Oh my god, blog, it’s your birthday in that way where exactly one year ago TODAY I posted your very first post, which were some resolutions or whatever because you know, beginning of January. (For those who are interested, I would say I was mildly successful with resolutions 1, 2, 3, and 7, successful with 5, and not at all successful with 4 and 6.)
Anyway, I am not really into the idea of making resolutions this year so instead I’m going to tell you all about what I read last year, since this is a book blog and I’m curious. You can see the whole list of books I’ve read here. (By the way, I don’t know if you realize this, blog, but every book I read I post about. I’m behind on a few books right now, but I promise I will blog about all of them, and the list of books is up to date as of this moment. Also, just realized that I forgot about Legend so I added that to the list in roughly the area where I read it.)
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ IN 2011: 56
- Hardcover books read: 2
- Paperback books read: 9 (6 ARCs)
- Ebooks read: 45
I did not realize that I read so few books that are actually books and not ebooks. I did, however, just buy two books I’m super excited about reading and they are real books, and they are for adults of the grown variety, as opposed the the young one. Speaking of…
- Adult books read: 16
- YA books read: 34
- Middle grade books read: 6
(Fun fact: the vocabulary level of the middle grade books was much higher than that of the YA books.)
Also, you guys, I knew I was reading a lot of YA but holy hell is that way too high a percentage of YA books. More than 50% of the books I read this year were for young adults. I know I am kind of close to / in (according to some) that age range, but… that is ridiculous. Reading YA books in and of itself is not ridiculous, but they aren’t even the books I enjoy the most, so I should spend more time with books I love or am more likely to love.
What books did I enjoy the most, you ask? Here, I will give you my TOP THREE BOOKS READ IN 2011, although they are in NO ORDER OKAY? I can’t decide on which is best, which is why there are three.
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
If you haven’t read the first two, do so immediately. I read them both as library ebooks and I am on the hunt for cheap copies at The Strand or another used book store to buy because they are so worth owning. The third you must read immediately after it comes out in February. I will hopefully have blogged about it by then.
I guess I will make a few resolutions, too, but in the way of books and this blog.
- More than 50% of books I read should be FOR ADULTS. Seriously.
- Read MORE than 56 books. 75, even? (Should be doable depending on my job situation. I just looked at my books again and while I was in college I read 9 books, whereas from the summer program in June to the end of December I read the other 47.)
- Blog AT LEAST 4 times a month, lazy. That is so easy, why am I not doing it yet?
- Blog about more movies / TV shows! I do those things, too, not just read books!
Okay, blog. We had an okay 2011 in terms of me blogging and reading, but we can do better this year, right?
I almost forgot to blog today, and since I’m too lazy to leave the apartment tonight, I still have time! So here’s a quick list of things I want to do in NYC:
- CASH CAB.
- Stumble upon Gossip Girl sets.
- Get a job.
- Do EVERYTHING tourists do so I can officially not be a tourist anymore.
- Get an apartment.
- Have a tiny dog.
- Get asked for directions and know how to help.
- RIDE EVERY SUBWAY LINE.
- CASH CAB.
Next week or so I’ll have been a pescetarian for a year. I quit eating meat early last summer, with the exception of fish and shellfish (which I rarely eat, but enjoy immensely). I had been toying with the idea for a few years before that; I even had an experiment at school that I told no one about, during which I tried going without meat, to see how long I could do it. I lasted about two weeks, and caved at the first sighting of a chicken patty. Chicken, I thought, would always be my downfall. I would never be able to give up chicken. And how could I ever go without Thanksgiving turkey? Then, just about a year ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. I’m not going to review it like I have other books, but rather I want to talk about my experiences and decisions because of it.
