Happy new year!

Last year never really got off the ground reading-wise, which is why I am currently excited that I have finished my first book of 2023. I feel like you can never go wrong with Madeline Miller. May she be the first of many. Or 72, if you really want to be precise.

And I received my very first goodreads giveaway, a very accurate recounting of the last 500 years as told by Alexandra Petri, one of my all-time favorite Washington Post writers, who I did not realize was part of the Delaware crossing. This can only bode well for the year to come.

And, even more importantly: today (not the day that I’m posting this, the day that I’m writing it, which as it happens is Wednesday) I finally got to crack open the 2023 planner I bought several months ago. This year I had the good sense to buy a planner that has daily fields for both work and life, so I didn’t need to buy a separate personal planner. I cannot understate how excited I am about this new planner. Or that I wasted no time in recording my Galatea read on the appropriate day.

Anyway, this is the first official blog post of the year, and we’ll all just pretend that other one never happened because I absolutely never break ranks and hork up random posts that have nothing to do with anything, good? Good.

It’s been a rough couple of months. I had a cancer scare right before Thanksgiving, which (1) turned out not to be cancer and (2) is stabilizing (I think) after some very timely medical intervention, and, though I’m doing better, I dropped every non-work-related aspect of my life like a hot potato, and now I’m picking up the pieces. One thing I will say is that I absolutely would not have gone to a gynecologist on time if I had not had affordable health insurance. I would not have had the biopsy that caught the problem and it would probably have developed into cancer, and I would never have been able to afford treatment. Affordable healthcare was an achievement I unlocked only after my company hired me directly because, even though I technically had access to health insurance through my contracting agency, the cheapest plan was $400/month. That was almost half my rent when I was still living in my first apartment. Who fucking has that kind of money? How can anybody call that affordable when it’s intended for people who get paid by the hour?

In conclusion and as always, anybody who thinks health insurance should be unaffordable can go drown. I will happily push them into a volcano if it means the rest of us can afford to go to the doctor. Early detection doesn’t mean a free ride, but it’s still cheaper than cancer. (Of course, it also helps if you don’t get dropped head first into the work shitter the minute you get back from medical leave, but that was just bad luck.)

All of this is to say that I have really not been having a good time, and I’ve been AWOL for the last two weeks because I made the very easy decision to give myself a holiday blogging break. This was partly because I didn’t want to deal with posting, but mostly because I’m running out of scheduled content and need to write more. :’D I’ve been liking this whole post-every-Saturday deal, and this is one blog I don’t want sinking into the swamp. On the subject of today’s post: my usual practice is to put the December reading summary before the yearly summary, but I have no December reading summary, so it got turned into a Christmas/New Year’s social diary, and that all got moved to the bottom of the post. The inconsistency doesn’t bother me at all. Maybe this’ll motivate me to keep my literary shit together next holiday season.

Yearly Challenge Stats

Books Pledged: 60
Books Finished: 107
Total Pages Read: 33,056

Books Pledged: 72
Books Finished: 62
Total Pages Read: 20,730

Books Pledged: 72
Books Finished: 37
Total Pages Read: 13,041

2022 Book List

Asterisk Key

*          recommended
**       highly recommended
***     my love for this book knows no bounds and YOU WILL READ IT

Assume that all the mangas/comic books are recommended, because I haven’t bothered asterisking them. Hyperlinked titles lead to reviews.

