After I graduated from high school I started taking college-level courses with my grandpa. We studied worldview science, regular science (think: Answers in Genesis), and literature. We started with really ancient texts like Sophocles and Homer and Aeschylus and then moved on from there. The textbook we were using had Macbeth as the Shakespeare text to study and, while I’d heard Grandpa quote from it before, I’d never read it.
Well, I read it. Not all at once. (I believe the textbook just included excerpts.) But eventually I did read the whole thing. I still wasn’t a huge fan (this was schoolwork, after all) but my interest was piqued. We watched the Ian McKellen version (#disturbing and #weird) and a recorded performance from the college that produced our textbook (there was some bad acting).
Even though I didn’t particularly love Macbeth yet, it was rapidly becoming the thing that Grandpa and I really shared. He loved to quote the “double, double toil and trouble” and “Is this a dagger that I see before me?” with great gusto. (In earlier days, Grandpa was in a few plays – including Taming of the Shrew – so he knew how to project his voice and really say the lines.) We had good times laughing over all that.
It was actually amazing. ❤
Then, on July 7th, 2016, I saw Macbeth performed live in Stratford. (Ontario, not England. Psych!) It was with both my grandparents (though my grandma doesn’t particularly like the play) and, oh man, it was fantastic. I fell in love with Macbeth right away. The actors were brilliant, Shakespeare’s lines lived and breathed in my ears…I can’t even. I particularly remember that Lady Macbeth looked really young and innocent, but her performance was chilling. (As it should be.) And Banquo (my favorite character in the play) suddenly appeared at the banquet – his ghost, rather – it was terrifying.
(The trailer for the show is here. There are some disturbing images.)
I came out of the show in a daze – and as a firm fan of Macbeth and Shakespeare himself. It’s still in one of my top three favorite Shakespeare plays. And it will always remind me of Grandpa. It’s a special thing we share…and I’ll never forget that.
So do you have a movie, book, or TV show that you and a friend or relative consider ‘yours’?
This year, I set myself the goal of reading 300 books. In one year. Last year, I read 228 books so I’m not sure why I thought 300 books was the next step (250 would probably have been more logical), but whatever. I was pretty sure I’d fail, but so far I’m four books ahead of schedule. And, um, mentally exhausted.
However! January has been a great month for books. I’ve read 29 so far and, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed them.
~We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels. Read my review here!
~The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt. Yes, it’s a kids’ picture book. But it’s one of the funniest, most charming picture books I’ve ever read. (And the ‘Gladiator’ reference was icing on the cake.)
~The Negotiator by Dee Henderson. After hearing my mom talk about the O’Malley series for ages I finally started it. So, so good.
~A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold. Hard, sobering, and thought-provoking.
~An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Gorgeous prose, an intriuging fantasy world, and the greatest can-turn-into-a-raven-and-is-also-a-sweetheart YA hero since Jest.
~Selp-helf and My Diarrhe by Miranda Sings/Colleen Balinger. Miranda is much funnier on Youtube than in book form. (Though I’d hesitate to recommend her videos to less-than-adult audiences. At least, some of them.)
~I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora. This one was okay, but it felt like the author was trying too hard to have a quirky first person POV narration that seems to be the staple for middle grade fiction these days. And the plot was pretty dumb.
~Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt. I was expecting a little more, y’know, Cleopatra in this book.
(There were some other not-so-great books but I don’t feel like devoting energy to them.)
Favorite book of the year (so far):
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Yes, it’s a re-read. And, yes, it’s the best.
So, let’s talk! How many books have you read this year? (Please don’t think I’m bragging about how many books I’ve read, btw – I have more free time than most people and an affinity for speedy reading.) What’s your favorite book so far this year?
My blog’s previous theme has been around for about three years and tonight I decided that it was time for a fresh look. After some browsing through WordPress’ themes and tinkering with a few options, this is what I landed on. I think it’s a cleaner, simpler look than the old theme and I like it. (I don’t love it but I like it better than my previous theme.) (WordPress doesn’t have a lot of variety with its free themes, though.)
So…what do you think? Let me know in the comments!
I love books. (Everyone knows this.) And I love blogging. (Ditto.) And when I married those two loves (wow, that sounds weird) to create this blog, you guys responded – you love my blog (at least, I think so!). I currently have 346 followers (whaaaat) and because of that high follower count, I’ve become part of several book review programs. Basically, I request books (e-copies or hard copies) from all these different programs, read the book, and then write a review on my blog (as well as Goodreads and Amazon).
