a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

Category: Other Stuff

My 2016 Reading Goals

Half way through this past year I decided to layout a set of reading goals. Partly this was to read new material and give myself a break from being focused on strictly academic reading; more significantly, however, I wanted to expose myself to new ideas, new points of view, and new life experiences that were neither white nor male. To that end, I devised a modest list of 5 goals, which I’m sad to say I did not complete.

My criteria were simple: (a) choose books that were distinctly non-white and non-male; (b) crossover between goals was acceptable; (c) choose authors I hadn’t already read (save for goal #4 [see below].)

  1. Read two Latino Authors
  2. Read two African American
  3. Read one female author
  4. Annual reading of To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Read someone else’s favorite book

With that said, here are the books that I read. I’ve included the # of the goal that each book fulfilled.

Junot Diaz, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (1)


Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (2, 3)


Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism (2)


Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1, 3)


I was unable to finish my annual reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, which really bummed me out. It is my favorite book, and I have been doing an annual reading for the past four or five years now. This year I began doing prep for my Spring class so I had to divert my energies towards that rather than continue reading Mockingbird. Some people can have multiple books going at the same time, but I’m not that kind of reader; if I am reading a book I devote myself to it. (This is also why it too me so long to finish The House on Mango Street, which I did two days before the end of the year.)

Lastly, I did not read someone else’s favorite book. I know Katie’ favorite book (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) and oddly enough most people at my work either didn’t have a favorite book, “didn’t read” (whatever that means…slackers), or couldn’t think of a favorite book. Perhaps I can add this goal to 2017’s list.

Look for my 2017 Reading Goals here.

ABC Menagerie by M.H. Clark & Elena Targiori

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetRecently my parents sent us (re: Hattie) a little gift in the mail. I had a hunch it might be a book, but I was pleasantly surprise to see that it was one I was not expecting. In fact, one that I had never heard of.

ABC Menagerie (published by Compendium Kids) is a lovely book written by MH Clark with sculptures by Elena Targiori. The inventive rhymes coupled with the original pictures offer a fun change from the classic “A,B,C” book and will engage children and adults alike.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The photographs of Targiori’s adorable felt animals are a singular touch as each animal incorporates some strange and unique feature (e.g., Jesenia the Jaguar’s spots are trying to escape). Kids will certainly be delighted by each creature’s interesting characteristics.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAnother great feature of this book is that it includes a “glossary” that provides a description of where the real animals comes from and some basic information about them. I, for one, did not know that there was such a thing as an umbrellabird, and that it lives in Central and South American rainforests! Hattie’s favorite animal is Wava the Walrus who has some balloons tied to her tail.

I have really enjoyed reading this to Hattie — breaking into it a few times on the fly just to get some fun rhymes out there, which she (I think) enjoys. Of course, it could be the mesmerizing fan above me.


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