Tag Archives: books

Back, back again


Hi guys. It’s been a while.

A short summary of what’s gone down since July:

– Started dating one of my best friends

– Went to three awesome weddings

– Traveled to Ottawa (which was terrific)

– Moved to Albany

– Curled up in a black pool of unemployment despair

– Worked at a farm

– Got on stage for the first time since college in a musical

– Directed and produced a play

– Got promoted from per diem sub to full time sub/coverage coordinator/desk person at a charter school in Albany

– Had an absolutely delightful 28th birthday!

I have no idea how many books I’ve read since then. Quite a few, I imagine. One of my recent favorites is Eleanor and Park.  I found a delightfully weird chicken version of Cinderella for my goddaughter called Cinders. I also finally got around to reading Battle Royale, and am watching the movie in pieces since it’s too violent to take in one sitting. The book itself was an interesting, if bloody commentary on coming of age, government, and general teenage internal motivation. I definitely recommend- if you can stomach it. I’m listening to The Magicians on audiobook, which is a dark Harry Potter-esque novel for adults. I’m also pretty crazy about Fr. Kosmas’ lecture series. The lectures are all available for download here, or you can support your local church bookstore and pick one up for $15-20.

The major thing I’ve taken from my job is that parents need to stop giving their children cell phones. They view them as creepy, Borg-like extensions of themselves. Think about how you feel when you leave your phone at home Perhaps disconnected? Unable to get answers? Unsure what to do in an emergency? Now imagine having one practically since birth- that feeling multiplied a thousandfold. TAKE THE PHONES AWAY, PEOPLE. You’ll do your children a greater service than you can imagine. While you’re at it, cancel your Netflix and turn off the TV, too.

I have no ending to this post, but aren’t you glad I’m around to preach at you again?


Happy 100th Post!


To me.

this is a copy of a drawing my friend misha made that he claimed represented my soul

this is a copy of a drawing my friend misha made that he claimed represented my soul

A few notes on what I’m reading lately:

Since I got laid off, I’ve been going through the some of the stages of grief- anger, denial, bargaining, depression- and am working up to acceptance. I’ve been numbing the pain with job applications, coffee, and a ton of books.

In brief, I loved re-reading a bunch of books I unpacked from my classroom. I finally started Pillars of the Earth, then dropped it in favor of a Sarah Dessen novel a good friend loaned me. I’m still working my way through the Isabel Dalhousie books, but am less enthused now that she’s (*SPOILER*) with her love interest. I’m almost done with Elder Leonid, and am still working my way slooooowly through Everyday Saints.

I’ve been depressed about politics, I’ve been finding new things to do in the city, and I’ve been seriously contemplating a move (looking at apartments next week!). I’ve also been working on a new blog that has nothing whatsoever to do with books, and I’ll tell you about it when it’s ready. Much more excitingly, I’m going to choir school in a week.

I just came across this list of top books for people in their twenties.  I couldn’t bring myself to read Into the Wild, and some of the others look a little too self-helpy for my taste, but my twenties are a-wasting. What do you think?

Happy Friday, y’all.

Things I’m Currently Reading: June Edition and Update


A few months ago I alluded to a situation at work that I couldn’t discuss. The fact is, I’ve been too stressed about it to blog much since it first arose. It’s resolved now, and probably for the best. I’m not staying at The School next year- my position was redesigned and someone else was hired. I don’t have any definite plans yet, but you, dear readers, will know as soon as I do. The good news is that I’m paid through the summer, so I have some space to figure out what’s next.

And oh, I’ve had plenty of space to read.

I’m going to cheat a little and list only what I can remember from the last few months. I hope to be back on track for July… To compensate for the gloomy tone of this post I will include interesting pictures (mostly of myself) on the side. Would it be a real post without them anyway?

