Have A Happy 2018!!!

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 10.49.48 AMI am bummed that I did not manage to get a holiday message out last month, but I hope y’all had a wonderful and safe holiday season. We were fortunate enough to have our immediate families all in Houston and enjoyed spending time with everyone.

2017 was an interesting year for us. My husband and I are adjusting quite well to our new location and jobs. I continue to work for a public library, which I am enjoying. Why would I not enjoy being surrounded by books all the time?! I also work with a wonderful group of people. My husband taught his first graduate class in Statistical Mechanics (the kind of physics that describes large numbers of interacting particles) last spring. It went very well, and he was later told by a new student that he had been deemed “the cool professor.” He is teaching the same course again this year, which means he’s able to build off of last years work.

My husband also attended many conferences last year all over the place, including Tel Aviv, Israel; Aspen, Colorado; Washington, DC; and 2 in New Orleans. I sometimes got toIMG_20170116_195111071 tag along on these trips, so I was able to explore Israel, DC and New Orleans, while he was unfortunately working. Israel was fun and interesting. We were only there for a couple of days, but the conference actually set up a night excursion to Jerusalem (see picture on the right), which included a dinner; a walking tour; time at the Wailing Wall; and a lights display, so at least my husband got to see some of Israel. I also got to do a day tour to the north side of Israel that included Nazareth, Capernaum, and the Galilee Sea. The tour guide was very well-versed in the history and religious symbols of each area we went to, so I enjoyed it immensely.

Unfortunately, work kept my husband very busy all year, so we did not take any extended vacations together. However, I took a road-trip around England with my best 20431586_470116973362867_389937866817083112_nfriend. This trip was actually inspired by my love of all things Jane Austen, since there were special events being held to honor her for the 200th anniversary of her death. However, we did other things besides Austen events, including visiting Stonehenge (see picture below this paragraph); going on a Harry Potter walking-tour of Oxford; visiting some tourists sites in London (British Library, Westminster, 221b Baker Street); and meeting up with a few friends who reside in different areas of England. Our road-trip did not just include bigger cities like London, Bath and Oxford. We also spent some time in the countryside in the Peak District (see picture above on the left of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire), which may have been my favorite part. Plus, we were fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather for most of our time there.

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We continue to love our new house (see picture at the bottom of this post). It has been a learning experience, being first-time homeowners, but we it has been completely worth it. We remodeled my husband’s home office, so he has a comfortable space to work. We 20170827_175305also had our roof replaced, which luckily held up during Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was a very stressful time for us, as we did experience some damage to our fence, which probably can be attributed to nearby tornadoes. We also watched as high waters turned our street into a river (see picture above on the right of a main street in our subdivision). After all that, we then were evacuated for fear of a potential breach of the Brazos River. Luckily, that breach never happened, and we were able to return to our home that had very little damage and no flooding. We were spared when so many others were not, and we find ourselves very blessed and thankful for that.

I hope 2018 turns out to be a great year for everyone, filled with lots of happiness and preferably no hurricanes!

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!  ~The Morrisons

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My Must Read Book List for 2018

What books do you want to read in 2018? Here is the list of books I would like to read in 2018:

  1. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  2. Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
  3. Different Seasons by Stephen King
  4. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  5. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  6. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  7. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
  8. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  9. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

However, these listed are not the only books I will read this year…hopefully, as I will also be participating in an A-Z Classics Challenge and a Passport Reading Challenge. Still feel free to send me recommendations of books you have loved – both old and new.

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2018 A-Z Classics Reading Challenge

I spent much of 2017 reading recent bestsellers and want to get back to reading some classics. I’ve decided to participate in a reading challenge, where I will read one classic for every letter of the alphabet. Here is my list:

  • A   Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  • B   Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • C   Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • D   Dubliners by James Joyce
  • E   East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • F   Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • G   The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • H   The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • I   I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • J   Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  • K   Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • L   Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • M   Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • N   The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  • O   Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • P   Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  • Q   The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • R   The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
  • S   The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  • T   Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • U   Utopia by Thomas More
  • V   Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
  • W   The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • X   Xingu by Edith Wharton
  • Y   The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Z   Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo

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2018 Passport Reading Challenge

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I’ve chosen to read a book about the following places:

  1. China: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  2. Egypt: Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz
  3. Gibraltar: A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
  4. Haiti: The Boiling Season by Christopher Hebert
  5. Ireland: The Dubliners by James Joyce
  6. Liechtenstein: Escape to Liechtenstein by Ed Dunlap
  7. Montenegro: The Devil’s Own by Sandra Brown
  8. Portugal: The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel