Reading slump

I haven’t posted much, that’s because I haven’t been reading much. I mostly read on Sunday nowadays and maybe a couple of pages during the week. It isn’t that I’m picking the wrong books, I’m just reading less and doing other things instead. Recently I’ve rediscovered The Sims 4 and I have been playing that a lot.

I started my first reading challenge in 2011, and until 2019 I read more than 100 books a year. I think I would have slowed down before that if it wasn’t from a Family Thing that started mid 2013 and wasn’t resolved until mid 2020. However, by September 2019 we won a court battle and were fairly sure the other party wouldn’t be able to continue in court because of high costs of starting the proceedings and because that party would have to hire an expensive, specialized attorney. From that time my reading started slowing down. I did manage to read several books during my two week vacation in September. But not nearly as many as I did before on vacations.

On the one hand I don’t mind, it’s natural my interest change and I don’t need the escape at this point of my life. I might start reading more at some point in the future, or not. On the other hand it annoys me because the number of books I want to read is growing by the week and I feel I can’t keep up anymore. That’s because I’ve discovered so many authors and series I love during those 10 years of reading challenges and it’s so easy to keep informed about new releases. In the past I often didn’t know an author had a new book until I came across it in the bookstore or when came across it somewhere random on the internet. I didn’t subscribe to authors’ mailing lists or had accounts on websites such as GoodReads or Fantastic Fiction.

I’m trying to read more during the week. I keep intending to read 15 to 30 before going to sleep, like I used to. But reading is replaced by listening to podcasts (current favourite is Lore) and I keep forgetting to read. I could make an activity tracker to remind myself to read, but then it becomes a chore instead of something enjoyable. I’ll just see how it goes, I might try a proper new start in the new year. I’ve got my Reading Retreat planned for early February instead of my normal mid January vacation (I wanted to book a specific cottage, which was fully booked in January). My plan for my reading challenge in 2022 will be an easy one. Maybe read two books a month. I’ll see what the situation is reading-wise in late December and decide then what the challenge will be. If any.

New Kindle Paperwhites

A couple of weeks Amazon announced two new Kindle Paperwhite were going to be released. First is the regular one, the screen has been enlarged from a 6 inch screen to a 6,8 inch screen. It has 17 LEDs, including warm LEDs so you can adjust the colour temperature of the lighting to your liking. It had 8gb of storage space, which holds a lot of (regular) books.

The second Paperwhite is the Signature edition, it’s screen is also 6,8 inches, you can also adjust the colour temperature. It comes with 32gb of storage space and there’s a sensor to adjust the lighting depending on the lighting of the room you’re in. With the Kobo I had this meant it lowered the brightness in darker rooms and the later it got in the evening/night the warmer the colour temperature of the screen. It also has wireless charging.

Both are waterproof, like the previous Kindle Paperwhite. The have no raised bezel (aka a crumb catcher) and the battery lasts weeks (when reading an average of half an hour a day). Hopefully it also charges a quick as the current Paperwhite. But now have a USB C port, instead of the older micro USB of previous Kindles.

The Paperwhite Signature edition is almost 190 euros is available from November 11 (according to the German Amazon, not date is listed on the Dutch Amazon website). The regular Paperwhite is almost 150 euros and should be available before the Signature edition.

I’m definitely getting the Signature edition. I’m missing the warm lighting and the auto adjustment setting for the lighting I had on my Kobo. I’m hoping the bigger screen doesn’t make it heavier to hold. I personally don’t really care about wireless charging, Besides a wireless charger there are also new cases available. For the Paperwhite Signature edition there are two cases available made of cork; a light one and a dark cork one. I’m thinking of getting the dark cork one, though I don’t know how easy it will be to keep clean. But the other cases are made out of cloth, so I’m sure those are difficult to keep clean.

Third time lucky?

I haven’t posted in a while, that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. A couple of weeks ago, and again last night, I wrote a post on my tablet using the WordPress app. And it didn’t want to post. The first time I lost my post. Last night’s post’s still in the app, but I can’t copy the text so I can post it from my computer. The app worked in the past. I haven’t got a clue why it doesn’t work at the moment.

I’m still reading. There’s usually one day a week I read little or even nothing at all. Usually that’s a Tuesday, after reading a lot on my Sunday and Monday weekend. I also slowed down, unless I really love a book. I’ve decided that’s okay and I expect this is my new reading pace.