Daily spiritual reading-

  1. The Bible
  2. Elder Leonid of Optina, Fr. Clement Sederholm

    my nephew and i look off towards a bright future

    my nephew and i look off towards a bright future

Pleasure reading-

  1. A heck of a lot of the Hamish Macbeth series
  2. Many of the Isabel Dalhousie series
  3. Everyday Saints and Other Stories, Archimandrite Tikhon
  4. Look Me In the Eye, John Elder Robison

Work- (personal work, really)

  1. As It Is In Heaven, Arlene Hutton
  2. Wonder, RJ Palacio

    found on the floor

    super secret seventh grade code for notes

Books that have been on hold, but want to finish-

  1. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (but I WILL finish it)
  2. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

    gift from a graduating student

    needy hippo loves you!

  3. Beauty for Ashes, Stephen R. Lloyd-Moffett

Just finished-

  1. Audrey, Wait!, Robin Benway (rerereread)
  2. Summerland, Elin Hilderbrand
  3. The Elite, Keira Cass
  4. Columbine, Dave Cullen
  5. Just One Day, Gayle Forman
  6. Lola and the Boy Next Door, Stephanie Perkins
  7. The Starter Wife, Gigi Levangie Grazer (this was a HORRIBLE book)

Stopped because I couldn’t take it anymore-

1. n/a

Next up-

  1. The Book of Revelation, Matt Dorff (looks so cool!)

Happy reading, folks!

2012’s best…


My favorite books I read in 2012, in no particular order. Six reviews in sixty words or less!

Not one of them.

Not one of them.

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose– A young group of Christians created a series of pamphlets calling for opposition to the Nazi regime in Munich in 1942-1943. A gripping, incredible tale of citizens standing up for what’s right in the face of almost certain death. One of the members was canonized as a saint in 2012.

The Kingkiller Chronicle (I and II)– SFF at its best. Young gypsy-musician-wizard Kvothe goes out into the world to make a name for himself and stop ultimate evil from destroying the kingdom. Told almost entirely in flashbacks.

A Prayer for Owen Meaney– Classic John Irving tale of faith, family, and self-sacrifice. The title character is one of the most memorable I’ve read in ages (and not just because he speaks in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME). A beautiful story full of characters who seem to breathe.

Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy– Theology nerd fun for those wondering what, exactly, the difference is between Orthodoxy and other major religions and why dogma matters.

On the Incarnation– Classic must read that spells out many things you’ve tried to say when defending your faith but couldn’t quite. CS Lewis’ introduction in this edition is excellent.

Divergent– It wouldn’t be a “best of” without a YA novel! Divergent introduces us to a new kind of dystopia, with people divided by their primary method of keeping peace. If you think it sounds like a recipe for disaster, then you’re right. Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games with a compelling protagonist named Tris (whose hot boy friend doesn’t hurt the book’s case one bit).

I would like to note that I only read one of these books on Kindle. Interesting. Once more, happy 2013!

2012 Totals


This blog was, at least in part, an attempt to track what I read. I’ve always been curious about how much I read in a month/year.

Total number of posts: 74 (or approximately 7 per month, 1.5 per week).


New Year’s Eve Wedding

Total number of books read by month:

December/January- 7ish?

February- 10

March- 7

April- 5

May- 6

June- 11

July- 7

August- 6

September- 2 (I call no way!)

October- 7

November/December- 14


I don’t want to get obsessive about this, but I’m pretty sure I can do better next year. I’d like to read more and do fewer rereads. We all know how much I love my horrible teen novels though, so we’ll see how that goes.

I posted a total of 80 blog posts in 2012. That’s around 7 per month, or slightly over 1 per week. Again, I can do better. I would like to make it a goal to post twice a week in 2013. If I keep up the poem of the week, this is definitely achievable!

Happy 2013, everyone. I hope it was, and continues to be, merry and bright.

Things I’m currently reading- New Year’s Edition!

New Year’s Day baking

New Year’s Day baking

January has at last arrived. I’ve enjoyed a most glorious break. Though I’m not eager to get back to routine on Thursday, Comedy of Errors rehearsals will be quite delightful.

