Month in Review: January 2024


The first book I finished in 2024 was, appropriately enough, a book about books — more precisely the odd and idiosyncratic vocation of selling rare and collectible books, via a venerable London shop.

I am not one for collecting physical books at the moment, but in recent years I have been enjoying reading through authors and series, piling them up on my virtual shelf. I said goodbye to the LoveHain readalong this month; meanwhile, the Ozathon continues! It’s lovely to see a number of blogging friends joining in. I also read a spin-off novel which provided an interesting take on the story of both movie and book from the point of view of Maud Baum, a fascinating women who deserves more attention.

Another project I’m starting this year is the Nonfiction Reader Challenge, which I hope will push me to read more nonfiction on different topics. For my first topic I took on one that I find scary — The Future — and found myself both challenged and reassured. I know there are no easy answers to what lies ahead, but as long as there are books, I have hope that I can learn something worthwhile, possibly even essential.

What did you learn and discover this month?

Books read in January

In an article in the Guardian about writers’ and artists’ favorite classic book illustrations, Michael Rosen picks this illustration by Walter Trier from Emil und die Detektive, for its “wide space” and “speed”.


As I continue to try to read books in German, I dropped The Wall (which was very slow going) and picked up Emil und die Detektive (more my speed at present). Soon I may be ready to take on some adult novels, but for now I’m happy with the classic children’s books.

Coincidentally, a new English student turned out to be a fan of the Oz books, and was impressed to hear I’ve also read the whole series. It seems that’s quite unusual, although it feels very normal to me. My student has only read the books in Chinese translation, so I’ve encouraged her to try the original. I’m looking forward to sharing these with her.

Page from a journaling exercise — the task was to draw a mandala inspired by the journal.


On the blog, I looked back at 10 years of blogging, picking out one post from each year. It truly has been a wonderful journey and I’m so thankful for it.

Looking toward the future, my Spiritual Direction training has started up again, this year with actual practice sessions … an exciting and humbling new step into the ministry of sacred conversation. My book, When Fragments Make a Whole, will be published soon, and that is also very exciting, of course.

Writing more and submitting more for publication is a goal of mine this year. I’ve started meeting with another writer for some inspiration and support, working through exercises in the book One Year To a Writing Life by Susan Tiberghien. You can see a sample above.

Please share what’s going on with you!

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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14 thoughts on “Month in Review: January 2024

  1. I never expected to be enjoying the Oz books so much! How did I miss reading these as a kid? I remember seeing them on the library shelves, but I don’t know why I didn’t read them.

    I hope you will share more about your Spiritual Direction training. That sounds very interesting to me.

    1. I’m really glad you are enjoying reading the Oz books as an adult. I couldn’t imagine my childhood without them.

      I will share something about the Spiritual Direction training. I intended to do more along the way but time keeps getting away from me.

  2. Well done, another month full of positive accomplishments! Hope you’re enjoying the Kästner, I certainly did – coincidentally I’m currently enjoying a translation of his The Flying Classroom which is exactly full of the “fun and friendship” promised by the publisher. Then there’s a copy of the Emil sequel, Emil and the Three Twins, waiting for me next!

    1. I read Emil in English to my son some years ago, but it’s fun to be reading it in the original language. I can pretend I’m really visiting Berlin. I’d definitely like to read more of his work.

  3. Skating Shoes is one of my favorites. I wrote an article about my favorite Streatfeild orphans nearly two years ago for a book that wound up not happening; I have to figure out what to do with it. One of the things a modern reader might not understand is how the skating’s compulsory figures are no longer very important to aspiring stars because not part of the Olympics or international competition. So Harriet would have a much more difficult time becoming a champion now vs the outgoing Lalla! However, Harriet’s family may be Streatfeild’s best.

    1. I loved to watch skating growing up and it was just at the time when compulsory figures were being phased out. In the “battle of the Brians” for example (Boitano and Orser) I remember the figures being important. I adore Harriet and I wish she had gotten a sequel!

  4. Hi Lory 👋 Not sure I learnt or discovered anything new in January, but I did enjoy reading The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King and The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum; both of which I noted quotes down in my journal. Looking forward to reading Ozma of Oz soon 🤞🙂

  5. Congratulations on your blogaversary, your Spiritual Direction training, and especially your forthcoming book!

    I’m looking forward to reading Once Upon a Tome sometime this year. When you say you have read the whole series, do you mean just Baum’s books, or all the later Oz books by other authors as well? I used to love the Oz books, at least the ones I was able to get my hands on as a child, but I haven’t reread them in decades.

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