So, free books! Which is awesome. But it’s also started to worry me because, since I can’t pass up a free book that looks good, pretty much all my book blogging is reviewing those books…and I feel like the quality of my blog has suffered because of it. I can’t remember the last time I reviewed a book on here that had no strings attached to my review. There are so many books I loooove and I’ve reviewed so few of them.
The last twelve books I reviewed on this blog were review copies. Some of them I truly loved, but most I didn’t care about. And I feel like that dilutes the integrity of my blog. I know I can’t give up requesting free books entirely, but I think I need to step back a little (even now, I currently have four books waiting to be reviewed – and one of those reviews is coming on Monday). I want this blog to truly represent the things I love.
I’ve also noticed that my book reviews don’t get a lot of comments compared to my other posts and I think it’s because y’all can tell my heart isn’t in them. So what I’d like to know is – is that true? Are you annoyed by this flood of reviews of books that I’m ambivalent about? Please let me know! And I promise to work harder at writing blog posts that truly mean something to me…and to you guys. (After I get those four books reviewed, that is. ;))
What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
Had my ears pierced. Got a job. Got another job. Attended an IRL NaNoWriMo event. Hosted a read-along on my blog (The Outsiders). Wore mascara. Read the Bible through in a year.
Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make one this year?
My resolutions were…
Give more than I get. (Mayyybe not. I went rather crazy buying books after I got my job[s]). Read the Bible through. (YES.) Write every day. (No. But I’ve since come to the conclusion that one doesn’t have to write every single day. In fact, sometimes it’s better not to.) Get my Beginner’s driver’s license. (No, but not for want of trying.) Watch Dunkirk (2017). (No. *cries*)
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two women who attend my church each had a baby – and both babies are extremely cute.
Did anyone close to you die?
Not exactly, but Charles Wesco’s death hit me hard. My family has prayed for him and his family a lot and to hear that he’d been shot and killed…that was really emotional for me.
What countries/states did you visit?
Montana. That’s it.
What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A driver’s licence and a final draft of The Darkness Is Past.
What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory?
Okay, so I did have to look it up just to be sure of the dates, but February 8th-10th was when I attended a winter church camp (Chill Out) with some of my siblings and friends. I can’t describe how incredible the experience was. Can’t wait to go next year!
Did you move anywhere?
Yep! In November my family moved into a much larger house and we’re loving it. It’s super close to our church and all of our friends in Edmonton, so that’s awesome. And it’s within easy walking distance of the mall/library so WIN.
What was the best month?
To be honest, I don’t view any month as better than the others. Every month this year was filled with highs and lows and enjoyed each month as it came. None of them stand out as super special, though NaNoWriMo does always make November a tiny bit awesomer than other months. Same with Christmas in December.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting a job! Made me really happy. And NaNoWriMo was great, too.
What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?
Didn’t go to any.
What song/album will always remind you of 2018?
The soundtrack for ‘Coco’ and, especially, ‘Un Poco Loco’. I listened to that soundtrack SO much a few months ago and it’ll always stick with me.
Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? About the same, though I seem to be more tired these days. #irrelevant
2. thinner or fatter? The *cough* latter.
3. richer or poorer? Richer!
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing, reading/studying my Bible, and praying.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time. 😛
What was your greatest musical discovery?
Michael Giacchino. His soundtracks are GOLD.
How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve was the books/chocolate thing. And then on Christmas Day we opened our stockings, had breakfast, opened our gifts, and then had friends from church over for lunch. After a super delicious lunch, we watched a couple Christmas movies and played Clue (a gift from our pastor’s family). It was a really fun day.
How are you spending New Year’s?
Lots of junk food and ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007) on New Year’s Eve and probably taking down the Christmas decorations New Year’s Day.
Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
No one, really. But I did text these two friends of mine – Liz and Rebekah – a lot.
What was the best book you read?
Heartless by Marissa Meyer. </3
What was the best movie you watched?
‘Coco’ (2017). Incredibly moving story, great characters, epic music…Pixar at the absolute top of its game.
Did you fall in love in 2018?
Massive crush on This One Guy, but probably not love. 😉
What was your favorite TV show?
So hard! I started watching The Flash and Arrow early this year, plus Agent Carter, and all three are fantastic. (I believe that season one of Agent Carter is the greatest season in any TV show. Period.) And I kinda can’t believe I’m saying this, but Arrow was probably my favorite show of 2018. I started out liking The Flash way more, but there’s something about Arrow that really gets under my skin…in a good way.