This year I’ve been picking safe books to read. Books I know pretty sure I will like. So far I’ve done well, only a couple of duds. But I wanted to shake things up a bit. However, I know making a (short) reading list won’t work for me. It feels too much like prescribed reading and that demotivates me.

So I’ve come up with something else: the software I use for cataloguing my ebooks is called Calibre (try it, it’s free!), you can choose which buttons are visible on the tool bar and one option is “pick a random book”. So I made a virtual library with only my unread books in it and I let Calibre choose my read in July. There are a couple of rules I’ve decided upon:

  • I get three passes; if Calibre selects a book I really don’t want to read I can skip a book three times. There are some exceptions:
    • Books I didn’t finish in the past (I don’t mark those as read) and don’t want to read again.
    • Books in series I know I want to read but I’m waiting until I’ve finished another series before starting a new series.
  • If Calibre picks a book that’s part of a series I’m in the process of reading I will read the first unread book in the series, regardless of which book is chosen. I don’t like to read series out of order.
  • If Calibre chooses a book part of a series I want to try out and I have more than one book part of that series I will read the first book, regardless of Calibre picking the first book or not.

I’m currently reading the first book chosen by Calibre. It did take three tries: first it picked a book I did not finish because it was racist and sexist, then it chose a book part of a series I’ve got on my waiting list. The third choice was Mo Hayder’s The Treatment, the second book in the Jack Caffery series. I read the first book years ago. I liked it enough to get the other books in the series. But I never continued reading the series, I haven’t got a clue why. I’m now 37% in and although it’s very grim it’s a good read.

If I enjoy this random reading I might use it occasionally in the future. Although I don’t think I’ll by using the virtual library I made for all my unread books. But the libraries I made for all the unread stand alone books and the one made for all the unread first in series books. Of those two types of books I want to read more, but I always find it difficult to pick a book.

For now I just keep enjoying my reads, no matter what way of choosing my next book.

Fantasy and me

I seem to have a love/hate relationship, or, rather a love/meh relationship, with fantasy. Not so much the stand alone books, as with series.

I love starting a new fantasy series, where a new world and characters are introduced. I love the first book and can’t wait to read the next. But I’ve become apprehensive of starting the next in the series. Afraid to be disappointed, again. It isn’t that the other books in a series are bad, they just don’t live up to my expectation.

It isn’t just with young adult fantasy, such as the Mortal Instruments series (by Cassandra Clare). But also fantasy written for adults, such as Lev Grossman’s The Magician series. Of course, there are some exceptions; Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud and Peter Grant/Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch amongst them.

But I’ve become apprehensive of starting a new fantasy series. At the moment I have the Paper Magician series and it’s been over a year since I’ve read the second book in the series. Again, it wasn’t a bad book, but as usual my expectations seem to have been too high.

Earlier this year I started the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve had it on my TBR for a while and seeing some promo material for the Netflix series peaked my interest. As usual I was apprehensive. The series started with two short stories, short stories in a series are never my favourite, but they were okay. I really enjoyed the first book. Soon I decided to put aside my reservations and read the second book. And…I liked it, almost as much as the first book. I now have another couple of short stories to read before I can start with the third and final book in the trilogy. Which I plan to do after finishing my current book, so hopefully tomorrow or Monday.

I never can put my finger on it why a fantasy series disappoints me or why I love it. Maybe it’s because the excitement of discovering a new world and characters is gone after reading the first book. Sure, the world will be explored further and there should be character development, but that isn’t as exiting as stepping into a new world.

It is interesting that I don’t have this with crime and/or thriller series. There the problem is, especially with long running series, that there will come a point when the stories for the main character(s) have run it’s course but the author continues writing books. Sometimes an author is able to pull it together again, but there are series where I give up. One of the series that was able to pull it together was Guido Brunetti’s series by Donna Leon. There were a couple of books that I didn’t like as much as the previous ones (they weren’t bad, just not as good) but the books after those couple I liked better, again. And there are series that although I’m not abandoning them I don’t want to read the latest release right away. One of those series is the Agent Pendergast series (Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston) and recently the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. I’m always sad when I notice it’s happening, usually it’s a slower decline, it feels like you’re starting to say goodbye to an old friend.

I do have another bunch of first-in-fantasy-series book on my TBR list. Though I do want to finish some current series before starting a new one. I’m a both a bit apprehensive and a bit hopeful that the next series will also work out for me.

