Looking Back at 2016, By the Books

2016 was the first time in a long time I didn't break 100 books read. I didn't get to many of the buzziest books I heard so many good things about. I didn't read a single one of my Book of the Month books (is that some kind of new record)? I didn't finish a single one of my reading challenges.

And I'm not even a little bit mad about it. Because looking back at this year of reading, there were still some really damn good books. Why I liked them, and links to review where available, are included below:

The Year Ahead: Reading, Writing, Living

It's been a quiet little blogosphere around these parts of late. While I'm tempted to apologize for that, one of my goals for the year is to be less sorry and more thankful... and so I'm not going to say I'm sorry I've been distracted, but instead observe that I am thankful that you, whoever you may be, are still here, reading whatever strange musings I fling out into the interwebs, sparse as they may be.

Which brings me to resolutions, focus, and my lack thereof for 2016.

My word of focus for 2016 was "savor." At the end of 2015, feeling burnt out from a year of too much yes, too much joining, and far, far too many to-dos, I wrote,

I will savor the moments that bring me joy, and the people and activities that are part of that.

I failed miserably at this focus. I continued to say yes--travel! weddings! presentations! volunteering!--and did not create the space I needed to be able to sit back and savor the moments I so craved. I got hung up on small disasters, allowing them to derail my sense of purpose. I focused on large disasters--of which there are many, many many--and found myself paralyzed by the horror of it all. I tried to move my life away from lists and to-dos by refusing to mark pleasure activities (reading, hiking, day trips, dates) on a list of "Things to Accomplish." Unable to move completely away from lists and to-dos (my brain can't hold everything, after all), my list of "Things to Accomplish" became little more than household chores and business tasks, and drained the savoring right out of my everything.

Social Justice Book Club, January 2016: Hope in the Dark Sign-ups & Information

It's that time again! We're excited to be closing in on the start of the January 2016 Social Justice Book Club group read of Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit.

Week in Reading, and in Life: Monday, December 5th

Hey, so, remember when I used to be a blogger? Yeah, me too, kind of. Let's see if we can get back to that version of me.

Between the election, work, end-of-year review deadlines, and a bunch of travel, I've been taking a much-needed step back from the internet. For the most part, it's been quite excellent. I'm starting to ease back into things, starting with this little corner of the internet. We shall see.

Am Reading

I now consume most of my news in print form (The Frederick News Post and The Washington Post), where I don't worry about accidentally reading the comments, and find myself drawn into stories I would otherwise have glossed over in online headlines. It's been a shift for this millennial, and proved a (mostly) welcome one.

#SJBookClub: Exciting Announcements & the January Book Pick

It's been quiet here, but there's been a lot happening on the Social Justice Book Club behind the scenes. First, and most exciting, is that Janani of The Shrinkette has agreed to co-host next year's club! If you're not familiar with Janani's blog, you're seriously missing out, especially as she focuses in on writing about diverse books and own voices. She's also wonderful to follow on Twitter, IG, and Litsy (@theshrinkette). I'm SO excited to have her on board for this adventure, and can't thank her enough for all the work she's already putting into making this the best group it can possibly be!

not sorry that i can only use parks & recs gifs to express my emotions this week

We're putting our heads together on ways to make the club more robust as we move forward, but in the meantime, wanted to share January's book selection: Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark.

Week in Reading: A Birthday, a Burden, and a Stack of Books

It's been a week. It's been what feels like the longest week possible. It's been a dark week. It's been a hard week. It's been a trying week. It's been a crying week.

It seems almost trivial to sit here and write about books in a week when far more important things are happening in our world, but I believe that books are, now more than ever, crucial to our existence. They are the means by which we can understand this crazy, fucked up, upside-down world of ours, learn from the mistakes of the past, and try to apply reason to the insanity of the present, and the means by which we can escape it. They are a way of leaning into the horrors, of seeking comfort from the same, and a means of hiding from reality when need be.

Running Recap: Baltimore Running Festival Half-Marathon

Yet another long, completely not book-related running recap. I make no apologies.

Welp, it's another one in the books. Two weeks ago, I ran my seventh official half-marathon. Because of travel, I wasn't able to make it back to the Freedom's Run half-marathon this year, so I set my sights on the Baltimore half marathon instead, held two weeks later as part of the annual Baltimore Running Festival.