Monday, December 29, 2014

My 2014 Reading List

This is a huge list. 2014 was a huge year for me with books. Part of that was because one of the classes I took for my Master's degree (Materials for Young Adults) had me reading 3 - 5 books a week. At first this was overwhelming, but at the end of the semester I was so grateful. There is something special about just taking a reading list and thinking "this is what I will read, in this order" and then sticking to it. I can't be the only one who has trouble deciding what to read next, even when I have a pile of awesome books already checked out from the library stacked in front of me.

 Being in school while working (and moving cross country!) has been extremely challenging, but it pushed me in the right direction, priorities-wise. I love school, I loved by jobs, and I love reading, so I made time for all those things. I agree with Austin Kleon's thoughts on reading so I'm sharing my end of year reading list, here. I thought about boiling this list down to my "favorites," but I decided against that. So this is a complete list: maybe more for my benefit than for anyone else's (and I think that is fine!).

If you have a recommendation, please let me know! For sure this year I have read an exceptional amount of YA lit and fiction, but I'm interested in anything...and hoping to branch out into non-fiction in the coming year.

1. Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles by Arne Bellstorf - A graphic novel, and interesting. More informative than an actual story.

2. Monster by Walter Dean Meyers - For school, and a reread from my youth. Definitely a good book for a teenager who doesn't like to read.

3. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida - Written by an autistic non-verbal teenager, this book did not feel genuine to me and I questioned whether it was indeed written by the boy or his parents. Regardless I found it enlightening on many levels, and won't add to hundreds of speculative reviews already online.

4. Liar by Justine Larbalestier - I had the biggest love/hate relationship with this book. I was sorely disappointed, and mad even, at the twist half way through and the ending. But - the book has stuck with me and I keep returning to it in my head. For school.

5. Godless by Pete Hautman - Not much to say on this one. A quick school read that isn't necessarily for me, but was interesting all the same.

6. Hush by Jacqueline Woodson - I wasn't particularly fond of this book, but a librarian friend of mine absolutely loves this author and said that many of her other books are so much better, so I hope to read those in the coming year. For school.

7. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - A reread for school and one of the most memorable, life-changing books of my youth. If you haven't read it, you should.

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I did like this, despite feeling as though my emotions were a bit manipulated. For school. What I liked the most about this book was that my friend and classmate Abby introduced me to John and Hank Green's YouTube channel, and I've hardly looked back.

9. Nothing by Janne Teller - This was a highly debated book in my YA Lit class as it is a nihilistic book aimed for teens. I didn't particularly like it, but it is absolutely a forerunner in its field and shouldn't be overlooked.

10. Punkzilla by Adam Rapp - I wasn't a big fan of this book either. While it was lyrical and flowed well, it felt like it took me forever and ever to read it. That said, it touches on so many good topics and is written in a way I can absolutely see many, many teens connecting with. For school.

11. Crank by Ellen Hopkins - A reread for school, and I liked it even less now than I did when I read it when it was first published.... But a great friend of mine was tremendously helped by these books (the author has written several). I understand the pull of books about addiction, but as that isn't something I have experience with, it isn't something that speaks to me.

12. Keesha's House by Helen Frost - This book made me wonder if, maybe, I didn't like books written in prose. It was for school and was, for some of my classmates, their favorite read of the semester.

13. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai - This book made me realize I totally do love books written in prose. An absolutely beautiful, quick read that is totally worth a reread. For school.

14. Make Lemonade by Virgina Euwer Wolff - I loved this book, though I couldn't put my finger on why. Been meaning to read the sequel... For school.

15. 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye - Lovely poems. I regretted having to read it so quickly for school because I'd rather slowly dive into a book of poems than read it straight through in one sitting.

16. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - I liked this, but I was so rushed for time that week that I didn't give it the attention it needed. I'm looking forward to the sequel which should be out early 2015! For school.

17. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - We have come to it, my favorite series of the year. This series reminded me of Harry Potter.... the characters exist in a world that is flawlessly explained, a world that exists within the constraints of the world we know, yet the common human has no idea it existed. A beautiful love story. This one, the first in the series, was for school. But I will read it a million more times that are not for school.

