A Walk in the (Willamette National Forest) Woods*

On my way back from a student teacher observation in Central Oregon Tuesday, I encountered an odd winter weather pattern. It was freezing rain in Central Oregon, it was 40 and rainy in the valley, but the higher you went through the mountain passes, the warmer the weather was (49 degrees) and only slightly drizzly. Odd, I know. But, I took advantage and went for a walk. I took my iPhone with me. Enjoy.

And, lest you think I went wilderness hiking while wearing my professional attire, I assure you this amazing location is a pull-off area from the main highway. My little car looks right at home in these woods, don't ya think?

*Apologies to Bill Bryson



Revised new year's resolution

Okay, so maybe I was a little hasty with the resolution in that last post. I made a resolution to not buy another book until I have read the ones on my shelf. I am not thinking that is realistic. There are 58 books on my shelf to be read (and a couple of freebie downloads on the Kindle now). I only finished 47 books this year. That would mean a whole year without purchasing a book. I am just not thinking I can keep that one. There are numerous book sales like this one and this one. They are a great way to get a cheap ($1.50-$2.50) copy of something on your list to read. The next one is coming up next month.

So, like any good American, I am making a revised resolution on January 10: I am not going to buy another book to read.... unless there is room for it on the shelf. That buys me a little wiggle room for going to the book sale with my book-loving friend, finding one or two cheap books I want to read yet still pacing myself so I cannot buy the 23 I bought at the Eugene book sale last year! Yup, 23.

The shelf currently looks like this... so there is still work to be done to make room before the annual Friends of the Benton County Library book sale on the last weekend of February (Feb 21-23, 2014).


What I read in 2013: A review

My goal for 2013 was to read 50 books. I only finished 47. I read way too much of Russo's "Bridge of Sighs" before I gave up, but I did give up so it doesn't count. That was such a bummer because I have loved everything else he has written. I am also not counting Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" which I listened to on CD for my book club - and still couldn't bring myself to finish.

I am also noticing some patterns in my reading history. Vacation allows for a ton of reading so August is typically a good month while I sit by the pool with family. The middle of the term is not good for reading, averaging only about a book every week and a half. (This isn't surprising. The middle of the term isn't good for sleeping, eating, exercising or socializing either.) The breaks between terms are much more book-filled. If you have checked out my Reading List page on this blog, you have watched my progress. But also, you have noticed that my "On the Shelf to be read" list is very long. That is my New Year's resolution: I am not going to buy another book until I have read what is already on that shelf. See that list, click here:

The books I completed in 2013 are listed below and I have attempted to rank them in order from most favorite to least favorite-ish. The criteria are completely arbitrary and undefined, but I can boil it down to whether I would recommend someone else read it.

Here we go:

  1. The Fault in Our Starts by John Green
  2. Peace like a River by Leif Enger
  3. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 
  4. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson 
  5. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook--What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz 
  6. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving 
  7. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton 
  8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 
  9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 
  10. Getting Things Done by David Allen 
  11. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean 
  12. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  13. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  14. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
  15. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  16. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  17. Naked by David Sedaris
  18. Divergent by Veronica Roth 
  19. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking by Susan Cain
  20. Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
  21. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  22. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
  23. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls 
  24. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides 
  25. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  26. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  27. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  28. South of Broad by Pat Conroy 
  29. Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs 
  30. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  31. The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe 
  32. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks 
  33. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  34. Paper Towns by John Green 
  35. Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo
  36. Wild by Cheryl Strayed 
  37. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  38. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
  39. The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky
  40. The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work by Jon Gordon
  41. A Town Called Alice by Nevile Shute
  42. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  43. Way off the Road by Bill Geist 
  44. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver 
  45. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 
  46. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey
  47. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver 
  48. Bridge of Signs by Richard Russo - didn't finish
  49. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway - didn't finish