While January wasn't perfect, it was a good start to 2024.

There's a certain mindset that the way the first week and month goes, the rest of the year will follow, even if we know it's not true. I was disappointed with how my 2023 started and I'm glad to have a better start to 2024.

For over a year, I did reading-only wrap-ups on this blog with small reviews of every book I read. While I loved doing it, I missed sharing more of my thoughts and passions with you. So, for a while at least, I'm shifting back to this everything-wrap-up format.

I have a lot to tell you so let's get to it!

words on books

I've never been a big TBR person because I'm a mood reader. It didn't work out for me. But lately, I've been eagerly waiting to read books. It was easy to quickly get to anticipated romance books because I can read one in a day but non-fiction, classics, and literary fiction take time.

I couldn't wait to get to new books so I made a small flexible TBR for January with six books that I wanted to read ASAP. I was able to read them all and more.

In total, I read 15 books in January. 5 of them were rereads, one was a classic, and another was non-fiction. 6 were paperbacks, 6 were ebooks, and the remaining 3 were audiobooks.

Storygraph's January challenge to read at least one page a day helped me read more. Some days, I read exactly one page but usually, I was able to read more and finish books quickly. I've been actively tracking my current reads on the site as well. Add me if you're on Storygraph!

As I'm doing a different wrap-up format this time, I won't be fully reviewing all my reads. I'm planning to go with this format for a while where I share my thoughts in a couple of sentences and write full-length review blog posts if I have more to say.

Here are tiny reviews of my January reads (except rereads):

Ithaca by Claire North is a retelling of Penelope, the queen of Ithaca and the wife of Odysseus. While it introduced me to new Greek stories, it wasn't interesting. It is written from the POV of the goddess Hera which makes it unique but, again, not interesting.

King of Wrath by Ana Huang. I wasn't interested in reading it until Yesha raved about it. It was quite interesting! It's not one of my favourites but it was entertaining.

The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I'm pretty sure this will be one of my best books of the year. I loved it so much that I wrote a long rave review on it. I lent my copy to a friend and convinced two others to read it already.

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston. This was a buddy read with some of my friends. It's a book that you have to shut your brain to enjoy. It reminded me of A Time Called You Kdrama but was simpler and more predictable.

The Last Nomad by Shugri Said Salh is a memoir about growing up as a nomad in the Somali desert. The author recounts nomadic way of life and traditions, the civil unrest in Somalia during her teenage years, and growing up with one foot in the desert and the other in the city. It was a very interesting read.

A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair. I read this purely because I got the ALC on Libro.fm. It was unnecessarily long and draggy. It had characters with potential and a boring plot. It was a boring fae fantasy. I don't recommend it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell. I picked up the paperback when I went to the bookstore on 1st January. It is a fast-paced classic on totalitarianism. I like how everything was shown rather than told. It was interesting.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. A friend loves this book and lent me a copy so that I'd finally read it. It reminded me of the movie Coco. The story was sweet and heartwarming. I recommend it.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. A damn good book that was easy to read and relate to (as a new runner). It motivated me to keep running. Keep an eye out for a full-length review on this!

The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Quite different from her Dial A for Aunties, this book is a take on the TV show You. The male lead was eerily similar and the female lead is a secret danger who rises to become a predator instead of prey.

As you can see, I read a proper variety of books in January and enjoyed most of them. My tentative TBR for February has six books and it looks like the upcoming month will be a month of variety reading as well.

illustration of an open book with tons of annotations and tabs on the pages.

words on the blog

During my end-of-the-year holidays in 2023, I wrote a few blog posts and they got me into a blogging flow. Despite going back to the usual routine in 2024, my writing didn't stop. After more than a year, I got into the blogging zone. I had ideas and my words for them flowed nicely.

I posted FIVE times in January and am currently two posts ahead! I have content planned for another 4 weeks. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back in this flow state. It feels so good to itch to write and finish blog posts soon. This pace isn't sustainable because I'm writing long posts once a week but I'll make the most of it until it lasts.

In case you missed them:

If you've been following me for a while, you can probably see how I've changed over the past year. As my tastes in media expand, so do the things I want to write about. I want to continue writing about my usual topics and also try to write new types of blog posts.

While my blog did great for a while in SEO, my priorities have changed. I don't have as much time to research about and pour myself into SEO and promotion. As my blog stats continued to decline, I initially felt the need to do everything I could to bring them back up. But honestly, I don't care that much about it anymore.

I have a thriving career and am not looking to make this blog a "side hustle." I want this blog to be my safe space and give me joy. They mainly come from writing good posts and sharing what I love. I want to write about new experiences, learnings, and passions.

