I hope we all have a bright and happy new year with not too much snow and plenty of educational opportunities.
This painting and haiku commemorate a missing good friend and fellow haiku writer.
My January Word of the Month
My January Haiku of the Month
Difficult old words
I’ve avoided many years
Seem like good ideas.
Bible Verse of the Month
I discipline my body and bring it under subjection.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27
My January reading diary is at the bottom of this page, after the book list.
My Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/lindajm
☆ – I own the book and am ready to read.
★ – I’m reading it.
✓ – I finished reading it. Yay!
⇗ – Still reading at the end of the month.
DNF – I did not like it or finish it.
∅ – Stalled – I started but didn’t finish.
↓ – I didn’t even start. Complete fail!
My Personal Challenge This Month
My January reading goals are to start the 2022 Christian Reading Challenge and a California reading and writing challenge I created in a Goodreads group. I’ll also start the new Newbery Variety Challenge for 2022 if one is posted there. I also want to read books that were sent to me by the Goodreads Giveaways program. It is my intention to limit the number of books on my Goodreads “Currently Reading” page to three and to focus on reading books I already own, rather than buying more.
A few book choices for this month
↓ Historical Fiction: The Children’s Blizzard, by Melanie Benjamin
This will be my second time to read a historical novel by Melanie Benjamin. The topic fits the season. There’s snow outside my door as I’m writing this. This book was sent to me by the Goodreads Giveaways program. The story was inspired by a terrible blizzard that hit the Great Plains here in the USA back in 1888.
✓ Immigration Memoir: Beautiful Country, by Qian Julie Wang
This memoir about a Chinese family living in New York City looks so interesting. I love memoirs. I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaways program. My review. ★★★★
↓ Naturalist Memoir: Shadows on the Klamath: A Woman of the Woods, by Louise Wagenknecht
A brand new hot-off-the-press third memoir by a woman who grew up in the area I now live in. This should work as part of my California reading and writing challenge for 2022.
✓ Christian Classic: The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This is my current audiobook. I like listening to Christian classic literature just before sleeping. Finished 1/10/22 – my review – ★★★★★
✓ Psychology: Man’s Search For Meaning, by Victor Frankl
I listened to a short audiobook version on 1/10/22 – my review – ★★★★★
↓ Christian: The Bumps Are What You Climb On, by Warren Wiersbe
I have a Kindle copy. I’ve had a few difficult years – quite a few, really – and would like to know what he has to say about life’s difficulties and how we can view them.
✓ Christian Missionary Memoir: By Canoe and Dog Train: The Adventures of Sharing the Gospel with Canadian Indians, by Egerton Ryerson Young
This book is free on Kindle! I love reading memoirs by Christian missionaries. Finished 1/14/22. I enjoyed reading this great memoir of a missionary living and traveling in Cree territory at the north end of Lake Winnipeg starting in 1868. There are chapters describing winter travel with dog trains at -50 degrees, and summer travel in canoes, and much more. I am so impressed. Here’s my review. ★★★★★
★ Juvenile Historical Fiction: Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus
Continuing my quest to read all the Newbery list books, this 2011 Newbery Honor Book is available to me now on Kindle.
✓ Christmas Fiction: A Redbird Christmas, by Fannie Flagg
Continued from last month… a sweet, clean, amusing novel. Christmas is over by page 80 and the novel continues on through the year. Great novel. Clean 100%. My Goodreads review. ★★★★★
✓ Juvenile Fiction: Miss Hickory, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
Wonderful story about a doll made from twigs and an acorn, left behind in the countryside when the family moves to a city. I’m reading this because it won the Newbery Medal in 1947, and I’m still trying to read the whole Newbery list. I’m hoping to focus more on the winners than the honor books this year. I’d like at least to get all of them read. Right now I’ve read 60/100 (of the winners). Finished Miss Hickory on 1/17/22. Gratefully. My Goodreads review. ★★★
✓ Christian memoir/biography: Somebody Someday: A Journey of Homelessness, Faith, and Friendship, by Joye Holmes
This is a series of letters from a homeless man, with comments by the woman who received the letters. This was a short Kindle book and it took only about 24 hours to read through it all. Very touching and heartfelt. My Goodreads review. ★★★★★
✓ Christian: Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, by Dane Ortlund
This is a recently published and very popular book about the love of Jesus. My Goodreads review. ★★★★★
✓ Women’s fiction: The Quilter’s Apprentice, by Jennifer Chiaverini
I’m listening to this via audiobook hoping for a lightweight women’s fiction reading experience that doesn’t make me think too hard. This is the first book in a 21 book series. Not sure how long I’ll go with this series or if this book will be the only one for me. [Later] I finished this on 1/26/22. It is nice clean women’s fiction – nice for a diversion from heavy reading in other sectors of my readosphere. Or should I say bookosphere? Anyhow, nice enough novel. Not what I’d call spectacular but it did have a good subplot going about healing broken relationships. My Goodreads review. ★★★★
✓ Christian: Rejection: Healing a Wounded Heart, by June Hunt
I’m wounded – but more than that, I’m reading this little book for a challenge prompt, to read a book with less than 100 pages. This one has 92 pages. I hope I get some healing from it for my wounded heart. I also hope I like it as I have a collection of about five or six similar books on healing topics all by the same author. [Later] Finished 1/21/22. It was heart wrenching to relive so many old wounded moments, however, now I may be more healed because I took this journey. Here’s my Goodreads review. ★★★★
✓ Captivity Narrative: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, by Mary Rowlandson
I was fascinated by this captivity narrative and read it on 1/18/22. I also had to do some research to find the context of the raid on Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1676. Here’s my Goodreads review. ★★★★★
✓ Suspense-Thriller: Sadie, by Courtney Summers
This was a brief audio-read… something I must have bought a few years ago then forgot about. It was in my Audible library already, so I read it – and WOW – turned out to be a VERY good story. It was about a podcast true-crime investigator looking for a missing teenage girl. Great audio recording! Here’s my Goodreads review. ★★★★★
A Comment on the 2022 PopSugar Reading Challenge list
My enthusiasm for this challenge has waned this year as there are three prompts (out of fifty) for 2022 asking me to read books based on gender issues. I think this is excessive. I’m used to seeing at least one prompt on the list about this, but three? I really don’t like prompts that divide human beings into different categories on racial or gender issues. This year we’re being asked to read “a sapphic book,” “a book about gender identity,” and “a book with a character on the ace spectrum*.” Enough is enough. I can find nonfiction Christian books to cover these topics, but maybe I don’t like that much focus on sexual issues in my reading. I’m an old lady (I’ll be 70 in July) and this is not a hot topic of interest to me. I’m planning to do the 2022 Christian Reading Challenge instead. (*Ace Spectrum actually means asexual. I had to look it up on Google.)
