Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's Your 20?

This year I gave myself the goal to read twenty books. It was a challenge. I would not call myself a reader. Not a reader reader. I'm like a 90 second a pager, depending on the page. A Christmas Carol took longer, the Prydain Chronicles took less.

Twenty books was a stretch but not entirely unattainable. It turned out to be just right (I finished last night). And let me tell you, if I could encourage you to try something in 2009, it would be to go for 20 yourself. If 20 is too many, try 12. Start somewhere. I promise the endeavor will be one of the most worthwhile things you do next year.

My list contained everything from a children's series to Pulitzer prize winners, a healthy dose of pop fiction, nonfiction, some in betweeners (The Sign and the Seal), a few old, and several new. It included the surprise number one book of the year The Shack. It also included a few duds. I love Tom Clancy but Teeth of the Tiger, beyond the perplexing amount of typos, is not his best.

My favorite? There were a lot of good ones. By far the best, however, was Marylinne Robinson's Gilead. It is a masterpiece. The language alone gave me chills. The story made me cry (sad and happy tears). And the message has continued to linger.

So What's Your 20? What is on my list for 2009? I'm up for suggestions. I have gotten a headstart on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (it's like 650 freaking pages), next in line is American Lion (the biography of Andrew Jackson), after that something light.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lightning Strikes Twice

You may remember that last year we put Anna rose through the torture of sitting on Santa Claus' lap. Well, against better judgement, we decided to give it another go...
Before we go there, here is last year's photo.

This year, I was bound and determined for a smile. We talked up the encounter for weeks. A-Ro would just stare at us and say, "No!" "Come on, Santa's nice." "Santa's not nice. I don't like Santa." We nodded, but didn't heed her warning.
Resorting to bribery I told A-Ro that if she didn't cry that Daddy would give her french fries, ice cream, and a merry-go-round ride. She brightened, "French Fries?" I really thought we had a chance. Then she pointed at me, "You sit on his lap, first." "I'm not sitting on his lap," I said. Lia looked at me. "Tell you what, I'll give Santa a hug. How about that?" "First?"asked Anna Rose. "First," I said. It seemed to work.
I walked up to Santa. "Hey!" I called, then under my breath, "Don't think I'm weird but I need to hug you." He kind of patted me and reached for my daughter. In that split second, it was over.

Two years, to screams of terror. You would think we would learn our lesson. But no. Oh no. Oh yes. Don't you fret. We'll be back next year!