book report // 2015 recap


guys, i read a lot this year. i think i read more than usual knowing i would be “reporting” at the end of each month…but not really much more than usual because i’ve always loved to read. and when you hear how many books i read you’ll be like..marci, get a life. because that’s kind of what i thought when i saw the number. and my husband told me i should take a break this year, haha. but really, if i hadn’t spent all that time reading i probably would have spent at least half of it watching tv or looking at my phone – so i say time well spent.

i read 47 books in 2015. maybe that’s not even that impressive but it feels like a lot. so in no particular order, here they are:

  1. gilead by marilynne robinson
  2. the history of love by nicole krauss
  3. the dirty life by kristin kimball
  4. wouldn’t it be nice – the making of pet sounds by charles granata
  5. essentialism by greg mckeown
  6. the life changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo
  7. the art of asking by amanda palmer
  8. station eleven by emily st. john mandel
  9. my faraway one by georgie o’keefe and alfred stieglitz
  10. my antonia by willa cather
  11. a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan
  12. sacred marriage by gary thomas
  13. you are what you eat by gillian mckeith
  14. how the garcia girls lost their accents by julie alvarez
  15. never let me go by kazoo ishiguro
  16. tiny beautiful things / dear sugar by cheryl strayed
  17. how to love by thich nhat hanh
  18. a field guide to getting lost by rebecca solnit
  19. crazy love by frances chan
  20. may cause miracles by gabrielle bernstein
  21. the book of ruth by jane hamilton
  22. stitches by anne lamott
  23. to the lighthouse by virginia woolf
  24. love does by bob goff
  25. actual air by david berman
  26. indian killer by sherman alexie
  27. not that kind of girl by lena dunham
  28. transcendence by norman rosenthal
  29. 1984 by george orwell
  30. my salinger year by joanna rakoff
  31. why not me? by mindy kaling
  32. a poetry handbook by mary oliver
  33. a praying life by paul miller
  34. one thousand gifts by ann voskamp
  35. the namesake by jhumpa lahiri
  36. happier at home by gretchen rubin
  37. red rising by pierce brown
  38. golden son by pierce brown
  39. a prayer journal by flannery o’connor
  40. the silver star by jeannette walls
  41. a grief observed by c.s. lewis
  42. a room of one’s own by virginia woolf
  43. letters to a young poet by rainer maria rilke
  44. m train by patti smith
  45. the hours by michael cunningham
  46. h is for hawk by helen macdonald
  47. the bible – literally! beginning to end!

obviously i had some favorites, and some not so favorites…but generally i enjoyed most of the things i read. if you’re wondering which of these you should read here are my top 10 (i just tried to do a top 5 and it was impossible).

  1. the namesake by jhumpa lahiri
  2. a field guide to getting lost by rebecca solnit
  3. my antonia by willa cather
  4. to the lighthouse by virginia woolf
  5. the bible (ecclesiastes was particularly beautiful, i thought)
  6. actual air by david berman
  7. the history of love by nicole krauss
  8. gilead by marilynne robinson
  9. the hours by michael cunningham
  10. never let me go by kazoo ishiguro


honorable mentions:

why not me? by mindy kaling
sacred marriage by gary thomas
tiny beautiful things by cheryl strayed
may cause miracles by gabbrielle bernstein

annndd that sums up my year of reading. hope everyone is having a good start to 2016.

xoxo,
marci

 

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book report // 12

laguna

it’s the end of december and my last book report for the year. i’m also going to compile a list of everything i read this year, and as of right now i’m totally clueless as to how many books i read in 2015. i’m pretty eager to find out. snort snort.

i read a lot less this month than most others because we were moving. so that means weeks spent packing, a weekend spent moving, and weeks spent unpacking and settling into the new place. but i did manage to read a few gems somewhere in there.

m train by patti smith: i love patti smith. some of her music is good, some isn’t…to me anyway. but her writings?? i love them all. she wrote a memoir a few years ago called “just kids” and it’s still one of my all time favorites. this one wasn’t quite as good but it’s always interesting to get to peek inside the mind of a beautiful soul and true artist. a lot of it seemed like i was just reading her inner dialogue (kind of like virginia woolf at times) and it was oddly comforting to know my thoughts aren’t all that strange.

the hours by michael cunningham: there’s nothing i can really say about this book other than you should read it. i started it a few years ago and it must not have been the right time because i never finished it. this time, however, i was completely engrossed and loved it all. just an absolutely stunning piece of literature.

h is for hawk by helen macdonald: i’m only about halfway through this one but again, another stunner. the way she writes is effortless and intriguing and entirely beautiful and desolate. if you’ve ever felt alone or depersonalized..which is all of us, really…then you’ll enjoy this book. this author articulates those peculiar feelings that are so hard to put into words while simultaneously writing about nature in a way that is refreshing and brilliant. can’t wait to finish this one, but i’m also trying to savor it.

