Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday- Must Read of 2017

This week, I'm joining up with the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish to share my top ten list.  This week is a freebie week, so you can make a list about whatever you want.  Mine is the list of books that have to get out of my TBR stack and get read!

I feel like my house is getting a little overran with books as of late, and I know my husband feels the same.  There's books stacked up in our living room, dining room, my office, and even our basement.  I know it's pointless to go on a book buying hiatus, because sometimes you find something you just can't pass up or you've been looking for forever, or you're fairly sure it's going to be one of those life changing reads. đŸ˜‰ But, I do want to be more conscious about what I haul home this year.

So, here's the list of books that have been sitting on my shelves for far to long, and it's time for them to be read and passed on!

  1. MaddAdam by Margaret Atwood.  On the list since: 09/15/2013.  It's been on my monthly to be read list several times, and I enjoyed the other two books in the trilogy, love Atwood, but just can't seem to get this one read!
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  On the list since: 02/05/2014.  I hear nothing but good things about this book, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a big time tear jerker so I haven't read it yet.
  3. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  On the list since: 08/03/2015.  I love a good Scandinavian mystery and this is the first of a series so you'd think I'd be jumping all over it, but haven't yet.
  4. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay.  On the list since: 09/01/2015.  I liked the other book I read by her, and have even added this one to my monthly reading list, but it's yet to even get cracked open.   
  5. Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.  On the list since:10/04/2016.  The Sparrow was literally my favorite read of 2016, so when I found the sequel at the library book sale, why didn't I drop everything and immediately give it a read?  I don't know.  I guess I'm just worried it will be not that good.
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.  On the list since: 06/26/2013.  Originally on a list of recommended reading from my Women's Studies professor.  I found a copy at a used book sale, snapped it up, and have proceeded to let it just sit on a shelf since.
  7. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  On the list since 08/03/2015.  Sad truth- I was unaware what the Appalachian Trail was until the whole scandal in South Carolina with Governor Mark Sanford's staff said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail while he was really in South America with his mistress.  That was in 2009.  But now that I've learned of it's existence, it definitely intrigues me.  Bryson is funny and truthful, which I think will make a good mix for this book.
  8. Grace Eventually (Thoughts on Faith) by Anne Lamott.  On the list since: 07/01/2016.  I love Anne Lamott.  I think I may have mentioned that once or twice.  So I can't believe I've let this book sit on my shelf for even six months.  She encourages and makes you laugh and opens your eyes all while feeling like you're having a nice visit with a friend.
  9. An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina.  On the list since: 10/05/2015.  This is an autobiography of the man who stood up against the Rwandan genocide and hid people in the motel he managed, you may have seen the movie- Hotel Rwanda. 
  10. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.  On the list since: 06/26/2013.  I know I've had this book for longer than I've been on Goodreads, but I have yet to read it.  It's won a Pulitzer Prize, it's got a high rating, but I've just never picked it up.  I think this is the year I'll get it read.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January Goals

A new year always feels like a fresh start at goals.  I know it's all a head game and you can get back on track anytime of year, but there's just a newness about a new year.  But, before I can get into 2017 plans, I have to recap 2016.  Ugh.  This isn't going to be pretty.

December Goals
  • Read four books. Only read two.
  • Drink 64 oz of water daily. Coffee? Maybe.  Water?  Not even close.
  • Restart morning pages.  Nope- only once.
  • Be present for Christmas.  It really didn't feel like Christmas until about Christmas night. I already have plans for next year.
  • Get 2017 planner read. Yes!  Managed to get a plan in place for this, and it's working so far.
  • Work on long term goals. Yes!  I have a 2017 and beyond to do list started and an idea of what I want the year to look like. 

2017 Theme: People and Experiences > Things
I want 2017 to be about trying new things and being with people instead of worrying about things and spending time maintaining them or looking at more stuff to buy online.  My house is full of books and things and I have plenty of projects I can work on that will require little more than elbow grease and time to get done.  I want to spend my extra money on travel and not more clothes or fabric or books or things I don't really need, so that's going to be influencing several of my monthly goals throughout the year.

January Goals
  • Daily quiet time.  Preferably in the morning, but time to do my Bible reading, some devotionals and just get in a good mindset for the day.
  • Work out at least three times a week.  With temperatres below zero and winter making it dark when I get up in the morning and dark when I get home from night, and just an overall feeling of lethargy, I finally broke down and joined the gym here in town with one of the girls from work.  We've been doing good about keeping each other motivated and I've found the elliptical is actually bearable when I have some music to listen to.
  • Church every Sunday.  I have been skipping out of church for over a year, and while I don't feel like you have to go to be a Christian, I felt like for me, it was time to go give it another look.
  • Twelve blog posts. I know I've been neglecting the blog, and I feel like I have a plan to remedy that.
  • Get together or set dates to see four friends.  Since leaving the hospital, I don't see a lot of my work friends regularly and while everyone says, "We need to get together." I want to actually do it.
  • Write four letters. I just want people to know I'm thinking of them.  So, sending cards is an easy way to do this.
  • Sew at least 1/2 an hour a week. I think a half an hour while easily turn into more, but I want to set a weekly goal because it's easy for me to neglect my sewing machine for weeks on end.
  • Write at least 1/2 an hour a week. I need to get over the fear of not writing well enough and just write.  Half an hour seems a reasonable starting place.
  • Save $100.   I travel on the cheap.  AirBNB and little mom and pop hotels are just my style, but travel still takes money so I want to set aside some money each paycheck to cover things like gas and food for trips.
  • Read 4 books!  This is going to be the year I reach 48 books!  I'm determined!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January Reading List

A new year, and a new chance to meet my reading goals!  I'm once again aiming for 48 books. (Third times the charm?)  So here's what on my list for the first month of the year.

