Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Year in Pictures ~ 2020 Week 2



My goodness, we are already looking back at the second week of the year. Amazing how time flies. Whenever it's later in the year than I expect, I remember the Gretchen Rubin wisdom "The days are long but the years are short." She is sooooo right.


Monday January 13, 2020


One of the things I like to do is track my reading. For quite a while now I've been tracking it a monthly spread in my bullet journal, and I really enjoy how that style looks... but is pretty time intensive. I've decided to try finding a faster way to do it. This may be less visually pleasing but still very informative style. And it might free up some time to do some art, which would be lovely.


Tuesday January 14, 2020


I finished a book! Greenwitch by Susan Cooper, which is the third book in The Dark Is Rising cycle. This is a kids fantasy series set in the real world, and I'm returning to the series after several years. I didn't love the first two books, so I went in pretty skeptical. Guess what? I actually quite liked it! Magic, wonder, ritual.... all good. There is some outdated language, which is uncomfortable, but given this released over 40 years ago so I try to take that with a grain of salt. In terms of the story, I enjoyed it much more than the other books and now feel quite confident I will finish off the series. Only two books to go!


Wednesday January 15, 2020


One of the things I look forward to every year is getting a new calendar. This year I decided to go with a Dungeons and Dragons calendar! They are all really cool fantasy images, and I love sharing the reveal of the new image each month. I can't wait to put this one up!


Thursday January 16, 2020


I made it out for a coffee and some journaling, one of my favourite things to do! This is actually the very last page of my current journal. This was a magazine journal, one where I use the magazine as a base, and than add images from magazines and books until the entire this if full. Then I use gel pens to write over the whole pages. It took quite a while to put together, and probably years to finish but I absolutely loved journaling like this. But, it is complete. Time to find pick out something to use next!


Friday January 17, 2020


Time for a movie night! I watched A Star is Born with my sister Jamie. I had seen at least one of the previous versions, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Even so, I was not prepared. It was so powerful. And it requires a fair amount of Kleenex. I keep on listening to the soundtrack, and than need a break. And than listen again. So good.

Watching this reminded me that I always, without question, want to watch any film or TV show that's about the performing arts. Always.



Saturday January 18, 2020


As one of my goals this year is to watch more films, I'm excited to really be able to see that I am doing that! This time it was Proud Mary, which features Taraji P. Henson as a hit woman and I quite enjoyed it. An action film with a woman in the lead role? Yes, please!


Sunday January 19, 2020


And there is my reading tracker as the week finished out. My reading took a bit of a nosedive by the end of the week, and I'm heading into another busy week ahead so that may continue. It's okay though, the busy ahead is a lot of good stuff. I may end up opting for mostly audiobooking. We shall see!

How was your week?

See my intro to 2020 A Year in Pictures here, or all 2020 Year in Pictures posts here.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Book Ends Book Haul ~ Winter 2020


photo credit: Suzie Ridler

I had so much fun going to Bookends with my sisters Jamie and Suzie. It's a used bookstore down at the Toronto Reference Library, and they have great deals on books. I go with my sisters seasonal-ish, we all gravitate to different sections and then come home with treasures after our adventure.


Here is the stack I came home with this time around! Let's take a closer look at some of the titles.


One of my favourite genres of books is art books. Whether it's a how-to, or a history of, or a picture book, I get so much out of reading them. These are the two are books I picked up this time:

Life and Works of Dali by Nathaniel Harris
Sister Wendy My Favorite Things: 75 Words of Art from Around the World by Sister Wendy Beckett

Salvador Dalí is one of my favourite artists, and I will always pick up any books I see on him. I have a couple now, so some may transform into wall art... but I will always read them first! Sister Wendy is new to me, but the idea of someone sharing their favourite art works had huge appeal. The inside cover said she is known for making art accessible, which is something I can totally get behind.


