#AMonthofFaves 2019: Winter Reading (Or In My Case, Last/First Books of the Year)

All this month, I’m joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They had a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and so far, I have participated in two: Popular Books Worth The Hype and On The Screen or In Your Ear. In addition to this one, I probably will do two more, Challenges and Goals, and This is How We Read. next week. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is Winter Reading – Your fave reads from last Winter, or seasonal reads you love, or books on this year’s winter reading list.

For this prompt last year, I wrote specifically about Christmas books. This year, I think I’ll talk about the books I’ve read towards the start of new years. This seems apropos as I look once again toward choosing a book for my first book of the year and consider what I will be reading to end the year.

In late December of 2014, just before the start of 2015, I read Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World by Thich Nhat Hanh. Then to start the year 2016, I read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz. In early 2017, I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Last year, I jumped off the self-improvement bandwagon to read The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Out of the self-improvement books, the best was The Four Agreements, with the other two fair to middling. The Library Book, despite a slow start for me, was one of my favorite books this year.

This year, I’m thinking about jumping back on the self-improvement bandwagon, but I don’t know yet which book I’ll choose. I have a couple of possibilities:

  • Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott
  • Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dyer

I remember trying to read one Lamott book years ago and not being able to get through it or it not catching me at the time. But I’m willing to try this since right now, like much of the country and indeed the world (I’m looking at you, Great Britain and India), I think we all need hope. The Dyer book, meanwhile, I’ve had on my Kindle for years, but just never had read although my wife has read several of his books and loves the late author’s work.

I’m leaning toward Lamott’s book, but I already started reading a little and enjoyed it, so it might be before then. I’ll let you know, of course.

Before my first book, though, I have to finish my last book or two this year. I’m in the middle of The Lord God Made Them All as I continue to make my way slowly (but enjoyably) through James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series. I probably will finish it by year’s end, but to be honest, this one isn’t “grabbing” me like the others or maybe I’m a little weary of all the cow’s vaginas that he has explored.

In this latest one, he also put in interludes about a trip to Russia, which isn’t breaking up the book in a good way for me either. I’ll finish it, but will be taking a break before getting to Every Living Thing, the last in the series, probably some time in 2020. I can say for certain this final book of the series won’t be my first book of 2020.

So what are some of your favorite winter/seasonal reads? And/or what are you reading to end the year and/or what are you reading to start 2020?

#AMonthofFaves 2019: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019

All this month, I’m joining Tanya & Kimberly at Girlxoxo and Tamara at Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They have a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and while I don’t plan to have a post for each topic, I do plan on having a post for several of them. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is the fifth for the month: On the Screen or in Your Ear – What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved and did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think? Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat?

I already covered my top 5 books in a previous post for A Month of Faves on Popular Books Worth The Hype, but I thought I’d include them here since it made the graphic below symmetrical:

A few caveats and explanations:

  • On Sunday, I also made a list of My Top 60 Albums of the 2010s, with the four of the five albums from 2019 included in that list. The only one I didn’t, i,i by Bon Iver, is because I chose 22, A Million instead for the decade.
  • I discovered four of the five TV shows through Hulu and found The Brokenwood Mysteries through Hoopla at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
  • I have not seen Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, The Irishman or Marriage Story yet, but my wife and I both want to see all three in the near future. I have a feeling at least one, if not all three, will change this list or at least be added to the list of my top movies for this year.
  • Powder in Space is technically not an album but a DJ mixtape by the Japanese DJ Momoko Goto, who produces and performs under the name “Powder.”
  • I had all five of the albums on heavy rotation this year and I anticipate that I will have one released last month, MAGDALENE by FKA Twigs, on heavy rotation in the coming year.
  • Four of my top five albums are on the The 50 Best Albums of 2019 list from Pitchfork The Father of the Bride, No. 25; Homecoming, No, 14; i, i, No. 16; Norman F***ing Rockwell!, No. 1, and that last one rightly so at No. 1, in my and my wife’s opinion. I like several of the other albums on the list including especially the ones at No. 2, MAGDALENE; Big Thief’s U.F.O.F. at No. 3 and Angel Olsen’s All Mirrors at No. 4, but I really haven’t listened to them a lot…yet, but I anticipate I will.
  • For all you bookish folks, the one movie on my list you need to see is Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is based on the book of the same name by Lee Israel, portrayed brilliantly here by Melissa McCarthy. I have not read the book, but loved the movie (obviously, to include it in my top 5).

What were your favorite books read, TV shows and movies and/or albums read this year even if they weren’t released this year?

#AMonthofFaves 2019: Popular Books Worth The Hype

All this month, I’m joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event – a fun way to recap the year that was. They have a schedule of topics planned out for 14 days and while I don’t plan to have a post for each topic, I do plan on having a post for several of them. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement. Today’s topic is the first for the month: Popular Books Worth The Hype (And/Or Not Worth The Hype).

For me, popular books worth the hype that I read this year were five:

  • The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
  • Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean

None were published this year as I usually am at least a year behind, if not more, in reading popular books. Born To Run and Born A Crime were published in 2016; Hunger was published in 2017; The Library Book and 7 1/2 Deaths were published in 2018. The one I had on my shelf the longest was Born To Run, one I had gotten in a Christmas blogger gift exchange a few years ago. After reading it, I’m wondering why it took me so long to read it.

Each in its own way exceeded my expectations:

  • The 7 1/2 Deaths was more than just a mystery. It also was a mixture of science fiction, which I really, really want to like, but usually don’t. As a teen, I loved science fiction, especially Isaac Asimov.
  • Born A Crime was not your typical memoir from a comedian. By the end, I was in tears.
  • Born To Run wasn’t just about the music, but was about much more than that, including depression. Yes, admittedly, it did help to be a fan, but I was impressed with his writing, which I shouldn’t have been surprised after hearing his songwriting, but still was.
  • Hunger: I didn’t think I’d like it based on trying to read one of her other books and not liking it. However, this one was different and her incredible honesty at telling her story won me over.
  • The Library Book: Based on what I had read from others about the book, I thought it was going to be more true crime, which I am not a fan of either, but it wasn’t just that and delved into the history of libraries, especially in L.A

How about you? Whether or not you’re participating in A Month of Faves or not, what popular books did you read this year that were worth the hype and/or those that weren’t worth the hype?

#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!