January Update

Well, it’s a new year! Last year was a difficult one for me – I moved back “home” to Minnesota, and was immediately distracted by family issues. Illnesses and other stresses abounded in my family this year. But I’m thankful that I was living in Minnesota at this time because I was able to be there for my family. Unfortunately, my family problems took away from my available internet time, so I got behind on writing my own blog as well as reading everyone else’s.

Resolution 1: Blog about it! One of my New Year resolutions is to get back to writing blog posts and checking everyone’s blogs again. So hopefully I’ll see you around soon! I’m also going to make a better effort to write editorial pieces for my blog since it tapered off to ONLY book reviews lately. I’m not going to stop with the book reviews, of course, but I’d like to include some other thoughts as well.

I’d been studying the “Question of Evil” for a while, but my studies tapered off when I became too involved in internet-based reading challenges and with my family. This year, I resolve that I will not commit myself to so many challenges and group reads – I will focus on my own interests. Those are: social justice, the “question of evil,” and, my new interest, the “Question of Jesus.” 

Even when I was a child, I asked myself who Jesus was and why people prayed to Jesus instead of directly to God. As the good little Catholic girl that I was, I decided that this was a very sticky question and decided to shunt it off to some corner of my brain and stop worrying about it. Because of this shunt, I have very little relationship with Jesus at all, and even feel a little uncomfortable when other people talk about their bond with Jesus. I just simply don’t know who Jesus is, I suppose. I’m a rather liberal Christian who believes that all religions are “right,” and so I’ve ignored my lack-of-bond with Jesus for quite a long time. However, I have recently decided to read a little about Jesus and find out what He means to me. 

Dedicated to this cause, I went to Barnes and Noble, and browsed the Christian Life and Christianity sections. I resolved that I would buy a “spiritual” book rather than an academic one – because I think the root of my problem is that I have always viewed the question from an academic standpoint. Of course, I failed miserably at my resolution, and bought four academic books. 🙂 Oh well. There’s always next time! Or maybe since I think academically, perhaps I’ll find the answer in academic books? We’ll see. Hopefully I’ll do a better job at keeping my “blog about it!” resolution. Christian friends be warned – my thoughts on the subject of Jesus will most likely stick to academic ponderings.

Resolution 2: Just do it already! I make exercise goals for myself every year, and sometimes I complete them and sometimes I don’t. I DID end up doing a couple of sprint triathlons a couple years ago, and I had been thinking of doing one last year. But I realized that I simply don’t like swimming. It’s so wet and chlorinated! I’ve always wanted to do the Tough Mudder, but that’s one of those mud races where you need a team. And I couldn’t find a team. 

But this year, I have a coworker whose friends do the Tough Mudder every year. Now I have a team! 🙂 So I’m going to train for the 2014 Tough Mudder (Minnesota). I’m a little skeptical that I can make the July 2014 race because right now I would consider myself a “mudderling” in the Tough Mudder Boot Camp. At the very least, I’ll be fit enough for the 2014 Warrior Dash (Minnesota), right? Sadly, I hear the Run for Your Lives races have now been canceled or I’d certainly to THAT again this year. 😦

Resolution 3: Move forward! I resolve to move my career forward. 

Resolution 4: Keep up! I resolve to do a better job of keeping up on my reading of the news / current events magazines. My problem is I really want to know what’s going on in the world, but I’d much rather sit down and read a nice relaxing novel. I need to keep my reading more balanced with heavier stuff that I want to read but am always too tired to get around to. I’m also a pretty slow reader, so my book clubs take up a bit more of my reading availability than I’d like. I wish I had more free time!

Resolution 5: Please, just stop! I resolve to make fewer resolutions. I always make so many of them, and then I get burnt out and don’t complete any of them. I need to focus on those resolutions mentioned above. So no reading challenges! I’ll read whatever I want whenever I want, and not commit myself to group reads and challenges (unless I’m really eager to participate). I set a personal challenge this year to finish up as many already-started series and off-the-shelf (currently owned) books as possible. 

Good luck to all of you and your New Years resolutions!

