Lists & Recommendations

5 Books That Are Great To Gift

Hello and welcome to a little post where I share 5 books that I think are great to gift for this upcoming holiday season. Well, actually you can gift these at any time, but I know I am looking for some gift inspiration and I though some others might be as well. Anyway, here are some books I think will be great to give to someone!

The Books

Tokyo Ueno Station by Miri Yū, this mixture of magical realism and historical fiction is set in Tokyo, Japan where we follow the main character of Kazu, who is now a ghost. You follow his as he remembers different parts of his life. Which, normally I would say is really boring, as least for me. Yū mixing this with magical elements as well as their ability to make you care so much for the characters in this book so quickly. I wont say that this is a happy book, it is being told to you by someone who has already past, but it is contemplative. For someone who enjoys discussions about society and others along those lines, this could be a book for them. Especially since it is under 200 pages. Trigger Warnings for Tokyo Ueno Station

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, this is another translated work that might be better suited for those who enjoy more fantasy. This book is part of a series, but could be easily read on its own. It revolves around a coffee shop that has the ability to let its patrons travel back in time, with some rules of course. It is mainly told through the story of four patrons, in doing so you learn about the shop, but also their stories as well. This can get emotional as well, but the atmosphere of the shop is welcoming and supportive as much as they can be. Trigger Warnings for Before the Coffee Gets Cold

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, this historical fiction account of a woman escaping slavery is a good choice to gift someone who enjoys both history and fiction. While this book does deal violence and abuse, I think it is worth a read. This engaging novel, like I said earlier, follows Cora. Core has made the decision to escape and this novel follows her as she makes the terrifying and dangerous journey. You are also told more about her past as you read as well. In telling her story, Whitehead also is looking at what is freedom and what that means and sugar coats nothings. If I am being honest, I would recommend any of the books written by Whitehead that I have read, his writing is clear and he is very talented in conveying what he means and emotions. Trigger Warnings for The Underground Railroad

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius by Donald J. Robertson, this is a more philosophical book so you would be the best judge to see if this would be a good pick for your friend or family member. That being said this book takes a look at Stoicism, which is a way of looking at life. It is philosophy that was developed around the 3rd century BCE, but this book brings these ideas into the modern world. It was a very interesting read personally, it broke things down nicely and I didn’t feel like I was reading a text book or an antique text. I actually did a bit of a review of this, Reading Taste Test | @jacksepticeye, which I think will give you a better look at it.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, for the person who enjoys classics or horror this might be the perfect read. You are going to find some outdated themes and some things that are just NOT appropriate and never should have been. With those things being said, if a person really enjoys horror and classics and keeps those things in mind, this could be a good gift. Carmilla is noted as being the original vampire story, that alone is what drew me in, classic vampires, could be interesting! Even with this being originally written in the 1800s, there is a lot going on in this book; vampires, LGBTQ themes, and frights all around. The atmosphere in this book is palpable and has you on your toes as soon as you pick it up. I know when I read this I was instantly pulled in. Even though this is an updated edition of the book, it does still have a lot of the writing styles/themes that you would see as “classic”. Trigger Warnings for Carmilla

Those are some books that I think might be good editions to your shopping list when it comes to gifting, but please look at the trigger warnings for the books above to make the final decision.

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Lists & Recommendations

My Favorite Films to Watch This Time of Year

Hello All! I am really excited about writing and sharing this post. I am normally not a huge movie watcher, but this time of year I get really nostalgic and love rewatching some movies from my childhood that I just absolutely love. Without going on too much with this introduction here are some of the movies I adore watching this time of year.

A Year Without a Santa Clause (1974)

This movie is not just one that is from my childhood, but was one from my parents as well. It was something they were really excited to share with me as I was growing up. The songs are catchy and the characters of the Miser Brothers are just the best! Just writing this I am already humming some of the songs. This movie starts off with Santa giving up on delivering presents because he was advised by his doctor after falling ill and he also feels like no one cares anymore. From there, many try to prove him wrong and the shenanigan’s go from there.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

I don’t know why, but when I think of the Grinch, this is the version I think of. I don’t think of the animated version. I think of Jim Carrey and him walking back and forth in the mailroom lecturing Cindy Lou Who. Also, who can say no to the cute puppy that played Max. This is another one that I hum along to the songs as well. It just sets up the feeling of the holidays for me.

