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2018 Reading Challenge | January

The first month of the new year ends today, and I’m actually pretty happy with the amount of books I read over the past 31 days. Compared to previous months (and years, actually), it seems like I’ve finally gotten back into my reading groove and that feels great!

With that said, I am really disappointed with my Reading Challenge progress. Well, lack of progress. Almost every book I finished came from the library, which means just about every book from my bookshelves remains untouched. I’m certainly not disparaging my trips to the library, but in order to achieve my overall reading goal I need to cut back on those trips in February. Especially since it’s the shortest month, and especially since my reading speed isn’t quite up to the point it needs to be in order to reach that overall goal. I’m certainly not discouraged – I have plenty of early-year optimism left in the tank. I’m not running solely on caffeine fumes just yet.


In case you are new to my blog or my 2018 Reading Challenge: I have challenged myself to read all of the books I own. Any book that I reread (or read for the first time, as will be the case for many books) that doesn’t spark joy will be removed from my personal library and donated or given away. You can find all the details by clicking here. And without further ado…

Books I Read in January:

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller – I’m hoping since I loved the first book I read this year, that it means 2018 is going to be my year. That’s the correct attitude to have, right? I did a book review of this novel, so if you’d like to learn more about it click here. The day I published that review, I read on Claire Fuller’s website (and was told by Claire Fuller herself) that the paperback edition was out that very same day in the US. I have since then purchased the paperback copy, so I suppose this technically counts for my Reading Challenge.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – This was my second read of Agatha Christie (the first was Murder on the Orient Express just a few months ago), and I loved it. There are so many complicated details that were tied quite tightly, and I’m not sure how Agatha Christie pulled off the ending/the whole thing, except I am sure and it’s because her writing is genius. It makes me sad that I don’t own any Agatha Christie novels, because they would be a wonderful addition to my Reading Challenge. I may just use my one or two library trips next month to check out only Agatha Christie books.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – If you haven’t read this yet, toss your computer/mobile device aside and go get a copy right now. Or, I guess if you want to be less dramatic, use your computer or mobile device to get a copy. These legends are so interesting and enticing; I wish I knew about them sooner but am so glad I know about them now. And who better to tell them, really?

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – Alphabetically, this is the first book on my shelves [at this writing], so it was the first book to read for my Reading Challenge. I did read this for the first time last year, and although I enjoyed it then, I actually enjoyed it more the second time around. I took in the stories and words much more slowly, and thought more deeply about their meaning.

Books I Did Not Finish in January:

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy – I was really looking forward to these short stories because of the title, but apart from one or maybe two of them, this collection just didn’t grab me. My first DNF of the year.

Books Added to my Bookshelf in January:

The Little French Bistro by Nina George
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
The Pearl of Orr’s Island by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Mary Barton and Other Tales by Mrs. Gaskell
Cooking Down East by Marjorie Standish (okay, so this is a cookbook that I won’t be reading all at once, but I did add it to my inventory this month)

I did a bookstore book haul post on #bookstagram that features all of these, if you’d like to see them (just click here).

Books I Am Keeping:

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Books I Am Not Keeping:

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
The Death of Innocents by Richard Firstman and Jamie Talan
Confessions by Saint Augustine
The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius
Sidereus Nuncius or The Sidereal Messenger by Galileo Galilei
Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

I explain why I’ve decided on these books in my January Book Unhaul post, as well as how you can scoop any of these titles up if you’ve been wanting to add them to your personal library.

So goodbye, January! I hope you made some progress with any challenges or goals you set for yourself this month, and I hope you continue challenging, or at the very least, enjoying yourself by reading, writing, blogging, and/or whatever else you fill your time with. See you next month!




  • A.J. Sefton

    Well I read one and a half books in January – so big congrats to you! Impressed. I like how eclectic your list is, like you I like to broaden my horizons. Must check out your blog in more detail xx

    • Kelsey

      Thank you! It was a big accomplishment for me, and it makes me hopeful for February. Cheers to broader horizons! 🙂

  • Denzil TheBookOwl

    I wish you well on your challenge Kelsey, but I do think that sometimes we can be too focused on numbers, don’t you think? I’ve fallen into that trap myself and found myself stressing or rushing books. Now I just have a pretty loose target on Goodreads but I’ve set it deliberately low. Anyway, you might not get so stressed at not hitting a target

    • Kelsey

      Sometimes that can definitely hold true! But when I exceed the number of books I have typically been reading it’s nice to keep count. 😉 And since I want to read all the books I own, I’m placing more importance on the number than usual.

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