18. How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen - I wasn't a fan of this book at all, mainly because I am the farthest thing from its intended 12-year-old boy audience! For school.

19. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - I never read the Twilight series in high school, although I was the prime audience (a 14-year-old girl) when the first book was released - and I never, ever thought I would read it. But I did. And I'm glad I did, because I think it's important to be aware of popular books of all kinds, even ones that don't appeal to you, if you want to be a librarian. I must admit, this first book (while occasionally being unintentionally hilarious) really sucked me into the series. I hadn't expected that!

20. Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka - Like the book by Paulsen, I was not the target audience and this book was not for me. For school.

21. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, and one day I'd love to read the whole series. For school.

22. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews - An interesting book that fell flat for me, but some of my classmates truly enjoyed it.

23. Holes by Louis Sachar - A reread for school of one of my absolute favorite books from my youth. Love this book, especially reading (and rereading) it in middle school.

24. Feed by M. T. Anderson - Started off promising and then went of the deep end. But, what was so surprising about this was the way Anderson seemingly predicts the future of social media in 2002. For school.

25. Matched by Ally Condie - An interesting dystopia. The first book was for sure the best in the series. For school.

26. The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry - I did an author project on Lois Lowry for my class, so a lot of her books made it into my reading list (I did not include ones I skimmed or didn't read in full). This is my least favorite, and does not show off her writing talents in the way almost all her other works do.

27. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor - When spring break arrived, and I had a small break in my school reading schedule, I devoured this book, staying up until 5AM to finish it. So good. So incredible. Please please read this series.

28. Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor - In between the second and last books of the series, Taylor published (in electronic form only) a short story about some of the minor characters. It was so sweet.

29. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi - I remember this book taking me forever to get into, but once I was in, I was in. Very good, and a nice, different take on dystopia. For school.

30. Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman - As the title suggests, it definitely opened my eyes to a few things about global warming and the state of the environment. I would absolutely recommend it as a reference book for teens. For school.

31. Gossamer by Lois Lowry - A nice concept and a nice story, but it could have been fleshed out more. For school.

32.  Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson - I did not like this book, mainly because it is all taken from an adult book and felt incredibly dumbed down for teens. Some of my classmates loved it however.

33. Looking Back by Lois Lowry - An autobiography of Lowry, through pictures. For school.

34. Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson - An interesting book about a time in history I knew nothing about. I enjoyed it. For school.

35. An American Plague by Jim Murphy - This book pairs so well with Fever, 1793 and gives a lot of real facts and background information. For sure read them together.

36. Higglety Pigglety Pop!: Or There Must Be More To Life by Maurice Sendak - Not sure why I ended up picking this up (that happens sometimes when you work in a library) but I remember crying. Love Sendak.

37. Catch a Tiger by the Toe by Ellen Levine - Interesting topic, but not my favorite writing style. Perfect for teens who like history. For school.

38. Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Safety by Nikol Hasler - Interesting to see sex through the eyes of a teenager again. I loved the straightforward way this book had of informing its readers. For school.

39. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley - A great graphic novel revolving around food from one of my favorite artists.

40. Ambient Findability by Peter Morville - Incredibly interesting (because I find weird things like metadata fascinating) and a book I am happy to have on my reference shelf. For school.

41. Librarian's Guide to Online Searching by Suzanne S. Bell - A good guide, and another I'm pleased to have on my reference shelf. For school.

42. It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris - A book about sex for younger teens. Definitely bridges the gap between knowing "nothing" and Hasler's book. For school.

43. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - Another of my favorite books from my youth, and a reread for school. So nice for teenagers to have a book that portrays a world (and more importantly, a high school) where homosexuality is not a bad thing.

44. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth - I loved this book. It was long and sprawling and at times I had to push myself through it for a deadline, but it was rich in detail and left me longing for that world.

45. Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry - Oh, Anastasia, I cry every time you talk about your grandmother. A reread, for school.

