I get the symbolism, the tradition of making new years resolutions, but what I don’t get is why people keep making them since they don’t work.
I’ve observed that the nature of the most common new years resolutions is often to do something that we “should” be doing already anyway: lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, eat better. The “should” is in quotes because my immediate response to “shoulds” and “have tos” is “who says?!” The “should” is a value statement that came from somewhere- friends, family, the media, society, etc. -and a person has to believe in a “should” in order for it to have any meaning. Very arbitrary indeed.
My assumption is that people who make new years resolutions must be resolving to do something that they don’t want to do…otherwise, wouldn’t they have just done it already? If quitting smoking was something that you really, truly wanted to do, then why would you wait to begin doing it until the first of the year?
I am rejecting this guilt-based form of resolutions! I support joy-based resolutions! I am resolving to do things that I like to do, things that bring me JOY! One thing I started doing already (because why wait?!) and that is to blog. Check. The other is to take my picture everyday for at least the year of 2012. So far so good. Another is to continue to read.
In my attempt to pass on the joy I experienced through reading this year, below is my year in book reviews for 2011. They are listed in the order I read them, and an asterisk (*) means I had read the book before. Enjoy!
1. *Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
I had read this in high school and remembered liking it. I think I am a Bokononist at heart. I just love the close-to-home absurdity of it all!
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
3. The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson
4. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson
I just tore through these books, and I think they really highlight the year for me, especially since I followed these with the three Swedish and first American movie versions.
5. Enlightened Sexism – Susan Douglas
Awesome non-fiction about how sexism as backlash is more covert in the media now more than ever. I like books that teach me how to be a more critical consumer of media.
6. Gone – Michael Grant
The Michael Grant Gone series (more below) are young adult books, and even though they start to go a crazy, far-out TV show Lost route, they are still fun, easy, and imaginative reads. I look forward to the few more in the series he has yet to write. Basic premise is that in one moment everyone in this town over the age of 15 just disappears…
7. Bossypants – Tina Fey
Tina, I love you, I love you, I love you! This autobiographical hilarity she calls a book is well worth it.
8. *A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
I read this one as a child and reading it again made me feel like I was 10 again. Love the power of books.
9. Hunger – Michael Grant
10. Lies – Michael Grant
11. Plague – Michael Grant
These titles really indicate how the plot thickens…
12. *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
I think this was at least my third read. I had to read it before the last movie came out so that I could properly tear the movie apart for inconsistencies. The end of all things Harry Potter was and still is traumatic for me…
13. *Tales of Beedle the Bard – JK Rowling
To ease the pain of the Harry saga coming to an end, I read this for the second time. For this reading, I actually read one story out loud each night to the boyman before we went to sleep. He hadn’t heard them before, and there was something magical about sharing the stories out loud to someone else.
14. The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman
So this book seemed right up my alley. I was still mourning the loss of Harry, and I figured this whimsical fantasy with a female protagonist would help ease the pain…but it was soooo slow and parts were boring and I struggled to get through it. I struggled so badly that I gave up hope trying to finish the series. Maybe someday I’ll try it again. And maybe I learned the hard way that nothing can ever take the Harry Potter PTSD away.
15. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
This non-fiction first account of a disastrous trip to the top of Everest was the most captivating and anxiety-provoking book of the year for me. I could not put this down, and I even had dreams about being in mortal peril in the freezing snow and not having enough oxygen. I recommend this adventure of a book!
16. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
I remember that at this point in the year, I said that I would choose media devoid of abuse and trauma, so I chose what I thought was a charming, old-timey circus fling. Sigh. I still enjoyed it, even though there was some domestic violence and animal abuse thrown in there.
17. A Stolen Life – Jaycee Dugard
At this point I think my curiosity got the better of me and I threw out my rule about choosing books free of abuse. This book gets me enraged and hopeful at the same time. Enraged that someone could do horrible things to someone else for SO LONG before getting caught, and hopeful because Jaycee and her girls are so resilient and kind and determined and not broken in any way.
18. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
Phenomenal book, beautifully written. This book makes me want to visit the south.
19. The Whistleblower – Kathryn Bolkovac and Cari Lynn
Here is another example where I couldn’t help myself. This is a true story where Kathryn, a cop, was hired to help prevent and police sex trafficking in Bosnia, only her superiors were sabotaging her work and were consumers of the sex trade themselves. I love a story where women kick ass and not only take names, but take them to court!
20. Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
I had heard good things about Sedaris, and so I borrowed this book from a friend. Full of autobiographical stories of David’s family and life growing up. He has this dry humor I find amusing, although I expected the stories to be more laugh out loud funny.
21. Holidays on Ice – David Sedaris
More stories, less autobiographical. I found that these stories were either hit or miss for me. One was absolutely hilarious, and the other was so over the top that it missed its mark.
~Here’s to many more happy, fun, exciting reads for 2012!~