment to reflect back on my top reads of 2022.

* Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is “a trilogy in five parts.” In other words, it was meant to be a trilogy but stretched to 5 books and Adams had intended on writing a 6th.

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2023 Reading Goals

For some reason, 2022 seemed to both drag and fly by. Now, here we are on the cusp of 2023. Twenty twenty-three. A New Year. Can you believe it?

2022 was a crazy year for me with moving back to the states from Japan and being homeless for a coupe of months and starting a new job. As a result, my reading was a bit up and down as a result. 2023 should be a bit more stable since I don’t plan on another big move. And so I have made some big reading goals!

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Unboxing New Puzzles, Part 2: The Reveal

I dove right in and started The Haunted Castle. As I mentioned in the previous post, this is the first series of puzzles by Flipsi Puzzles.

First I love that the puzzle comes in a reusable bag. I hope that all puzzle companies switch to reusable bags.

The pieces have a nice, solid feel. While both sides are matte, it’s easy to distinguish between the known side, the Castle, and the surprise side (what’s lurking inside).

For this puzzle, I sorted the pieces by shape. From there, I completed the edges and then started on the castle. This 500-piece puzzle is a good challenge. I rank it a medium difficulty.

This was a super fun puzzle and I look forward to completing the other two, the Haunted House and the Haunted Farmhouse.

I took a video of my progress and the finished puzzle:

Unboxing New Puzzles, Part 1

Now that I am mostly settled in my new place, I can get back to what I love—books and puzzles. And it just so happens that I received a new puzzle order today.

This is a blame it on Instagram purchase. Or rather, blame it on the fact that most of the sponsored posts I see on Instagram are puzzles because I follow and like mostly puzzle accounts. And Instagram’s algorithms clearly work.

Well played Instagram. Well played.

In this case, I’m super happy with my purchase. The company is called Flipsi Puzzles, a small and new puzzle company from Australia. (And this is why I do love social media—being able to find and support small businesses anywhere in the world!) Their first series is called Haunted Places and What Lurks Within. As I am insatiably curious, I had to get these puzzles and find out what’s on the flip side.

After struggling to pick one of the puzzles, I gave up and just purchased all 3 puzzles plus the Flipsi Puzzles board. Check out my unboxing video:

And stay tuned. I’ll post part 2 where I complete the Haunted Castle so I can finally see what’s on the flip side.