This single link offers links to their recommendations with how to view, read, or listen to them.
Included in the list are books, both non-fiction and fiction as well as for younger readers, television shows, movies and films, podcasts, and of course, music, which, as a white person, I say where would we be without Black music and its influences across every genre.
Visit your local library or e-library and see what’s available.
If you’d rather buy, this link will take you to a list of 149 Black-Owned Independent Book Stores.
In addition, Haymarket Books is offering three FREE e-books:
Their list begins in 1920 and goes through to 2022. They also include a list of the voters who helped create this list of the seventy-five greatest movies by Black directors. They also share where these great films can be viewed on streaming channels.
I keep reading on social media how the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a missing week. I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but I would offer that it feels like one, long continuous day. My husband has been working as have my kids, but the rest of the time it feels as though not a moment has passed, and now suddenly it is 2023, and we’re off to the races and making resolutions (not quite yet) and making our beds (ha, ha, I doubt it!), and trying to make this year better than the last.
Our year ended with my (hopefully continuing) recovery from falling down the stairs and being rear-ended and losing our (and finding another miraculously) car, so in some respects it will, well, I’m not going to jinx it. It will be what it is.
I heard a homily the other day about living in the present. I am not good at that. The homilist went on to say that looking back creates anxiety and looking forward to the future creates depression, something I’ve heard before, but being in the present moment will keep you grounded. It’s a nice idea, but like saying cheer up to the person with depression, it doesn’t quite work for everyone. Nothing does. We try what we will try, and hope for the best, and move forward. Just keep swimming as Dory says.
Although swimming’s not my forte.
Unfortunately, I did not complete my reading challenge. For the last several years I’ve chosen my age as the number of books that I commit to read for the year. I’ve surpassed that usually, but this year, I fell short: only 49 books. I have written more this year and I think that’s part of why my reading fell short. Any time I would have had for reading, I was working on NaNoWriMo and my book while also planning out next semester’s classes. I mentioned in another post that I’d like to plan a writer’s retreat, but that is in its infancy. I’m not sure that I could facilitate such a large undertaking, but who knows? I hadn’t thought about teaching classes (not seriously anyway), and while I’ve still been anxiety-riddled, I did get some good feedback, and that has helped my confidence and motivation.
For 2023, my reading challenge number is 56. I’ve already started with a couple of devotionals and a Michael Crichton book I started last month. My brother got me Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, one of the books on my wish list, so that’s next! Wish me luck.
We did have some astonishing things happen in the last few days of the year and since Christmas.
For one thing, we actually finished an entire bag of bagels without throwing any of them away wastefully. This might fall under miraculously because usually by the second bagel we forget we have them especially if it’s a workday.
We also completely finished our Christmas roast beef with no leftovers. We had our Christmas dinner, we brought a plate to our son who was working (complete with dessert), and I made two Shepherd’s Pies throughout the week.
We also discovered some new television, or should I say streaming? We had dropped all of our television and streaming services except cable (that’s going soon) and Disney Plus since we watch it all the time, but for vacation we re-signed for HBO Max, Hulu, and Netflix. My son wanted HBO, so he subscribed, and Hulu was on a good deal, and we were waiting for the holidays to catch up on our Netflix shows. There are really quite a lot of things to watch.
We finished as much as we could of Stargirl, which has one more season before cancellation. I finally got to see Black Adam and Belfast, both highly recommended for differing reasons.
We also started Wednesday (wasn’t interested when I first heard about it, but I am obsessed – it is phenomenal!) and we finished Derry Girls. Today, my daughter and I are going to watch Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, after she gets home from work and after dinner.
Waiting in the wings are the Banshees of Inisherin and another re-watch of Spider-Man: No Way Home (I loved that movie!)
Writing Intentions are taking a bit more effort to form along with other New Year’s intentions. They will be in another post that I’m hoping to write this week. I’m also thinking of ways to earn money with my writing, but that is also for the more in-depth writing intentions post. I’ve seen writers I respect on Substack, but I’m not sure if that’s for me. I enjoy my time here on this site, and I don’t want to create several spaces that are just repetitions of one another. It deserves further study, and any suggestions and thoughts are welcome in the comments.
