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Currently | New Year, New Computer

currently january 4, 2015

Briefly | Cheers and Happy New year! It feels like forever since I sat down and wrote a Sunday morning post — lots to catch up on.

Time and Place | About 8:30 a.m. on my couch with my new Asus Chromebook, one of my Christmas presents. My old laptop was on it’s last legs and a Chromebook seemed like a reasonable replacement. It’s slim, light and does nearly everything I need from a computer on a daily basis even if it’s not as powerful or feature-filled as a traditional laptop.

Eating and Drinking | At the moment, Christmas cookies and water. But I’m thinking about the awesome fruit bouquet my mom got for Christmas — pineapple stars!

Reading | Over the holidays, I finished up a re-read of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy — The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. I loved the parts that focused on people, but felt like I was trudging through the parts on religious theory. Overall, probably a 4 of 5 stars for the series.

My first book of 2015 was Sweetland by Michael Crummy. And you guys, this book is beautiful. I’m still trying to process all of the feelings it gave me. This week I’ll be working on a big biography, The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport and jumping into a book for Jazz Age JanuaryFlappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell.

Reading | I loved this New York Times profile of Laura Hillenbrand that ran last month. There are some really interesting bits on the state of narrative nonfiction as well as background on how Hillenbrand, who is largely confined to her home due to illness, does her writing.

Watching | I finished rewatching season six of Parks and Recreation and decided to just start over at the beginning. I am going to miss this show a lot — there’s nothing on television that’s quite as funny and quite as kind. And of course it’s Wildcard Weekend, so I’ve been watching football.

Buying | I went on a bit of a book buying binge at the end of 2014 — Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman, Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey, The Physics of Superheroes by James Kakalios, and Sweetland. I added several more books to my online shopping cart on Friday, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

Blogging | In case you missed it during the holidays, here are all of my end of the year posts: Favorite Nonfiction of 2014, Favorite Fiction of 2014, and 2014 in Bookish Stats. I also posted about my goals for 2015 (and my plans to take on the 2015 TBR Challenge).

Changing | For the last several years, my Goodreads Reading Challenge number has been 100 books. It’s a nice round number, and I like that I can often beat it. Initially, I set my goal for 2015 at 105 books, but after some consideration I dropped it down to 96 (eight books per month). This is largely irrelevant, since I don’t really read to hit the goal, but it feels like it matters.

Loving | I’m late to the party, but I loved this SNL Digital Short — Hobbit Office.

Avoiding | I need to get moving to make breakfast and get to the gym… but I’d rather cuddle up under a blanket.

Anticipating | Starting on Thursday I’ll be in the Twin Cities volunteering with Youth in Government, a YMCA youth leadership program where students participate in a mock legislative session. I was a program participant in high school, and have been an adult volunteer ever since. It’s an amazing program, but a very tiring weekend — I’m so excited!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bryan G. Robinson January 4, 2015, 9:18 am

    I’ve read about Hillenbrand before, but am bookmarking that article to read later. I’m just amazed at the amount of research she did for Unbreakable. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but want to. I know it won’t compare to the book, though.

    It took us a while to see the SNL Digital Short Hobbit parody of The Office, but once we did, we loved it. My wife said a lot of her coworkers didn’t get it when they saw it, but she and I both loved it, having seen the British version of The Office first.

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:22 pm

      I didn’t know anything about Hillenbrand before reading Unbroken and, even then, was amazed at the level of detail. That she was able to do that while basically being homebound is incredible.

  • Trisha January 4, 2015, 9:31 am

    I’m geeking out with the Youth in Government mention. I participated in something similar in high school where a large group of us, each with a chosen role, went down to Springfield and participated as a full session on a specific bill. It was awesome.

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:23 pm

      That sounds very similar — the YIG programs in different states are all structured slightly differently.

  • BermudaOnion(Kathy) January 4, 2015, 9:49 am

    Getting a new computer is so much fun and also a little bit of a pain. I hope you love yours!

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:24 pm

      So far, so good! I love how light it is, even if there are some trade offs in the types of programs I can run.

