2019 book list.

Hi guys! You know the drill: Asterisk means I’ve read it before, stats come after the list. Links are to Amazon (but also, support your local bookstores and libraries!).

(Previous lists: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)

1/21: Ryder Carroll, The Bullet Journal Method (library book)
2/1: Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms (library book)
*2/7: Donald Whitney, Praying the Bible
2/22: N.T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms
3/8: Madeleine L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet (library book)
3/11: Madeleine L’Engle, Many Waters (e-book) (library book)
*3/22: Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary
3/23: Madeleine L’Engle, An Acceptable Time (library book) (e-book)
3/30: Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion
3/30: Jan Karon, To Be Where You Are (library book) (e-book)
4/7: Stephanie Garber, Caraval (library book)
4/19: Stephanie Garber, Legendary (library book)
5/5: Atul Gawande, Being Mortal (library book) (e-book)
5/18: Sandra Richter, The Epic of Eden
5/23: Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do
5/25: Stephanie Garber, Finale (library book)
*6/28: Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code (library book)
*7/1: Donald Miler, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance
7/5: Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise (library book)
7/16: Susan Choi, Trust Exercise (by the way, I discussed this book with Andrew Womack at The Morning News during Camp ToB this year, which you can read here! Major spoilers abound, though)
7/21: Michael Reeves, Delighting In the Trinity
*8/17: Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb
8/24: Linda Holmes, Evvie Drake Starts Over (library book)
9/2: Taylor Reid Jenkins, Daisy Jones and the Six (library book)
9/9: Justin Whitmer Earley, The Common Rule (library book)
9/21: Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists (library book) (ebook)
9/29: Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Blood and Bone
*10/14: Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
10/30: Jacqueline Woodson, Red at the Bone (library book)
11/5: Michael Horton, Ordinary
11/10: Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gods of Jade and Shadow (library book)
*11/20: Attica Locke, Bluebird, Bluebird (library book)
11/24: Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, Pumpkinheads
11/29: Kimi Eisele, The Lightest Object In the Universe (library book)
11/29: Andrew Peterson, Adorning the Dark
*12/3: Mike Cosper, Rhythms of Grace (e-book)
*12/22: Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder
12/29: Katherine Arden, The Bear and the Nightingale

total: 39

fiction: 18 (including one graphic novel)

non-fiction: 21 (including one graphic memoir)

re-reads: 9

most read author: Madeleine L’Engle, with 3

e-books: 6

library books: 20

books written by women: 23

books written by people of color: 8

my 10 favorite non-rereads (in alphabetical order):

Being Mortal

Children of Blood and Bone

The Color of Compromise

The Crucifixion

Daisy Jones and the Six

The Epic of Eden

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Gods of Jade and Shadow

The Immortalists


goals for 2020

  1. Phrase of the year: Create more, consume less.
  2. Submit something for publication.
  3. Start doing a reread of my library (at least 10 rereads) and get through 25% of books I own but haven’t read yet. Write about the process.
  4. Get in a practice of not eating lunch at my desk or in my car.
  5. Finish this afghan I’ve been working on since the beginning of 2019 and give it to its intended recipient.
  6. Be done with Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving–buy or make stuff throughout the year and store it.
  7. Send people cards and letters and get through all of my stationery.
  8. Go on a walk at least once a week.
  9. Cook at least one recipe out of one of my cookbooks every week.
  10. Develop a morning and evening routine and try to be consistent about it (but not rigidly so).
  11. Six individual month-long challenges (not to be done simultaneously): Get up at 5 AM, only eat meat on the weekends, make my bed every day (harder than you’d think for me!), no buying anything except necessities (food/household goods like toilet paper), make something small every day, practice music fifteen minutes every day. Write about it.
  12. Write, record, and share a song.
  13. Get back in the habit of posting on here once a week.

2019: 40 things.

