My 2014 Book List

I had a goal to read 26 books in 2014 — a book every two weeks. I failed, but 18 isn’t too bad. Here’s what I read last year:

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger 

Somehow I missed out on this book during my adolescence, but I discovered that you’re never too old for this one. Absolutely loved it. Holden’s hat kills me.

Slam – Nick Hornby

I absolutely adore Nick Hornby. I hadn’t read this YA book, but I was desperately looking for quick reads to meet my reading goal. I failed. And it wasn’t even worth it. I’m not a fan of this book, and that makes me sad.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book – Diane Muldrow

Maybe counting this one is cheating, but who cares. This is a heartwarming nostalgic little book of advice. Anyone who grew up on Little Golden Books should pick this one up. It would make a great graduation gift.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Yes, please! I want more and more. My favorite line: “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. ‘Good for her! Not for me.'”

Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

I was so excited to read this that I hijacked it while James was in the middle. Great essays that make you think about gender, race, culture. I wouldn’t call her a bad feminist at all. More like honest, unashamed feminist, as we all should be.

Not That Kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

I wanted so badly to love this. I love Lena. I love Girls. I downloaded this book on my Kindle the day it came out. For the most part, these essays just didn’t live up to my high expectations.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Quick read, quirky, enjoyable. Just imagine Sheldon from Big Bang Theory on a quest to find a wife.

White Noise – Don DeLillo

I gave it a chance. I HATED it. I’ll blame this book for not making my reading goal. I just couldn’t get through it, but I didn’t want to give up.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

Some parts were a bit too graphic for my liking. In true Flynn fashion, it’s a page turner. But nothing compares to Gone Girl.

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

I enjoyed this more then Dark Places, but again, less than Gone Girl. This one was pretty predictable.

The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls

This memoir will break your heart into a thousand tiny pieces. But don’t worry, it gets reassembled somewhat. It’s truly inspiring and touching.

Like Life – Lori Moore

I haven’t read very many short story collections, but I finished all my books on our Canada vacation and picked up James’ to read on the way home. I’m glad I did.

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young – The Graduation Speeches – Kurt Vonnegut speeches compiled by Dan Wakefield

We purchased this after seeing Wakefield speak at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. A lot of the speeches are repetitive, but the recurring themes are definitely golden. I’d recommend them to anyone. You don’t have to be young.

Radiance of Tomorrow – Ishmael Beah

I wanted to read this book after seeing Beah speak on Colbert (proof the Colbert bump works!). This is a beautiful book, plus the author favorited my tweet!

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Could. Not. Put. This. Down. This was by far my best find on $7 bag day at the library book sale. It keeps you guessing until the very end.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling

I love Mindy Kaling, and I would NEVER hang out without her. As expected, this book is hilarious.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris 

Late to the game. This was my first Sedaris, but I loved it.

Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

Obviously, I wanted more, so I read this one too. His writing makes me actually laugh out loud. I’m not sure if James needs to read it, because I kept reading parts out loud to him.

I’m not much of a book reviewer, so I hope you enjoyed my two sentences of thoughts on each book. Of course I could go on about any of them. I’m keeping the same goal for 2015 – 26 books. I’ve already started Wild by Cheryl Strayed and How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. What did you read last year?

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New Year and Failed Goals

I fell off the Think Kit wagon. The holidays were a rush, and reading and watching Netflix has sounded more appealing. But the goal was to write more and get this blog going. I did that.

I also failed at #Read26Indy — a goal to read 26 books this year. Although there’s still some time. 18 down, 8 to go before the ball drops tomorrow! Don’t think I’ll get there. But again, I wanted to read more books, and I did that.

I got a fitbit a couple days ago and set some goals on there. I’d like to get 10,000 steps a day. So far, I’m there. But when I go back to work and the newness has worn off, I will have to work harder to keep it up.

In 2015, I want to continue blogging. And I’ll re-do #Read26. And I will get married.

Happy New Year! Cheers.

Dashing through the thank-yous

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As I write this, I’m sitting in my big comfy chair opposite James (also writing his Think Kit). Our orange devil tabby cat, Herman is lying on his chest. Pumpkin, our beautiful long-haired calico, is on top of the coach. It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re in our warm apartment stocked with food.

If this isn’t nice, what is?

Sometimes you get so caught up in your own life that you don’t realize just how lucky you are. Here are some of the things for which I am thankful.

My loving fiancé who cooks, cleans, and never smells like onion rings. Ok, maybe sometimes.

My furry family: Henry, Harper, Herman, and Pumpkin.

