And So It’s a New Year

Image of pathway lined with brick pillars and lattice overhead

Happy New Year! In some ways it really sneaked up on me this year – where has the time gone this past week?!

I always find it a good time to look back before I look ahead, and this year is no different.

My goals for the year were few:

Non-reading Goals, 2018

This year is one I want to make more about being deliberate: with how I spend my time, in what I acquire (or get rid of), in what I create, in what I read.

Ouch. I didn’t do this as well as I would like – except in one area: I made a conscious decision in the spring to really emphasize my reading, and it definitely paid off.

And it is a year when I want to focus on finishing: all those many projects and lists I feel are constantly hanging over my head.

Mixed. I finished some projects (mostly knitting!), but there are still many on the TBR list. I’ve decided, for now, to just consolidate lists and get to them as I can, without making it a dreaded obligation.

Reading Goals, 2018

The 2018 TBR Pile Challenge

I read and posted about (5) books for the challenge [A Wrinkle in Time , A Wind in the Door, Lady Susan, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, The Warden]. One title was abandoned and permanently removed from my shelves. I also finished (3) additional books that I haven’t yet written anything for [A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Woman in White]. Considering that I wandered away from focusing on this challenge about halfway through the year, I’m actually pretty happy with what I accomplished.

Back to the Classics Challenge

In addition to the (6) books I read and posted about [The Warden, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, Lady Susan, A Wrinkle in Time, Crooked House, Cold Comfort Farm], I read another two qualifying titles that I haven’t (yet) written about [The Woman in White, Tess of the D’Urbervilles]. Which is actually better than I’d hoped for at the start of the year.

Read great books. Not just books I love or enjoy or comfort reads, but GREAT BOOKS.

I read books I enjoyed, books I love(d), books that made me work for it (and that may perhaps be great books – but they beat me up too much to appreciate at the time) – but no one book really stands out to me as a GREAT BOOK. I feel like perhaps Tess of the D’Urbervilles or The Warden or perhaps Cold Comfort Farm belongs here…but none of them is really sticking with me the way I was hoping for.

Overall, I DID read more in 2018 than I’ve read in a long time–31 started and finished in the calendar year, matching my best year since I started blogging. Not one of these was a translation, however. (This should be remedied in 2019, however – see my TBR Challenge list!)

  • 21 by women (or roughly 2/3) – this was chance, not planned!
  • 8 rereads
  • 8 non-fiction books – this was the big surprise of 2018. I hadn’t expected to read more than one or two non-fiction books, especially since they tend to take me longer than fiction, but instead they made up a good chunk of my reading time

My favorite reads for the year, in order I read them (* = reread):

  • A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle (1962, US)*
  • Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie (1934, England)*
  • Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons (1932, England)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling (1999, Britain)*
  • Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs With Any Camera – Bryan Peterson (4th Ed., 2016, US)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling (2000, Britain)*
  • Off the Clock – Laura Vanderkam (2018, US)
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke (2004, Britain)
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith [J.K. Rowling](2013, Britain)
  • Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson (1886, Scotland)
  • Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan (2013, US)
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins (1859, England)


So now I turn my eyes to the new year. New plans. My goals, again, are slight:

  • 2019 TBR Challenge
  • 2019 Back to the Classics Challenge
  • Building on my successful reading year, I’m hoping for 36 books in 2019, or an average of 3 a month. If I stay away from non-fiction, this might be doable! And hopefully, one of those, at least, will be a GREAT BOOK!


  • Finish the (4) knitting projects I currently have started + (1) yet-to-be determined project
  • Continue taking ceramics classes, aiming for greater consistency
  • And to echo 2018, being more deliberate in my use of time

All very doable, I think.

Happy Reading!



4 thoughts on “And So It’s a New Year”

    1. Oh no, Cleo! I hope your New Year improves quickly!

      Balance, never easy, no. I have a coworker who (perhaps somewhat cynically) thinks it’s not actually possible to achieve balance; the best you can hope for is to learn to ride the ups and downs.

      Happy 2019 to you as well!

      1. I would agree and disagree. I think it depends on your definition of balance. I think it’s rare that “balance” is always in the middle and never moves. For me, it’s more like a see saw or teeter totter. One side goes down, you adjust, the other side goes down but you’re always aiming for the mid-point although you never stay there; but as long as your feet don’t touch the ground you’re doing okay! If you get my meaning. 🙂

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