Seriously. Donald Trump is our president and 1984 is the best selling book on Amazon. We’ve entered a Brave New World, folks. #resist.
Hi, guys. Um, it’s been awhile.
2016 sort of got away from me. I won’t lament the year like so many have done. It wasn’t terrible for me personally. Sure, I’m a bit terrified for the future of our apparently-fragile republic and saddened over the passing of a few too many public figures, but neither of those are why I stopped blogging.
I just got busy.
Around the same time that I had Kai, I am pretty sure the world started spinning faster and the hours in the day actually shortened. Life with one kid wasn’t easy, but I still seemed to find time to do the things I loved. But life with two kids? Nope. I wake up, I drop off kids, I go to work, I pick up kids, I pick up toys, and suddenly it is time for bed so I can rest up and do it all again the next day. And weekends aren’t any better. I don’t even want to know what happens when you have a third baby. Do parents of 3+ kids even sleep? I doubt it.
Well, I like sleep. So I gave up on the blog. And, honestly, it seemed silly to keep up the guise of a book blog when I was barely reading (see previous paragraph). And it felt good to let myself off the hook and not feel guilty about not blogging.
But I miss it.
I miss having a place to share my thoughts. Twitter is fine, but 140 characters only gets you so far and everyone just wants me to call my congressman (spoiler: Gus Bilirakis is never going to do what I want). Instagram is still my favorite form of social media, but it’s hard to get out more than a sentence or two. Facebook is still basically the worst, so that’s out. It was always my blog where I could say what I wanted, when I wanted, and sometimes people listened without trying to get their own agenda out in front of mine.
So I am going to see what happens if I let myself give this another try. I will talk about books if I ever find myself reading them.I might share some photos if I ever pick up my camera again. I may talk about politics (y’all should really call your representatives) or work (oh, btw, I just started a new law firm), and I will most definitely talk about my kids.
I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thing or if anyone even noticed that I was gone. But I hope to reconnect with some old friends and try to find my voice again. We’ll see what happens.
My “book blog” has not discussed books in two months, so I figured I’d at least pop on by and let you all know what I’ve been reading. Frankly, I’ve not done much reading at all in the two months since I posted my February recap (which seemed so promising). In March, I decided to do a daily yoga challenge so my daily reading resolution went right out the window (apparently I cannot accomplish two daily commitments at a time) and then it stayed away in April when life suddenly felt even busier than usual.
I’ve been reading my current print book (Illuminae) for at least two months (I know I’ve renewed it twice from the library) and I am only on page 200. I got through a few audiobooks but then I gave up on those in favor of podcasts the last few weeks because (a) I haven’t bothered to move any from itunes to my phone and (b) my brain is too tired for a full book.
So, since you last saw me, I have finished three audiobooks and two comic books:
An Ember in the Ashes | Sabaa Tahir | audio | 4 stars
This was the Forever YA book club book in February. I wasn’t sure about it when I first read the description but I ended up really liking it. I was a bit disappointed to learn it is the first in a series but I will definitely be reading on.
After You | Jojo Moyes | audio | 4 stars
I read Me Before You in print but I knew I’d get to the follow-up sooner in audio so I switched to that medium. I didn’t really think that I needed a follow-up but Jojo Moyes sucked me back into Louisa’s world and made me see that I did.
Who’s ready for the movie?
Descender (Vol. 1) | Jeff Lemire | print | 4.5 stars
Many thanks to SuziQOregon for the recommendation on this one. It was just what I needed to feel like I accomplished something while being thoroughly entertained. I am eagerly anticipating volume 2 in a few weeks.
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming | Joshilyn Jackson | audio | 4 stars
The latest in my quest to read everything Joshilyn Jackson has written did not leave me disappointed. I highly recommend reading Jackson’s books in audio as she reads them herself and makes for a wonderful southern storyteller.
Ms. Marvel: Generation Why (Vol. 2) | G. Willow Wilson & Jacob Wyatt/Adrian Alphona | print | 3.5 stars
What have YOU all been reading? Let me live vicariously through you until my kids are in college and/or I win the lottery.
Did February fly by or what? That extra day didn’t slow it down at all!
I read four books in February:
Need was an exciting read. Need is a new social network which grants member “requests” after asking them to perform tasks, which quickly turn deadly. I rarely encounter a book I can call a “page-turner” these days but this was it. I kept sneaking a few pages every chance I could and I read it very quickly. Perhaps that is why I thought the ending was rushed and unsatisfying. It was disappointing to race through this book and be left without all of the answers I was looking for.
I loved this one to the point that I became slightly obsessed with this book while I was reading it. It was the Forever YA Book Club pick in February so I kept texting my friend who was also reading it. The Royal We follows Bex – an American studying abroad – as she navigates a complicated relationship with Nick – the future King of England. It was a big book for me and it was not a quick read, but I found myself carving out time for it. The boys were sick one weekend and I read for hours and hours while they were couch-bound and napping. It also inspired me to do quite a bit of Kate and William research (which my book club appreciated). I’d recommend this one for sure.
It turns out that Rainbow Rowell is really hit or miss for me. I adored Eleanor & Park, FanGirl, and Attachments, but had to drag myself through Landline and Carry On. It was a little surreal to be reading fictional fan fiction and I never really felt like I belonged in the world of mages. It really did feel like we were plopped into this already existing story (which I suppose was the point). By the time the adventure really got going in the last third of the book, I was finally interested, but it was too late to totally save the book in my view. If I had been reading this in print, I wouldn’t have made it that far.