46. The Giver by Lois Lowry - The "classic" dystopia. Wonderful to reread it as an adult, and totally looking forward to seeing the movie.

47. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: A Novel by Sherman Alexie - A great book, with a surprising history of censorship in schools and libraries across the country. For school.

48. The Animal Book by Steve Jenkins - I love Jenkins' artwork and his information about animals of all kind! While this book is geared towards younger readers, I found myself in awe many times and can't wait until I know a kid the right age to buy this for.

49. Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block - A classic YA book that I read for that reason alone, and I was confused and thrown by it, but still hoping to read more by Block in the future.

50. The Martian by Andy Weir - This book was incredible and for sure one of my favorite books of the year! Please read it, even if you don't love science fiction (I don't) because you will love this book.

51. March: Book One by John Robert Lewis - A great historical non-fiction graphic novel. I wish more stories were told this way.

52. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - The last reread for school for my Lowry project (finished after the semester ended). A great story which, I think, was my first introduction as a child to the Holocaust.

53. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner - What a weird, weird book. I actually remember very little of it now, but I liked it.

54. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - A great book, well deserving of the hype! Loved it and look forward to reading more by Rowell.

55. Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick - Whoa this book was crazy. The concept was very different than anything I've come across before. Absolutely worth a read.

56. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green - So begins my quest to read all books John Green has written :) I'd say this is my least favorite of his, but it was still wonderful for the way it treats math.

57. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - Love, love, love this book. There is just something about the way that Zevin tells a story that I truly admire.

58. Crossed by Ally Condie - While Matched was great, the sequel wasn't as good.

59. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo - Didn't like this one nearly as much as I expected to; again, I think it is mainly because I am not the intended audience.

60. West of the Moon by Margi Preus - Loved the fairy tale and other-worldly aspect of this story.

61. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - So by #2 in the series, Twilight (I listened to them all on audiobooks while running, by the way) still has me in its clutches. It's like a train wreck I just can't look away from.

62. Food Rules by Michael Pollan - Loved the idealogy behind this book so much, I bought for Eric and myself.

63. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer - Now my interest in the Twilight series is starting to slip. Things are getting a little weird for me.

64. HTML and CSS: Visual Quick Start Guide by Elizabeth Castro - Believe it or not, I read this book cover to cover (and thought it was a great guide!) - so that is why it is included here.

65. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor - The final in the series did not disappoint! One of my absolute favorite series - and I need to reread it!

66. The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman - Did not like the artwork in here, which affected how I liked the story. BUT the story itself is haunting, in a way only Neil Gaiman knows how to haunt.

67. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney - I love a good graphic novel memoir.

68. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan - Loved this! Read it on recommendation of a librarian friend who knows me too well.

69. Paper Towns by John Green - Probably my favorite John Green book - and I am excited to see it portrayed in the movie coming out soon.

70. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - An interesting book that reminded me of Larbaleister's Liar. I loved it in the beginning, but wasn't sure what to think of it by the end.

71. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - Ah, Twilight #4. What a relief to be at the end of this - I had the hardest time getting through it! There are so many rant-y things I had to say when I finished it, but for now I will say: Glad to have read it, and so glad to be done.

72. I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier - A depressing book by a master writer for teens. For sure one day I will read his other books.

73. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor - Was so pleased with this little book of three barely inter-connected stories. Laini Taylor is my favorite author to follow.

74. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith - A long time lover of Harry Potter, I held off from reading this for a while because I didn't want to be disappointed, but in the end I went for it. And I loved it. It is so different from Harry Potter that I didn't expect Rowling's style, so I was open to what the book had to offer (and I'll admit, the pseudonym helps). Can't wait for more.

75. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein - A cute quick read, essential for anyone who loves libraries.

76. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon - I'm not sure why I picked this up again (it was a reread) but I was intrigued by it as much the second time as I was the fist.

77. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers - Read this after watching Saving Mr. Banks and realizing I'd never read any Mary Poppins books.... but, I didn't like it. And will stick to the image of Mary Poppins I have in my mind from the Julie Andrews movie.

78. Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Rowell's newest, for adults, and a pleasure to read.

79. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan - Because I loved the Percy Jackson series, I decided to read (or, listen to, in my case) this related series. Liked the first book in the series, but have yet to read anymore.

80. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee - Have always wanted to read this play, and now I have. Must say it wasn't what I expected but I for sure enjoyed it.

81. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd - Thought I'd like this children's book more than I did, but I am not a huge fan of the theme.

82. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki - A beautiful, quick read graphic novel.

83. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - The second in the Cormoran Strike series! Loved it, if possible, even more than the first. Seriously. Cannot wait for more.

84. The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai - An interesting book, but it ultimately went in a way I totally didn't expect.

85. Reached by Ally Condie - There was a lot of potential in this series, but wow... it totally dropped off the deep end with the final!

86. Wool: A Graphic Novel by Jimmy Palmiotti - Always nice to read a graphic novel adapatation of one of my favorite books.

87. Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen - Decided to start reading the Sammy Keyes series again (from the beginning) when I heard Van Draanen had just published the last in the series. Still wonderful and magical.

88. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami - Loved Tsukuru and loved Murakami's writing. Can't wait to read more.

89. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - Haunting graphic novel short stories!!

90. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I'll admit, I read this because of the hype, but the hype was right. Loved it! Still haven't seen the movie, but definitely looking forward to it!

91. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm - This book was a lot like A Snicker of Magic in that it wasn't for me and I wasn't a fan of the theme.

92. A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver - Some of the most beautiful poems I've read in a while.

93. If I Stay by Gayle Forman - Loved this, though not sure it lives up to the hype. Have yet to see the movie.

94. I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan - Always a good laugh! I have a whole lot of library stories collected from my past too :)

95. Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man by Wendelin Van Draanen - A great addition to the series.

96. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - Two of my favorite YA authors wrote a book together, and it was great.

97. Where She Went by Gayle Forman - If I Stay was great, but the sequel Where She Went was incredible. Don't think I've ever read a better description of heartbreak.

98. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - Super haunting, especially the audiobook read by Clare Danes. Would love to read more by Atwood.

99. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon - Thought of this book a little bit like "research" and thoroughly enjoyed the messages.

100. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp - Another "research" book - I love seeing the process of other creative people and trying to consciously develop my own process.

101. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh - The beginning was beautiful, but the ending didn't deliver as I expected. Still a great read, and I loved learning about the meanings of flowers.

102. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer - As a long time fan of Amanda Palmer and her music (though not as much recently), I'm glad to have read this book. It is more a memoir than a guide, but enjoyable all the same.

And that's it! 102 books (so far, there is still room for another 1 or 2 :) this year! My goal for 2014 (as it will be for 2015) was 100 books, and I am so happy to have met that goal.

I would love to post monthly book reports, instead of a huge huge huge book report at the end of the year in 2015! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Feeling pretty lucky, although lucky isn't the right word. I guess the word is grateful?

The semester is over and I'm still job hunting (but...two job interviews tomorrow, so we'll see!) and with all my free times, I have plans to do whatever I want. Free time is beautiful, and who knows how long I'll have it.

For example, this will hopefully be a scarf soon (knitted candle from favorite store in the world, Ikea):

 'tis the season, and I'm excited to be making new traditions and carrying out old ones...

Also guys, dying over this mirror find! Have been looking for a mirror for over our kitchen table for weeks but couldn't really afford the $70+ ones that I've seen that size. And then at Ikea (like I said, my favorite store) I found this one in the "as is" section. It used to be a medicine cabinet door, and it's nice and substantial and just the perfect size. And, it was $3.99!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

the crazy thing about

this blog - I think of things to write down all the time. You wouldn't know it since I have been inactive here for months and months (years?) but it's true. And then I look at the blog, and wow I am not a fan of the way it looks. It is totally within my power to fix it up - or to switch to a blog base that has more possibility for personalization, but I haven't done it yet. And I need to.

