Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 Reading Total estimates

So the grand total for last year was 70 novels or so.  Pretty respectable for my recent mental fog, I suppose, so I will try not to think about when it was more than that in 3 months.  I will take additional comfort in the fact that I managed over 400 volumes of manga, too.  That makes things seem much more respectable overall.

So how many books did you read last year?  Do you feel satisfied with that amount?  Do you intend more or less this year?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

God and the imagination

"I am instead noting that to know God intimately, you need to use your imagination, because the imagination is the means humans must use to know the immaterial. This, by the way, is something the church fathers knew well. For Augustine, the road to God ran through the mind. It is our own peculiar era that equates the imagination with the frivolous and the unreal." - Tanya Luhrmann

Monday, January 21, 2013

Farewell, my PJs

A sad fare thee well to my hideous pink and white striped pajamas, which bravely died of old age recently.  They've been with me since junior high, and I was not as respectful of their aged state as I should have been during a recent cold snap.  The pants are still going strong, but the shirt, which was a snazzy button-up number, has met its maker for sure.  This is the problem with my insomnia: when there is no sleeping, there is a lot of tossing and turning, which can result in anything from pulled/strained muscles to torn pajamas.  I suspect I am much less destructive in my sleep, but, you know, it's been a while since I've been able to test that theory . . .

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's the point of milk?

So some health professionals encourage people to stop eating dairy and replace it with things like Almond milk or Rice milk.  The thing is that when I compared the original, unsweetened versions of these products to skim milk, skim milk appeared to win on all nutritional fronts except sugar.  I am told that one can buy fortified versions of these products, which leaves me confused.  I mean, I thought the idea was that I was being told to drink less milk because it's not healthy to drink a lot of it.  But foods that are artificially enriched/fortified are not as good for people as natural foods that have the good stuff in them without any artificial additives (such as grass-fed, rbh-free, no-antibiotic milk).  I am so confused.  What is the point of replacing milk with a less-healthy, less-tasty alternative?  Any ideas?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sweet Bitterblue

Bitterblue, oh Bitterblue.  So the evil villain has been slain and his reign of terror ended, and now everything can be lovely again, right?  Oh, so very, very wrong.   That only happens in kids' stories.

Bitterblue's father was a very evil man who possessed a dangerous grace: he could make people believe anything he said.  His words literally had that power.  And he used it to take power over a kingdom and commit the kinds of atrocities that haunt a nation for generations.  Now he's been gone for years, and his daughter is struggling to pick up the pieces as a young queen.

Things start to turn around when Bitterblue starts going out to actually see how her people are living and what their lives are like in reality instead of from the stale and sterile numbers reported to her by her advisors.  Unfortunately, she finds out that the truth is very messy.  There are so many lies to undo, so many wrongs with no clear way to right.  And she's just a young ruler.  What is she supposed to do?  How can she fix her broken and hurting people?

I like realistic fantasy like this: Aftermaths can be brutal, and they don't get fixed overnight.  Messy politics and tragic situations and a variety of relationships make for a good read.   I also like worlds like this where peripheral characters visit each others' stories.  It was lovely to see Katsa and Po and lots of the others being active and finding purpose and working out their footing with each other.  It was wonderful to see the places where Fire intersected, as well.  These people are still growing people, not static, constructed characters.  There is a lot of shouting and making up and some unexpected visitors from afar and a lot of hard, sad choices and great bits about art, truth, and honor.  Good, good stuff.

Now I just have to wait for her next book.  Siiiiiiiigh.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Why Everyone Should Read Fire

Oh, Fire, I loved reading you this time, too.  All girls should read this book, so they can wrestle with the fact that sometimes people hate you or love you, but their actions are their responsibilities.  Your actions are yours.  Don't ever let them make you think their actions are your responsibility.

In fact, everyone should read this if only it would help them learn that lesson.  You are responsible for the choices you make and the actions you choose.  And I am responsible for mine.  We should all think before we act and choose wisely. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

not taller just straighter

The answer to the question of whether my improved focus on health was successful this year may be the fact that during the holidays my relatives asked if I had grown since last year. The first time someone asked, I was puzzled.  The second time, I was sort of bemused.  I'm pretty sure 30-somethings don't hit growth spurts.  Eventually, I figured out that the changes in my posture (when not observed daily) must have been pretty significant, especially since I wasn't really sitting with my best posture either of the first two times people brought it up. 

Later, someone suggested it must be my orthopedic sandals, which do appear to boost me an inch, but they are hollowed out on the inside and may give me half an inch if that, which doesn't explain why I now appear to be the same height as my cousin who was always taller than me. My aunt who always used to seem so tall doesn't seem so tall anymore when I'm standing next to her (though everyone still thought it was pretty funny seeing her talking to my average-height mother because the difference is so obvious).  

Or maybe everyone is just getting old and shrinking.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Starting the new year off with an encouraging encounter

After my first PT session of the year, as I was paying for parking, a woman and a boy were coming into the garage, and the boy was holding a book, the back cover of which I thought I recognized, but I thought maybe I was wrong because he was a little boy, but I was pretty sure  it was . . .  Yep, I saw the spine, and it was the QP of Graceling.  The boy could have been anywhere from 8-15 (it's hard to tell), and I was quite pleased.  Boys aren't typically into books with female protagonists, even boy readers.  I was so happy that I told him I really liked the book and had just finished Bitterblue.

The lady with him (probably his mother) seemed really surprised and amused.  "Maybe I should read it," she said with a smile.

I smiled right back and said, "You should!  It's great."

Read on, people!