Little Women (1994)

While I will say, I do very much enjoy the most recent remake in 2019. This is the version I loved from a very young age. This is also one of my all time favorite books and I read and watched this movie so many times and this is just a comfort cozy watch for me. It is like coming home. Sometimes with the chaos of the holidays it is really nice watching something that I know what is going to happen, I know what is going to be said, there is no surprises at all. I just feel really comforted while watching.

The Santa Clause (1994)

This is again a really festive and funny movie in my eye. What happens when your workahaolic dad you have nothing in common with or spend any quality time with ends up turning into Santa Clause after Santa falls off your roof?! It is just a really fun adventure story as well as a really heart warning story about a son and father.

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Lists & Recommendations · To Be Read

My Entire Owned TBR | December 2022

Hello and welcome to a post where I am simply going to share some of the books that I own and want to read. I have really tried to get my TBR down to 0, and I am still working towards that goal. The main reason I want my owned TBR so low is because I really want to hear about a book or have a friend mention one to me and I can just read it as soon as I am interested to avoid spending the money and then loosing interest and it sits on my shelf forever, then I end up donating it. I am really glad that I am able to donate books, but I am always so sad to do it with books that have not been read. I am going to break down my list by format of the books. I will also add an asterisk if I also have an audiobook copy of the book. Anyway, here are the books on my owned TBR.

Physical

Ghosts of Maine by T.M. Gray

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda*

Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh*

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami*

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox*

Mouthful of Birds: Stories by Samanta Schweblin*

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez*

Death on Gokumon Island (Book 2) by Seishi Yokomizo

eBooks

The Honjin Murders (Book 1) by Seishi Yokomizo

Sundial by Catriona Ward

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

Audiobook

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Not to bad at all, I have a total of 12 unread books that are waiting for me to dive into. I am really happy that I was able to get this number so low and I am looking forward to continuing towards my goal of 0 books. I am also making a move towards ebooks slowly. The main reason being room, it is just not feasible for me in the space I am in to keep a lot of books or have books on hand. I also am able to access my library to save some money and still enjoy one of my passions.

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Knitting, Crochet, Crafting, Art & More

My 2023 Make 9!

Hello and welcome to a little post where I am going to share the 9 things I plan to make in 2023! If you are not familiar with this, pretty much you just pick 9 things you really want to make in the new year, new years resolutions of sorts. Most people plan to make more overall, but this is to help focus on the projects you are either really excited for or you need to get done in the new year. For me I don’t have any HAVE to makes, but I do have 9 things I really want to create this year.

The Projects

9 by 9 grid showing pictures of all projects and their names.

Kuutar Beret by Sari Nordlund, I was gifted two skeins of yarn this year and I really wanted to find a project I was able to use them both in and I ended up coming across this beautiful hat! I have never made a beret before or even worn one fort hat matter, but I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it! This beret almost looks like there is a flower on top of it, it is a combination of lace work and cables.

Karelia by Midori Hirose, Last year I bought a kit for thing sweater thinking I was going to have time to make it for my holiday sweater, well turns out I did not. I do want to still make it though and my new goal is to have it done in time for Valentines Day. I am thinking this mainly because I bought the kit with the main color being in red and I can’t think of any other holidays that would work for off the top of my head. I also really feel like the flower motif running along the yolk is a bit romantic.

Soldotna Crop by Caitlin Hunter, this is another sweater I bought a kit for. I picked up a kit from the wonderful Voolenvine Yarns. I fell in love with her color scheme she used a while ago. The one day I got a notification in my email that she was making kits and I knew I needed to put in an order. I lucked out and was able to snag a kit, she sells out fast. My goal is to have it done in time for Summer 2023 because of all the fun pattern color work would really be nice and fun!

