How is it end of term already? Time to procrastinate even more than usual, which means it’s the perfect time to put together a What I’m Into post for November. As usual, I am linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer.
I read 4 books not for school this month (plus a few for school, like Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms and Emmanuel Leroy Ladurie’s Montaillou, that had been on my to-read list for ages).
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey—I’d been looking forward to this book for months (it’s one of the few titles I’ve actually bothered to preorder) and it was lovely. If you follow her blog at all, it was very her. Not confrontational, but invitational.
- When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman—So good! I lost a ton of sleep because I had to finish it all in one sitting, but it was totally worth it. I understand that it’s been named one of Publishers Weekly’s top 5 religion books of the year.
- Allegiant—My turn finally came to borrow the library’s copy of this, and I have so many feelings about it! I still can’t believe that Veronica Roth ended the series the way she did, and I’m kind of conflicted about her decision, but the trilogy is well worth a read. And the movie trailer looks promising as well.
- Love is an Orientation—This one’s been on my to-read list for ages, and Benjamin Moberg’s recommendation over on Addie Zierman’s blog bumped it up to the top. I really appreciated it, and the central point that, at the end of the day, individuals stand on their own two feet before God and we don’t get to micromanage their faith journey is a necessary reminder.
As usual, I’ve created a Pinterest Board with some favourite recipes for this month. I particularly liked the salted chocolate shortbread and the cider Dijon pork chops. I also loved Argo Tea’s pumpkin chai rooibos latte, but I still haven’t perfected recreating it at home. It’s a work in progress.
I’ve also started to gear up for Christmas baking (one of my favourite things to do) and I love the fact that my church and my program are small enough that I can bake for everyone. I’ve baked and frozen some cookies and the dough for others already, and I’ve got at least one more good baking day to go. I’m particularly looking forward to trying these dark chocolate pistachio shortbread cookies.
Clearly, I watch far too much television. I’ve continued to keep up with new episodes of Downton Abbey (it’s nice to see Robert and Cora back to normal, even if nothing else is), Once Upon A Time (it finally occurred to me after the last episode that I don’t like Henry much. I think it’s because he’s not really all that bright. Does that make me a terrible person?), Big Bang Theory, Drop Dead Diva, How I Met Your Mother (the rhyming episode was kind of adorable, actually), Parks & Recreation, and Modern Family.
Aaron and I have also started watching through Gilmore Girls at the recommendation of a friend from church. I was skeptical because I’ve never been particularly fond of Alexis Bledel as an actress (she manages to seem completely emotionless no matter what’s happening) but on Gilmore Girls it totally works, since Rory balances out Lorelai. We’ve also started watching through the British comedy Miranda, starring Chummy from Call the mIdwife. It’s a bit over-the-top at times, but good for a laugh (or should I say “what I call a laugh”).
I saw two movies this month, both in theatres. Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire were both excellent and definitely did justice to the books they were based on. I’ve also discovered that I cannot even look at Mags or Rue’s face without starting to cry. Rue especially—she reminds me so much of my own little sister at the same age.
On the 17th, Aaron and I drove down to see Rend Collective and Audrey Assad in Rochester. The place was packed—apparently there’s nothing quite like the words free concert to draw in every youth group from a 100-mile radius—and both Audrey and Rend Collective were stellar (not that anyone’s surprised, really). The Campfire album has been playing more or less nonstop in our car since then. They also played a song from their upcoming album (which, coincidentally, releases just in time for my birthday. I’m dropping copious hints) called My Lighthouse, which I just love.
I’ve also had a recent obsession with an older song of Jennifer Knapp’s: Martyrs and Thieves. I’ve played it so often that I’m sure Aaron’s thoroughly tired of it by now.
And of course, the holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to pull out all the Christmas favourites, both the nostalgic ones (there may or may not be a lot of Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant coming from my speakers in the next month) and some favourites, like Jenny and Tyler’s Love Came Down: A Christmas EP or High Street Hymns’ Love Shall Be Our Token. I’m also busting out GLAD’s In the First Light, because it’s not Christmas at my parents’ house unless my dad breaks out his guitar and leads us in singing that song. It’s still one of my favourites.
There was so much goodness on the Internet this month, I couldn’t possibly list all my favourites for you, but here are a few pieces I loved.
- Luke Harms (a US veteran) had a great piece on Memorial Day over at A Deeper Story
- Micah J. Murray’s satirical contribution to Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist synchroblog on How Feminism Hurts Men became so popular it crashed his site. I feel like being all hipster about it and pointing out that I read it before it took off. (Side note, I also made a contribution of my own to the synchroblog, on how I am a Jesus Feminist because of my dad).
- How cool is this cake pan shaped like an open book or this set of snow globe salt and pepper shakers?
- And finally, if you’re looking for some gift ideas, especially for children, I recommend checking out this list of onesies, this list of toys that encourage learning, and this list of gifts for girls compiled by the American Association of University Women. And yes, I am totally becoming that aunt who only gives books or educational toys. I may as well own it.
At the very beginning of November, I was fortunate enough to visit Chicago for a workshop on Early Modernity in Global Perspective at the Newberry Library in Chicago. It was great to be able to meet so many other premodernists at once. We went out for drinks, and the first topic of conversation was Judith Bennett’s book on female brewers in the Middle Ages. It was wonderful. I did learn, though, that if a restaurant is in the Waldorf Astoria, I should assume it’s expensive no matter what my little tourist handout says. I also learned that I should always have a number for a cab company, even if I’m sure I won’t need it. If one gets off the bus at the wrong stop and has no idea where one’s hotel is, it could save one walking half a mile on the highway in the dark and the pouring rain. Hypothetically.
We also had to privilege to see some friends from church get married on the 16th. It was a lovely ceremony, and I also loved watching how family and church friends pitched in before and during the ceremony to pull it all together. I got to help with sandwiches for the reception, and it was so much fun. Even if I never want to open another tuna can ever again :P
Last Thursday, we got together with friends from school to celebrate American Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. As it turns out, turkey, pumpkin cookies (like these pumpkin snickerdoodles), latkes, and chocolate coins are a really good combination.
And finally, I’ve been enjoying doing all my Christmas gift shopping and making. We decided after talking it over with our families that we’d make some donations to charity and give each other only small, homemade gifts where possible, and it’s made Christmas gift preparation so much more fun for me. I may even have busted out colour-coded charts to figure out what to make for whom.
Anyway, that’s it for November. December is shaping up to be a month of paper writing (ugh), holiday celebration (yay!), and spending some time back home in New Brunswick (double yay!). Be sure to check out some of the other What I’m Into submissions over at Leigh’s blog!