Ringing in the New Year: Book Tag and I’m it!

The Scene: A well-lit bedroom, strewn with clothes and books, drawing supplies and souvenir shot glasses, a Taylor guitar and an antique typewriter.

The Players: One Stephanie, sitting against the headboard in bed, laptop in place, surrounded by detritus of the evening – books, 2016 planner, prismacolor pens, iPad, chargers and Rolos. Two cats, both alternating between pacing and hiding under the bed in fear of the fireworks that have been sporadically going off all evening.

The Mood Music: Tricky’s Blowback album.


Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Shaun at Tales in Anxiety tagged me to do this Ringing in the New Year Book thingy. I’ve been avoiding doing these – and please don’t be offended if you’ve tagged me to do something but I didn’t. I just couldn’t resist this one, though, cuz I’m nuts about books! By the way, carry your asses over to Shaun’s place – he’s a good writer. Not only that, but he’s a fucking cool dude – so go on!

Now. Y’all know how I do. Fuck the rules; let’s get right into the questions! (Which are really fucking tough, by the way.)

Best book/series you read in 2015?

I’m going to give you two books: one a non-fiction memoir and one literary fiction. These were my two favorite books of the year:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, by Malala Yousafzai. Malala’s story is not only important for the advancement of basic human rights the world over, but it’s also some pretty fucking important perspective. Things can always be worse – and for far too many people, they are. Malala is a brave young woman who stood up for her rights, and the rights of others in her situation. For that, she nearly lost her life. And you know what? It didn’t stop her – nay, it bolstered her and made her voice into a powerful force for good. Her memoir is the perfect blend of Pakistani history and political climate for reference with the recounting of what happened to her.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is my favorite fiction author, period. He has been for a few years now. I haven’t read all of his books…yet. But that’s only because I’ve forced myself to slow down because I’m dreading the day I’m caught up and don’t have any new Murakami to read. Murakami is this weird, magical realist and surrealist author. I don’t really know what to say. Perhaps Kafkaesque. All I know is that Murakami gives me characters that I can relate to alongside most unrealistic characters. I love his jazz references and the simple scenes and detailed minutia. But I also love the mind-boggling surreal scenes that are insane…and profound. He always makes me think – and good lord the caliber of his writing. Just. Just read him.

Authors you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year?

Both of these are authors that have been around for a long time, but I only read a book by each of them this year. Both of them drew me in and taught me about different cultures – which I love reading about. So I would love to read more by Amy Tan as well as Chinua Achebe. Fantastic writers and able to draw you in to different cultures and lands. I read Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

I’m also gonna take this as a chance to tell you about what’s next up from my TBR pile:

  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Kinda pumped about all four of those!

Most anticipated book turned movie?

Okay. This may be cheating, because the movie has already been out for quite some time. I don’t really keep up with books turned movies very well. But one I’ve been looking forward to seeing and haven’t gotten to yet is The Martian, based on the book of the same name by Andy Weir. I enjoyed the book – it was a super fast read. I kinda raced a coworker to see who could finish first. I know. Weird. Anyway! It wasn’t some masterpiece, but it was a decent book, and the main character was a snarky pottymouth. So I approved. I do think it’s one of those rare ones that could make a better movie than book, so I want to see it at some point.

Name a character you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight.

Westley from The Princess Bride. He’s loyal and funny and a smartass and did time as a pirate. He wins battles of wit, brute strength and sword fights. He comes back from the dead to rescue his true love. Definitely Westley. I want to hear, “As you wish,” to my silly little whims or shows of affection.

How many books do you hope to read in 2016?

I think my Goodreads goal for 2015 was 24 books. I’ve finished the year with a total of 42 books read. A couple of those were short comic books, but the rest were novels (or at least novel-length). I think I’ll keep my goal the same for 2016, because I like keeping track of what I’ve read – but I also don’t want to turn reading into a stressful thing that I feel I fail if I didn’t do a certain amount. 24 is perfectly doable for me, without being stressful or feeling I’ve failed myself. But it would be cool if I could make it to 50 this time!

Will you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? 

Yeah! See above!

Any New Year’s Resolutions? (Bookish or otherwise?)

Not really. I don’t really do resolutions. But, I do have ongoing goals that I will continue to work on. Goals such as: be a better person, be kind to myself, work on my health, and find courage to carpe the fucking diem! And somewhere in all of that, I will continue to be a reading machine!


