Yesterday, I turned 29 years old.

Entering the first day of the last year in my 20s, I feel somewhat of a spark igniting somewhere inside of me.  I have received signs in the past week telling me that I need to return to my first love: writing. 

Earlier this year, I made a rather drastic change to my lifestyle–I started waking up at 5am. At first, I loved it. I had a sense of purpose burning inside me, whether it was a monumental project at work or scheduled workouts that started my day off with a bang, and 5am gave me newfound time to accomplish the things that were driving me. 

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yesterday i, today you

yesterday i accidentally tripped you. we were walking down the baltimore waterfront and you were going off in the wrong direction. in my attempt to swerve you, i instead sent you stumbling on the pavement. today, i let you lead the way. we are taking a neighborhood stroll after the rain. it is a wet, bright gray and it feels like we are the only ones out in the world. yesterday you were mr. independent, pushing dad and my hands out of the way. today you are close again, holding onto my fingers the entire time.

yesterday i was in a hurry. today i slow down.

yesterday i was sick. we had miles to drive and hours to fly and your todderlisms to endure. the usual nurse-before-flight method didn’t work and you were wide awake the first hour. dad and i took turns holding you in a hundred different positions. today i am healing. we have resting to do. and that’s all we have to do today.

yesterday i swear you seemed to grow an inch taller. today i see it still.

we have today is all we have today.


Books of 2017: A Review in Statistics

Consider this my interlude: This is so not my favorite reading year. I gave birth to a little human in the beginning of 2017, is why.

(See my 2016 books review here, which is probably my best one yet.)

So, I read six books in 2017. And I didn’t even finish one of them. So, 5 1/4 is more like it. But I will say that two of these were absolute gems–I’m going to hold these close to my heart for the rest of my life, or until my memory gives.

Here goes what (hopefully) will be my shortest yearly book review, starting with my highest to lowest rated books of 2017:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihira – 5
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay, and Siobhan Dowd– 5
Sandman (v.1-6) by Neil Gaiman – 4
Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo – 4
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris – 4
The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney – 1

And now, here’s a breakdown of the statistics I was most interested in.

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Books of 2016: A Review in Statistics

When I realized that it was the end of February already, I told myself I couldn’t keep putting off my yearly book review. Imagine my surprise when I sat down and perused my bookshelf via Goodreads for my 2017 books and realized that I had completely forgotten to review my 2016 books! Well, it did make perfect sense, considering I had recently birthed a new human being at the very start of 2017 and spent the rest of the year adjusting to that lifestyle.

I briefly considering skipping over 2016, but that was–I had the pleasure of remembering–a damn good reading year. I was pregnant for nine months of that year, which meant that my extracurricular activities had narrowed considerably, and my reading time shot up.

On the flip side, I had ceased to be pregnant in 2017 and that human I was growing suddenly became an entity outside my body that I had to look after. Therefore, as you can imagine, my reading time took a nose-dive last year.

Comparing the quantity (and quality!) of my 2016 and 2017 books, it would honestly be a tragedy if I only did a review of my 2017 books. So, this post is focused on my 2016 books. Click here for a separate review of my 2017 books.

Without further ado, starting with 2016, here are the books I read, from my highest rated to least:

Hyperion by Dan Simmons – 5
Claymore by Norihiro Yagi – 5
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – 5
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace – 5
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson – 5
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli – 5
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo – 5
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin – 5
Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation by Pam England and Rob Horowitz – 5
The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne – 4
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – 4
Room by Emma Donoghue – 4
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin – 4
Cut, Stapled, and Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean by Roanna Rosewood – 4
Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin – 4
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – 4
My Friend Dahmer by Perf Backderf – 4
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – 4
Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai – 4
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – 3
American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 3
Branding Is Sex: Get Your Customers Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything by Deb Gabor – 3
Serpentine by Cindy Pon – 3
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne – 2

And now, here’s a breakdown of the statistics I was most interested in.

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Have you ever loved a street? I have, many streets. From a lazy, lantern-lit road in Laos to a humming, flowery neighborhood street in Berkeley, there has always been a street that improves my life simply by being walked on.

My current favorite street is the one behind Armadillo Park, a cute street lined with cozy houses and lots of plants. One of the houses has a little free library in front of it. Ever seen one? It’s a wooden cabinet that can usually hold a dozen or so books. This one is painted a bright purple and has an impressive output of neighborhood book contribution. It was a thrilling little discovery, and I immediately took a book, silently promising owners of the house that I would return with one of my own, thus helping keep their vision alive.

True enough, the next time I returned to that little free library, I was carrying THE NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri. A difficult decision, isn’t it? Deciding what book to contribute to the neighborhood literary IQ. You don’t want to give away your favorite books; otherwise what’s the point of having bookshelves? But you also don’t want to mud up the literary pool by discarding books that you hated. After a delicate battle with my library, I settled on a book and I gingerly inserted it inside the purple cabinet.

Weeks passed; life got busy. The other day, after Austin’s bizarre turn in weather, it was feeling like autumn once again, and I was in need of a stroll. The air was gloomy but crisp, and my favorite street was calling me.

It was with elation that I pried that purple cabinet open to find that THE NAMESAKE was no longer there. Someone had chosen my book! And they might be reading it right now, in one of those houses. Which one, I wondered as I continued the stroll back home. On this street? Or one closer to mine? Or one in the next town?

It was then that it struck me that the book may be sitting on a shelf of a stranger’s home and that person just may love the same street just as much as I do and for the same reasons.

Places that you love are more than places; they become part of you.

happy song