My January 2021 Reading Diary
January 1 – Bittersweet Day… my father’s birthday. He passed away in 2011. It still feels like a tragedy to me. I’m still reading A Redbird Christmas from last month and it is too good to put down. Today I started reading Beautiful Country and a devotional, Jesus Always. I’m also audio-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.
Painted this today, 1/1/22
January 2 – I wasn’t going to do it, but I started reading By Canoe and Dog Train early this morning because I woke up too early – around 4am – and didn’t want to get out of bed in case I might be sleepy enough to get more sleep. I wasn’t wanting to listen to more of my audiobook, so I turned to Kindle and started reading this missionary memoir instead. So far it seems more like a biography than a memoir, discussing in general multiple missionary efforts in early Canadian history. I think the personal memoir section starts in chapter three. I’m still swimming through chapter two.
I made and posted a video this morning:
January 3 – I woke up very early this morning – about 3:30am – and I’ve been working on my January assignments for Joanne Sharpe’s 2022 Artistically Inspired Life class… and I finished reading A Redbird Christmas. Here’s my Goodreads review. – ★★★★★
January 4 through 8 – I’ve been focused on doing my art class assignments.
January 9 – Just finished reading Beautiful Country. Four stars! Really a good memoir except for a few TMI passages. Here’s my review. – ★★★★
January 10 – I finished reading The Cost of Discipleship in the early morning hours. Here’s my review. – ★★★★★ After that I needed to listen to another audiobook (I like to have one in progress at all times.) I chose Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl and finished it in one day – it was only five hours long. Here’s my review. – ★★★★★
January 11 – I”m back to reading By Canoe and Dog Train: The Adventures of Sharing the Gospel with Canadian Indians, by Egerton Ryerson Young… currently in chapter six: Christianity’s Effect on Indian Life.
January 12 – I stayed busy doing errands most of today: get propane, groceries, mail, air for my tire that’s losing tire pressure, and do laundry. While I was doing laundry on this sunny (yes, sunny!) day I managed to read a lot more in the memoir, By Canoe and Dog Train. What a fascinating and busy life he had. Winter dog train travel was treacherous!
January 14 – lBy Canoe and Dog Train: The Adventures of Sharing the Gospel with Canadian Indians turned out to be a fascinating and impressive story of missionary life in the mid 1800’s living in and among a friendly Cree culture. Here’s my review. ★★★★★
January 15 – Next book up – I’m now reading Somebody Someday: A Journey of Homelessness, Faith, and Friendship, by Joye Holmes – a series of letters written by a deaf homeless man in Georgia to a Christian woman accountant in Texas. Each letter ends with a few paragraphs of commentary from the woman who received the letters. I’m also still reading Miss Hickory, by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, a children’s novel from the 1940’s. I can handle only one or two chapters of that at a time. [Later same day] I finished reading Somebody Someday: A Journey of Homelessness, Faith, and Friendship. My Goodreads review. ★★★★★ I added two more books to my currently reading list: Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers and The Quilter’s Apprentice.
January 16 – Today I added Rejection: Healing a Wounded Heart, by June Hunt to my reading list. It is only 92 pages!
January 17 – I’m grateful to say I finished Miss Hickory and will never have to read it again, unless, of course, if I wind up on a deserted island and this is the only book available. Wouldn’t that be awful? Like a nightmare! My Goodreads review. ★★★
January 18 – I got caught up with a captivity narrative today. So unexpected. I discovered this memoir by Mary Rowlandson who was injured and kidnapped by natives during King Philip’s War on February 10, 1676. The original title of the book was The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson. This took my entire day to read not only the book but to do some research to find out what King Philip’s War was as I’d never heard of it before. Here’s my review. ★★★★★
January 21 – I finished the book about rejection. Here’s my Goodreads review. ★★★★
January 23 – I read a few more chapters in Heart of a Samurai. It went from being a riveting adventure story to being something like Moby Dick, complete with a dead whale. At least the protagonist, Manjiro, feels as appalled by that as I do.
January 26 – Today I finished the fiction audiobook, The Quilter’s Apprentice. I appreciated the clean-read women’s novel for a diversion. I wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of this kind of lightweight fiction but it is pleasant occasionally. Here’s my review. ★★★★
January 31 – Yesterday and today I got drawn into Sadie, by Courtney Summers – an audiobook I didn’t know I had. GREAT book… I recommend the audio version. Here’s my Goodreads review. ★★★★★ Late in the evening I finished reading Gentle and Lowly. My Goodreads review. ★★★★★