Top Ten Books I Read In 2013

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and the Bookish was the list of the top ten books I read in 2013.

I clearly missed the Tuesday bandwagon, but it is still New Years day, which means it is still socially acceptable to look back on stuff like that, so I will still stick with it and do the list.

On a sad note, my goal was to read 67 books.  I only made it to 48.  I find it disappointing, but given how insane this past year has been, I guess I can get over that.

  1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  I picked this up to read before seeing the movie.  We missed the movie.  I finished it the week before it left theatres.  Too bad.
  2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  This is probably one of my favourite books of all times.  I could laugh and cry and all that good stuff, plus the characters were so relatable.
  3. Insurgent and Divergent by Veronica Roth.  These were both great books.  I am counting them as one just because of the series nature of them.
  4. The Truth About Luck by Iain Reid.  This was an adorable story.  I love old people and adventures and this was a great combination.  It kind of reminded me of Patrick and his Grandmother.
  5. The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared  by Jonas Jonasson.  More old people and adventures.  Plus, this one was funny.  Patrick described it as kind of being like Forest Gump in the way that the old man just had a hand in on everything.
  6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  Light, funny and set in the lovely city of Paris in a boarding school.  All things I quite like.  Well, minus the romance… I’m not usually that big on romance.
  7. 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  I can’t believe this is on my list.  But, it was so well written and interesting to read.  Kind of mind blowing.
  8. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  The math, the funny characters… All quite lovely.
  9. The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein.  Confession… I listened to it on tape while I was laid up with the concussion, but it still counts because it is legitimately exactly what the book said.  I love the dog-man relationship in this book.  So sweet.
  10. Half-Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn and How We Both Learned to Breathe by Alexa Stevenson.  I picked this one up on a whim from the library and was pleasantly surprised.  The writer was funny, but told a heartfelt story.  I totally related to her worry and control issues, which had me laughing and nodding along the whole time.

What are some of your favourite reads of 2013?

Ringing in 2014… By partying like it is 1994.

Yet another New Year’s Eve on call.

5 ID consults today… 5.

How festive.

On the bright side, it was home call, so the Child and D came over and we partied like it was 1994.

The 1994 making factor… The pager.

No. Clearly someone is trying to still push the paging concept. Image via braddye.com.

Clearly, nobody really wanted to use a pager after 2000 and the pager would have been pretty cool around that era

Also, we ate pizza made on Danny’s Pizza crust, which we recall from our childhoods as cool… Thus, more 1994.

And the visitors left before 11.  Also reminiscent of our childhoods where I wouldn’t be awake after something like 9 on New Years Eve.

This makes this New Years substantially better than last year where I got to watch fireworks from a patient’s room and ordered in Chinese food with the nurses.  I rang in the New Year sorting out a transfusion reaction and spent part of the night with someone with mass GI bleeding.

Progress, my friends.  Progress.

Even if our party was circa 1994.

Now, Patrick and I are watching Mr. Bean’s New Years episode to keep me awake until the real New Year.

Image from mrbean.wikia.com.

It reminds him of when his Uncle babysat he and his siblings and they watched it and then ran around a field banging pots and pans to ring in the new year.  He claims this is a tradition… The banging of pots and pans.  I have never heard of it.  I also didn’t stay up until midnight until I was 13 (for y2k, actually).

Happy New Year.

Top Ten Bookish Goals For 2013

After a two week hiatus, Top Ten Tuesdays with the Broke and the Bookish is back!  Okay, they have always been there.  I took a two week hiatus.  And I am strangely excited.

As appropriate for first of the year collections of posts, this one is appropriately entitled my top ten bookish goals for 2013.

I haven’t made reading goals in recent years, aside from attempt to read something not school related.  Prior to that, my goals came from the summer reading club I took part in at our local library as a kid.  I started out easy with a 25 book goal when I was little, but later set goals for 100 or 150 books in the summer… And reached it!  Ah, those were the days.