being unemployed - I am unemployed by choice, which I recognize is a luxury not everyone has. I left my job(s) in Kentucky, to come to Denver with Eric, and am actively looking for a new job. Hopefully one that will move me up just a little bit more in the library field. I don't regret coming here for one second, although I hate being unemployed. I'm in a great city for my field, so I just need to keep working on finding jobs and applying. I have all kinds of free time now. But I feel like I get nothing done.... like I get less done now than I did while I was working consistently. I obviously love free time, but I desperately crave something big (like a job) to structure my time.

a new apartment - Once things are "in their place" I find that I am relatively lax on the rest of it. Pictures still need to be hung. Our walls are bare. I feel "at home" when I am here but we are still lacking much needed personality in just about every room. I do have plans, but I am stalled because of.....

money - I need it (who doesn't?) but I so wish it weren't a life factor.

my birthday - There are some people who try to hide their birthday from everyone else and some people who are super excited to mark another year with a special day just for them. I am in the latter camp. I look forward to my birthday every year, especially because I love this time of year. Tomorrow I turn 24 and this year what I really need are solid life goals. My education is in place. My career is (almost) in place (except for the not-yet-having-a-job thing). I want and need to focus on the rest of what being 24 means, and what getting older in this life will mean.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

the 24 Loaves Project

My 24th birthday is in a few days, so I've been considering a few simple projects to complete in my 24th year. Following in the footsteps of one of my favorite bloggers, Elise, I've come up with the 24 Loaves project.

The mission: To create 24 unique loaves of bread before I turn 25 on December 11, 2015, and document it all here.

It is a simple, easy project that I am really looking forward to. One of my birthday presents from my mom this year was a new bread machine. I've been using her old machine from the early 90s for years, and am really excited to have my own. I've already made a couple of loaves to test it out (the first one was a dudd; I have no idea why! the second one tasted perfect but was sunken) and I still need to perfect baking bread at a high altitude.

Friday, November 14, 2014

where I'm at

I have spent the last 30 minutes of this morning sipping hot tea, turning the heel on a pair of socks, and reading through the posts on this blog. I miss blogging and I've actually thought about starting a new blog to write, but I'm going to come back to this blog. I thought I shouldn't because I don't have just knitting to talk about anymore....but does that matter? My blog, my rules, right? ;)

So here's my situation now: 10 days ago, I packed up my car with all my belongings (except my yarn - which I shipped ahead of time!) and my kitty Mollie and drove 1,208 miles from Northern Kentucky to Denver, Colorado.

I left my job and life to move halfway across the country to be with Eric, and there's not been one second where I've felt like it was the wrong decision.

I am currently looking for a job. We are lucky that the company Eric works for was able to transfer him to the Denver area. I am nearing the end of my 3rd semester for my online Master's Degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS).

And I hardly ever have time for crafts anymore. But I want a blog and a place to write down my thoughts, even when they aren't centered around knitting. Let's see how this goes.

Monday, December 23, 2013

my top nine reads of 2013

I am back with my end of the year book report. In 2013, I really enjoyed reading, at a pace and intensity I haven't experienced since high school. Some days I think there is hardly anything better than working at a library and being able to spend a few free moments here and there browsing the stacks and bringing home more books than I know what to do with.

In no particular order (except, actually, the order I read them in) my nine favorite books from the year:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I came to the Hunger Games series pretty late - which was mostly due to my resistance of its popularity (which I know is a silly thing when it comes to engaging stories, but I was stubborn). All the same, I knew I'd love it, and that I'd read it some day - and it was certainly a treat! I've still got to read the last two in the series, which is totally on my 2014 reading list.

Wool by Hugh Howey. This book was a game changer for me. I'd been in a reading slump (and have been for what feels like years) when I picked this monster of a book up and couldn't put it down. I loved it. It is an apocalyptic tale, of sorts, but I 100% recommend it even if you, like me, aren't really into sci-fi. You'll be in to this. There are two more books in this series - and they are top of my list for 2014!

