Month in Review: January 2016



I looked at my calendar today only to discover that it is January 31st, which means tomorrow (or, more accurately, about two hours from now) will be FEBRUARY. Time flies when you’re, uh, procrastinating?

I guess so, because I’ve been doing a lot of that. BUT I’ve also been doing a lot of reading and writing. Would you like to know what’s been going on? Excellent! Here it is:

Articles Published in January:

  1. Favorite Characters from Classic Literature, Volume 2
  2. Celebrating David Bowie: His Favorite Classics
  3. Classic Literature to Read in January
  4. Emma Watson’s New Book Club: Our Recommendations
  5. Getting to Know George Eliot: Her Life and Works
  6. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee: Summary and Review
  7. Literary Miscellany, Volume 1: Fun Facts, Quotes and Trivia
  8. Three Early Stories by J.D. Salinger
  9. Classic Literature to Read in February

Books Read in December: 11

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (4 out of 5)
  • Three Early Stories by J.D. Salinger (4 out of 5)
  • Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (5 out of 5)
  • City of Night by John Rechy (4 out of 5)
  • Becoming Nancy by Terry Ronald (4 out of 5)
  • The Bitterweed Path by Thomas Hal Phillips (5 out of 5)
  • Your Little Red Book by E.J. Runyon (4 out of 5)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (4 out of 5)
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (5 out of 5)
  • Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays in Creativity by Ray Bradbury (5 out of 5)
  • Young Avengers, Volume 3 by Kieron Gillen (4 out of 5)

So, the first month of 2016 was pretty productive as far as reading and writing. Of course, the semester began a couple of weeks ago, too, which means I’m now buried in teaching obligations (including planning, grading, emailing, etc.). The dissertation continues to beckon, but answering that call has been difficult and daunting. Tomorrow? (and tomorrow and tomorrow?).

What have you been up to so far this year!?

December Review



First, congratulations to BEHOLD THE STARS for winning the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge!

Now, onto business. A few weeks ago, I posted my “year in review,” but we were only about half-way into December at that point.

I ended up reading a few more books and publishing a number of additional articles between that point and the end of the month.

SO! I thought I’d provide a monthly wrap-up for December, as I do normally.

Articles Published in December:

  1. Classic Literature as Graphic Novels and Manga
  2. Classics for Binge Reading!
  3. More Classics for Binge Reading!
  4. 6 Under-appreciated Classics that are Shockingly Good
  5. Classic Continuations: Canonical Literature in Contemporary Style
  6. Discover Penguin’s Little Black Classics
  7. Favorite Characters from Classic Literature, Volume 1
  8. Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses: Book 3, Episode 18 

Books Read in December:

  • Lexicon by Max Barry (4 out of 5)
  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick (4 out of 5)
  • Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (2 out of 5)
  • The Humbug Murders: An Ebeneezer Scrooge Mystery by L.J. Oliver (4 out of 5)
  • The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff (3 out of 5)
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (5 out of 5)
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (5 out of 5)
  • Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan (5 out of 5)
  • Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan (4 out of 5)
  • Willa Cather on Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art by Willa Cather (5 out of 5)
  • Secret Wars #1 by Jonathan Hickman (3 out of 5)
  • Secret Wars #2 by Jonathan Hickman (3 out of 5)
  • Secret Wars #3 by Jonathan Hickman (4 out of 5)
  • Passenger by Andrew Smith (4 out of 5)

So, the last month of 2015 was pretty productive as far as reading and writing, I’d say. January seems to be going well so far, too. I hope your new year is a good one so far!

What are your plans for 2016?

2015 Wrap-Up

In 2016, I plan to post about once per month. Things may come up where I decide to do more, but that’s the general plan for now.

I don’t plan on hosting or participating in any challenges, but who knows?

2015 was an interesting year, but I’ll keep things brief and to the point!

5 Most Popular Posts:

  1. Wit and Wisdom for the New Year
  2. 10 Best Christmas Classics
  3. American Literary Periods
  4. What is Gothic Literature?
  5. Inspire Your Kids to Read the Classics!

5 Personal Favorite Posts:

  1. Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses (multiple posts)
  2. Water on Mars: Revisiting Classic Science Fiction
  3. The Great Gatsby and the Lost Generation
  4. Which Classic Literature Genre Are You?
  5. Aspects of the Novel

5 Favorite Books I Read: 

  1. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  2. My Tender Matador by Pedro Lemebel
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  4. Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill
  5. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


#TBR2015RBR: Final Post!


Well, this is it! After 6 incredible years, some of them more successful than others, I am retiring The Official TBR Pile Challenge. I’ve hosted this one since 2010, and it has been so much fun. Participation grew every year, with more than 200 readers participating in these last two rounds. Congratulations and thank you, everyone!

If you’re looking for other TBR Pile Challenges for 2016 (and there are many, now, which is partly why I feel compelled to call it quits at this point), I would suggest these two:

  1. Mount TBR hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block
  2. The Read Your Own Damn Books Challenge hosted by Andi at Estella’s Revenge

Bev has been hosting Mount TBR for four years, and I’ve participated every year (cross-listing books with my own challenge). There’s a variety of “levels” to the challenge, so lots of room to go at your own pace and difficulty level.

The Read Your Own Damn Books challenge is new, but it will be great for those folks who want to read what they own without committing in advance to a certain list.

As for the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, here are my final results:

Books Completed: 6 out of 12

Favorite Read: Tie: Long Day’s Journey into Night & Ariel.

One I definitely want to get to next year: City of Night by John Rechy.

Current Completers:

We had 210 people sign-up for the 2015 challenge. If you’re out there and you’ve finished your challenge, be sure to leave a comment letting us know (and link-up to your master post / wrap-up post on the Mister Linky below).

Remember, everyone who completed the challenge (read and reviewed at least 12 of their 14 books) and who links to their wrap-up post will be entered to win the grand prize:  $50 gift card to or The Book Depository! Deadline to post: 01/01/16 at 10am CST. 

If you didn’t finish; what kind of progress did you make?  1 of 12?  6 of 12?  Even reading one book is a step in the right direction, so if you gave it a shot – good for you!

Which books from your list did you love?  Which ones did you hate?  Plan to read any of the leftovers in 2016?

Link-Up your final lists, wrap-up posts, or newly posted reviews:

Catching-Up: Book Review Party!

I’ve been way behind in posting updates on my reading/reviewing, but I have been publishing book reviews,thoughts and the like. So, for ease of reference AND to secure my own sanity, here’s a compilation of my Book Reviews published July – September: