New Year, New Books

So time has passed…

The holidays were busy, and while I wasn’t running in circles like other people I know, it still feels like December passed in a mad rush. There were a lot of things I intended to do (like write new posts here), and they just didn’t happen. Oh well. Better luck this year, I suppose.

Something I did manage to do:

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I made a gingerbread house for the first time! I’d been intending to make one for years before this, but never got around to it. My book club’s December meet-up was slated to be a time for each of us to make one, and while we all brought kits to do so, we were distracted by wine, cheese, and cookies. C’est la vie. It was a tasty evening, anyway, and I took my kit home and put it all together a few days later.

I got new books for Christmas! Of course. That was pretty much all I had on my list.

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I don’t know where to start with the reading of these, since they’re all interesting. I did attempt to read The Story of the Night earlier this year and failed to finish it. I’ll have to give it another try this year and see if I finish it off this time. I can’t remember if I read The Slow Regard of Silent Things in 2015 or 2016, but I loved it. Because I never got around to getting my own copy, it went on the Christmas list this year. I will probably re-read it soon.

The rest of them are new to me, and I’m looking forward to them!


The past month hasn’t been all work and gingerbread houses. I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading on my phone and e-reader. I read a Lifehacker article about reading a little bit from a ebook instead of checking and rechecking Facebook and all the other time sucking social media, so I decided to take that advice. For this, I chose a series of light-hearted memoirs such as Karen Wheeler’s Tout Sweet (a solid meh), Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods (fun, but it certainly did not inspire me to go out and walk the Appalachian Trail), and Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (which did get me to think about my mindset when it comes to the way I treat myself and other people). There were two other books that were not light-hearted, but that I found compelling: Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, both of which were amazing.

I also read the science fiction novella Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, which is highly imaginative, but too short. There were certain things regarding Binti’s abilities that I wanted to read more about, and the ending seemed very sudden given the build-up. Overall, though, it’s a solid read and a little refreshing to have a story told in such short order, given the massive volumes and endless series that seem to be the standard for science fiction and fantasy these days.

I easily finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2016. My goal was fifty-five books, and I read seventy-two. 2017’s goal will be sixty books, which I should be able to do easily enough. Other reading resolutions include continuing with my plan to read more by international authors, instead of sticking with books by North American or British authors. I also found a ‘2017 Reading List’ online from PopSugar, which provides numerous suggestions for the year such as “a book recommended by a librarian” or “read a book with a red spine”. I don’t think I’ll use every suggestion from that list, but I’ll probably use a lot of them. Another goal is to do a better job of sticking to the monthly “To Read” lists I’ve set up in my bullet journal. I have a grand total of five books listed for January, so that leaves me plenty of room for incidental books that call to me through the month.

January’s To-Read List:
1. Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath
2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The Táin- Anonymous
4. Dewey the Library Cat by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter
5. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

All of these are suggestions from the PopSugar 2017 reading list. Rejected Princesses is a book recommended by a librarian, The Fellowship of the Ring is a book I enjoyed as a child, The Táin was a book I purchased while traveling, Dewey the Library Cat is a book with a cat on the cover, and My Brilliant Friend is a book by an author who uses a pen name.


In non-book news, I went to a couple of movies this past month. Arrival was brilliant and beautiful. In a very near future, a dozen or so alien ships appear at various points around the world, sparking fear among the nations. Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner play two scientists sent by the US government to try to communicate with the aliens. The cinematography and score are both gorgeous, and the message- that communication is the true answer to our problems, not weapons and fights, is one that everyone should take heed to.

For New Year’s Eve, a friend and I went to Rogue One last night. I enjoyed it immensely. It felt like it filled in a chapter of Star Wars history without intruding onto the saga of the Skywalker family that we’ve been following through the rest of the movies. You can slip it in between Episodes III and IV or not depending on your viewing preferences, and while I heard some reviews that complained that “it was too heavy handed on the dark portents” or “there were sooo many names”, or “there weren’t enough jokes”, I disagree with them. I thought it was dark where necessary, funny when it needed to be, and heartfelt enough to make me believe in what the characters were fighting for.

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