so that’s it for december! next up, year-end recap. i was going to write it all in one post, but i think i’ll make a separate one. it deserves it’s own space. ❤

xo

marci

book report // 11

i’ve been doing these monthly book reports since january and i’m really dorkily (that’s a word, right) excited to compile an end-of-the-year list of everything i read in 2015. i’ve never kept track of the books that i’ve read like this before and my inner nerd is a little too pleased with myself.

hillside

so, here is what i read in november:

the silver star by jeannette walls

a grief observed by c.s. lewis

a room of one’s own by virginia woolf

letters to a young poet by rainer maria rilke

i read a lot of classic authors this month. i had read most of letters to a young poet before, but couldn’t remember it very well. i picked it up at goodwill for a couple dollars and was happy to revisit it. i think i’ve read a room of one’s own before as well, but i could remember that one even less. i really enjoyed it this time, i feel like maybe i was a bit too young the first time i read it and it didn’t hit me in the same way as it did this go around. it’s a classic for a reason, and virginia woolf is remembered and appreciated still today because she really is a rare genius. if you haven’t read any of her work, i would recommend it.

we’re about a week into december and i’m one book in. not sure what’s next on my to-read list, and i’m not sure if i’m going to continue these book reports into 2016. we’ll see. i consider this space as kind of a memory keeping tool. it’s basically like keeping a journal in some ways – and i would love to write more here but haven’t found the motivation yet. maybe i’ll make it more of a priority in the new year. again, we’ll see. hah.

hope all is well in your worlds.

xo

marci

book report // 10

b&w cactus

i read so much in october…i read a lot in general but for some reason i went a little crazy last month. i think it’s the season, fall seems like a good time to curl up with a book and get cozy. the funny thing is it’s like 80 degrees here because i live in texas, so i’ve just been pretending it’s fall. whatever.

here is a list of the books i read in october (and one from september because i forgot one last time i wrote a book report). each book is a link, so if you’re interested in learning more about it just click 🙂

a praying life by paul miller

one thousand gifts by ann voskamp

the namesake by jhumpa lahiri *this was one of the best books i’ve read…ever. highly recommend!

happier at home by gretchen rubin *this author has a podcast that i like to listen to. she hosts it with her sister and it’s fun, positive, and short. it’s called “happier” if you want to check it out.

red rising by pierce brown *book 1 of the red rising trilogy – similar to hunger games. it’s futuristic, dystopian, and action/adventure. not usually something i like, but i ripped through this and the second book in a few days.

golden son by pierce brown *book 2 of the red rising trilogy.

a prayer journal by flannery o’connor *didn’t know this existed…a prayer journal of flannery o’connor’s from when she was 22 years old. interesting, inspiring, and relatable.

pink

i told you a read a lot this month. eep. as always, let me know if you have any suggestions…always looking for something good to read. ❤

yours,

marci

book report // 09

girl with flowers

september started off slow for me. i dont think i started reading anything until after my birthday (the 19th) – but i’ve been reading a lot since then.

i can really tell my friends and family know me well, because i received about 7 different books for my birthday. brent asks every year what i want, and i always tell him “just get me a book.” i think he thinks i’m being humble or low-maintenance or something, because i never ask for anything very grand. but i’m serious when i ask for a book – it’s the best gift. books give me a ridiculous amount of joy…especially real books, physical books, i’m not the kindle type. and yes, i’ve tried one. used to have one…gave it away.

so here is what i read in september:

my salinger year by joanna rakoff – this book was not entirely what i expected it to be, but i liked it. it’s an interesting, cozy, coming-of-age memoir. i read it in a day or two. if you’re looking for a good fall read i’d suggest it.

why not me? by mindy kaling – i love mindy kaling. i devoured her first memoir and passed it around to friends and family. this is her latest one that just came out this year. my sister, karissa, sent it to me for my birthday and i read this one just as fast as the first. i laughed out loud a lot…i just love her sense of humor and off-hand remarks about things. quick, easy, enjoyable read.

a poetry handbook by mary oliver – i’m kind of picky about poetry, but i love mary oliver. many times when i’m reading good poetry i’ll stop and think….i could write something like this. so when i saw this book at the thrift store i picked it up thinking it would encourage me to try my hand at poetry. i read through the book, still feeling confident….and then i sat down in front of a blank page. WRITING POETRY IS HARD. very hard. try to write some, you’ll find a whole new respect for your favorite poets.

i feel like i’m forgetting one more that i may have read…if so i’ll just include it in next month’s list. i’m currently reading one thousand gifts by ann voskamp. she’s a little flowery in her language, but the main point of the book is really encouraging me. i’ll write more about it in the october book report.

as always, feel free to send suggestions my way!