  1. Oddball – Sarah Andersen
  2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo
  3. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins
  4. The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo
  5. Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth
  6. Black Sun* – Rebecca Roanhorse
  7. Story Number 1 – Eugène Ionesco
  8. Spy x Family 7 – Tatsuya Endo
  9. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine*** – Gail Honeyman
  10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn*** – Betty Smith
  11. The Stranger** – Albert Camus
  12. Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath* – Bill Browder
  13. Daughter of the Moon Goddess* – Sue Lynn Tan
  14. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice* – Bill Browder
  15. Pachinko* – Min Jin Lee
  16. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982* – Nam-Joo Cho
  17. Dear Child – Romy Hausmann
  18. The Cat Who Saved Books** – Sōsuke Natsukawa
  19. The Diary of a Bookseller* – Shaun Bythell
  20. Impostor Syndrome** – Kathy Wang
  21. The Court Dancer – Kyung-Sook Shin
  22. Wintersong* – S. Jae-Jones
  23. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  24. Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran – Kenneth Thomasma
  25. Shadowsong – S. Jae-Jones
  26. Build Your House Around My Body*** – Violet Kupersmith
  27. Senlin Ascends*** – Josiah Bancroft
  28. When Women Were Dragons** – Kelly Barnhill
  29. Light From Uncommon Stars* – Ryka Aoki
  30. Ariadne – Jennifer Saint
  31. Confessions of a Bookseller* – Shaun Bythell
  32. The Stardust Thief* – Chelsea Abdullah
  33. The Song of Achilles*** – Madeline Miller
  34. Spy x Family 8 – Tatsuya Endo
  35. Circe*** – Madeline Miller
  36. Fire & Blood – George R.R. Martin
  37. Nona the Ninth*** – Tamsyn Muir


  1. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) – DNF’d 1/26/22 on page 75. It’s too long and I’m bored.
  2. Witches Steeped in Gold (Ciannon Smart) – DNF’d 2/9/22 on page 50. The overly elaborate writing style is driving me nuts.
  3. The Book of M (Peng Shepherd) – DNF’d 6/15/22 on page 113. The book is not bad, but it’s fucking depressing. Might revisit later.
  4. A Tip for the Hangman (Allison Epstein) – DNF’d 7/15/22 on page 110. It was entertaining for a while, but I’m bored and I don’t like anyone.
  5. The Girl Who Reads on the Métro (Christine Féret-Fleury) – DNF’d 7/29/22 on page 40. The protagonist is vaguely annoying and the story is not interesting.
  6. You (Caroline Kepnes) – DNF’d 9/2/22 on page 27. I can’t do this.

2022 Favorites and Least Favorites

This list only covers books I read for the first time this year, and does not include rereads.


  1. Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan
  2. Impostor Syndrome – Kathy Wang
  3. Build Your House Around My Body – Violet Kupersmith
  4. Senlin Ascends – Josiah Bancroft
  5. When Women Were Dragons – Kelly Barnhill
  6. Nona the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir

Least Favorites

  1. Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth
  2. The Court Dancer – Kyung-Sook Shin
  3. Shadowsong – S. Jae-Jones
  4. Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

2023 Resolutions

This reading year was so disappointing. There were a lot of rereads and a lot of time that got siphoned into things that were not reading, and I just barely made it halfway through my 72-book goal. The 2023 challenge has once again been set for 72 books, and we’ll see how this goes. This year, though, I think rereads might be the theme. I want to knock out the reviews I’ve been meaning to write but have never gotten around to, chiefly old favorites like Life After Life, The Toss of a Lemon, and Neverwhere, but also newer reads like Pachinko (which I 100% meant to write last year) and Plain Bad Heroines (same deal). I also want to revisit the Poppy War series, which I did start reviewing before its sheer complexity defeated me, and the Strange the Dreamer duology, which I read before I had a steady book blog. Last year was very haphazard, but maybe if I have the dim outline of a plan I’ll be able to keep more on track. And also if I don’t keep getting sidetracked and coming up with dumb stories that suck up all my time and brainpower.

As a more general resolution, I have really struggled over the last two years – strange to think that I moved out of my parents’ house two years ago, but I got my first single apartment in spring 2021 and that is in fact almost two years now – with food waste. I think the problem is that I have a tendency to think too far ahead without considering either the immediate future or the inescapable reality that food goes bad if it is not eaten in a timely manner. I have had to throw away so much food that went bad in my fridge or expired in my freezer because, even though waste is a cardinal sin in an Asian household, I refuse to eat food that could make me sick. This year I’m going to try to cut down on the DoorDash and the fast food, plan ahead, and shop accordingly. Right now I’m really liking the idea of cooking on the weekends and having lots of leftovers during the week, and I hope it works out. If I’m back here in six months telling you I got DoorDash every day for a week, tell me I bring shame on my ancestors.

