Month in Review: December 2023

Literature

I’ve already been reviewing my entire year’s reading this week (see fiction; nonfiction, but here’s what I read in December, 2023. I ended the year with quite a lot of good reading — aided by being on vacation for the last 10 days.

A dramatic shot of the Faroes — when not raining it must be spectacular.

Along with joining in some challenges and events and I did a bit of searching in the library catalog to come up with something quite random. This resulted in my reading Far Afield, by Susanna Kaysen — better known as the author of Girl, Interrupted and Cambridge. Here she was departing from autobiography to portray a young male anthropology student who spends a year in the Faroe Islands. The protagonist was emotionally clueless, but his growth through encounter with the remote Faroes and its people was fascinating.

My attempt to find something completely different also resulted in reading How To Catch a Mole, which ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. With a unique combination of nature writing, memoir, and poetry, I learned a great deal about two strange creatures, moles and human beings.

What did you discover in December?

Books read in December:

Language

During my winter vacation, I decided to try to find some more students on italki. Among others, I connected with a student who wants to read classic literature, which is great! We’ll start with some stories by Edgar Allan Poe, and I’m looking forward to that.

In my own language learning, I continue to slowly read Die Wand (The Wall), but I’m not that motivated because it’s a rather depressing story. I’ve gotten about a quarter of the way through, and I should have made good headway while I had time off, but instead I defaulted to reading in English.

Should I keep on with a book I don’t fully enjoy? Or set it aside and try something else?

wall bricks
Hitting a wall in my German reading…
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Life

I had a number of writing-related posts in December:

December felt very busy and hectic as Christmas approached. I didn’t feel ready for the holiday at all — my husband received two balls of wool from me, with which I’ve promised to knit him a present. Hopefully before next Christmas. But I’ve since started to feel more relaxed, and it was nice to spend some time settling into our apartment. We decided to move our bed into a different room, which entailed a good deal rearranging but I think is an improvement.

I hope the end of your year brought you peace and hope as well.

Linked at The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Sunday Salon at Readerbuzz, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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15 thoughts on “Month in Review: December 2023

  1. I like your phrase “set it aside.” I do that fairly frequently, meaning to come back to it. Often I do, days or years later.

  2. My opinion: Set aside what is not working for you.

    I like the idea of giving gifts that aren’t created yet. Maybe next year I’ll give everyone an empty notebook and say that I hope to write a novel to fill it by next Christmas?

    How to Catch a Mole sounds delightful.

    1. I agree. I’ve decided to read Emil und die Detektive instead. Much better.

      You could at least promise to write short stories for your gifts? Or give a tantalizing first paragraph and say you’ll finish the rest? Fortunately my family is fine with such gestures, I’m not sure whether all recipients would be.

  3. Language learning is challenging, and there’s no way around that.
    Have a good year in reading.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    1. I agree, though in this case having invested the time in it already I somehow feel I should finish. But I’m going to take a break. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t finish crafting my Christmas presents. 😀

  4. I’m all in favour for setting something aside – I can see from the comments you’ve already done that. For my part, I sometimes put books on ‘hold’ shelf, if I think the timing is just not right. If it’s still there four or five years later, then I decide the book is really not for me and remove it altogether.

    1. I think I just needed to write that to realize what my decision was. I like the idea of a “hold” shelf. I do come back to those books I put aside sometimes, and more often than not I’m glad I did.

  5. How to Catch a Mole looks lovely Lory, and right up my alley. Must look it up.

    I agree with the other commenters–no reason to press n with a book you’re not enjoying.

Please share your thoughts. I love to hear from you!

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