My First Book of 2021

Yesterday, I shared My One Word for 2021; today, I share my first book of the new year as many others do today and share with Sheila of the blog Book Journey who posts the photos today. Like my one word for this year, my first book of the year is the same as last year:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by Gregory Hays: I borrowed a copy of it for free from Prime Reading in late 2019. But when I tried it, I had a difficult time reading the archaic translation. I then came across several reviews mentioning a modern translation by Gregory Hays, who also wrote an extensive introduction. It was the perfect book for 2020 even though I doubted it and tried another book that didn’t work.

With there being a lot of aphorisms in Meditations, last year I read a chapter a day over two weeks and journaled on one or two passages each day. While I enjoyed that, I think this year, I’m not going to put any time constraints on how long I’ll read and journal on passages. It might be a month or two or even three (GASP!). I’m also combining two other companion volumes to Meditations:

  1. How To Think Like A Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald Robertson
  2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and The Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

The first, like Meditations, I will read at a leisurely pace and finish when I finish, maybe even reading on a new tradition I started last year on Sundays: My Own Personal Sabbath. The second, and this might shock you (again GASP! ) since it’s a daily meditation, I will read throughout the year.

So that is the book or books I’ll be starting 2021 with. However, the first book that I’ll probably finish will be (keeping it Italian) Excursion to Tindari, the fifth in the Inspector Montalbano series, by Andra Camilleri as translated by Stephen Sartarelli. The Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP) recently added the series to its ebook collection and I couldn’t help but put several on hold, many of which already have come in. I read the first three or four years ago via interlibrary loan at our library, but then gave up because I didn’t feel like waiting for all of the rest. Like Richard Stark’s Parker series, Camilleri’s series is on my bucket list of series to read, but with so many in both series, I can’t afford purchasing all of them. So when I saw that the series now is available to borrow at FLP around Christmas, it was, and is, Christmas to me.

Do you have a first book you plan to start out the year with? If so, what is it? If not, what are you looking forward to reading in 2020? To see what Sheila and others selected, visit Sheila’s blog post.

What are your favorite moments in 2020?

I’m switching up things here this week, and my initial plan for the rest of the month for my schedule of blog posts. I’m pushing back my planned posts on top 5 TV shows of 2020, top 5 books I read this year, and One Word of 2021 until either later this week or next week.

Today, I am looking back at this week on my blog as it was busier than it normally is and you might have missed some of the posts. I know there are a lot of links this time around, and I encourage you to click on what catches your fancy, but especially that by other bloggers.

All this month I’ve been joining Kim and Tanya of for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics. To learn more about the event, visit Kim and Tanya’s introductory post on the event. Earlier this month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” Then this week, I jumped right in with three posts:

  1. These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020,”
  2. then “These are a few of my favorite things (at home) in 2020,”
  3. and finally “These are a few of my favorite (Christmas) things.”

The first one resonated with a few bloggers, including a couple from The Sunday Salon, who created their own favorite moments in 2020 posts:

So either by putting together your own post on your favorite moments from this year or just sharing in the comments below, let me know what are some of our favorite moments from this (otherwise, on a global scale, godawful) year.

My Own Personal Sabbath #25

My view late this morning. Cloudy. Listening to chill music. Only other things on agenda are meditation and reading.

Almost every Sunday since mid-May 2020 with a few exceptions, I have been taking my own personal Sabbath, where I tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone.

I didn’t get up as early as wanted today, thanks to taking three magnesium last night. It is 9:30 a.m. and I have had a bowl of cereal and coffee. I am listening to chill music via Mixcloud, a site that collects the works of DJs from around the world, and getting ready to meditate shortly. I plan on some “holy” reading later this morning.

I did start reading a little and realize that my obsession with prayer is coupled with an obsession to be perfect, always in unceasing prayer.

“Once the vices of the inner person have been conquered and the mind has been established in tranquility, it will be possible to enjoy unceasing prayer.”

Boniface Ramsey in the translator’s introduction to The Ninth Conference by John Cassian, ascetic, monk and theologian from the First Century

It is a place I am attempting to get to by meditating for 20 in the morning and meditating 20 minutes at night, with the “unceasing prayer” during the day in between. I make my life a prayer to you, as Christian contemporary musician Keith Green once sang –  something I got a glimpse of when I spent a month living with monks in a monastery in upstate New York more than 25 years ago. That every action in daily life can be/is a prayer offered up every day.

I offer this day up to you, O Lord.

It is now noon and after a lot of procrastination, I finally meditated for 20 minutes, well, at least 15 minutes, as I was distracted throughout. Like St. Paul in Romans 7, I know I am.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7: 15

The plan for this afternoon is simple: to read. I picked up a copy of The Eagle Catcher, the first in the Wind River Reservation series, by Margaret Coel and am starting there. I keep trying series new to me in the hopes that I can find a good one. Maybe this will be one. If not, I have other choices of reading material. I’ll let you know later today what I think.

It is now about 7 p.m. and I am watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Because. Things.

I got about halfway through The Eagle Catcher and it’s okay so far. I probably won’t read any more tonight. Because. TV.

I’ll leave you with this that I was reminded of while watching T2:

My End of Year Bookish Plans

This month I’m joining Kim and Tanya of for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics. The first one I’m doing is “End of Year Bookish Plans,” which fell naturally into what I was planning to write about today anyway. To learn more about the event, visit Kim’s Instagram post:

The first one I’m doing is “End of Year Bookish Plans,” which fell naturally into what I was planning to write about today anyway.

When I last left you, I just had finished participated in the Thankfully Reading Weekend. I read The Big Bamboo, the eighth in the Serge Storms series, by Tim Dorsey and started The Crossing Places, the first in the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths. I have been making my way slowly through the Serge Storm series over the last few years. I dipped into the Ruth Galloway series once before but it didn’t grab me, but based on lavish praise from Amanda of the blog The Zen Leaf, I decided to give it another try.

I enjoyed the first one enough that I’m hoping to finish the next two, The Janus Stone and The House at Sea’s End, which I own in a collection of the first three books, by the end of the year. I also want to finish the ninth and 10th in the Serge Storms series, Hurricane Punch and Atomic Lobster, respectively. If I finish all four of them, I will be at 39 books read for the year. I might add one more, still to be decided, to make it an even 40.

I might make that goal, considering that I have a dozen days I’m off work for weekends, holidays and vacation. That includes a three-day weekend this weekend with my taking Monday as a vacation day because the carpet on the main floor of the library is being cleaned and I can’t do much on the other two floors, the basement and upstairs.

Besides bookish posts this month, I have two other end of year posts planned, my annual reviews of my favorite albums of the year and my favorite TV shows and movies watched during the year. I mostly have the list of albums solidified, but haven’t started on the list of TV shows and movies yet. I’ll leave you with something from one of the albums that was among my favorites from this year.

So do you have bookish plans for the end of the year? If so, share in the comments or write your own post and link up with A Month of Faves.