Best moments of 2019 in photos

Instead of doing my normal Pushing Forward Back post where I look back at the previous month and ahead to the next month, I thought I’d look back at my best moments in photos from 2019. Not only does it make a good wrap-up post for the year for me, but also it serves to remind me of the good in my life.

January: In celebration of my dad’s 75th birthday, my dad and I go out for breakfast in a restaurant in a town between where we both live. February: I begin a new tradition of getting out of town once a month where I go to a restaurant in a nearby town. March: We put up framed prints I bought from a coworker on our once (and too long) empty wall in our living room. April: My parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew and I surprise my wife for her 49th birthday at a local restaurant. May: I go to our town’s parade for Memorial Day with neighbors. A veteran there tosses a copy of an article about his service to our country to me. June: My wife and I go on a wine trip weekend for my 50th birthday.

July: Seamus kicks back in the heat. August: My niece and nephew wave goodbye at the end of a picnic where we all got together for my mother’s 75th birthday. September: Just after Labor Day, my wife and I go on a day wine trip to Seneca Lake, specifically to Three Brothers Wineries which gave the both of us a passport for five samples at each of their three wineries and brewery for my 50th birthday. October: I have a successful arthroscopic knee surgery, where the doctor and his surgical team remove a mass of torn meniscus from my left knee injured earlier in the year. November: My wife makes a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner, including a “tofurkey” ham for her since she became vegan earlier in the year for health and ethical reasons. December: I get out of town again, this time just barely to visit a lake on the outskirts of town.

Conclusion: Yes, I am a homebody, but I also like to venture out of town too.


A few notes on what was not pictured but still was significant:

  1. My wife and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary this year in November, but as we were both recovering from health issues, we didn’t go anywhere.
  2. My wife was in the hospital one weekend after needing a blood transfusion, but the issue that caused that has been addressed and all is good. We both are getting better, little by little.
  3. We have another cat Alexandra. I have photos of her too, but the one I used of Seamus captured July.
  4. We since have put up other photos on other walls in our living room, making it look a lot more lived in than it has been since we moved into the house almost 15 years ago.

All in all, considering, it didn’t end up a bad year. Now on to 2020, which hopefully will be a better one.

What were some of your best moments this year? Share in the comments or with your own photos.

Earlier today, I also posted My Top 20 Favorite Books of the 2010s, if you care to check out what I picked.

My Favorite 20 Books of the 2010s

Earlier this month, I did a post on my favorite albums of the 2010s. Now I’m giving you a list of my favorite books of the 2010s. As I’m usually a year behind in my reading, the only year not represented is this past year of 2019.

By year, here are my favorites:

  • 2010: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • 2011: Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • 2012: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • 2013: Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
  • 2014: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • 2014: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • 2014: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • 2014: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • 2014: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  • 2015: Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 2015: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
  • 2016: Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
  • 2016: Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • 2017: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • 2017: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  • 2017: American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • 2018: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • 2018: Calypso by David Sedaris
  • 2018: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

By The Numbers

  • 11 nonfiction
  • 11 women
  • 11 white
  • 9 fiction
  • 9 men
  • 9 other races
  • 8 memoir or autobiography
  • 7 young adult
  • 4 celebrity memoirs
  • 2 poetry

I read most of them in print or ebook with maybe a couple in audio in Bossypants and Yes Please and another that definitely was in audio in The Poet X. Out of the 20, I believe there are two must-reads: Being Mortal and Between The World and Me. The one I enjoyed the most was probably Born To Run, but that might only because it’s fresh in my read from reading this year and also that I went to a local state park several times while reading it. So I also enjoyed the experience of it.

What are some of your favorite books of the last decade?

My Top 25 Albums of 2019

Earlier this month, I posted My Top 60 Albums of the 2010s. I also posted my Top 5 Albums of 2019 within another post on my favorite books, TV shows, movies and albums of this past year.

Now I’m expanding the list to 25 albums. I chose one song from each album, with the playlist not being a countdown, but organized alphabetically by first name of artist or group with album title. Since on the playlist it doesn’t show the title of each album, I am including the full list here along with the year each album was released.

I also am including a second list of another 25 albums of honorable mentions, some that I only discovered within the past week, thanks to top album lists around the Internet.