Kindle Paperwhite vs Kobo Clara HD

I’ve switched back to reading on my Kindle Paperwhite for a while now. Mostly because my Kobo Clara HD didn’t want to hold its charge anymore. And there’s nothing more annoying to get a low battery warning when reading. I still need to see if a factory reset of the Kobo will solve this problem. But to be honest, I’m enjoying reading on my Kindle.

Each device has its pros and cons. I prefer the feel of the Kindle, it’s more comfortable to hold for me. I’m not sure if it’s because of the weight, balance or shape. I also like that it’s easier to pop out of the case. Sometimes I like to read on a naked device.

I also like that the Paperwhite is waterproof. I don’t have a bath, but when I’m on vacation or house sitting I often have access to a bath and I like to read when bathing. The Kobo I always put in a ziplock bag to protect it from water. The Kindle I just pop out of the cover and if it gets a bit wet it isn’t a problem.

Finally, the last external feature I missed when using the Kobo was the flush screen and bezel of the Kindle. The Kobo’s screen has a “crumb catcher”, the screen is deeper than the bezel and there’s some space between the bezel and screen where crumbs and dust can collect.

The biggest thing I miss on my Kindle is the comfort light. I wish that my Kindle had a warmer colour lighting, it’s a fairly cool colour. Which is especially noticeable at night. The Kobo automatically made it’s lighting a warmer colour the later in the evening it was (or you could set it manually).

The Kobo is a lot snappier than the Kindle. Not with page turns, they feel fairly similar. But in the main screen and menus the Kobo is definitely better.

The Kindles battery doesn’t last as long as the Kobo’s, on the other hand, the Kindle charges very quickly. One charge would last me over two weeks on the Kindle, I think one charge on the Kobo (before it started losing its charge quickly) would probably last me three to four weeks. So I really don’t have a preference on either.

I also liked how the Kobo handles series. There’s a section in the main menu where you can find all the series categorised, if the metadata (from Calibre or publisher) is correct. The Kindle now offers something similar, but only if the books are directly downloaded from Amazon, but I always sideload my books, since I like to add a summery/the blurb to the front of the book, it helps me decide which book I want to read without having to search titles on GoodReads.

I also like how, when a book is opened, on the Kobo you can easily view how long the chapters are in a bar graph. It isn’t precise, but you get an indication at a glance. On the other hand, you can easily check that on the Kindle, when viewing the content list in the Go To view.

I like how the Kindle displays the font better than the Kobo. Both offer the option to upload your own fonts. And when I compare the same font on both devices I prefer the Kindle over the Kobo, although I can’t explain why exactly.

Lastly, I miss how easy I can adjust the brightness of the lighting on the Kobo. Just swipe up or down on the left side of the screen will adjust the lighting to your liking. To adjust the lighting on the Kindle you have to go to the quick menu. Not a huge deal, but I found out I changed the brightness more often than I thought.

All in all I like both devices. Each has pros and cons, both big and small. All in all I prefer the Kindle, mostly because it’s more comfortable to hold. But I do get frustrated with the slowness of the menus and homescreen. Though I might just have to get used to it.

None of the newer or higher end ereaders both brands offer interest me. They are either too big for me, I like the size of both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kobo Clara HD. I don’t need a bigger memory for more books. I had a lot of books on the Kobo, but that was all books in series I read, because they are automatically categorised. But even then I didn’t have hundreds of books on it. The only thing that might tempt me is a good colour eInk screen. There are several ereaders out now with colour displays, but the colours don’t look really vibrant. They can’t compete compared to a tablet. I don’t read many graphic novels, and those that I read I get in print. But if I wanted to read them digitally I would get them on my tablet. I occasionally read magazines, mostly on my tablet, for various reasons.

If a Paperwhite, or other Kindle with a similar size, would be released with the option to set the colour temperature, that’s waterproof, has a flush screen and bezel and is snappier in the menus, homescreen and library view I would be tempted to get it. Although price would then be the deciding factor. At the moment I wouldn’t pay more than €150 (without a case) for an ereader.

I’m quite content using the Kindle Paperwhite for the foreseeable future. It meets my basic needs in an ereader. And although I might miss some options or get annoyed at time by it’s sluggishness I can live with it and probably get used to it again.