p.s. the picture is of a painting i did awhile ago – i’ve been posting art on a new instagram account – follow along at @marci.eliza

book report // 08

the books i read last month were ahhmazing. i loved all three.

kate's place

i’m not sure if they just came to me at the right time, or if they really are completely profound and beautiful and can stand on their own regardless of where you are in life. i don’t want to write a review for each, because i’m not really sure how to summarize them. anything i can think to write seems like it would be insufficient in expressing my feelings about them. you know how when you find something beautiful, but you try to explain it to someone else and the beauty is just totally lost? yeah, that’s what i think would happen.

so i’ll do something different this time around.

gilead

“I wish I could leave you certain of the images in my mind, because they are so beautiful that I hate to think they will be extinguished when I am. Well, but again, this life has its own mortal loveliness. And memory is not strictly mortal in its nature, either. It is a strange thing, after all, to be able to return to a moment, when it can hardly be said to have any reality at all, even in its passing. A moment is such a slight thing. I mean, that its abiding is a most gracious reprieve.”

history of love

“Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.”

the dirty life

“I was forced to confront my own prejudice. I had come to the farm with the unarticulated belief that concrete things were for dumb people and abstract things were for smart people. I thought the physical world – the trades – was the place you ended up if you weren’t bright or ambitious enough to handle a white-collar job. Did I really think that a person with a genius for fixing engines, or for building, or for husbanding cows, was less brilliant than a person who writes ad copy or interprets the law? Apparently I did, though it amazes me now.”

that’s all for this month. as always, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. as of right now, i have nothing lined up to read. halp.

you can read all previous book reports here.

book report // 07

this was a slower month for me, i think because i didn’t really get into anything…they were all just ok. i basically read these books in the last week and a half…i started a memoir by simone debeauvoir and it’s going pretty slow – i like it a lot, but it’s not something i can read a lot of at once. here’s what i read in july.

wouldn’t it be nice – the making of pet sounds by charles l. granata: i put this book on hold at the library thinking it was brian wilson’s autobiography (which has the same title, “wouldn’t it be nice”). i was pretty disappointed when i realized that wasn’t what i got, haha. but i read this anyway and it was pretty good. i think i would have preferred to read the autobiography, but i learned a lot about brian wilson and the beach boys by reading this. i also learned a ton about the album, pet sounds, and wanted to listen to it over and over again. if you’re into learning about recording and/or the beach boys, then i’d recommend it.

wouldntitbenice

essentialism by greg mckeowninitially, i was really into this book. the author gives a lot of good advice about cutting out things that aren’t important in order to make room for the essential things. he talks a lot about saying no at work, and saying yes to time with family (because that’s what is essential to him, and i agree). after awhile though, i felt like i got the point and didn’t need to keep reading all the stories he told about other people…it was kind of ironic that i felt like so much of the book was nonessential. he even talks about editing at one point, and how it’s really hard to edit a book down to what’s important…and i think he should have taken his own advice. this book could have been much shorter than 236 pages, but it did inspire me to focus on what’s really important in my life, and start eliminating things that aren’t.

essentialism

the life changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo: i’ve been seeing this book all over the internet lately, it seems like everyone is reading it. as someone who hates clutter, and likes to be organized, i was interested in seeing what this had to say. it kind of pertained to the essentialist theme from the previous book – it talked a lot about getting rid of things that you don’t love, or that don’t spark joy. i look forward to putting into practice some of the things the author suggested, but i do think she’s a bit crazy and goes too far sometimes. she mentioned how at the end of the day she empties everything out of her purse and puts it away…who has time for that? i do think the minimalist mindset suits me well, not just because of my personality but also because i think it’s a good spiritual practice. it’s not good to accumulate stuff – and this book inspired me to try to remove even more clutter from my life.

tidying

i’m still reading through the bible as well, i’m into acts now and i’m really enjoying it. we’ve had some lively discussions lately in our church group, and reading through the bible has helped me get my own grasp on the topics that have come up. i grew up having the bible read and interpreted for me, it’s really refreshing to read it as an adult with my own perspective.

what have y’all read lately? hope you’ve had a good summer so far. we leave for wisconsin in a week and half and i’m so excited to see all my family, take time away from work, and get out of the texas summer heat. the forecast over the next week has multiple days in a row of 100+ temps…so i’m looking forward to wisconsin summer days/nights.

p.s. this is the face that often is looking at me while i sit on the couch and read. 😉

elsi

you can see previous book reports here.

book report // 06

well, summer is here. the temps are supposed to be near 100 all this week, and it’s been a very humid summer…my hair has been looking awesome. lolz. jk.

here is what i read in june. have you read anything good lately?

the art of asking by amanda palmer: there were parts of this book that i loved, and parts that i could have done without. apparently amanda palmer is originally famous for her music, but i had never listened to it (and once i did, i didn’t like it very much) – but she also gained popularity after doing a TED talk that went viral. the book is her memoir, and i definitely appreciated her vulnerability, honesty, and passion. it’s always interesting to me to read about someone else’s life when they choose to live it so differently than i do.

