My Twentysomething Life

I Do, Make, Read, Watch, Eat…

Favorite Books of the Year

As I told you in my last post, I read 222 books this year.  I have been keeping track of my favorites all year so I could share with you the best books that I read this year.  Hopefully you will read one of these and get as much enjoyment out of them as I did.  Click on the photo to be directed to Amazon for more information about this book

My 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books Read This Year (#1 being my very favorite)

images  #10  Contagious by Jonah Berger
This book is about how to make your stories, your ideas, basically anything catch on and become contagious.  This was a very good marketing and business book, but I could see it’s application taken much further than that.  I enjoyed Berger’s straightforward way of explaining how to make ideas catch on and also his many illustrations were very interesting.creature of the word

#9  Creature of the Word  by Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, and Josh Patterson
I read about this book on one of the blogs that I follow and it interested me, and it is also very inexpensive on the Kindle.  This book is about how the church is a creature of the Bible.  It is a living, breathing thing.  This book talks about being a biblical focused, Christ-centered church.  I found it very interesting and applicable to life today.

bonhoeffer#8  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy  by Eric Metaxas
My mother had recommended this book to me and I got down to it on my reading list toward the end of the year.  I recognized the name Bonhoeffer, but I did not really know anything about him.  I really enjoyed reading this book about him, his beliefs, and his life.  This book was very well written and in spite of being very large, a rather quick read.  Reading this book has led me to read several of Bonhoeffer’s writings that I have also greatly enjoyed.
yes, chef
#7  Yes, Chef  by Marcus Samuelsson
I have really gotten excited about cooking since I got married.  One type of books that I have read a lot of this year has been food books.  Books written by chefs, books about food, or other general food writing and I have really enjoyed it.  I recognized Samuelsson because he is a frequent judge on Chopped.  It was very interesting to read his story.  He has led a very interesting life to get him to where he is today.  This book is very well written and engaging.

the glass castle#6  The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This is a memoir about a girl’s interesting upbringing.  It is a story that many of us would find as abuse, but this story is very much told through the eyes of a child who did not realize that what she was experiencing could be considered abuse.  The story was very well told and interesting.  I highly recommend this book because while the content of the story can be difficult, the tone of the story is very innocent and true.  This is a book that I really enjoyed.
me myself and bob
#5  Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer
As a child I loved Veggie Tales, so when I saw an advertisement for this book in my Lifeway catalog, I knew I had to read it.  This story is about the creation of Veggies Tales and its subsequent rise and fall.  This was  a very good book.  I enjoyed reliving my childhood and picturing Bob and Larry bouncing around.  it was also very interesting to see the business side of what happened to Veggie Tales in the end.  A very well written and honest book.

dad is fat#4  Dad is Fat  Jim Gaffigan
I got this book from the library for Adam to read, because Adam loves Jim Gaffigan.  Hearing Adam laugh the whole way through the book made me want to read it.  This book is hilarious.  Gaffigan tells many stories about being a father, and the book is very good as a whole.  We ended up buying the book for both of our fathers and my dad also really enjoyed the book.
bread and wine
#3 Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
This book is all about community and connection around the table.  Niequist tells stories about how life is brought together around meals.  I really enjoyed this look at food and community.  It was a very enjoyable and uplifting read for me.

monuments men#2 The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel and Bret Witter
I do not usually read books like this, but I am so glad that I read this one.  I picked up this book because I saw that they were making the movie and it looked interesting.  This book is about a special group of soldiers in World War II saving artwork from destruction.  It is very interesting.  I am excited about the movie coming out in February.  I encourage you to read the book before the movie comes out.  It is just that good!
garlic and sapphires
#1  Garlic and Sapphires  by Ruth Reichl
This is a food writing book that I absolutely loved!  It is about a New York restaurant critic.  She has to disguise herself when going to restaurants to get an honest look at the food and the environment.  What she learns and experiences is amazing and makes a truly great story.  Please read this book!

Honorable Mention:  The Disaster Artist by Greg Sistero and I’m More than the Preacher’s Wife by Lorna Dobson

My Top Ten Favorite Fiction Books Read This Year
I’m not going to go into what these books are about because I wouldn’t want to ruin anything, but just know that they all have amazing stories.  The characters made me want to cry, laugh, fall in love again, scream in anger, and so much more.  These books captivated me this year.  I hope they will for you too.

memoirs of a geisha#10 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
reconstructing natalie
#9 Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker

the green mile#8 The Green Mile by Stephen King

when you were mine#7 When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

 

 

 

 

attachments#6 Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

silver linings playbook book# 5 Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

game of thrones# 4 Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 

 

 

 

the royal ranger#3 The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

city of bones#2 City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

the storyteller#1 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

 

 

 

 

Honorable MentionWalking Disaster by Jamie McGuire and Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I hope that one of these books has piqued your interest and that you will find a great book to read!

