March (or When Winter Finally Comes to Mississippi)

It’s springtime in Mississippi! The sun is shining, the birds are singing–oh, wait, that’s not right at all! It was freezing in March. And rainy. And a teeny bit snowy. And like Grumpy Cat, this is how I feel about the weather around here.

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We still had an awesome month. We went to Memphis to hang out with the Stricklands and had a great time. The boys played golf, the girls drank sangria, and the kids played with the neighbors in the back yard.


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The first Monday of spring break, while David was camping with his grandparents, Stuart and I went to Memphis. Stu had a business meeting, so I got to lay around in the hotel, read, nap, eat sushi, and spend two uninterrupted hours in a bookstore. It was bliss.

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We met the elder Seamans at Grenada Lake the last weekend of spring break. It was our first camping trip of 2013 and the weather was exceptional. Mild (though super windy) during the day, and fairly chilly at night; we even got a little sunburned!

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I finally mastered the art of the granny square. Starting in the center was really confusing to me at first, but once I got the hang of it, I turned into a mad woman!

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I also had the honor of watching my dear friend, Claire, speak at a panel on gender studies at the Isom Center. She was brilliant (and she’s also now a doctor)!

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The district pinewood derby was in March. David did a great job. He placed 10th and qualified for the council race in Tupelo in May.

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David got to sleep over at a friend’s house. They stayed up super late, and he was like a zombie the next day. Once we got home from the derby and grocery shopping, he napped for the first time in like 4 years.

IMG_4924[1]However, he did have an earlier than usual bedtime once.  We were watching American Idol at some point this month, and Dave fell asleep in the chair with me. Then Squeaky fell asleep on top of David. Adorbs.

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We had our annual crawfish boil last weekend. There were lots of libations and even more crawfish. We had a great day hanging out with friends.

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We rounded out the month with an awesome Easter. David got to spend the weekend with his Grandma, Aunt Connie, and Aunt Louie. They went to see The Croods and hunted eggs at Bellvue. He racked up on Easter goodies; the Bunny visited both Grandma’s house AND ours.

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And now, your fun animal photos.

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February’s Follies

February was a busy month for us, and March doesn’t promise to be any more relaxing. Big things are happening in the Seaman family!

Our favorite local joint, the Crawdad Hole, started serving up oysters this month. We’ve been taking advantage of their lovely little dining room, brown bagging champagne and vodka and beer and enjoying Friday afternoons with our favorite locals. It’s a new tradition I hope will continue throughout the year.

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Valentine’s Day was very special  this year. Instead of having a traditional Valentine’s Day party at school, David’s class went to a local nursing home to pass out handmade cards and play bingo with some of the residents. But the kids did exchange treats when they got back to class.

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The Tiger Scouts were responsible for the opening ceremony at the pack meeting this month. David carried the flag and led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sorry that top picture’s blurry. It’s the only one I took.)

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I started crocheting this month. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and taught myself (sort of). I’m still learning, but I’m having a great time. Now, if I could only figure out the art of granny squares…

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This month was also the annual auction at David’s school. We worked our tails off to get everything ready and we had the biggest year ever, raising $37,000!

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I got crazy this month and whacked all my hair off. Now I have a cute little red pixie cut and I can’t believe I ever fooled with blow drying, straightening, etc. It takes 2 minutes to do my hair every morning and I couldn’t be happier with it.

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David’s Spanish teacher selected his poster to represent the school at a state contest! He got a trophy and awesome letter, and we can’t wait to see his work!

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And if that wasn’t awesome enough, he placed first in his division in the Pinewood Derby! He placed 3rd in the open division; his car slipped off the track in the next to last round. But Stu timed all the cars and David’s was the second fastest of the day! At one point, the dad of an older cub scout mentioned that David’s car was super fast this year and that we still had SEVERAL years to make cars. He could be UNSTOPPABLE by the time he graduates to Boy Scouts! (Please notice in the bottom photo how much older the first and second place winners are!)

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Finally, February’s obligatory cat photos!