1. I taught my very first college-level library instruction classes this year!
2. My coworker and I went to a conference in San Antonio in October, which was super-informative–we got to chat for three hours up there and back, we got to network with some cool people from other libraries, and ate maybe the best food I’ve ever had at a work-related conference.
3. I started hosting trivia at a local bar and it’s been great to get to know the regulars and the staff. (The extra cash has been kinda nice, too, I’m not gonna lie.)
4. The inside jokes from the discipleship intensive I did with my church this year: It’s really the gospel of Lazarus, “naughty” (sorry, Laura)
5. More to the point, though, that intensive was both a great chance to get to know six people from my church better, and to learn how to connect the dots in the Bible. I figure if it made us all love God and love each other better, it succeeded.
6. The plays I saw this year: Cats (which is legitimately a really weird show), Dear Evan Hansen (I ugly cried during most of the second act…), The Hiding Place (an adaptation of the book, done by Andrew Peterson’s brother Pete), and Fleabag (a recording of it, admittedly, but it’s really good and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a goddess-tier writer; also got to watch it with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while!).
7. A bunch of ladies I know had babies this year and they’re all adorable!
8. My friends Jack and Alaina got married!
9. I played guitar during our Ash Wednesday service–I did not practice and it showed…
10. The library where I work changed our ILS (basically, the software that runs all the library operations–cataloging, checking stuff in and out, activating databases, paying bills, everything) and it was insane and we’re still learning it, but we got it done!
11. My university got a new provost–I met him briefly and he’s really nice, and he is a big champion of the library, which is nice.
12. As academic librarians, part of our job is to have a table at university events and tell folks about the library; most of that time is actually spent shooting the breeze with the coworker that’s there with you, so I got to chat with a bunch of my colleagues.
13. I also got to sit on a bunch of hiring committees for positions that came open, which is a super-interesting experience.
14. I got “something viral” that wasn’t the flu on Super Bowl weekend, so…that was a bummer
15. Did my first employee evaluation, and it wasn’t awful?
16. Lots of sitting around with my fellow band members on Sundays when I sang at church (we have two services and we sit out during the sermon during one of them).
17. Watching Toy Story 4 with a bunch of people from my parish.
18. Speaking of my parish, some of them came to my trivia nights, which was a blast. (A couple of times we hung out afterwards, too.)
19. Watched my friends’ dog during the flooding in the fall–the area we were in was fine, but some parts of the city were screwed.
20. Watched my other friend’s dog for a week during the summer–said dog is a little crazy but also really sweet and I love her.
21. Met my Twitter friends Abby, Amy, and Lucy at our mutual friend Sarah’s place! (I’d met Sarah last year IRL.) They’re all the actual best and I’m glad we got to meet up. (Wanna do it again soon, y’all?)
22. Helped lead worship at some of my church’s church plants…
23. Workshopping a new song that one of my fellow band members wrote (I remember I had to get picked up by a friend because my car battery had died).
24. One of my friends has a mom who helped start a classical school and this summer I helped her and some other folks organize their library!
25. A bunch of ladies from church and I went to a one-day conference on biblical theology, which was GREAT–I also ran into one of my old college roommates, a gal I went to middle school with, and one of my friend’s moms, since I think most Reformed-ish evangelical women in Houston were at this thing.
26. A handful of folks went up to Fort Worth a couple of weeks ago for a conference on liturgy and worship–lots of good conversations, making some connections between temple worship and what we do now, and also possibly surprising everyone else who came by a) being the largest contingent sent from a church (most other places sent like one or two people, and there were eight of us), and b) being a contemporary nondenominational church. (Also, one night we had dinner with Peter Leithart, which was a bucket list item I didn’t know I had.)
27. I got randomly invited over for dinner by a couple of friends one night and it was delightful.
28. I also have been trying to get better about inviting people over to my place–I only really did it three times this year, but that’s more than I did last year. Growth!
29. My dad had back surgery a couple of months ago and I went up to my parents’ place for a bit to help out while he recovered, so that was interesting. I’m still kind of navigating my relationship with my folks, but it felt good to help them and I actually had a decent conversation with my mom about boundaries. Growth!
30. I’ve been wanting to get to know people better and I’ve tried to be intentional about having conversations with them one-on-one, and it’s worked! I haven’t done it as much as I’d like, but it’s better than nothing, which is what I was doing. And I’ve started being more vulnerable with people I already kind of knew well, and it’s borne fruit. Growth!
31. On Labor Day a friend smoked a brisket and had a bunch of people over, which was pretty fun and low-key.
32. The Astros choked during the World Series (*sad trombone*).
33. My parish (that’s my church’s name for small groups/home groups/community groups) went up to my friend’s parents’ lake house for a weekend, a yearly tradition–we had more kids this year, since a family joined our group after theirs split up, and that dynamic was fun. There were a couple of hours where we had a reading circle on the porch, a bunch of us went swimming the lake, we played a lot of board games.
34. Last month my church announced that one of our pastors will be planting a new church in the neighborhoods just north of where I live–the goal is to start in spring 2021. I’m thinking about joining, as are a bunch of my friends; if you’re the praying sort, please pray for all of us, but especially my pastor and his family.
35. I taught myself the Korean alphabet (mostly–still working on all the vowels).
36. My church has a prayer meeting the first Sunday of every month and during the one in January I started crying–like, the unstoppable, sniffly, runny kind–and everyone in the little huddle I was praying with started crying, too, for all their own individual reasons, so here we are at the front of the church all choked up, having a moment where God was cracking us all open at the same time, and to this day I have no clue what was going on with them and they don’t know what was going on with me, but that was some kind of holy moment.
37. I helped lead the singing at church on Easter–y’all, there is nothing like singing through three services where you have to belt all the songs you’re leading, I actually kind of got a rush from it.
38. My church did an all-day Enneagram workshop, which was rad.
39. But there’s so many little moments that aren’t distinct but are still really important: Standing around after church catching up with people, interactions with my coworkers, eating meals with people, watching TV and movies at home, knitting the same afghan for almost a year (it’s probably not going to get done for a while, tbh), but they’re important, because they are what make up living.
40. At the beginning of this year I had a phrase to set the tempo for the past 12 months: Fill up the dry wells. Fill up the places I’ve let go empty or dry with things that’ll help me flourish and that’ll help me help other people flourish. A lot of the time, that happened: I was in community, I leveled up in some of my skills, I read good books, and tried to pursue a better relationship with Jesus. But a lot of times this year I failed at that: I took in media that was either filler or outright bad for me, I didn’t practice disciplines that I know are good for me, and I spent time being low-key depressed without really realizing it. But maybe that’s part of it. We are not going to be awesome at everything. I’m going to do stupid things. I’m going to self-sabotage, sometimes even on purpose. But what will fill me, what will make me whole, is not my being great at life, it’s the grace of God. And His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, including into next year, and the next year, and the year after that. He is living water and true bread.