Please comment with your favorite books of the year!  I would love to hear what you loved reading this year.  And I will gladly add them to my reading list!

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Explanation

I know that I haven’t been blogging very much, but please allow me to explain:

Work has been so crazy.  It has been non stop since a few days before registration.  It has been super stressful and busy and even emotional.  I have gotten yelled at a few times and I’ve had to deal with some angry, frustrated people, but I’ve always been able to help some people and when they express their gratitude it makes all the bad stuff easier.  So if you are a student and you’re reading this, thank your financial aid counselor because we work really hard.

I have also been reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and playing games.  All of my favorite things!  Most of our evenings have been full and while I love that, it also doesn’t leave much time for blogging.

I got a second, very part-time, job.  I am working 8 hours a week in the evenings at the Thompson Community Center on Emmanuel’s campus.  For those of you who don’t know, this building has 8 hotel rooms and 3 suites that people can reserve, yeah we’re kinda like a hotel.  So I am working as a host there on Wednesday and Friday evenings.  I have been enjoying it so far and I am very excited about the opportunity.

Hopefully after today things will start slowing down little by little and I’ll get to blog more.  I really enjoy it so I’m glad to try and write more diligently again.

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Reading Update

In January when I started Goodreads I set a goal of reading 100 books this year.  Well, I have surpassed that goal and have increased it to 150.

So far this year I have read 107 books.  That is about 13-15 books a month.

I have read a total of 35,565 pages and the longest book I read was 1,177 pages long.

I’m currently 17% ahead of my new goal and I’m hoping to have to increase it again before the year is up!

 

If you haven’t joined Goodreads, I highly recommend it.  You can keep track of the books that you have read and get recommendations based on your favorite books or from your friends.  Here is a link to join goodreads and automatically become my friend!
http://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?i=LTM2MjI5NzM2MDQ6NDIz

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Shocking!

I just had a terrible realization!

I have really been struggling with reading my Bible lately.  I’ve been really trying, but I have gotten lazy and I am not spending the time reading my Bible that I should.

Nifty Goodreads keeps track of all the pages that I have read each year.  So far this year I have read 30,619 pages.

Do you know how many pages are in my Bible?  1036.

Yeah, if I had been reading my Bible for all those pages, I could have read my Bible 29 and a half times!! Can you believe that?!  And I haven’t even made it through once.  I think I’ve only read 10 books of the Bible so far this year!

This is a seriously shocking realization for me.  Clearly I am not making reading my Bible the priority that it should be.

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My Favorite Book

darcyandlizzieIf you read my last blog post then you know that today is my first day in my goal to attempt to blog every day in July.  I have written up a list of topics that you can find here or by clicking on “blog everyday in july-topics” over to the right.

Today’s topic is an easy one, my favorite book.

In general it is hard for me to choose a favorite book because I love so many of them.  But the one book that I could (and do) read over and over is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

If you have not read this book, I strongly encourage it.  This book is romantic, whitty, and fun.  I love the love story between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.  It is probably my most favorite love story.  I get sucked into the poetic language of the book.  It is the perfect book to read snuggled up in a blanket on a rainy day.

My favorite movie version of the book is the one with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfayden.  It is wonderful.

What is your favorite book?

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Reading

I love to read.  I am always reading at least one book.  At the beginning of the year I joined Goodreads, which I absolutely love, and I entered a Reading Challenge for myself.  I set a pretty high goal of 100 books in the year.  Here I am, four months into the year, and I have read 33 books so far.

When I was on Goodreads the other day, I noticed that it tracked certain stats about the books I’ve read and one of them really shocked me.  So, far, in the first 4 months of this year, I have read 11,582 pages.  That’s a lot of pages.  I am pretty proud of myself.  I have a few books that I am currently reading, and I have 5 more in a bag at home that I am waiting to get to.  I’m pretty excited about the possibility of reaching this goal!

Check out my Goodreads account here:  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17678730-lauren-Tomlinson

And if you would like to join Goodreads, click here and it will link you up as my friend:  https://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?i=LTM2MjI5NzM2MDQ6NDIz

I hope you all join!

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My husband is my partner in crazy

As I told you before, I am currently reading Julie and Julia, which if you do not know, is about Julie Powell cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  And I am really enjoying it.  Today while I was reading, I ran upon this paragraph that I would like to share with you.

Right before this paragraph, Julie is making a very delicate sauce for her mussels and is trying to add just the right amount of spices.  Her husband Eric is standing beside her while she cooks.