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The Funniest Pig Names of All Time

I shared this story about an adorable pig named Chris P. Bacon on my sister’s Facebook wall yesterday:

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Hilarity ensued, but the post wasn’t public, so when we tried to share it no one could see it. I’m posting the thread here so we can share it with all our friends. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

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The First Month

January has just flown by! It seems the older I get, the faster the years pass. I think this is especially true since David was born. Every day I look at him and wonder how he could be 7 years old, how on Earth it happened so fast, and what happened to the adorable, chunky little toddler who lived on Matchbox cars, goldfish, and Pixar movies.

These days, Dave is living on chicken nuggets and LEGOs and Doomsday Preppers. Other things David loves currently?  The History Channel, Border Wars, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, YouTube, NASCAR, and football. And I’m endlessly proud of him; he is such a good kid.

Anyway, there were lots of fun things in January!

David and I made a cake and he decorated it with all the sprinkles we had in the house. It was, as I’m sure you can see by the picture, quite crunchy. But it was so delicious that I polished off all but a couple of pieces in a matter of days.

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Look out, Peeta! There’s a new cake decorator in town!

As I mentioned earlier, David really got into Doomsday Preppers this month, so we’ve been catching up on all the episodes we can via DVR. Sometimes, we snuggle on the couch and talk about how crazy those preppers are.

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We’ve been working on repainting the house. After 7 years, a kid, and a cat who enjoys scratching her nails on the walls it was time. We painted  the dining room and kitchen before Thanksgiving last year, but still hadn’t gotten around to painting the trim. A couple of weeks ago, I finally got motivated to start painting again, but the universe had other plans for me. I opened the paint can to find this.  I exchanged it for a different brand, but lost the motivation to paint. Maybe this weekend; probably not.

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This was a cold, rainy month in Mississippi. And while I usually hate the winter, after four long days of rain the sun came out and we got the most beautiful sunset I’ve seen in ages.

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And just when I was beginning to love the mild Mississippi winter it got icy and rainy and gross. The  upside to this was that we got a couple of snow days out of the deal. It was nice having Dave home in the middle of the week. We watched lots of tv and were generally lazy. Dave spent a lot of time on Lego.com and YouTube.

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January has also been a colorful month for David and me. My dear friend, Chrissy, gave me a huge box of hair chalk, and Dave and I have tried several different-colored stripes. Stuart remains unimpressed.

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In school news, we got report cards. Just as I’ve known all along, Boy Wonder is a genius.

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And if that wasn’t wonderful  enough, David won the Eagle’s Eye award this month. It’s an award given to a student each week for setting a good example for his or her peers.

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Adventures in Boy Scouts continues. Last week, the Tiger Scouts practiced the flag ceremony so they can conduct it at the pack meeting next month.

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Last weekend, they toured the Oxford police station.

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For those of you not in the know, our son (like many kids his age) is a hoarder. He won’t ever let me throw anything out. I finally got tired of looking at all the crap and cleaned out his room. With his help, we got rid of over half his toys! I’m in the process of cleaning out our closets in the hopes that we’ll have enough stuff to have a yard sale in the spring.

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Once his room was clean, we rearranged all his LEGOs. And this is the result. Did I tell you we have a moratorium on new LEGOs?

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I’ve been doing volunteer work at David’s school, and this week, I had the privilege of working in his classroom. I got to see first grade in action and it was so much fun. They all broke into pairs and took turns reading stories out loud to each other. It made me want to sit in on his class every single day.

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Incidentally, David’s teacher, Mrs. Kimberly, lets the kiddos listen to music while they’re working. While I was in class, “Down to the River to Pray” by Allison Krauss came on. The kids were all singing along and it was pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I *may* have had something in my eye.

And, finally, I think we all know this post wouldn’t be complete without some obligatory Squeaky Kitty photos.

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Squeaky Kitty loves work as much as I do.

Squeaky Kitty is entirely too adorable.

Squeaky Kitty is entirely too adorable.

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Squeaky Kitty is also very cuddly.