  1. Read at least 67 books (I was going to say 52 and then 60, but decided to push myself a little and pick a number that is different).  I know that isn’t a heap of books.  But, between the whole residency thing and wife thing and such, there isn’t always time for masses of reading.  And I do include school reference type books in this count because I am a dork and will read some of them cover to cover.
  2. Read at least 5 relevant journal articles related to my specialty per month.  That way, I won’t be completely in the dark about current advances and such.  And really, that is only about 1-1.5 per week.  Perfectly reasonable.
  3. Continue my kind-of streak at daily Bible reading.  I say kind-of because I do miss nights, but it is nice to keep it up.  I find it a good way to stay grounded and keep connected with God.  Plus, it is amazing what you learn.  I have done the whole read the Bible in a year plan for the last two years and I am mixing it up this year by doing some more in depth book or topical studies.  Should be a good time.
  4. Become more adventurous and read books outside of my comfort zone.  Target goal is at least 3 new genres.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but my time is of the essence.  I journeyed last year into the whole Something Borrowed and Something Blue phenomena and enjoyed it.  The whole adventure reading The Circle is going well too, so I figure I might as well continue jumping out of my comfort zone to books that draw me in or don’t.  I think I may go with fantasy and read the whole Lord of the Rings series and maybe attempt some good going mystery or suspense (I loved those as a kid, but probably will sleep with the lights on now).
  5. Read some of the books that have been on my to be read list for ages and ages.
  6. Read some of the books that the blogosphere is raving about that I have yet to pick up because I seem to live under a rock sometimes.
  7. Visit the library more.  We live about a 5-10 minute walk from two libraries.  And Patrick has a library card.  It is a more economical choice and you can take more chances on books.  Plus trips to the library are always a delight!
  8. Continue re-reading some of my favourites from my childhood.  It is amazing what you miss and how things bring you back.  Plus it is nice to have an easy read from time to time.
  9. Attempt to follow some current events.  And I argue that hockey counts (hooray for the lockout being over!).  I got Patrick an online subscription to the Globe and Mail for the year for Christmas.  I am going to try to read one or two stories or commentaries.  Goal: To be less under a rock… Or at least peer out from time to time.
  10. Continue to keep reading and blogging fun and not a chore.  If they get to be a chore, I will cut back.  It just isn’t worty making myself crazy to meet goals (Unless of course they are education related… Generally the ones that make me crazy).

What are some of your bookish goals for 2013?  Do we have any in common?  Any tips for achieving my goals?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is entitled “Resolved.”  The mission: to share a photo that represents one of my New Years resolutions or something I would like to get better at in photography this year.

Problem… I don’t really make resolutions and I do take pictures, but photography isn’t really my thing.

Then again, when it all comes down to it, I do enjoy taking pictures.  And there are things I want to do over the next year.

And thus, the photo I have chosen…IMG_0410

The photo is a fort in a local park against the fresh fall sky.

I chose it because one of the things we have been trying to do lately and I want to keep doing is experiencing the city we live in now for all it is worth.  When we first moved, I felt like a temporary visitor and kind of out of place.  One of the best ways to really settle is to get to know the territory and that is just what going out and exploring will do.

I also chose it because it is a different perspective than a typical “scenic” photo.  Something I may want to try to experiment with over the next while.

Check out the other entries at the Daily Post site!

Bah Humbug – New Years Eve Edition

I don’t mean to be cynical and bitter.

Okay, maybe I do a little.

But seriously, what is with all of the whole New Years hype thing?

I get it.  Like any festivity it is nice to wish people a “happy new year.”  And yes, it is super fun to celebrate it by staying up late and spending time with people you like.  And fireworks are always a win.
But, what is with the constant need to look back on the year and detail your every good and bad moment of the year that passed, particularly for everyone to see. It is one thing to do a year in review thing on your blog (although the sheer volume of those is even overwhelming… I say this as a person who did two varieties of them), especially if your blog is about your life.  And I prefer to focus on the good, because why dwell on the bad (there is nothing wrong  with addressing the bad, but often there is some good)?  The ones that really grind my gears are those who list it all out there on Facebook.  Really?  Do people actually care?  Especially about the overly personal details like your Dad leaving or your great sex life (both are true stories)? 

