milestones not millstones

My mother often comments that she doesn’t know how (or why) I force myself through books that I don’t enjoy reading.I have a lot of answers, but the last week of December it really boiled down to accomplishing a personal goal. When I realized 75 books in a year was within my grasp I went for it. And I’m proud to announce that I reached my goal (you could imagine me sitting on the couch, reading until the moments right before the ball dropped if you want. I won’t confirm or deny.) But here it is all officially statistic looking.

Goodreads Book Stats

As you can see I’m a very stingy giver of stars (haha). It’s like I’m afraid that if I say that I didn’t like a book the author will posthumously curse me and steal my ability to imagine or something.

Anyway, I was talking to Pam the other day about the types of books I read this year. I spent a lot of time in types of Literature and Fiction that I never thought I’d read. A good chunk of that 75 falls into the Graphic Novel category (thanks to my friend Sarah, whom I need to return them to). There was a fair representation from Young Adult Literature and some modern Literature. I even managed to squeeze in a few of the obligatory classics (though I will approach my next Dead Russian novel with much more patience).

I ended the year with The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. I sort of unintentionally created a trilogy of non-fiction about Hell. I read Love Wins by Rob Bell, Erasing Hell by Francis Chan, and then of course The Problem of Pain. My mind is still churning through all of this theological thought. And I have not resolved everything I’ve learned from the three books. But I’m okay with that. I want to be a life long learner.

I read several other books with startling similarities. More than a few had multiple narrators. A couple were about New York City, a couple were about Florida (though opposite ends). All of the non-fiction I read this year was either about popular music or Hell, that one is probably the most fun fact.

My ideas about reading in 2012 are still pretty nebulous. I will be reading The Brothers Karamazov and A Game of Thrones as part of that challenge. I’m not sure how many books I’ll accomplish this year. I’d like for it to be  more than 75, but I don’t know how many more. I think it would be fairly feasible for me to read (start to finish) two books a week. So 104 should be reasonable. And this year I may make more of an effort to consider e-books.

Jenna got me a gift card to Inkwood Books (and a year’s membership) that I’m so excited about. And my mom bought The History of Love and The Elegance of the Hedgehog for me for Christmas. I’m so happy to own those now and make pencil marks all throughout them. Those two, along with The Rules of Civility were probably the most inspiring books to me as a writer this year.

My friend Laura tweeted yesterday that she was going to attempt 75 books this year. I’m so excited for her and can’t wait to read some books along with her. And my mom and aunt have started a mini book club for themselves. It’s exciting for me to see so many readers around.

Did you make a resolution to read or write more? My advice: get some community around you. It’s always a little bit more fun when you can share the experience with someone.

And here’s the part where I want to thank you guys that have been reading a long with me through 2011. This is what my year in blogging looked like as far as views:

view summary via WordPress

October was a fantastic month for views. And these past few months have been a lot of fun for me. I promise many more anecdotes, short stories/poems, and book reviews are in store for you in 2012 (as well as some book-to-movie discussions). Thanks for sticking with me. Your first book review of 2012 will be up at 11 am tomorrow. Until then, Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Thoughts on Turning 28

I have the birthday blues. I’ve been a sort of funk all day. Despite my best efforts to shake out of it I’m just feeling weird.

New Year’s is a weird day to have a birthday. This one feels especially like the true end of an era. There is now a decade spanning between my 18th birthday and this one. Ten years ago really great pop-punk music was coming out of central Florida, Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco were just about to take the world by storm, I was heading into the second semester of my Senior year of high school. The world was spinning pretty well at the time. That kid and me, we’re almost entirely different people.

 

Her hair was just brushing her shoulders and mine almost reaches my waist. She wore size four jeans and I generally refuse to wear jeans. She wanted to be a youth pastor, thought that was her calling. I work with teenagers, and I still feel very strongly about marginalized youth, but I am wary of working in youth ministry now. She had yet to experience a panic attack or understand anxiety and I live most days working to recognize what might trigger me and preventing panic attacks from happening. Most importantly I think, she thought she was in love; I am about to get married and I think I have a better idea of what love is actually like at this point. 

We’re going to watch fireworks. We’ll be leaving soon to drive to the bay where we’ll watch the colors explode over the water. For now with this time to kill, Daniel taking a quick nap by my side, I’m trying to route out the source of my melancholy. I don’t want to walk into 2015 feeling this blah. But the words to Death Cab for Cutie’s song have just been repeating in my head all day today:

so this is the new year// and i don’t feel any different.

I read something heartbreaking today. At the end the blogger said something about this being an arbitrary date. A marker. I get to decide whether it means something or not.

So, this is the new year. Do you feel any different?