Reading habit

For about four weeks now I’ve been reading every day. Sometimes it’s only a couple of pages, other times I read a couple of hundred pages, although that is still rare. I’m also getting interested in getting new books, instead of just reading books I already own or new releases by favourite authors. I’m planning a trip down Amazon’s rabbit hole in search of fun, not too expensive horror stories tomorrow. It’s been a while since I was in a mood to do that.

My official challenge for this year was to read one book every two weeks. At the moment I’m a good way ahead, nine books according to GoodReads and I have read a little more than one book a week so far this year. Sure I did read a couple of short stories, but I also read a couple of longer books of around 500 pages or more.

Where in the past I did a lot of reading at night I now do most of my reading during the day, and occasionally around dinner time. At night I now do other hobbies, like cross stitching, diamond painting and game (still Animal Crossing). Our store is now open again, sort of. We are now allowed to let people pick up orders they placed by phone (or internet, but we don’t do that) and people can make an appointment for “private shopping”. There has to be at least four hours between making the appointment and the actual appointment. Whilst we are now getting more private shopping customers we haven’t had one that took a long time. It’s mostly people who bring old lightbulbs to show what they need. Sometimes they want a lightbulb or battery tested or want to see how the lightbulbs look when they’re on to compare them before buying. An appointment slot has to be 10 minutes at a minimum. We have slots of 15 minutes, mostly because that is the shortest timeslot available on Google Calendar. Our customers are quick, even today, when we only had a couple of empty slots, I managed to read about 60 pages between customers (and I was the one who helped most customers and took most calls today).

I’m still reading whatever I’m in the mood for when it’s time to pick a new book. Yesterday I finished Crota by Owl Goingback, his first book. It’s a creature feature and those are either hit or miss for me. This one was a hit. A bit rough around the edges, as others also have remarked. Especially in the beginning of the book some unimportant things were described in such detail that it made them feel like they were important details to remember for later in the story, when that wasn’t case. I loved the Native American myth theme of the book. I would have loved to know more about the inhabitants of the discovered, hidden city. Maybe in a chapter at the start of the book, or as flashbacks interspersed in the main story. But have put Owl Goingback on my authors-to-read list and I’ll be reading other books by him.

I’m currently reading the sixth book in the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber. So far I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. And 21% into this book I’m also liking this one. After his I think I’m going to treat myself to Ambrose Ibsen’s The Haunting of Winslow Manor, I’ve had it on my wishlist for a while now. Ambrose Ibsen is very high on my list of favourite horror authors. His books are easy and fast reads (a plus when you’re experiencing a reading slump), they are entertaining and fairly original and I like that not all of his main characters are super likeable.

I’m still avoiding really long books of 600 pages or more. It’s funny, currently I would define a long book as over 500 pages long. There was a time I wouldn’t call a book long if it was under 800 pages long.

I think one of the reasons I’m reading more is because I’ve gotten used to the whole Covid-19 situation. Or, maybe not exactly gotten used to it, but at least it doesn’t stress my out as much. I’m not obsessively doomscrolling any more. Even now that we’re on the cusp of a third wave in the Netherlands. Where I found it hard to concentrate on reading before, that isn’t the case anymore, at least most of the time. I can now find diversion in books again.

I’ll have to wait and see how fast I’m reading when the store opens properly again and I have less time to read in between customers. But with the third wave now starting according to experts, I expect we’re stuck with shopping by appointment for a while yet. Though the government promised to look if shops are allowed more freedom at the end of the month. But if infection rates are increasing like they have done over the last couple of days I don’t see shops opening like they were before the lockdown of mid December. But when we open regularly I’m sure I’m able to find to read at least a couple of pages most days.

Getting back in the groove?

It’s been just over a week since I’ve last posted, and then I felt like I was stuck in a reading rut. What a different a week and half can make! For over a week now I’ve been reading every day. Sometimes it’s just a couple of pages, but I find I’m reading more often and more pages.

Last week I hit a bit of a snag. My Kobo Clara HD kept losing it’s charge suddenly. I thought it was because of the cold. My bedroom doesn’t have central heating and when temperatures drop to -16C at night it can get cold. My iPad also lost it’s charge quicker in the cold, but recovered when temperatures rose. My Kobo has been doing okay this week, but while it had a charge of over 90% last night it had lost it’s charge mid-morning today. I charged it for a couple of hours to around 75% and started reading again. With an hour and half to two hours I got a battery empty warning again.

