Sunday, December 31, 2017

The close and holy darkness

Right, were'd we leave off? End of October?

In November H moved back home and we had Thanksgiving and H turned 20 and I had a bit of a moment over that what with her being my youngest and all. In December it snowed and we had Christmas and we didn't travel anywhere and it was nice.

And now you're all caught up.

Traditionally at the end of December I'd talk about all the books I'd read the previous year, but the truth is that in 2017 I didn't read a whole lot of new-to-me books. I DID re-read a whole lot of books I'd read before, I think because I needed the comfort of familiar words this year: all the Harry Potters, all of His Dark Materials, The Handmaid's Tale (not comforting, that last one, but I hadn't read it in decades and was due for a refresh).

I did manage to read a few new-ish ones, though, and these were my favorites in fiction: Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters, The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, News of the World by Paulette Jiles, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Horrorstรถr by Grady Hendrix, and The Good People by Hannah Kent.

Excellent nonfiction I read this year: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, Dark Money by Jane Meyer, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Washington's Nightmare by Scott B. Christmas, Lion by Saroo Brierley, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro.

Huh. I guess when you throw in all the three- and four-star books I read (only fives for you people, ONLY FIVES FOR YOU) and the re-reads, that DOES add up to kind of a lot of books for 2017. Well, hell. Go me! (That last photo is of some recent purchases. So far 2018 is looking pretty good, book-wise.)

Honestly I feel like I spent most of this year knitting. I made a little green scarf, a much bigger scarf in fall colors, my first completed pair of socks, a pair of socks for H, another pair for me, a very fun-to-knit hat, a cowl for my mom, and half of a mosaic shawl that I had to frog due to it being part of a poorly curated kit. Currently on the needles: a second attempt at said mosaic shawl (but this time with MUCH more suitable yarn), the second of my first-ever pair of toes-up socks, and a cowl I'll probably never finish if I'm being honest because the pattern is kind of boring and I'm not loving the yarn, oof.

I'm not making resolutions for the new year, but I do have two hopes. Just two. First, I hope I can be a vessel for and an instrument of Grace, and by Grace I mean Love and Compassion and Kindness. (My concept of the Divine is pretty broad and as a result it's unlikely that I believe in and revere your specific god, but I do believe in and revere these things.) Second, I hope I can see and recognize Grace in other people. That's all. If I can do that, at least most of the time, I think I'll be doing okay.

Happy New Year to you, my friends! Here's to the resisters and the fighters, the peacekeepers and the healers, the carers and the thinkers and the dreamers and the hopers. Here's to the innovators and the implementers. Here's to us.

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