Velvet Mirror Cowl by Andrea Mowry, I was hoping to make this one done before the weather got to cold, but my goal is to get this one done ASAP so I have something to keep my neck warm when it get super cold out. I also really want to use this project to practice my two handed color work. It is small and I feel like it will give a good deal of practice, without it being too much. The color work is also pretty straight forwards, it is mostly geometrical shapes such as diamonds and chevrons.

Winnow by Olivia Sczepanik, I have a sweater quantity of yarn in my stash and I needed to pin it to a project after I decided to not make something else. I was flicking through one of my issues of Pom Pom and came across this open cardigan sweater. I have never made an open cardigan, but I fell in love with the cables and new this is the project I was going to use the yarn for instantly.

Missoni Accomplished by Espace Tricot, When I was first learning to make sweaters I honestly was HORRIBLE at buying the correct type of yarn. I ended up having so much leftovers from a sweater that I could make a whole other one. Did I mention how bad I was? Anyway, I have enough to make this cute and fun sweater so I am thankful about that. I am really glad that I had enough of both colors because I found out the yarn I have is discontinued and I really want to do the three giant wavy lines across the body.

Woodlark Shawl by Fiber Tales, This project is going to be a huge deal for me. The first being it is the first item I am going to be making and steeking. Steeking is where you knit something in the round with the intention of cutting it after you are done you have a flat piece of knitting. This shawl is knit in the round, at the end you reinforce the section you are going to cut, then hope you did a good enough job and cut all the hard work you have done. It is scary, but I feel like it is something I want to give a go, at least once. It is always fun and sometimes terrifying to try something good, but how else will you learn? I did find a pattern to practice on that is a cup holder so I might knit this first and steek that one, but we shall see what I decided to do later on in the year. I also really love the color work on the shawl. It has a mix of natural themes such as leaves and flowers, but geometrical patterns as well. I also really loved how busy it was, but toned down depending on the colors you choose.

Travel Mode 2.0 by Susanne Sommer, this year I was lucky enough to go to a yarn festival. I decided I was going to pick up yarn from a bunch of different venders to make one project. I felt like this pattern will really show off all the different yarns nicely by having huge color blocks and serve as a really nice and usable memento of the fun I had.

Underwing Mitts by Erica Heusser, This is something that is kind of in the same vein as the velvet mirror cowl. It revolves around a lot of colorwork with some duplicate stitches, but is also a project time I have never made before. Mittens. I am not sure why, but mittens are something that seems to be really difficult, whish is odd because I have made hats, scarfs, sweaters, socks, and a few more things. For some reason this intimidates me. But, I feel like after I concquer two handed color work this will be a lot less intimidating. Baby steps. Also, the really beautiful moth front and center on these mitts was just so beautiful.

Anyway, those are the projects I really want to make in the new year. I know in 2021 I made about 36 projects. In 2022 I have made about 20, maybe a few more. I have not done a full count in a bit, but I feel like I can for sure get these 9 done and then add in some more spontaneous projects as well. As with reading, I am a complete mood knitter.

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Knitting, Crochet, Crafting, Art & More

Great Last Min. Handmade Gifts

With all the gift giving coming up, I thought it might be a good idea to maybe share some of the last min. gifts I have made over the years. Please note, the prices of these patterns are accurate for when it was written and are subject to change.

Free Crochet

Easy Crochet Velvet Twist Headband by Tiffany Brown Ravelry | Website, this was a really fun and easy project. I really loved working with a super-soft yarn and I have actually made it with a wool based yarn as well and loved it just as much. It is nice and simple, but has just enough interest with the twist.

Crochet Velvet Infinity Scarf by Daisy Farm Crafts Website, I ended up finding this pattern to make with the headband above. The simple, but very affective stitch pattern was great. It went fast, but also kept my interest throughout.

4 Fun Stitches for Chunky Crochet Cowls by Daisy Farm Crafts Website, this is actually a four in one pattern and I made every single one. They are all great ways to try new stiches and also get something gift worthy at the same time.

Paid Crochet

Merci Cloth by TL Yarn Crafts Ravelry | Website, Sadly, I was so excited about gifting these I forgot to take a picture of them. I ended up really loving these and so did the people I gifted them to. I have even made a few replacements as well.