This is also the time of year when I’ll need to start reading scripts for next year’s productions. I’m also hoping to produce/direct something myself this summer- grad school is ever on the horizon.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of New Years!

Daily spiritual reading-

  1. The Bible (via http://jordanville.org)
  2. Elder Ambrose of Optina, Sergius Chetverikov
  3. On the Incarnation, St. Athansius

Pleasure reading-

  1. Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon Cider and Cold Sassy Tree
  2. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  3. M is for Magic, Neil Gaiman
  4. The List, Siobhan Vivian


  1. The Pushcart War, Jean Merrill
  2. The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare (reread)

Books that have been on hold, but want to finish-

  1. The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
  2. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  3. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (but I WILL finish it)

Just finished-

  1. That Summer, Sarah Dessen (reread)
  2. Second Chances, Jane Green (reread)
  3. Adorkable, Sarra Manning
  4. Bad Monkeys, Matt Ruff
  5. Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman
  6. Death of the Endless, Neil Gaiman

Stopped because I couldn’t take it anymore-

1. n/a

Next up-

  1. Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare (I’ll be reading this over, and over, and over…)
  2. Everyday Saints and Other Stories, Archimandrite Tikhon
  3. Antonin Artaud Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag
  4. Cabaret, Isherwood, Kander, and Ebb (script)

One Bookstore in Aspen


On the road to AspenIt’s time for another five things post! Unfortunately in Aspen, there’s only one. (Okay, there are two, but I only found one of them. )Being in Aspen just might allow me to let that go.

Two days ago, I walked into Aspen village with a friend. The snow hasn’t been great, and I don’t ski anyway, so I was looking forward to a day of exploring.

Exploring, you say? What a coincidence!

Explore Booksellers does not allow any photos inside. Nor do they allow cellphones. They don’t allow much of anything, in fact, except wandering and appreciating the old Victorian home that hosts a small but tidy collection. The rooms are relatively small, and there’s not a lot of seating. There is a room at the back for author events (and they do have quite a few!) with a single overstuffed chair that I took advantage of. There is a small rare books section that is priced for the Aspen crowd, but adds nicely to the atmosphere for the less economically advantaged.

With only a few days left till Christmas, I found it a bit overcrowded and hot. There was a children’s section that had an overly large toy/game/novelty section (a pet peeve of mine). I  also found the layout illogical. There was a “fiction” section and a “literature” section. The owners reveal their bias in the division- Murakami’s IQ84 was in literature, for example, making it that much tougher to find what you’re looking for. Young adult literature and science fiction, two of the most likely candidates for a visit to the overstuffed chair, are crammed in the hallway leading to the event room at the back. The upstairs area leading to the restaurant would have been a more logical place for those sections where people are more inclined to linger, rather than cookbooks, art history, and wedding planning.

Enough complaints. I enjoyed the place, just didn’t find it convenient. They have a bistro with ample vegetarian options on the top floor, always a plus. Alas, I had already enjoyed a delicious and complaint-free lunch at Main Street Bakery & Cafe. The overall feel of the place is lovely- the staff were cheery and friendly (although we are in Colorado, people). I had a chance to recommend Percy Jackson to a woman looking for a present for a twelve year old. I got to sit down and read a Death anthology from Sandman (though what, I ask you, is the point of having a book about Death without ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS), and in the end, I bought an absolutely lovely set of notecards:

by beth van hoesen

Conclusion: Worth a visit. Absolutely. Not the best place to collapse in exhaustion and recover from your day, but hey, not every bookstore should have a Starbucks anyway. Is it in my top five? Nope. Top ten? Um… maybe.

All this begs the question- what am I really looking for in a bookstore, any way? A question for another post.

Merry Christmas Eve to those of you on the New Calendar! To my old calendar friends- Merry Two More Weeks of Fasting, and happy vacation!

****UPDATE:all gift wrapped!

I returned for a book I had considered buying today, and this beautiful complimentary gift wrapping made them jump a few places in my book. Go Explore!