It hasn’t exactly escaped me that half of January has already passed without me announcing my monthly book challenge choice, as well as my 2021 goals. My personal goal-setting is normally a simmering process: I give myself a whole month to figure out which ones I want to pursue. But this year, at the risk of spoiling all the fun, my reading goals are basically the same as last year:
- Read at least 80 books, from which at least 12 non fiction
- Keep my Netgalley books under 20
- Follow the Unreadshelf challenge (I heard she has new prompts!)
- Prioritize my own books over the library’s
- Don’t hesitate to drop books midway
It’s probably good to have these goals written black on white, especially the last one which I have so much difficulty applying. The new thing I’m adding is to have a pile of TBR books already picked in advance and all grouped in my bedroom, instead of perusing the shelves.
The Unread Shelf project starts off this new year with a brand new list of prompts. For January, it is “a book with high expectations“. It kind of threw me off kilter, because I normally stay away from books with high expectations for fear to be disappointed. So, I chose to interpret it as books I was eagerly looking forward to read:
The first one is La Disparue de Saint Maur, by Jean-Christophe Portes, the next mystery in the series set during the French Revolution. I read The mystery of the headless corpses at the end of October, and it’s nice, for a change, to read the sequel not years after the first one! This one was a present by my husband. The second one is a Georges Simenon novel, also a sort of mystery, although this one doesn’t feature Commissaire Maigret: Les Rescapés du Télémaque.
I said I would read Simenon Maigret-less novels for so long and it’s high time I make good of this promise to myself. I started the book with some trepidation, because I’m secretly afraid I might not fall in love with it. If I have to put my finger on it, I would say my expectation for the book would be: “tough”. The good thing about this challenge is that if I don’t finish it by January 31, I’ll get rid of it!
Speaking of getting rid of something, I want to mention one manga I have finished by the end of last December for the Unreadshelf challenge, but that didn’t quite work for me: Autour d’elles (Around them), by Torino Shino. It’s a highly unusual manga, focusing on the relationship between two young women sharing a small apartment.
Michiru and Maya once were an item, back when they were students. But Michiru left Maya behind, and when she came back five years later, she was a single mother, raising a cute baby boy, Yuta, by herself. Now, although they share a flat, they are clear that they want to be “just friends”, just like the cute neighbor is “just” hanging out with them for sake of Yuta.
I enjoyed the originality of the themes of this slice-of-life manga (I don’t think that lesbian relationships are often mentioned in the manga world, or at least in what is translated into French, it was a first to me), but I had no patience for the two main characters. Michiru seems very immature, especially as a mother, and Maya very unobservant. I am aware that this first tome is just the set-up for further developments, but it didn’t keep me interested enough to care for the next episodes. This was one of my 2 choices for the December Unreadshelf challenge, and so I decided to make some space on my shelf for new 2021 books!