I’d also like to mention Troy: Fall of a City and TURN: Washington’s Spies. Really enjoyed both and they’ll always say ‘2018’ to me.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
What did you want and get?
A job. And multitudinous books.
What did you want and not get?
A driver’s licence.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?
Hand-me-down. *winks at certain people who read this blog*
What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was twenty. TWENTY. And I didn’t do much on my actual birthday because, about a week later, I had a Disney-themed sleepover. (You’re never too old for Disney.) Everyone dressed up as a Disney character – I was Edna Mode – and my sister cooked a Disney-inspired meal (spaghetti from ‘Lady and the Tramp’ and baguettes from ‘Aladdin’ were featured). Rebekah R., one of my best friends, created a Snuggly Duckling birthday cake and it was perfection. Then we watched 2015’s ‘Cinderella’. ❤ It was a memorable birthday, to say the least.
What kept you sane?
All the good people I have in my life.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
*shrugs* I’m pretty satisfied.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
In chronological order: Tom Felton, Gael García Bernal, and Jamie Bell. And it wasn’t ‘fancied’ so much as ‘crushed on verrrry intensely for a limited period of time before obsession turned into something slightly more handleable (but not by much)’.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Nothing really. I keep up with politics but I don’t get worked up over political events like some people.
Who did you miss?
My dad and some other family members.
Who was the best new person you met?
Okay, so I met Rebekah and Liz and Hannah in 2017, but we didn’t become friends until this year (something we laugh over now). They’re some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Love them so much.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
God will always provide – in every way.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
The sun’ll come out
So you’ve gotta hang on ‘Til tomorrow Come what may! -‘Tomorrow’ from Annie
Five things I want to do in 2019:
-end up with a final draft of The Darkness Is Past
-get my driver’s licence
-read through the Bible in chronological (historical) order
-start a freelance editing business
-read 300 books
How was your year? What are you looking forward to/planning for 2019?
Tomorrow is going to be extremely busy and fun-filled so I thought I’d write a Christmasy post right now.
Christmas is…I can’t explain it. It means so much to me, in so many ways. Celebrating the birth and life, death and resurrection of Jesus (because that, to me, is the whole Christmas story – not just Christ’s birth). Singing and listening to Christmas songs. Alllllll the Christmas movies. Way too many cookies. A lot of happy tears. Well, not exactly happy, just- my heart is so full at Christmastime that it spills out in tears, y’know?
This has been a good Christmas season. Lots of Christmas songs at church and on Spotify. Christmas movies everywhere. SO MUCH chocolate and cookies and candy. Splendid gifts (with more to come). Even though we might not be able to open all our presents right away tomorrow (because my brother might be working) it’ll still be the best day of the year.
Oh, and I read A Christmas Carol, like I do every year. Sooooo good. It’s such a perfectly written and plotted story. Love it. But I didn’t read How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which makes me sad – I just didn’t think of it until too late.
(I just discovered Spotify’s Christmas theme – falling snowflakes and a candy cane time bar. It’s wonderful.)
This post is so disjointed. But basically what I want to say is MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!!!
A quick review of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay: This book is beautifully written and brought me to tears more than once. I didn’t find much to be of practical help to me, but I think other people might. The author took stories from the Bible and wove them into the points she made, which was really interesting. (I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and you can purchase it on Amazon here.)
The Reams of Rereads challenge is over and I didn’t even notice for so long. 😦 NaNoWriMo is keeping me crazy busy and Mom was away when the challenge was ending, so yeah. I didn’t hit everything on my list, but I did manage to read Mockingjay, Eve’s Daughters, and half of Ender’s Game along with the other books I’d already mentioned rereading. Thanks so much to everyone that participated!
Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I wrote 25,000 words in the first four days. Wut. It was crazy and my right hand started aching (it’s okay now). I’m not entirely happy with how my writing project is going, but it’s still good. And then I got sick today, which meant I ‘only’ wrote 1,200 words. I’m just glad I got a huge chunk in before sickness struck. I’m planning to get up early for the virtual write-in tomorrow and I’m also probably going to attend a late night write-in on the 11th (Edmontonwrimos are great). This is the first time I’ve ever been super active in the NaNoWriMo community and trying to participate in ALL THE THINGS. It’s been loads of fun.
My seven-year-old brother, Ethan, is aiming for 3,000 words this month and he’s done AMAZING so far. And I’m not just saying that.