Friday, December 14, 2012


When I woke up this morning, I was going to get some stuff done for this, read and do some follow Friday stuff over on Twitter. That was before I saw the news and the CNN news alerts that were being sent to my phone (it was on silent).

Then I saw the news and I couldn't.

I'm posting this today because I wanted to tell you all that even if we just met this week with the re-launch of this blog, or you've known me for awhile - that you're important to me. You're a part of my life and my life wouldn't be the same without you in it.

We may not know each other in real life. We may not see each other often. We may not talk every day.

But, I love you. You mean something to me.

I just wanted to tell you that today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Break Reading Challenge

I figured since I'll have a little under two weeks off of work coming up for the holidays, I figured I would challenge myself to read as many books as I can. This morning when I got up, I pulled out a stack of books from both shelves (I have two in my room) of books I've been meaning to read but haven't gotten the chance to and set them out.

There are currently seven books in the stack with more that I want to read that are currently sitting on my Kindle.

My goal is to read at least five of these books over break, if not more. With a light semester starting next month (math class and swimming), I hope that I can continue to read at least one book a week. There will obviously be more read during breaks (spring, and especially summer since I have a month off each summer).

And here's a peek of some of the books I plan to read (in no particular order):

The challenge begins on December 23, my first day off for winter break.

Really looking forward to settling in and reading a good stack of books for the first time in a very long time.

Do you have any books you plan to read over the holidays?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Introducing Wednesday Words!

I've been trying to figure out a fun and interactive feature to host here at Twirly Reads for months now, and up until today - I had no idea what it would be. This morning as I rolled out of bed, it hit me. Finally. As some of you may know I blog over at The Hob and this summer I started a weekly feature called Wednesday Words.

It's fairly simple - I'll pick a quote at random (or a reader will submit one) and discuss it and then open it up for discussion from our readers over at The Hob. It is one of my favorite things to do and with every quote, I find myself thinking harder and seeing them in other ways than I may have the first time around. You can see previous posts over at The Hob for a general idea of how they turn out.

I figured, why not bring it into the book blogging world? I know we all have stacks of quotes that mean something to us, that touched us in some way, the quotes that stick in your mind and the ones that become something like your own motto.

The quote I chose to kick start this is one that hit me hard, a quote that has stuck with me through the good and bad and one that I feel many people can relate to. The quote comes from My Sisters Keeper by the fabulous Jodi Picoult.

“Do you know how sometimes - when you are riding your bike and you start skidding across sand, or when you miss a step and start tumbling down the stairs - you have those long, long seconds to know that you are going to be hurt, and badly?”
In so many ways this quote is something that I can relate to so perfectly that it hurts. This is one of those quotes that hit me so hard it left me breathless. This is a quote that defined so many aspects of my life and a quote that so accurately describes what I may have struggled to describe in the past. 

The most recent experience I could use to describe this quote would be this past Feburary when my grandmother died suddenly of a massive heart attack. For so long before that, I had always wondered what it would be like, how I would react and what would happen in the minutes, hours and days after. I hated myself so many times for even wondering something like that, but with so few experiences with losing a close family member - it was something that frequently crossed my mind. 

I knew the morning that my phone started ringing before 6am, what was going on. I knew that it was my mother before I even had a chance to look at who was calling and I knew exactly what was happening. There was no other reason why she would be calling so early and so frantically - my cell phone, the house phone, my brother's phone and my cell phone before she finally was able to wake me. 

I remember stumbling out into the hallway to give the phone to my grandmother and sinking onto the empty mattress as she spoke quietly to my mother and I knew without even having to hear my mother's words what was happening. I knew that her mother was dying, I knew my grandmother was dying. It took three words for the news to slowly begin to sink in: "I'm so sorry."

And I knew in that moment - just like the quote says - you're skidding or tumbling and you know you are going to be hurt badly. There's nothing you can do to stop it, everything is happening so quickly and so slowly at the same time. You know the pain is coming and there isn't a single thing that you can do to stop it except to keep tumbling down.

