Month In Review: January 2018

Month In Review is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I look back on what I read, blogged, watched and more over the previous month.

It sounds like such a cliché, but I can’t believe January is nearly over and February is right around the corner! It seems like just yesterday I was wrapping presents and preparing for my annual viewing of Die Hard and suddenly it’s a sea of candy hearts and teddy bears as far as the eye can see. As with any other month, January was filled with ups and downs, good news and bad, but I’m in a much better place mentally and emotionally and I feel better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at me. I feel purposeful and present and I’m endlessly excited to begin drafting two stories I can’t stop thinking about and I hope I can one day share all the details with you. While I’m not normally one for New Years resolutions, I promised myself that 2018 would be the year I take my writing seriously and dedicate myself to making my lifelong dream of being published a plausible reality. I’ve been given some truly incredible opportunities over the course of the last year, most notable of which is the chance to work with my agent, Jim McCarthy, and I’ll never forgive myself if I squander them. Let’s do this!

I didn’t read as many books as I had initially hoped at the beginning of January (I believe I’m currently 4 books behind in my Goodreads challenge. Sigh.) but it’s such a relief to read and enjoy anything after the debilitating reading slump I experienced throughout 2017 I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. On a positive note, I wanted to make a concerted effort to read more non-fiction in 2018, which is something I read a great deal of before I began blogging, so I’m happy I managed to start off on the right foot with Love, Madness, and Scandal: The Life of Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck by Johanna Luthman, which was a little dry but still eminently fascinating. Another highlight was Tara Dairman’s The Great Hibernation, a cozy, riveting mystery and the first book Dairman has published outside of her wildly charming All Four Stars trilogy. Her work makes me unbelievably happy and I’m so glad I can report that her latest is no exception!

1. Love, Madness, and Scandal: The Life of Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess Purbeck by Johanna Luthman (★★★)
2. What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (★★★★★)
3. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (★★★)
4. The Great Hibernation by Tara Dairman (★★★★★)

January 02: Hot Off The Press: January 2018
January 03: Waiting On…Feel Free, Surprise Me and The Great Alone
January 04: The Writing’s On The Wall: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
January 08: Cover Reveal: The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez
January 09: New Kids On The Block 2018 with Lianne Oelke
January 10: Waiting On…Text Me When You Get Home, The Lose Girls of Camp Forevermore, The Driest Season
January 12: Cover Reveal: Web of Frost by Lindsay Smith
January 15: Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 84: Middle Grade (Part 22)
January 16: New Kids On The Block 2018 with C. V. Wyk
January 17: Waiting On…White Houses, All The Beautiful Girls and Rainbirds
January 18: New Kids On The Block 2018 with Lyndsay Ely
January 22: Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 85: Contemporary (Part 17)
January 23: Between The Lines: Introducing The “Yes No Maybe So” Series
January 24: Waiting On…Laura & Emma, Nothing But Sky and Tangerine
January 29: These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: January 2018

Because I’ve been focusing on my writing in earnest this year, this, coupled with blogging and my full-time job, has inevitably left me with less time for things like watching TV and movies. That said, I did make time for a couple of shows that I can’t bear to miss. You might notice they have a thing or two in common. 😉

Top Chef (Season 15), 2017-2018
As a self-professed Top Chef addict, there was absolutely no way I was going to miss the latest season set in Colorado, even if it meant we would in all likelihood have to see Hosea again. (Ugh. I can’t be be the only person who can’t stand this guy, right?) Despite this, and a misguided choice to feature Logan Paul as a guest judge in one episode (Again: Ugh.) I’ve really enjoyed the season thus far. I think it’s a great group of chefs (Fatima! Carrie! Christopher! Tu!) and I loved how the show incorporated the Last Chance Kitchen element this year, although I was heartbroken that Kwame wasn’t able to re-enter the competition because he’s an absolute favourite of mine. I can honestly say I’m not sure who will win this year, but I can’t wait to find out!

Top Chef Jr. (Season 1), 2017-2018
When I learned there was going to be a Top Chef Jr. competition, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’ve always enjoyed children’s cooking competitions (Masterchef Jr., anyone?) because they have a completely different mood and approach to their adult counterparts. All of the kids are so supportive of one another and while they are skilled, driven and competitive (and can cook better at 11-13 than I can at nearly 30), there’s less of an emphasis on winning and a greater focus on embracing things that we’re passionate about simply because they bring us joy. I’ve been rooting for Milo and Rahanna from the very first episode so I’m ecstatic that they’ve both reached the final three. Regardless of who wins, every single one of these children have bright futures ahead of them, and it was a pleasure to watch them grow more confident in their abilities and their belief in the pursuit of their dreams. We could all learn a thing or two from these burgeoning young chefs!

As with my “What I Watched” section, I fell spectacularly behind in regard to keeping up with new music released in January apart from one very, very important exception. I’ve been a fan of First Aid Kit since the release of The Lion’s Roar and Drunken Trees albums in 2012, so I was beside myself when I learned they would be releasing a new album in January 2018. In short? It’s exquisite, ethereal and every bit as special as their previous work. Listen to it. Go on. I’ll wait here.

1. Let’s Talk About Sensitivity Readers by Dhonielle Clayton
2. I Used to Insist I Didn’t Get Angry. Not Anymore. by Leslie Jamison
3. We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed by Jennifer Weiner
4. The Female Price of Male Pleasure by Lili Loofbourow
5. Longtime Voice Actress Russi Taylor on Playing Minnie Mouse and Falling for Mickey In Real Life by Terry Flores
6. “A Wrinkle in Time” Author Madeleine L’Engle on Self-Consciousness and the Wellspring of Creativity by Maria Popova
7. Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018? by Jaime Green

One response to “Month In Review: January 2018”

  1. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the Month In Review Jen.

    Took a lot of work to do, and I did a lot of reading. Yes, please keep at it. Great job.

    Cheers Sharon…
    Sharon recently posted…Best Beach Bags, Totes and Backpacks – Perfect bags for Summer 2018My Profile

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