Month in Review: January 2021

January was a difficult month in many ways. The disintegration of the so-called United States reached a new peak with the attack on the Capitol. And terrible things (unrelated to politics) have been happening to people I love. There is so much uncertainty and disruption in the world, and so many questions about how to meet it.

I do not talk a lot here about such events, and it might seem that I focus mostly on my reading life as a form of denial or distraction. That may be partly the case. But I also feel strongly that “reading” is not just about words on a page. It’s about the events in our lives, and finding a meaning in them that does not present itself at first glance, a meaning that is always about evolution and further development.

Reading good books helps me to practice that activity. For me, it’s a declaration of hope. And so I share with you my hopeful moments from this month. I’d love to hear about yours.


I read a lot of excellent books this month! I posted two reviews, of Act One by Moss Hart and Malafrena by Ursula K. Le Guin. I have also kept up with my new resolution to post at least a short note about each book I finish on Goodreads. We’ll see how long that lasts, but so far I’m finding it a good exercise.


I finished another book in French (La Femme au Carnet Rouge) and enjoyed it, but in the next few months I really want to concentrate on German. I’m kind of getting along in most daily life situations, but I still have large gaps in comprehension and my accuracy is pitiful. Here’s hoping I can discipline myself to make some real progress.

Window flower boxes in Solothurn


I feel so fortunate to live in such a lovely place. Every day there is the gift of seeing some natural or human-built form of beauty. It is a very real and important form of medicine.

Whatever this next month may bring, I’m glad to have the chance to share it with you. Take good care and find what hope and beauty you can, wherever you can.

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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24 thoughts on “Month in Review: January 2021

  1. I am so far behind with my Goodreads updates. I don’t think I posted a single review or comment on there last year, just whether I’d read the book. i think it’s partly that I don’t want to put my whole review there since I’d rather people come back to the blog site but I also don’t want the effort of writing a completely different review. How do you deal with that?

    1. I just assume I have a different readership on Goodreads compared to my review blog so I just copy and paste the html from the blog post (minus the images). I think I just have an overlap of two or three readers common to both sites, so I don’t have the fear of losing potential followers through reviewing in both places.

    2. Right, I’d like to direct traffic to my blog too. When I remember, I put a link into the Goodreads review. I do not do many full reviews on the blog, but with the couple that I have done so far this year, I put a short note into Goodreads right after reading the book and then fuller thoughts on the blog later. I mainly mean it as a memory aid for myself, so I feel free not to write “reviews” on GR but just whatever I think would be helpful to jog my own memory.

  2. I’m enjoying Malafrena so much I’ve ordered The Complete Orsinia and it should arrive any day now! I’ve also been having further thoughts about maps as a result of my Orsinian explorations and scheduling posts following through those ideas, so thank you!

    1. I have the Complete Orsinia! The introduction by Le Guin is interesting. So glad LOA is giving her her due.

    1. We have to do whatever we can to stay afloat, as insanity takes over the political realm. For me, books are a big lifesaver.

    1. Thanks so much, I’ll check them out. I joined a Centering Prayer email list study through Contemplative Outreach, and we are reading daily excerpts from Fr. Keating. I also listened to a lecture series by him and it was excellent.

  3. I agree with reading as hope! And boy howdy I need it what with everything that’s been happening. I must confess to some envy of your lovely surroundings (as much as I love this place of mine), and I’m sorry about the rough times some of your people are going through. Mine too, so I’ll just put them all on the list…

    1. Everybody is struggling in some way. If you aren’t, you are not paying attention! I’m so grateful for this reading community, as I’ve mentioned before it really does help me to keep going. Virtual hugs to you for whatever you are going through.

  4. It’s so true that books add extra meaning to life and can bring enlightenment to certain real-life situations. I do hope that things improve for you and your family and you can feel joy everyday.

    I didn’t know Lois Fitzhugh had other titles than Harriet the Spy. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have to check that out. Congratulations on an excellent reading January!

    1. Louise Fitzhugh’s other books are all worth reading. I’m looking forward to the new biography about her too.

    1. Thanks Colletta. Sometimes I’m not sure if reading is my real life and everything else is just a distraction. 😀

  5. I am so glad to hear with so many difficult things going on around that you were able to find solace, understanding and hope through the books you’ve been reading. I particularly like the sound of Cynthia Bourgeault’s books you read and The Wounded Healer by Henri J. M. Nouwen, as I have read one his books before: The Prodigal Son. Take care, Lory and I hope February is turning out to be an equally good month for reading. 🙏🙂

    1. I was really impressed by Bourgeault’s books though I’m not sure I agree with everything. Definitely thought provoking! I’d like to read more Nouwen too, such a wise and compassionate soul.

  6. I’m so sorry your January was such a struggle. I am also relying on reading more widely to help me through this pandemic and the scary stuff that occurred in Washington D.C.

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