What I Read This Winter

Where I share the books I’ve read from December 2021 through February 2022.

I’ve been doing much better reading the books Ant and I own during these past three months. I also started creating an Excel spreadsheet to catalogue our library. It’s a slow project, but I’m excited to see it through.

My reading goal was to complete 54 books. Thanks to my month off in December I came very close to achieving my goal, but due to our Bermuda Triangle week and spending more time with Monica, watching Netflix movies (Love Hard and tick tick…BOOM), Survivor, and playing board games, I fell just three books short—but I think it was the better option 🙂

35/54 // The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This book came after spending almost two months with Stephen King’s volume of short stories called Four Past Midnight. They were great! The last story revolved around a dog and maybe that’s why I chose this story next. Regardless, it was a great choice. To tell a very human story–and by that I mean a story–through the eyes of the a dog—it was very well done and the writing was beautiful to boot. I don’t want to give away too much (specifically about the title), but when a title and a story come together—it’s a beautiful thing.

36/54 // League of Legends: Lux (League of Legends 2)

Ant has played League of Legends since our dating days. In that transition between dating and becoming married, he taught to play Teemo mid #main (Don’t try this at home, guys, it doesn’t really work.) I had notes of the champions I played often—Teemo, Ashe, Annie. I’m sure if I dug through all the bags of memories I keep, I’d be able to find it.

I don’t play anymore. At first it was because I couldn’t level up unless I played with real people and the League community is mean and I didn’t want any part of that. (Also, I’m not a gamer.) Also, my laptop wasn’t built for League.

But I’ve always loved the champions and the lore. When we were dating and Ant had enough RP (??) to get a new champion, that’s how I would order my choices—by the lore 🙂

My very first Yallwest I attended, there was a panel about Story in video games and a creator for League was there. I talked to him a bit at the end, sharing the same thing above. He appreciated. Actually, if I can ever write my novel about Leah, a version of this moment will be in it.

This comic book was a Christmas present from Ant in 2020. My ever-growing intrigue with the Graphic Novel genre and my love for lore and backstory caused it to make the cut. I enjoyed it overall!

This first group of children’s books were read while Christmas shopping at Target 🙂

37/57 // The Very Hungry Worry Monsters by Rosie Greening

38/54 // There’s a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

39/54 // You Are Fantastic by Hello Lucky (39/54)

40/54 // I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi

I ended up loving I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home that I ended up buying it. There’s a Monster series of books are pretty great. The other two were okay.

Okay, back to adult books 🙂

41/54 // Breaking Free From Body Shame by Jess Connolly

I read this one on and off since August, one day over four months. I’ve loved Jess’s cheer-leading of woman and her ability to challenge us and make us think since I first found her on social media. I never thought body image was something I really struggled with, but my end-of-June/beginning of July was rough body-wise. I’d noticed a 10-lb gain since last August (and only because I had tried working out and taken starting weight and measurements before) and my favorite jeans were suddenly uncomfortable.

I’ve also struggled for a long with knowing my worth and that constant negative message in my head wears me out. When in doubt, read a book! So, to Jess’s book I went. And oh man, friends, there is so much good and health in this book. Jess starts with how we need to start from a place that our bodies are good because God says they are, because God created them that way. And it only got better from there.

I also read this book on and off during my covid diagnosis and recovery in October last year–that was very interesting!

It’s definitely a timely book for today and one I’ll revisit again.

42/54 // Crossings by Alex Landragin

This was a spontaneous buy! It happened on a side quest to our local Barnes and Noble. Ant and I made our trek to H&M in the mall to donate clothes and ended up at the bookstore before heading home. It can be read like a normal book, from beginning to end, but it would read like three separate stories. Or, it can be read in the in-story’s character’s recommended version—by page jumping, a unique twist to the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular when I was growing up. I read it through the Baroness’s sequence pagination, as it’s referred to in-novel, and it was delightful! I almost read it again from beginning to end to see how it went that way, but I wanted to preserve the magic for a bit.

I did some Goodreads research upon finishing it and learned that it wasn’t the first of its kind and, out of the authors who have done this before, Crossings isn’t the favorite. But reviews are human opinions and I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

43/54 // Goodnight Moon

44/54 // Little Blue Truck’s Halloween

45/54 // Noah’s Ark

46/54 // Dear Zoo

47/54 // Dada by Jimmy Fallon

These next few books I read with Sawyerbean when I hung out with my sister and the babies before Christmas–in between baking cookies and eating dinner.They’re great! Goodnight Moon is a classic. Little Blue Truck’s Halloween is my favorite of this group.