Reading and Film Completed Last Month

My nephew and a friend of mine watched the first season in one weekend. My friend had just had surgery, so she had a lot of down time to just sit – and my nephew just kept wanting more and more. He also learned to use the rainbow loom while watching Doctor Who, and made me this awesome bracelet (pictured below). I’m glad that we agreed to watch this series through in order, it’s a lot of fun. So far, I’m impressed with the fact that British TV has so much racial diversity – American TV tends to have shows that are biased towards one particular race, but Doctor Who has a more believable race ratio in its casting. Also, I admit that the Dalek are the most awesome enemy EVER. Lethal trashcans with suction cups and lasers?! AWESOME! They make me so happy. 🙂

Awesome Bracelet made by my nephew with the Rainbow Loom
I managed to find the money to re-subscribe to The Economist, which is my favorite current events magazine for foreign news. My first copy was the December 14th – 20th edition.

  • It had an interesting article about the pros and cons of raising minimum wage in America – though the lean was slightly conservative (at worst, it won’t harm anything! It COULD help.) Personally, I don’t understand the deeper economic repercussions of raising minimum wage, but my gut feeling says that it would probably help people who are struggling at the current minimum wage, and I doubt it would cause a permanent dent in the unemployment rate. 

I’m still not a great fan of Rick Riordan, but I’m going to bully through and finish this series. He did a much better job both in writing and in research for this series than he had for the original Percy Jackson series, but there are still some quirks about his writing style that grate on me. Check my upcoming review for more details. 

I watched the first story arc of the 1963 Doctor Who Series – An Unearthly Child – with my good friend and her parents. We enjoyed this campy B&W show, though the Doctor certainly isn’t as charismatic as the more recent ones. And I had a really hard time believing that the 23-year-old Carol Ann Ford was a 15-year-old child. She DID slouch a lot to add verisimilitude.  

In this show, we are introduced to the Doctor and his grand-daughter Susan. Susan’s teachers begin to wonder who Susan is, and why she lives in an old junk-yard. So they follow her in to the TARDIS and are accidentally swept away into the stone age.

I’m slowly puttering through these fairy tales. I end up reading one every couple of weeks. It’s great fun to read this mixture of familiar and unknown stories. Folklore is pretty fascinating, isn’t it?

The Story of Bensurdatu: Three princesses disappear and the King promises that anyone who should rescue his princesses will get to marry one of them. A couple of knights set out to rescue the princesses, but they fail miserably and become servants in an inn because they’re out of money. Then Bensurdatu sets out, rescues the two knights from servitude, and rescues the princesses by jumping into a magical river which the knights are too cowardly to enter. The knights betray Bensurdatu, though, and they leave him to die and take the three princesses home, claiming that they were the rescuers. They marry two of the princesses, but the youngest refuses to marry anyone but Bensurdatu. Luckily, the young man manages to rescue himself, and returns to the king as a hero. He marries the youngest princess, and the two nights are expelled from the kingdom. I feel sorry for the two older princesses, but I guess they should have been strong like the youngest one. 🙂

Newly Acquired

Advance Review Copy. Never read a book by Lisa Unger, but thought I’d grab it since it was free. 
I got an autographed copy of this book for my mom for Christmas. Klassen is supposed to be a fantastic writer, and apparently does fantastic historical research for her novels. I’ll have to read it when mom’s done with it. 

Nook Free Friday

6 thoughts on “January Update

  1. I think that your spiritual/religious/academic and reasoned approach to Jesus is so very interesting and I really look forward to reading your thoughts on your explorations if you choose to share them.

    Some if your basic thoughts on religion in general remind me a little of some of what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, particularly in “Nature.” You might like that if you have not already read it.

    I have heard good things about Zealot and might give it a read myself this year.

    Happy reading and blogging in 2014!


  2. Thanks Brian. I DO hope that this year I'll be better at sharing my thoughts on my blog. It's a fantastic way not only to get my thoughts out there, but also to hear what other people think – so I'll learn something new from my followers, too. 🙂

    I have not read “Nature,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Perhaps I should pick it up. Thanks for the recommendation.


  3. Doctor Who! I'm glad you are getting into the story. And from just watching the first season of the New series, you already decided to watch the first episode! Awesome! It's a bit dated, but very interesting to see how things start off. I'm am really surprised by how the 1st Doctor didn't seem like like humans much at all. 🙂 It seems like you have a lot to do in 2014, I hope you complete all your goals!


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