Happy new year to everyone except this cat, who doesn’t contribute to the household in any way but still feels entitled to claw up my ear every time I hit the snooze button. I KEEP TELLING YOU I’LL GET YOU YOUR BREAKFAST IN NINE MINUTES, BABY GIRL.

I’m also excluding the solidly frozen chicken stock container that fell out of my freezer from my new year’s greetings. I was not happy picking up bits of shattered plastic from the kitchen floor before the cat could try to eat them. Guess that was the universe’s way of ordering me to make a pot of chicken curry last week.

Anyway, this reading summary is starting out a lot better than my last one, (1) because I actually have a reading summary this time and (2) because my TV is back! Some part futzed out in early November, but it got replaced with no trouble and the TV came back a couple days after Christmas. I didn’t even have to pay for the repair because the TV was still under warranty, which expires this month. And, of course, the first thing I did was hook up YouTube and watch the Argylle trailer for probably at least the fiftieth time because holy shit I need to see this movie, I mean, it’s about an introverted writer and her cat, there is nothing I don’t like about any of those words. (But also Dua Lipa steals the show even though I know very little about her? Can it please just be February already.)

And Circe is a little ear-clawing dear – but more on that in my next post, which started out as the tail end of this post but of course ran out of control to the point that it became its own post.

December Reading Summary

Books Finished:

  1. Bookshops & Bonedust – Travis Baldree
  2. Cold Clay – Juneau Black
  3. Mirror Lake – Juneau Black
  4. The Dark Lantern – Gerri Brightwell

Total Pages Read: 1,009

I am really ashamed to say that I have completely bombed my own diversity goals, both this month and this year in general. I can and will do better. On the bright side, I enjoyed everything I read this month, even if it took me longer than usual to do it. I went from being kind of lukewarm about the Shady Hollow series to devouring the crap out of it about halfway through Mirror Lake. I just started Twilight Falls last night, and I will be buying the fifth book when it comes out later this year. I even have the perfect bookmark to use with the series, though I forgot I had it till I grabbed a random bookmark from the bookmark box.

This month also saw a couple of large hauls, though in my defense a lot of those books were not for me because, you know, holidays. Unfortunately just as many of them were for me, so there’s no point in feeling superior when in fact I’ve been feeling pretty uppity since the big unhaul I did at the beginning of the month. Among other things, I am finally letting go of my gorgeous hardcover ASOIAF books. I tried. I really did. I made it through the first three books a couple years ago, but it was a struggle and I have no interest in struggling through them a second time when the series has lost so much momentum in the neverending wait for the sixth book. At this point, I honestly have no faith that the series is ever going to get finished, and I just don’t care anymore if the books end as badly as the show. My curiosity is not worth the time it would take to plow through seven thousand-page books, or possibly eight if A Dream of Spring gets split into two books (which, given the way The Winds of Winter seems to have been going, isn’t an unreasonable concern). They were so expensive that I will be taking them to a secondhand store sometime this month to see if I can get anything for them, but as of December 3 the series has been permanently DNF’d.

Yearly Challenge Stats

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

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

Books Pledged: 72, later extended to 84
Books Finished: 80
Total Pages Read: 27,379

2023 StoryGraph Roundup

Just found out this was a thing. Love it.