A couple of childhood favorites up next:

48/54 // The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Illustrated by Jules Fieffer

I picked this up in the same book haul as Crossings. I’d first read it in 5th grade and just remembered it being brilliant and witty. (Do those mean the same thing?) It was a delight to read again! I laughed through many parts and read quite a few sentences to Ant out loud. Genius.

49/54 // By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

This was a Christmas present from my sister and I read it in a day or two. I took a break from A Deadly Education and started it upon my family leaving The Hobbit Hole after the Christmas Eve shenanigans. I loved it just as much as I did in 4th grade, when I first read it in Mrs. Womble’s class. It’s a classic.

A very book-ish Christmas (Christmas 2021)

And then back to books I hadn’t read yet:

50/54 // A Deadly Education (The Schoolmance #1) by Naomi Novik

I picked this up on a date night Barnes and Noble with Ant. I loved the summary and I love Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, so I was intrigued. But this was a rough book to get into. I love the concept, the setting, but the main character—and I want main characters to be flawed—but oh man, Galadriel, or El for short (and yes, 100% it’s a reference to the Galadriel in Lord of the Rings), her walls were up high. I remember telling Ant the first couple days that I didn’t like her. It took me until page 100 to finally feel something for El besides annoyance. I’m glad I finished it and I went ahead and put the second book on hold at the library, but it just became available at the beginning of this month and I passed. We’ll see if I return to it.

51/54 // Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1) by Lee Child

I’ve loved Jack Reacher books for a long time thanks to my dad. Ant purchased this one, the first one in the series sometime in the last year at Barnes and Noble I’m sure. Since I’ve committed to reading about Harry Dresden in order, it has intrigued me to read about Reacher from the beginning. I also did make some notes on this book because the series is out now on Prime and I like to know the difference that filmmakers makes from the writers. This specific copy had a note from Lee Child in the front of the book; it was insightful into his creation of Reacher and how he became a writer—both things I love.

2021 Reading Wrap-up:

There definitely seemed to be an uptick in reading for me and it’s because I had more time. Just having left my job at the end of November, I gave myself December off to enjoy the holidays and prepare for the holidays, and my reading increased greatly. It was so nice to have time to read and not just in 30-minute increments on lunch or before bed. It’s always fun for me to look back on reading year and see what I read waaaay back at the beginning, to see titles and/or genres I expected and what ones I didn’t expect. This was a varied reading year for me.

As of right now, I’ve set this year’s goal to 30 books. Depending on how consistently I read with my new schedule, that could change.

Started 2022 off with a bang!

01/30 // Llama Destroys the World by

I read this one with my goddaughter when we finally got see our friends after and meet their second baby, our new mini bff Astrid Keyleth. Actually, Ember read it to me. It’s one of my favorite moments 🙂

02/30 // The Five Flavors of Dumb by John Antony

Re-read for me. I initially read this book seven and a half years ago when Ant and I were in the first home in Meadow Vista. I loved it. It’s been on my to-buy list for awhile now. In finally consolidating past birthday and Christmas lists for this past Christmas, this book was added there. Ant bought it for me for Christmas. It’s about a deaf student who comes into managing a high school rock band. It’s a great one!

03/30 // Mistborn (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

This was a surprise. It’s been on Ant’s shelves for awhile, pitched to him by a Barnes and Noble employee as: if Frodo had taken the ring. Intriguing. We had recently been talking about other fantasy novels. A friend had recently mentioned The Wheel of Time series, which Sanderson ended up finishing. On the day I chose this book, I pulled a few other fantasy books off Ant’s shelves and looked through them. I’d read the opening pages of this one a few times and it didn’t stick until now. It has a very typical, classic Fantasy feel, but the magic system is as unique as is the world the story is set in.

04/30 // The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson

I only rated it 4 starts on Goodreads because I just had So Many Questions at the end of it! Naturally so, it’s the sequel, the bridge between Books 1 and 3. But also, it wasn’t. This story, while dealing with the larger issues of Book 1, still has it’s own immediate things that need to be dealt with. In his annotations, Sanderson notes that he didn’t want it to just be a bridge book, and I think he did making it seem like its own story.

05/30 // The Hero of the Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Incredible. I finished this book late on a Sunday evening and when Ant asked me how it was I answered (almost cliche), but honestly: I’m speechless. All my questions were answered. I’m content with how it ended and that’s all I need in a series.

*early-February note: I’m currently reading through Sanderson’s annotations on Book 3. I didn’t read every annotation on every chapter in the first two because I just wanted to read the next book, but I am for Book 3. Mainly #bookhangover, but I love any and all insight writers, authors, creatives are willing to share about their creative processes. Plus, it keeps me in this world for just that much longer, so I’ll take it.