These two are quite the interesting pair: Fantastic Books of Logic Puzzles by Muriel Mandell | Illustrated by Elise Chanowitz and Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling by Tom Angleberger. Both are activity books, which sounded like so much fun! The logic puzzle book is awesome too, as it doesn't just give you the answer to the puzzles but also an explanation to the logic of things and there is also a hint section if you need help getting on the right track. The drawing and folding book is so cool! It has lots of very approachable techniques for drawing and an awesome Star Wars references throughout.


This trio of title are all from my Shannon Reads "Those Books" exploration, which I started back in 2014 with the goal of expanding my reading horizons, understanding literature better and hopefully understand the world better. Plus enjoying the books too! Last year I hit the 50-book mark on the project and am still going pretty strong. Now I have three more to enjoy at my leisure Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind | Translated from the German by John E. Woods, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth.


I was thrilled to see quite a selection of Harlequins during this visit! Often there is is just a handful to choose from but this time there were tons! Which means I bought tons! I've already started No Place Like Home, which follows a storm-chasing photographer and a journalist. I'm super looking forward to the Jayne Anne Krentz book, she's an author I've not read yet but have heard great things about. Plus, the protagonist in that on is named Shannon! So rare to share a character name, what fun! There was a bit sticker on Dark Sky that I was able to pull off but left a lot of stickiness behind. I solved that by using some washi tape of a similar tone, and now I barely notice it. Here is all of the titles:

The Ties That Bind by Jayne Anne Krentz
Buchanan's Pride by Pamela Toth (Buckles & Broncos #4)
A Dark and Stormy Night by Anne Stuart (More Than Men #13)
Deceptions by Janice Kaiser
No Place Like Home by Robin Nicholas
The Plus-One Agreement by Charlotte Phillips
Touch and Go by Michelle Rowen (P.A.R.A. Investigations #2)
Dark Sky by Carla Neggers (Cold Ridge/U.S. Marshalls #4)


These two titles are on my legit to-be-read list: The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton and Independent People by Halldór Laxness | translated from the Icelandic by J. A. Thompson. The Magnificent Spinster was actually at the store last time I was there, but I couldn't take one more book so I was thrilled to see it here this time. I heard about Independent People last year, I'm not 100% sure where but probably where, but I imagine I heard "Icelandic epic novel" and was sold.


And here are a few that I've already read! It was a blast from the past to see Heaven by VC Andrews (sadly not a version with the peekaboo cover to the creepy family portrait, but still!). I also was impressed to see The Outlander by Gil Adamson, a Canadian novel I read a few years back and really enjoyed.

Photo credit: Jamie Ridler

I think it's easy to say that I am very happy with these books. So many books! Until next season, Bookends!

Where do you like to go book shopping?



Monday, January 20, 2020

A Year in Pictures ~ 2020 Week 1



Welcome to Week 1 of A Year in Pictures! This we actually have a full week, hence it being Week 1. When I've been doing my planning this year, I have been enjoying going with the rhythm of working one week at a time, which is why I decided to do these as weekly posts!

We are still in catch up mode so this week will have several posts, but eventually I hope on Mondays with showing pics from the previous week. That's the dream! But for now, let's talk a walk down memory lane... of 2020's first full week!


Monday January 6, 2020


I finished a book: The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson. I picked this one up last JUNE for The Lady Vaults Book Club. I have since realized I am horrible at keeping up with book clubs, which shows here by taking 7 months to read the pick, oh my. That said, this book was excellent. It was a challenging read in a few different ways, but the characters and story were both very engaging. I will definitely read more Nalo Hopkinson in the future.


Tuesday January 7, 2020


I was stoked to find this mini calendar stack at the dollar store! It's got four tear away calendars for each month, and will be perfect to glue into my various journals, trackers, and planners. Because yes, I have lots of different trackers and planners. As much as I like bullet journaling, I do find writing out the whole month can be tiresome so this is perfect add for a reference. Love it!


Wednesday January 8, 2020


In the post holiday season I often spend a lot of time resting and recovering, and this year is no different. I decided to pick a show to watch during this time, and I went with Helix! I noticed it was leaving Netflix Canada in mid January, so that time pressure gave some urgency to finally finish the series.

