Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

The Sunday Salon Logo

Happy Holidays! I hope everyone recovered from Christmas and is ready for New Year’s Eve/Day festivities! For the past week, the entire family has been hanging out together as Jim and I both use up PTO and the kids enjoy their winter break. We hosted Christmas dinner for my family and enjoyed the white Christmas Mother Nature was so kind to grant us by taking all of the kids sledding. Santa was very good to Holly, granting her another American Girl Christmas, while Connor received almost all of the components in which to build his own computer. It may not sound exciting, but it is something he cannot wait to start putting together. Jim received a Harley-Davidson tool chest to complement his Harley-Davidson-themed garage. Meanwhile, I received more charms for my Pandora bracelet, a new tattoo, and the cookbook Melt. 2014 is definitely the year of gourmet macaroni and cheese. I can’t wait!!

As the year winds down, my biggest thought is “We made it.” It has been one hell of a year. At times, I wasn’t certain if any of us were going to reach 2014 with our sanity in check. Between Jim’s travel schedule, Holly’s year-long dance classes, cross-country, Bloggers Recommend, marching band, jazz band, high school, my own travel schedule, physical inventories, audits, homework, house work, and everything else, there were times when it really was a close call. If that which does not kill us makes us stronger, I might now be Iron Man.

All that time spent at practices did have a side benefit. I made my goal of reading 200 books this year for a total of 59,320 pages. My highest month was November when I read 21 books during the month. 75 percent of what I read were review copies, while 14 percent were audiobooks. Speaking of audiobooks, I’ve spent almost 25 days listening to them this year. Damn. Even more surprising, I wasn’t reading small books this year, as the average book length this year was 296 pages, compared to last year’s 267 and 2011’s 279. I still like my female authors, which made up 70 percent of the total number of authors to which I was exposed this year. Exposed is definitely the correct word because 73 percent of the authors were completely new to me. Other stats – I have definitely cut back on the amount of YA I read; I’m down to 12 percent compared to a high of 27 percent in 2011. Literary fiction, historical fiction and science fiction are my three favorite genres apparently, making up 78 percent of my books. I read a lot of new books this year too as only 47 of the books read were published in previous years. All in all, I’m both happy and sad. I am so happy I finally met my reading goal for sheer number of books and pages. However, there are some interesting trends that leave me unsatisfied. I want to read more YA. I miss YA. I love YA. I feel like I should have listened to more audiobooks, having really struggled with a desire to listen to one towards the end of the year. I would love to read some older books as well, but you know how that always goes. Still, I can’t say that I am disappointed. I mean, 200 books at almost 300 pages each? Wow.

I know this is the time for resolutions and goals. I just can’t find it in me to make any. I know what I need to do (lose weight, get fit), what I would like to do (read more, relax more, quit work), and what I will do (spend lots of time at practices and work). I feel that there is no way 2014 will be as insane as this past year, if only because Jim will not be spending almost the entire year away from home in another state. I know that we will face challenges, but I also know that we will handle them. I guess there were some benefits to this past year after all.

Books recently reviewed:

As I enter into my fifth year of blogging, it is you – my devoted readers – who fill me with purpose and keep me motivated. I love to read, but I absolutely love sharing the books I read with everyone. I could not have made it through this year without all of your kind words and support. Thank you all for everything. I wish each and every one of you a very healthy and happy 2014.

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