Saga: Book 1 - 4

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. See other books I've read here
I added a new addition to this goal in June, which is to read at least one comic book trade paper back per month. 

Saga by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples is probably my favorite comic to come out in recent years.  


Landfall and Wreath have been at war for what seems like forever. But they and the worlds they've out sourced the fighting to have forgotten what the war's about. Some fight blindly, but some are starting to see that war might not be the answer. When a feisty Landfall guard falls in love with a pacifist Wreath defector, all hell breaks loose.  

I had read the first two or three books of Saga back when they first came out. I've been wanting to pick the story up ever since. When I decided I wanted to be reading more comics this year, these were the first books I went for. I read more than my months worth and I'm glad I did. This isn't a beginner's comic, as it jumps in time and is narrated by a character that is only a baby. But the love story in the midst of struggle and strife is compelling, and the characters are really interesting, both good guys and bad guys. Sometimes you're not sure who you're rooting for. Plus there's a giant talking cat. Can't go wrong there. 
If you're a comic book fan, particularly a indie or super hero parody fan, you should be reading Saga. I would also recommend these books to people who like sci-fi love stories, wartime stories, and space adventures. If you're new to comics, it might take a little effort to get the hang of this book, but stick with it, the simple, colorful artwork, and heartfelt story are worth it!  

Asbury Park Reborn

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. See other books I've read here.

My mother gifted me Asbury Park Reborn: Lost to Time and Restored to Glory by Joseph G Bilby and Harry Zielger bc she knows I have a deep nerdy love of the history of my surroundings. 


Asbury Park, NJ, has a rich and varied history that i s clear to anyone who walks through the city. By looking at the architecture, one wonders how the city developed over time and wonders at the stories and significance of many buildings. Asbury Park Reborn... has the answers. 

One of the reasons we moved to Asbury Park was it's distinct, infamous, and controversial history and the mark the city has made on the world. So, it was a great pleasure to read more on this history, and especially of buildings we pass every day. Concisely written with a small chapter on each building, some demolished, most still standing, Asbury Park Reborn... is packed with information. The histories are more than just of the buildings, but also of the city as a whole and how each piece fits together. This book also illuminates how Asbury Park looks today and sheds some light on the future of the city. 

Asbury Park Reborn... is a fascinating, brief and enjoyable read! the authors were thorough and clearly love the city they were researching which makes this book even better in my opinion. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in US history, shore towns, small towns, gay rights, racial rights in America, or New Jersey. 

Neither Here Nor There

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. See other books I've read here.

Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson was a book that I had in my "not yet read" pile of books. 


My "not yet read" pile of books is actually about 20 wine boxes of not yet read books now housed in our basement. It's my goal to get thru at least some of them this year. Last year, I read A Walk in the Woods and really enjoyed it, so now when I see a Bill Bryson book, on a stoop, or thrift shop, I usually pick it up and add it to the pile. I can't recall where I picked this copy up, but I was pleased to note it too had traveled to Europe:

Neither Here Nor There sees Bryson retracing the steps of travels he took nearly 20 years before in Europe. Now a seasoned traveler, he wanders with relative ease and confidence, but the trip reminds him of a time when he was new to traveling and new to Europe. He remineces about his past trip, his memorable travel partner (the infamous Kats), and how times have changed as he explores a "new" Europe.   

Bill Bryson makes you want to be a better writer. His style is so easy, effortless and approachable, you start to think "Well, if he can do it, so can I!". For this I think I will enjoy all his books. In this book, he makes apt and interesting observations as he wanders rather aimlessly thru various countries. Even though this book was written some 30 years ago, and many things have changed, the pleasures, annoyances, victories and defeats of travel never do, and Bryson makes you feel as if you are right there with him. 
I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys travelogs, people who have traveled in Europe and those who wish to. 

Have you read this book? Have you traveled in Europe?

Out Stealing Horses

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. See other books I've read here

Out Stealing Horses is the second book I've read from Per Petterson. I found this copy quite luckily in a little used book shop in Brooklyn. 

When I read Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes last year, I really enjoyed the pacing and textured nature of Petterson's writing. It's hard to tell if that's all his style, or aided by the translation to English. 

Trond is an old man. Three years after his wife's death, he's moved out to a remote island to live out the rest of his days in a purposeful, slow and quiet way.  But living on the river reminds him of his childhood, his father's abandonment, and events of a certain Summer that changed his life forever. When storms strike, family visits, and the past resurfaces, Trond starts to realize he might need to rethink the quiet life. 

I loved the atmosphere and emotional tone that Petterson sets with Out Stealing Horses. It's a little bit lonely, a little bit bleak, but reminiscent, nostalgic  and calm. The flashbacks to a Summer when the old man was a boy, in addition to the trials of his current cold winter, add a sort of double coming of age tale. I recommend this book to anyone one who likes coming of age stories, Scadinavian lifestyles, or tales of man and man's best friend. 


Ready Player One

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. This kinda counts. See other books I've read here.   

I technically didn't read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, I listened to Wil Wheaton read it. My dad read this book a few years ago and really liked it, so he got me the book-on-tape.

I have a complex relationship with Wil Wheaton. I hated the actor back when he played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation but since have pretty much fallen in love with his later work. His you tube show, Table Top, and his guest appearances on The Guild, are recent favorites. Now Wheaton has a specific way of talking and reading so one really has to want to hear him if they listen to this book. a few years ago, I listened to every podcasts he did from 2005 to 2013 over a couple of months, and even I had trouble listening to this book for super long periods of time. But that reminds me, I need to catch up on Radio Free Burrito.   

Wade Watts lives in a dystopian future in a trailer park, so cramped that the vehicles are stacked on top of each other and under the thumb of his abusive aunt. His life sucks and his only respite is the MMO "game", The OASIS, that the world relies on for escape. In The OASIS, Wade can have a virtual life where he learns, makes friends, goes to school, and avoids the harsh reality of an impoverished, oil barren, dangerous "real world".  When the creator of The OASIS dies, he tells the world that he has hidden history's greatest easter egg in the game, and whoever finds it first will not only inherit his staggering wealth, but control of The OASIS, as well. From that moment on, Wade dedicates his life to finding The Egg. His search sends him in new, sometimes terrifying directions... And he isn't the only person looking for The Egg. 

In Ready Player One, the creator of The OASIS grew up in the 1980s, so just about every clue to find The Egg has to do with that time period. Everything 80s pop culture is the constant theme of the book. And everything geeky: video games, tv, movies, etc...

I had some troubles with this book. The writing style is stilted. Every action is painfully over described, making the book drag on and feel endless. I also felt that the constant over-detailed nostalgia bogged down the story in many areas, acted as needless filler, and/or talked down to anyone who had lived thru that era or knew well the source materials. The constant injection of 80s trivia seemed strangely calculated, as if it was included only for the film adaptation. And the movie has already been green-lighted. My last gripe was that the story was immensely straight forward with no unforeseen twists. Although the universe constructed is an interesting one, the tale proceeds exactly as one imagines. 

All that being said, I enjoyed this book OK. There's a sequel but I don't think I'd bother reading it. I will see the movie, which will be directed by Steven Spielberg. (My choice would have been McG or Edger Wright). Even though I didn't love this book, I would recommend this book to nerds and geeks, young adults and people who like video games. 

Right after I was given the audio tape of Ready Player One, I was lucky enough to find a paperback copy on a stoop (my favorite way to acquire books). I kept it bc I wasn't sure if I'd rather listen to the book, or read it. Now that I have listened to the book, I don't think I need the paper copy. So, I've decided to give it away on my instagram! Head there for all the details!


The Year Of the Stash

Over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge, The Year of the Stash is happening and I'm joining up!