I had watched Season 1 live, but it was several years ago so I went back and re-watched it and than finished the series off with watching the second season as well. It's a scifi/horror series that starts in the Arctic following a potential outbreak. I enjoyed Season 1 the most, both for the setting and the story. That said, as a completist I was thrilled to finish the whole series. I've also set the challenge to myself of finishing 20 TV series as a part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days, which is a whole other kettle of fish that hopefully will come up in a future blog post!

Thursday January 9, 2020


It's time for ART!! This year I'm doing Carla Sonheim's yearlong class: Words and Pictures. The first assignment needs some letters, and I didn't have any kicking around so I MADE MY OWN with a Sharpie and magazine pages! I love Carla's classes, and I've been doing the year longs for many years now and I am so looking forward to this year and exploring all there is to explore. I hope it will be a great year for art and exploration.


Friday January 10, 2020


Another Friday adventure with my sisters Jamie and Suzie! We went down to Book Ends, the used bookstore down at the Toronto Reference Library. We often go seasonally, and were definitely on the lookout for materials to use for the Words and Pictures class (we are all taking it!). As always, I was also looking for books to read. This spot has the best deals in town for books, plus every time I come home with unique set of treasures. This time ended up with quite an interesting haul of book which I hope to share that in a separate post.


Saturday January 11, 2020


Although I didn't get a shareable photo of the event itself, Saturday was the final holiday event of the season with my Dad coming in for a visit. Even though it rained all day (in January!), it was a really fun event full of lively discussion and yummy food. This pics is of the these treat bags I made to share with family, and I made the snowflakes myself! They took a bit to figure out quite exactly how to do them, but it was fun to put it all together.

Note to future self: Take photos of family events!!


Sunday January 12, 2020


After all the visiting it was time for a rest, and with that I finished another TV show: The Loch! I started watching this one a few years back when it aired on CBC but never saw the whole thing. It's a crime drama series set in Scotland, and with just 6 episodes and I flew right through the series. I'm very very thankful they were available on CBC Gem and it feels good to finish another show. My second of the year!

That's how the first full week of the year went! We are * this * close to being caught up on posts, woohoo!

See my intro to 2020 A Year in Pictures here, or all 2020 Year in Pictures posts here.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Year in Pictures ~ 2020 Week 0



Whelp, here we are! I am attempting to return to blogging and in total newb style, I have already accidentally deleted my original post. Oh my. That's a bit of a rough start, but I'm going to consider it just one of those things that happens and keep on keepin' on!

I wasn't quite sure where to start back up with blogging, so I decided to go with a picture a day. I was inspired by my buddy Sean who is doing this on Instagram, and though it would be a fun way to blog through the year. Because when you return to something, it's always best to commit to a year-long project. Am I right, or am I right? Okay, fingers crossed I can keep this up!


Wednesday January 1, 2020


Ah, a new year means time for a new GoodReads challenge. I love challenges, and usually set myself a lot of goals and challenges during the year but I don't really worry about the number of books I read in a year. Since I started using GoodReads back in 2010, I've had years where I've read 17 titles and last year I was up to over 300 titles. The number often is more of an reflection of how busy or stressful my life was that year, or if I started reading more challenging or easier works, or even if I had more access to more titles.

You may ask, if the number isn't important to me, why do I pick something? The reason is that I love GoodReads and I use it every day, and if you don't pick something... it prompts you ALL THE TIME to chose a number. So I pick something. This year I picked the same number last year: 120. That's 10/month and I feel very comfortable with that.

Love books? Let's be friends on GoodReads!


Thursday January 2, 2020


The new month means it's time to set up bullet journal spreads. As it's also a new year, I picked a new book to start fresh for bullet journaling and it feels full of possibilities. I have bullet journalled on and off in 2019 and I'm still working on what works for me. I know one book won't last me the whole year, but we'll see where it goes.

Out of all the things I've tried, the one thing that I consistently use is this monthly spread. I have dates on the left, events/happenings/commitments in the middle (in pencil...because January weather is very winter-y!), and on the right side I do a habit tracker. I even showed some restraint by only picking a few things to track.

