Books I read in January

Last year I did a reading challenge. I wanted to hit 40 books read for the year and was recording my progress on Goodreads.

I promptly forgot to log anything on Goodreads for the entire year, tried to remember what I read throughout the year and hoped that I remembered everything.

I didn’t. I got mixed up with books that I read in 2016 so I have no idea how many books I read last year.

In 2020, I’ve realised that doesn’t matter at all. WHO CARES if someone has read a book a week for the entire year…

Instead, I’d like to increase the amount of time spent reading rather than the number of books read.

Using the number of books and a measuring metric encourages skimming, and picking shorter books to stay on track.

Trying to maximise the amount of time spent reading accomplishes the whole point of these reading challenges. To read more – without making you feel bad for being “slow” or “reading short books” or “lying about the number of books read”.

I’ve said my piece… onto the good stuff.

Books I read in January

January books

The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts – Laura Tillman

An insightful read that has evidently been treated with the appropriate sensitivity required of a case like this. She managed to bring in the impact the case had on a small community through valuable interviews and research.

Unfortunately, overall, it wasn’t all that interesting.

When I finished the book, I genuinely felt that her talents were wasted on this case. She has the ability to navigate sensitive areas well but my goodness, the case, while gruesome, just failed to interest me. Pity.

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant – Nizrana Farook

A very enjoyable and easy read (and I was disappointed it was over!) The characters were a pleasure to know as their friendship grew during their journey.

Apparently, stealing an elephant will force you to become well acquainted.

I picked this up because I loved the cover and I’ve been enjoying children’s books a lot. This didn’t disappoint – though the ending was slightly rushed.

Ayoade On Top – Richard Ayoade

This was a short, enjoyable read about, yes, a film no one has seen. Including me. However, this has convinced me to fill the aeroplanecentric-comedy-hole in my heart.

Ayoade’s personality shines through every page and it’s wonderful that it isn’t just another biography.

I still haven’t watched the film yet though, so my opinions may change after the viewing…

The Talented Mr Ripley – Patricia Highsmith

This book is a wonderful thriller and I haven’t read one of this sort in a while.

The main shortcoming is that it’s only in the second half of the book do we understand just how talented Mr Ripley is… And how much luck he has on his side.

But the ending was a masterclass in tension building. Brilliant!

Really enjoyed this read – mainly surprised I hadn’t read it sooner!

A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond

Everyone has heard of Paddington but I realised I had never read the books. Without a doubt, one of the most fun books I have ever read.

Paddington, a bear from the darkest Peru always gets himself into some kind of commotion but despite his best intentions. … But let’s not forget, he is a literal bear.

We can’t blame him for too much, can we?

Ladies and gentlemen, 2020 may have only just started but this may be my book of the year. I decided that, during lunch and my afternoon walk, I’d go to Waterstones, sit down and read a chapter.

The perfect cure to a bad day. I recently watched the film too – wonderful adaptation. I love Paddington, I love the Brown family, I love Mr Gruber, I love everything about Paddington Bear.

And that brings me to the end.

The number of books may be unsustainable for the year but I will do my best to maintain or increase the amount of time I spend reading.

It’s been incredible amounts of fun.


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The Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the ‘Liebster Award’ by Often I Do Think. Which is pretty cool and very nice of her. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t exciting – it’s nice to be recognised!


The Liebster Award is a “favorite blog award”, as Liebster is the German word for favorite, beloved, or dearest. It is meant for smaller blogs with less than two hundred followers to help expose them to the world and help them discover other new and upcoming bloggers.

In order to accept this award, the nominee must do several things.

  1. Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated me.
  2. Answer ten questions given to me by Only I Do Think.
  3. Nominate ten other bloggers for the award.
  4. Create ten questions for my nominees to answer.
  5. Notify my nominees.

1. What’s the meaning behind the name of your blog?

I’m interested self improvement and I realise that most significant changes in a person’s life need to happen slowly so my blog name tries to emphasise that. I don’t expect to see a vast improvement in my life within days of trying a new habit but it’ll take months or even years for that to happen.

2. What is one thing a lot of people don’t know about you?

I haven’t written in the colour blue for the past 11 years.

3. What five words do you think your closest friends would use to describe you?

A loud, smart idiot that is inconveniently opinionated.

4. If you were a superhero, who would you be?

Mario. If that doesn’t count, it does now. But my goodness I don’t know if I could handle trying to save peach all the time. She doesn’t even give Mario chocolate at the end of the game. Is the reward for saving your life going off to get kidnapped again? Peach, you’re lucky Mario is player one.

5. If you could go back to any time period, what would it be?

August 28th, 1963 and high five the hand off of Martin Luther King.

6. If you could live in any country other than your own, where would you choose and why?

Germany because I like sausages and they have universal healthcare. What else could you want? I’d miss the continuous complaining about the weather from the Brits though.

7. What is one non-technological item that you could NOT live without?

My heart. Or a pen. I’d hate to write with crayons all the time.

8. If you could shift into any animal, what one would you try first?

A koala. Main reason? They’re cute and make humans go ‘awwwww look at the cute little koala’ and by that time they’d be under my control.

9. If you were to be acting in a Disney movie which would it be and why?

Wheezy the penguin. Have you heard him sing? He’s the friend in me that I need. He’s the friend that we all need.

You can have a half-hour conversation with any fictional character. Who do you choose?

Brain from Pinky and the Brain. I’d learn from his mistakes, change into a Koala and take over the world.

The Questions:

  1. What is your best habit?
  2. If you had to enforce one law for everyone to follow, what would it be?
  3. What’s the corniest joke you know? (These jokes better be so corny they can feed chickens)
  4. What’s your greatest fear?
  5. If you could give a super power to your worst enemy, what would it be and why?
  6. Who is your role model and why?
  7. What is the happiest fact you know?
  8. If you had to replace a main character in a movie with yourself to make the worst movie ever who would it be?
  9. What’s the best thing you can cook?
  10. Why did you start blogging? Do you hope to keep it going?

The Nominees:

  1. Decree 900
  2. The Amazing World of Science
  3. Olivia Eaton
  4. The Pigtailed Poet
  5. Perinvitus
  6. Activism Analysis
  7. Jack Zivvi
  8. Val Jepsen
  9. Life of Kitty
  10. Vamos We Are Golden

I’m going to cheat a bit and mention 300 stories because I enjoy his flash fiction. They’re great, seriously.

I hope you enjoy the blogs I’ve linked and thanks again for the award.