I was Tom Cruise hoving with a bead of sweat.  I was Harrison Ford in a battered fedora, weighing a bag full of sand in my hands—and Eric understood.  He was my partner.  It occurred to me, as I beat my rebellious sauce into submission, that my husband was doing more than just enduring this crazy thing I had gotten myself into, doing more than being supportive.  I realized this was his Project, too.  Eric wasn’t a cook, and like Isabel, he only care about Julia Child because I did.  And yet, he had become part of this thing.  There would be no Project without him, and he would not be the same without the Project.  I felt so married, all of a sudden, and so happy.

I really enjoyed this section because 1-of the movie references and 2-because her realization of marriage.

I know I have had this same realization of marriage many times.  Adam partners with me in many crazy things: crafting, scrapbooking, my movie lists, to name a few.  And while he is not as invested in them as I am, he shares in the good and the bad with me.  Adam is not just my partner in crime, but my partner in crazy!  He truly is my partner in life.

Yay for realizations of the amazing men in our lives!

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Thursday-Morning Tell-About!

Good Morning! And welcome to the “Thursday-Morning Tell-About,” the part of this blog where I tell you about my week.  Yes, I know the week is not over yet, but it’s been a week since last Thursday and I’m starting a tradition here.

My Movie Queue:  Goodfellas, The Warrior, Mrs. Miniver, Patton
Pages left to read in my current book:  100
I have made: Homemade Chai Tea
I have worked on:  That stupid rug I will never finish
Food made:  Apple Pork Chops, quesadillas, grilled cheese, pizza, salad, cereal
Goals checked off:  none I haven’t started yet
Games played:  Adam and I have played lots of hand and foot
Favorite Pinterest pin: 122371314845526229_53aApcUl_c
Total Blog views since last Thursday: 103
Number of snow days: 1
Movies Watched: 4:  The Sound of Music, All the King’s Men, Anastasia, Rendition, Love Actually
Books read:  2: Memoirs of a Geisha and Nobody’s Princess
This week I love:  Cheesy Bacon Grits
This week I hate: running errands
Days until my birthday: 25

Thank you all for reading and for making this blog so much fun to write!
I hope you enjoyed the first of many Thursday-Morning Tell-Abouts

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Presentation

The time has come for me to present to you my 23 Goals for my 23rd Year.  I am really excited about these goals.  I have spent quite a few hours pondering this goals and making them better.  I really tried to make my goals actual things that I could attain.  There are only two “fluffy” “immeasurable” goals, which are: to be more content and be a good wife.  All the other goals I can actually see if I have met them or not.

I hope you will keep me accountable with these goals and maybe I’ll inspire you to make your own.  I also got so excited once I finished writing my goals that I didn’t want to wait until February 25th to start working on them, so I’m going to start February 1st, just to get a head start.

My goals are split up into separate categories: daily, weekly, monthly, and one time goals.  I figured that this would help make them more manageable and easier to keep track of.

So, here are my 23 Goals and a little bit about why I picked each one:

DAILY
1. Be content with where I am in life, don’t wish my life away, flourish where I am
I wrote this goal because of the blog post I wrote yesterday about a really good message I heard that really moved me.  I realized that I have been viewing this stage in my life as an “inbetweeen” transition stage and so I wasn’t investing here.  Click here to read more about flourishing.
2. Be a good, supportive, encouraging, loving wife to Adam
Even though I do not mean to, sometimes I take Adam for granted and I know that.  So this year I am going to try and not do that.  And I also want to be more supportive and encouraging of his work in seminary.  Even when I don’t get to see him because he has a bunch of homework.
3. Do one thing to clean the house
Too often, I come home from work and I make dinner and then I just relax the rest of the night, which means that by the end of the week our house is in shambles.  This year I want to try and be better about doing at least one thing a day to make cleaning the house more manageable and help it to look better more often.
4. Keep a food and fitness diary to help me remember to be more healthy
I don’t know how many times last year I said I was going to “be more healthy” well now I am going to keep track of everything I am doing and hopefully that will make me more mindful.  Here is an example of my food and fitness diary:
2WEEKLY
5. Call my mother
My mother and I have never been “best of friends” but more and more I have come to rely on her advice and her support.  Something about growing older I guess.  I want to be more intentional about calling her just to talk and to make our relationship even stronger.