I read Eating Animals probably mostly because two of my favorite books, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated, are also by Jonathan Safran Foer. Given that I’d already thought about vegetarianism, I was curious to see how one of my favorite authors would write about giving up meat. I bought the book at a Barnes & Noble in hardcover. This is a big deal for me. I rarely buy books at big name book stores (preferring Amazon’s used books or smaller stores and used book stores), and I even more rarely buy hardcover books. But I couldn’t resist.
Here I should note that I wasn’t expecting to find anything surprising. I already knew about factory farms, and about horrible slaughtering practices. I hadn’t read in detail, because I knew that detail would be upsetting. But here, I finally decided to suck it up and read about it. I learned about the looseness of terms like “free range” and about the amount of water chicken is allowed to soak up–water that could be full of all sorts of disgusting things. (This, as it turns out, made it much easier to give up chicken.) I learned even more about the risks to my health that come from our standard and legal farming practices. But Foer doesn’t just preach for vegetarianism–he allows for other perspectives as well, including that of the factory farmer.
After I finished the book, I made the decision to give up meat, barring fish. (The health risks are much lower in fish, and the health risks are ultimately what made me decide to give up other meats. I am, however, due to environmental concerns and increasingly poor fish-farming practices, toying with the idea of giving up fish as well.) My decision was made even easier when I watched Food, Inc. (available to watch instantly on Netflix) and Jamie Oliver’s TED talk on teaching children about food. Full disclosure: both made me cry.
I’ve also tried to learn more and more since reading Eating Animals. There is so much to learn and so much we aren’t told and it is horrible. The food industry and the policies that surround it are disgusting and a lot needs to be done, but that is another post for another day.
Sometimes I feel embarrassed that a book is what finally made me decide to stop eating meat–especially a book that doesn’t focus as much on the scientific technicalities of others of its kind. But Eating Animals is both accessible and tied in with real people and the real social consequences of becoming a vegetarian. Never once have I seriously considered returning to meat, although I do crave pepperoni and hot dogs here and there. (I know, I know. They are gross excuses for meats in the first place. Can’t help what I crave.) Eating Animals is beautifully written and I’ve recommended it to many of my friends. If you’re on the fence about vegetarianism, read this. It doesn’t read like a book encouraging vegetarianism over all else, but rather like a book about a father, trying to find out the best way to raise his son–which it is. If I could get everyone to read it, I would.
On a side note, I still haven’t read but very much want to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I need to get on that…
New year, new blog, new goals.
I’m not actually usually one for resolutions at the new year. It seems silly to limit oneself to the first of January for goals. But this January is my last January as an undergrad student, and with the future looming over me like a giant question mark, I’ve decided to focus on goals that I can accomplish even without knowing where I’ll be or who I’ll be with in a few months.
That being said, I resolve to:
- Live in the moment. Focus on now. Graduating means a lot of questions, a lot of changes, a lot of decisions, a lot of planning. I am a planner. The unknown stresses me out. It’s easy to lose sight of where I am in worries of where I’m going. So I resolve to live in the moment, to enjoy what I have around me right now.
- Increase productivity. Instead of Text Twist or Facebook, I should read or write or blog. Instead of watching Bridalplasty and other terrible television, I should exercise. Or change the channel. Probably I shouldn’t ever watch Bridalplasty.
- Eat better. More vegetables! Fruits and grains do not a healthy diet make. Donuts are not a food group, no matter how tempting they are.
- Set and stick to some sort of exercise regimen. No excuses. No complaining without making an effort to improve.
- Due to 3 and 4, lose ten or fifteen pounds, feel better, more energetic, and less like a slug. Enter the post-grad world feeling capable of conquering it.
- Submit poetry and stories to literary journals and magazines. Instead of sitting and hoping to be good enough to get published, I will attempt to get published, I will make an effort to get published.
- Graduate. Get a real job. Move out.
BE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL 21 YEAR OLD IN THE WORLD AND EARN A TRILLION DOLLARS.Make as many steps toward adulthood as possible.
That’s not too much when you’ve got a whole year, is it? 2011, I’d really appreciate it if you were awesome.