What I'm Into {January 2014}

01 February 2014

I remember as a child thinking it would be weird to start the years with a "Twenty" instead of "Nineteen." Two decades later I write a 14 next to my 20 and I'm in shock. My eldest is turning 11 in a week. We are entering our fourth year living abroad. My sister is getting married. 2014 is crazy, people. CRAZY.

But anyway, here's what happened in January:


Early in the new year I quickly finished Dust, the final book in the Wool series by Hugh Howey. As a whole, it was entirely unique, unlike anything I'd ever read. And even though I was worried that dystopian literature had been overdone as of late, Howey managed to create a world and plot so narrowly terrifying, I felt claustrophobic for days... then jubilant at the finale. It also left me with many ethical/philosophical questions about war, control, the human "need" to rebel, and if knowledge is indeed power... I don't want to spoil it for you, so may save a proper review for later. But you should read it. ALSO? Amazing heroine(s) at the core of the books. Bonus points.

Also read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain about the young, tumultuous marriage between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. Somehow I've managed to pick two books, with artist/genius antagonists and their long-suffering wife/lovers originally from Oak Park, IL who move to Europe. :) A specific genre, to be sure! Although I knew Hemingway from his Chicago and Kansas City days, I've never read his work and only had a brief acquaintance with his philandering ways. Told from Hadley's perspective, with subtle passages highlighting Hemingway's inner turmoil, I found myself drawn to him just like she was. The passion that fills an artist's lungs to overflowing is an uncontrollable (unavoidable?) energy. I found myself wondering, though, how is it that so many talented, intelligent artists - men (and women) who have made the world more beautiful - are so ugly and desolate on the inside. Both Hemingway and Wright (from Loving Frank) seemed utterly unable to maintain a faithful love despite the purity and, perhaps, human naiveté with which they saw and contributed to the world. Is this the only way to create beauty, to find oneself bereft of it? Perhaps they're not any uglier than the rest of us, just better able to accept it, use it and maybe, hopefully redeem it...

Currently reading: Jesus Calling, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, Bird by Bird, The Great Gatsby, The Long & the Short of it (written by my friend Annmarie Miles... will come back to this when I'm finished!).


Was there anything else but Sherlock on this month? This season had arguably more laugh-out-loud moments than the first two, though the final episode brought us to an even darker place than The Reichenbach Fall. Magnusson is absolutely terrifying, but the character of Mary saved the day. Funny, smart, dangerous. Loved her.

Other television viewing included finishing up Spooks (I can't even talk about it!) and catching up with The Good Wife on Netflix (I now have an insatiable desire to buy dress suits).


A slow movie month, but thanks to the husband's illness we were able to finally watch Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (sad to say I loved the trailers for it more than I loved the actual film, though it is certainly spectacular and troubling) and rescreening an old favourite, The Royal Tenenbaums (the thing about this poignant movie is, though it may not be fit for mass consumption due to "adult" themes, it is absolutely overflowing with redemption and reconciliation; also, hilarious).


Not much new... still listening to Reflektor (if you're a fan of Arcade Fire or Rainn Wilson, make sure to watch this short video from Metaphysical Milkshake) and downloaded Jars of Clay's latest, Inland.

my usual haircut / "Give me the Tina Fey!" I say.

  • Friends nearby who offer me lifts and coffee late in the day and playdates for our dogs
  • Writing group, even on the intense days, and the intimacy that comes from shared stories
  • Celebrating the book launch of a friend who's chased (and caught) his dreams, over and over again
  • Rainy mornings with nothing to do but lay in bed and drink coffee
  • Related: kids who - mostly - play well on their own on said rainy mornings
  • The days getting longer
  • Designing some images (and making new friends) for a new site for women serving cross-culturally
  • Friends who come over for THEIR birthdays
  • A fix for our car that only required buying a litre of oil
  • A couple of brief mornings in the city
  • Talking with my dad during his trip to India, rare times when we were the only ones in the family awake, seeing and hearing his thoughts "face to face"
(January was an intense, busy month and I'm realising I didn't take all that much time to enjoy it. People got sick and cars got fixed and many things were on the to-do-list, and it was mostly cold, rainy and dark. I'll try to pay better attention in February.)

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Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.
Romans 13:10 {NIV UK}

Linking up with Leigh Kramer again this month. Tell us, what were YOU into? New books, music, movies I should know about? I've gotta do something with my life now that Sherlock is over again.


  1. Love all of your currently-reading books! I'm getting into Jesus Calling, and it's the first devotional I've actually stuck with longer than a month. (Started in November...) And, what a darling pic of you & your boy. :)

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Annie! And for your kind words. :) I felt the same way about Jesus Calling. I don't get to it everyday, but when I do, I'm so thankful for it... A real breath of fresh air (and Spirit!).

  2. Yes, Sherlock!!! Couldn't get enough this month! :) Bird by Bird is my favorite writing book, hands down. I take turns lending out my copy and re-reading it! Adore your Tina Fey look, too. I used to get the "You look like Tina Fey" until I donated 12 inches of my hair in the fall. Have you read Bossypants? :) So happy I found you through Leigh's What I'm Into! Have a great February!

    1. 12 inches! I'm impressed and have always wanted to do that, but it's such a thick mop on my head, I never quite seem to be able to grow it long enough. Thanks for stopping by, Ginger! :)

  3. I just noticed that you're a Jayhawks fan, too!!!!! We're kindred spirits! My hubby is a Longhorn, so he might be sleeping on the couch tonight. ;)

    1. Heck yes, Ginger. Born and bred. Rock Chalk, my friend.

  4. I read The Paris Wife and Loving Frank back to back and had those same realizations/questions. The thing that struck me is how neither of them seemed to want redemption. They were caught up in their own needs and wants with little regard for how their actions would affect others. The 3rd episode of Sherlock airs tonight. I can't wait! This season has been even more amazing than I thought was possible. And yes, funnier than the previous two. Freeman and Cumberbatch are extremely talented actors. Love The Royal Tenenbaums. I'll watch anything by that director- and I'm not someone who pays much attention to who's directing in the first place. All of your pictures make me wish I could visit.

    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one... I suppose one of the marks of a good book is how long it stays with you, and these questions/ruminations/frustrations are still rumbling around in my head. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Sherlock! I tried to not spoil anything. And I am with you with Wes Anderson. This is my all-time favourite of his but can't wait to see the ones that comes out this year... and LOVE Fantastic Mr Fox. So brilliant. You SHOULD visit. :)

  5. Love "catching up" with you each month! That last quote is just gorgeous. xx

    1. Thanks for the comment, Fiona. :) And I know! Love that verse from Eliot.

  6. SO much goodness for you this month - loved this post! Per your description, I'm definitely intrigued by the Wool series. My husband and I LOVE Sherlock - like the rest of the world. We still haven't watched the final episode - I'll be sad there will be no more to watch, so we're 'saving 'it. (Weird, I know.) And I too loved following the Uganda Compassion bloggers--so many amazing stories and words. Really enjoyed your post!

    1. I totally understand saving it! We did that with Doctor Who once we got all caught up... by that time, though, our sleep schedule was all off from the late night viewings. ;) Thanks for the comment, Sarah!!!