Some Reads for 2015

Okay, I know we are already a month through 2015 and this post is a little late…  Over the holidays in December, I combed my shelves and pulled a few books that I hope to tackle in 2015 (along with a couple of books I received as gifts).  I also have a couple of new books that I would like to purchase and read this year, like All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I still need to make more of an effort to read some the books that have stacked up at home, but I will continue to keep an eye out for any new books as well.  :)

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Completed Books – January, 2015

Hard to believe we are through the first month of 2015.  Where did the time go?!?   While I haven’t been as focused as I would like on a few of my goals, I am off to a good start with my reading.  I have set my goal at 50 books again this year and started off the year the with some great books. I highly recommend The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  I think any book lover would appreciate this book!

1: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
2: Clara and Mr. Tiffany
3: Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery
4: The Miniaturist
5: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Welcome, 2015

Welcome, 2015.  Now that the holidays are over, I like to take a little time to think about the new year.  While I have been unsuccessful in the past at keeping some resolutions, I am going to attempt making some this year, but make them more “bite-size” goals (i.e. monthly, quarterly) with a few overall goals for the year.  I’m also planning to “officially” kick off my goals on Monday, January 5, because let’s be real… with New Year’s Eve falling on a Thursday this year, some of the fun and festivities carried over into Friday and the weekend.  Along with finishing up any leftover holiday treats, I plan to make a big grocery shopping trip today to restock my fridge and pantry.

A few goals throughout the 2015 year:
Be “present”.  Focus and enjoy the “now” rather than always worrying about the future (this will be a tough one for me, as I am always planning and thinking about what’s next!)
Take more breaks from technology (i.e. checking my phone and text messages all the time)
Be a better listener.  My mind tends to jump ahead in a conversation and think about responses, etc.  Hopefully by my first goal of being more present, this will be part of the result.

Goals for 1st quarter of 2015:
Eat in more (I need a break from all of the holiday parties and dinners out)
Eat more whole foods and less processed/packaged foodsBetter meal planning and preparation.  I was on a roll for a little while and fell of the wagon.

Goals for the month of January:
Yoga practice twice a week.  I started getting back into yoga over the holidays and it felt great.  I have to remember that even a 15 or 20 minute yoga practice counts.
Meditation. I wish I could say I would do this daily, but in the spirit of trying to keep things real, I will attempt a goal of a short meditation (even 5 minutes) three times a week.

What are some of your goals or resolutions you would like to tackle in 2015?

2014 Books – A Year in Review

While I did not reach my goal of completing 50 books this year, I felt like I included more non-fiction (mainly health-related books) and more poetry.  I have included a few reading highlights below.

Favorite Reads in 2014:
The Winter Witch
The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession
Goodnight June
World Without End
The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
The River of No Return

Non-Fiction Books:
The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
The Body Book
Mayim’s Vegan Table: 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours
Notes from a Small Island
Crazy Sexy Diet
The Age of Shakespeare
French Lessons
Beethoven:  The Composer as Hero
It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Way

Poetry:
The Captain’s Verses
Sailing Alone Around the Room
She Walks in Beauty
Poems Bewitched and Haunted
The Trouble with Poetry
Christmas Poems

Books that I thought (and hoped) I would enjoy more:
Book of Life
Atlantia
Rooms

Books that were 600 pages or more:
World Without End
The House of Hades

What were some of your reading highlights or favorites in 2014?

Here’s to another year of reading in 2015.  Happy reading!

Completed Books – December, 2014

I didn’t hit my goal this year – I ended up completing 44 books, which is 88% towards my goal of 50 books.  Overall, I’m happy with my reading choices this year and felt that I included more variety in terms of some non-fiction and more poetry.  Stay tuned for a year in review post, along with books for 2015.

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel
5: To Defy a King
6: The Winter Witch
7: The Bungalow
8: The Captain’s Verses
9: The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
10: Wuthering Heights
11: Lost Lake
12: The Fault in Our Stars
13: The Body Book
14: The Splendour Falls
15: Longbourn
16: Mayim’s Vegan Table: 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours
17: Waking Kate
18: The Lost Hero
19: The Son of Neptune
20: Mark of Athena
21: Sailing Alone Around the Room
22: The Midnight Witch
23: The House of Hades
24: World Without End
25: The Book of Life
26: She Walks in Beauty
27: Notes from a Small Island
28: Crazy Sexy Diet
29: The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession
30: The Age of Shakespeare
31: Rebecca
32: The Blood of Olympus
33: Goodnight June: A Novel
34: Poems Bewitched and Haunted (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets)
35: Rooms: A Novel
36: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
37: The Trouble with Poetry
38: From Notting Hill with Love… Actually
39: French Lessons
40: Christmas Poems
41. Beethoven: The Composer as Hero
42: Atlantia
43: It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
44: The River of No Return

