Reading

My 2018 TBR List

I spent much of yesterday getting organized for school to start next week. I printed out articles that need to be read, plotted dates on when to read what on my dry erase board, made notations in my books on what was to be read and by when and double checked dates/times listed in my calendar to make sure I don’t miss something. I feel as ready to go as one can, but will feel much better once I get some reading in, which will be tomorrow. I want one last day of freedom, where I can read for pleasure and nothing else.

I did create a January/February to-be-read (TBR) stack this morning. From top to bottom: My Kindle where I am currently reading “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck – because it’s a classic and I’ve always wanted to read it.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon – A reading assignment for school.
“Gulliver’s Travels” By Jonathan Swift – another reading assignment for school.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – because I need to be more effective to survive work and Grad School.
And Finally, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Because I stopped reading the series after book 4 and want to finish what I started.

It might be a little ambitious considering I am such a slow reader, but if HP slides into March, that isn’t the end of the world.

26170385_10155384744713823_3123551086414874561_oA few other books on my 2018 TBR list include:

  • The complete HP series by J.K. Rowling:
    • “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
    • “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
    • “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
    • “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
    • “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
    • “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
  • “The Rules of Magic” by Alice Hoffman
  • “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare – starting with The Infernal Devices trilogy:
    • “Clockwork Angel”
    • “Clockwork Prince”
    • “Clockwork Princess”
  • “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman

What are you reading? What is on your TBR in 2018 list?

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Categories: 2018, Books, Goals, Gratitude, Life, Musings, Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, New Goals – Who’s With Me?

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated this blog, I’ve created a photography blog and a weight loss surgery blog over the past few years, but this one has always been my favorite. Because of this, I have decided to focus my energies on just this blog and incorporate my photography, weight loss musings and just everyday rants on one platform, this makes it easier for me and it makes it easier for those who choose to follow my blog – at least that’s what I am hoping, but I am always open to suggestions and feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think. Ok, on to the blog post at hand.

So, as I sit here typing this, 2018 is a mere two hours and twenty minutes away. As with every New Year’s Eve, I start contemplating what went right in the past year and what I hope to change and achieve in the next – this has been my internal conversation much of the day. Let me share some of my thoughts.

Summing up 2017

2017 was a pretty normal year, unlike 2014, 2015 and 2016 – there wasn’t much upheaval. Our living arrangements stayed stable, we have been in this house for two and a half years now and expect to stay here for at least one and a half more. M and I were fortunate enough to keep our jobs and feel as confident as one can with regard to our employment status for the upcoming year. The girls are doing well in their lives, branching out with new friendships in interests  – that’s all I can ask for at this time.

Not everything stayed the same though, in January, I started Grad school, pursuing my M.A. in English through UNF. This has been a rich and rewarding experience, and I am very fortunate to have a family that is supportive of my educational goals. Also, in June, I had weight loss surgery, specifically the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG). In the past 365 days, I have lost 86 pounds and am hoping to lose at least another 20-30 in the next six months. 2017 has been the year to work on myself, and I believe I’ve done a pretty good job.

Looking forward to 2018

Even though I did a great job working on myself in 2017, I am nowhere near done. I am pushing myself to take more than two classes this year, mostly because I owe my employer two years of employment after my final class and I honestly don’t want to be beholden to them for the next seven years. So in January I will be taking two classes, and sitting in on a third, which means I will be on campus Monday through Thursday evenings after work, it’s going to be tough, but so worth it.

I have to continue working on my weight loss by eating healthy and working out, so in addition to working out with my trainer once a week, I need to add more cardio and strength training to my routine. I had been doing a good job walking during my morning break at work, so getting back to that is imperative, and then hitting the gym at least two days a week, but preferably three.

I am going to focus more attention on my writing in 2018. I’ve missed writing creatively and I’ve connected with some great writers, online as well as in person, who inspire me to write more and focus on learning the craft. It is my hope to join a well-known writers workshop in May to get some much-needed instruction and feedback to strengthen my skills. I also plan to work more diligently on my blog, specifically how to make it into something that could open doors to opportunities for travel writing, which is a dream of mine.

I have fallen in love with reading again this year, I attribute that to going back to school and spending my first semester reading James Joyce including Ulysses. Plus it helps that we don’t have cable anymore so I don’t find myself getting sucked into catching up on DVR’d shows I couldn’t watch during my school semester, though I really miss Project Runway, but I love that I’ve been reading more for enjoyment and hope that I can increase the number of books I read in 2018 by at least two.

I am hoping to find a little more time to focus on my photography in 2018. I know I won’t be able to get out every week to take photographs then come home, upload edit and write about my photos, but I barely picked up my camera this year, and I do not want that to happen in 2018. I feel as if I lost a lot of technical knowledge this year and that makes me very sad.

How am I going to do all of this?

As I mentioned to a friend earlier this week, I am great at making goals, but I am terrible at creating the steps to reach those goals. I know that I will have to be very strict with my time and schedule in order to accomplish all that I want to in the next 365 days, so I have taken a few small steps to focus on my time management. I have invested in a very nice Franklin Covey planner that breaks days into half-hour increments as well as space to list priorities for the day and notes. Additionally, I bought a dry erase board to keep near my desk to write down upcoming assignments and upcoming appointments.

 

I have to create new habits in 2018 to keep myself organized and as much as I don’t like living by the clock, that’s the only way that I will be successful this upcoming year.

The biggest time-suck-trap that I fall into is social media. To be successful, I have to limit my time on Facebook and YouTube. I find that I can waste an entire day taking Facebook quizzes or watching my favorite YouTubers talk about reading or writing. Instead, I need to use that time to visit with my parents, read, write and complete class assignments.

I hope that you will join me on this journey, I am excited about your feedback and hopefully some encouragement as well. What are your goals for 2018 and how are you going to accomplish them?

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Categories: 2018, Books, Goals, Gratitude, Jacksonville, Life, Musings, New Start, Photography, Reading, selflove, Travel, weightloss, Writings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are you reading?

Recently, I received a Facebook post asking me to list ten books that had the most impact on me, but that’s difficult because any book I read impacts me in some way. So, I decided to post my favorite books and a list of books that are on my to-be-read list here to share with all of you.

Favorites:

1) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

3) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

4) The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

5) Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

6) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

7) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

8) The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

9) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

10) Sarah by Orson Scott Card

To-Be Read:

1) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

2) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

3) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

4) 1984 by George Orwell

5) The complete works of Flannery O’Connor

6) Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

7) The Complete Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

8) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

9) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

10) Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

So there are ten of my favorites and a list of books on tap to read. There are many more on the to-be-read list, but I thought ten was a good place to stop.

Feel free to write down your list in the comments below, I would love to add your recommendations to my list!

Categories: Books, Jacksonville, Life, Musings, NaBloPoMo2014, Reading | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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