wrap up: January 2018

Hi guys!  Before I get to my usual monthly books read post, I wanted to start this post with a sort of life update.  Apologies in advance for the length of this post.


I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks in Houston for work – I’m finally home, I got in at 3 am last night.  If you’ve been following me on social media you will know: I hated Houston.  It was probably my least favorite place I have ever been.  So, if you love Houston, you may want to skip this section.  I thought it was an industrial, soulless, horrible concrete wasteland.  Nothing is open when it says it’s going to be; nothing is open on weekends, period; it’s one of the worst ever cities to be a vegetarian; I felt genuinely unsafe walking around on the streets even in broad daylight because it was so desolate and barren; the extent of the homelessness problem is absolutely inexcusable… it was just.  Bad.

This is Houston in all its glory.

But anyway, I keep alluding to the work aspect of the trip, but I realized I haven’t properly explained that, and I don’t even know if there’s any interest, but oh well, I will explain anyway.  I work for an international book distributor.  Our services are twofold: (1) we represent certain U.S. publishers to international clients – when clients order directly from the publishers we get a commission for facilitating that connection, and (2) we provide a book order service, where international customers can order any book from any publisher through us, and we will ship it to them directly.  I’ve been working for this company for about 4 years, and while certain elements of the job have been the bane of my existence (i.e., carrying boxes up 3 flights of stairs) I really love other aspects of it.  Recently my boss sold this business to a company based out of Houston.  The good news is that I’m able to keep my job and work remotely (I was even given a free laptop on this trip!), but in the meantime, someone had to go down to Houston to help train the people who would be taking over the daily operations, and because of my knowledge of the software we use to receive inventory, that person was me.  So, it was a really exhausting trip.  Everyone in the office down there was so nice and welcoming, and I thankfully did get a lot done, but I’ve been kind of running on empty these last few weeks.

Just a few more pictures from the trip.


This is the only good picture I managed to take of Houston – I’m into the strong southern gothic vibes.

The Museum of Fine Arts was actually pretty great.

Pictures I wasn’t supposed to take of the Rothko Chapel and the Cy Twombly gallery.


The Fabiola Project.

Anyway, after one of the most hellish days of traveling of my entire life, I’m home!!!  Thanks for tuning into this month’s edition of: Rachel complains about Houston.  Hopefully I will never have to go back there.

Now onto the books!

The fact that I was able to read 7 books this month is actually pretty impressive, given how busy and stressed and miserable I’ve been.

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee ★★★☆☆ + review
  • Elmet by Fiona Mozley ★★★★★ + review
  • Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon ★★★★★ + review
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ★★☆☆☆ + review
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams ★★★★★ + mini review
  • The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin ★★★☆☆ + review
  • Jo Cox: More in Common by Brendan Cox ★★★★★ + review

Best: Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon
Runner up: Jo Cox: More in Common by Brendan Cox
Worst: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


Currently reading: I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell (it’s great – it’s just taking me longer than usual to read because I despise reading on Adobe Digital Editions), Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (ugh), and Himself by Jess Kidd (completely undecided how I feel about this).

Anyway, just know that I am very, very, very behind on replying to comments and reading posts on here.  I’m going to do my best to get caught up today, but if there’s anything you want me to see, you should go ahead and link me so I won’t miss it.

So how was everyone’s January?  Best book you read?  I’ve been very out of the loop, so comment and let me know!


22 thoughts on “wrap up: January 2018

  1. I know I shouldn’t find your unfiltered hatred for Houston so amusing, but I really do. That said, I’m so glad YOU’RE FREE!

    Bravo on managing to read so much during such a stressful, unsettled month as well. To be honest, I’m just amazed you retained your sanity throughout this past month, let alone that you got so much reading done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very much a “laugh about it so I don’t cry” kind of person when it comes to stuff like this, so I take no offense at all at your amusement. Honestly I got so much good story fodder from this trip should I ever write a memoir, so I should probably focus on that.

      And THANKS, at first I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to read more since I literally had every evening free which would have been great reading time, but given how exhausted I was I’m still kind of impressed with myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hear you on that. Your life was starting to sound like a farce, so finding the humour in it was definitely a wise move. And look at it like this, any other work trips you may have to take surely can’t ever be as bad as this one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yikes. If I ever am unfortunate enough to land myself in Houston I will make sure to keep my eyes covered and only uncover them when I reach the fine arts museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was basically my strategy. Honestly never in my wildest dreams did I expect that city to be as bad as it was. Beforehand I was like ‘ok I’m not thrilled about the work aspect of this trip but at least I’ll get to see a new city!’ but I was a fool, clearly. Praying that you never find yourself unfortunate enough to end up there!

      Liked by 1 person

    • They were amazing! The city has a whole museum district, so I basically just spent one of my weekend days wandering around there. It was the only good day I had there. The rest was garbage. If you ever find yourself unlucky enough to be in Houston, head straight for the museums!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god Bentley you would HATE IT. Admittedly I am a big city person (despite living in Vermont lol), but this just had… absolutely no landscaping, no plants, no character whatsoever. Just concrete and misery. Driving home from Burlington last night I was like OH THANK GOD, TREES!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love art museums so much! I almost didn’t go to this one because I was so tired and the thought of staying in bed all weekend was sorely tempting, but it was gorgeous and I was so glad I ended up going.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You did it!! You escaped from Houston! I’m so glad you’re home now, happier and with a new laptop too! ❤ At least, the pain wasn't for nothing. You've read quite a few interesting books, I'm going to check the reviews right now. Also, wow, you've read The Gentleman's Guide and gave it three stars, I don't know why, but I kind of saw it coming! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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