January 2023 Roundup

In his house at Pennsylvania, dead Peat waits dreaming.

So it has been. There have been so many reasons for stasis since moving. I have sat and dreamed and waited. This month felt like waking up.

Let’s talk a bit about what happened.


This was a good reading month, although being reread heavy means I don’t have many reviews for it. Some of them I thought I’d reviewed too – oops…


Snuff by Sir Terry Pratchett – It’s not the worst book in the world but it suffers badly in comparison to other Discworlds and trying to focus on it for what it is just reminds me this isn’t the sort of story I’m most here for.

The Secret of Sinharat by Leigh Brackett – Rollicking pulp fun.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas – Good emotional arcs, shark jumping plot, unsatisfying worldbuilding, uneven pacing. Wish the author had trusted the emotional power she’d built up to generate enough ending drama and dropped some of the clunky reveals.

The Fall Is All There Is by CM Caplan – Hrm. Hrmm. I really liked the first 20% or so but its very head on nature became too samey for me.

Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – Just did not like the prose. Also John Carter has it far, far too easy.


A Maze of Death by Philip K Dick – I am simultaneously going “the fuck now” and “wait… that’s it?”

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers – The mystery lost me a little, and felt a little “nothing nothing nothing solve”, but good gods I enjoyed Sayers talking about 30s Oxford and life. A most absolutely quotable writer.

Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold – I do really love Bujold and Miles But This felt like it was set up as a mystery, and it was about 45% culture exploring, a breathless 10% in the middle solving the mystery, then 45% dealing with the ensuing emergency Vexing

An Alien Heat by Michael Moorcock – Delightfully demented. Has lost most of what shock value I feel sure it is meant to have. Perhaps a strong satire though. Good fun but lacking a little something.

The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R Delany – Okay this is the good shit. Lovely flowing prose, big ideas, deft characterisation in small spaces, and just utterly absorbing and brain feeding.


Steering the Craft by Ursula Le Guin – Feels pretty much necessary to try for any writer serious about their prose, and just generally a delight to anyone who enjoys hearing Le Guin’s voice on the page.

Adult Children of Emotionally Distant Parents by Lindsay Gibson – Discusses said subject clearly, with detail, and with ideas for help.

The Princess Bride: The Official Cookbook by Jenn Fujikawa – It’s fun and reasonably witty. The recipes are nothing much to write home about, but it’d be a good gift for the Princess Bride fanatic in your life.

Indian for Everyone by Hari Ghotra – Cookbooks done right. Delicious sounding recipes, delicious looking pictures, good variety of ideas, and a very very useful section at the front about the underpinning philosophies, techniques, and ingredients.


This year has started with a bang.

446 visitors is a new high that blew away the previous monthly high by nearly 50. 1260 views is the second highest, and the month I beat that was a Wyrd & Wonder month where I posted 59 articles. I’ve also passed 150 subscribers. Small fry compared to some of the bloggers out there but a lot of progress for me. The only thing that didn’t go right there was I lost the daily streak again but there we go, I’m sure some day I’ll make the full official year happen (instead of, you know, the well over a calendar year of it happening at this point).

Beyond all the self congratulation, I posted some good general articles. I am still far too pleased with myself on Horizontal and Vertical Genres, which is the best thing I’ve done that didn’t involve cheap jokes.

On Good and Bad Books was pretty solid too. On Sci-Fantasy and Approaching Genre wasn’t super inspired but hey they can’t all be winners.

That was it on general articles as round ups and reviews took up most of the month. To post the round ups again – we had Top Books, Top Drinks, Top Foods and Top Songs. We had two tags in End of Year Book Survey and My Life in Books. Finally, there were my character awards, The Peaties.

So what comes next? In the event I used none of the ideas I had at the midpoint of last month, nor did I dip into the music and food stuff I want to do. So there’s a lot on the radar. Probably the next thing though is this when I firm up my reading plans (before promptly ignoring them). I’ll get those articles out first I think, and then I’ll see whether I can hit a thousand views again…


Food and Drink

Having our own house has possibly driven us a little mental.

The highlight of my eating was cooking my own crispy aromatic duck, then turning the leftovers into ramen. Both were multiple day affairs and absolutely worth it, with the duck ramen maybe being the best thing I’ve ever cooked. It might get its own post.

Also delicious were the two HelloFresh meals we’ve tried so far. We got in on their big sale at the beginning of the year. So far we did the Santa Fe pork tacos, which promptly sent us looking for copycat recipes of their TexMex paste, and Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta. That was good, but not saucy enough, and had confusing instructions in places.

Other eating highlights included takeaway from Indian restaurant Mintt in Monroeville, which gave us the best chicken fried rice we’ve seen in a long time, and my first proper use of my Mole spice blend on some chicken thighs. I will have to retry whatever I did because it was great.

Drink wise, I had my first beer share of the year and we also dug into our own stash at home. The stash highlight was Streetside’s Two Princes, a caramelised pineapple and amaretto Berliner Weisse which practically demands to be a dessert. From the share there was The Bruery’s Scoop Scoop Scoop and Elevage, Anchorage’s Maumasi, and Vault City’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and Dragon Fruit Calamansi. All were 4.75 ratings, which suggests a very difficult end of year rating coming up.


This year I decided why not just record all the media I intake? Between that and a renewed interest in the metal community, I found myself listening to 23 different albums. There was a particular emphasis on black metal with new albums from ..And Oceans, Walg and The Gauntlet all very much tickling my fancy (The Gauntlet is pure Bathory worship if that is your thing). I also backdived on releases from Stangarigel and Gevurah, and made some time for relistens of new favourites from A Forest of Stars and Starforest. Other metallic excursions involved revisiting some of Insomnium’s and At The Gates’ discography (I hadn’t appreciated how much I liked the newest At The Gates).

Less metallically, I acquainted myself with Still Corners who do lovely drifting melancholic indie, and got back into Fields of the Nephilim hard.

TV and Movies

We finished a few TV seasons. Charmed, The American’s half-paying attention rewatch of choice, was new to me and the first season is charming indeed. Some very good episodes. I was less enthralled by Wednesday and American Horror Story Season One. I have a possibly heretical opinion here. If you are going to run long episode dramas in which something big and dramatic happens every episode, eight episodes are too much. More than eight is too much. I think six is a good number but once you get beyond it, you spend too long stretching things out and test secondary belief too much. There’s good things to both shows but neither really got on my good side. The latest season of Archer could have been twice as long and I’d have cheered though, as that was an absolute return to form from a show that had felt stale.

Movie wise, I’m not sure anything hugely stood out. The Hogfather was fun but not a big winner. I think The Warriors was my big winner of the month with its garishly bleak stylisation. The Crow did not do it for me like I hoped at all. The Breakfast Club was good, rewatching Empire Records was good. Roll Models was surprisingly good. Encanto, eh, had moments, but I think the recent run of Disney movies has mined this sort of narrative to death recently. That leaves Goon which had a far too truncated story but a lot of heart.


In the search for something to suck up my attention, I returned to Mario Kingdom Rabbids, which I’d never completed. It’s probably a bit too simple for me in that basically you just stack damage on people as quickly as possible, but I might actually finish it this time around.

That’s it, let me know how your Januaries went below…


4 thoughts on “January 2023 Roundup

  1. Lol “The American’s half-paying attention rewatch of choice.” I use Charmed for the same reason. Love the show though. I keep it on when I want some sort of noise in my space that interests me but not too much.

    Liked by 1 person

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