  • The Gift of Imperfection by BrenĂ© Brown was originally on my reading list last September, but I never even started it.  For 2017, I really want to clear some room on my shelves and I really want to get some the books that have been on my reading list read.  I've heard BrenĂ© on a couple podcasts and a TED Talk so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this book all about overcoming the need to feel like an overachiever.
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton was originally written in the 1940s and is set in South Africa, involving race relations and injustice.  I know it's a pretty well known classic, but I never read it, so time to change that.
  • First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde has been on my shelf for years, but I had to track down the prior book in the Thursday Next series before I could read it.  I believe there's a time hop of several years in this one and I'm looking forward to having all the characters fresh in my head, because last time, there had been a couple years between me reading the books.
  • The Man from Beijing by Hennning Mankell, who is the author of the Wallander books, has been on my shelf for only a couple months, but I'm ready for a good Scandinavian mystery.  I love Wallander, but this one is a stand alone without him, so I thought it'd be a good starting point for my first foray into Mankell.
So, there it is.  What are you reading this month?  Or have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think?  Drop me a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December Book Recap

December was kind of a shabby month for reading, but it always seems to be, with Christmas and everything.  I did finish two books and managed to only acquire the books my Secret Santa sent me.  So here we go.

  • Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood and it Atwood perfection.  It was nine short stories, the first couple connected the next couple not.  She has this way of writing that makes you feel for the characters.  You understand their motives, even if their motives are wrong or crazy or horrible.  I feel like she understands human emotion better than any writer, or maybe she's just not afraid to kick up the rocks and reveal the dark reasoning underneath.  She's just always great.
  • The Trespasser by Tana French was not my favorite Tana French but not my least favorite neither (for one does not dislike Tana French đŸ˜‰).  It left me with a pretty substantial book hang over while I tried to process what it was about the story that kept it from blowing my socks off.  In the end, I think I thought Antoinette was too distracted with her own problems to see what was right in front of her nose.  She just was all wrapped up in thinking everyone was against her and Stephen was all wrapped up in far flung theories... Maybe it was their sleep deprivation, but I felt like they had a better rapport when they first met in The Secret Place.  The mystery was good, the solve was there, I just feel like they deserve another book.  Although, when you think about it, French frequently shows their detectives at lows instead of highs, so maybe this fits.  I just didn't enjoy it as much as some of her other books.
All these came from my Broke and Bookish swap partner, so you can read more about the books here.
2016 Grand Totals 
Read: 36
Acquired: 54

So, I got  more books than I read.  But, the good news is my bookshelf is well stocked for 2017 and I hope to finally meet my book reading goal and cut back and how much I add to my collection.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas Swap Reveal

As those of you who participate in Chaotic Goddesses' swaps are aware, the Twelve Days of Christmas Swap is the last swap they are the last swap they are hosting for the foreseeable future.  Both ladies have plenty of other things in their life that are keeping them busy and I totally get that, but it's still sad, because they did amazing and the swaps were always so much fun.

For this finally swap I was paired with Shelly from Rain Drops and Pages and she put together the most amazing package!  I was totally spoiled.  Here's a peak:

  1. A Rudolph stocking hat, Santa pen, candy, Rudolph band-aids, and caffeinated, coffee flavored chocolate all stuffed in a stocking.
  2. A cute little snow man counted cross stitch kit, and a Merry Christmas banner kit,
  3. Holiday shot glasses that my cat was very interested in.  Beginning to wonder if she's sneaking into the liquor cabinet while I'm at work.
  4. Gingerbread cookie kit to assemble and decorate.
  5. Doctor Who, fourth doctor, Funko Pop figurine!
  6. Two sets of note cards and new gel pens.
  7. An awesome travel notebook with a pen and scrapbooking stickers.
  8. Christmas socks and a sleep mask.
  9. Sugar cookie mix with a snowflake cutter and sprinkles.
  10. A Christmas mug with hot cocoa mix and a huge candy cane.
  11. An adult coloring book with new watercolor colored pencils.
  12. An Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Funko Pop! 
It was such a fun package and she put so much thought into!  I just loved opening each day's gift and seeing what she had sent!

Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa Reveal!

So, I have a couple posts to share of 2016 awesomeness.  The first is my reveal from my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!  This is one of my favorite swaps- although it's not really a swap because you send a package to one person, while someone else sends a package to you, but anyways.  Sarah had my name and she put together an amazing package.  Check it out.

I came home from work one day to find this large box sitting on my porch and inside was all this brightly wrapped awesomeness, I couldn't wait to tear into it.

Inside was three books that had been on my wishlist, Christmas cards, pencils, Christmas tissues, a to do list, scrapbook paper, washi tape, ribbon, hot cocoa sticks, lip balm, and a lovely note from Sarah.  I was totally spoiled!

The books she picked are all different genres which gives a nice variety. 
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is the account of a boy who was pulled into the Sierra Leone conflict by his own government at the age of twelve.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts ended up on my list after reading several reviews about it on other blogs.  I'm still not sure what the plot is, but I can't wait to find out.
  • Somewhere in France takes place in England and France in 1914, and sounds like it has some Downton Abbey elements to it, which intrigues me.
I can't wait to read all of these as well as enjoy all the other treats Sarah sent.