I nominate all y’all, cuz that’s how I roll. Anybody wanna do it? Do it. You no wanna? No do it.

107 thoughts on “Ringing in the New Year: Book Tag and I’m it!

      1. OMG! You have GOT to read Terry Goodkind. Granted, some of the Sword of Truth books are better than others, but he’s the first author I literally stayed up at night to read. Finished the first book in, like, two days. First book is Wizard’s First Rule.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Hey, no problem! Your writing is so unique, funny, and really full of perspective. Which makes it fun to read. Which tells me you have been influenced by some awesome books. Which told me you would be awesome at this one. In other words, I told myself a lot of shit 🙂 Anyway, you deserve it completely! Because your writing always puts a smile on my face.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hahaha! You did tell yourself lots of shit, but it sounded like good shit to me. You’re awesome and pretty much just made me cry. Which means it’s probably past my bedtime if I’m getting weepy over compliments again. 😀

        Thank you, Shaun. Seriously…you’re awesome.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Oh shit, I didn’t mean to make you cry. Shit, I need to make you laugh now instead of cry! Um…. Fuck, I’m blank on jokes. Um… A friend of mine dropped a cell phone in a toilet once as it was flushing, and wanted me to call it to see if we could tell by how loud the vibration was how far down it got to see if we should “go after it.” Was that funny enough?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved this post. I LOVE Tricky’s Maxinquaye album (Vulnerable was a good one, too, I thought); and I LOVE Amy Tan. I’ve read several of her books, and they’re all different and interesting. She’s an underappreciated writer, I think.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schif and was in love with the author and the subject matter by the time I finished. She (re)constructs known events in the context of (clash of) culture and custom of the time, de-mystifying the Cleopatra legend and treating the woman – the queen – with the respect historians often deny her. It’s fascinating reading, if you are a fan of history (or a fan of seeing powerful women portrayed as people, rather than reduced to their sex).

    Historical fiction likewise holds appeal for me, and right now I’m reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It reads like a memoir, and is written from the point of view of the wife of one of literature’s giants.

    Given your chosen genres, I thought I would share. 🙂

    Happy New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those both sound awesome. Thank you so much! You’ve found a fan of history, here, so long as it’s not American History (mostly). For a while, the only fiction I’d read was historical fiction.

      Happy New Year to you, too! I’ll be checking into those books!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Life Is A Journey,
    But My Best Wishes Are The Milestones
    That Will Give You Hope
    And Motivation To Move On.
    Am Wishing You A Joyous New Year!
    With warmth, love and blessings from MiddleMe to you and your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year! Heh…I’m on that now, but only for a couple of weeks so far, starting at the low dose. Along with several other things. I hope it doesn’t spoil reading for me.


  4. This is fantastic! I love ya more, the more ya write. I think I shall try to do a Goodreads Challenge with you this year. My heads been lost in smut for far too long.

    I really wanna carpe the fucking diem out of this year too. Happy New Year you sweet thing. I’m so glad I found ya.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well. Heh. I crashed with a migraine Thursday afternoon and spent the rest of the time in bed all the way through this morning. I even had to call in to work yesterday, which I never do. I mustered up the strength and sunglasses to drive myself to the doctor. He gave me a couple of shots, but they didn’t eliminate the headache. It’s still here, but the severity has decreased significantly. So I am at work, crossing my fingers it doesn’t get worse again.But damnit, something has me so drowsy, I’m finding it hard to keep my eyes open. Blahblahblah. 🙂

      How are YOU?


      1. This might sound creepy, but I wish I could be there to give you a head/neck/massage and take away your pain! Migraines are horrible…I know from personal experience.
        Moi, ça va bien, merci.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And likewise! The latest comic books/graphic novels I’ve read through were….let’s see. The Wake was good. Punk Rock Jesus was excellent. I recently read all of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and ohmygosh words can’t do it justice. I’m trying to read Saga, but I keep getting myself sidetracked. It’s the one I intend to read next, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved Assassin’s Apprentice (and the whole trilogy). My husband hated it. He said there wasn’t enough action. He described it as “grey”. That might be exactly why I loved it. I can’t wait to read The Fool’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Thank you for the feedback on Assassin’s Apprentice. It’s been in my “to be read” list for ages – and I had a little gift card to Books-A-Million and decided it’s time! After I finish the one I’m on. Ha!