I’ve now loaded the books I had on my Kobo onto my old Kindle Paperwhite, which I charged last week, just in case. It might be an update or bad book that borked my Kobo, but I couldn’t find the energy to figure it out right now. I’ll take a look at it next week. Maybe.

All differences and preferences set aside; changing devices makes it feel like I have a new toy to play with. Even if I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite for years. It’s the first version that was waterproof. Which is why I’m not sure when I can get myself to see if the Kobo’s battery is really bad or not.

I’m glad I seem to be getting back into reading. I think it’s partially due to the fact that the store’s is open again, kind of. We are now allowed to have customers pick up orders they placed at least 4 hours before they pick it up. But it does mean we’re open regular hours again. We’ve got 10 to 15 customers a day, and make about a tenth of what we normal make. But at least we feel like you’re doing semi useful things again and you have contact with your customers. The last couple of weeks of the forced lockdown closure were hard. Each day it was harder to motivate yourself to go downstairs for a couple of hours to do things. But now we have somewhat of a normal schedule again. And it’s easier to find time to read, even when I have less free time now.

Earlier this week I read the fourth book in the Hillary Greene series, but Faith Martin. I really enjoyed it. It’s a British procedural, set in the villages of Oxfordshire. It’s not a cozy, but it isn’t a thriller either. It falls somewhere between Midsommer Murders and Inspector Morse, IMHO. They are easy to read and I like the flawed main character.

Right now I’m reading the second book in Douglas Preston’s Wyman Ford series. I’m about 30% in and I am enjoying it. Another adventure thriller that reads easy and quick.

I’m not sure what to read next. At the moment I’m still choosing books that catch my fancy by reading the synopsis or because I’m in the mood for a certain genre. I still seem to be avoiding long books. I think I might read a horror story next. I try to mix up genres at the moment, as not to burn out on reading books in the same genre over and over again. That seems to be working for me at the moment.

Stuck in a rut

It’s almost mid February already. As many has remarked on, it seems that during this pandemic time goes by both very quick and very slow at the same time.

Reading wise I’m doing okay, I’ve finished eight books so far, though two of them were short stories. So far I’ve finished two books this month, and for the number of pages that is slow. Not compared to the past months (then I’m on track) or before my reading slump (then I’m slow), but compared to my enthusiasm in reading. I’m really enjoying reading again, I really liked all the books I’ve read so far this year. Yet, it’s slow going. I seem to have become stuck in a pattern of binge reading for a couple of days, usually the weekend. Then, when I’ve almost finished the book usually, I stop reading for several days, until I make myself finish the book. The I delay starting a new book for a couple of days.

I’m really annoyed by this. And my intention of reading 15 to 30 minutes each night before I go to sleep only happened twice. I need to put more of an effort into this.

I’m still reading books and genres that catch my fancy. I feel that planning my reading will just put me off. So for over a year now I haven’t gotten on much with my active series lists. And really, I don’t care. I do find it a shame that at the moment I feel I don’t have the focus to read long (500+ pages) books at the moment. Which means that I have several semi-recently released Stephen King novels on my TBR pile and although I really want to start the next series set in the Commonwealth universe, by Peter F. Hamilton, I’ve been putting it off.

In better news we are allowed to open our store again yesterday. Not fully open it, but via “click & collect”, or in our case “call & collect”, since we don’t have a website. Customers can call in an order, we pick it while they’re on the phone and then arrange a time for them to pick it up. There has to be at least four hours between putting in a order and the customer being able to pick it up. This is to prevent fun shopping. We offered customers the option to phone in their orders starting on Tuesday.

We decided to start with time slots of 15 minutes, mainly because that’s the minimum automatic time slot on Google Calendar. We tell the customers they have a 10 minute time slot, so there’s a bit of time between customers and it will prevent a line from forming. It hasn’t worked out that way, some customers show up fifteen minutes early, whilst others arrive later in their time slot.

We’ve set up a table, with a doorbell button inside our entryway between the outside door (which is open) and the shop door. We have a table behind the shop window, next to the door, where we have the cash register and the bags containing the orders. Yesterday we had an okay amount of customers, today was a lot quieter and tomorrow we also haven’t gotten a lot of orders. The weather isn’t helping, it’s been really cold. On the other hand, that isn’t too bad, we have time to adjust to the new situation and work out any kinks that arise.

