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Showing posts from 2017

In Another Life

In another life I would live in a large European city like London or Madrid. I would ride my bike or take public transportation to get around. I would shop at little stores for fancy bread and cheese and spend my weekend afternoons going for walks in the park.

In another life I would live in a small town on the Oregon coast or an island in Puget Sound. I would own a bookstore or a bakery and walk on the beach every evening.

In another life I would have long hair that I styled extravagantly in braids or buns and it would always flatter my face.

In another life I would get up early in the mornings to go running.

In another life I would know how to dress stylishly and how to decorate my house and maintain my yard. I would also have the energy and motivation to do these things.

In another life I would have a PhD in history and teach at a small university. I would write books about the lives of early modern women in Europe or about medieval literary culture.

In another life I would be an account…

Weekends

I feel like my last post left things hanging--I did feel sick the next day (Wednesday), but finally on Thursday I felt a little more like myself and by Friday I was feeling great. Last weekend was a good one--the sun came out and we had some nice weather, and I was able to get things done. On Saturday morning I went to the temple, in the afternoon I went to see a movie (Manchester by the Sea), and in between I ran some errands and cleaned my house. 

I realized last month that too often my weekends when I don't have kids are all spent consuming--running errands to buy things or seeking out entertainment. I don't think that's a horrible thing, since I need to maintain my house and feed my family, and I need to relax as well. But I also sometimes worry that I'm not using my time as well as I could. Even though it's been a few months since I finished school, the amount of free time I have without homework still feels a bit overwhelming. There is a lot of potential time …

Reading Roundup: February 2017

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I kept waiting for this book to get more interesting, and it didn't. The author hewed too closely to historical events and I felt like she was expecting readers' knowledge of Hemingway's life to provide the tension that is lacking in the book. I had trouble really connecting with the characters and felt like the whole thing just plodded from event to event without much tying things together or creating an actual plot.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 

I will confess that I generally pick up Picoult's books with fairly low expectations--my experience with her books has been mixed, and for me the main draw is curiosity about how crazy the plot will get before the book is over. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, especially with Picoult's ability to create three separate characters who all have compelling stories. Yes, I'm troubled by some of the cliches in the book and the over-the-top drama of the plot, but it was still a dece…

Sick and Tired

According to my blog and Facebook, I have gotten sick during February or March for at least three years in a row now. I wonder what it is about this time of year that makes it easier to get sick? I've also been trying to remember if I got sick this often when I used to stay home with kids. I think I did, but it wasn't as noticeable because it didn't disrupt the routine as much. Getting sick two or three times a year is probably fairly reasonable. No matter how many times it happens, however, I feel stressed about because I have to miss work and other stuff. I also can't fight my suspicion that maybe I'd stay healthier if I took better care of myself. Maybe I should try working harder on that (after I get better).

Early last week, P.Bibby came down with a runny nose and cough. She spent Tuesday out of school with her dad, and then I stayed home with her on Wednesday. I started to get a sore throat on Thursday and I haven't felt good since. I've been dealing w…

Reading Roundup: January 2017

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

This is the first time I've read anything by Smith and I mostly liked it. For me, the strongest aspect of the book was the writing. There were many points where I paused and thought "I love this phrase", and the bits of social commentary sprinkled throughout were just as compelling as the quality of sentence construction. The plot was a little hard to follow and the central conflicts were a bit muted, making it hard to want to keep reading at times and leaving me a bit unsatisfied at the end.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This was our book club pick for the month and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've seen comparisons of the book to Harry Potter, but I think that's a little weird since they don't have much in common besides a young protagonist at a school for magic. The tone is completely different in this book and it has a different structure--I love the nested story conceit and Rothfuss does great things with it. Despite the fa…

Farewell January

January has never been my favorite month and this year wasn't much of an improvement. First of all, January is way too long. We even had five Sundays this month so it felt like things were really dragging. The weather was really cold and extra snowy--which is great for keeping away the inversion and excellent for this summer's water prospects, but terrible for travel and everything else. Thankfully we're now in February, which is not only the shortest month of the year but also the month for Valentine's Day and P. Bibby's birthday and other wonderful things. 

Actually, January this year really wasn't bad other than being excessively cold and snowy. I started doing yoga a few weeks ago and have mostly kept up with my goal of doing it for five days every week. One of these days I want to be able to go to bed early, get up early, and ride the exercise bike vigorously for half an hour before work. That isn't happening at all yet. However, I decided to start smal…

Reading Goals for 2017

I've never set specific reading goals before, but I feel like last year I didn't read as many of the books I wanted to, and I read too many books that were fun but not satisfying. I also tend to read too many similar books and want to branch out and challenge myself a bit. I've seen a few reading challenges around on the internet, but would rather create my own. Here are some of the goals I have in mind:

At least three books in Spanish

Five books in translation from other languages

Three Mormon nonfiction books
Two books of poetry

One nonfiction book every month

Read all the Whitney finalists in the adult categories

I don't think I'll set any goals in relation to movies, other than to watch more of them. Also, in the past I haven't blogged about movies I watch with the kids, but I'm going to change that and start listing them. When they were younger and I was at home, we watched and re-watched a lot of shows, but now that they're older we don't do that any…

Reading Roundup: 2016

(Previous years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)

This year I read a total of 89 books this year--it felt like I had read more books than previous years, but that's actually right around my annual average.

I read 69 fiction books and 20 nonfiction books, which is right around my average as well. Every year when I add things up, I'm surprised I don't read more nonfiction. Nonfiction books usually take longer to read than much of the fiction I read, so that's probably part of the problem. Once again, one of my goals for this coming year is to change the ratio and up the number of nonfiction books I read. This year's ratio of author genders also holds no surprises: 61 books by women and 28 books by men. I think the type of fiction I enjoy tends to be female-dominated, and this explains much of this ratio.

I am going to write another post about my reading goals for this coming year, since I'm going to try creating my own personal reading challeng…

Reading Roundup: December 2016

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

This was a quick, romantic read that made me want to spend time in Cornwall. Without giving too much away, there is a time travel element that I wasn't expecting and at first didn't like, but after deciding to just go along with it, I really enjoyed the book.

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

I read this for a book club and we haven't had a chance to discuss it yet. I'm looking forward to talking about it with other people who have a love for O'Connor so I can perhaps learn to appreciate her writing and stop feeling guilty that I just don't get it.

Girl at War by Sara Novic

One of the things I found most disconcerting about this book was that it felt historical in the sense that books about the first or second world war feel. However, the events in it took place during my lifetime and I remember clearly when they were part of the daily news cycle. It's a sobering reminder that violence and war are still happening in the wo…