Thursday, February 05, 2009

January in Review

I started off January in Tokyo in the early hours of the morning in the land of neon lights and love hotels. Then I spent some time in L.A. and Vegas on the trail of a killer. After that it was back to Japan in both the near and distant past. Then to Connecticut searching for love and finally to Denmark in winter and a dangerous quest for the truth. So overall it was a pretty interesting month!

Books completed
(click on the title to read my review)
1. After Dark - Haruki Murakami
2. Written in Blood - Sheila Lowe
3. Rashomon and other stories - Ryunosuke Akutagawa
4. Kissing Games of the World - Sandi Kahn Shelton
5. Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow - Peter Høeg

My favourite of the month is Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow for the fantastic mood it conveyed. I suppose my least favourite would be After Dark, not that it was bad but it just didn't compare with some of his other books that I've read. However, I do look forward to reading more by all of these authors, who all except for Murakami were new to me.

New-to-me authors: 4
Review books read: 2
Books in Translation: 3

Books in: 18
Books out: 0

The Year of Readers: My pledge: $1 per book completed, $1 per book acquired
Money raised for Book Wish Foundation: $23
Total raised to date: $23

Reading Challenges Progress Report
(see sidebar for current challenges)
Ended in January
Japanese Literature Challenge 2 - COMPLETED!
1% Well-Read Challenge: 5 read, 5 to go (by Feb. 28, 2009)
Book Awards II Challenge: 4 read, 6 to go (by June 1, 2009)
2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh?: 4 read, 9 to go (by July 1, 2009)
Dewey's Books Reading Challenge: 1 read, 4 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Lost in Translation Challenge: 3 read, 3 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
World Citizen Challenge: 0 read, 3 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
What's in a Name? 2 Challenge: 1 read, 5 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Manga Challenge: 0 read, 6 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
Graphic Novels Challenge: 0 read, 6 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)
ARC Reading Challenge: currently 2 read, 6 to go (by Dec. 31, 2009)

Long-term Reading Projects (Read in 2009)
Reading Japan Project: 2
Orange Prize Project: 0

Reading plans for February
The 1% Well-Read Challenge will finish at the end of February and as I'm rather behind I'm making a mad dash attempt to complete it. I'm almost done my current read which will count as my sixth book for the challenge so that leaves four more to read by the 28th. I've already picked out a couple of shorter books (is that cheating?) from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List so we'll see how it goes.


  1. The only book I have read in your Jan list is "After Dark" and I agree with you when you say that it didn't match up to other Murakami works..
    I am heading over to read your review of "miss smilla's feeling for snow" sounds like an interesting book!

  2. I had a definite scramble once I got home to make more progress on the 1% Challenge. I went from only 2 read halfway through December to now 8 read! lol

  3. Kind of a surprise that "After Dark" wasn't that great. I'm reading Kafka on the shore and immensely enjoying it :)

  4. You are so organized. And you had a good month. I haven't found a sponsor fo my Year of Reader's yet but I'm doing well with my reading. I did a January Review too in my Sunday Salon this week. Happy reading in February.

  5. Good luck finishing the rest of the 1% well-read challenge. It's the only challenge that I've ever managed to complete, I think!

  6. Ramya - I'm still glad I read After Dark but I've liked some of his other books much more! Hmmm.. I wonder which Murakami I should read next..

    Eva - Well done on catching up on the 1% Well-Read Challenge. I'm still hopeful I can read 4 more as long as I don't get distracted by other books or projects. :P

    Happy Reader - I loved Kafka on the Shore when I read it last year! So comparing the two, After Dark just couldn't compete. It was still worth reading though.

    Sandra - My 5 can't compete with the 18 you read in January, but it wasn't too bad. For me the next best thing to reading is making lists and keeping track of my books and reading progress! LOL. Hope you have another great month in February too!

    Michelle - Thanks. I hope I can finish but we'll see how the month progresses. Congratulations on completing the challenge! :)

  7. I really liked After Dark though it was a bit depressing. I thought it must reveal a lot about Tokyo, though I've never been there. Got to Kyoto and Nagoya only. I reviewed the book on my book blog and hope you will like it.

  8. Book Bird Dog - I think the portrayal of that side of Tokyo nightlife is probably pretty accurate, sadly. I love Kyoto! I hope we get a chance to go back there soon.

  9. Book Bird Dog - Me again. I had a look at your blog, but couldn't see any way to leave a comment. I enjoyed your review of After Dark, and also Real World by Natsuo Kirino. I loved Out but was disappointed with Grotesque so I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed Real World.

  10. You were all over the place in January. It sounds like you had some wild adventures all the while. :-)

    I'm about to read your review of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow. I am glad to know you enjoyed it.

  11. I see you got to do a lot of armchair traveling :)

    I will definitely reconsider Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow after reading your review!

  12. Wendy - I'm kind of stealing your idea (again!) by talking about my reading travels. I've always liked the idea though and thought it would be fun to incorporate into my monthly updates. I hope you don't mind. And yes, it was a pretty roller coaster month. :P

    Iliana - I got quite a few imaginary airmiles last month! LOL. Have you tried Smilla before or just weren't interested in it?

  13. I really want to read #3 and #5 sometime!

  14. 3M - They were both good and I'm glad I finally read them. I hope you enjoy them whenever you get around to reading them.


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you and I read every single one!

P.S. In an effort to eliminate spam, I moderate all comments, so there will most likely be a delay between when you submit the comment and when it appears on the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble leaving comments here, and you can also chat with me on Twitter, if you prefer. Happy Reading!