Friday January 3, 2020


Friday was a lot of fun hanging out at the pub with my sisters Jamie and Suzie. We had just visited Jamie's house which is going under renovations (it's so beautiful!), and that the three of us enjoyed a night at the pub. It was chilly out so it was a great time to enjoy some French Onion Soup and Yorkshire Puddings. A winter delight and great company, it was great!


Saturday January 4, 2020


One thing I want to do more of this year is watch movies! I love film and last year I watched a fair amount, but this year I want to be a bit more intentional. I noticed that a new Ip Man film is out, so I went back and re-watched the earlier ones (all on Netflix Canada atm). These are historical martial arts films following the Wing Chun master who taught Bruce Lee. In the films, Ip Man is played by Donnie Yen, who is one of my favourite actors. I had watched all the films before, and I had fun re-watching them. This was when I watched Ip Man 2.


Sunday January 5, 2020


This might seem like a bit of an odd photo, but I was totally captivated by the bird in the middle. The colour of their feathers was truly remarkable in person, I sadly don't think it reads quite as well in the photo. I couldn't tell if the colour was brown or purple, both, or somewhere in between. I actually followed this bird for a bit, but from a distance and not very long because... traffic! Safety comes first, for both the bird and for me!

That's what we have for Week 0! As I'm a little behind on posting, this week may be a flurry of catch up and than hopefully we with start into a regular rhythm of posting. Fingers crossed!

Are you doing a year long projects?



Wednesday, January 01, 2020

January 2020 TBR



Happy 2020 Everyone!

I've decided to do my TBRs a bit differently this month. I also usually ignore that I'm usually in the middle of 15 to 20 books at any one given time and pick lots of new stuff. This time, I'm going to start where I am and work from there. I have also picked some readathons and challenges to participating in for 2020, and the January selections are noted below.

BTW, I don't mind being in the middle of a lot of books at the same time. But, I only read one book per genre at a time. Remembering this, I refined my January TBR to only add in books that were not the same genre as something I was already reading. This cut the number of titles substantially, but it does leave lots of books waiting in the wings for me to start to get some finishes in. Hopefully this new style will give me a higher success rate at reading, and finishing, what I pick each month!

Currently Reading Titles to Finish/Continue in January 2020



These are my currently reading books that I'll be continuing to read in January 2020:

Dune by Frank Herbert (Dune Chronicles #1)
Everything You Need to Know about Nightmares! And How to Defeat Them by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (Nightmare! #3.5)
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria (Dance Off #1)
Ophelia by Lisa M Klein
The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 1 (1931-1934)
The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson
Shakespeare's Sonnets
More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth | Narrated by Elaine Welteroth
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien | Narrated by Rob Inglis

I know, I know... this is a lot of books. And they might seem all over the place, but they actually fit a lot of the genres or categories that I really enjoy reading. Both Dune and Ophelia are book to film adaptations, Take the Lead is my current romance read, The Salt Roads is speculative fiction and a book club read from last year, and I have some non fiction in there with The Diary of Anaïs Nin and More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth. I also love finishing things, and the Nightmares! book will finish off a series and the Shakespeare Sonnets will get me closer to finishing off the works of Shakespeare.

I've been really enjoying most of this titles, which is good to remember. Every month I get excited about shiny new selections, but the truth is I carry over a lot of works. I usually do a push at the end of a month but I never get down to zero titles. And I ran out of steam in December so the count is even higher. But it's all good. These have been great reads.

New Starts for January 2020


This Side Jordan by Margaret Laurence
Once & Future Issue #2 written by Kieron Gillen | Artists: Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain

These are my 2 titles that aren't primarily for other projects, readathons or challenges. Once & Future is a comic series that is current day set/urban fantasy/Arthurian inspired. I've only read the first comic so far and loved it. Issues 2 - 4 are now available on Hoopla so I want to check them out! I'm ever so slightly tempted to wait and see if they are going to have a bind up edition, because I only have 4 Hoopla credits a month and using them on 30 pages it limits the other comics, graphic novels or manga I read but I just don't think I can wait any longer!