Hopefully next week, when the weather is warmer, and everyone has some time to get their heads around the new situation, will be busier. It does mean that I haven’t got the Saturday off anymore, and my only real day off is Sunday, since I do most of the household chores on Monday. I’m going to miss that, but I’d rather be working that hanging around. Both my father and I found it harder and harder to motivate ourselves to go downstairs four mornings a week to tidy up and do various chores we never had time for. I do need to get used to going downstairs before the store opens at 10am now. But it’s really nice to see our customers again and have short chats with them.

A good month

Well, a relatively good month. Compared to previous years it isn’t good, but compared to the past months it’s good. So far I’ve finished four books, and over 1600 pages. I’m about to start with Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone Trilogy, which starts with two short stories. Which I should be able to finish before midnight on Sunday. It will bring down my average pages per book, but it’ll be nice to add two more book to this month.

I’ve enjoyed all the book I’ve read so far, especially Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s second book in the Nora Kelly series, The Scorpion’s Tail. I feel that their Agent Pendergast series is burned out at the moment, the stories are merely okay and they don’t add anything to the overall story. The Nora Kelly series is a nice spin-off.

I’m still struggling somewhat with getting into a rhythm with reading. Often reading little during the week and reading a lot during weekends. My plan to read for 15 to 30 minutes before bed hasn’t worked out so far. But the last couple of days I’ve been good with reading every day, which might be because I’ve enjoyed the book so much, but I”m hoping to keep it up.

I’m curious for the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. I saw some stills of the Netflix series based on the book yesterday, which reminded me I was interested in the series. It has three main books and four short stories, starting with two of those short stories. I’m usually not into short stories in series, but I’ll read them and won’t judge the story based on those. But I feel I have to read them to get the full story.

So far I’m continuing with reading books that catch my interest/mood. I feel that planning ahead which books to read won’t work for me at the moment and will put me off reading again.

I do still have enough time to read, the store is still closed due to the lockdown. Initially it was set to last until the 19th, but it was extended with another two weeks. And I expect that after that it’ll be extended again. Next week is another press conference. But the government announced last night the “route out of the lockdown”, which is that primary schools will open first, then the secondary schools, then retail businesses, followed by contact businesses (like hairdressers and nail salons). Last week it was already hinted that retail shouldn’t count on reopening before the end of February or even early March. We still go downstairs several mornings a week to tidy up and do things we have planned on doing but never had time enough to do. For now we still have enough to do. And it gives me more time to do things I want to do. Since I couldn’t go on my annual Reading Retreat this month, that isn’t too bad.

A new year, a new start

Let’s just say the last three months have been chaotic. Life happened and I didn’t have much time or energy to read. Only in the last couple of weeks I’ve had more time. This was mainly due to the fact that the government required all non-essential shops to close on the 15th of December. They announced this the day before. Our store isn’t essential. I had seen it coming and in my opinion it should have happened earlier. My father and I planned to go downstairs to the store four mornings a week and tidy up. These past two holiday weeks that didn’t happen, but I expect from next week we going back to that schedule. On January 12 there will be a new press conference and the prime minister will announce whether stores will be allowed to reopen. I expect not. The number of Covid cases, hospital and ICU admittances are too high for that.

The forced closure did reduce my stress levels. Yes, December is the busiest time of the year, so that sucks. But no more worry about getting infected by customers, no more discussions about face masks, number of people we allow in the store and customers not parking their bicycle in front of the store window (because of the waiting line).

Normally in December I have less time to read, since I work more. But this year I had more time to myself. We recently got a home trainer. Instead of four times a week I now cycle on it (almost) every day. These past two weeks were busy with the preparation of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. I had to do most preparations this year. But I did find some time to start reading again, and hopefully now those days are over I have even more time. I’m also finding time to diamond paint again, I haven’t done that for months.

The first book I finished this year was The Good House by Tananarive Due. A good book, though in the first half I did get annoyed by the foreboding. Regularly a chapter ended with words similar to “little did she know that …”. I hate it when authors do that, when the story is good enough you don’t need that to keep reading. I shouldn’t have picked such a long book (almost 600 pages). I’m not ready for that year, but I did finish it in just under two weeks. Although I’m itching to read the two new Dresden Files books and start a new Peter F. Hamilton series, I think it’s better to stick to shorter reads for now. Otherwise I might get discouraged again.

My goals for this year is to read 24 book, keep my reading lists up to date and have fun again. Hopefully I can adjust goal of how many books I want to read. But I thought it better to start easy and not pressure myself too much.