MONTHLY
36. Write a thank you note to someone I am grateful for
I am thankful for a lot of people in my life, but I fall short in expressing this to them.  I want to be more intentional in thanking the people in my life that mean a lot to me.
7. Have intentional date nights with Adam.  Start with at least once a month1
This goes back to the being intentional with my relationship with Adam.  I want to intentionally spend time with him, doing something together, once a month.  This will be a time to relax and connect with each other because our lives can get so busy.
8. Find a craft or something creative to do
I thrive on being able to be creative.  I don’t want to lose time with myself because of how busy I get.  So this goal is two-fold.  One, I get to express myself through crafting and two, I get to enjoy some time by myself, relaxing.
9. Have someone over for dinner
Adam and I are always saying to each other how we would like to get to know a couple better, or spend more time with our friends, but then we never do it.  So this goal is to help both of us set time aside and focus on building relationships with people.
10. Do something with my sister (her coming over to do laundry doesn’t count)
My sister and I have not always had a good relationship.  You might say that we strongly disliked each other for most of our lives growing up.  But now that she is in college, we have become much better friends and I want to cultivate that relationship, not just when she needs to use our washer and dryer.

ONCE
11. Finish Financial Peace University with Adam and save some moneyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Adam and I are getting ready to start our third week of FPU tomorrow, and we are trying to really be committed to the principles we are learning and really do some savings.  We need discipline, quite frankly.  We need to learn how to save better so we can be ready when emergencies come up.  I am excited for the future peace to come in our lives.
12. Take a vacation–or have a weekend getaway trip somewhere we have never been
I just want to be able once this year to go on a getaway and relax with my husband.  I want us to be able to do something fun that we both enjoy and get some time away from everything going on.  So hopefully we can make this happen.
13. Finish my Best Picture movie list
I have been working towards this goal for almost two years now, and gosh darn it, this year I’m going to finish it.  As of right now, I only have 14 more movies to watch and two on my shelf at home waiting to be viewed.  To keep track of my list visist: Best Picture Movie List.
14. Finish reading Anna Karenina
I don’t know how it happend, but I got it in my head that I would really like to read this book.  Luckily, it was free on my Kindle.  So I have been reading it for a few months now, and it is good, but it’s just so stinkin long!  It will probably take me the whole year to finish it.
15. Plant flowers in the flower beds outside my apartment
I love flowers.  And I have always wanted to garden but have never had a place to do it.  Our apartment at Emmanuel has flower beds in the front and back and I would really like to plant flowers in them this year.  And I also think the process of weeding them, which is inevitable, will be rather relaxing.
16. Read through the whole Bible again
My freshman year of college I read through the whole Bible, and it was an amazing experience for me.  I have not been able to do this since then, so I wanted to do it again.  The last few years I have not been devoted to reading my Bible every day, and I really want to get back to that.  To keep track of my reading click here.
517. Play Eclipse with Adam
Eclipse is Adam’s new favorite game, probably in the whole world, but it intimidates me because it is intense.  And also because they tell you up front that it will take 30 minutes per person playing to play this game.  That is what I call a significant time committment.  So my goal is to play this game once this year so I know what all the fuss is about.
18. Finish watching Prison Break6
 
I started watching Prison Break sometime in December and I absolutely love it!  I haven’t even finished Season 1 yet, but in the next year my goal is to finish the whole series.
19.  Learn how to knit
I learned how to crochet back in my freshman year of college.  And this year I wanted to learn something new, and since I have never attempted to knit in my entire life, I thought it would be a fun thing to learn.
20.  Go to a sporting event or a concert (where you have to buy tickets)
It has been forever since I have gone to a concert that wasn’t a Milligan College concert, and Adam and I have not been to a sporting event that wasn’t at Milligan in a long time either.  So I thought it would be fun for us to seek out one of these this year, or maybe even both!
21. Take a cooking class7
I have discovered that I really love to cook.  I want to get better at it.  So, this year I will have my eyes peeled for classes in the area so I can get better at cooking.
22.  Go one weekend (one with good weather) without watching TV, movies, or tygetting on the computer–a weekend “unplugged”
I want to do this to see if I can do this.  It seems that on the weekend I plop down on the couch and stay there for a majority of the days of my weekend.  That’s just sad.  Weekends should be for doing things I can’t do during the week or that I don’t have time to do during the week.
23.  Read a biography of someone that I am not a fan of so I can learn more about them
I was trying to think of one more goal and this one popped into my head.  I don’t have a person in mind just yet, but we will see who pops up this year.

Here’s to a year of checking off goals!
To keep track of my progress throughout the year, click on the 23 for 23 page on the side bar or click here.

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Memoirs of a Geisha

For the past week I have been reading “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden.  Four years ago I saw the movie and thought it was beautiful and I recently learned that it is also a book.  I finished the book today and I very much enjoyed it.

The story follows the life of a geisha, Sayuri.  It takes her through the ups and downs of her life as well as the depression and war.  The book was beautifully written and I felt like I could really picture everything that happened.

I highly recommend this book of historical fiction, yet fairy tale.  I found myself reading late into the night.  I could not put this book down.  Golden tells a wonderful story.

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