 

Whew! Once I started going through my January pictures I realized we’ve done a lot of stuff this month! Hopefully all of 2013 will be as wonderful as the beginning!

Ringing in the New Year

This was a New Year’s Eve of firsts!

This year, Stuart, ever the pyromaniac, decided that this was the year he’d pass on his knowledge to David, who has never been more excited about anything in his life.  Now, I know that it’s actually daytime in these pictures, but we knew it was going to storm after dark.  So, in broad daylight, the boys set out to blow up all the things.

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New adventures require the Indy hat. And sometimes, wellies.

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This was also the first year that David was allowed to stay up until midnight, so I made some fun activities for him and some friends who were at the party we attended. I put little activities in these cute little bags and we did one each hour until midnight.

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We started with a movie and popcorn, which lasted for about 30 minutes before the kids were tired of sitting still. Later, we made party hats and noisemakers to use to ring in 2013.

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By the time the third craft rolled around, we were all pretty much over the crafting, so we went outside to start the fireworks extravaganza. In a constant drizzle–the weather was just atrocious once it got dark.

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We took Dave home just after midnight, even though he swore he wasn’t the least bit sleepy. It took him about 30 seconds to pass out after he got in bed.

It was quite a lovely way to ring in the new year!

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2012 in Review

seaman family photo 20121. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Exposure therapy! In 2012, I faced my fear of heights by riding 2 ferris wheels, hitting the top of the Willis Tower, and meandering across a swinging bridge over a river. I still get wobbly-kneed in high places, but I’m no longer scared to death to be up high!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I kept a couple of my resolutions. Others I started on but didn’t complete. My resolutions were:

1. Lose the 10 pounds I’ve put on since Thanksgiving. (I only lost 5 pounds, but I did start eating better and exercising regularly. It’s a start.)

2. Write a crappy zombie novel and put it on Amazon. (I started this one. I have the plot mostly figured out and one chapter written. Who knows if it’ll ever get done? Maybe one day.)

3. Read 60 books. (I only got to 30. Not too shabby, and when I think about it, 60 is a really high number. That’s over a book a week. I know it’s possible, because I read 45 books the last semester of college, but let’s be real, that shit was no fun.)

4. Save more money. (Haaaaa! No. Just no.)

5. Do more crafting. (for fun, but may be detrimental to #s 3 and 4) (Oh, I did more crafting alright. Which was certainly detrimental to #s 3 and 4! Ha!)

I haven’t really thought about resolutions for 2013. I guess there’s no time like the present….

1. Save more money. (What’s another year on the list, eh?)

2. I will read at least 40 books this year. That’s more reasonable than 60 and more than I read this year. Fine.

3. I will attempt to stop feeling guilty about taking time for myself, and I will stop stressing out over little things.

4. I will learn to tell people no. I have a bad habit of biting off more than I can chew and it’s the boys who bear the brunt of my stress. That’s not fair to them.

 3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year.

 4. Did anyone close to you die?

I wouldn’t call our neighbor, Mrs. King, “close”, but she was our neighbor and we’ll always think of her fondly. She was in her late 90s and loved working in her yard. She drove like a bat out of hell and she was sweet as she could be.

 5. What places did you visit?

Oh, the places!

Last January, I spent a few days in Texas helping Seester around the house after she had surgery. I got to be the pretend parent to three of my favorite kids on the planet and I loved every minute of it.

Over spring break, we spent a little time in Chicago with some dear friends. It was a cold and windy, but we had SUCH a good time hanging out and seeing all the sights of Chicago. David took his first train and taxi rides, we saw the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Michigan Ave., and Millennium Park. I absolutely loved it and I think I’d move there in a second, even with the ridiculously cold winters.

In May, we met our dear Chicagoans in Kentucky for Memorial Day at Mammoth Caves. It was a super short trip, but it was an amazing one. If you’d like, you can read more about our trip to Mammoth Cave here.

In July, we spent a week in Houston with Seester and her family. We went to the Aquarium, the NASA Space Center, the Museum of Natural Science, and a Coldplay show! We lounged around the house, we shopped, we ate tons of food, we watched tv, we watched the chickens, and spent a week being generally lazy and touristy. Any amount of time spent with Seester is a good time. Trust me.

