[1/52] January 6, 2012

Camellia and Cast iron plant

Dear Reader,

Here we go again.

Right now I’m feeling a little disoriented, even a little stressed after the first week of the year. Part of it is not feeling like it’s a new year and part of it is not really making a new slate, just continuing the old resolutions. Last year this month I was looking forward to a new year because 2010 was filled with lots of family visits, 2 deaths, and a heavy shroud of grief. 2011, other than my back acting up, was very tame by comparison, and I’d like to keep 2012 that way, too. Sometimes tame and boring is good.

So, my resolutions:
1- Continue and actually implement one personal retreats/craft weekend/one-day workshops per month. This is probably the hardest one, and I tried this last year, only to give up after two months. This month’s personal retreat theme goal is to set up/assign/plan personal retreats throughout the year.

2- Do some more gardening than you did last year. My exercise plan for this month (and the next two months) is to get my back in shape for gardening so that I don’t injure myself as much.

3- Explore more of local area or NC. I subscribed to Our State last year, and now I have a list of towns I’d love to visit. Would you believe that I have never went walking/hiking into Duke Forest? (And it’s my ten years this year in NC, too!)

4- Continuations of last year’s resolutions:
a) ride your bike.
b) keep writing/blogging.
c) keep cooking (food resolutions to be at my food blog)
d) keep reading at least 52 books (I listed 51 books last year, but I think I also didn’t list everything I read- so that is something I should work on- maybe join Goodreader?). I also should start a 2012 book list!

We’ll see how that goes. Feel free to demand progress reports 🙂

So today I finished Blue Nights by Joan Didion. Like her earlier work, The Year of Magical Thinking, her latest book is haunting and heartbreaking. (For example, I cannot stop thinking about congee from Year of Magical Thinking.)

A few of my favorite quotes:
In theory these mementos serve to bring back the moment. In fact they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. How inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here is something else I could never afford to see.

The fear is not for what is lost. What is lost is already in the wall. What is lost is already behind the locked doors. The fear is for what is still to be lost.


Oh, for smartphone/tablet readers: have you used the new IndieBound Reader? If not, I highly recommend the application- it makes it easier to read the Google e-books that I buy through the local bookstore.

I promised a friend “best 10 books I’ve read in 2011” list, so here goes:

Eunice’s 10 best books read in 2011 list
(this is very, very hard, as there were so many good books!), in no particular order:

1- Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I did not want to finish this book- I wanted to read it out loud, slowly, and savor the beautiful metaphors. Definitely pure Gaiman and very London.

2- A Song of Fire and Ice series, by George R. R. Martin. This is a cheat, as this is actually multiple books, but it’s really all part of a epic. George R. R. Martin is one hell of a storyteller, bawdy and conversationally and chillingly and… it’s really hard to explain. It’s very easy to get lost in the world and go “huh? I don’t live there anymore? Really?” This is the series I recommend to people who don’t normally like fantasy, and are forced to have bed rest.

3- Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. If you’re a video game geek who went through 80s and love the sci-fi subculture (for example Star Trek and Joss Whedon), you will most likely love this book. I really enjoyed reading this one and had to look up a few things.

4- Then, Again, by Diane Keaton. I’ve always liked Diane Keaton, and this book made me like her more. Thoughtful semi-autobiography that is mostly about her mother, and also talks about her mixed relationship with her mother. Not at all judgmental or bitter- but not all roses and unicorns, either.

5- Joy for Beginners and The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Baumeister. Great end-of-the-year books to make you think about your life. The School of Essential Ingredients has wonderful food metaphors/descriptions.

6- The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield. I got the recommendation from Yarn-a-go-go and I LOVED it. It is sort of a ‘southern’ book, and it sort of it isn’t. It’s just one of those books that you cannot help reading (and getting a hankering for food) and it reads like a good friend who’s been by your side all these years.

7- Green Glass Sea, by Ellen Klages. Ellen Klages is a very gifted storyteller (I loved her Portable Childhoods short story collection), and her YA novel is just excellent. It’s about a girl who grows up in post-atomic bomb age (literally!).

8- The Illumination, by Kevin Brockmeier. Dreamy writing and just hauntingly beautiful.

9- (tie) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. So much fun to read, though it kept making me think of X-men (it is sort of in a similar vein, but with no capes and masks). Has a sort of Ray Bradbury-gothic feel to it.


The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. This is the book booksellers and media loved, and I have to admit, I am looking forward to the movie. It’s a very cute love story, with lots of twists and turn thrown in.

10- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The book that helped me get back to writing. I really must get my own copy…

(yes that was more than 10 books but like I said, it was HARD.) You can view the full list of books I read in 2011 here.

Okay, that was long. Time to go!

Til next week,

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4 Responses to [1/52] January 6, 2012

  1. Carolyn says:

    Uh oh I better write my list! Oh wait I actually posted one today! 😉

  2. wade vidal says:

    thanks for the list I need to read more and your list will help me to do so.

  3. Allison says:

    Are there enough hours in a year to get all of that done?

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