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Completed Books – November, 2014

I’ve made good progress this month, but definitely will not reach my goal this year.  I’m 80% towards my goal, with 40 books completed.  I hope to read a few more books before the end of the year and would like to take advantage of some time off over the holidays to immerse myself in a good book. I also have to start thinking about any books I would like to tackle in 2015…

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel
5: To Defy a King
6: The Winter Witch
7: The Bungalow
8: The Captain’s Verses
9: The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
10: Wuthering Heights
11: Lost Lake
12: The Fault in Our Stars
13: The Body Book
14: The Splendour Falls
15: Longbourn
16: Mayim’s Vegan Table: 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours
17: Waking Kate
18: The Lost Hero
19: The Son of Neptune
20: Mark of Athena
21: Sailing Alone Around the Room
22: The Midnight Witch
23: The House of Hades
24: World Without End
25: The Book of Life
26: She Walks in Beauty
27: Notes from a Small Island
28: Crazy Sexy Diet
29: The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession
30: The Age of Shakespeare
31: Rebecca
32: The Blood of Olympus
33: Goodnight June: A Novel
34: Poems Bewitched and Haunted (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets)
35: Rooms: A Novel
36: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
37: The Trouble with Poetry
38: From Notting Hill with Love… Actually
39: French Lessons
40: Christmas Poems

 

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Thankful

With the Thanksgiving holiday less than two weeks away, I really want to focus more on being grateful and mindful.  When I start to wish that I had more, different, better…I need to stop and think about all of the other people in the world.  It really puts my “problems” into perspective.  I have a nice home, stability, loving family, husband and friends, and a good job.

Here are a few things I want to focus on for the rest of the month, many of which I already try to practice, but serves as a good reminder.

  • Do more with less
  • Inventory the things that I have – what do I really want and need?  How and/or why is it meaningful to me?
  • Be happy with what I have
  • Quality over quantity

Navigating through November

Wow.  November…. I always feel like it is officially the beginning of the holiday season when I have my enjoy my first Starbucks drink in the red holiday cup.  It always puts me in a festive mood, but also serves a good reality check that the holidays will be here before we know it!

The title of this post is a nod to how difficult it can be to navigate through the holiday season – the busy schedules and jam-packed weekends, shopping and navigating through the crowds, the abundance of food (and lack of willpower with all of the tempting treats), and the days getting shorter and shorter (it is dark when I leave and return from work!).  Needless to say it can be tough navigating through all of the demands over the next couple of months, while at the same time trying to really enjoy and savor the holiday season.

What are some of your tips for navigating through November?

Completed Books – October, 2014

This month I tried to incorporate a couple of books that tied in with the month of October and Halloween. I’m definitely not going to reach my goal of 50 books this year, as I’ve been a bit of a reading slump lately.  Instead, I will focus on the pure enjoyment of reading over the next two months rather than being distracted by completing a specific number of books.  I’ve read 34 books, which is 68% towards my goal of 50 books.

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel
5: To Defy a King
6: The Winter Witch
7: The Bungalow
8: The Captain’s Verses
9: The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
10: Wuthering Heights
11: Lost Lake
12: The Fault in Our Stars
13: The Body Book
14: The Splendour Falls
15: Longbourn
16: Mayim’s Vegan Table: 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours
17: Waking Kate
18: The Lost Hero
19: The Son of Neptune
20: Mark of Athena
21: Sailing Alone Around the Room
22: The Midnight Witch
23: The House of Hades
24: World Without End
25: The Book of Life
26: She Walks in Beauty
27: Notes from a Small Island
28: Crazy Sexy Diet
29: The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession
30: The Age of Shakespeare
31: Rebecca
32: The Blood of Olympus
33: Goodnight June: A Novel
34: Poems Bewitched and Haunted (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets)

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Outlook for October

Why is it that my favorite time of year (autumn and the holidays) seems to fly by so quickly?  We have enjoyed some nice weather for the month of September, and as we head into October, I hope to have a good outlook.  I have a few areas that I want to focus on, along with continuing process from last month. I have been better about cooking at home more often.  I didn’t realize how often we were eating out until I started planning meals for the week. It has required being more organized, allowing time for meal prep on Sunday and more frequent trips to the grocery store, but the result has been more home-cooked meals. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I am feeling better as well – perhaps because I can control what ingredients I am using.

For the month of October, I want to continue to eat more whole foods and home-cooked meals. I also want to incorporate yoga on a regular basis – 1 to 2 times a week as as start.  It could be as short as a 15 minute yoga routine, but I think I need to focus on frequency to have yoga be part of my lifestyle and reap all of the benefits. Finally, I want to focus on being more patient. Knowing that the frenzy and stress of the holiday season will be upon us shortly, I want to be mindful of being more patient (with people, work, processes, challenges, thoughts, and life in general).  Just breathe.