Over Christmas break, we went to Atlanta to spend some time with Stu’s parents in their new house. It was the most relaxing, lovely time. There was no plan, no agenda, no timeline. It was just us hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. We saw the Nutcracker at the Fox Theater. It was a marvelous way to spend Christmas and Boxing Day.

We took several camping trips around Mississippi, too. Trace State Park, Grenada Lake, and Tishomingo State Park. Tishomingo was by far the best camping trip of the year. We’ll be going back there again and again!

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

Like I said last year, our little family doesn’t really need lots of things.

Last year, I said I wanted a new dining room table. Stu’s parents handed down his grandparent’s kitchen table to us, and it’s old and beautiful and I love it. Plus, it seats twice the amount of people the old table did.

I also said this last year: “More than anything, I’d like to speak to my dad, who has pretended that I don’t exist since my mother divorced him four years ago.”

I’m still hopeful.

 7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 26th. I’m going to keep the why to myself, but it’s important.

December 14th. Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I cried more that day than I have in years. A terrible tragedy.

 8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving? Keeping my child alive? Do those count?

I did a great job of growing my business in 2012, only to realize that I didn’t want a business that big. So I guess my biggest achievement was understanding my limits. Smaller is better, especially when you have to be the boss and the soccer mom.

 9. What was your biggest failure?

I still haven’t learned not to feel guilty about taking time out for myself. If I could learn to do that, I’d spend less time stressing out and taking out my frustrations on other people.

 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No injuries this year. Just an allergic reaction to an ant bite that caused my left hand to swell up like a balloon, and another allergic reaction to a medication I was taking that cause a LOVELY rash on my legs that took two weeks to get rid of.

 11. What was the best thing you bought?

Camper! Hands down. We purchased a used pop-up camper in July and took several camping trips. I feel like it’s brought us closer as a family, and I actually enjoy being out in nature. Who knew that was possible?!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

David’s behavior at school is much improved over last year. He got in trouble more often than he should have in Kindergarten, but he was really just pushing his boundaries to see what he could get away with. His teacher was amazing–she did a great job teaching the kids about appropriate classroom behavior. And this year has been much better.

 13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My own, usually.

 14. Where did most of your money go?

Eating out. Private school. Legos. Books.

 15. What did you get really excited about?

The Hunger Games movie.

Seeing Seester twice!

Traveling. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do other than reading.

My new Kindle Fire!

The camper.

Surprising Stuart with a smoker for Christmas.

 16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Phillip Phillips’ “Home”

 17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? happier

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner!

 18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxing.

 19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing.

 20. How did you spend Christmas?

We spent Christmas in Atlanta at Stu’s parent’s new house. We had a wonderful time, and David got to spend some time with Aunt Katie, whom he ADORES. It was so magical and relaxing and nice!

 21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

Yep. With my Kindle Fire!

 22. What was your favorite TV program?

Walking Dead. Hands down.

 23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

See previous answer: I don’t hate anyone. Except Ann Coulter. And the Kardashians.

 24. What was the best book you read?

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.

 Honorable mentions to:

The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby by Ace Atkins

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

 25. What music did you get excited about?

Mumford and Sons new album, “Babel”

The Lumineers

Fun.

Dave Matthews Band

Coldplay

 26. What did you want and get?

A Kindle Fire. New boots. A toaster oven. A light at the end of a very long tunnel.

 27. What did you want and not get?

World Peace? I actually got everything I wanted this year from a material standpoint.

 28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Madagascar 3, Skyfall

 29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Turned 35. Volunteered at David’s school, laid in bed reading all afternoon, spent the evening with my boys. Then went out to Kabuki with friends that weekend. It was low key and lovely.

 30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?

Owning an island. And a yacht. And a private jet. What?

 31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Comfortable.

 32. What kept you sane?

Stuart. Reading. Again.