The Top 25

  • Angel Olsen – All Mirrors
  • Anthony Naples – Fog FM
  • Beyoncé – Homecoming: The Live Album (2019)
  • Big Thief – U.F.O.F.
  • Bon Iver – i, i
  • Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
  • The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
  • Dave – PSYCHODRAMA
  • FKA Twigs – MAGDALENE
  • The Hold Steady – Thrashing Thru The Passion
  • Jenny Lewis – On The Line
  • Lambchop – This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You)
  • Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell
  • LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions
  • Little Simz – GREY Area
  • Nilufer Yanya – Miss Universe
  • Powder – Powder in Space
  • Prince – Originals
  • Rocketship – Thanks To You
  • SAULT – 5
  • Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
  • Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
  • Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
  • Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
  • Yves Jarvis – The Same But By Different Means

The 25 Honorable Mentions

  • Better Oblivion Community Center – Better Oblivion Community Center
  • Burial – Tunes 2011-2019
  • Carly Rae Jepsen – Dedicated
  • CHAI – PUNK
  • Che Apalache – Rearrange My Heart
  • Dermot Kennedy – Without Fear
  • Dry Cleaning – Sweet Princess EP
  • FEELS – Post Earth
  • Floating Points – Crush
  • Four Tet – Anna Painting
  • Helado Negro – This Is How You Smile
  • Jamila Woods – LEGACY! LEGACY!
  • Jenny Hval – The Practice of Love
  • Joan Shelley – Like The River Loves The Sea
  • Kim Lenz – Slowly Speeding
  • KOKOKO! – Fongola
  • Mannequin Pussy – Patience
  • Moodyman – Sinner: KDJ-48
  • Nilufer Yanya – Miss Universe
  • ODD OKODO – Auma
  • Orville Peck – Pony
  • Rapsody – Eve
  • Robert Ellis – Texas Piano Man
  • Santana – Africa Speaks
  • Sofia Kourtesis – Sofia Kourtesis

I did not make a playlist (yet) for these honorable mentions, but I encourage you to seek them out on the platform of your choice in the meantime.

What were the albums that you had on heavy rotation this past year? Share in the comments below or link to your own list on your blog or a playlist on the music service of your choice.

This Is What And How I Read In 2019

All this month, I’ve been 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. This coming Tuesday’s prompt, which I’m posting today also since it also help me wrap up my year in reading with The Sunday Salon group, is “This Is How We Read –  Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks,hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least).

By the numbers

  • 30 books
  • 15 nonfiction
  • 15 fiction
  • 13 parts of series
  • 10 female authors
  • 7 fiction standalone
  • 6 memoirs
  • 3 collections of poetry
  • 1 published in 2019
  • 0 young adult novels

I actually am surprised…no, not at the low number of books I read this year. As indicated in a previous post on the number of books I’ve read from 2014 to 2019, the numbers per year have been decreasing, especially the last few years: 2016, 48; 2017, 45; 2018, 33.

What I am surprised at is that exactly half of the 30 books I read were nonfiction. I started the year with The Library Book by Susan Orlean and ended the year with The Lord God Made Them All, the sixth in the series, by James Herriot. I also am surprised that out of the crime series that I started, I didn’t particularly care for any of them. I enjoyed Herriot’s nonfiction series more than I did any of the crime series.

I attribute the low numbers to a combination of things from the state of our nation and the world to distractions from social media and streaming services. But I mostly attribute it to things that I discussed back in April and then in May here on the blog:

  • I’m weird in that I like longer stretches of time in which to read. I’m not accustomed to reading in short bursts.
  • To wit, I work during the week and when I get home from work, usually at 8 p.m. since I usually work afternoons, after being on a computer much of the day, one of the last things I want to do is read fine print on a screen or even worse in a printed book. That also is the time I spend with my wife, usually before she heads off to work (she works midnight shift as a 911 dispatcher).

I doubt the lack of reading will change much in the new year, especially since my hours are increasing at the library during the week as the number of hours for full-time employees there also has increased. But I want to read more on both days of the weekend as in the past, I’ve pretty much limited myself to reading on Sundays. My wife usually works two 12-hour shifts, first on Saturday into Sunday, and then Sunday into Monday so since she’s usually sleeping during the day on both days, it is the ideal time for me to read.

I did some of that this past year, reading on both days, especially helped along by events such as Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, 24in48 Readathon, and Thankfully Reading Weekend, to name the main ones. I still hope to participate in all three again in 2020.

As for my favorite reads of the year, I already wrote about that in an early post for A Month of Faves: My Top 5 Books, TV Shows, Movies, and Albums of 2019. Since that post, I’d say my overall favorite for the year was Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen. I think it was just that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it yet. I had gotten it for my wife a couple of years through a book blogger gift exchange and it has been sitting on the shelf unread (by either one of us) since. Now I really hope she will read it too because she is a huge fan of the Boss.

How was your year in reading for 2019? What was your favorite read of the year?

Extra: After I finished this post and already had it scheduled, I did come across something interesting via Libby, Overdrive, and my library history. My lack of reading wasn’t for wanting to read more than I did as I borrowed and returned 41 ebooks and seven books that I never read. I also put on hold 29 other ebooks that I canceled before even borrowing. So my lack of reading wasn’t due to a lack of appetite. I just was a lot more selective in what I finally chose to read.