Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy New Year 2024 in Yellows; 2023 Reading Resolution Recap

Happy New Year 2024, my friends! 
"Put me down at once, Woman!"

A big THANK YOU to all of you out there for reading, commenting, lurking and just being here while I write into the void. 

I've got our NYE outfits, a cat photobomber, plus my annual recap of How Many Books I Read, Plus Some Brief Musings. 
But first, the outfit! Caro and Ron hosted NYE at their new house in North Saanich, and it was a doozy of a party. 

  • Dress - French Connection, consignment; purchased here for $60.00
  • Shoes - Super Fine Cardinal, Fluevog; last seen here (3rd outfit) for my October birthday party
  • Grape Ape coat (below) - H&M, thrifted; last worn here a couple of weeks ago

The theme was Silver and Gold, so I went with this golden yellow velvet dress and yellow accessories. 
I also crimped my hair - it was a special occasion! 

Showing off the pockets. Isn't it a gorgeous dress? It had many admirers (especially later in the evening, when the drunk people wanted to stroke the velvet), with Justin declaring it "Best Dress of the Party." High honours! 
"I can't believe you're leaving me alone."

We stayed overnight at Caro/Ron's - it's a 35-minute drive to their house, or a $100 cab ride (each way!) - then drove home the next morning to feed the yowling beast. We did leave him a freshly-filled George the Hot Water Bottle to snuggle with all night, and extra food.  

No need to carry much gear - it's unseasonably warm right now - and the Grape Ape was just right for a quick zoom out and back in Vlad the Jag. 
I stood on the roof of the house near the fire-table, and looked across the Finlayson Arm inlet at all the lights of people's houses as they celebrated. I raised a toast to my friends near and far - did you hear me? 

The stuff: 
I wore these gold shoes until 2:30am, when I finally took them off and switched to fuzzy socks. 

  • Purse - Banana Republic, consignment

The stuff; 
Snakes, gold and amber. 

  • Spiral snake cuff - Whiting & Davis, vintage 70s, vintage fair
  • Brass ring - vintage 70s, vintage mall
  • Silver/amber ring - consignment
  • Brass/jade ring - vintage 70s, Mom's
  • Amber bracelet - consignment; purchased here for $72.00
  • Silver/amber bracelet - consignment, Powell River
  • Snake earrings - local 

Here's L in all his golden finery...and Vizzini in his formalwear, a tux, as always. 
"I'm always on theme."

I bought this satin paisley blazer at an antique shop on Fort Street. It was $80, but I bundled a couple of other things, and the owner gave me a deal (about $10 off each item). It's by Zara (I know! I was shocked too!) and it has bits of navy blue velvet trim on the cuffs and collar. L was thrilled to get this in his stocking.

L's shirt is vintage/thrifted, as are his gold lame (lah-MAY, darlings!) cummerbund and bowtie. The trousers are consignment Banana Republic and the shoes are Fluevog (of course).

Here's to another colourful year, my love - you are my rock. 
"What about meeeeee?"

Aw, Vizzini, you are my bub, and I will love you forever. 

And without further ado, let's see how I did on my...

2023 Reading Resolution Recap

As I've done for the last several years [I even copy the text over from last year's post!], I make the identical New Year's Resolution: Meet or Beat the number of books read the previous year. I've been tracking my reading for over 10 years; here's last year's New Year's Eve outfit(s) and books, if you're interested.

Last year I read 39 books and this year, it's...44! Ooh, that might be a record.

Here's my list - 3 books got a 5/5 this year, and I've bolded my favourite books (some 4s, a 3 or two) and would recommend any of those. As I'm willing to read pretty much anything, and I pick up a lot of old vintage paperbacks when I'm out thrifting, and those can bring down my ratings. I rated 2 books 1/5 this year, both of which were terrible and you should not read them. Any books labeled "(BC)" are ones chosen by Book Club members.

