My favourites of the year. I would love to write about each one more but for tonight here is the list. It has been a long, lovely day of breakfast with a dear friend, wrapping presents, searching for last minute gifts, finding the perfect one and making cookies. Oh, the cookies for class parties.
A Gentlemen in Moscow – Amor Towles (loved so much, protagonist I will never forget)
A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan (can’t say how brilliant this is enough)
Roost – Ali Bryan – (loved reading this on a train alone early one morning and laughing so much – my sleeper hit of the year)
Son of a trickster – Eden Robinson (my favourite protagonist of the year)
The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill (probably my #1 of the year)
So much love – Rebecca Rosenblum (absolutely gorgeous and haunting)
In the woods – Tana French (what an amazing find, this series!)
The mothers -Brit Bennett (started the year with this incredible story)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley – Hannah Tinti (couldn’t put it down, the ending!)
I loved so many books this year, but these are the ones that blew me away.
I bought myself a new bathing suit today. It’s a nice Speedo, blue with a v-neck. I like it. I’ve signed up to take swimming lessons for adults in January but I’m worried they may be cancelled. I think I’m the only one who has signed up so far so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I even asked for a fun bathing cap for Christmas. I’ve never been a strong swimmer. I had trouble learning as a kid, my arms were skinny and shaky and never strong enough. Same goes with skating, but with my legs. We’re making plans to remedy that this winter as well.
I’m starting to think about 2018 and I want to do things that I’ve pushed off, things that have scared me. Swimming, skating, driving far distances (other than the easy around town ones I know) and finishing a writing project. I am taking Introduction to Novel Writing with Michelle Berry in about a month through UofT and I can’t wait. I am signed up for the Creative Writing Certificate which gives me five years to complete seven courses. My Intro to Writing course finished a few weeks ago with a writer I’ve admired for awhile – Grace O’Connell – and it went better than expected. I finished with two pieces. A non-fiction one that Grace told me I should be able to get published and the other was a start to the novel I want to write. Very, very early days, but suddenly real.
I want 2018 to be the year I get smarter and more brave. I want to be a kinder person and not afraid to say what I believe is right. I want to write this draft, and learn to swim and maybe stand up in skates for more than two minutes while my children skate around me. I will keep working at the library because I know I need the interaction and it gives structure to my days. I want these things in order to be stronger for myself and the voice I will need to write this book and for my family that needs me. But first I’m going to settle deep in these upcoming days, quiet and cozy and fun. I will rest up and get from them and my loved ones what I need in order to start and make happen the 2018 that I want. If we’ve learned nothing from these past ridiculous and often horrendous months is that we do have a choice, and we want to make the right ones and not necessarily be quiet about it.
We have been to Toronto so many times in the past few weeks. One weekend was for no reason other than to escape, and we did. It landed us on top of the Grand Hotel in a hot tub after dark and to the Science Centre. The next time was on a Sunday to pick me up from visiting my aunt. We had a perfect day visiting my Nana in Whitby and then went back to Toronto to eat, watch Lady Bird (which was amazing!) go book shopping and eat some more. The kids and Scott came to get me Sunday morning and we didn’t go home before revisiting our beloved Aquarium where the boys have names for the rays and recognize them when we visit. The third time to Toronto was last week for a doctor’s appointment and if we hadn’t all taken the day off and gone we wouldn’t have been together when I got the news that Rory’s story had won first prize in his division for the Write Across Ontario 2017 contest. We were in Tim Hortons after seeing the Christmas windows and it was packed and we went crazy – no one could tell if tragedy had struck or we’d won a lottery. It was a moment that could have been so different and not nearly as perfect it we hadn’t been in Toronto.
I loved living in the city and miss it very much. Walking in the Annex is one of my favourite things to do, although it’s never fun for the person I’m walking with who has usually heard my stories, “That’s where Scott and I…” a million times. So have the boys.
I don’t care if we never get to Disneyland, our city getaways are the loveliest because we are able to show our kids where we began dreaming of them and tell stories while walking through places like the Eaton Centre: “This used to be our mall! Our regular mall, like where we’d buy underwear and stuff!”