Two Thousand Fifteen to Two Thousand Sixteen.

Hello, all!

January 3rd, 2016 is here, and what a beautiful day it is. The sun is shining (we haven’t seen much sun the past few weeks so it’s very welcoming), I’m in my comfy clothes, and I’m doing some laundry. Major productivity.

The holidays came and went, and it seems they move faster as I get older. Christmas was an absolute blast though–all of my siblings were home with their families, and it was a house full of warmth and love.

I also completed my first semester of graduate school, and I’m excited to report that I received A’s in both of my classes. It was a challenging semester, though I do believe next semester will be even more so. But, as always, I will do my best, and that’s what matters most. Right?

Working for the literary magazine, Temenos, was also fantastic. I made so many new friends and read so many wonderful stories by very talented people. I love being a part of such a cool team of writers/editors–it’s where I belong.

So, I’m currently on holiday break, working here and there, but at least on break of school. I’ve watched many movies, wrote a lot in my journal, spent time at home with my loving family, watched a variety of television, saw some old friends, had some amazing times with new friends, traveled, and so far, I’ve read two books (and I’m almost on my third).

1. When You Are Engulfed of Flames by David Sedaris
-This was the last Sedaris book I had left on my “To Read” list. I found a hardcopy at a used book store here in town called the Paperback Book Exchange (a nice little place, not my favorite in town though), and I almost fainted. As you may know, I’m a HUGE Sedaris fan; his writing is engaging, extremely funny, and so real and true to human behavior. Anyway, it’s a spectacular set of essays that I proudly placed in the “Sedaris Section” of my bookcase after finishing it.

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
-I’m nearly halfway through this little epistolary novel, and as angsty as it is, I’m actually enjoying it. I’ve been told to read it by numerous friends over the years, and I suppose I just avoided it because I don’t generally enjoy books about teenage drama (I originally thought that’s what it was mainly about). However, a new friend of mine put in the movie a few nights ago, and I enjoyed the movie, so I had to give the book a try, you know? Even though I know the main points and elements of the story, having watched the movie, there is much I’m enjoying more about the book (surprise…lol). I see a lot of myself in the narrator (specifically when I was in high school), which is a little creepy at times, but I’m sure many young people do. And I’m sure many young people will be able to relate to this young boy’s story for years to come. USA Today quoted it as “a coming-of-age tale in the tradition of Catcher in the Rye…” and it is very much like that.

So that’s what I’ve read on my break thus far, but I also want to reflect on something from earlier this year. In December of 2014, my sister-in-law informed me of a new book challenge she had seen on Pinterest, and we both decided to give it a shot. This was titled, throughout different posts in my blog, 2015 Book Challenge (or Book Challenge 2015…some variation of that). From January to July 2015, I read a variety of books/plays. When school started and I started new jobs, my pace slowed a bit, but I still managed to read a few more this fall.

Anyway, here’s a Master List from my Book Challenge 2015–all books/plays I read before the ball dropped to 2016. If you’ve read my blog before, you may recognize some titles–I did more elaborate reviews on a few of them. I won’t be doing any in-depth reviews on these last couple books, but I still have one more week of break left, so I’m thinking the next book after Perks I’ll write up a review.

And here we go (asterisk indicates “favorites of the year”):

  1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  2. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill*
  3. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  5. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  6. Room by Emma Donoghue
  7. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
  8. Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
  9. Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
  10. Cruddy by Lynda Barry
  11. Getting Mother’s Body by Suzan-Lori Parks
  12. Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer
  13. Astray by Emma Donoghue
  14. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  15. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
  16. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis*
  17. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  18. Generation A by Douglas Coupland
  19. The Red House by Mark Haddon*
  20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (I’ve read this once before, but I’m counting it again because why not.)
  21. The Watchmen by Alan Moore
  22. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
  23. The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
  24. The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
  25. True Grit by Charles Portis
  26. The Price by Arthur Miller*
  27. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
  28. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  29. Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
  30. Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  31. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris*

And since this is a new year, and much like I did in my last New Year post, I also want to cover my Top Five Favorite Movies of 2015:
1. Crimson Peak
2. Jurassic World
3. The Babadook
4. Black Mass
5. The Night Before

And my Top Five Favorite TV Shows of 2015:
1. The League
2. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (because always)
3. Supernatural
4. The Office (UK)
5. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Have you read any of these books? Watched any of these shows or movies? Feel free to ask for or share suggestions!

And as always, thank you for reading.
Wishing you all a wonderful new year! Keep reading and writing. x

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