2023 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. Galatea* – Madeline Miller
  2. Alexandra Petri’s US History: Important American Documents (I Made Up)** – Alexandra Petri
  3. Elektra – Jennifer Saint
  4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  5. Three Souls – Janie Chang
  6. The Snow Hare – Paula Lichtarowicz
  7. Hamnet** – Maggie O’Farrell
  8. The Marriage Portrait** – Maggie O’Farrell
  9. The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson
  10. Neverwhere*** – Neil Gaiman
  11. Ordinary Monsters – J.M. Miro
  12. The Curse of Chalion*** – Lois McMaster Bujold
  13. Fractured Fairy Tales*** – A.J. Jacobs
  14. Three Plays: Once in a Lifetime/You Can’t Take it With You/The Man Who Came to Dinner*** – George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart
  15. World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments (B&N Special Edition)*** – Aimee Nezhukumatathil
  16. The Great Passage*** – Shion Miura
  17. Spy x Family 9 – Tatsuya Endo
  18. Black Butler 31 – Yana Toboso
  19. Redwall* – Brian Jacques
  20. The Thursday Murder Club* – Richard Osman
  21. Mossflower** – Brian Jacques
  22. Swordheart*** – T. Kingfisher
  23. Mattimeo* – Brian Jacques
  24. Defenestrate – Renée Branum
  25. White Chrysanthemum – Mary Lynn Bracht
  26. The Part About the Dragon Was (Mostly) True** – Sean Gibson
  27. Mariel of Redwall* – Brian Jacques
  28. Salamandastron* – Brian Jacques
  29. The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
  30. Martin the Warrior*** – Brian Jacques
  31. Daughter of the Moon Goddess*** – Sue Lynn Tan
  32. A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes
  33. Heart of the Sun Warrior*** – Sue Lynn Tan
  34. The Bellmaker* – Brian Jacques
  35. Outcast of Redwall – Brian Jacques
  36. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
  37. The Bone Shard Emperor – Andrea Stewart
  38. Pearls of Lutra* – Brian Jacques
  39. Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America – Audrey Clare Farley
  40. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch* – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  41. The Long Patrol** – Brian Jacques
  42. Nimona – ND Stevenson
  43. The Bone Shard War – Andrea Stewart
  44. Black Sun* – Rebecca Roanhorse
  45. Marlfox*** – Brian Jacques
  46. Fevered Star** – Rebecca Roanhorse
  47. The Legend of Luke*** – Brian Jacques
  48. Lord Brocktree*** – Brian Jacques
  49. Taggerung*** – Brian Jacques
  50. Chobits 1 – CLAMP
  51. The Ghost Bride** – Yangsze Choo
  52. Chobits 2 – CLAMP
  53. Chobits 3 – CLAMP
  54. Triss*** – Brian Jacques
  55. Plain Bad Heroines* – Emily M. Danforth
  56. Chobits 4 – CLAMP
  57. Chobits 5 – CLAMP
  58. Chobits 6 – CLAMP
  59. Chobits 7 – CLAMP
  60. Chobits 8 – CLAMP
  61. Loamhedge** – Brian Jacques
  62. The Night Tiger* – Yangsze Choo
  63. Rakkety Tam*** – Brian Jacques
  64. Odder*** – Katherine Applegate
  65. High Rhulain – Brian Jacques
  66. Eulalia! – Brian Jacques
  67. I Await the Devil’s Coming* – Mary MacLane
  68. Doomwyte – Brian Jacques
  69. Black Butler 32 – Yana Toboso
  70. The Sable Quean* – Brian Jacques
  71. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes* – Suzanne Collins
  72. The Rogue Crew* – Brian Jacques
  73. House of Hunger* – Alexis Henderson
  74. Legends & Lattes*** – Travis Baldree
  75. Shady Hollow* – Juneau Black
  76. Spy x Family 10 – Tatsuya Endo
  77. Bookshops & Bonedust*** – Travis Baldree
  78. Cold Clay* – Juneau Black
  79. Mirror Lake** – Juneau Black
  80. The Dark Lantern* – Gerri Brightwell


  1. The Decameron (Giovanni Boccaccio) – DNF’d 2/3/23 on page 37. I know I asked for this for Christmas, but I really do not have the energy.
  2. Skull Water (Heinz Insu Fenkl) – DNF’d 4/28/23 on page 16. I’m slightly bored and I’ve lost all interest in the synopsis, to the point where I’m wondering why I picked it up in the first place. Of course, it doesn’t help that I tried to read it right after I finished White Chrysanthemum.
  3. Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) – DNF’d 6/3/23 on page 58. I was thinking I’d at least try to make it to page 100, but then I peeked ahead to see if it would be worth even trying. It wasn’t. The writing is good and the story and world are interesting, so I’m not really sure why I have been so reluctant to read this book, though it’s probably because I don’t like Kaz much.
  4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke) – DNF’d 11/30/23 on page 74. I really enjoy the dry English humor and the subtle ironies woven into Mr Norrell’s adventures in London, but I am so bored and this thing is like 1,000 pages long with multi-paragraph footnotes. Even though I wanted to read this in advance of reading R.F. Kuang’s Babel, which was written as a rebuttal to Strange & Norrell, at this point it’s taken me a month to get to page 74 and I honestly don’t think I’ll get anything out of this book even if I do finish it. Too bad, so sad. This one’s going in the unhaul box.