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I needed to read this book, and I was so glad once I had. (Or, once I had listened to it, actually, it was an audiobook.) The author spent a year with her family of four eating only things they could grow them selves or get locally, and I am totally in the head space with the author - I agree this is the direction most of us need to be heading, and because of that I completely lapped it up. There are so many things this book taught me to strive for. Not to mention I now (still) have an overwhelming desire to raise chickens and make my own cheese and can hundreds of pounds of tomatoes in the summer.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. I read a lot of graphic novels, and a lot of them will roll out of my mind quickly, but this one is stuck. It's up there for me with Watchmen and Persepolis. Three separate story lines merge into one, and at the end of this short story (took me far less than 2 hours to read), I was struck with awe and a new outlook. That's not ordinary in a book, so you know it's special when it does happen.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I grew up on the Disney cartoon of Peter Pan, as well as the live action film with Mary Martin, but I'd never actually read the book! I loved it (especially the audiobook version read by Jim Dale - his voice is magical!), even though it moved slow at times and there was quite a lot of talk about dying and killing, which is something I don't like to pop up too much in children's books. But it is magical, and part of it, I am sure, is that the story is so nostalgic to me. It is truly worth a read, and absolutely worth a re-read once I have kids who are old enough to hear it. (Oh, my heart swoons at the thought of sharing my favorite stories with far-away children.)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This book. This was my favorite book of the year. My favorite book in a very long time. I read it in less than 24 hours (it's well under 200 pages) and I felt the heartbroken at the end, simply because it was over and I didn't want to leave the world. I'd never been a Neil Gaiman fan, but this converted me and I can't wait to get my hands on everything he has ever written. This book is mythical, and magical, and yet so normal and plausible. I can imagine it happening for real, I can almost strain in certain parts of the story to feel like it happened, once, to me.

The World's Strongest Librarian by Joshua Hanagarne. Working in libraries and striving to one day (soon!) go to library school, I literally jump at any and all memoirs about other people's experiences in libraries. This was a good one. It had a few long stretches of things I wasn't expecting, but it was honest and clear and it made me love what I do. And anything that is all those things is certainly a good thing.

The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I listened to all 5 of these books on tape throughout the year, and I loved the series. It's geared towards children (the library shelves it in the juvenile section), but I think of it as more of a young adult series. There are harsh topics touched on, in gentler and more slight ways than the Harry Potter series does, but it's certainly similar, and still an incredible growing up story. I'd love to go through the adventures with Percy again some day.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies when they came out in the early 2000s, but I was immediately thrown off when I tried to read the books. They were dense and rambly and my pre-teen brain couldn't wrap it's head around the poetry. So I had always written The Hobbit off for the same reasons - but I picked it up again. And read it, with a brain that could finally appreciate the beauty of the storytelling just as much as it could appreciate the story. It was a wonderful book, and I look forward to reading the rest of Tolkien's work in the future!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

stepping out of 2013

I really need to start afresh here on the blog. I feel so bogged down every time I log in to write that I never end up posting anything. I'm trying to wipe out my expectations for what this blog is and does and who it reaches, and really turn it back into what it was in the beginning - something I can just record my thoughts and daily life and crafty moments on.

My head is buzzing with ideas for 2014. This year felt a lot like a stepping stone - in some ways, nothing got accomplished. But in most ways, I've set up pathways for things to happen in 2014. I'm ready. So ready. 2013 was necessary to bridge the gap between 2012 (where a lot of things changed) and 2014 (where things are still changing, but evolving into a more permanent place).

Instead of extensively looking back on this year as it draws to a close in the next week (as I am wont to do), I'd really like to look ahead.

I am still thinking pretty solidly about my goals and dreams for the coming year. Grad school. Reading challenges. Running challenges. Yoga challenges. Knitting challenges. Cooking challenges. Spinning challenges. I want to spend time on the things that I want to spend time on. It sound so simple - but so much of my time in the past has been spent doing the things I think I should be doing. I need to switch focus and cut out the excess and leave time for everything important.