#AMonthofFaves 2018: My Favorite Books Read This Year

I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Tomorrow’s topic (that I’m posting today because of The Sunday Salon) is “Favorite Books Read This Year.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I had six books that I rated five stars on Goodreads. Pictured above are those six. They are:

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The River Why by David James Duncan
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Tanya recommended the last one. The Lord of the Rings and The River Why were rereads. The Poet X: I listened to on audiobook as read by the author, the format I highly recommend in this case, even though this was the lone audiobook I finished this year. As for the rest, I just highly recommend them all.

What were your favorite books that you read this year? Share in the comments or provide a link to your post in the comments.

This concludes my participation in #AMonthofFaves this year. To see my other posts in the themed month, visit this link. To see what my favorite TV series and movies were from this year, visit here. And for my top 25 albums of the year, visit yesterday’s post.

On Tuesday, I’ll be posting My First Book of the Year with Sheila and others (including Laurel-Rain Snow, who reminded me with her post that I read this morning that I need to e-mail Sheila a photo of me with my first book; thanks, Laurel for the reminder!). I’ll also be posting my goals for 2019, the year I turn 50 (in June). Stay tuned! 

#AMonthofFaves 2018: This is How I Read (What I Read Too) and Blogged This Year

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is  “This Is How We Read and Blogged This Year.”

How I Read

In three words: 

Slowly and intermittently. 

By the numbers: 

  • 35 books. 
  • 2 nonfiction.
  • 6 books I rated 5 stars on Goodreads.
  • 20 I rated 4 stars. Most 3.5, rounded up.
  • At least 20 ebooks returned unread.
  • 6 DNFs counted on Goodreads.
  • At least 3 others that I DNFed.

In 2019, my goal as I mentioned in my last blog post is to read 50 books since this is the year that I turn 50.

What I Read

The 35 books were (in alphabetical order):

  1. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  2. American by Day by Derek B. Miller
  3. American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  4. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
  5. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by by Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer), Brian Stelfreeze (artist), Joe Sabino (letterer), Manny Mederos (designer), Rian Hughes (logo designer), Jack Kirby (writer, artist), and Laura Martin
  6. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
  7. Colosseum: Poems by Katie Ford
  8. The Cruelest Month, the third Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny
  9. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  10. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
  11. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin
  13. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  14. Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
  15. The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
  16. The Late Show by Michael Connelly
  17.  Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
  18. Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
  19. Normandy Gold by Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin and Steve Scott (illustrator)
  20. Pago Pago Tango by John Enright
  21. Pines, the first in the Wayward Pines series, by Blake Crouch
  22. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  23. Queenpin: A Novel by Megan Abbot
  24. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  25. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  26. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  27. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  28. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  29. Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke (author/illustrator), Richard Stark (source)
  30. The River Why by David James Duncan
  31. She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  32. Still Life, the first Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, by Louise Penny
  33. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  34. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  35. Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

How I Blogged

In one word: Consistently, at least once a week.

By the numbers: 78 posts.

Most of them were Sunday Salon posts, with a few readathon posts, several readathon posts, and a few What We’re Watching Wednesday posts with my wife. With every blog I’ve ever had, I always try to write several blog posts a week and inevitably fail. This one is no different as once again this year, I attempted some new themes, but failed. I do better at one theme/meme: The Sunday Salon, with readathons mixed in. So in 2019, that’s what I’m going to stick to: Mainly one blog post per week with a couple of readathons mixed in, namely Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and 24in48 Readathon.

How was your reading and blogging this year?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Reading Goals for 2019

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is  “Challenges and Goals.”

I didn’t do any reading challenges this year and my personal goals/resolutions? I’m going to save those for a post January 1. Instead, I am going to look forward to my reading goals for 2019, including a collection of 10 books on my Kindle with which I want to start the new year. However, I will save my “First Book of the Year” for a post for January 1– and it will be a book in print this year.

My main reading goal this year, in what will be the year that I turn 50 (in June), is to read 50 books. This year, I read 35; in 2017, 48; in 2016, 44, so it is doable. Initially, with my 25 Things Before I Turn 50 post, my goal was to read a book a week and I was thinking of a book a week in the year that I turn 50, but then as I writing this, I realized why not just make it 50? So there it is.

In alphabetical order, the books I have on my books to read in 2019 collection on my Kindle are:

  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  2. All Things Bright and Beautiful and All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot
  3. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  4. Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first Amelia Peabody mystery, by Elizabeth Peters
  5. John Adams by David McCullough
  6. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  7. The Quiet Game, the first Penn Cage, by Greg Iles
  8. The Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis
  9. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
  10. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Alexie Sherman

A few explanations:

  • Technically, it’s 13 books, but I have the first Herriot books in one collection and The Space Trilogy that I recently bought as a Kindle Daily Deal.
  • I already have started the first three books on the list. I just haven’t finished them…yet.
  • The list is split evenly fiction and nonfiction as I want to read more nonfiction than I did this past year.

