Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! My week has mostly been sneezing and hacking and staring out the window like a recluse in a Victorian novel. But I’ve also gotten a little reading in, so let’s kick the weekend off with my fifteen-word-max reviews.

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
I already loved the show; now I love the book, which features more obstetrics.

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
I love the Penderwicks more and more with each book. Batty is a joy.

2017 Bookish Resolutions

Yesterday I shared my 2016 reading and writing resolution results, but 2016 is over (woohoo!) so today I’m moving onto my 2017 book-related resolutions.

Reading Resolutions

  1. Finish more book series I’ve started: putting this one back on the list, since I’m still in the middle of some great series.
  2. Read more diversely: because We Need Diverse Books applies to all genres and categories, and because we need to hear these voices now more than ever.
  3. Listen to more audiobooks: after Amy Poehler helped me through an unexpectedly epic road trip, I’ve gotten into audiobooks. I always thought I’d been way too distracted to follow a narrative, but I’ve loved getting to listen to books while cooking or commuting or hanging out.
  4. Explore more picture books: I always say that writing a good picture book is like writing a good poem–seemingly easy but so hard to do well. Even though I don’t have any young readers in my house, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good story and some awesome illustration.
  5. Read more poetry: I took poetry classes in college, both writing and literature, and really enjoyed it, but my experience with poetry has seriously dropped off since then. The nice thing about poetry is that it’s easy to work poetry in on a regular basis–you don’t need to read a whole collection at once.

Writing Resolutions

  1. Turn off the internet more: I get a lot done when I go write in coffeeshops without free wi-fi (or at least where I don’t explicitly check for the wifi info).
  2. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: back on the list for 2017, because it’s still true and I still get more done than I think I can.
  3. Revise projects that aren’t finished: I’ve got a couple of complete drafts that still need work. I’d like to get them as far as I can take them.
  4. Stretch my writing muscles: try new genres, new formats, new categories.
  5. Have fun: because this one still matters and is still a challenge. It’s hard to separate the writing itself from all the possible end results, when all the possible end results are out of my control. The writing’s in my control, and it’s the fun part, even when it’s work.

Here’s to a year of expansive reading and joyful writing. Share your 2017 bookish resolutions in the comments!

2016 Book Resolution Recap

Confession: I kinda forgot that I made reading and writing resolutions for 2016, at least in an official way. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t make some progress! Some recaps from 2016 reading and reading

1. Finish book series I’ve started: I did manage to get through a few series that I’d started, including Dairy Queen, the Wolves of Mercy Falls, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I still have some series hanging out there, but at least I didn’t start a bunch more series that I couldn’t finish.

2. Read a few books for grown-ups: I did read outside of the YA sphere, but they were all non-fiction. I think that counts.

3. Add some non-fiction to the list: Totally nailed this one! I ended up reading way more non-fiction that I’ve read in years.

4. Pick from books already on my shelves: Well, I think I did that once…

Audio Book 5. Read more, tech less: Oddly enough, I think getting into audiobooks actually helped me reading more while tech-ing.

6. Finish my current WIP: I did get through a revision of this WIP, but it needs some more work before it goes out and is currently on a break. (Sorry, characters, I still love you.)

7. Complete a new first draft: I ended up completing a new first draft! It’s still way early in the revision process, but I really like this one.

8. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: I definitely could have been better at this. It’s so easy to think that a half hour isn’t enough time, when you can do way more than you think you can.Happy Dog

9. Start outlining new projects: I’m not an outliner, but I did start a spreadsheet of potential projects with notes about what they might include.

How did your 2016 reading and writing go? What were your successes, surprises, and challenges? And what’s on tap for 2017?

Be on the lookout for my 2017 resolutions, hopefully tomorrow!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! It’s the last Friday of 2016, and I am super glad to kiss this year goodbye. Let’s endeavor to stay strong, stay focused, stay positive, and stay supportive in 2017. In the meantime, let’s close out 2016 with a look at what I’ve been reading in fifteen words or fewer (because it’s winter break and I’m on vacation).

Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti
Caletti’s writing is beautiful, and Mads and Billy are heartbreaking.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A fun, British-fueled romp toward the apocalypse. I need a miniseries now.

26.2: Marathon Stories by Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson
I guess I’m the kind of person who reads sports writing now. Yay running!

Links Galore

Lots of links I’ve been saving:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys–and happy holidays! This evening is going to be all above gift wrapping, dessert baking, and hopefully watching the Muppet Christmas Carol (the best of the Christmas Carol versions, obviously). In the meantime, here’s a look at what I’ve been reading, in fifteen words or fewer:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
Finally finished this series! Now I’d like a Wolves of Mercy Falls miniseries adaptation.

Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham
Interesting look at the connection of the mind and body, and the art of being mindful on the move.

And in case you need some media to get you in the holiday spirit, the latest episode of Crossover Appeal is live for your listening enjoyment.

Annie’s Non-Scientific List of Best of 2016 Books That Were Probably Not Published in 2016 but Are Best for Other Reasons

I don’t read a lot of “best books of the year” lists. Most of the time, I’m catching up on books that were published prior to this year, and ‘best of’ is so subjective anyway. The best book for you might be one that’s about a particular topic that you read at a particular time. Maybe it’s not the best crafted or the most popular, but it’s the best book for you in that moment, and that should be celebrated, too.

With that in mind, here are some of my best books that I read in 2016–with some very specific categories.

Best Audiobook to Listen to on a Road Trip That Lasts 3.5 More Hours Than You Think It Will: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Trust me. Amy and her friends are here to help.

Best Book for Making You Want to Scrape Your Emotions out with an Ice Cream Scoop: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
I’m still obsessed with this book. A tough read but so powerful.

Best Picture Book for Making You Wish You Were a Toddler Again: Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea
This book is adorable and hilarious and I don’t know why I can’t read it every night as an adult person.

Best Book for Helping You Put Things in Perspective: Life Without Envy: Ego Management for Creative People by Camille DeAngelis
I read this one immediately after buying it, which is rare for me. Get on this, fellow artists. (Also this one actually came out in 2016 so mwahaha, nailed it!)

Best Book for Making You Want to Run Everywhere: 26.2 Miles to Boston: A Journey into the Heart of the Boston Marathon by Michael Connelly
I never considered myself a sporty person but now I’m reading all these running books and having major feels.

Best Book for Making You Want to Spend a Summer in Maine: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
How does Birdsall craft stories that are so gentle and yet so real?

Best Book for Feeling Like Melina Marchetta Writes Specifically with You in Mind: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Damnit, Marchetta, how are you so good?! Why do you want me to cry and have feelings?!

What’s on your specifically categorized ‘best of 2016 (or maybe not 2016)’ list? Share in the comments!