4 books finished in 2017: Sleeping on Jupiter

4 books finished in 2017

Late one night during the holidays I discovered that Goodreads not only has a “Readers Also Enjoyed” tab but they will connect me to a library directory, which I can use to REQUEST BOOKS BE DELIVERED TO MY OFFICE. This collection of resources has been at my disposal for ages, most likely, but I had finished reading Midnight’s Children and wanted to continue reading books by authors from different cultures. So I started with Salmon Rushdie, and added a few other authors I have loved, and started drilling down into the recommendations, adding indiscriminately to my library request list.

The next work day, I had a stack of books waiting for me.

This is obviously a chaotic way to gather books to read, but not much better than my childhood habit of walking into the local library and choosing the five books with the best covers/titles in the Recommended/New Releases section. (Oh wait. This is ALSO how I choose books to read when I run out of books and have to visit a bookstore on vacation.)

Overall, the world-building of this book was incredible. I felt very connected to the characters, and I was invested in their stories to a degree. Unfortunately, many of the characters were unpleasant to spend time with – which is my main complaint against Franzen as well – and the whole book ended fairly abruptly.

I give it a 3, which isn’t far from the general Goodreads score – perhaps I should refine this book-selection process slightly by incorporating that information.

2 books finished in 2017: Song of Solomon

2 books finished in 2017

A lot of drama
and generations after
Macon Dead is dead.

This book was pretty intense. Though, I guess that’s an accurate description of every Toni Morrison book I’ve read so far – she grapples with really heavy, brutally violent subjects, yet still crafts an enchanting story with moments of levity.

1 book finished in 2017: Making Room

1 book finished in 2017

hospitality
creating space for others
in everyday life

I was quite intentional about finishing this book first, because my hope is that intentional hospitality will be a formative theme for the year. Reading this has helped to steady me in the midst of house hunting and contract negotiations. My plan for furnishing and decorating is a practical application of my hopes for community, welcome, and warmth in a home. (My budget appreciates that one principle of hospitality is NOT being too attached to your things, as you want to be gracious if and when they are broken/damaged by others in your home.)

I learned a LOT from this book, and I look forward to learning more as our church is hosting the author for an educational forum this spring.

a few new things

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I kicked off the new year by making an offer on a house!

I took the photo above the day after I submitted the contract, when I realized that I’d need to pack up my multi-purpose bedroom and thought I might want to capture some of its whimsy.

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Of course, these photos also capture the chaos – the nearly constant, relentlessly managed chaos of having a bedroom, a closet, and a sewing room in one open space. I cannot clear a surface without claiming it with a new project within a week.

The excitement I’m experiencing right now is directly related to the excitement of paying off my debt last year, and is only due to the budgeting skills and financial confidence I have acquired in that process and since. It’s also due to some generous money gifted from family, which I am quick to acknowledge because it’s frequently a part of home ownership and often helps to explain why Person X is able to be in a particular place while Person Y is not – generational financial stability, plus the knowledge and emotional support of parents who have navigated this process. I am hugely privileged in this way, and I need to acknowledge that.

Where do things stand now? I’m under contract. (I’m always tempted to say “we” – “We’re under contract!” –  which is partially my own acknowledgement that IT TAKES A VILLAGE and that I couldn’t do this without the support of my realtor, lender, inspector, etc…but I think this is also a piece of my amazement that I’m buying a house as a single woman. This is honestly one of those financial/emotional hurdles that I would actively name in my 20s – I was sad to be single because I didn’t believe I’d be able to own a home by myself. The fact that such thoughts didn’t even occur to me in this process speaks greatly about the maturity and contentment I’ve grown into.) I’ve been sending hundreds of financial documents to my lender, and I just had the house inspection. We’re (my realtor is doing the bulk of the work, so I just can’t claim it) bringing in a few professionals to look more closely at systems, but it seems like the seller is motivated to resolve any issues and to get to closing.

My planning nature has kicked into high gear. I have at least a dozen secret pin boards, gathering ideas and inspiration for furnishing this particular space. I have a google spreadsheet that is tracking my cash balance and my planned expenditures IN ADDITION to my regular budget (which should, despite all this activity, stay fairly stable in the midst of the transition – a bit of a reminder that higher spending should not be contagious across categories). I am immobilized with frustration that I cannot start DOING these things that I’m planning to do, that I have to wait almost another month, which means I’ve also started creating project management charts to track how quickly I can tackle each task once I have keys in my hands. (Perhaps the benefit of a spouse in this scenario would be someone to forcibly drag me away from my lists.)

I’m not sure whether I intended to say anything else, before this devolved into lists of lists (which has always been a deep theme of my blogging) – it just seemed important to mark this moment, to immortalize it in some small way, and to give a slight warning that I might turn into a home decor blogger for a brief stretch of time. (Is there anything more satisfying than a before and after shot? NOPE.)

The house will have three(!) bedrooms, which means I will have space for a sewing room AND a guest room – and will not be forced to magically combine them in one space, which is what I’d expected to happen. There is enough room for the giant table I built last winter. I will not have to share a fridge or freezer with anyone for the first time in ten years!(!!!)

Okay, that’s enough for now.