Blogkeeping Notes

I have never been sure how to categorize Greek mythology on this blog, but decided this week that I read enough mythology that it wouldn’t kill me to add a Mythology category. Right now the reviews in there all concern Greek myths, but I fully anticipate – at a minimum – a future expansion into Norse mythology. I have also deleted my “BIPOC writers” and individual ethnicity tags; all of those reviews are now housed under the “own voice” tag.

December Reading Summary(ish)

Christmas Comes Early

I did not read at all this month. On the bright side, the absence of reading and posting has meant I could spend more time bonding with my new TV, also known as my Christmas-Gift-To-Me, which I bought on a whim and out of an abundance of self-pity, and which arrived the day before I went home for Christmas. That white TV console you see in the background came from an auntie and uncle who were clearing out their old furniture, and it provided me with all the new-TV-related inspiration I needed.

Isn’t she purrrrrrrtyyyyyyyyy. 😀 I was originally looking at something closer to $250 and no larger than 40″, but then I saw this 50″ Samsung and, well, I have a credit card and a long history of poor impulse control. This was absolutely a case of go big or go home, and, since I have no intention of replacing the TV for at least the next decade (and considering my original 32″ TV has been in my clutches since probably about 2009 and is still going strong), I consider it money well spent. This means that the 32″ has moved into my bedroom, and I now have the absolute luxury of watching TV while folding my laundry yes my dreams are very small but they are also very achievable.

That being said, the new TV is one of those smart TVs and it has some irritating quirks that I wish had never been invented, but I think I turned them off and I haven’t had any problems since. And also if random MacBooks could not try to connect to the TV, that would be swell.

Christmas at Home

My parents got me a stand mixer!!! I have been lusting after stand mixers for years, and now that I have one I might finally be able to donate my electric hand mixer. I mean, it gets the job done, but it’s very enthusiastic, it has very few speed settings, and I have never been a fan of the splatter. And I was totally and completely going to enter Pinch of Yum’s holiday bucket list giveaway, but then the aforementioned shit hit the fan, and the contest entry never happened – which, in the end, is just as well. I’m doubly excited because the addition of the stand mixer means I get to reorganize my kitchen like a dork. As I believe has been previously mentioned, my dreams are generally of moderate size.

On the subject of presents I gave: I gave my youngest brother a manatee puppet, and, well, power was abused.

On the subject of food, of which we had lots: we cooked a Korean-themed Christmas dinner, and the pictures are making me hungry.

New Year’s Traditions

Every year my mother makes an okasane, a little snowman with two mochis for a body and a mikan (tangerine, ish? idk, it has a lot of names) for a head. The more leaves, the better the mikan. This year we got enough mikans for me, my brother, and our mother to make our own okasanes.

Displayed in a bowl in my case, which isn’t strictly traditional but was done with practical goals in mind, such as the goal of not having the okasane spill all over the floor in the event that it tipped over.

Another familiar tradition: toasting the new year with champagne, or, in my case, sparkling cranberry juice because I’m lame and I don’t drink. In case you’re wondering: yes, that is Animal Crossing on the table. It was my first ACNH NYE, and I wanted to be there for the party. ;_;

And a completely new tradition: eating soba on new year’s day, which I think my parents picked up from Midnight Diner, and which in our case meant five people standing in the kitchen shoving soba into their mouths at midnight. This is a very smart tradition, and I think we need to do it again next year. You know, for, like, the good of the realm, or something. Also pictured: my favorite spicy konnyaku, which we usually only get to eat at new year’s. Not pictured: the rest of the traditional Japanese nummies that we also only get at new year’s, because I was too busy eating them to take pictures. I was definitely not the person picking all the chicken out of the nimono, no way, nohow.

The Aftermath of the New Year

That’s all from my 2022. Here’s to a better, or at least a more organized, 2023.