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text 2020-01-02 00:20
24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 - New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day: Tasks 1-3 AND Door 18 - Hanukkah: Task 1

UPDATED: Added Star Rating Stats

I can't believe I posted this yesterday without them!

 

 

2020 Reading Goals

Pretty much the same as this year: Read more books by women writers than by male authors, diversify my reading, and keep on exploring the world of Golden Age mystery fiction.

 

The Around the World reading challenge -- which is also to be continued in 2020 -- this year has taken me to places of the world that aren't exactly part of my normal reading fare, and I think visits to 46 countries (8 in Africa, 10 in the Americas (11 if Puerto Rico were counted separately), 13 in Asia and the Middle East, 2 in Oceania, and 13 again in Europe) is a pretty decent tally for the first year. I hope things are going to continue in a similar vein next year.

 

My Golden Age mystery reading plans are probably going to cross the "diversifying" aims to a certain extent -- they already did this year -- for the simple reason that the vast majority of Golden Age mystery writers were Caucasian.  But that just can't be helped, I suppose.

 

 

The 2019 Stats

Books begun: 250

Books finished: 247

Average Rating: 3,8

 

 Genre Breakdown by Subgenres

Mystery: 124
   Golden Age: 89
   Silver Age: 3
   Tartan Noir: 3
   Classic Noir: 2
   Cozy Mystery: 2
   General: 22


Thriller: 8
   Espionage: 5
   Humor/Satire: 1
   General: 2

 

Historical Fiction: 31
   Mystery/Crime/Thriller: 23
   Mythology: 2
   Magical Realism: 1
   Humor/Satire: 1
   General: 3


Fantasy: 11
   Humor/Satire: 8
   YA: 2
   General: 1

 

Supernatural: 5
   Short Fiction: 2
   Historical Fiction: 2
   Humor/Satire: 1


SciFi: 2
    Steampunk: 1
    Humor/Satire: 1

 

Horror: 3
   Gothic: 1
   Short Fiction: 2

 

Classics: 15
   Short Fiction: 6
   Anthology: 1
   Espionage: 1
   General: 7

 

LitFic: 16
   Magical Realism: 1
   Mythology: 2
   Dystopia: 2
   Mystery/Crime/Thriller: 2
   ChickLit: 2
   General: 7


Nonfiction: 32
   Auto(Biography): 20
   History: 3
   Philosophy: 2
   Science: 3
   True Crime: 2
   Anthology: 1
   Cookbook: 1

 

 

 
    
    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key, obviously, is in the intersection of genres and ethnicity: 25 of the 27 books by non-Caucasian authors I read were something other than mysteries; or put differently, virtually all of the 124 mysteries were by Caucasian authors (including all of the 92 Golden and Silver Age mysteries, which in themselves account for 2/3 of all my mystery intake).  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do much about those statistics -- nor do I very much want to, as long as I manage to make decent progress with my Around the World challenge and manage to get in a fair amount of non-Caucasian books in all the other genres.

 

Favorite books of 2019: HERE

Least favorite books of 2019: HERE

 

 

Bibliomancy

 My question: Is 2020 going to be a good reading year for me?

 

Miss Austen's Collected Novels are one of the larger volumes on my shelves, so I decided to seek my answer there.

 

The answer: "[impor]tance in assisting the improvement of her mind, and extending its pleasures."

 

That sounds rather promising, doesn't it?

(And I'm taking it as an additional good sign that the answer is from Mansfield Park, wich was the first novel by Austen that I read -- and the book that made me fall in love with her writing in the first place ...)

 

 

 

Dreidel Spin for First Book of the Year

This is a pick from some of the books that my BFF, Gaby, gave me for Christmas and my birthday this year:

 

נ (Nun) - Craig Adams: The Six Secrets of Intelligence

ג (Gimel) - Isabel Colegate: The Shooting Party

ה (Hei) - Preet Bharara: Doing Justice

ש (Shin) - Sarah-Jane Stratford: Radio Girls

 

 

... and the dreidel picked:

 

 So, Sarah-Jane Stratford's Radio Girls it is!

