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.
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.
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.
I finished listening to A Window Opens this afternoon on my drive back to the office from Tampa. It was 1:30. I hadn’t eaten lunch yet* and I desperately needed to pump. Which makes my reading selection somewhat ironic. Or, perhaps, fitting.
I’d originally picked up A Window Opens when I saw it on a list of fall releases which claimed it was an excellent debut about a woman balancing work and motherhood.
I could relate a little to some of it, but mostly I found the book to just be okay. Maybe I need the millennial version of this story, where everyone finds harmony in their work-life balance and then they instagram about it. Actually, I could probably write that version.
I didn’t dislike the book as I was reading it, but I was not pleased with the way the book wrapped up. For those of you who have read it and want to engage in a spoiler-filled discussion, I am happy to explain why it disappointed me.
If you’re a working mom, you may enjoy it. If you’re not, I think you’d probably find it a pretty boring.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I usually spend it with my dad, either visiting him in Boston or having him visit here, but this year we were on our own. So we skipped the whole thing and went to Busch Gardens and had a family fun day.
And now we are ready for Christmas.
My love of this season seems to have infected Evan, who has been asking about Christmas since Halloween (despite attending a Jewish preschool where neither of these holidays are celebrated). He knows we are going to Michigan and he is anxious to see his grandparents and play in the snow. (Please let there be snow). Since we will be traveling at Christmas, Santa will be visiting our house a few days early.
So we put our tree up yesterday to maximize our time with it.
In the past, we’ve always decorated the tree while Evan was napping and then spent the following weeks trying to convince him not to steal/eat the ornaments. This year he was able to help us decorate and – so far – is doing a great job of not destroying the tree. He asked me to turn the lights on the second we came downstairs today and says it’s “beautiful.” I love this kid.
He is also tolerant of the Christmas music I’ve been playing even though it is not the Frozen soundtrack, which is usually the only thing he tolerates.
We have some fun activities planned for this Christmas season. We bought tickets for the North Pole Express at the Florida Railroad Museum. We’ll be hitting up the local parades and fake snow festivals, doing some baking, and we’ll go for our evening walks to view the Christmas lights.
I’ve also ordered the holiday cards and done most of our shopping already (this whole budget thing we’ve been doing makes Christmas shopping a breeze).
What are your favorite holiday activities/traditions?