These are a few of my favorite moments in 2020

This month I’m joining Kim and Tanya of for their annual event A Month of Faves, at least for a few topics. Earlier this month, I posted “My End of Year Bookish Plans.” To learn more about the event, visit Kim’s Instagram post announcing the event.

This topic was from Friday, Dec. 11, but I’m just getting to it today: “Favorite Things [Daily Life Edition] ⁠(Recipes tried, happy moments, shows watched, skills learned, or just 5 things you appreciated about 2020)⁠.” For me in photos, these are my happy moments from 2020, roughly from the start of the year until the end of the year.

January began with a late Christmas at my parent’s house right before my dad’s birthday. In February, we got a new kitchen table. In March, right before the Spring lockdown began, my friend Joe and I traveled to the Corning Museum of Glass in New York State. In April, Kim joined me for a couple of months at 50 (I turned 51 in June). Also in April, my sister gave my mom a makeover of sorts and Kim and I got together via Zoom with some of her family. In May, we got a new air conditioner. In June, with the lockdown ended, I went and saw my parents on my birthday and also saw my sister and her two children as we drove to see their new house a few miles away from my parents.

In July, the sun did come out some when I was walking. In August, Kim received news that she didn’t have covid after exhibiting symptoms (she had a staph infection and with her heart issues, if she hadn’t had it addressed immediately, she might have been hospitalized or died). Also in August, I continued getting takeout from a local restaurant, a tradition I continue to this very day. In September, we were able to get our first yard sign of the season (from a neighbor on the Main Street of our town who was kind enough to give me one of his). Also in September, we ordered wine from the Finger Lakes in New York State (for the second or third time this year) and were not disappointed. In October, we got rid of a chair that we weren’t using but not before Seamus and Alexandra (on the back) “cuddled” (that’s pretty much as close as they get). In November, Kim and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. December began with coworkers decorating the sill in front of the new window at the library where I work.

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.

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.

My One Word for 2020

As I said last year, I’m not sure when I started doing this or who got me started. According to a few notes on Evernote from previous years, my one word for 2014 actually was two words: “Focus” and “equilibrium.” The equilibrium part of it was because I had just discovered that year that I have tinnitus. In 2016, the word was “Reinvigorate.” Last year’s word was “Breathe.”

Without further ado, this year’s word is:

“recuperate,” The Dictionary, Accessed 12/14/2019.

I didn’t have to think much about this year’s word since it was obvious. In late March, I somehow injured my left knee. After several months of doctor appointments and physical therapy, in late October, I had arthroscopic surgery on the knee wherein a small mass of torn meniscus was removed and the cartilage around the knee was smoothed. While I am back to “normal duties” at my job at the library, I still have scar tissue that is in the process of healing.

To assist with that process, I want to walk daily. Also on the physical side, I want to eat and drink better than I have in the last several years. I am not setting a goal of how much weight to lose, but I know that any amount I can lose will lessen the burden on my knees in the future. Plus, of course, naturally it will help my health overall.

Beyond recuperating physically, I want to recuperate mentally and spiritually, in terms of regaining a former state or condition. I remember a time when I read, wrote, and prayed more…and felt more centered than I have within the last few years. To that end, I want to read a book a week (including one nonfiction book a month), journal daily, and re-incorporate devotions into my daily routine.

By journaling, I should clarify that I mean typing into an app called Journey on my laptop. Unfortunately, my printing and handwriting is atrocious (my wife blames my former job as a newspaper reporter where I had my own version of shorthand/”chicken scratches”) so I will not be using a physical journal.

For a while last year and the previous year, I had a regular devotion routine, which I used The Book of Common Prayer morning and evening. I want to develop that routine again, to help bookend my days.

I have five other goals for the year, that I have made as goals every year:

  1. Be quick to listen.
  2. Slow to speak.
  3. Slow to anger.
  4. Talk less.
  5. Smile more.

The first three are from various translations from The Book of James in The Bible, that my mother likes to quote often:

“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

James 1:19

The last two are advice Aaron Burr gave Alexander Hamilton in the song “Aaron Burr, Sir” in the musical Hamilton.

Do you have One Word for 2020? Any goals or resolutions for the New Year?

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. Today’s post fit the topic Challenges and Goals, with the prompt “Reading challenges, personal goals, resolutions – how did you do? Which was your favorite book read (and / or least favorite) for each challenge – or from all of them. Did you make New Years Resolutions? Did you get to all of them? Are you making any for next year … next month … next season?” In addition to the topic for this one and two others that I did earlier in the month, I will do one more, This is How We Read, next week. In that post, I also briefly will address my reading goals for 2020. To see the entire list, visit #AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.