Friday, January 4, 2013

Thoughts at the beginning of the new year

I hope you've all had wonderful holidays!  We went out to St. Louis for a few days over New Year's, and treasured time with great friends and visits to our church, the art museum (which had an absolutely stunning exhibit on Italian Renaissance artist Federico Barocci), and many of our favorite restaurants.  It was fabulous to get away, just the two of us, to a city that holds such a dear place in our hearts.  Now that we're back home, we've got to settle down to the serious work of preparing for the start of the spring semester.  I've take my German reading comprehension exam next week, so I've got to get back to doing my practice translations!  I also need to polish a paper to deliver at a conference in February.

It's very exciting to look ahead through the next semester and the entire calendar year.  I hope to be very focused and purposeful with my academic work, to enable time for life outside of coursework.  My husband and I have been very good about making time for each other during graduate school so far, but we can always do a bit more to show each other attention and appreciation.  In addition, I had such high hopes for my workout routine once I had access to the campus athletic facilities, but of course, life got busy last semester and the practice of setting aside time for exercise was abandoned.  I want to start forming better exercise habits, and I'm especially eager to get back to swimming at the pool that is literally right next door to the music department (so there's really no excuse not to go!).  My most determined New Year's resolution involves my passion for baking: this year, I'm going to quit being intimidated by yeast and learn to bake with it!  I want to add yeast bread to my repertoire of scones, muffins, quick bread, cookies, pies, and other delicious baked goods.

On the bookish front, I've decided, at least for the time being, not to join any reading challenges or set any arbitrary goals for the year - so unlike last year, I'm not striving to reach one hundred books.  I hope to continue on in the same vein as last year: I want to read a few really enormous classics; I want to read great children's literature that I missed out on as a child; I want to explore domestic fiction by women; I want to make a point to read non-English books in translation.

My short-term reading goal comes from receiving two more bookcases over winter break and the sheer delight of filling them with books from the floor and closet and the packages that continue to arrive.  (I wasn't given any books as Christmas gifts from family or friends, but I did purchase a few for myself to celebrate the holidays and a successful first semester of graduate school.  Also, my mother shipped all of my hardcover Harry Potter books!  I'll soon post pictures of these new books and of my grandfather's beautiful bookshelves.)  Organizing my collection has made me realize just what wonderful books I purchased within the last year and are waiting in my to-read stack (not to mention books I already owned before starting this blog and haven't read, like a few of my Jane Austen novels).  Thus I've decided to spend the month of January reading only books I own, rather than alternating with library books.  The library will still be there, and in the meantime, I want to savor the books that are mine!

How about you?  Do you have any resolutions for 2013, bookish or otherwise?

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