I read these.  I know… If I have such a problem with them, then why do I?  Because they are there and in the way of other stuff.  And sometimes they are kind of funny.  Or sad.  And I actually care about the people I read about (for the most part).

Yes, I too am airing my dirty laundry for others to see.  But, it is not just for this special time of year (I guess most of the others overshare any time of year too).

But aside from the sometimes exessive over-reflection (we can do it any day, not just December 31 and January 1), there are the ridiculous greetings.
Everyone is wishing everyone a blessed, prosperous, happy, well new year.  I know it is a nice wish.  But it gets overdone.  Especially given that is not the case.  Why don’t we say this any other time of year?  Probably because we don’t think of it the rest of the time.

Plus, people all say they hope next year is even better or just plain better.  Again… Shouldn’t we be grateful for what we have?  And shouldn’t we think about improving things not just on a few days of the year?

And even though it is a nice wish and a nice thought, all of our years can’t be happy.  We can’t always be prosperous.  And really, we are all blessed.  Just sometimes we don’t see it.

Lastly, New Years Eve is not the only night to party.  Yes, I am on-call and yes, tomorrow you will get a photo journal entry about my fabulous New Years Eve on-call.  But that to say that it happens no matter what and it is what you make it!

I see a million people (okay, reality check, it is more like 10) who are working tonight too who are whining on Facebook. 

Suck it up.

Lots of people work tonight. 

Look at the Chinese food restaurants. and pizza places… Busiest night of the year.  Guys who do fireworks… Occupied.

When you work in healthcare, it is the same deal.  Sometimes you have to reschedule holidays.  People don’t stop getting sick because you want to party.

I do admit, some of those people are seeing the bright side.

Tonight, Patrick is partying with both pets (in separate homes because combining Fionntan the dog and Jeter the cat may not be the brightest idea).  Tonight, I have to be at the hospital, but am busy and celebrating in my own way (more on that tomorrow).

New Years Eve is just another day that we choose to make a big deal.  But really it is any other day.  And can be replaced by any other day. 

I don’t see the need to blow it all out of proportion.  And I think we should be reflective and hopeful all year round.  Not just because it is cool to do on a given day. 

And in case you weren’t sure, it is never really cool to talk about your sex life or Dad peeling on Facebook.  In fact, it is a bit awkward.

Top Ten Books I’m Most Pining For To Be Released In 2013

My taste in books, similarly to my taste in music is fairly eclectic.  And like my taste in music, I like a lot of classics, although I think I am more up on my new music than I am new books.  With school/work, I don’t really have time to keep tabs on all of  the new books and things coming out.  In fact, I feel like I have so many older books or books that have already come out to read that I really don’t anticipate many books in advance just because I often already have a giant to be read list without added pressures of new books.

Despite that, I don’t like under a rock and I am looking forward to a few books slated to be out in 2013, although I have so many others, heaven only knows when I will get to them.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday with the Broke and the Bookish is the top books I’m most pining for to be released in 2013.  I will do my best to come up with ten books that meet said criteria.

