Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Redux: A Year in Books

I read up a storm this year, and couldn't have enjoyed it more. I rediscovered my love for fiction, reread some childhood favorites, and discovered the joy of comic books and graphic novels. I began educating myself on feminism, sleuthed my way through multiple mysteries, and admitted that I just can't get into Stephen King.

The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women
Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists
Three Black Swans
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cradle Lake
Kingdom Come
Ender's Game
When Evil Came to Good Hart
Bone, Vol. 1: Out from Boneville (Bone, #1)
The Shining
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Ordinary Grace
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)
Murder in Greenwich
My Sister's Keeper
Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet
The Night Circus
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
The Fault in Our Stars
My Name Is Memory
Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing
Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story
Tuck Everlasting (A Sunburst book)
T-Rex Trying
The Shining Girls
The Other Shepards
Time Windows
The Doll in the Garden
Wait Till Helen Comes
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress    

(All images courtesy of Goodreads)

My Top 5 Favorites of 2013:

The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes
Gone GirlGillian Flynn
Wild, Cheryl Strayed

Honorable Mentions:

In years past, it has always just been my goal to read as much as possible. This year, with the onset of grad school and adding classes to an already busy schedule, my goal is to read one book a month for pleasure reading. I don't want to lose sight of why I'm going back to school in the first place: my insatiable love for books, libraries, and the written word.  

Already on my list for 2014 is the Divergent series, Where'd You Go Bernadette?, and Hollow City. In the name of "research," I'm planning on catching up on my children's and YA literature. I'd also like to read the writings of John Muir. To the library!

What's the best book you read in 2013? What do I need to be reading in 2014? 

Wishing all of you a 2014 full of happiness, favorite books, and bottomless cups of coffee. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

(Very) Belated Holiday Wishes & A Life Update

A Berrien County winter. 

Does anyone else feel like time has been passing with lightening speed since Thanksgiving? I can't believe that yet another holiday season is behind us and a new year is just hours away. I'm grateful for the passing of the solstice and am looking forward to longer days slowly inching toward just a few more moments of daylight. 

My life has been full since I've last very full. Kyle and I celebrated a wonderful holiday season with our families and friends: eating good food and watching favorite movies, indulging in a drink or two and counting our blessings among the busyness. In addition to being quite literally thankful beyond words for the supportive people in my life and the opportunity to explore a new path in life, I'm continually grateful for the little things: Tuesday nights at The Meanwhile Bar with friends, when my dog burrows his head in my neck, and Seinfeld on DVD. 

Despite my yearnings for it to hold off, Thanksgiving quickly slipped into the Christmas season as it's wont to do. Kyle and I chopped down a tree (a tradition that always makes me a little sad), watched Christmas Vacation and The Christmas Story, It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and I avoided Christmas shopping like the plague. We enjoyed some lovely parties with friends, and a few of us dressed as the Griswolds because why the hell not? 

"Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"
Photo courtesy of Morgan.

About a month ago, I started a new job. (Thus ending my funemployment.) I'm working at a cafe and I really, really love it. It has its trying moments like any job, but overall I'm so happy with it. The hours are perfect and work well with my increasingly hectic schedule. I come home from work each day feeling accomplished and at peace. I'm saving my tips to see more mountains, something I find that I'm missing more and more with each passing day.

Next week, my grad school classes begin and I will officially be a student once again. If I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not looking forward to projects and papers and I'm absolutely horrified of failure, but the end result makes my heart beat with anticipation. Though there are moments of apprehension and panic that nearly take my breath away, I know that what I'm doing is right and I am grateful beyond words for this outstanding opportunity. As the armchair intellectual Martin Crane once said about his son Frasier, "You're good at reading. And then telling people about what you've read." (I think maybe Martin was talking about me too.)

I hope your holiday season was merry and bright, and I wish you happiness and enlightenment in 2014 and beyond. As always, thanks for listening friends.