There wasn't anything I could do stop everything from tumbling, or the pain. None of us expected it to happen, and certainly not like it did. The next few minutes and hours went by in a blur. I remember telling family and friends, but nothing felt real. I a lot of ways, it still doesn't and it's almost been an entire year since she died. 

I knew the moment that the phone call came in that I was going to be hurt, and badly - but I kept tumbling and going through the day and months ahead knowing that I couldn't stop the hurt or that I couldn't have stopped it from happening. Despite all the pain, the hours of trying to take back the thoughts and the things I said in those early hours. It hurt. The entire experience hurt, and it still does. 

This quote speaks so clearly to me right now more than ever because I've been there. I have been in that terror filled moment and knowing I am falling, tumbling and skidding and that the pain is inevitable, but there wasn't anything I could do to stop it from happening. In that moment like in so many others, I had to let myself continue to fall and the hurt sunk in.


I couldn't have picked a better quote to launch this new feature because it is so touching and so though provoking. It is a quote that I know so many of us can relate to at some point in our lives. I'm really looking forward to seeing the quote you pick and share.

Don't forget to check out what other bloggers post for the week and drop a comment on their entry. Discuss the quote, tell them what you think and how/if you can relate to the quote they've chosen. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone picks and I'm so excited to launch this feature!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Earliest reading memories & what I've read so far in 2012..

For as long as I can remember, there have been books around. Growing up, it was no different. I was surrounded by books. I'm sure my parents read to me even though I don't remember any actual circumstances, but I knew there were books everywhere. Both my parents were (and still are) avid readers. The same goes for my aunt and both of my grandmother's. 

I'm 28 years old now, and it hasn't changed. 

Sure, I've had bouts where my reading wasn't happening as much as I would have liked it to, and then there were the times where all I did was read. This summer after I broke my left foot in a freak accident, I went through a good stack of books while I spent that first miserable week in bed. Things slowed down after that and I'm just now finding the motivation and focus to pick up a book or my Kindle and actually sit down and read. 

One of my earliest memories of reading is from Kindergarten. Let's just say that I was the scrawny, shy, freckle faced kid. I hated being the center of attention but I had a small group of friends. I lost a tooth during our Thanksgiving party and my grandmother announced it to the entire class - but my earliest reading memory comes from that year.

We were learning to read - and the one book we all learned to read together was none other than Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. I remember sitting on that carpet with all the other kids and reading along with my teacher, so excited, so proud of myself and knowing that I wanted to keep reading. I didn't want to stop.

It came full circle when I read the book to the two youngest girls I work with one afternoon before their nap time, now I see that same excitement in the girls - they are devouring books, always wanting more, more, and more. While I do have to encourage them at times to sit down and read as part of their daily homework, once they start to read it is almost impossible to get them to stop.

While I haven't read nearly as much as I would have liked in 2012, I've read more than I have in the past few years. Life threw hurdles at me, but I pushed past. I read when I could. I read when I could find the focus to fully get lost in a story and I watched the huge "to be read" pile get just a bit smaller.

The year is winding down, but so far I'm pleased with my progress. To re-cap the year in books so far I've read (and these are not in any order):

  1. Shadow and Bone 
  2. Catastrophic History of You and Me 
  3.  Unbreak My Heart 
  4.  Fracture 
  5.  In Honor 
  6.  My Life Next Door
  7. Eve
  8. Once
  9. Under The Never Sky
  10. Shatter me
  11.  Pandemonium
  12. Insurgent
  13. Divergent
  14. Delirium
  15. Sisterhood Everlasting
  16.  Matched
  17. I Am Number Four (in progress)
  18. Destroy Me (in progress)
I'm happy to have that feeling of excitement when I sit down to read and that feeling you get when you just don't want to put that book down. My hope and goal for the upcoming new year is to continue reading, push myself more and hold onto that love of reading I've had since I was a little kid.