Jessie Stash Basket by Toni Lipsey/TL Yarn Crafts Ravelry | Website, this is a great present that is quick and easy to make. Not only that, it is great to load up with someone’s favorite snacks and treats. After that it is great to hold different things as well. I made one for myself and gifted another and I used mine to hold my TBR.

Free Knitting

Apiarist Cowl by Claire Borchardt Ravelry | Website, this was the first time I made cables and it has such great and clear instructions. It is fun and engaging and looks a lot more complicated than you would think at first glance. While it has a lot of patterning, it being a cowl is perfect for a quick gift.

Steek This Coffee Cozy by Rachel Molenaar Ravelry, this is great for two reasons. You get to practice steeking if it is something you have never done before and a person you love gets a really nice cozy for their mug. This was a hit when paired with the persons favorite tea/coffee.

Paid Knitting

Musselburgh Hat by Ysolda Teague Ravelry | Website, this is one pattern I feel like a lot of people have made. I have made multiple of these hats and they take me between a week and a week and a half. They are really great because they are double thick and you can use whatever weight you have on hand. In my case I have always used fingering weight and it was a great wayu to use that special skein of yarn I didn’t know what to do with, but I loved.

Christopher Bunny by Susan B. Anderson Ravelry | Website, this is a really cute pattern to make for a little one or just someone who really loves animals. The pattern is so detailed and has pictures throughout to guide you. I really loved this personally because I never knit a stuffed animal before this and I was not overwhelmed in the slightest. There are also video tutorials that go along with it.

I hope some of these are able to help you out with some last min, gift crocheting or knitting! I know I had a ton of fun when I made each of these. Sadly, a lot of these I made before I was keeping track of my creations by taking pictures so I don’t have pictures of share of each object. I also sometimes get so excited about gifting them I wrap them up before snapping a picture as well. OOPS!

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Bullet Journal Jottings, Writing & More

BUJO | December 2022

Hello and welcome to my BUJO for the month! This month I went festive for the fall season and really embraced pumpkins. This past week I ended up going to my local box craft store and really fell in love with the art style of this pumpkin craft paper I came across called Pumpkin Patch Paper. I decided to grab a sheet and used it to decorate this time around, which I actually ended up kinda loving so I might do it again next month. We shall see! Anyway, here is what I did for the month of October.

Items Used

Calendar and Dashboard

Monthly Calendar and Decorative Craft Paper

I decided to keep this month’s spreads very simple since chances are I will have a lot going on. December is always a ton of fun, but it can be overwhelming at times. To keep things a bit calm, I figured I would keep things clean and organized. For the monthly calendar I just labeled it December 2022 and gave each day a rectangle on a single page. On the page opposite I decided to add some craft paper that has a blue background and images of blue holly, snow, pine sprigs, and a cut of a berry spring repeated throughout the page. I had used this method to decorate my BUJO the past few months and I have really been loving it.

Monthly Goals & Advent Tracking

Goal Pages, Monthly Notes, and Advent Tracking

On the left hand side I broke the page into two sections. The top is to keep track of my monthly goals I have for myself. These include setting up budgets, connect yarn to projects, read a book, complete 24 days of Blogmas, bake cookies or another sweet, and create goals for 2023. I already completed a few of these, but have quite a few to complete still. Under that I made a space called Monthly Notes, I usually save this spot to write down fun and exciting things that have happened over the month, almost like a memory dump of sorts. It is really fun to look back at.

On the right hand side I reserved to keep track of my advent projects this year. I have three that I am thinking about activitly doing this month, but I am thinking I will be only doing two. The two I know I am doing for sure are the 24-Stripe Socks. This is where you knit a single stripe on the socks per day. These will be my Christmas socks. I picked the 2022 Advent 24-Stripe Yarn by Freckled Whimsy and I plan on using a pattern called Spinifex Socks by Helen Stewart (Ravelry). The second one is a 12 Day Advent from MadlineTosh where you get the choice of 4 patterns and the yarn to complete that project as well as a few other goodies dealing with the yarn arts. I don’t know the patterns yet, so this should be fun to find out on December 1st! The last one that is a long shot is to use my minis and leftovers over the month of December to make the Anthology Throw (Ravelry), also written by Helen Stewart. I have a feeling I wont be doing this one, but just incase I wanted to add it. I plan on coloring in the days I actively work on each project to see how I keep up with these projects.