What are your reading goals for 2019?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Favorite TV series and movies

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is 
 “On The Screen”.

Favorite TV series

These are some of my favorites, with some overlaps with my wife, but not all:

  • Aggretsuko
  • Alone Together
  • CSI
  • Father Ted
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries
  • Kim’s Convenience
  • The Kominisky Method
  • Letterkenny
  • Miranda
  • Mozart in the Jungle (Season 4)
  • Psiconautas
  • Vicious

These are, or were, available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. The highlights for me were the two Canadian shows: Kim’s Convenience and Letterkenny. If you’re offended by language, skip Letterkenny. But if you’re not and like quirky and offbeat, then watch. Unfortunately, if you’re in America, only the first two seasons are available (so far) on Hulu. 
Also quirky and offbeat are Alone Together and  Psiconautas. The most joyous of all of them is Miranda and both Kim and I loved all of the episodes.

Favorite movies

These are our favorite movies from this year in alphabetical order:

  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Black Panther
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Deadpool 2
  • Eighth Grade
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Love, Simon
  • Mission Impossible: Fallout
  • Paddington 2
  • A Star is Born
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The ones I enjoyed watching the most were Deadpool 2 and Paddington 2, two movies on the opposite end of the spectrum, highlighted by this exchange on Twitter:

The ones, though, that I think were the most important were BlacKkKlansman and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the latter of which my wife and I cried through most of. The former solidified my love of the actor Adam Driver, whom I loved in Logan Lucky, and introduced us to a new love of John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son, a formidable actor on his own.

What were your favorite TV series and movies that you watched this year?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: How We Holiday

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is…

How We Holiday

Yep, it’s like that.

Well, minus the chicken and collard greens, rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese…and no yule log or busting Christmas carols.

So yeah, nothing like that.

We do drink egg nog, not under mistletoe, though.

The prompt for today’s theme was “Rep your home’s holiday look, share pictures of your holiday decorations. Christmas tree, your favorite holiday traditions, holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, places to go, holiday drinks, holiday eats, holiday themed reads.” 

Home’s holiday look, pictures of holiday’s decorations

My wife and I don’t do any of those, because of…well…cats. Really, one of our cats, Seamus, and the fact that we live in a small house so not a lot of room anyway. I usually take pictures of my father’s Christmas decorations at his and my mom’s house. He always does an amazing job.

Favorite holiday traditions

We watch a few Christmas movies regularly each year, including National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim as Scrooge.

Holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, places to go

This is all related to one place: my parents,’ where I get to see my childhood Christmas ornaments that my dad has placed on the tree. Depending on the year and my wife’s schedule (she is a 911 dispatcher and works midnight shifts), we both go over to spend Christmas with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece. Or I go by myself. This year, my wife is off for Christmas so we’ll go over to their house (about 60 miles away)on Christmas Day.

So if you celebrate any of the upcoming holidays, how do you holiday?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: My Favorite Winter Christmas Reads

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is…

My Favorite Winter Christmas Reading

Specifically, I’m going to talk about Christmas reading. Two short stories I have to read, or hear read, in particular.

The first (as read by Dylan Thomas):

The second (as read by my father on Christmas Day):

Luke Chapter 2, Verses 1 to 19 from the King James Version

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

What are your favorite winter or Christmas or holiday reads?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Ch-ch-changes

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is 
 “Routines, Habits and Changes. What Worked this Year and/or What Didn’t,” with the prompt: “What habits, routines or rituals worked for you this year – either something you kept doing – or something new that you started. What did you try that didn’t work … or what did you used to do that no longer works for you.”

Something I kept doing

I am a creature of habit and routine. For example, Friday night is burger night for me and my wife…almost always. The other thing that is routine is when I wake up and before I go to bed, I listen to music and play Solitaire on my phone. It relaxes me before I start my day and winds me down before I end my day. I listen mostly to chill, electronic music, such as what I’m listening to now as I type this:

Or this:

Something new I started

My wife was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation last August and as part of her treatment, she was put on a CPAP machine which has helped her immensely. Since then, she had kept telling me that I have sleep apnea and that I should be on a CPAP.  In late October, I had a home sleep study and an overnight sleep study that determined I had severe sleep apnea. I started using a CPAP machine almost immediately.

