Well, there’s month one of 2017 down. It’s been a hard month to watch, on the world news stage, and then culminating in the mosque shooting in Quebec City, a city I lived in for seven years. There are a lot of hurting people in the world right now, and I’ve been feeling pretty helpless to do anything about it. I’ve been emailing my Member of Parliament and my husband and I are now recurring monthly donors to the ACLU (which would have horrified high school me, but here we are), but I’m absolutely looking for suggestions if you can think of anything more a Canadian can do to help out at home and around the world. Also, in the meantime, I’ve actually found myself reading/watching TV/listening to music more than ever. I find I need to take the news (and consequently Twitter and Facebook) in smaller bursts than usual. Anyway, here are some small ways I was able to rest/find joy this month. I am, as usual, linking up with Leigh Kramer.
I read more books this month than I have in a really long time. A friend challenged me to sign up for a challenge called 50 Book Pledge (my account, which shows you books I’ve read so far and books on my to-read list, is here: http://www.50bookpledge.ca/user/10157994127980414k/c/2017), and it inspired me to make 2017 the year I reclaim reading for fun. Anyway, I ended up getting through 14 books this month, so I don’t think hitting my goal of 50 will be a problem. Some of my favourites were Marissa Meyer’s Heartless (redone classic tale + villain’s descent into madness novel? Sign me up!), Sarah Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury, Liane Moriarty’s The Last Anniversary, and Alexandra Bracken’s Wayfarer (bless Bracken for tying things up and giving her characters a happy ending after two books. I love closure and dislike interminable series.) Books one and two of Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy weren’t exactly fun reads, but they were disturbing and thought-provoking, which I think they were meant to be. At least, unlike Parable of the Talents and Parable of the Sower, they don’t feel like realistic near-term futures.
I also want to plug Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Great Kindle Deals email list. I heard about it on this link-up, and it’s been a great source of inexpensive new reads. The books aren’t always also on sale in Canada, but they often are.
I’ve been staying on top of the usual shows for the most part, but I think my favourite of the month has been Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s had some pretty great songs lately (this power ballad spoof is my favourite).
I also watched through and enjoyed season one of One Day at a Time and Life in Pieces on Netflix. I started episode one of Riverdale and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Archie comics were a childhood staple for me, but I’m not a huge fan of how they updated Miss Grundy’s character especially.
I also saw two movies in theatres this month: Hidden Figures and La La Land. Hidden Figures was amazing and definitely lived up to the hype and everyone should see it. However, I was decidedly unimpressed by La La Land. I mean, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t that amazing either, and any chorus member on Broadway could have outsung Stone and Gosling. All this to say, I will be decidedly unimpressed if the La La Land songs rob Lin-Manuel Miranda of his Tony for Moana.
Besides listening to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs a whole lot, I’ve also been playing Measha Brueggergosman’s new album Songs of Freedom on repeat a fair bit. Songs about how God is still at work in the world even when things seem dark and will bring about justice one day are my jam right now.
After spending weeks in other people’s homes, it was great to be back in my own kitchen in January. Some of my favourite things I made this month include this Bailey’s Chocolate Sheet Cake, these Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream Dipping Sauce, and these Cleveland Cheesesteaks with Pretzel Hoagie Rolls. I was particularly pleased with how pretty and delicious these Caprese Orzo-Stuffed Tomato Cups and these Earl Grey and Roasted Blackberry Petits Fours were. As usual, you can find all my favourite recipes of the month on my monthly What I’m Into Pinterest Board.
That’s about it for me for January. Be sure to check out Leigh’s blog for more link-up contributions.