It’s the last day of the year, and most of the bloggers I follow have been posting annual recaps. I won’t be recapping my whole year, but I did decide to share some ways to celebrate, Harry Potter style. Below is a list of past Harry Potter-related posts and links I enjoyed throughout 2015 as well as ideas for throwing a Harry Potter themed New Year’s Eve party.
Quidditch Pong – No New Year’s Eve party would be complete without some type of drinking game. Whether you’re using your favorite adult beverage, plain water (hydration is important, people), or Butter Beer, you can’t go wrong with a game of Quidditch Pong.
This is the last link-up, so be sure to share your HP-related posts before January 28th for your chance to be featured in next month’s discussion post!
I also succeeded in reading at least 51 books that were already on my shelves…or in boxes…in a storage unit. Yeah, lots of books, itty bitty living space. There, my friends, is where I flailed. You see, despite not buying books with my own money, I still managed to bring a lot of books home with me this year. In fact, I have less space on my bookshelves than I did before the challenge started, and that’s after taking several boxes of books to the used bookstore to earn enough money to buy the Outlandish Companion, Vol. Two. I earned that book, darn it, so why isn’t there any space on my shelves?! Well, between the Boyfriend showing he loves me through books, a couple of subscription boxes I get, and all the giveaways I’ve won this year, I not only replaced the books I sold but ended up filling every last nook and cranny of my bookcase.
I have so many books and so little space for them that when the Boyfriend asked me what I wanted for my graduation present, I told him, “NO BOOKS!” I then checked myself for a fever because that is the first time in my life I’ve ever turned down the opportunity to get books. It turns out this challenge has been a sort of 12-Step program for me. So, I plan on participating again next year, but that’s for another post.
SF/F Bingo: I think it’s safe to count Bitch Planet as a Dystopia, which means I’ve only got one more book to read for this challenge! If I can finish Greenglass House before the end of the year, then I will have completed the entire board.
Total pages read: 585
Total # of books for the year: 90. I had a bit of an Outlander Christmas! The Boyfriend got me the special collector’s edition of Outlander Season One, and his Mom got me the two-volume soundtrack! I got his Mom the 1st book in the series and the coloring book 🙂 The Boyfriend also got me a personal embosser for my book collection, one of his Sister’s got me an Amazon gift card, and I got several other small gifts not related to books. I’m so close to finishing A Breath of Snow and Ashes, but now that I’m back home and working on an editing project to bring in some extra cash, I have no idea when I’ll get it finished. Hopefully before the end of the week. It’s so good that I’m probably going to jump straight into the next book, An Echo in the Bone.
This was another great box from LitCube. While I’m looking forward to reading The Humbug Murders, I know I’ll never read the two-in-one Romance novel, so I included it in a Christmas gift to someone I thought might enjoy it. My favorite item so far is the shirt, which I wore on Christmas day. Now that I’m back home from visiting with the Boyfriend’s family, I plan on trying out the soap.
“You’re A Mean One” Grinch Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
“Book Nerd” Christmas Ornament
“Lump of Coal” Peppermint Soap with a 20% Coupon Code
Mini Candy Cane
The Christmas Cottage and Ever After by Samantha Chase
The Humbug Murders by L.J. Oliver
QR Code for A Titan For Christmas by Aria Kane
January’s theme is “Perfect Penpals.” I’m interested to see just what will be in the box since every box now includes a wearable item and a snack in addition to other items and books. If you’re interested in trying out LitCube, there are five days left to order the box for January. Also, I got a discount code in my email that gives 10% off one box: NEWYEAR10 🙂 Happy New Year!
This year has been rough. Just about everyone I know has suffered from loss, illness, or injury, and I’m not even going to get into world events. I’m also not going to preach about how we should all reach out and help or do some other good Samaritan activity. Instead, just be there. Be a part of your community, your family, your relationships. While I have always believed that those of us who can give a little something more during this time of year (and the rest of the year too) should do so, I also know that for many of us, just showing up and being present is all we’ve got. While we’re at it, let’s be there for ourselves as well. The Holidays don’t need to be full of activity to be *perfect*. Do you have ten minutes? Take five of those minutes and call a friend or a family member and tell them you love them. Take the other five minutes to breathe.
“I walked inside Macy’s and faced the pathetic spectacle of a department store full of shoppers, none of whom were shopping for themselves. Without the instant gratification of a self-aimed purchase, everyone walked around in the tactical stupor of the financially obligated.” – Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
I say all of this because while most people are talking about giving and doing and and and…they forget what the Holidays are about. I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid going anywhere this week. People are grumpy, and tempers are flaring in the stores, in the parking lots, and on the roads. Even store employees have attitudes, and it’s not hard to imagine why. I went to pick up the mail yesterday, and the mail woman was so shocked and happy when I wished her a Merry Christmas that I wondered how much time of her day is spent being largely ignored and unacknowledged unless someone wants something from her or something has gone wrong.
So, forget about trying to rush around to do all the extraneous stuff that we’re all “supposed” to do this time of year, at least for ten minutes. Just be there; for yourself, and for your loved ones. If you think you can’t take that time, then tell everyone you’re going to church, or temple, or, if you’re Buddhist like me, to meditate. No one can argue with you about participating in religious or spiritual activities, especially not during the Holidays. We are all connected and have been since the first of us walked the earth, and this time of year has been special for various reasons to most civilizations down through the ages. So take ten, or more if you can spare it, and remember.
“But Christmas he never forgot. It was the one remnant of his religion that never left him, for he sensed behind it a great, shimmering history that went back and back through the millennia to dark forests where fires blazed and pagans danced.” – The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
Total # of books for the year: 88. You know how I said I’d get back to a more normal volume of blogging once I graduated? Well, about that…It’s now my full-time job to find a job (I’m starting a freelance editing project today, which will give me some extra cash to tide me over until I’ve got something more steady; hopefully, one of the many jobs I’ve applied for over the past week). On top of that, I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit and my favorite season by reading when I can and snuggling up with my cat and the Boyfriend under blankets and drinking hot chocolate. We (minus our fur baby, Dresden) also went to a Christmas party. I’m also traveling this week. So, it’s fairly safe to say I won’t be getting back to my usual amount of blogging until at least after Christmas, but probably not until I find a full-time job, and I’m no longer sitting at my computer looking through job postings and submitting resumes for eight hours a day.
Book and Dessert Pairing Guide – These book and dessert pairings would make great and inexpensive gifts. Instead of just buying a book, make or purchase a snack to go with it. You could even add tea, coffee, or hot cocoa mix to go with it all, and if you’re really “crafty,” place everything in a basket, wrap it all up, and top it off with a bow.
60 Bookish Films Streaming on Netflix – Are you tired of watching Christmas specials, but sticking your nose in a book would be rude while you’re with family? Give one of these bookish movies a try (be warned: not all of them are all-ages friendly).
12 Books That Will Lift You Up When You Are Down – Many of us get the Holiday Blues or suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). While reading isn’t a cure-all, I’ve found it does help to lessen a case of the blahs. Reading also helps reduce stress, another common problem during this time of year.
Project Night Night – Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids out there who are homeless. This is a great bookish alternative to Toys for Tots. Consider donating $25 towards a Night Night Package (which contains a security blanket, a children’s book, and a stuffed animal inside a canvas tote bag) or build your own and mail it to one of the donation centers they list.
Holiday Tradition and a Book – I was a guest blogger over at Michelle’s blog Because Reading is Better than Real Life, and I wrote about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Check it out along with the other guest posts throughout December.