Technically, The Mistborn series continues past The Hero of the Ages, but it’s set 300 years past the events of these first three books. In going down the Goodreads rabbit hole upon finishing, I did read the synopsis and it sounds super cool. I also read Patrick Rothfuss’s review of it and it’s hilarious. (Can you imagine even writing something that Patrick Rothfuss would read, let alone review?!) Alloy of Law is available at my library and I really want to put it on hold, but I’m trying to see how I’ll feel after I finish the notations.

*2/8/22 note: Post-Mistborn thoughts: I have no idea what to read next. I’m eager to see if the Fantasy streak will stick or if I’ll read something else.

06/30 // Writer for Hire: 101 Secrets to Freelance Success by Kelly James-Enger

I was mostly done with the Hero of the Ages annotations when I picked this up late on the night of the 9th, after Bible Study. I can tell my heart and mind need to pick up a book. (Reading on a screen is hard for me to do all the time, which is why my Kindle books fall to the bottom of the stacks.) But my heart was still in the Mistborn world and I wasn’t ready for a new Story. Looking at the unread non-fiction on my shelves, I rediscovered Writer for Hire and connected with it, as I’m going through the copy-writing course right now.

*2/10/22 note: I can tell I’m craving a Story. I’ll likely finish Sanderson’s annotations tonight or tomorrow and will be choosing a new novel.

07/30 // Dwarves by Markus Heitz

This one I rolled for. You can read about it here. I love all fantasy races and am so intrigued when a writer decides to tell a story from the less common Dwarves, Orcs, Gnomes races. (There will definitely be gnome stories from me in the future as my favorite D&D character that I created is Agabus the gnome.) Unfortunately, I didn’t love the book. This is translated from German into English and I think that was one of its weaknesses. There were many modern words that didn’t fit the setting or the world. I’m aware of the potential standard I held this to after loving Sanderson’s Mistborn series completely. I chose not to read the sequel next.

?? // 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

This is Annie’s devotional book and she typically will run it once or twice throughout the year to her greater social media following. I’ve been really into reading my chronological Bible lately, but felt the devotional style would allow me to journal and talk to God about the season of life Ant and I are in right. I think I’m set to finish in June.

N/A // All these children’s books

Ant and I gifted our goddaughter Ember a date day and we were able to spend the last Sunday in February with her. It was the most fun. We just celebrated her third birthday yesterday (at the time this is published) and her story-telling abilities are way cooler than mine, but she basically absorbed our D&D sessions in her first year of life and her dad is a great Dungeon Master. It’s the coolest thing to see her imagination take off.

Books I’m looking forward to reading in Spring:

  • Finishing Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
  • Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount by Matt Mercer and
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – the first Library book I will read upon finishing Wizard’s First Rule
  • The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction Edited by Tara L. Masih
  • Prismatic: Havok Season Five Edited by Havok Publishing, Editor in Chief Andrew Winch

What are you reading right now? What have you loved so far? What are you looking forward to reading?


A note about why my Winter Reads backdate to the end of the last year:

I’ve modeled my record-keeping and reflecting around the seasons. (Thank you Emily P. Freeman.) And I actually really love it. While I haven’t read her book, The Next Right Thing, titled after her podcast that preceded it, I am using the The Next Thing Guided Journal. It is separated into three-month sections that fit an entire year in, but it’s left undated so you can start it whenever. (This is my first one and I started it at the end of August last year.) Since I love reflecting and remembering what I’ve read, watched, created, and also remembering what memories and questions and adventures seasons are made of, I’m really enjoying it.


Writing Notes:

2/8/22 // 8:05pm-. Dining room table, Hobbit hole noises, while Ant took a late nap and the cake was baking. This has been so refreshing to write this and put the Winter books into an organized list. But now–to frost the cake! So far, only 5 or 6 of the books have paragraphs under them. I also did delete the “finished reading: for most of them; it might not be necessary. Words tonight: 1,117.

2/10/22 // 5:01pm-6:01pm (1 hour). dining room table. added the paragraph about why three months, linked to EPF and the journal and added current book I’m reading + added more thoughts about some of the books; formatted a bit more. Music: Tick, Tick…boom Soundtrack on Netflix. Total words: 1724. Words tonight: 607

3/15/22 // 4:10pm-ish-5:32pm. Writing Desk. Turning Red original soundtrack/”Write” playlist on Spotify. Word count: 2,899. 5:32pm-6:17pm – added photos and actual em-dashes, skimmed it a bit. TOTAL word count: 3,011.

One thought on “What I Read This Winter

  1. Great read. Even though, , your mom is not a reader, I get excited for your love of reading and writing.

    I love you the way you are. You are wonderfully, made and God is a great creator.

    Love you always,
    Mama

    Like

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