Radio Girls - Sarah-Jane Stratford

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Door 22

Task 1: Tell us: What are your reading goals for the coming year?

Task 2: The reading year in review: How did you fare – what was good, what wasn’t?

Task 3: Bibliomancy: Ask a question related to your reading plans or experience in the coming year, open one of your weightiest tomes on page 485, and find the answer to your question in line 7.

 

Door 18, Task 1: Spin the dreidel to determine which book is going to be the first one you’ll be reading in the new year.

Find a virtual dreidel here:

https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make-a-dreidel

http://www.jewfaq.org/dreidel/play.htm

http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm

 

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text 2019-12-31 22:23
24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day: Task 4

I'm clean out of energy to prepare any (even simple) desserts or other dishes, so here, in lieu of a New Year's Eve toast, is the remainder of my holiday goodies in the kitty mug / cup that my BFF gave me for Christmas, with her homemade "Stollen" (Christmas loaf) and a miniature Stollen that my mom obtained from her favorite tea shop.

 

 

(Task: Prepare your favorite dessert – in a cup!  Post a photo of it for us to enjoy vicariously.)

 

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text 2019-12-31 21:37
24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 - World Philosphy Day: Task 3

My only salvation in stressful times: Creature comforts.  Lots of them.  And BookLikes!

 

2019 was a hell of a year in virtually every respect, and I don't mean that in a good sense -- I can only hope 2020 will be a LOT better.  BookLikes was my one happy place this year, so thank you all, the whole BookLikes community, for keeping me sane and happy whenever real life was getting a bit overwhelming.

 

 

And of course, the boys' love helped as well ...

 

 

... and, as I said, creature comforts.  Lots of them.

 

 

(Task: How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?)

 

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text 2019-12-31 01:05
24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 - Advent: Task 2

I don't know if I have one particular favorite holiday tradition, but one of my favorite moments occurs on Christmas Eve, when we walk through the silent, festively-decorated night-time streets of our neighborhood on our way to church.  I am not a hugely religious person, but it's not Christmas for me before I haven't heard the story from St. Luke's gospel, chapter 2, retold to me and sung the associated Christmas carols in church -- and I love that contemplative walk, and finally having time to duly appreciate the love and creativity that some people put into their holiday decorations.  This year, alas, my mom wasn't able to walk all the way (in fact, the way things are looking, those days may be over once and for all), so I only got to take my walk belatedly and after, alas, some of the decorations had already been removed again.  However, there was still plenty of loving care to admire and enjoy (including in the windows of some of our neighborhood's tiny shops):

 

 

(Task: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?)

 

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text 2019-12-31 00:21
24 Festive Tasks: Door 10 - Russian Mothers' Day: Task 4 AND Door 15 - International Human Rights Day: Tasks 3 AND Door 16 - St. Lucia's Day: Task 1

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Famous first words -- Harriet Vane upon being woken by the St. Lucia maidens on December 13:

"I say, Peter, what am I to do with all these ladies?  It's one thing to be talking piffle about ancient girlfriends, but it's really a bit much to bring them all here just so I can meet them, don't you know.  After all, we have already had our honeymoon and one other holiday ruined by someone's murder ..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

(Door 10, Task 4: Forget-me-nots and handmade medals of honor are important Russian Mothers’ Day gifts.  Create a medal of honor (with or without the image of a forget-me-not) for a favorite book character or for a family member or friend of yours that you’d like to pay respect to.

 

Door 15, Task 3: Nominate a (fictional) character from one of the books you read this year for a Nobel Prize – regardless which one – or for a similarly important prize (e.g., the Fields Medal for mathematics) and write a brief laudation explaining your nomination.

 

Door 16, Task 1: Famous first words: Tradition has it that the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are woken up by the St. Lucia maidens, as St. Lucia’s Day (Dec. 13) is just three days after the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony and many laureates stay long enough to be able to take in the St. Lucia festivities.

Imagine one of your favorite (fictional) characters had won that prize: How would you think (s)he would greet the maidens?  (If you’ve used the Nobel Peace Prize for Door 15, Task 3, this can be the same character, of course … or a different one, just as you wish.))

 

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