My family… as crazy and dysfunctional as it may be.

My future in-laws for accepting me even though I voted Obama (a choice this bleeding heart liberal does not regret).

My apartment and all the things in it, especially my bed.

My job that pays the bills, gives me health insurance, and fulfills my need to create.

The education I received from UIndy.

All the friends I’ve made along the way.

Food. FOOD. FOOD! PIZZA!

My health, which I try not to take for granted.

The list could go on and on. I am the lucky one.

Why I became a vegetarian

Think Kit told us to write whatever we wanted to today. This is something I’ve wanted to write for a while anyway. Thanks, Think Kit!

Anytime you have a lifestyle choice different from the norm, people ask you why, why, why. I don’t even think being a vegetarian is incredibly rare, but I still get asked pretty regularly.

I’ll start with my failed attempts. I love animals, especially pigs. And pigs are incredibly intelligent. I would never eat my pet rabbits, a cat, or a dog. So why a pig? Or a cow? However, I’m not a cook. I tried becoming a vegetarian a couple times growing up and my diet of snack foods and cheese pizza just wasn’t healthy.

My dear friend Amanda passed away in 2010. She was a vegetarian. In honor of her birthday, my boyfriend and I were vegetarians through her birthday month. He’s a phenomenal cook, and he experimented with different recipes. When the month ended, we didn’t miss meat. Also, we felt much healthier. If we can do it, then why not? Four years later, we’re still vegetarians. Here are some of the reasons:

Ethical — Why should a sentient being suffer for my food?

Environmental — Chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms accounts for more than 174,000 miles of contaminated streams and rivers, according to the EPA.

Health — Done right, it’s overall a healthier lifestyle.

Being a vegetarian makes me feel better, physically and morally. It’s not for everyone, and I don’t condemn those who eat meat. It’s just right for me.

Surprise!

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After a whirlwind day of family stuff and more family stuff, I told James I was famished and couldn’t possibly wait another moment to eat, so we went to Moe’s. The restaurant wasn’t very busy, but there was a clown watching the Colts game and making balloon animals. I’m not sure why he decided to create balloon animals for all the restaurant patrons, but it absolutely brightened my day!

balloonanimalClowns give so many people the heebie-jeebies, but I love them. They dress up like goobers just to make people smile. I even got to interview clowns for a story I wrote at work. Repeat: I talked to clowns for work. What a blast! If you’re interested in learning more about the impending clown shortage, read my story here.

Oh, and that burrito I couldn’t wait to eat. I only had a few bites. I don’t think the restaurant was at its best today. I’ve also eaten so much junk food this morning and been so off schedule that my stomach is confused and doesn’t know when I’m hungry. Not uncommon this time of year. But it’s okay. The clown and my awesome pink balloon animal bear made the trip worth it!

Wishy Washy

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Anyone who knows me well probably knows that I am a total television junkie. You can regularly find me live tweeting competition shows like The Voice, SYTYCD, and The Sing Off. I’m a sucker for Shondaland. I can’t wait for the next installment of OITNB on Netflix or the new season of Girls.

I’m getting wishy-washy with some of my regular shows though. I used to start shows all the time and never finish them. I guess this was probably at a time when I was moving a lot or going to school and working multiple jobs. My life is pretty stable right now, so I try to see my shows through the end. However, there are some I’m on the fence about. Bones? It’s just not good anymore. Greys. Will it ever end? I just started OUAT recently, but it seems like they are running low on original storylines and aren’t really explaining things anymore. Will I stop watching them though? I think about it sometimes, but probably not. If nothing else, they offer a fine form of escapism — a way to relax after a long day. And they’re entertaining… for the most part… I’m looking at you Bones.

Seasons of…music

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I’m curious to know how many other Think Kitters used Spotify’s Year in Review tool for this post. I’ve seen a couple, but I’m sure there are more. What a cool idea, Spotify! I do most my music listening at work, as I’m sure is the norm for many office workers.

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The Fratellis through the winter? Sure. The days get long and dark, and you need a good pick-me-up. They do that for me. Justin Timberlake and Sara Bareilles? Always. Usher surprised me though.

Can I phone a friend?

Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 5.35.49 PMI’m using another lifeline today, because thinking is hard. Hmmmph. Is it Christmas break yet? I want to stay in my jammies all day baking cookies and watching the classics.

Anyway, a (really short) 2014 Best Of — in my opinion

Movie: St. Vincent

Image still via YouTube trailer

Image still via YouTube trailer

Book: Bad Feminist

Book Review-Bad Feminist

Moment: Getting engaged.

engagement