  1. The First Collection of Criticism By a Living Female Rock Critic - Jessica Hopper - 4/5
  2. The Sentence - Louise Erdrich - 5/5 (BC)
  3. A Desolation Called Peace - Arkady Martine - 4/5
  4. Calypso - David Sedaris - 3/5
  5. Feminist City: A Field Guide - 3/5 (BC)
  6. The Rose Code - Katie Quinn - 3/5
  7. The Thoughtful Dresser - Linda Gray - 3/5
  8. Romancing the Inventor - Gail Carriger - 3/5
  9. Billy Summers - Stephen King - 3/5
  10. Storm Front - Jim Butcher - 2/5
  11. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher - 2/5
  12. Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie - 3/5
  13. City - Clifford D. Simak - 4/5
  14. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers - 5/5 (BC)
  15. The Steep Approach to Garbadale - Iain Banks - 3/5
  16. Menace - L. R. Wright - 3/5
  17. Reckless - Chrissie Hynde - 4/5
  18. Barrel Fever - David Sedaris - 2/5
  19. A Dedicated Follower of Fashion - Holly Brubach - 3/5
  20. Flat-Out Sexy - Erin McCarthy - 3/5
  21. The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo - 3/5
  22. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak - 5/5
  23. Sharks in the Time of Saviors - Kawai Strong Washburn - 4/5 (BC)
  24. The Truth About Style - Stacy London - 3/5
  25. The Two Faces of January - Patricia Highsmith - 1/5
  26. The Mad Trapper from Greeny Lake - Paul Blackwell - 3/5
  27. Wonderland - Stacey D'erasmo - 3/5
  28. The Girl With all the Gifts - M. R. Carey - 4/5
  29. City of Saints and Madmen - Jeff Vandermeer - 3/5
  30. Diamonds are Forever - Ian Fleming - 3/5
  31. Shriek: An Afterword - Jeff Vandermeer - 4/5
  32. Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders - 3/5 (BC)
  33. Thunderball - Ian Fleming - 2/5
  34. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming - 4/5
  35. Falcons of Narabedla - Marion Zimmer Bradley - 1/5
  36. The Man With the Golden Gun - Ian Fleming - 2/5
  37. The Candy House - Jennifer Egan - 3/5
  38. Lessons in Chemistry - Bonnie Garmus - 4/5
  39. High Fashion: The 20th Century Decade By Decade - 4/5
  40. Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson - 4/5
  41. Hyperion - Dan Simmons - 4/5 (BC)
  42. Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons - 4/5
  43. Endymion - Dan Simmons - 4/5
  44. The Rise of Endymion - Dan Simmons - 3/5
Full confession - I finished the last 50 pages of book #44 in bed this morning! 

Some assorted musings on what I read:
  • I read three books written by women about life in music/rock & roll (#1, 17 and 27) - one was essays, one was an autobiography and one was fiction. No special reason, just an interesting coincidence. It made me want to read Patti Smith's "Just Kids" again - especially because L finally got around to reading it this year.
  • I read 4 more fashion books (#7, 19, 24, 39) - the Stacy London one was worth passing on to another fashion lover, so if you find it cheap, go for it. I loved #39 which was another beautiful book with lots of pictures and easy-to-digest info about fashion - it went into my library.
  • A full 17 of my books this year were science fiction/fantasy, my go-to genre. Most of them were pretty solid. I read another Arkady Martine, and started an Ann Leckie series (would read more), and was introduced to Becky Chambers (got the 2nd books for Christmas). I love all these new women writers in sci-fi! 
  • Book Club continues to yield winners - nothing below 3/5 and would recommend 4 out of the 5 BC books we read this year.
  • I read 4 James Bond novels this year (found at the thrift store), which I generally found solid, aside from the rampant racism and general misogyny (they are "of their time"). "The Spy Who Loved Me" should be remade into a movie from the "damsel in distress" 's point of the book is actually written! This book is very different than all of the other Bond novels - it could be a groundbreaker in Bond films for the future. Greta Gerwig! Do this! 
  • I also picked Dan Simmons' Hugo Award-winner "Hyperion" as my Book Club pick (a reread for me) - it was first published in the late 80s, with the sequels published up to the late 90s, which is when I first read all four books. I wanted to read them again (it's been 25+ years!) so I blasted through them in the past 6 weeks. My advice, which is what I'll relay to Book Club - is to read the first one, then read a summary of the others, as they become bloated and a bit tedious at the series goes on.
  • I dipped into more titles by long-favourite authors - David Sedaris x 2, Stephen King (1), Iain Banks (I think I only have one more book of his that I haven't read), and Jeff Vandermeer - all of which were pretty solid. I also read a few odds and ends picked up at the thrift shop by writers I'd heard of or read sporadically - Clifford D. Simak, Patricia Highsmith, Marion Zimmer Bradley - with less than stellar results. Both the Highsmith and Zimmer Bradley books were horrendous and my only 1/5's this year! Avoid! 
  • Eight of my books this year were non-fiction. I would recommend any of the bolded ones - "Feminist City" (#5) continues to resonate with me, even nearly a year later, as I watch my city become more developed without considering all of its population. "The Mad Trapper" was a gift given to L, and was an amusing bathroom read.
  • I have found myself wanting to read more escapist fiction this year - easy fantasy (Jim Butcher), murder-mysteries, sexy romance, adventurous sci-fi. Maybe this is due to the changes in the world/life in general - it's been four long years, hasn't it? 

