Year In Review: Reading, Art Journaling and Filofaxes

Well. 2014 was… rough. All around rough. It was also awesome. That’s pretty much what I say every year, isn’t it? Good with the bad and all that sort of thing.

I did almost NO art journaling. I did a lot of doodling and I made a clipboard and a water bottle — so there was art and craft in my life, just not in my altered book or my art journals. Poop.

I loved my Filofaxes and my Every Day journal. Loved. (Though there were a couple of rough spots with both, when life got really crazy or when JMP was here visiting. I fell behind a bit and then struggled to get back on track.)

Reading… I’m going to stop making stretch goals. I wanted to read 300 books this year and I didn’t. I read 253 books — which is pretty much my yearly average. I’m not unhappy with that, just saying that I didn’t hit the big 300.

I wanted to read 12 books from my stacks, I read 4. I also read several that were purchased this year which keeps them from becoming “from my stacks” lol. I really really need to do a better job of this. Obviously.

I wanted to read/listen to 12 audiobooks and read 26. Yay. I should have had a bigger goal, lol.

This is the first year I didn’t read all of the Cybils. I ditched one about three minutes into the audio. It just wasn’t for me. Another one can’t be checked out at my library AND I can’t seem to buy it on my Kindle so I’m screwed unless I want to buy a hard copy and I do not. So. Blah. It was a good year for Cybils and also a not good year. I found quite a few that I just didn’t like very much — that doesn’t usually happen with Cybils. There were some others that I absolutely 100% LOVED and will stay with me forever.

I also wanted to catch up on sequels and prequels and I did a darn good job of that. Really good. I’m very pleased with myself and am super glad I added this as a challenge item.

I put 84 books on my Favorites list. I think that might be a record high for me.

I put 9 books on my Do Not Read This list. I think that might be a record low for me, lol.

2014 is a wrap — onward to 2015.

Filofax, Reading, Art Journaling and Stuff in December

As expected, it was a rough month for doing all of the things. That doesn’t mean it was a bad month, it was a pretty darn good month because Christmas and family and the weather wasn’t even that damn bad. Yay for December 2014.

I did a little doodling. A used my Filofaxes when I needed to and ignored them during the holidays. I got both of them set up for 2015 and I’m super excited about this. SUPER excited.

It was a slow month for reading, obviously, but better than I expected. I’m about 2/3 of the way through one more book and I might finish it today. Maybe. But I’m going to call the month DONE and get this up so I can do my year totals and go ahead and start the new year tracking because, why not? Right?

19 books total.

Just one audiobook.

1 short story which I’m counting as a book because I make the rules.

1 YA

10 Non-fiction, 7 from the Cybils shortlist.

1 from my stacks.

Not bad, really.

Three Non-Fiction Art Books

I’m so bad at reading over the holidays so I made sure to have some easy flip through art books on hand and I’m extra glad I did because I was feeling a little reading withdrawal by the time Christmas was over but family was still here to hang out with.

The one I loved, loved, loved was The Art of Whimsical Lettering. Have you noticed I generally like any books about lettering? I’ve noticed. I’m taking that as a sign that I should spend more time playing with lettering in 2015.

Next was Mixed-Media Self Portraits and it was interesting. I liked it. I might check it out again in a few months and try some of the projects.

Least favorite, Wise Craft. It’s divided into seasons and I found maybe one project for each season that I was interested in. The rest was pretty ho-hum. I did really love her zombie Barbies. JMP and I will do this some day.

Mermaids In Paradise

Our last audiobook of 2014, Mermaids in Paradise, was amusing. A little long and dry in a few places but overall, very amusing. It needed more mermaid and a slightly better ending but otherwise — totally fun. Also, stop killing the planet, peoples! Satire, funny satire = #awesome.


Neverhome was a beautifully written book. I was surprised by just how wonderful it was.

A woman heads off to fight for the Union in the civil war, leaving her husband behind, because she was better suited for fighting than he was. She was a good soldier but of course, bad things happen and, well, it was beautiful. You should read this one.

The Love of Good Women

I finished a book and couldn’t decide what to read next so I grabbed a Naiad that TW bought at the little used bookstore in Cleveland last month. I should have reached for something that’s been in my stacks longer but I was feeling lazy and it was there. It was also amusing to us because of the title “The Love of Good Women” and because it was written by the author of Patience and Sarah.

And it was … what you’d expect. Old, really old, lesbian fiction. Not great. Not horrible. A classic.

The Boy at the End of the World

I have no idea how The Boy at the End of the World ended up in my library bag. So weird. It’s an older book, so it wasn’t from me just randomly surfing the new arrivals stack or anything like that. I can’t remember seeing it mentioned in a recent blog post. It just… randomly made its way to me and that’s awesome.

It was really good. I didn’t want to put it down. And, that was only in part due to the appearance of mutant prairie dogs. MUTANT PRAIRIE DOGS.

I really enjoyed it and the only sad thing is that there’s no sequel. Wah! I wanted more stories about Fisher, Protein, Click, and Zapper!

7 Non-Fiction Children’s Books from the Cybils

I think this means I’ve wrapped up my Cybils shortlist challenge but I should double check…

Locomotive was pretty good. Not great but not bad. Lots of technical info about steam engines.

Look Up! Backyard Bird Watching In Your Own Backyard was awesome. I loved it.

How Big Were Dinosaurs was a little boring — I’ve read quite a few that are better than this one.

Barbed Wire Baseball was excellent. Interesting person that a lot of kids will never have heard of. Nice illustrations.

Volcano Rising was ok, not great. Unless you have a kid really into volcanoes or a kid who has never thought about volcanoes at all.

The Boy Who Loved Math was pretty good, though oddly enough I felt like I’d already read it. Which is weird but there you go. Is there another children’s book about Paul Erdos? That would seem odd but of course it must be possible. The whole Paul didn’t know how to take care of himself and everyone helped him — that part, seemed awfully familiar. Even the illustrations of him trying to butter bread — very familiar. Anyway — it was good. I liked it.

Anubis Speaks was… I’m torn. I was bored, which is saying something since the stories shouldn’t have been boring. I think this one could have been better. Should have been better. It just wasn’t and I wanted it to be.

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

Yes this was a BlogHer Bookclub pick from an entire lifetime ago. No I never read it back then. Yes, I know how far behind on my TBR list I am, thanks.

So yea — a book from my stacks. Yippee! I enjoyed it. I also didn’t know there was a sequel. That’s going to have to go on my TBR list for next year.

Jim Hensen’s Labyrinth: The Novelization

Don’t ask me why I impulsively tossed Labyrinth: The Novelization into my library bag. Nostalgia probably. Or maybe I’d seen some weird buzzfeed quiz that pushed me over the edge. Whatever. I did it. I read it. I almost enjoyed it. Sort of.

The novelization isn’t as good as the movie. The drawings and notes in the back were the best part. I also found myself wanting to watch Labyrinth again. Maybe when all of the kids are home in a couple of weeks, that would be fun.