On both of these pages I ended up using up the leftover craft paper to add some pops of color as well. I thought it would be fun to tie everything together and add make things look a bit cuter. As you can see, I really kept things bare this month, I usually have a habit tracker and some other lists, but like I said December tends to be a little much so I wanted to go easy on myself. But, there you have it, my bujo spreads for the month of December!

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Monthly Intent

Monthly Intent | December 2022

Hello and welcome to my monthly intent post for the last month of 2022! I know I have been very hit or miss with posting this year, but I am hoping to turn that around this month and going forward. Anyway, as with very monthly intent, I am going to take a moment to share some of the goals and plans I have for the month ahead.

Reading Plans

I honestly have no real goal this month in particular. I have a lot going on this month with last min. gift knitting and crocheting and all the holiday plans. I feel like if I am going to have a goal is to just read what I want. I have no plan and that is my plan, if I can call it that.

Crochet & Knitting Plans

This month I really want to enjoy my knitting my advent striped sock and maybe crocheting my other advent as well. I say maybe because the advent I was lucky enough to have has both a crochet and knitting pattern and I have no idea what they look like at this point. I feel like I will figure it out once I see what my options are. Other than that, I just have a few gifts I need to finish, but I am not too stressed or worried about the deadline currently.

Random Goals

This month I really would like to get organized for the new year. I mainly want to set myself up for success in 2023 by doing what I need to do to try and succeed at the goals I have for 2023. December is a really odd month for me in this respect. I feel like it is all about wrapping up the previous year and getting ready for the new one.

Other than “prepping” for 2023, I really want to take part in blogmas this year and post each day leading up to Christmas. In the past, I did a version of blogmas, The 12 Days of Blogmas”, but this year I really want to commit and post from the 1st of December thought the 24th. It is a lot of work, but I think I can do it. Plus some of the posts I am planning are fun and silly. I am hoping this will reignite my love of blogging.

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Monthly Digest

Monthly Digest | September 2022

Reading

Maledictions: A Horror Anthology by Cassandra Khaw, I ended up really enjoying this collection of horror short stories. It was just great to pick up here and there and read something when I didn’t have a ton of time. That being said, it is a collection and I liked some sort stories better than others. I feel like that is just how collections work though in general. This was also my first introduction to the WarHammer universe and I enjoyed how vast it is through these little stories. I am interested in diving into this universe a bit more, I just need to figure out where to dive in fully.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, I know a lot of people have been talking about this memoir so I won’t ramble on too much. I really loved this memoir because of McCurdy’s voice and her ability to explain her story and her feelings. This book has a lot of tough topics throughout, various types of abuse, which no child should have to go through. Let alone from their own mother. This book was one I had a hard time putting down because I just wanted to keep reading and I have to say I am so happy for McCurdy and where she is now. In charge of her own decisions and her own life.

Crochet, Knitting and Crafting

Sadly, I did not finish my sweater by the end of the month, but I am so close! I had to wait for a needle to get here, in the mean time I ended up starting and finishing another project while I waited. I ended up crocheting a Float Tote by Knitty Natty, which is like a project bag, but you also create an insert to organize different skeins of yarn. I ended up making the biggest size, 5 skeins. I plan on using this to make a sweater where I am knitting together 3 strands at a time and this is perfect so all my yarn doesn’t get tangled and roll all over the place.

Life

This month I really focused on my making my space comfortable and relaxing. I ended up doing an unhaul a bit of books to donate locally. I also reorganized my dressers and closet to better work for me as well. It was a lot of work, but now that it is done I am really happy and feel a bit more at ease when I walk in the door since I am not faced with so much clutter and stuff piled everywhere. I do have one more drawer, my crafting drawer, that I want to tackle still, but I am waiting until next month and the colder months to look through those items. The main reason being I tend to do more crafting during that time of the year and I want to see what I use and don’t use.