This is a great link up, as there are really no rules, but it's a neat way to be mindful of what you're quilting with, as well as a way to use more and buy less. 
I decided to participate because "shopping" my extensive stash makes me feel good about what I'm quilting, helps fulfill two goals of my 2016 goals (quilt more, use up/don't buy), means the chances of using reclaimed or recycled fabrics is increased, and helps me declutter so I can actually see what fabrics I have. 
Usually, I can always find something in my stash the fits any bill I might be looking for in any project. So why buy? I guess the answer to that is bc it's fun! And there are so many gorgeous fabrics! I have to admit I went on a bit of a buying frenzy at the end of last year. Ostensibly, I had to buy some things for projects I'm working on, but really, I had enough in my current stash and didn't need to by anything. I'm happy to have all the fabrics I bought, but ultimately I feel worse for buying them, disappointed in myself for collecting more things that I don't need, and a little sad that my current collection of beautiful fabric went unused.

To help me be mindful in The Year of the Stash here is my manifesto:

1) Buy as little new fabric as possible. I won't say buy none. I want to be free to get a great new piece here or there, patron indy quilt shops, or buy backing when needed. I'll buy used, reclaimed, and/or vintage fabric when possible. I pride myself on using these fabrics in my quilts, and need to scoop them up when they preset themselves. But I want to be mindful not to add too much to my stash!
2) Use some used, vintage and/or reclaimed fabrics in all quilts. Last year was the first time I used all new fabric for some quilts and it just didn't feel right. As I said above, I pride myself to use these vintage items, and I need to get back to that. I have such a wonderful collection in my stash, it needs to get out into the world!  
3) Organize as I go. When we moved, I started folding and color coordinating my stash and discovered that I have far too much fabric!! I barely made a dent before I filled up the entire space I'd set aside. I'd like to utilize this space better this year. I want to use up, organize, and consolidate during The Year of the Stash!
4) Sew, sew, sew! One of my goals is to have at least one finish per month, I'd also like to make one new block per month. Sourcing from my stash will help me as I have so many wonderful fabrics at my fingertips! 

And that's it! Simple, right? I'll be posting blogs about my Year of the Stash and linking up regularly at Quarter Inch from the Edge. I hope some of my readers will join in as well! And be sure to check out other quilter's manifestos here

2016 Goals

 I'm so excited for the year ahead and the possibilities it offers! My list of goals for 2016 keeps growing. I don't like to make New Years Resolutions. I don't want to resolve to doing things, I want to aspire to doing them! 

Work on Creative Endeavors as Much as Work 
For 2015, I wrote "I have to make my art and sewing a priority in my life and not let working at my job be the only or most urgent thing that drives me". And this past year has taught me that this is a very difficult task. Nearly Impossible. I am excited to carry this goal over and continue to work towards it.  

As a way to work towards goal number 1, I need to work more on my craft. Some things I want to work on in this area are to improve my skills, be involved in at least one market, and one show, have a finish every month, and generally make more! 

In 2015, I made great strives in my blogging. I want to keep that up with regular blog posts. Like, really regular! I learned last year that I need take 1 month off from blogging. My slowest time for posts is over the summer. I failed to update shop regularly in 2015. This is something I hope to do. Hopefully that will result in more sales, as I would like to gain practice at selling, packaging, and gathering customers and followers to widen my community. 

Draw More (some).  
To inspire this goal, I've started a secret project. Something that might help this would be to do a drawing a day for a year. 365 drawings might be a weighty goal, but I'm going to try!

I want to learn to set and complete more deadlines for myself.  

House and Home
I want to continue to get better at taking care of my family and our home.  

I want to get better at taking care of myself and my health. I'd like to exercise at least 4 times a week. I want to stretch every day. I want to continue to make and eat wonderful and healthy foods. 

Wardrobe/Use Up, Don't Buy
I plan to continue my wardrobe project which I worked on last year. And I want to strive to reduce, reuse, and recycle more in my everyday life. I'd love to be able to not buy anything (besides food, necessities, etc...) for at least 6 months out of the year 2016.  

Now that I've moved, I need to get involved! Step one - get a job I love! I also want to make sure that I stay in touch with my old community, so friends will be a priority this year. 

Read More 
Nuff said. 

I'd love to hear some readers goals for the coming year. Leave them in the comments or show us a link!