2017. Finally. Because: Wow, was 2016 not my favorite year to date.
And so…I resolve to focus a little more on the good going on all around me. That might mean gratitude lists, or it might mean making good things happen. It’s going to mean different things at different times. For sure it means more adventuring! The only resolution I’ve stuck to so far is the one I’ve made about reading more, reading “better”, and reading more diversely. I’m going to see if I can make this my second resolution that does the distance.
I geek out about how Santa was very good to me. In addition to several very lovely gifts, I got an entire stack – stacks, even – of the best gift of all: books! It comes to no one’s surprise that my favorite part (other than reading the books) is organizing and listing them. Drip with jealousy, dear readers. Drip.
It shall also come with no surprise that I finished one already. The surprise, really, should be that I finished only one. To be fair, I also finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Pride and Prejudice, which I was re-reading simultaneously, depending on which I felt would tickle my fancy that evening. Well, that and my sister is visiting, and I never get to read as much when I’m entertaining. It’s a good change of pace for me.
But before I get carried away with a social life and not reading, let’s see what I get to choose from when I do get to dip my toes into the pool of titillating stories and torrid affairs!
Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay (2016, Grove Press, 260 pages, hardcover). Short stories usually aren’t my jam. If you tell me they’re linked – like these – you’ll get a much better chance of getting me to jump into the pool. Ms. Gay’s writing, as always, was impeccable. Voice might not be the most critical of the holy triangle [voice, characters, plot][which, uh, is there a MOST critical?], but if it was, you’d find me hard-pressed to find someone who could wield her instrument with as much precision and beauty as Gay. The stories center around women of difficult natures, nasty women if you will, and how they have earned their badges of honor. These women are survivors, all. Many of them have stories that will make you cry – one of them quite literally, and you figure out how to do that quietly at two in the morning. 2. a.m. So you should pick the book up, with a pack of tissues – and highlighters and pens and your most critical eye. Because stories like these are even more important right now. 5 of 5 stars.
Setting aside the rest of my reviews (aren’t you glad I’ve only read the one!), what else did I get?
- The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (which was referred to me by @writerrhiannon, and I am very excited to read!)
- The Nix, by Nathan Hill
- Various coloring books (which: books. Still count. Especially: Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables, and others…)
- Agent Bride, by Beverly Long (delightfully delicious romance that I can’t wait to Mystery Science Theater my way through!)
- A historical publication of town hall meeting notes from my hometown
- Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton (I very much enjoyed Sisters)
- Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn (because it’s been recommended by several book peeps, including one who says it’s one of her all-time faves)
- The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard
- Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, by The Countess of Carnarvon
- We Are Unprepared, by Meg Little Reilly (which Kim says is wickedly awful in a hispter-y survivalist sort of way)
- Full of Grace, by Gina Ferris (oh my – I remember reading this romance series unironically, back in the day)
- Highland Whispers, by Sharon Gillenwater
- Shatter, by Michael Robotham (blurbed by Stephen King. Need I say more?)
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman (I’ve read, but didn’t own)
- The Fighting Ghettos: First hand accounts of Jewish resistance to the Germans, by Merer Barkai
- 50 Greatest Players in New England Patriots Football History, by Robert Cohen
- Flatscreen, by Adam Wilson
- Everybody Sees the Ants, by A.S. King (I LOVE King
- The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
- Seriously, I’m Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres
- Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe
- The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (I devoured it this summer and will need a pick-me-up re-read in about 20 days, I’m strongly predicting)
And this is where I confess that I met one of my dearest friends over Christmas break – the fantastically sassy and wonderfully witty Andi – and she was even more !!!! than I dreamed. Meeting your friends – for me, at least – is always awkward. I the Queen of Awkward – don’t all be jealous, now. But Andi was gracious and hilarious and forgave me when I had to cut our day short because of a work crisis. Crisis aside, I got to explore the flagship store of my favorite “little” used bookstore . And, yes, a few more books fell into my cart. Whoops. (And everyone who believes that “whoops” – I laugh at you, sirs. LAUGH.)
For my Little Free Library (making its way to me, as soon as the backorder unclogs itself), needs some books. And so for it, I picked up:
- Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann
- The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
I am SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED about my Little Free Library! But as much as I wanted to spend alllll my monies on that, I also splurged and got a few books for myself:
- The Rotters’ Club, by Jonathan Coe (which looks a little like Trainspotting)
- The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (which Andi and I impulsively decided to read together. It’s true love, I’m tellin’ ya…)
- Caleb’s Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks (because I adore the fair Geraldine)
- In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin
- Freddie & Me, by Mike Dawson (A coming-of-age [Bohemian] Rhapsody graphic novel loosely [or not] based on Freddie Mercury)(Guess which book I’m most excited to read?!)
I also got a few little things to put aside for Gracie, either for her birthday or next Christmas. I a $2 book of home plans, Gracie’s newest love; a mud mask; magnets that say “I ❤ Geeks”, the deathly hallows, Snape’s face and ‘Always’, and the Hogwarts Express 9 3/4 motto; oh, and Harry Potter pins for her backpack.
If only I could take Andi home with me, it would have been the most successful trip ever!
Not a bad start to 2017. So here’s a raised glass to you, New year – let’s keep things moving in this very promising direction, shall we?