2023 Favorites and Least Favorites

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


  1. Alexandra Petri’s US History: Important American Documents (I Made Up) – Alexandra Petri
  2. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell
  3. The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell
  4. The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
  5. Swordheart – T. Kingfisher
  6. Heart of the Sun Warrior – Sue Lynn Tan
  7. Fevered Star – Rebecca Roanhorse
  8. Odder – Katherine Applegate
  9. Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree
  10. Bookshops & Bonedust – Travis Baldree
  11. Mirror Lake – Juneau Black

Least Favorites

  1. Elektra – Jennifer Saint
  2. The Snow Hare – Paula Lichtarowicz
  3. The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson
  4. Defenestrate – Renée Branum
  5. A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes
  6. The Bone Shard Emperor – Andrea Stewart

2023 Resolution Recap + 2024 Goals

Every time I think about quitting the blogging treadmill, I remember how much I love talking about books. Here we fucking go for our fifth year with this blog, which is not getting discontinued anytime soon. I thought I’d be mega bummed about the end of my vacation and the pile of work- and blog-related catching-up that was waiting for me, but I am actually excited for the beginning of this year, partly because I get to do all my favorite admin crap. I’m getting such a serotonin boost checking shit off today’s to-do list. (I am both a psychopath and a former secretary. Let’s move on.)

In terms of actual goals, I can never seem to win. If I write a lot, reading and blogging get neglected. If I read and blog a lot, I don’t write a word, which – considering novel-writing is my primary hobby in theory, and blogging is only supposed to be secondary at best and tertiary at worst – is not good. Case in point: this past year, in which I started posting twice a week, though admittedly this was mostly because I had a glut of Redwall reviews that needed to be got rid of before they spilled over into the new year. I really kept on top of my blogging, reviewing almost every fiction book I read, but the downside is that I have made exactly zero progress on the novel that I am supposed to be preparing for publication. On the other hand, I did reasonably well with the food waste goal, though some food was still wasted. Still, progress is progress.

Since writing got neglected in 2023, I want to dredge it up again for 2024. I will therefore resume my original blogging schedule (i.e., posting only on Saturdays unless I build up another content bottleneck that threatens to push this year’s content into 2025), and I’m also going to take a blogging hiatus for the month of January because I’m fucking tired and I only have one draft post ready to go at the moment. I will be back at the beginning of February, but as of this writing the blog is taking a winter break. In related news, the WyrdGurls site is getting shut down this month, and I will be integrating my WyrdGurls posts into bookycnidaria. This is going to take some time because I’m going to have to pull and re-watermark all of my WG photos, so if bookycnidaria starts giving you an “Under Construction” notice, that’s why. (lol, I say that like I have a huge platform that visits me every day. Well, I can pretend.)

I have also decided that I am not going to set a genuine reading challenge for this year, though I have set a token challenge of 12 books to make sure goodreads still counts my 2024 books. 2024 will mark the first year I have not participated in the goodreads reading challenge since 2017, mainly because I started doing the challenges as a way of forcing me to read more. That goal has now been met, and, though I did meet my original 2023 goal, I still hit the usual holiday reading slumps around November. I am tired of being constantly reminded that I’m so many books behind schedule, so I’m taking a break. This will also help with my goal of blogging less: if I read fewer books, I won’t feel compelled to keep constantly generating new content.

As a final goal, I am going to try a January book ban. To keep myself accountable, I will be participating in the #readmyshelf2024 challenge created by Esther Fung. Having said that, I did just discover a local bookstore I’d never heard of before and I did clean them out in one final hurrah, so I’m not sure if I should really get points if I manage to carry out this challenge.

One month of keeping my sticky little paws off the bookstores’ shelves starts now. Wish me luck.