Monthly Roundup – January 2023


It has been a bit of a month. All started well with a New Year’s Day Parkrun. My little family then enjoyed the remaining few days of the festive holiday, polishing off indulgent goodies in preparation for a healthier rest of January. I even set myself some goals which I wrote about here. The gym was visited and weights were upped for pleasing strength sessions. Although my pacing was still slow, I was increasing my running distances to build stamina. The cold weather put me off cycling so I walked more frequently, including with a friend I hadn’t had a proper catchup with in well over a year. I gathered together final thoughts on my 2022 reading by looking back at and looking forward to favoured books.

On the blog my teddy bear, Edward, opened the month with an introduction to the new friends Santa brought him – New Year New FriendsI then split the month’s reviews between new releases and choices from my vast TBR pile. In the calendar was a literary event in London – the launch of Seraphina Madsen’s Aurora. Sadly, in the end, we couldn’t attend.

While participating in the nearest Parkrun during our autumn trip to North Devon husband pulled a hamstring, not running again until we were in Dartmoor several weeks later. This was the first indication that he was suffering more than a simple, physical injury. Over the summer he had been creeping closer to achieving that elusive sub-20 minute Parkrun time, having clocked it in 5k training. Now he was struggling to get below 28 mins. More worrying was his heart rate. Despite the much slower pacing this was spiking unpredictably during both efforts and recovery.

A lingering cough and frustrating lack of energy – despite rest weeks – dragged on until 10 days ago when he started to feel particularly unwell, eventually agreeing to seek medical advice. Diagnosed with a nasty case of pneumonia he ended up in hospital where continuing erratic heartrate and painful lungs could be monitored. Results of tests proved worrying. It seems likely he suffered a heart attack back in late October and carried on regardless. Having been blessed with good health, enabling an active lifestyle, we have now embarked on a challenging and unanticipated journey with, as yet, no map or signposts.

I have had to get used to driving again as hospital visits are now daily events. I have had to get used to a great many things I would prefer not to have to face. We do not know when husband will return home and can only pray treatment will be effective. If there is a deity out there I hope they are paying attention.

Thus this month has not been one for writing. I posted six reviews, scheduled before the various curve balls were thrown and other priorities took precedence.

As is customary in my monthly roundups, click on the title below to read the review and on the cover to learn more about the book.


Face the Rising Sun  Boundless as the Sky
That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern, published by Faber & Faber
Boundless As The Sky by Dawn Raffel, published by Sagging Meniscus Press

Aurora  Piranesi
Aurora by Seraphina Madsen, published by Dodo Ink
Piranesi by Susannah Clarke, published by Bloomsbury

Translated Fiction

mios kingdom
Mio’s Kingdom by Astrid Lindgren (translated by Jill Morgan), published by Oxford University Press


Bunny Girls
Bunny Girls by Angela Readman, published by Nine Arches Press

Sourcing the Books

Robyn has been trying to cut down on the number of books she buys as she is reading little due to work related pressures. These four somehow slipped through the door.

robyn books january 23

My book post has been very pleasing and I am looking forward to reading all of these as soon as I have free time again.

Jackie books january 23

As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their books to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms – your support is always appreciated.

And to everyone reading this, I wish you and yours good health – something we so often take for granted until issues must be faced. Here’s hoping February proves a better one for us all.

21 comments on “Monthly Roundup – January 2023

  1. Seb says:

    You are both in my thoughts. Please pass on my best wishes to your husband, tell him I need him back well as I miss my eggs!

  2. It feels wrong to have liked this post Jackie and I am so sorry to hear what a rotten time you’re having. I wish your husband a speedy recovery. We have had a poor start to 2023 too with Mum diagnosed with possible lung cancer – though we have yet to have that confirmed. She’s never smoked. Just in the throes of tests and hospital visits so my life isn’t my own.
    As you say, let’s hope February shapes up to something more positive.
    Take care x

  3. So sorry that 2023 has not started well for you guys. I hope the treatment works well for your husband and he has a speedy recovery.

  4. Joanne says:

    What a shock for you both Jackie. I hope for a speedy recovery for him and that he’s home with you soon.

  5. Laura says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this Jackie. I hope he recovers as soon as possible,

  6. Elle says:

    Oh, Jackie, I’m so sorry—that’s really scary. Sending all good wishes to your husband for a quick recovery, and to you for sanity and strength.

  7. Paul Cheney says:

    So sorry to hear your news, Jackie. I send your husband well wishes for a swift recovery and that they can find the underlying cause. Thinking of you too. I know how hard it is watching as loved ones are treated

  8. Jo says:

    Jackie – I’m so sorry to read this, and I wish your husband a swift recovery.

  9. janetemson says:

    Oh Jackie, what a month! I hope things improve and your husband is on the mend.

  10. I’m sorry to hear this news, it seems so unfair, I hope you’ll be set on the right track to recovery and management, take care of yourself while all this is happening. 🕊️

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