    1. Yeah, a Taylor. It has the most beautiful sound, and it sits there collecting dust. Mocking me and my ineptitude (or malaise). It would get far more use out of someone like you! I don’t really know how to do anything with it, but I keep hanging on to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can do major and minor chords, bar chords, power chords, and some finger picking SOME, but I’m not very good and can’t do good leads.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Maybe, but my cheap guitar is just fine for my abilities. Taylors are nice. Too bad you’re way over there, I’d teach you the few things I know.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You read well, I say, complimenting your choices.
    I can be snobby about literature and I should not, but some people are so trite and predictable, she says, snobbily and yet with a smidgen of remorse.
    I only recently became aware of the mastermind Murakami, and have put several of his books on my TBR. I’m thinking summer for him.
    Jhumpa Lahiri — Oh. I’ve come to love her. So Much.
    I am in possession of a multitude of unread books at the moment, (thank you, gift-giving season!)and struggle in putting them in order. I’m being spontaneous, which is seldom my thing, but then again, I also enjoy shopping for books, and old dirty books, so perhaps books are my quirky thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why, thank you! I have trouble accepting compliments, but that’s one I will take with glee!

      I can definitely be a lit snob. There are things out there that I consider straight-up garbage. I should probably be happy people are reading at all, but COME ON! 😀

      Murakami Murakami Murakami! Have you added Kafka on the Shore or The Windup Bird Chronicle to your TBR yet? Do it do it do it!

      Your comment also makes me eager for the Jhumpa Lahiri book. It’s been on my TBR forever, but I finally snagged a copy. I’m pumped about it, but I’ve already started Amanda Palmer’s book. I’ll get to it soon, for sure!

      Oh, and I’m bad about books. I buy and buy without much thought to the fact that I’ve already got a dozen TBR stacked up on my nightstand. I’ve gotten better in recent months, mostly because I’ve started to also hoard digital books. Ah well…there are worse “problems” to have!


  7. Not to be a pushy bitch but you haven’t posted in like a….a whole week! Can we get on that tute suite (if that’s how you spell that). I need my daily dose of guffaws the likes of only your writing can produce. Because it’s all about me!!! (And production for the masses, of course. ) The End

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! You’re the best! I’m working on a draft now…but I keep getting interrupted with stupid work. Warning you, though, it won’t be a fun one.

      You just gave me bigtime smiles, though, for seriouses. Thank you! 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Really? Cool. Then let me try and make you guffaw by telling you a joke that hardly anyone appreciates but me:

        What the difference between a chickpea and a potato?
        You wouldn’t pay to have a potato on you.

        How is that not hilarious??!!

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Read/reading/waiting to be read (have physical copy in hand) – The Outpost by Jake Trapper, The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, My American Joirney by Colin Powell, our Last Best Chance by King Abdullah II of Jordan, I’m Hosting as Fast as I Can by Tom Bergeron, Playing For Pizza by John Grisham, Basket Case by Carl Hiaasen, Last Words by George Carlin, Night by Elie Wiesel, The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli and Desr John by Nicholas Soarks to name a few. 🙂
    I prefer the feel of a bound tome in my hands to an ebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo thank you for sharing. I haven’t heard of all of these. I’m with you, I far prefer the heft and scent of a book, the texture of the paper between my fingers, the sound it makes as you flip pages. I bought an iPad a couple of years ago, intending to justify the expense by reading books and full color comics on it. Yeah. I can’t seem to break my paper addiction.

      I’ve heard great things about The Outpost – I’m gonna need to add that to my TBR. Some of those others sound promising as well.

      And Elie Wiesel. Yes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was in the Infantry for 21 years and can related very closely to what is documented in The Outpost.

        I let social media occupy too much of my time which is why I’m closing my Twitter, kik and WordPress accounts.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s certainly a sound recommendation. I’m intrigued.

        Aw I hate to see you go now that I’ve just “met” ya. But I do understand. I had to close down kik ages ago, and I’m rarely ever on FB anymore, except to burn a few minutes here and there at work.

        But I think I need wordpress. At least for now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand – it takes a hell of a lot of time to do it “right”…writing and reading everyone. I’ve fallen woefully behind on reading. At some point, life starts getting neglected. Surely there’s some balance in there. Hopefully I’ll find it!

      Liked by 1 person

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