And...that's all I got - but I'm fired up to dig into my nightstand stacks and read more! Have you read any of these? Do you track your books? 

Thanks again for stopping by, Gentle Reader. Here's to 2024! I'm back to work tomorrow, which should be delightful - and I'm excited to wear some of my new clothes! 


  1. I loved the Becky Chambers and Arkady Martine books! If you haven't read Martha Wells' Murderbot series, I highly recommend them, based on what you've liked.

  2. Happy New Year Sheila! Thank you for sharing your wonderful outfits with us all year. Your yellow velvet dress is an excellent party dress. Lise

  3. Happy new year Sheila! I'm glad you had a fun time celebrating with friends and that definitely would have been the best dress for the party - it looks great on you and I like the coordination with L! :) I read 129 books this year and even had to return a bunch to the library unread - I plan to borrow them again when things calm down a little, life has been hectic! Not as many as I did last year but 100 is my goal so I am pleased with whatever I do to get that. Going into the office more often has helped me hit my reading goals as I take public transport, so read on the commute!

  4. Happy New Year!
    Wow, that dress! In fact, you're both looking absolutely fantastic!
    Would you know I wore yellow/gold/silver on New Year's Eve as well? Great minds and all that!
    It absolutely boggles my mind that you read 44 books. I'd be glad if I read 22 ... I know that's quite shameful, so I need to know where you got that secret stash of time :-) xxx

  5. Happy New Year, Sheila, L and Vizzini.

    You all look stellar in NYE outfits. That is the most gorgeous dress and I'd steal L's paisley blazer if I could!

    I'd read 4 of the books on your list; Bonnie Garmin, Iain Banks, Marcus Zuzak and Ian Fleming. I like Patricia Highsmith's books!

  6. Happy New Year to you, L and Lord Vizzini!
    I love your NYE outfits, L looks like a member of the European jetset in his Zara blazer.
    I read the Ian Fleming books when I was a teenager, The Book Thief, Redbreast, The Thoughtful Dresser and Two Faces of January (the film's excellent, I've eaten in the bombed out ruin where some of it was filmed in Crete). Vronni & I have similar tastes in books, I'm a big Patricia Highsmith fan. xxx

  7. Happy New Year Sheila! I'm so happy that you keep blogging away. All my long time favorites have slowly dropped away, and as of this year you are the last one left (since Kasmira stopped posting on the blog a month or so ago). I haven't been able to comment much lately, and sometimes I have to play catch up, but I so appreciate that you are here. Love the party looks as always.
    I track my books on Goodreads and hit 202 last year. Keep in mind that includes some VERY short stories, comics, the shorter chapter books I read to my son before bed, and audiobooks, as well as the usual. Quite a few of your reads are on my TBD list. I have read the Dresden Files books (loved them!), Romancing the Inventor (not my favorite Gail book, but still enjoyed), and Lessons in Chemistry and A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (loved them!). I personally read a lot of escapist fiction to deal with life in general.

  8. You both looks fabulous. I have been meaning to read The Sentence. Good to know you liked it.

  9. Only read The Book Thief and The Spy who loved me. That was the first James Bond book I read and I was really confused at the first person telling! I agree, by the way, it should be made into a film from this perspective!
    You and L look amazing- I love the velvet dress, so sumptous and L's jacket and trousers are glorious!

  10. Happy New Year Sheila , hope 2024 is a good one for you.
    You both looked simply wonderful for the party , reminds me why I love velvet , always a winner. Well done on all your reading , puts me to shame . I must do better this year.

  11. Happy New Year!
    Velvet there anything more luxe?
    I have no idea how many books I've read this year. I don't keep count. Some I race through and others I savour. Have you read Jenny Packham's How to Make a Dress? That's a good fashion read.

  12. A little late, but not less from a good heart, happy new year! For you and L. I hope it will be a happy and healthy year for you!

  13. I love the silver look! You did well this year with reading.
    I'm not sure how many books I've read this year. Like you, I did some rereading. Plus, I need to start thinking of years the way normal people do and not the way teachers do- as school years. One book that stands out to me when I think of 2023 reading is The Island of the Missing Trees with Elif Shafak. I was gifted this novel and I can't wait to read more of this author.

  14. You both were dressed to the nines. BEAUTIFUL. You make such a well dressed couple. I am sure you had lovely holidays with your tight group of friends.
    PS there are no fireworks at your place? Here in the Netherlands, it is still allowed for everybody to set off fireworks. So dangerous and so sad for the animals who are in a total state of fright. It was forbidden in my hometown, but the police force hasn't got enough men/women to stop all those stupid people who go ahead anyway.


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