  • Julie Merilatt January 4, 2015, 11:30 am

    I can’t wait to hear what you think of The Romanov Sisters. One of my favorite topics, as you well know…

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:24 pm

      I like it so far! It’s very personal, and very focused in on the Romanov family, which I like — that’s what makes a good biography different from a good history book.

  • Vasilly January 4, 2015, 12:02 pm

    I’m going to have to look up Sweetland now. Thanks for linking up to the Hillenbrand article. I know she has chronic fatigue syndrome and have been interested in her since reading Seabiscuit. Good luck on your Goodreads challenge.

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:25 pm

      The information about how she does her research is fascinating. And I love the parts in the article that talk about contemporary narrative nonfiction — lots of good authors mentioned.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading January 4, 2015, 2:58 pm

    The last few things I’ve heard about Sweetland have been wonderful, so you’ve definitely helped move it up the pile! My students used to participate in Youth in Government and it was always such a great experience. So great that you’re taking part!

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:26 pm

      It was so great! I felt like I was holding my breath during the whole second half of the book because I was so drawn in by the main character and what he was struggling with.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End January 4, 2015, 4:00 pm

    Yeah, the religious theory stuff in the Pullman books made me tired. The third one gets reeeeally didactic. I enjoyed the books so much on the first go-round, and then I haven’t been able to plow through them again.

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:26 pm

      So didactic! I just sort of waded through those parts to get to the Will and Lyra and Mary parts because those are so wonderful.

  • Belle Wong January 4, 2015, 6:01 pm

    I’ll be interested to hear how you like the Chromebook. My laptop has been getting slower and slower, and I’ve been thinking about getting a Chromebook and using my laptop just for the things I can’t do with a Chromebook, like my indexing work and iTunes. I was amazed when I read the Hillebrand article how she managed to do so much research – I’m not sure I could do the same if I suffered from the vertigo she does. Youth in Government sounds like fun!

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:27 pm

      I will keep you posted! One of the reasons I went with it is because I have a desktop computer, at home and at work, if I really need something that can’t be done online. But from what I could gather, the vast majority of what I do on a computer I do online, so I don’t feel especially limited by the Chromebook just yet.

  • Laurie C January 4, 2015, 6:36 pm

    I listened to His Dark Materials on on audio, and loved it, but wonder how I’d feel about listening again now. I got a new lightweight laptop last Christmas and hubby transferred everything over so that it was all exactly the same only newer and faster! Hope you like your new one as much as I do! Happy New Year!

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:28 pm

      I’m not sure how the trilogy would be on audio… maybe the pontificating parts are easier to listen to than they are to read?

  • Lu January 4, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Ahh, yes, I’m so sad to see Parks & Rec go. I’ve been thinking about a rewatch, too. Maybe once the last season is truly over I’ll watch it all over again. Sweetland sounds really wonderful and I hadn’t heard of it before. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it!

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:29 pm

      I may end up slowing my rewatch down to try and time it better with the last season, we’ll see. I just can’t quite admit it’s over!

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf January 4, 2015, 11:58 pm

    Congrats on the new computer! I need to catch up on Parks & Rec, but I’m sad it’s ending.

    • Kim January 5, 2015, 8:29 pm

      It’s honestly one of the most delightful shows on tv right now… I’m so bummed it’s just getting shunted away.

  • Michelle January 5, 2015, 9:34 pm

    Congrats on the new computer! We bought my daughter a Chromebook so that she can do her homework. It is perfect for her. I love that they make such affordable and impressive computers these days!

    Have a great week and have fun at the leadership program. It sounds like a blast!

  • Melissa January 5, 2015, 10:43 pm

    I hear ya on the book buying binge. I went kind of crazy throughout December, and I also ended up buying the new Grimm’s edition and Sweetland (among others). I’m reading Sweetland now and I’m taking my time with it. I love Crummey!

    • Kim January 14, 2015, 9:16 pm

      This was my first of his books — loved it!

  • Florinda January 5, 2015, 11:56 pm

    i am glad Parks & Rec is back next week, and sad that its final season will go so quickly! It’s just so genuinely good-natured (even when everyone piles on Jerry). I just started Unbroken on audio today; I loved Seabiscuit, and I’m pretty sure Laura Hillenbrand can get me interested in just about anything or anyone.