Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books Read in 2016


This was a great year for books, and here's the list of all that I read. I started to put stars next to the ones that I would recommend, but then I found myself starring a lot of them so I skipped that plan. A lot of good books here...(a few that I would probably skip, so you can privately message me if you want to know which ones to skip - I hate to malign an author publicly.)

  1. You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff
  3. Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews
  4. The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
  5. Come Away with Me by Karma Brown
  6. Zoo Station by David Downing
  7. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy Reichert
  8. The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
  9. Euphoria by Lily King
  10. Nurture the Wow by Danya Ruttenberg
  11. The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday
  12. The Road to Character by David Brooks
  13. How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
  14. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
  15. Untwine by Edwidge Danticat
  16. The Quality of Mercy by Faye Kellerman
  17. Armada by Ernest Cline
  18. The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb
  19. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  20. A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr
  21. The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz
  22. Duet in Beirut by Mishka Ben-David
  23. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
  24. The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
  25. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  26. About the Night by Anat Talshir
  27. Luck, Love, and Lemon Pie by Amy Reichert
  28. The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol
  29. The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio
  30. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
  31. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelley
  32. No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  33. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  34. Invisible City by Julia Dahl
  35. The After Party by Anton DiSclafani
  36. The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
  37. Saving Abby by Steena Holmes
  38. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany
  39. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehad
  40. The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem by Sarit Yishai-Levy
  41. The Swarm by Orson Scott Card
  42. Short Stories from Hogwarts #1 by J. K. Rowling
  43. Short Stories from Hogwarts #2 by J. K. Rowling
  44. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling
  45. Washing the Dead by Michelle Brafman
  46. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  47. The Book of Esther by Emily Barton
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
  50. The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Barker
  51. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  52. After Abel and Other Stories by Michal Lemberger
  53. The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff
  54. The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  55. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
  56. Faithful by Alice Hoffman
  57. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  58. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  59. One Thousand White Women by by Jim Fergus
  60. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
So many great books this year. I rarely re-read any books any more (there are so many more that I want to get to!) but I'm considering re-reading When Breath Becomes Air, so I know that was my top book of the year. If you haven't read it, grab a box of tissues and plan to stay up all night reading. I also really liked the little series of books I read between 54-58 -- this was my winter break attempt to get to 60 books (nailed it with a day to spare!) and it was a really good run of book-in-a-day books. 

Books that are on my "to read" list (some inspired by this great feature in the New York Times)
  • Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  • It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond
  • Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
What else do you think I should read in 2017?
What are you going to read? What was the best book you read in 2016?

I keep track of my books on Goodreads - follow me there.

And previous years' book lists are here:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fusible Bead Sukkah Decorations

Back in the dark ages before Pinterest,
(let's not even begin to discuss the REAL dark ages, before the internet)
those of us in the Jewish blogging community worked hard to share our project ideas and such.

I read this blog post from Carolyn and was enchanted with the idea of using fusible beads to decorate our sukkah! (check it out, hers are amazing!)

We've been doing this kind of decorating since then, but this year the kids have been very into these beads, so we were a little more ambitious:



The "Sukkot" sign is from a previous year!


We hang them with zip-ties. 

Want to see more Sukkot decoration ideas? You CAN go to Pinterest!

Bring on the Sukkah Building

Putting up a sukkah has always been a family project.
Even when we weren't all available to help.
Even when it was hard. And when it was harder.
We've only really missed one year.

The sukkah is fragile.
It's meant to be that way.
Life is fragile. And yet we keep building.

I love the simplicity of the reminder to go outside.
To breathe the fresh air.
To live...

And so we build....





Yes, he's showing that he's almost as tall as the sukkah

Sammy always in our hearts...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

#BlogElul 5: Accept

Acceptance seems like a good idea.
Until it's not.

There are some things I just can't accept.

And I won't.


The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with prayers of forgiveness, but I like to think of it as a whole-person preparation activity. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at imabima.tumblr.com and on Instagram @imabima. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#BlogElul 4: Understand


Sometimes I just don't get it.

The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with prayers of forgiveness, but I like to think of it as a whole-person preparation activity. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at imabima.tumblr.com and on Instagram @imabima. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#BlogElul 3: Search


Elul is all about
the search.
What are we
looking for
as we search
our hearts?
What is it
that
we
seek?

Some would say that we are searching for
the flaws,
the cracks,
the missteps,
the misdeeds.

And so it's hard.

So this year
this Elul
let's search for
the light
the joy
the hope
the blessing.
Let's search for
our good deeds,
acts of kindness,
successes,
triumphs.

Can you find it?

The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with prayers of forgiveness, but I like to think of it as a whole-person preparation activity. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at imabima.tumblr.com and on Instagram @imabima. Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! Read more about #BlogElul here.