When I read Stephanie Perkins story in My True Love Gave to Me at Christmas, I was reminded how great she is at writing a story of young love and of the fact that I still had to read this one…so I did. It was a fun, easy read of teenage love in Paris. There wasn’t much not to like. Anna will always have my heart, but Isla comes in a pretty close second.
In January, I read three books:
Armada was a very enjoyable audio experience. Wil Wheaton is always a fun listen. While this was not as good as Ready Player One (can anything ever be as good as Ready Player One), I thought Armada was very well done.
I finally finished My True Love Gave to Me. I do not recommend reading a book of Christmas stories unless you are sure you can finish it BEFORE Christmas. I did not enjoy this once it was January 10 and I was still trudging through it. That said, I did enjoy some of the stories in here a lot (most importantly, I was reminded that Stephanie Perkins is amazing and I needed to request Isla and the Happily Ever After from the library).
Finally, I finished Winter. Stars, I love this series. 😉 I almost always find the final book in a series to be a disappointment, but not here. Marissa Meyer is so unbelievably talented at creating fantastic characters, writing intricate but workable plots, and building a complicated world in which to place them both. Rebecca Soler has done an excellent job narrating this series to top it off. I was so pleased to find that I still have a little bit left to look forward to in this world with Stars Above – a collection of old and new stories. I HIGHLY recommend this series to everyone (and I am actively campaigning for Ben to read it). Don’t let the lunar cyborgs scare you off.
I also read the first volume of Ms. Marvel (I am not sure whether to count this as a book read or not). I liked it. I’m still experimenting with comics but it’s quick to read and smart and funny at the same time.
In other news, I spent the month starting Parenthood’s final season, watching the entirety of Making a Murder, starting the first season of House of Cards, and reluctantly doing a Star Wars re-watch. And I remained obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. I started bullet journaling. I went to my first ballet class since LAST January. Kai learned to crawl, got his first two teeth, and ate a whole piece of pizza. The four of us stayed as busy as always.
What was your favorite read in January?
My first reads for 2016 show that I’ve definitely got a geeky side.
I read Volume 1 (issues #1-5) of Ms. Marvel this weekend in another attempt to see if I like comics. I’m still not entirely sure they’re for me but this was an interesting read and I’ve already requested the next volume. I know Ms. Marvel is important since the Marvel universe isn’t exactly populated by female, non-white, Muslim superheroes. Kamala Kahn is a teenage girl in Jersey City trying to balance American high school and strict immigrant parents when she suddenly finds herself thrust into the superhero role. I felt for Kamala as she is figures out who she is and how she fits into the world although I am hoping for a bit more on the origin story – what actually gave her her powers?
I also finished Armada on audio today. Armada follows a teenage gamer drafted into real war as aliens invade the planet. Just like Ready Player One, Armada was a treat for my ears from start to finish. Wil Wheaton reading Ernest Cline is definitely one of my favorite narrator/author combinations. While Armada is not nearly as good as RPO, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve heard others were disappointed but I never wanted to stop listening.
What was your first book of 2016?
This used to be my favorite time of the year to blog about books. I loved preparing my top ten reads of the previous year, my labor-intensive reading stats for the previous year (see 2012|2011|2010|2009), and thinking about my goals for the upcoming year. While I did share some of my favorite books from the past year, that is the extent of my 2015 recap.
I’ve talked a lot about my lack of reading motivation and the trouble I have prioritizing reading into my schedule. So, instead of setting a numerical reading goal this year (as Goodreads so badly wishes me to do), I am setting a very achievable goal of simply reading a little each day, even if it is just for ten minutes. This past year, I could go weeks without picking up a book and just writing that out makes me sad.
I’ve also set two other goals for 2016. Just like I want to get back to reading, I would like to get moving again. Again, finding the time/prioritizing the time is my difficulty so I am setting the bar low. I just want to workout a little each week, even if it’s just a weekend run or yoga class. My hope is with both reading and exercising, that some will lead to more.
My last goal is more definite. I will pay off the last of our consumer debt. We have one card left that still has a balance. I had really hoped we’d pay this off in 2015 but life had different plans for us. I know we can do it this year. Even though we will still have a mountain of student loans to tackle, this will be a huge win for us. I have other intentions for 2016. I’d like to continue focusing on things like minimalism and mindfulness. I want to use my phone less and pick up the real camera more. I’d like to be more present, both when I am at work and when I am at home. I want to be more patient with Evan. And,now that Kai demands less of my attention, I want to be more helpful to Ben.
What goals do you have for 2016?
Happy New Year!
I didn’t read nearly enough books in 2015 to do an official recap or top ten or anything like that. But since I didn’t actually do much blogging about what I read either, I did want to to share a few of the books I read and loved in 2015.
I read 29 books this year. I gave 5 stars to eight of them but two were rereads. Here are my 6 favorite new-to-me reads in 2015, in the order in which I read them:
Betsy and the Great World | Maud Hart Lovelace | print | 5 stars
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? | Maria Semple | audio | 5 stars
Why Can’t I Be You | Allie Larkin | print | 5 stars
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty | audio | 5 stars
I’ll Give You the Sun | Jandy Nelson | print | 5 stars
Who Do You Love | Jennifer Weiner | 5 stars
Why Can’t I Be You is probably my top pick of the bunch. It was predominately a women’s fiction/young adult year for me as I tend to gravitate toward those genres when my reading motivation wanes, as it very much did in 2015.
What was your favorite read of 2015?
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I have been a Jennifer Wiener fan as long as I have been an adult. I’ve ready every novel she’s written, so naturally, I picked up Who Do You Love. And I loved it. I loved the way it was written, chronologically but not always. I loved skipping between Andy and Rachael. I loved watching them succeed and fail over and over. This was a beautiful novel.
Next up, some holiday reading.