I imagine Death as an old woman,
not the sweet, cookie-baking grandmother type,
but the kind that spends her social security
checks at the casino and lives on
cigarettes and coffee. Smoke-filtered
voice, too much eyeliner, red hair dye.

I have long since reckoned with her,
ever since I went knocking on her door
and she turned me away with a shake of her head:
Not yet, kid.
I’ll come get you when your number comes up,
and today ain’t it.

She used to be a fighter, you can tell.
But a while ago she got a pretty serious
blow to the head and now she’s
waiting for it all to hit the fan.
He–she can’t bear to say his name–
calls every once in a while just to remind her.

“Just end it already,” she tells him,
but she knows he’s biding his time on purpose.
It’s not even out of spite, it’s because
he unaccountably loves those creatures whose
breath she collects, whose hearts she stops,
and he wants to reclaim as many of them from her
as he can.

right now: December 2019.

Making: *Still* working on the afghan, but also taking some time to plan out some other crafty activities while I’m on Christmas break from work. Maybe a quick couple of hats or something? Some papercraft?

Cooking: Made some peanut noodles last night, but I need to go out and get groceries…

Drinking: Coffee, and the winter blend tea from Trader Joe’s, but I’m trying to drink more water these days…

Reading: Just started The Bear and the Nightingale on the recommendation of a friend at church–it is so far quite good. I also just got nine(!) holds in from the library, so that’ll be a fun project to get through all those…

Wanting: To take time and both get stuff done and savor the season while I’m off work.

Looking: Into going to New York at some point next year–I know I said that this year, but the money didn’t really work out, so I’m postponing it.

Playing: All the Christmas music!

Deciding: Whether or not to pursue some things with my church in 2020 (watch this space).

Wishing: I had more time and cash to go watch movies! There are several out right now that I want to go watch (The Rise of Skywalker, Knives Out, A Hidden Life, Little Women, Parasite, and probably a couple more I can’t remember off the top of my head at the moment)

Enjoying: Not having to get up at 6 in the morning (yay sleep!)

Waiting: For Christmas Day to come…for the new year and the new decade…for my computer to upgrade its OS…

Wondering: Who I should invite over for dinner during the break, what my 2020 goals should be, what I should do for New Year’s Eve, whether or not I should get groceries right now or in the morning (probably I’ll go as soon as I’m done writing this up).

Loving: How well my computer works! I got a Macbook Air on super-sale from Best Buy (as in about 40% off!) and it works a million times better than my old one, especially since the old one had a memory slot go out and it takes a million years to do anything on it.

Pondering: How many books I can get through before the 1st…I’m *thisclose* to hitting my Goodreads challenge goal and I think I can do it, but I’ll have to be intentional about it.

Considering: Getting some new bookshelves…

Buying: The last of my Christmas presents (got the last one today), and…well, probably not much else thanks to getting this computer, tbh. Maybe movie tickets!

Watching: The Muppet Christmas Carol (I’d never seen it until today!), The West Wing (I’m almost done with season 1, and yes, it’s taken me since March because it takes me forever to watch series).

Hoping: All y’all have a good holiday with your families and that you don’t have awkward or hostile conversations, and that the gifts you give are received with joy and that you get good ones yourselves.

Needing: To clean my apartment–I have a thing about trying to get my whole apartment clean before the new year. Not always successful, but a girl can try

Smelling: The gingerbread-scented candle I got from Trader Joe’s

Wearing: Jeans, gray t-shirt, black drapey cardigan-type thing–I think this has inadvertently become my uniform of late and I think I need to mix it up.

Admiring: The collects being written by Terry Stokes on Twitter (including my favorite, For When One Is Enamored But Must Be Chill About It, which is a mood and a half)