Books I’ve Read in 2014 (Part 1)

It’s now officially July! Where on earth did the time go? And why wasn’t I informed of it leaving?

I digress. Yesterday, I posted a list of all the books I read last year, as well as the reasons why I started keeping a list. ICYMI: It was one of my ways to get me back into reading actively again.

Now that the first six months of 2014 are over, I want to post what I’ve read so far this year, and I’ll post the next half at the end of the year (an * means it was a book assigned in my book club):

Compared to last year, I’m definitely reading a lot more nonfiction. Some great conversations with my Bible study small group, as well as some seriously thought-provoking sermons at my church, have also prompted me to delve into a variety of theological books. So far, none of these books have shot to the top of my favorite reading list, but I’ve enjoyed them all (even if I don’t always agree with them).

And from the collection of books I’m currently reading, these trends look likely to  continue — lots of nonfiction, with bits of fiction and/or poetry scattered here and there so far. As I mentioned in my last post, I want to read at least one book more than I did last year — so I’m well on my way to a goal of 22.

I also feel I should note: interspersed with all these books is a lot of reading of various magazines, newspaper articles, and other various websites, as well as my Bible studies; we read the entire New Testament over Lent, and I utilized my morning commute for those readings, rather than my other books. (I don’t keep official track of when I start/finish books, other than to say I finished them this year, and in this order, but if I did, there would be a definite dry spell in March.)

Have you read any of these books? What books would you recommend I read next? Feel free to let me know in the comments!


Books I Read in 2013

After I graduated from college, I stopped reading books.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I mostly stopped reading books.

For a couple years (I’m going to date myself now — I graduated in 2011), I only read the occasional book here and there (though I did go on a book-buying spree, much to my wallet’s chagrin). I couldn’t tell you exactly how many I read in that time period (more than a dozen, as I re-read the entire Harry Potter series, as well both The Hunger Games and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogies, plus some others), but I’m pretty sure I remained above the average of nine books a year for my age range. Still, for an English major  who used to read a couple books a week (as well as for someone with lots of friends who are voracious readers), I was reading a paltry amount.

So last year, two things happened to help me get back into reading: I co-founded a book club with my best friend (which I can still attend from across the country, thanks to technology and friends who still want to listen to me spout ideas about books upon occasion), and I created a Google doc to keep track of the books I’ve read from year to year. There’s something about a list that I find motivating — I’m a competitive person, and I also like proof of things I’ve accomplished, so being able to point to a definitive list and say, “Look at how many books I’ve read!” appeals to me. (It also helps me remember when I read certain books; I have pretty bad short-term memory in that regard.) It also lets me evaluate what I’ve been reading and what genres have been appealing to me.

Originally, I had thought to post the list to Tumblr every six months as a way of checking in, but I tend to be more of a lurker on Tumblr, so it really just never happened. But I figure this would be a good place for me to get into that habit, especially as I’ll likely be talking about the books I’m reading in posts down the road. Since tomorrow is the start of July, I figured I’d post my recap from last year today and the recap from the first half of 2014 tomorrow.

So without further ado, here’s the list of books I read in 2013 (an * means it was a book assigned in our book club):

So in all, I read 21 books last year — definitely better than I had done in the years prior. Of these books, I had only read The Hobbit and The Great Gatsby before. And a couple of these books (East of Eden and The Book Thief) are now at the top of my favorites list. There were a few books that I was not a huge fan of, but none that I would say I downright hated, either.

It’s really been a joy to rediscover my love of reading, and to expand my “have read” library. I’m still not as well-read as many of my friends, but I’m working on it. I’m on track to read more books this year — just gotta keep up the pace! My goal is to read at least one more book than I did the year before every year from now on, if not more.

Though I suppose at a certain point, that’s going to get harder and harder to accomplish. But since I’m still working my way through all of the books I bought years ago and have yet to read, I don’t think I need to worry about that any time soon.

Have you read any of these books? What books would you recommend I read next? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

10 Things You Now Know About Me

In the spirit of a new blog, here’s a post with just a few completely random facts about me. (To avoid being redundant, I tried to stay away from mentioning stuff that’s mentioned in the About page.) So here we go:

1. The very first CD I ever bought was Now That’s What I Call Music! 5. My music tastes have greatly expanded since then (though I’m still a huge fan of Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down).

2. My most listened-to album is Freedom by Michael W. Smith.

3. I’m just shy of 6 feet tall. No, I did not play basketball or volleyball in high school. Yes, the weather is much nicer up here. Yes, I will get that cup/bowl/basket/cat/small child down from the high shelf for you. Yes, I will still wear high heels upon occasion.

4. My go-to snack is popcorn. (I’m actually eating some as I draft this post.) I think it ties back into my love for movies — I rarely go to the movies without eating popcorn, especially in the summer. Of course, it could also be my addiction to salt.

5. Speaking of addiction to salt, I think that started in my childhood… I grew up on a ranch, and I used to lick the salt licks we kept in the barn. Sorry, cows, I gots first dibs.

6. My favorite, most re-watched movie of all time is The Mummy, which is Brendan Fraser’s best role, IMO. How can you go wrong? You’ve got some awesome one-liners:

Not to mention an awesome female lead whom I adore:

Sadly, the Internet has apparently not made a gif nor a clip of what may be my most favorite bit of dialogue in the movie:

WINSTON: You know, O’Connell, ever since the end of the Great War, there hasn’t been a single challenge worthy of a man like me.

RICK: Yeah, well, we’ve all got our little problems today, don’t we, Winston?

WINSTON: I just wish I could’ve chucked it in with the others and gone down in flame and glory, instead of sitting around here rotting of boredom and booze.

What’s not to love? (Besides the third movie, of which we will not speak.)

7. I do not like coffee. Yes, I survived college — though this may or may not be a factor in why I’m neither working as a screenwriter nor as a hard-core journalist, I’m told. I’m gradually developing a taste for tea, but that’s a very recent thing.

8. If I could have any superpower, it would be the power of flight. Hands down. Not even a question. Of course, a combination of powers is always welcome, but flight takes the top spot.

9. I’ve played piano since I was 9. I’m no protege by any means, but I can find my way around a hymn book and quite a collection of classical pieces.

10. Thanks to colleagues at work, I’ve now watched more soccer than I ever have in my life. Because, well…

Let’s face it — I’m American, and I’d rather watch our take on football. Still, after watching a few games, I can’t say I find soccer an exciting sport, but I can definitely appreciate what it takes to be able to run up and down a field for that length of time. I know I couldn’t do it. I’m lucky to jog 3 miles a couple days a week.

There you are — 10 things about me. Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you want to know more. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here, watching The Mummy for the 49th 50th time.


So It Begins

Here begins my latest stab at blogging. Yes, the first blog post features a Lord of the Rings reference in the title. Yes, the blog’s title comes from a Shakespearean play. Trust me–there are many more references (via text, gifs, and the like) to come. Like so:

This blog will have it all: photography; food; book reviews; movie reviews; thoughts that stem from my morning runs, or from my devotions, or from church sermons I hear, or from conversations I have with people; transcripts of awkward and/or hilarious conversations overheard on the Metro or in the streets of Washington, D.C.; fandom references. Lots of fandom references.

In the off chance someone starts reading this who doesn’t know me already, you can find out a little more about me (and the blog and its title) here. Or you can subscribe to the blog and learn more that way, because I have a tendency to share more about myself than is probably advisable.

Seeing as how Google, Facebook, and the NSA already know everything about me, I don’t know if it really matters.

Thanks for reading!