10 Movies I’ll Be Watching This Christmas

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One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is watching as many Christmas movies as I can. These are some favorites that I hope to see this month:

  1. Elf
  2. Happy Christmas
  3. It’s A Wonderful Life
  4. Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
  5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  6. The Night Before
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  8. Office Christmas Party
  9. The Polar Express
  10. White Christmas

What are your favorite holiday movies???

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Halloween Movies 2017

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my October book display at work

I’m continuing the tradition of watching Halloween-themed and scary movies in the month of October.  My list contains a wide variety of movies that I’m looking forward to.

  • 28 Days Later – George Romero got me hooked on the zombie phenomenon. Someone recommended this movie as someone who enjoys zombie flicks.
  • The Birds – Hitchcock should always make the list.
  • Cabin in the Woods – I always enjoy this movie.
  • The Conjuring – I’m most nervous about this one. I imagine I may be hiding under a blanket during most of this movie.
  • Halloweentown High – Silly Halloween choice, but I’m a huge Debbie Reynolds fan.
  • The Haunting – 1999 version
  • House on Telegraph Hill – 1951 psychological thriller
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show – I just found out that my husband has never seen this movie, so I have to rectify this.
  • Zombieland

Prior to October, I did rewatch the original IT miniseries just in case I decided to go see the new version in the movie theater. Has anyone seen the new one? How is it? What are your other favorite movies to watch at this time of year?

Completed My 3rd 24 Hour Readathon!

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”

~Albert Einstein

Well Mr. Einstein, while I respect your accomplishments and achievements, this time I am going to bask in my SUCCESS!!!!! For the first time, since I started participating in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon a couple of years ago, I have successfully made it through the whole 24 hours of reading! When I have slept a bit maybe then I can be a person of value. Right now though, I can barely function enough to get myself to bed. That is what participating in this challenge can do, but it is marvelous!

I have also completed the two other reading goals I had set up for myself. I have completed 4 books in print (started a 5th one) and 1 audiobook. I have also hit my goal of reading at least 700 pages. That is a record for me in one day, especially with all the fun mini-challenges and social media postings to distract me. Picking an audiobook was a great idea. It helped me be able to get up and move around a bit and keep my eyes fresh.

Closing Survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? This was an exhausting 24 hours. However, I believe Hour 22 was the worst. My house was too quiet and dark. Luckily, I was able to make some coffee.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year? I would stick to humor (books by Amy Poehler and Anna Kendrick were my favorite), mysteries (such as Agatha Christie novels) or children’s novels (Roald Dahl books or Harry Potter).
3. List books completed:

  • High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  • How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
  • The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (audiobook)
  • The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Started: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

To be honest, I don’t love any of these books (excluding Tuck Everlasting). I might recommend The Strange Library. Murakami’s books are always so unique.

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While I am obviously thrilled to have made it the full 24 hours, I am not intending to do that in the future. However, I am still looking forward to participating next time – maybe for 18 hours instead. I am grateful for all the support I got from family, friends, coworkers, and fellow readathoners. See you next time!!!

 

24-Hour Readathon Halfway Point

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We are officially 12 hours into the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. It has been a gloomy day, which might inspire more reading, but gloomy days always make me tired, so I am definitely more exhausted than last time. I am still going strong though. I’ve finished 2 books and read about 300 pages. I’ve also completed 8 mini-challenges and was very active (if not too active) on social media. My audiobook was a good idea to help me get up and walk every now and then. My snacks have also treated me well. I am looking forward to opening the Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream after dinner.

One of the many things I love about participating in the readathon is alIMG_20170429_133602_967l the fun mini-challenges you get to participate in. For example, check out my awesome book face on the right. Surprisingly, that is the first time that I’ve ever done something like that. However, my goal for the next 12 hours (besides staying awake) is to not be overly distracted by the mini-challenges and social media. I want to get through more of my TBR pile. This is going to be difficult, because the later the hour the harder it is to keep my eyes focused when they really want to sleep. Thank God for large print books!

Here’s to the next 12 hours! My Weekend is All Booked!

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24-Hour Readathon Begins! April 2017

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I am super excited to begin my 3rd time participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon! I participated a year ago and almost made it 24 hours but not quite. I hope to be more successful this time. Wish I hadn’t been too excited to get a decent night’s sleep last night. Oh well.

