Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2016

This year has been a whirlwind! Despite all the busyness, and in many cases because of it, I’ve been reading. A lot. I’ve been reading to escape, to learn and to challenge myself. I’ve read more this year than I’ve ever read in a single year before. I read a grand total of nearly 60 books. Nearly half were nonfiction. Two were crazy-long books that I’ve been putting off for years (and didn’t love). The more I’ve read, the more I want to know, to explore and to expand my world.

In the first few months of this year, my sister showed me how she mapped her reading for the year in a gloriously nerdy Excel spreadsheet. I immediately adopted it as my own and added more columns, plus some simple formulas. Mapping some seasonal selections, but leaving room for change and new releases, significantly increased the total number (and breadth) of books I read this year. Instead of having a book hangover or waffling between book selections for a week, I simply went on to my next selection on my predetermined list. Or, I deviated entirely. Or, I skipped ahead to something from the next month. Either way, the selection time (and waiting time from the library, when necessary) was streamlined, and I made a bigger dent in my reading pile.

Some friends have asked for my favorite books of all time or from what I’ve read this year. A single favorite, even from just this year, is a bit too hard to pick. It somehow feels disloyal to all the other great books. But, I did read some really enjoyable books this year, so if you’re looking for some book ideas for 2017, I invite you to consider these fiction and nonfiction favorites from my 2016 reading.

Happy reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lil’ O’s Firefighter 4th Birthday Party

My sweet little boy is now four years old. He is sensitive and kind, silly and wild. He is book-ish and loves to pretend; mostly he runs and pretends he’s coming to save the day in some capacity. Lately, he’s really into firefighters. Our new route to preschool each morning must pass our local fire station in hopes we get to see the firefighters and one of their fire engines. Thankfully, it’s only a block out of our way, so doesn’t add too much time to the mad dash of our mornings. So, when looking at possible party themes, it was a natural fit to give our little man a firefighter birthday.