I’m hoping to keep up my optimism despite some sweeping changes, a few of which are/were unplanned and unwelcome, but moving forward is all that can be done this week and the next and reevaluate as things come up.
I usually post this closer to the start of the new year, but it’s still early. Goodreads offers a yearly challenge to set for yourself the number of books you’ll read throughout the year. I usually set it for my birthday. Last year I planned on 54 books and I read 70 books. It might have been more than that since some of the books don’t appear on Goodreads. This year’s goal is 55. I’ve already read 14 books and re-read 3.
I have not included links, but you can search any that seem interesting online, either to buy (in physical form or e-book) or borrow from your library (again either in physical form or e-book).
Politics are everywhere these days. I’m a political junkie, and even for me it can be a little exasperating. In the US we have an unhinged narcissist who can’t control his Twitter fingers and the media who used ot have journalistic integrity churning out pieces on his nicknaming habits, no follow up questions for outrageous lies, and more twattle than I thought humanly possilble. In the UK, Brexit is a disaster, no one gave a thought to Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Theresa May has resigned. The EU is in the middle of elections and fascists are everywhere. The Austrian government has basically fallen apart. And of course, there’s Iran and North Korea.
Amid this frenzy, I offer five ways to bring your blood pressure down and cope with the news of the day, no matter your normal comfort level:
1. Turn it off. Turn off the television, turn off your phone notifications, take a break from Twitter.
2. If you must stay on Twitter, only read Lin-Manuel Miranda exclusively. He is positive and uplifting and always says the one thing you needed to hear. Monday through Friday, he has Good Morning and Good Night tweets for his followers.
3. Read a book.NOT The Handmaid’s Tale. NOT 1984 or Lord of the Flies. Try Bill Bryson. Or James Martin, SJ. Or Becoming by Michelle Obama.
4. Treat yourself to a movie. Avengers: End Game is still in theatres. Other options: A Dog’s Journey, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, and in the coming weeks: Men in Black and Toy Story 4!
When I was younger, throughout high school and college I collected autographs. I couldn’t say who was my first. I’d write letters and receive replies. The objects of my fannish obsession ranged between television and movie actors to sports figures, both professional and Olympic when they were amateurs. I received a Christmas card and a post card from Bart Conner (Olympic gymnast) and a thank you card from Randy Gardner (Olympic ice skater). I have postcards from Jon-Erik Hexum, Robert Blake, Pierce Brosnan, and Linda Kelsey, one of my fictional journalist heroes. I met Telly Savalas in a Long Island diner once and waited outside the Nassau Coliseum to meet Don Maloney, Ron Duguay, and Mike Allison of the New York Rangers. I finally met Bart Conner in a shopping mall autograph event with his wife, Nadya Comeneci. My and and I both received separate lovely letters from Mr. Rogers, each one in tune for our individuality, his at five, mine as a bit older mom of a five year old.
I don’t know when I stopped.
Somewhere along the way, autograph collecting made space for selfies and social media likes. I was thinking about this earlier in the week. Ed Asner liked my tweet about his new book. It made my day. Sam Smith of Supernatural liked my post about my Halloween cosplay as her character Mary Winchester. John Barrowman liked when I welcomed him to the 50 Club. Yvette Nicole Brown has actually comforted me when I was feeling lost.
These are all the ways we connect with the public people who help us through the day. They inspire us, they advise us, and they help us feel less invisible.
Our heroes have always been the ones who we can be, inspire us to do better, fill us with ideas of the things we could do with just a little positivity, a little encouragement, a little push in the right direction. I told Ed Asner that his Lou Grant was one of the reasons I began writing. Linda Kelsey was a female journalist on television at a time when there weren’t that many in real life. That show, and those actors were some of the reasons I took a journalism class in high school.