I’ve made some tweaks to my literature this year. I have added large print books for some of the later hours when your eyes start to get a bit blurry. I also have a supply of audiobooks to allow me to continue reading while moving around a bit. This will hopefully keep my body going for 24 hours. I hope to read around 700 pages and finish at least 4 books.

IMG_20170428_190114050I have my reading spots, my book stack and snacks all ready. I actually have multiple reading spots this year. I’ve included a picture of one and will post from a different one later. My snacks are plentiful. While they don’t look too healthy, I do have some apple slices in there somewhere.

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It’s time for the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Missouri City, Texas, USA (first time doing this in the US!)
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I am most looking forward to reading Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Twizzlers
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I have recently moved back to the United States and am now working at a Public Library. Clearly I love books.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? As mentioned above I am adding audiobooks to my reading list as well adding some additional reading spots to keep things fresh.

Let’s do this!!!!

My Must Read Book List for 2017

What books do you want to read in 2017? Here is the list of books I would like to read in 2017:

  1. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  2. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  3. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  4. The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth
  5. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  7. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  8. Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  10. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
  11. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  12. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  13. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  14. Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison
  15. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

However, these listed are not the only books I will read this year (and to be honest I have a hard time keeping to a list), so feel free to send me recommendations of books you have loved – both old and new.

2017 Reading Challenge

24 books completed
8 books ahead of schedule

24/50 (48%)

View Challenge

Reflecting on the “Final” Move

After living in Lucca, Italy for three years, my husband and I will be moving back to the United States. My husband was offered a job in Houston, Texas. We are both excited and nervous about this next stage in our lives.

For the first time in my life, this may not be a temporary settlement. This is a somewhat scary thought for me personally. Previously, I lived in multiple states (Iowa – when I was a baby but I still count it, Wisconsin, Washington DC – technically a district not a state, Missouri, Maryland & Massachusetts); attended academic courses in England, the Balkans – mainly Serbia, & Switzerland; and lived overseas in Italy.

Actually the address I had in Lucca for three years was the longest standing address I resided at since I was seventeen years old. I’ve gotten quite use to this mobile lifestyle. You learn quickly not to collect “things,” as you will have more to eventually pack if you do. I’ve also never had much chance to be bored with my surroundings either.

However, the idea of a long-term settlement means that my husband and I can purchase a house. I am about ten years behind all my friends from school who own homes or have been working toward that for years. Having a home to us isn’t just a next step though but an opportunity to finally have all our belongings in one place. I have boxes I haven’t looked inside of for at least ten years. It’ll be like Christmas morning when my husband and I actually open every box and piece of luggage. It will also be nice to travel some place (yes…traveling will most definitely continue) and have a home to come back to when the trip concludes.

Plus, living a nomadic life has at times been very lonely. I’ve met amazing people everywhere I’ve been, and when it comes time for me to move to my next destination, we always say that we will keep in touch (along with maybe a plan to visit), but most of the time that does not happen. With social media being what it is today, I always expect that it will be so easy to stay in touch and am disappointed when it still does not happen.

I am currently at that stage, right before the move, where I get a bit weepy, as I reminisce on all the memories and moments I’ve experienced in that particular location, but this time it is different. I find myself worried about how I will adjust to normal everyday living in the States. I’ve only been living outside of the USA for three years, but I feel as though I’ve missed so much. Things have changed. American politics has taken an interesting turn, Game of Thrones is the television show of choice for many, and everyone seems to be addicted to Pokemon GO – all this while I’ve been wandering ancient streets and sipping cappuccini. I have faith that I can catch up on all the things I’ve missed, but how do I handle the knowledge that most people will not care about what I have been doing and what they have missed.

I’ve enjoyed a certain motto over the last few years: “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” Does that mean that when you stop wandering, that is when you are lost? That is how I am feeling.

I know how lucky I have been. I’ve lived an amazing, adventurous life, and I’m only in my thirties. I was recently in a small-ish town in the Ukraine, where I spoke with another American woman who has lived around the world. She told me, “like all places you move to, there is an adjustment period.” She went on to saying that it may take longer this time to adjust, but that I will do just fine. However, she warned me not to lose who I am, being a  “a citizen of the world” as we call it. She stressed to me that I must take what I have learned from my time abroad and use it to strengthen myself both emotionally and intellectually. I hope to do just that. There is no fear. Only hope…

Arrivederci Italia!