Month: December 2016

My favorite books of 2016

I’m sorry to report that I only read 12 books in 2016. Of those, 7 were audiobooks, and 2 were re-reads.

I’m going to go ahead and blame the baby, because it is her fault. In a way, though, she actually has me reading more than ever. I spend practically every free moment poring over the internet’s wisdom (or “wisdom,” in some cases) about pregnancy and parenting.

The good news is, over half of the books I read were diverse — in subject matter, authorship, or both. That’s a trend I hope to continue with all my future reading.

Here are my favorite reads of 2016:

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1) The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) All the Light We Cannot See Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE features a halfie protagonist and was written by a fellow halfie, Heidi Heilig. I really enjoyed the lush settings and the sense of adventure.

THE RAVEN KING completes Maggie Stiefvater’s wistful and lovely Raven Boys series. Not perfect, but really magical. I aspire to write at this level someday.

Andy discovered ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE a couple years ago and urged me to read it. He said it was more like a work of art than just a book or story, and he was right. It took me a long time to read, but that time was well spent.

Technically I haven’t finished BRINGING UP BÉBÉ, but I’m enjoying the examination of different parenting styles, and I appreciate the practical tips.

Click here to see my favorite reads from previous years.

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Adapting

The past couple months have been a whirlwind, both personally and politically. For better or worse, the personal has kept me from dwelling too much on the political.

In typical newborn fashion, my little IB demands nearly all of my time, energy, and attention. It’s a big change, this shift from Person to Also Parent. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the kid enters a new phase, throwing things out of alignment again.

“Every day is a different beast,” as my friend Ben said. (He has 5 children, so I assume he knows what he’s talking about.) I’m doing my best to adapt. Finding time for myself — and for my writing — in the spaces between IB’s needs.

One thing I’ve really been enjoying is capturing little moments every day. I’m compiling them privately in a sort of digital baby book for IB. One picture a day, accompanied by a few thoughts or observations. I might try something like that here too. We’ll see.

A new normal. I feel like we’re all searching for that right now.

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Stuff worth reading

“Training Wheels: Learning How to Be a Mom” by me (!)

It made me think about my own aunts and uncles, and all the special things they may have done with me or for me that I had no memory of. It made me sad to think of how little I appreciated them while growing up. And it made me glad that starting in college, I’ve gotten to know most of them so much better, developing my own relationships with them that don’t depend on my mom or dad being there too.

“I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim — and Then I Promptly Went Broke” (a response) by Kameron Hurley

It gets to me sometimes, too, when it’s not just “Breaking in for a few years” but “Breaking in for a few decades.” Dedicating oneself to a singular purpose with that sort of passion and stamina is rare in any field. But in writing, as in any field, the longer you are in it, the harder you work, the more chances you have to break out, to get lucky. Writing a novel is still better odds than playing the lottery, but only just. If you are looking for your self-esteem in your sales numbers or the size of your royalty checks (if you get them) you are on a fast road to disappointment.

“What Will Your Verse Be?” by Julie C. Dao

I don’t know if I’ll ever be successful as a writer. But I’m starting to understand that I’m already successful when I’m being true to myself.

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