  1. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  Another book by the author of the Kite Runner again framed around family ties, but with a multigenerational approach.  Patrick saw a news article saying this was coming out and I got pretty excited.  I still have to read his other book, but nonetheless, it goes on the list.
  2. Ilsa and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.  I still have yet to read Anna and the French Kiss, but it has been so hyped by so many other book bloggers, I expect it will be awesome when I get around to it and thus, so will this new release.
  3. The third book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  Again, I still need to read the first two, but following all of the rave reviews, I anticpate enjoying the first two and thus the third is simply the obvious progression.
  4. The Program by Suzanne Young.  Yet another young adult sort of book, I spied this on Goodreads and it looked intriguing.  About a society in which suicide is rampant and the treatment program sounds to be brainwashing and a young girl bound to avoid being a part of said program, it sounds to be a bit of adventure, a bit of drama and suspense all in one.
  5. The Year of Luminous Love by Lurlene McDaniel.  Honestly, the story sounds a little hokey to me, but I loved Lurlene McDaniel as a kid and have enjoyed rereading a few of her books recently, so I figure I might as well give one of her new ones a try.
  6. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt.  This one looks kind of funny.  A story of a girl who after her boyfriend cheats on her, decides to swear off all things modern and go back to living like her grandmother would have in the 1960s.
  7. Dualed by Elsie Chapman.  This sounds more like something Patrick would read than me, yet I am intrigued.  This one is basically the premise that people all have a genetic alternate (a twin) raised by another family and one of the twins needs to prove themselves by their 20th birthday.  Sounds intense, but interesting.
  8. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella.  This is all about one of those “if we don’t get married by 30, then we can marry eachother” sorts of pacts.  It looks cute.
  9. Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson.  I love a good story set in the past, especially with so many these days in a dystopian future.  This book follows Hattie, a young woman looking to become a journalist in the big city and looks like it might feed some of that looking back at the past need I have.
  10. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.  This looks to be just as intense and pushing some significant social/ethical issues as most of her other books.  This one is about a beloved old man who asks someone to kill him because he was a Nazi SS Guard.

That was a really tough list for me.  I ended up discovering some cool books coming out in the next year (thank you Google and Goodreads).

What are some of the books you are looking forward to in 2013?

New Years… Up too late and making irrational life changes

I am not an especially festive person, though the number of posts I wrote about Christmas may make one think otherwise.  Celebrating the New Year is no real exception to this.  Why have an epic party to celebrate a date in which our calendar changes.  It is just a date that was picked by someone based on the moons or something ridiculous like that.  Definitely a festivity as silly and cheesy as Valentine’s Day.  Plus, you are forced to stay up way past your bedtime and make noise at midnight.  Then there is the kissing at midnight… ugh.

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.  A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.  ~Bill Vaughan

The start of the New Year is the prototypical “I am going to change myself” time of year.  Everyone seems to be coming up with something new to do or try.  There are a billion ads on TV about weight loss and exercise programs.  I am going to have to crowd my way into the gym when I choose to show up because the population increased by over 50% with people who will disappear again by mid-February.

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.  ~Author Unknown

Its not that I am against self-improvement.  And one of the best ways is to have a determined date of change.  And accountability.  New Years resolutions give you that.  But why do them if they won’t stick.  And why January 1?  I much prefer random days like… December 13, for instance.  Or perhaps June 11, my Birthday.  Nonetheless all of this resolution talk gets me thinking.  Today, the message in church was about changes in the new year (well, sort of).   The pastor spoke on three main themes for the new year being store up, stir up and step up.

  1. Store up:  Jesus was an efficient guy.  He didn’t waste things.  See John 6:12.  There are things that have happened to us in the last year that we can value and look back on as learning point
  2. Stir up: Refer to Timothy 1:6.  Paul was giving Timothy a pep talk.  We have a purpose in our life.  We need to remind ourselves of that purpose.  Don’t get too comfortable.
  3. Step up: Be ready for action.  We have to be willing to act on things and not just what we do in public, but also in private.  We need to act on what is important and maintain focus.

These are lovely baselines for life changes.  Think about how the changes are honoring to God, not just yourself.

I am not setting any resolutions… I am anti-resolution.  Well, sort of.  But, over the course of this year I have a few plans.  One is to get tighter with God.  To really know Him, not only through reading my Bible more (this past year I finally read the thing concurrently and entirely, pretty exciting), but through prayer and quality time.  Another is to better serve others in my work by learning more and doing more.  Growing in my career.  Growing in my relationships.  All that stereotypical stuff.  But for real.  In other stereotypical things… I have some structured goals that I want achieve, but they aren’t exactly new.  I, of course want to be healthier and go to the gym more often than not (goal… twice per week minimum), maybe read more fun books (one per month minimum), try to write regularly (once per week).  I guess I know I can’t do all of those things.  At least not without God first and without serving others by an extent of the other things.  Basically I just want to grow and what comes of it will come hopefully, but not always meeting my little goals along the way.

Down with resolutions… Despite having made some… Sort of.