 33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Again. Johnny Depp. Since I was 16. Not likely to change in future years. Though Daniel Craig ranks right up there, too. And Robert Downey Jr.

 34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I’ve stayed away from politics this year. But mainly I was scared of a Republican in the White House. (Sorry, Republican friends. You know I love you.)

 35. Whom did you miss?

My dad. Steve Willis. My Grandma Oliver, always.

 36. Who was the best new person you met?

How about best new person I RE-met? Shelley Strickland. We got to spend some time together this year and I love her to pieces. If she ever killed anyone and needed help hiding the body, I hope she’ll call me.

 37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

You can’t be friends with someone who spends 85% of their time being miserable.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

See, you and me

Have a better time than most can dream

Have it better than the best

And so can pull on through

Whatever tears at us

Whatever holds us down

And if nothing can be done

We’ll make the Best of What’s Around

-Dave Matthews Band, “The Best of What’s Around”

Book List Update

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Whew! I’ve been hard at work reading your book recommendations and, for the most part, I’m really enjoying them all!

 

 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, this post should get you caught up.

I thought I’d make a list of books that I’ve read (or attempted to read) since this project’s inception in case any of you are wondering if your suggestion has been read. As I started making this list, I realized that I’ve read quite a number of them already! It’s a good feeling to know that I’ve made such great progress on the project so far without even knowing it.

Without further ado, here’s the list with 1 to 5-star ratings beside them . Again, if you’d like to see the whole list from this project, you can view it on Goodreads.

1. Needful Things, Stephen King     4 stars (Great story, hokey ending)

2. The Mercy of Thin Air, Ronlyn Domingue 4 stars (Took me a minute to get into the premise of the story, but so glad I stuck it out.)

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Sloot 4 stars (Not really a fan of nonfiction, but this was a GREAT read.)

4. Go Ask Alice, Unknown/Beatrice Sparks, 2 stars (What. The. Hell? Did anyone BELIEVE that shit?)

5. The Help, Katherine Stockett 4 stars (I was irrationally angry throughout the whole book, but damn it was a good story.)

6. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak 4 stars (Such a sad story, but really, really beautiful.)

7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson 3 stars (Completely uncomfortable through the whole book, but entertaining,

nonetheless.)

8. The Serial Killers Club, Jeff Povey 2 stars (Let’s just say it wasn’t a favorite. That’s the nice thing to say, m’kay?)

9. Fay, Larry Brown 4 stars (I love Larry Brown. LOVE. HIM. His characters generally fly off the page, and they generally remind you of someone you know.)

10. Twilight at the World of Tomorrow, James Mauro 3 stars (Entertaining, but I think it could have been done a little better.)

11. The Walking Dead, Compendium 1, Robert Kirkman 4 stars (Holy CRAP, Kirkman isn’t afraid to kill everyone off. Love.)

12. Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Steig Larssen 4 stars (Amazing.)

13. Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (Gave up after chapter 3. Sorry y’all.)

14. Suttree, Cormac McCarthy (Didn’t finish. Got about halfway through. Only McCarthy novel I’ve ever read that I hated.)

15. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, Tom Franklin 5 stars

16. 50 Shades trilogy, E.L. James 3 stars (I know, I know. But it was nothing if not entertaining.)

17. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer 3 stars (So, so sad.)

18. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen 4.5 stars (A favorite that I’ll probably read over and over again.)

19. The Stand, Stephen King 4 stars (Randall Moon is one creepy SOB.)

20. Child of God, Cormac McCarthy 5 stars (An all-time favorite. 10,000 times better than Suttree.)Devil in the White City, Erik Larson 4 stars (Interesting, though SLOW as hell.)

21. Blindness, Jose Saramago 4 stars (You know I’m a sucker for a post-apocalyptic novel.)

22. 1984, George Orwell 4 stars (Can’t believe I hadn’t read it before.)

23. The Possession, A.S Byatt (Couldn’t finish it.)

Thanks to each and every one of you who have taken the time to tell me your favorite book. I’ve really enjoyed so many of them!

If you have suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section here or on my Facebook update where the link to this post appears.