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Monthly Intent

Monthly Intent | October 2022

Hello and welcome to another Monthly Intent post where I share my reading plans and other goals I have for the month ahead. We are now officially in fall and I have already had my experiences with chilly mornings. Due to this I am in the mood for horror, knitting sweaters, and other fall activities to keep warm and get in the spirit of the season. Without some more ramblings, here are my plans for the month of October!

Reading Plans

One book I for sure want to read in October is Sundial by Catriona Ward. I am reading this with my friend Reg specifically because it is a creepy psychological horror book and it is finally the spookiest month of the year. I have a feeling it will be the perfect book to read to get in the Halloween spirit this month. Other than that I really would like to read 2 more books, but I am going to leave it up to my mood. I recently took a good look at my owned TBR books, turns out I only have about 7 remaining on my shelf, Owned TBR Shelf. Which is really exciting because I really want to get to a point where I finish a book and then pick up my next book from the library or the store.

Crochet and Knitting Plans

Color work body completed of a knitted sweater hanging on a ladder. Has zig zags near collar and bumps throughout.

Finishing Alpenglow I by Andrea Mowry. I know I really wanted to finish this last month, but turned out I did not have the 9 inch curricular in the correct size to work on the sleeves once I got to to them and was held up a few days. I am not halfway through one sleeve and only have a sleeve and a half to go! After this I would really like to finish my halloween socks, which is a yarn called Zombie Frap by Desert Vista Dye Works and I am using the pattern, Heel Toe Do Si Do by Crazy Sock Lady Designs.

Random Goals

As for random goals, I want enjoy some of this fall weather and activities before it gets too cold outside. I would really love to go apple picking this month, it is something I have been doing for years and it really is a ton of fun and afterwords I get to make apple pie! I would also really love it if I got the chance to carve a pumpkin, but this month my schedule might not allow it. One last thing I would really love to do this month is have a bonfire in the backyard with the chill in the air.

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Life Style · Reading Challenges

Second Goal Check in for 2022!

Hello and welcome to the second peak and check in with my goals for the year of 2022! We are now in the last third of the year, kinda wild to be typing that out already, but it is true. I have honestly have not even thought about these goals since my last post, I am hoping I made some progress organically and I won’t have to focus too much on them in the last four months of the year.

Reading Goals

Read 6 non-fiction books, I have read a total of 5 non-fiction books, I only need one more!

Read the International Booker Prize Shortlist, I have read 4 of the 6, so the progress is right on par!

Get owned TBR under 15 books, I am currently at 12 books! I am really thrilled to get my Owned TBR down to this number. I hope to continue in this manner and get it down even more so I can pick up a book and read it while the excitement is there.

Life Goals

See a new place, I ended up visiting about 4 new yarn shops this year. Not quite what I had in mind for this goal, but technically I did do it.

Teach myself something new, In my last post on the topic I talked about learning color work, cables, and bobbles in knitting. In addition to taking a genealogy research class.

Maker Goals

Knit a sweater, achieved! In my last post and I have knitted another since then!

Knit 6 pairs of socks, so far I have created 5 pairs and I have one that is missing its partner! So, I am super close!

Crochet a sweater, I have yet to do this one, but I have knitted two and am in the middle of three so I am kinda alternating this one to knitting. Crocheting garments is just not for me, I enjoy crocheting toys, bags, and those types of things.

Create 10 things with my hands, as of writing this I have created 13 items!

Goal Count

Completed: 6

Not Completed: 3

I have successfully achieved 6 of my 9 goals for this year. Kinda funny how it lines up with a third being left to accomplish and a third of the year is left! I am glad the ones I have not achieved I have made progress in and am close to being able to check it off my list. I am glad my past self put me in such a good position to meet my goals.

All I need to do is finish one sock, read one more nonfiction book, and read 2 more books from the International Booker Prize Shortlist. All very manageable and I am confident that I will do these before the year is through!

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