Only days later, my numbers had drastically improved from almost 90 events per hour (meaning I was stopping breathing that many times each hour!) to under TWO per hour. That is what the number has pretty much stayed, never going above FIVE in this first month and a half. Unlike others whom I have heard stop using a machine after only a few days because the mask was uncomfortable, I have adapted to using the machine and mask relatively easily.

Why? Because the way I look at it is that…um…breathing is better than NOT BREATHING AT ALL! That is what could happen if I don’t use the mask when I sleep. I could have a heart attack and die in my sleep, and with my wife on midnight shift four days out of the week, I cannot risk it. So even when I take a nap, I strap on the mask and the machine starts up. I’m not going to risk my life just because it might feel uncomfortable. Now it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to me and also if a mask is uncomfortable, it can be changed to another mask which might be more comfortable than the first one.

So now I throw the questions to you: What habits, routines or rituals worked for you this year – either something you kept doing – or something new that you started? What did you try that didn’t work…or what did you used to do that no longer works for you?

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Popular Books I Read This Year That Were Worth The Hype

Again today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today’s topic is…

Popular Books Worth The Hype

Now usually the take on this is from books published this year, but since I didn’t read many books published this year, I took it for popular books I read this year that were worth the hype. I picked out these three:

All three are from the young adult genre, which is a genre I read sparingly. I’m usually a crime fiction reader, but every once in a while, I’m drawn to the young adult genre…and when I am, I go big. All three of these were critically-acclaimed, as well they should have been. I won’t say much about the three, lest spoilers, but will say I listened to The Poet X on audio and the author was amazing.

So did you read any of the above books? What did you think? What were any popular books that you read this year (either published this year or not) that were worth the hype? Or weren’t? Share in the comments.

#AMonthofFaves 2018: Favorite Thangs

Starting today, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Today, we write about some of our favorite things, “e.g. to eat, drink, wear, smell, see, do, enjoy, best purchases, most used gift received, most used purchases, favorite concert, outdoor activity, place visited, most squee worthy moment of the year.”

For this topic, I first thought maybe I’d mention family and friends, but I don’t think that qualifies as “things”. So instead I’m going to talk about literal things that were my favorites this year, as I scrolled back through photos from the year:

A few explanations: 

  1. Hoses: Our pipes froze in January, but thanks to our town’s Public Works Department and a neighbor, we were able to get water temporarily from the neighbor.
  2. Landscaping: I did myself. The rocks were already there. The mulch was from Lowe’s.
  3. Goodwill finds: I later learned this Frank Lloyd Wright glass was worth at least $40 on Ebay.
  4. Local wine: We discovered this local winery at our local farmers’ market.
  5. Canned wine: We and our neighbor Sam started a “book club,” where we shared our latest alcoholic finds. This was one of hers.
  6. Pumpkin pie: Cooked by my wife, Kim.
  7. Wedding reception couch: This was at the wedding of my sister-in-law Tracey near Cleveland, Ohio back in June.

What are some of your favorite things from this past year? Share in the comments if you like or join the event at any of the hosts’ websites.

Joining in for #AMonthofFaves for December 2018

Starting tomorrow, I’m joining hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – “a fun way to recap the year that was” with “every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out” and  a link-up on all their blogs. Here are the days and topics:

  • MON. | Dec. 3 – #AMonthofFaves [The 2018 Favorites Edition]
  • WED. | Dec. 5 – #AMonthofFaves Popular Books Worth the Hype
  • FRI. Dec 7 – #AMonthofFaves [The Blogger Love Edition] 
  • MON. Dec. 10 – A Day (or Weekend) in the Life
  • WED. | Dec 12 – #AMonthofFaves Routines, Habits and Changes. What Worked this Year and/or What Didn’t
  • Fri. | Dec. 14 – #AMonthofFaves On Our Holiday Wishlist 
  • Mon. | Dec 17 – #AMonthofFaves Winter Reading 
  • WED. Dec. 19 #AMOnthofFaves This is How We Holiday 
  • FRI. Dec 21 – #AMonthofFaves On the Screen 
  • MON. | Dec. 24 – #AMonthofFaves Challenges and Goals
  • WED. | Dec. 26 – Favorite Book Covers From Our Reads This Year #AMonthofFaves
  • FRI. | Dec. 28 – #AMonthofFaves This Is How We Read and Blogged This Year 
  • Mon. | Dec. 31 – Favorite Books Read This Year #AMonthofFaves

Today, I planning on starting drafts for each since I already have ideas for many of the topics. 

As for what I did this past week and last month, and what I have planned for this month in addition to this event, see my previous post Pushing Forward Back November/December 2018.

How was your past week? Your past month? Read, listened to, watched anything good?