Yvette Nicole Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Misha Collins, President Jimmy Carter.
And I will always get excited when celebrity likes my tweet or instagram photo. It is ther same thrill as receiving the California postmarked envelope with who knows what inside. The biggest difference is the immediacy; the instant gratification of a response, although I suppose the anticipation of the autograph had equal value as the ping on the smartphone.
Our heroes are in the palm of our hands – their photos, their quotes, their memes, their ways of communication. We are much more in tune with each other, and much more available for one another.
Beginning at the top, L-R: Our Common Home book cover, Wonder Woman Pop keychain, Wonder Woman cape hanging at the comic store, March for Truth art, Carnival, Pentecost, Gishwhes Tea Party art, green flower for my hair, Pride flag. (c)2017
Some weeks go by with nothing to do or that rare week that has one or two things every day just to keep the week moving along and easy to handle. Then there was this past week.
On Wednesday, I was invited to a Ramadan dinner, a community dinner to break the daily fast that Muslims globally follow. This dinner is one that the Islamic Center holds every year. It was wonderful, and I was glad to have gone. I’m already looking forward to next year.
On Thursday, I had a church meeting but that was cancelled, so at the last minute, we decided to pick up my daughter’s friend and go to the evening showing of Wonder Woman. I’m not sure if Thursday counts as opening night or pre-openng night. The movie was amazing, and for a moment I considered going to see it again this weekend. Yes, it was that good. It was also a school night, but it’s Wonder Woman! We’ve been waiting a long time for this one.
On Friday, I started to read (for the second time) Our Common Home: Visual meditations of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ by Michael O’Neill McGrath, the catalyst being the Trump Administration’s short-sightedness on the welfare of our shared planet Earth. I am reading it slowly, and I am planning on using some of Brother Mickey‘s artwork as inspiration for my own tonight. Friday night was also the school’s rec night for my daughter. It was an introduction to the middle school rec nights that they have throughout the year. Then her friend slept over in anticipation of Saturday.
Saturday began with Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast – a day late and a donut short for National Donut Day, and then we were off to our local comic store to celebrate Wonder Woman Day. Free comics, tiaras, and bracelets, pins, and key chains! Fun, fun, fun. After that my son had a birthday party that turned into a sleepover. We brought him home for a shower and a change of clothes. He and my husband went to buy him a bicycle that he’s been promised before the sale ended.
In the meantime, we took the girls out to lunch, then to a local carnival. They dropped me off at church where I was reminded it was Pentecost, something I will reflect further on later in the week. The Holy Spirit is something that I have felt my whole life without knowing exactly what it was that was guiding me. While I was at church, the girls decided on another sleepover at the friend’s house. I went home and drew some art for the March for Truth that I attended virtually continuing with the Wonder Woman theme by using her lasso of truth.
My husband and I began to catch up on Sense 8, only to find out that it wasn’t renewed for a third season. I’ve already joined the online movement to try and bring it back. It is just so much and so wonderfully well done. I can’t help but feel attached to the sensates.
We are currently at our local coffee shop – Starbucks. I’m wearing a green flower in my hair ane a matching Gishwhes shirt for the International Gishwhes Tea Party taking place around the world at this exact moment.
It is also Pride month, and I spent much of last night drawing and coloring a pride flag, mostly for my own amusement, but also to share.
So much done, and this weekend isn’t even over yet. We still need to get the kids back from their respective sleepovers, watch two more episodes of Sense8, decide on dinner, and then prepare for the return of Fear the Walking Dead.
Tomorrow seems just as busy as I renew my driver’s license and get my glasses adjusted. I’ve been getting headaches and they’re barely a week old. I’m definitely seeing better, but I’m not sure constant headaches are worth the benefit. I also plan to get my international driving permit for our trip to Ireland.
I’m not sure if I have time to catch my breath.
While I do, what are some of the ways you cope with the busyness of your lives? If you comment with yours, I’ll include them in tomorrow’s post of some of my hints and tips to get through our days.