books: july

2015 goals, books

I kicked some serious book-butt this month. I finished four books, which is the most I’ve read in years and years. Feels so good! My new routine of reading first thing in the morning and right before bed is really paying off.

  1. Columbine,” by Dave Cullen. In short, this book was everything amazing and interesting. Tackling non-fiction is a news-ish endeavor for me, but this true account of the 1999 shootings at Columbine was gripping. I could not put the book down. Cullen goes the distance in dispelling misinformation and rumors that have stood the test of time. Cullen himself was part of the vast media coverage of the event, and he does a fantastic job of taking a step back and analyzing the information. He has done exhaustive research to create a well-rounded and complete definitive work of the event.

 2. “News Junkie,” by Jason Leopold. I think reading David Carr’s “Night of the Gun” ruined me of all other cocaine-addicted reporters. Had I not read Carr first, Junkie would have been a great read. But alas, I found Leopold’s memoir sorely lacking in secondary sourced and verification of facts. As we learned in Carr’s account, what the drug addict perceives of time and reality is rarely actually fact.

But, “News Junkie” was a quick read and it was interesting to learn of Leopold’s role in covering California politics and events that I have distant memory of. As always, it’s interesting to learn the intersections of media and politics.

3. “Not That Kind of Girl,” by Lena Dunham. I admit to not loving Lena as an actress. I watched two seasons of “Girls” on HBO before deciding I didn’t like it, so I really did give it a fair shot. While I’m not super excited about Dunham as an actress, I L-O-V-E her writing. I read her essay about Nora Ephron and loved it, and it wasn’t for bad writing that I didn’t care for “Girls.” I’ve wanted to read “Not That Kind of Girl” for a while, but didn’t really want to purchase it in case I didn’t like it.

But really, there was nothing to worry about. The writing was great. After finishing the book, which took one week to devour, I spent the next few days recommending it to everyone. I really is great, and Dunham has the perfect ability to put into words the neurosis that captures young women as they hit puberty and then grow into young women in a world that values only their youth and skinny hips and cheerful faces.

I found the words raw, truthful, emotional, and completely relate-able. It was really very good. I’ll definitely read anything else Dunham publishes.

4. “Double Blind,” by Tiffany Pitts. This is the first installment of The Thanatos Rising Series. I thought this would be one of those guilty pleasure reads, like watching teen vampire shows of The CW, but turns out the book was quite funny and smart. For the most part, I enjoyed the characters’ journey and the plot twists. This story was perfect for stepping out of my life and enjoying some adventure for a while. I took it on the plane with me when I traveled to Salt Lake City late last month, and it was the perfect airport read. I’m not sure I’ll pick up the next installment of the series, but if I happen to come across it for cheap, I would read it.

books: june was a double feature!

2015 goals, books

For the first time in a really, really, really long time I finished TWO books in one month. My younger self scoffs at this “accomplishment,” but in response I say, that’s enough of your shade, kiddo.

I’m much more keen on getting eight hours of sleep than I was 20 years ago.

books: january + february

2015 goals, reading

I’ve been keeping semi-track of the television I watch, but I haven’t been very good at reporting the books I’ve been reading. TV is just so much easier to consume in my after-work, only half-paying attention, my-brain-is-actually-sleeping haze.

But, I did finish up two books this year so far, in addition to all the TV I watch and countless news and magazine articles I consume. It feels like I’m constantly reading, which I am. I’m just not reading the items on my list.

2015 kickoff + coffee

2015 goals

I have no idea why I added “+ coffee” to the title of this. There’s always coffee, so it’s not specific to this moment in time. Whatever. It’s the Pacific Northwest around here so praise be to coffee.


Here I sit, on the precipice of 2015. First off, I didn’t finish 12 books in 2014. I made awesome progress on Game of Thrones book four, but there’s still 400 pages left. So even if I finish it up this weekend, I’m not counting it toward 2014, but toward 2015 instead. Is that cheating? Quite possibly.

I have the next few books lined up, so I should be able to pick through them at a steady pace. I mean, I should be able to, but that doesn’t totally mean that I will.

Sorting out goals felt really different this year. There haven’t been things that I’ve been wanting to do and haven’t done yet, so nothing really obvious jumped out at me. On Christmas I tackled a big journaling entry to try and iron out the wrinkles in my feelings, and it totally helped. That’s one of the reasons doing more personal writing is on the list for the year. Whether it’s in my journal or on the bloggy, I’m working to get more personal writing done.

The writing helped me really figure out what things or activities in my daily life help to make me happy and feel peace and contentment. Some of them I was able to resolve right away, others will take time.

For the record, goals are as follows:

1. Keep a regular exercise routine. Getting started on this is the hardest part, and then once life gets busy and I’m tired, that’s the second hardest part. But I really do feel better when I exercise regularly and I need to take that into account when I self-assess. But getting outside when it’s a hard freeze out there feels… really hard.

2. Sewing. Last year I wanted to sew a dress, and I didn’t get around to it, so it returns to the list this year. Also, I have a quilt in progress that I haven’t touched in months. I’ve been feeling some twinges to get that done, so I’m hoping to get that done this year.

A friend of mine also has a long-term crafty project for this year. She came over yesterday for a few hours and I helped her make some progress on it. Maybe I can invite the ladies over once a month and we’ll have a crafty night? Open a bottle of wine and cheese to make it official of course. 🙂

3. Stop procrastinating. This sounds really huge to me, but a lot of my life’s stress and dissatisfaction is self-inflicted because of my procrastination. There’s a disproportionate amount of “I’ll do this later” happening, and it really causes me anxiety when “later” comes around. My goal this year is to tackle one portion of the process, typing notes, and get in the habit of doing it sooner rather than later. There are so many advantages to typing notes right after an interview or event, and I really need to be better about getting that work done in a timely manner.

There are plenty of things I want to do regarding work. Lots of reading and professional development, but getting to them falls squarely in the “stop procrastinating” category. So in lieu of listing them all, just know the list is long and exhaustive and exciting and will lead to fantastic things.

4. Visit three National Parks. Rainier and Olympic will be fairly easy to cross off, but the biggie is the Grand Canyon. I’m really hoping to take a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, but it’s pretty cost prohibitive. I also might take a trip to upstate New York, and Niagara Falls could make the cut. Although it’s a state park, so I guess it wouldn’t count toward the overall goal here. Either way, if the Grand Canyon does not make the cut again this year, Oregon and Montana aren’t too far away and either one of those would be good for the bigger goal here.

5. Pay off debt. I’m not convinced that all my debt can be paid off this year, but I want to make significant progress. There are a few small debts that can be paid off easily with a little focus so those are first on the list.

Finances are a big one on the list this year. There are so many things that I want to do that I just can’t justify the cost for, and I’m ready to be done with that conversation in my life. It’s time to stop procrastinating financial health.

6. Read 12 books! Yadda yadda. You already read about this one, but I felt I had to add it to the numbered list to make it officially official. Y’know what I mean. Yeah, you do.

So. There you have it. In all it’s listy glory. Quite a list. I’m excited. Are you?