Whether or not this blog does well in numbers, I'll be glad to keep posting and will be happy to receive any comments. And I've committed to it for three more years by renewing my hosting plan a few days ago.

February 19th marks three years since I went self-hosted with this blog. Although I'm not writing a separate post for it, I can't help but feel grateful. I want to thank y'all for reading my wordy posts and supporting me. Blogging is made the best because of the community here <3

Grammarly sent me a 2023 wrap-up email about my writing and gave me the title "The Enthusiast." It said:

You're the Enthusiast! In 2023, your communication was adminiring, informal, and friendly. The Enthusiast knows what to write to make others feel good about themselves, and this is no insignificant quality. Because of their ability to word thingsin a way that builds people up, the Enthusiast catalyzes collaboration, powers up positivity, and is more well-liked at work than surprise cupcakes.

Considering that the above is exactly what I'm aiming for through my writing, the email validated my efforts and it makes me want to write more. I doubt that I'm liked more than surprise cupcakes at work but maybe I'm closer to it on the internet.

I hope you will enjoy hearing more from me about the same and different things whether it's through this blog or my newsletter 🙂

illustration of a green typewriter surrounded by a partial wreath with dots and stars making the illustration look magical

My only disappointment is that I didn't blog hop much in January. I was able to catch up on blog posts in the first week but couldn't keep up easily after that. Despite not reading much, I came across some lovely posts:

I'm not sure how much I can do it but I want to keep up with my Feedly blog feed in February. There are so many great blog posts by my friends and people I admire—I don't want to miss them. I need to find a small bit of time during my daily routine where I can read a couple of posts every day.

My main priority will be writing. I want to stay at least 2 posts ahead and plan my content. I want to be inspired and write posts while my thoughts are easily flowing. It's all about snatching 30 minutes or an hour for a few days every week to blog.

words on my 2024 goals

A week before 2024 began, I made a list of goals for the year. One factor that helps me stay on my goals is to remember that they exist and regularly measure my progress on them. This section is for that.

Out of 8 goals, I made some progress on 5. It's hard to work on multiple goals at once so I'm okay with even a little bit of progress in multiple. The point is to slowly chip away at them as finish by December.

The highlight of January is that I finished my goal of running 5k in 38 minutes. I was pretty close to this already so it's not surprising that I did it. It does feel good though. Soon after, I started working on my 10k goal by increasing my regular runs to 6k.

In the last 10 days of the month, I realized that I needed new shoes. It's been 6 months since I got my current pair and while they've been good, they're not good for 10k anymore. In the meantime, I played badminton. I have to break into my new shoes in February and start running again.

My reading and blogging goals are going splendidly. I wanted to post 25 blog posts this year and I'm already at 6. The flip side is that I did not make any progress on my vlogging goal. But it's a low-priority goal anyway.

There has been some progress on my career goal but will I actually reach it soon? I don't know. One can hope. I want it badly though.

illustration of a cafe storefront decorated with foliage and a chalkboard on the front saying "coffee is your best friend"

words on life & other stuff

January wasn't filled with notable events. I spent many days working, reading, blogging, and exercising. The month was about getting into routines.

I attended a couple of online seminars related to my career. I met friends a few times. I worked during a long weekend. I watched a few Kdramas—Welcome to Samdal-ri, My Demon, and She Was Pretty.

I attended Ali Abdaal's Feel Good Productivity Annual Workshop and was disappointed. It was a 3-hour long workshop that wasn't helpful to me. The workshop was aimed at beginners to goal-setting but most of his audience isn't beginners. It could have been a YouTube video and a Google doc. I found only 20 minutes of it good.

I journaled 16/31 days in January. The number looks less but it was a lot, considering I wrote 2-3 pages every time. In the last two months, I've written 80 pages. It's a little baffling how I have so much to write about.

One of my tiny random achievements is drawing the illustration for this post (added above this section). I haven't been motivated to draw intricate illustrations for a long time and nothing was inspiring. Recently, I saw a bunch of cute storefronts on Pinterest and I had to draw one of them.

In the beginning, the illustration looked ugly but I stayed with it and it turned out so good! I can't believe that I drew it haha.

For February, I don't have any plans. I'm going to continue with my routine and I want to study more! There's so much to learn in my field and I'm already behind. I have to make studying a part of my routine. I'll let you know how it goes next month.

share your words!

How was your January? What did you read and watch? Are you making any progress on your goals? Did you achieve any small things? Tell me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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