on reading

2015 reading

Last year I read only ten books. Ten. You can see them up above. 2015 was my lowest read year in the last five, and I had no interest in reading so few books this year. Don’t get me wrong, though it was a low read year, I still think that the quality of what I read was good. I just hadn’t read enough. Why was that?, I often asked myself. Had I been too narrow-minded with my choices? Had I been bored? I still haven’t exactly pinned down the reason for the “great reading slump of 2015,” but I promised myself that 2016 would be a better reading year, and I set three goals to make it happen.

  1. I would read outside of my comfort zone, exploring new genres.
  2. I would read longer books.
  3. I wanted to read MORE books then I had in any previous year.

Here I am, roughly five months into the year, and I have already surpassed the number of books read from last year. I’m currently at twelve, and am showing no signs of slowing down. There have been many things that have helped, and I can’ believe I hadn’t incorporated them into my reading life sooner. Here are a few small easy changes that I incorporated into my routine:

  • I actually put down books that don’t catch my interest. If I’m not hooked by page 50, I put it down and walk a way, and I don’t feel bad about it. This is big for me. I’ve realized that just because a book gets rave reviews, or comes highly recommended, does not mean it’s for me. And, that’s OK!
  • I now read more than one book at the same time. I know that this is hard for people. It used to be impossible for me, or at least I thought it was. But, I realized that different books were more suited to different reading environments. A long, intense read may be more suited to the uninterrupted quiet of that 30-minutes before bed, allowing total focus. Whereas, had I tried to read that same book on a commute, it would have been a total fail. Books with short chapters, and lighter content I’ve found to be perfect reads for a quick, often loud, commute.  Recognizing this, has actually allowed me to log more reading time throughout the day.
  • No book shaming, and no embarrassment over what I actually enjoy reading. Here’s the thing, I think I’ve always been a book snob. And, it’s definitely limited what I let myself read. I always felt kind of bad reading “chick lit,” or popular mass market titles, for example. You know what? That was completely and totally ridiculous of me. Why would I feel bad about reading anything, as long as I enjoyed it?

There have been many more major changes that I’ve made that have also helped along the way, and I’ll explore those more in later posts. But for now, I just want to say that I’m loving reading right now more than I have in a long time, and I’m on track to have my best read year yet.

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year:

Reading 2016

Happy reading everyone!

Psssst. Anyone there?

So, hi there. How ya been? It’s been almost two years since I posted on this little blog of mine. I have to admit, when I took a little blog break in August 2014, I really had no intention of it turning into a permanent hiatus.  But then a few weeks turned into a few months, then I blinked, and here we are…almost half way through 2016, and I can finally say I kind of miss this space.

To be honest, I had gotten kind of bored with it, and I wasn’t really sure who I was actually posting for. It took me forever to realize that it didn’t matter if one person, two people, or three hundred read what I wrote, I was posting for myself!

Without the routine of blogging I’ve noticed that we don’t adventure with our cameras as often, and there’s very little proof (outside of Facebook and Instagram), that anything notable (or not) happened inside of the last twenty-one months. I’m the first to admit that is totally lame!

Of course, in the midst of all the radio silence, life went on as usual. There was a new job, which I still have (and surprisingly still like). There were roughly five trip’s home to Oregon. There were twenty-five books read, and countless dinners cooked. New restaurants enjoyed, and many weekend excursions. Friends got married, and other friends had babies. We both turned 35 (eeek! is that officially middle aged?). And the not so good happened in the silence too…like my mom suddenly passing away. What i’m trying to say is that twenty-one months flew by, but I have no real record of most of it.

I don’t want to set any grand expectations for you, but I do want to document more, I want to do more and adventure more, and take more pictures of all of it. And that means that I hope to post here more, too.

I hope that’s an easy enough goal to keep.

Also, in case you’ve missed them. Here is a pic of our two little monsters.

2016-04-30 10.46.19

 

 

 

 

NASCAR at Sonoma

This happened a few months ago, but I wanted to document it here on the blog just to prove that it actually happened.

What was it? Well, it was something which up until then I had sworn would never ever happen.  Seriously, I wasn’t gonna do it. I had no interest…z-e-r-o.  And then, Tim bought tickets, and suddenly I had no choice. I had to do it, because…well, the tickets weren’t cheap. What was it, you ask? NASCAR.  For years I have been completely baffled by my husband’s enjoyment of watching cars drive around in circles for hours on end. And lets not even get me started on the “is this really a sport?” conversation, because that’s a whole nother post in itself. But, there we were, destined for a drive up to Sonoma for the NASCAR race at Sonoma Raceway. I was playing it both ways. I was trying to be a good sport, you know…compromise and all that…and on the other hand I was totally dreading it. I could sense the impending boredom, the same way I could smell the inevitable overheated tires and exhaust.

We got to the speedway and the first thing that greeted us upon parking on the side of a long dead grass hill was a truck hauling a camper which was proudly flying a Dale Earnhardt Jr. flag. Well, at least this gave me a solid understanding of what I was getting myself in to. Mind you, it was 10:00 am, and I promptly got out of the car, and cracked open a beer. I needed it. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess.

Nascar_1_Fotor

Here’s the thing I hadn’t realized about NASCAR…it’s not just an event, it’s a lifestyle. I mean these fans are serious.  They’re diehards. And, cheap beer in hand, for this day my husband was one of them. We stood in lines for kitschy inflatable Kyle Busch seat cushions, and refrigerator magnets. We wandered around looking at cars. We tried to get a view of the pit (because we hadn’t paid for the upgraded pit pass).

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Nascar_4_Fotor

Then of course there was the main event. There was the race. And, that’s when I learned something else about NASCAR. It’s loud. Like noise cancelling headphones or you go deaf kind of LOUD. It’s a good thing Tim brought a few pair.

The other thing I learned is that, though I definitely resist this admission, it is way more enjoyable to watch in person then it is on television. And I’ll never admit it out loud, I kind of had fun. Is it bad though, that the part which was the most fun for me was watching all of the crazy car crashes? Does that make me a bad person? I mean, those cars are built to withstand a lot, and most of these wrecks don’t result in injuries, so that’s how I justify getting all excited when a car going 100 mph crashes into a guard rail in front of me.

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Nascar_6_Fotor

I won’t go as far as to say that I am now a NASCAR fan, because I’m not. I still don’t enjoy spending my weekend afternoons watching four hours of cars driving around in circles. But, I didn’t hate it like I thought I would. I might even say that I won’t resist going again, if say…the oppertunity arises. Just don’t tell Tim.

My Summer Reading List

Today is the first day of summer! You wouldn’t know it though from the view out my window. It’s grey and a little chilly here in SF today. I thought I would put together a summer reading list of the books I want to read over the next few months. Who knows if I’ll actually read them all, but it’s only six books…totally doable.

summer reading list

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I’m half way through this one now, and am finding it totally engrossing

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – I’ve been wanting to read Sedaris for a long time. This seems like as good a place as any to start.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I’ve read this before, back in school. I’ve been wanting to read it again.

One More Thing: Stories and other Stories by B.J. Novak – This is getting great reviews

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – I want to read this before delving in to her lates release, The Goldfinch (which won the Pulitzer).

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – I received this in my Powells Indiespensable shipment, and I’m excited to crack it open. It’s kind of a big book though, so it may be one I just read while at home.

What on your summer reading list?