A title that will take me a lot longer to read is This Side Jordan by Margaret Laurence. I read The Diviners by Margaret Laurence a few years ago and loved it so much that I am setting myself the challenge of reading all of her novels. But, it's Canadian fiction which I know takes me longer so this one will probably be with me a while.

~~Participating in~~

Reading Women


I've participated in the Reading Women month long readathon before, but this is my first time taking on the yearly challenge. The 2020 Reading Women Challenge is 24 prompts (plus 2 bonus prompts) which encourage reading books by and/or about women. I'm going to go with attempting to read 2 books a month for this challenge.

Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Prompt #18: A Book Under 100 Pages

Going with a low page count prompt feels like a good way to ease into the challenge. I'm not quite sure how I came across this one, but I was looking through my spreadsheet of Kindle titles and there it was at 48 pages! The author, Edna St. Vincent Millay is a Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry and also known for being a feminist activist. Feels like the perfect way to start off this challenge!

Renascence and Other Poems is available for free via Project Gutenberg here and also on Kindle at Amazon.ca.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #1)
Prompt 19: A Book That’s Frequently Recommended to You.

It's a bit of a stretch as it's not been directly recommended to me, but it has been a selection for several book clubs I've been a part of. Also, I love urban fantasy and Laurell K Hamilton is one of the bigs in the genre, in particular for the Anita Blake series (which is currently a 26 book series). Time to dive in see what it is all about!

For more information about the Reading Women Challenge, check out 2020 Reading Women Challenge post here.

Booktube Re-Readathon 2020


The Booktube Re-Readathon 2020 is a year long readathon hosted by Alex Black and Abi Mack Reads. This is a readathon promotes re-reading.
The prompt for January is to reread a translated book or a book in which a character speaks more than one language.

My pick for January: Poems of the Elder Edda by Anonymous, Translated by Patricia Terry

I listened to this on audio via Scribd in 2019 and really enjoyed it. Usually I end up re-reading on audio but this will be the first time I will reading a text where I've listened to it on audio. Yay for firsts!

I believe this is translated from Icelandic, it looks like the poems come from the Codex Regius, but it also seems like it could be from Old Norse. The copy I have doesn't have the original language listed it in the front, but maybe I will come across more info as I read. This is an area of literature that I would like to explore more, and one that I find a little hard to navigate where to start or even which stories come from where, or even what is considered myth vs history vs story. I have a feeling a reading project may emerge from this at some point, but for this month I'm focused on simply re-reading this title. I hope I enjoy it as much a second time around.

This is the version of the book that I'm planning on reading in January (it's also available on Scribd here).

See Alex's and Abi's announcement videos for more info on the Booktube Rereadathon.

The AYearathon Readathon

January Prompt: Pick a Colour
AYearathon dates for this month: January 13 - 19th, 2020

This is a new to me readathon, and I'm excited about participating. I'm a little nervous about choosing another year-long readathon, but I really enjoyed the prompts and thought it would be fun to try something new this year! I think I will wait until closer to the readathon before deciding 100% on my TBR choices, as it will depend a bit on what I finish before the readathon begins. That said, I have chosen yellow for the January prompt of pick a colour, and you can probably see from the books above I already have come books that will fit in the challenge (Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay and This Side Jordan by Margaret Laurence).

See more about AYearathon on their Twitter page, Instagram or Goodreads Group, and the 2020 Theme Announcement Video.

More Possibilities

I'm also flirting with the idea of participating in Bout of Books #27 which runs form Jan 6 - 12, 2020 and the Read Your Face Off Readathon Weekend on Jan 18-19th, but I will have to see how I'm going closer to the dates. They are readathons I've participated in in the past and had fun doing so.

What is your January reading looking like? Are you participating in any events or challenges? I'd love to know!

Here is to an awesome reading year in 2020.

Love reading? Let's be friends on Goodreads!

A Year in Pictures ~ 2020 Week 2

My goodness, we are already looking back at the second week of the year. Amazing how time flies. Whenever it's later in the year tha...