Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reading Challenge 2017

One of my favourite book blogs is Anne Bogel's Modern Mrs. Darcy and last year, I excitedly printed off her reading challenges for 2017.  I wasn't sure whether I was going to do the "Reading for Fun" list or the "Reading for Growth" list but quickly,  I noticed that what I was reading fit much more snugly into the "Growth"
Here we are, on December 29th, and I believe that I have only one more thing to finish and there is a very good chance that I am going to succeed.  Here are the categories and what I have managed to read:

A Newberry Award winner or honor book- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (which I had been meaning to read for years, as she is one of my favourite authors of all time)

A book in translation - No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khalid Khalifa (which could have also fit in the category of a book addressing current events)

A book that is over 600 Pages - I'm not quite done yet but I plan to go to bed early tonight and cuddle up with The Likeness by Tana French, which is 680+ pages and I am 540 pages in so far.

A book of poetry, a play or an essay collection - This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett.

A book of any genre that addresses current events - Welcoming the Stranger; Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate - Matthew Sorrens

An immigrant story - An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao

A book published before you were born - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Three books by the same author - A Vicarage Family, Tea by the Nursery Fire and A House in Cornwall by Noel Streatfeild

A book by an ownvoices or a diversebooks author - The Hate u Give by Angie Thomas

A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A book nominated for an award - The  Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner - The Pope and Mussolini - The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David Kertzer

I also achieved my goal of 52 books for the year (I actually read more than that but I discovered that I was adding books to my Goodreads "read" list without adding the actual read date so it wasn't being added to my year total). 

I am having a hard time identifying which books were my very favourites but I will say that The Hate U Give, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Historian and all of the Harry Potter books I read with the children were all very good.  We also LOVED reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever several times and I hope that will now be an annual tradition.

I am being ambitious and setting my 2018 reading challenge for 60 books and I plan to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge again this year.  You can find the list here.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Back again (finally!)

I know, I almost never post and it is probably something that I should just abandon.  I think it's the idea of posting that I can't release - at times, there are things that are so important to me, I want to take the time to reflect on them and/or to share (whether anyone is reading or not) but then, evening comes, I finally get the kids into bed and then, I haven't the energy to focus long enough to write.  My evenings, of late, ha' dave been dedicated to either preparing for Christmas (I am utterly convinced that Christmas isn't meant to be so much work) or, on more relaxed evenings, listening to a book on Audible and knitting.  I try to find 30 minutes or so for my knitting and instead of watching t.v., I try to listen and get some reading in at the same time.  For the month of December, my book has been 11.22.63 by Stephen King, which is brilliant.

Every so often, I ponder what kind of purpose my blog should have.  I'm not a food blogger - I like to cook but it tends to mostly be about fast and healthy around here and most recipes are not my own.  My faith is very important to me but there are so many wise Christian women bloggers who are much more in touch with the interests of the world that there is nothing I could say that would be new or, frankly, all that interesting.  I don't travel, I don't have any exciting hobbies or sports and really, my mom adventures aren't especially funny or insightful. 

What I keep coming back to, and the thing that means the most to me, are my reading and my knitting.  I know, not exactly the profile of an exciting person but truly, these are the things that give me the most pleasure.  I love to read, I love finding books, I squeeze in as much reading as I can (my in-laws find it hilarious that I have found a way to use hair clips to keep my page open so I can read while I blow dry my hair in the morning) and my best times often involve either a bookstore, a package arriving through Abebooks or a book club meeting.  My knitting is the way I take care of people, I think.  My grandmother, who was probably my favourite person in the world and most definitely the person who gave me the strongest feeling of comfort in my life, was an avid and talented knitter and one of the ways she showed us that she loved us was through creating for us.  I have such fond memories of hats, leg warmers and especially, her gorgeous socks and she always had needles in her hands.  I think knitting has become so important to me precisely because it makes me feel connected to her.  This year, for Christmas, many of my children's daycare teachers, skating coaches and babysitters received "dorm socks" (I'll do a post about that later) and I had so many compliments. 

So, I think, for now, I am going to focus most of my writing on three things - my knitting projects, my reading and the books that I am enjoying with my children (which has become a huge part of our family life at this point in time).  I hope that I will be able to find some time to write and to celebrate these special, small moments in my life and to create a place where I can remember things that bring me joy in the chaos of daily life.