My First Book of 2022

So, without further ado, here is the first book I plan to read this year:

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell: For the last two years, I have read the same book for my first book of the year: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by Gregory Hays. I had borrowed a copy of it from Prime Reading in late 201, 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. It fit the bill perfectly for two years running, but I thought it would be a bit much to read it as my first book of the year for a third year.

That brings me to this year’s selection, which is in the vein of Hays’ book, with this being a reinterpretation of the works of Epictetus by Sharon Lebell. I sampled it before purchasing it and again, like Hays’ translation, it seems to resonate with me. As it is short, I don’t know if I’ll read all 93 of the selections at once or read them over a week or two or more. I haven’t decided yet, but however, I do it, I’m looking forward to it.

Later today, Sheila of the blog Book Journey will be sharing photos of people from around the world with their first book of the year too. I e-mailed my (Photoshopped since my book is an ebook) photo above to her and mine should be among them, if my e-mail went through. Even if it didn’t, to see what others have selected as their first book to read this year, visit Sheila’s blog later today.

So do you select a first book to read each year? If so, what will be the first book you read this year or maybe you’re already reading it?

My Favorite Books of 2021

So far this year, I’ve read 27 books. At this point, I’ll be lucky if I read three more, and probably they will be from two murder mystery series I’ve been reading throughout the year. So I’ve decided to go ahead and share my favorite books of 2021.

Without further ado, here they are:

  • Broken: In the Best Possible Way by Jenny Lawson
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

I both read and listened to Lawson’s book. I found it to be the perfect salve to the continuing craziness of this year. I had heard Weir’s book was very good, but I was still very surprised.

I also have two honorable mentions. They are:

  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  • Invisible Differences: A Story of Asperger’s, Adulting, and Living a Life in Full Color by Julie Dalchez and Mademoiselle Caroline.

I enjoyed Haig’s book very much, but I thought it was a little long. I don’t read many graphic novels, but I made an exception for Invisible Differences, and I’m glad I did.

As for the rest of what I read this year, other than one biography and a few books of poetry, I read mostly two murder mystery series with the characters of Inspector Montalbano and Rabbi Small. I also read two books in the Murderbot Diaries, a science fiction series, a series that I have yet to finish.

I know many of you bloggers who are reading this probably will do your list of favorites during the last week of the year. So I’ll ask instead what were your most-read genres this year? For those of you who don’t care about revealing the closely-guarded secret of your favorite books of the year, what were your favorites?

Next Sunday, December 12, I’ll share my favorite TV shows and movies I’ve watched this year, and then the following Sunday, December 19, I’ll share my favorite albums of 2021. Finally, on Sunday, December 26, I’ll share my favorite moments of 2021 in photos.

I’m in!

Last moment, but I’ve joined tomorrow’s readathon.

I’ll have updates here.

Starting a bit early on Friday night as my wife and I are watching the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune on HBO Max.

I’m starting today’s readathon with a favorite, Man’s Search for Meaning (but in audio). I also have two Rabbi Small series in the queue.

It is a little after noon here, and I am about halfway through my first book, an audiobook, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance. I have about 10 minutes in this first of two parts and a postscript. I have read the book several times, but this is my first time listening to it. Once I’m done with this part, I’m heading out to get lunch.

1 p.m.: I’m continuing to listen to Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, as read by Simon Vance, as I’m at a local lake just outside of town. I’m eating a literary sandwich called The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille at a local café. It was very tasty. (There was another half of the sandwich, but I ate it.)

2:30 p.m.: After stopping by the library for a bathroom break, I saw the vestiges of fall foliage in our area and had to get a photo.

3:30 p.m.: I finished Man’s Search for Meaning. Now I’m going to take a short nap before digging into my next book, Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman, which I already have started before today.

7:00 p.m.: I took a nap. I had dinner (no photo). Kim and I watched the latest episode of What We Do in the Shadows. Now I’m going down a YouTube rabbit hole.

But hey, it is literary:

8 p.m. I’m back to reading. I’m continuing to read Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman.

10 p.m. I’m halfway through the book. I’m thinking about a snack, maybe charcuterie.

Charcuterie and wine (Manischewitz, but of course as I’m reading The Rabbi Who Took Monday Off by Harry Kemelman).

12:30 a.m. I finished Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman. And I’m calling it good.

Mid-October Check-in

I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that. Usually it’s related to books, TV/movies, and music – and sometimes about what’s going on in my life otherwise. Today, I thought I’d talk a little more about about the latter with a mid-month check-in while also checking in on y’all.

This past week has been mostly about my health, physical and mental.


Two Fridays ago, I had a doctor’s appointment for a sore left forearm (no fall or injury, just sore). After determining that it probably is a mild case of tendinitis, she gave me a prescription for a brace, which after making sure I had the right one, I got on Thursday afternoon. I am supposed to use it for a couple of weeks to see if it helps, along with extra Aleve. So I’ll keep you posted.

While at the doctor’s, I also received a flu shot and asked her about getting a covid vaccine booster, and she recommended based on where I work (at a public library) that it might not be a bad idea. So, yesterday afternoon, I received my third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

My wife Kim got hers this afternoon.


On Monday, I had my monthly virtual therapist appointment. I started therapy “pre-pandemic”, but it has been a lifesaver throughout the pandemic. In comparison to others, including some of you, I don’t have it that bad or really bad at all. Yes, it’s mostly in my head, especially wrong assumptions and not dealing with muddled thoughts. But as I’m learning, none of us really know what’s going on with other people you meet throughout the day, from coworkers to clients or customers to even family members, whether near or far. Practice compassion toward others as you do for yourself too.

Last Sunday was World Mental Health Day. I did a meditation with Eve from Headspace and tomorrow afternoon (for me), I plan to join her again, if not to clear those muddled thoughts I have, to at least keep them at bay or look at them without judgment. Again, I’m learning it’s okay sometimes/often to see a thought and not latch onto it and let it control you. “Ah, there it is…now moving on.”

She’ll be at Headspace on Instagram Live, if you’d like to join us for your own check-in.


Tomorrow, as has been my custom during many Sundays the pandemic, I plan on having my own personal Sabbath. The plan, as always, is to “tune out of the news and social media and turn off my ringer and all notifications on my phone.” Tomorrow, I plan on continuing to read the next book in the Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman and probably watching some more Castle, with all seasons now available on Hulu.

So now checking in with you…how are you doing physically and mentally here mid-October? Reading, listening to, or watching anything good lately? Please feel free to share in the comments.