My Year in Review (Everything Except Movies)

Thoughts on a year of books, TV, music and sundries

All the detritus of my life (not a metaphor)

Well, that was my intention, anyway.  I find myself in the middle of debris cleanup, and it’s left me too exhausted for clever remarks about the things I enjoyed this year.  Thank goodness I wrote about movies before the weariness hit.  On Monday we’ll be returning to homeschooling after our Christmas break, so I’m feeling a certain pressure to be ready, organized, to at least know where the school books are.  Do other people’s homes slide into chaos as easily as mine does?  Oh, it makes me crazy.  But a New Year is coming tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll get it all under control in 2011.  Baseless optimism is my drug of choice.  That and caffeine.

So you get the ragged scraps of my favorites from 2011, and a couple of observations about the coming year.  Firstly, let’s talk about books. I read all of the time – although I will confess that browsing in my Google Reader has put a dent into how many actual, old-timey books I’ve read this past year.  Still, I’ve finished a lot of books.  But most of them were from the library and because I don’t have a system to keep track of what I’ve read, I’ve already forgotten about them.  I’ve got a few recommendations, but only a very few.  I don’t have the energy to describe them right now, but trust me, they’re good.

1)  Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder

2)  After You Believe:  Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright

3)  My Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJJesuit's Guide cover photo courtesy of

4)  The Jesuit’s Guide to (Almost) Everything:  A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ

* You’ll notice that I’m on a bit of a James Martin kick.  If you’ve read anything by him you’ll understand why.

5)  Why Jesus? by William Willimon

I Am Now a Whovian

Dr. Who photo courtesy mentalfloss.comYep, Baph convinced me to watch “Dr. Who” with him and got me hooked.    We are in the David Tennant (and Donna) portion of the series, and I refuse to think about the changes that are coming.

The Student Becomes the Master

It seems like only yesterday that I was sharing my music with our oldest son:  Queen, REM, the Talking Heads.  These days he’s influencing the music I listen to by reintroducing me to bands I’ve ignored for too long:  the Pixies, the Cure, the Smiths, and above all, Radiohead.  It’s a weird transition we’re going through, but I’m impressed with my son’s taste in music.

And now it’s New Year’s Eve.

I suspect 2011 is going to be another year of transitions for me.  I’m trying to navigate new professional and educational goals while not shortchanging my absolute commitments to my family.  The path of least resistance is to keep everything basically the same, remodel my rut slightly, make it a bit more livable.  But I think that God may be calling me to get out of it all together.  My friend Pamela introduced me to term “discernment process” and I’ve been clinging to it for the past few months.  I’m looking for signs of what Tielhard de Chardin called “the slow work of God” (though I won’t complain if He wants to work quickly, as well!).  I pray that I see and respond to those signs in the coming year – and I pray the same for you.

Happy New Year!


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