Thursday, January 12, 2017

End of Year Inventory

Read CommonwealthNightingale and the The Underground Railroad in the last two months of 2016. My favorite was Pachett's family story because I love the way the characters were real and flawed, and yet still lovable and redeemable. I laughed, I cried. The ability to evoke that level of emotion is the litmus test for what makes a book great versus good. Colson's work of historical fiction didn't wow me because I felt the characters were lacking development. The slave-era story was more plot than character driven and that just didn't work for me. I felt disconnected despite some horrific depictions. I feel this was a missed opportunity. Hannah's novel was 2015's must read and I finally got around to it a year late. It started out warm, went cold and then heated up again so I struggled to give it my time and attention. Sometimes that happens when my expectations are elevated. My disconnect wasn't the story, it was the writing. I was expecting a beautiful work of literary fiction and it presented itself to me as a romance novel. Romance novels are not my favorite genre. I found myself without a book on the night of January 2nd so I picked up Cutting For Stone. I have a history with this book. Not a good one. I've attempted to read it about once a year since 2010 when it was published. Every time I'd get through the first 80-100 pages and then cast it aside in favor of another title. That adds up to about 600 pages and the novel is only slightly longer than that. As I write today, I have only a few pages left and I am quite loving this story, these characters and Verghese's themes of love and loss and legacy.

Wondered why it is that Christmas can't last all year, and if, in fact, less isn't more? Would my family notice if I baked a little less, bought a little less, decorated a little less? They didn't and that left more...more time and space for other things. How is it I have a 16 year old and when will he stop growing? How girls can be so unkind?

Hoped that Teddy would agree to play a game other than Clue, that Lily would want to make something other than slime. That my word for the year would reveal itself to me. It did...P E A C E. For peace in my life and peace in the world.

Thought about this quote from Cutting For Stone:

The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more.

Watched movies. Some Christmas classics like Elf  a family favorite, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which the kids found only mildly amusing. Mike and I cued up the first two Godfather movies. The first one is such an iconic film. Some football: the Badgers win the Cotton Bowl and the Packers one more week. My kids giving and receiving so graciously.

Listened to our share of Christmas carols and Alexa who is a new, much loved member of Casa Wags. I think she's worth it for the music and podcasts alone. We're just getting acquainted with all she can do, and she can be unplugged.

Ate too many of my aunt's cookies, and drank plenty of my homemade Irish cream. We also shared tins and bottles with neighbors and friends though.

Wanted more hours in the day and days in the week. Christmas Eve, especially, didn't feel long enough

Thought about 2016 and the year to come. The things I need and want to do and be.

Enjoyed so much family time at home. Too many holiday goodies. Plenty of hygge.

Loved the trees and when the house it lit by candles and Christmas lights. The ornaments old and new. This expression: butfangoolThese biscuits. This show. This new song.

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