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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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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My Day At the National Book Festival

Yesterday, the Library of Congress held the National Book Festival in-person once again. And I was so excited that I was back just in time to attend.

my original itinerary

Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Festival was jammed packed full of panels, authors, and books. In fact, I had such a hard time choosing which sessions to attend and which authors to sign books. I mean, check out this incredible schedule. How do you decide?

I attended in 2018 and went with no planning. That was a mistake. I ended up just randomly wandering around, got overwhelmed by the number of people (in fairness, attendance at the 2018 Festival was at capacity), and ended up leaving only buying a couple of books but without really seeing a panel.

So this year, I was determined to have a plan. And my first attempt to schedule all the sessions and book signings I wanted to do meant I would need to be 4 people.

Seriously.

My first few schedule attempts would’ve required Hermoine’s time-turner. But not having a time-turner, I did have at least some kind of plan.

I eventually eliminated those sessions on the main stage because I figured those would have huge lines to get in and I’d be unlikely to get in (as was my experience in 2018). And so I decided to stick mostly with the Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) Stage because those are my favorite genres.

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Countdown 2: Top 5 Fantasy Subgenre Reads

Two weeks to go! The countdown to Wyrd & Wonder* 2022 continues. Wyrd & Wonder starts May 1, and I’m getting ready by posting some of my favorite Top 5s. This week, I’m sharing my Top 5 Fantasy Sub-Genre Reads

*Not sure what Wyrd & Wonder is? Check out this post first.

Fantasy is itself a subgenre that falls under the broad category of Speculative Fiction. Speculative Fiction is a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements and encompasses literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making and more.

So maybe in that sense, Spec Fiction is a super-genre and Fantasy is a genre with a ridiculous number of subgenres. There really is no one definition of Spec Fic just as there’s no one singular list of Fantasy sub-genres. Some put science fiction under fantasy, some have science fiction as adjacent to fantasy.

Regardless, Fantasy has a lot of bandwidth to cover a wide swath of literature. And I’ve picked out my Top 5 Reads from various subgenres. You may agree or disagree on the category and that’s okay. Because in the end, who cares as long as we’re reading.

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Countdown 3: Top 5 Forest Fantasy Reads

Three weeks and the countdown to Wyrd & Wonder* 2022 continues! Wyrd & Wonder starts May 1, and I’m getting ready by posting some of my favorite Top 5s fantasy reads. This week, I’m sharing my Top 5 Forest Fantasy Reads.

*Not sure what Wyrd & Wonder is? Check out this post first.

The traditional fifth anniversary gift is wood, and so Wyrd and Wonder is all about forest fantasy this year. (Hence the tree wolf.) This list celebrates all things forest-y, which covers a lot of ground from woodland settings to forest creatures, from a focus on trees to important wooden artifacts. But I’ve chosen to stay away from the most obvious answers, LOTR (Old Man Willow, Treebeard and the Ents, Trollshaws, and Mirkwood just to name a few as trees and forests play multiple roles in Middle Earth) and HP (Whomping Willow and the Forbidden Forest). And so here are 5 of my fave forest fantasy reads.

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Pairing Puzzles With Books

As I completed my latest puzzle today, the mushroom images made me think of a book about fungi on my TBR bookcase. When I went to put the puzzle in one of puzzle cases (basically a bookcase that I’ve converted for puzzles), I looked at some of my other puzzles and started thinking about which puzzles could go with which books. I’ve seen Instagrammers pair puzzles and beverages and bookstagramers have paired books with all sorts of things from dresses to food to other books. So I thought hey, why not pair puzzles with books. (Seriously, this was pretty much my exact thought process.) And voilá! I came up with a whole list of puzzle and book pairings.

It makes me so happy when two hobbies collide in such a delightful way. Booknerds & Puzzlers unite!

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Wyrd & Wonder Countdown: Top 5 Fantasy Reads Since Last May

A couple of years ago I stumbled across something called Wyrd & Wonder. Wyrd & Wonder is an annual geek-out of people who love all things fantasy hosted by Lisa, Jorie, and imyril. The month of May is dedicated to celebrating fantasy books, movies TV shows, games, and more, and the fun includes read-alongs, interviews, memes, gaming, and more.

I joined the fun in 2020 and wrote one of my all-time favorite posts on A Few of My Favorite (Fantasy) Things.

This year, Wyrd & Wonder turns 5. And there just happens to be 5 weeks before May 1. To celebrate this 5th Wyrdiverisary, I’m doing 5 countdown posts to Wyrd & Wonder. I’m starting off the countdown with my Top 5 Fantasy Read since last May.

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