station11

station eleven by emily st. john mandel: i heard about this book because another blogger posted about it. it’s an apocalyptic tale that flashes back and forth between life after and life before. there were a handful of main characters and i enjoyed them all. i read this one pretty fast. it’s not life changing, but an enjoyable quick read.

june

my faraway one / selected letters of georgia o’keefe and alfred stieglitz: i don’t know if you can fully grasp this from the picture, but this book is huge! i put it on hold at the library and when it came in i couldn’t find it on the shelf…i usually know right where to look because i always put books on hold. i had to ask the librarian for help and she showed me a special area where they put books that are so big they won’t fit on the normal shelves. haha. anyway, i leafed through this. i did not read the whole thing. but i read a good chunk of letters, and honestly? i feel like i enjoyed georgia’s letters to anita pollitzer more. there was something more honest and carefree about her writing to her friend than when she wrote to her lover/turned husband. but there is something impressive about the sheer volume of letters georgia and alfred wrote to each other over their lifetimes. anyway, i love georgia o’keefe and am fascinated by her so it was fun to read parts of this.

myanton

my ántonia by willa cather: i’ve never read any of willa cather’s books but my sister told me i should start with this one. i loved it. this book was published in 1918 and i was fully expecting it to be a little slow/boring. but the way cather writes about nature and the every day beauty/mundaneness of life was captivating. i would definitely recommend.

that’s all for this month. i just started a memoir by simone de beauvoir and i’m waiting for brian wilson’s autobiography (from the beach boys) to come in at the library. hope y’all had a good week!

here’s a little nod to the show that started it all for me. 🙂 they don’t make ’em like this anymore…

currently reading: my ántonia

mya

one march evening in my sophomore year i was sitting alone in my room after supper. there had been a warm thaw all day, with mushy yards and little streams of dark water gurgling cheerfully into the streets out of old snow-banks. my window was open, and the earthy wind blowing through made me indolent. on the edge of the prairie, where the sun had gone down, the sky was turquoise blue, like a lake, with gold light throbbing in it. higher up, in the utter clarity of the western slope, the evening star hung like a lamp suspended by silver chains – like the lamp engraved upon the title-page of old latin texts, which is always appearing in new heavens, and waking new desires in men.

words: willa cather | my ántonia pg. 158
photo: iphone

book report // 05

i realize it’s almost half way through june already (which…how is that possible?) but i wanted to post the books i read in may. better late than never.

i’ve been on a gilmore girls kick since january or february…and i’m finally into the last season. so…i’ve been reading a little bit less. i’m looking forward to getting my life back once i finally finish. also, it’s summer! brent and i have been going out more after work and getting that restless feeling that generally comes when you’re not a student anymore and there’s no such thing as a summer break. i wish we got a summer break. oh well. check out this sunset. nothing beats a texas sunset, but maybe i’m biased.

sunset copy

ok, on to the books.

a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan: i’ve seen this book around a lot. and i’ve heard that it’s good…a lot. but, i have to say i just didn’t love it. i got through it pretty fast, within a couple days, but wasn’t blown away. the characters were kind of cliche, and the whole thing seemed a little try-hard. i also felt like i never really fully was able to get to know any of the characters because it jumped around so much. a few of the characters are really into the punk scene…and i guess patti smith’s “just kids” was a much more honest, gritty, interesting representation of that. anyway, this book didn’t live up to the hype for me.

sacred marriage by gary thomas: i loved this book. sure, there were parts that made the feminist in me cringe…and there were parts that were corny and a little off color…but the overall message really hit me hard. gary thomas talks a lot about how a marriage isn’t necessarily about making you happy, but holy. he talks about the ways you can grow within a marriage, and grow closer to God. he also talks about the beauty of true commitment and love. i’ve been married for about 2.5 years now, and have learned more during the last few years than any other time in my life. marriage really makes you face your demons, imperfections, and desires. luckily, i’m with someone who’s willing to stick it out and love me despite all the horrible things i do and say. hi, brent. ❤

you are what you eat by gillian mckeith: i spent a few hours one night reading through this book. i’ve had it for years but have yet to really commit to it’s recommendations. i’d like to start, but it’s really hard to change habits…as everyone knows. anyway, it has good suggestions and gives a lot of good advice. it’s one of those books that’s good to have around for a little shot of inspiration.

flow

i’m also still reading through the bible..in a week or so i should be into the new testament which is exciting. i’m really glad i’ve stuck with this plan for almost an entire year now…and i’m looking forward to going back and studying different parts/books more in depth once i finish.

what have you been reading? as always, open to your suggestions.
you can read all previous book reports here.

photos: iphone | austin, tx