Thursday, January 26, 2017

Favorite Books of 2016

I'm a little late to the party... but so what?

It's that time of year. For the past two months, everyone's been posting their "best of" lists and since I'm unoriginal and lazy, here I am, doing the same.

These books are listed in the order in which I read them.

  1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare—the long-awaited latest installment in Clare’s cash cow franchise was as joy-inducing as her previous works, and I honestly don’t care if it’s a shameless market grab, I will keep forking over my money for these books.
  2. Boy Meets Depression by Kevin Breel—a wonderful memoir of male depression, this book nearly moved me to tears on at least five occasions. Quite a feat for such a short book.
  3. The White Princess by Philippa Gregory—Gregory’s plot work, as always, is masterful, and while I am not a fan of the Tudors, I found this book that transitioned me into their time period to be immensely enjoyable, as many of Gregory’s works are. 

  1. The Hidden Oracle: Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan—especially after the disappointment of Magnus Chase, this fresh voice and story from Rick Riordan was a wonderful read. Apollo’s voice leapt off the page.
  2. Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstien—a non-fiction feminist work, this book was accessible and funny, and many of the facts and studies included are things I still quote. Interesting exploration of girlhood in the 21st century.
  3. The Amazing Spiderman: Learning to Crawl by Dan Slott—as one of my first forays into comic books, this was so enjoyable! I loved the characterization of Spiderman, and this somewhat different approach to the “origin story”.


  1. The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver—This apocalyptic ecominic disaster novel was one of the first “literary” fiction novels I ever read, and certainly the first one that actually kept me on-the-edge-of-my-seat. Whenever I closed this book, I genuinely wanted to get back into it.
  2. Phantoms of the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet, trans by Sian Reynolds—This book, originally written in French, is a memoir of a man who owns over 40,000 books! I’ll leave you with this quote: “As for the saying ‘a book lent is a book lost’, the solution is very simple: never lend a book, always give it away”.
  3. American Housewife by Helen Ellis—a great collection of witty short stories! I laughed often while reading this one.

Thank you all for checking out my list! What are some of your favorite books from 2016?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Setting Goals

It’s that time of year again. Half of your facebook is idealistic 20-year-olds proclaiming that this is the year they’ll lose those twenty pounds, and the other half are naysayers proclaiming resolutions are pointless since no one lives up to them anyway. Anyone leftover are probably parents or teachers commenting with words of encouragement or wisdom.

Of course we can set goals at any time of year, but there’s something about the new year, something about writing January 2nd, 2017 that makes you feel as though everything you couldn’t accomplish on December 30th, 2016, is now possible.

We set goals, obviously, to improve ourselves. Whether it’s reading more or working out or watching less youtube or becoming a better gardener, there is something we can all do to self-improve.

But we live in a culture that values complacency and contentment above challenges and self-improvement. In the past, I’ve fallen victim to that sort of thinking. For the last couple years, I’ve let myself fail at my goals and be happy with that. Last year, I said I wanted to blog more, and if I didn’t, I would be okay anyway.

Guess what happened? I hardly blogged at all.

This year, I’m not doing that. This year, I’m holding myself accountable, and I’m talking about my goals with other people in my life, and they’ll hold me accountable. And if, at this time next year, anything is still left undone, I will be disappointed with myself. I haven’t challenged myself with anything that I can’t do.

Image result for i think i can

You know what? I’m a fantastic writer, and Ive been doing myself a disservice by not blogging. So I will blog, once a week, and at the end of the year I’ll have 52 new blog posts up.

You know what? I have plenty of time in my day that I’m wasting on Netflix or youtube. There’s no reason that I can’t read 100 books, so I will.

You know what? After all that time has been reallocated to reading, there will still be time left I’m wasting. Even when it’s freezing out, there are stairs in my house, I can walk up and down them. There’s no reason I should spend 8 hours of my day sedentary.

You know what? There is plenty of food in my house. There’s no reason I should be eating less then 3 servings of vegetables each day.

This is why we set goals. First, we challenge ourselves to do the things we can do, but aren’t or won’t. And then we push further. There’s more satisfaction in challenge than contentment. At the end of the year, I’ll have something to show for this.