Thursday, January 31, 2019

Life Lately | January

January always feels like it lasts 45 years, and this January was no exception. I was shocked to find myself telling a friend I found a recipe dupe for something I ate at brunch "a few months ago" only to remember that, in fact, we did brunch on New Year's Day, a mere four weeks ago. 

The end of December marked one year of living in D.C., but January was not full of the reminiscences that I thought it would bring. Life is so very different now than it was thirteen months ago. While the beginning of last year was spent deliberating seeking out new friends and routines and places, life has become more or less lived on autopilot, in a good way. The novelty of big city life -- or what little remained of it after a summer interning here -- has completely worn off and now life is just... normal.

With all the snow this month, the cancelled work days because of weather conditions, and the federal holidays and sick days scattered throughout the month, January has hardly felt routine, but the unintentionally shorter weeks made for good transitions from the holidays back into the usual weekly schedule. After not leaving D.C. aside from a few trips to Raleigh (and a quick afternoon trip out to Winchester for apple picking) since early September, it felt good to drive through Shenandoah and into the mountains the last weekend of the month to go skiing with my grandparents. I often forget how much I enjoy traveling, but the weekend away has inspired me to start planning more trips in the coming months.

Favorite Books of January //
(Explanatory note: I deleted Goodreads at the end of last year and separately decided to stop posting monthly book round ups. I will instead be including my favorite books of months in the monthly post.)

How To Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price
Lots of practical tips -- most of which I successfully adopted -- on how to spend less time on your phone and more time in the "real world." Price spends the first half of the book explaining how phones and social media platforms were designed to be addicting and distracting and the second half detailing a 30 day plan to "break up" with your phone.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
A delightful read chronicling the everyday management and experiences of The Book Shop, a secondhand bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland. It includes a litany of humorous anecdotes about customers, coworkers, the town, and its famous book festival. One of the most endearing, charming, and very Scottish reads I've come across.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
A fascinating and terrifying exploration of how the internet changes how well we are able to read and think deeply and have problem-solving thought processes. It also provides the history of reading: the invention and popularization of books, the evolution of writing, and the internet's role in providing distractions that prevent us from engaging with words on a screen the same way as in a book and producing fragmented minds that are unable to concentrate or focus for long stretches of time.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear
A well-paced walk through the various tenets and components of salvation, from both theological and practical viewpoints. It's short but illuminating, making it very clear both how one becomes a Christian and what that means when living out one's life.

The Book by Keith Houston
A meta choice for those who adore books. The Book is a full history of the invention of the book, broken down by its various components: paper, text, illustration, and form. While the topic matter may seem boring, Houston scatters dry, sarcastic quips about the habits of historical people throughout to keep the otherwise dull subject matter entertaining.

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