Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011? What?

I usually don't make New Year's resolutions, mainly because I tend to break them very, very quickly. But I was talking to my housemates yesterday about goals for the year, and I do have some of those. Here are a few.

1. Swim twice a week, maybe more. I joined the Y so I could swim, and I've been going about once a week. I feel very sedentary during the winter. My job is a lot of sitting at a computer and sitting down with students, so I feel like I need some form of exercise. I swam competitively for eight years, and I hate running, so it's sort of natural for me to want to get back in a pool.

2. Finish my book. Yes, I'm writing. No, I won't talk about it.

3. Learn more about economics. I don't know much.

4. Go back to physical therapy. I have multi-directional instability in my right shoulder. Basically, the socket's too big for the joint, so it dislocates and relocates without me even realizing it. What I feel is pain and sometimes dead-arm. It's not good for swimming or baseball.

5. Learn to play the piano (or at least start).

6. Start volunteering again. I used to tutor at a charter school in Philly, but they changed the schedule, and I can't do it because of work. I'd like to either tutor or volunteer at a shelter, because I've done those before.

7. Finish the books on my reading list. I finished Wolf Hall and I just started Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler.

So those are my goals. Who knows? I might actually accomplish them.


  1. How was Wolf Hall? I have heard very good things about it around the interwebs (and that whole Booker Prize thing) but I think you're the first person I know personally who has read it. I've been drifting away from fiction lately because of the sheer amount of modern fiction that seems just to be about dull, dysfunctional modern families, the travails of being a Jewish intellectual in a big city after the holocaust, or middle-aged old men acting out their dissatisfaction by sleeping with much younger women. Basically, I am sick of reading about people whose only problem is that they are unhappy. Wolf Hall is, as I understand, about none of those things, and historical to boot, so I was intrigued, but I was holding out for a more first-hand opinion.

  2. I really enjoyed Wolf Hall. I think Mantel does a good job of taking these well-known historical characters (Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell) and giving them depth and breadth while keeping the story from devolving into melodrama.
    You also get a real sense of England in the 1520s and 30s, how dangerous it could be (especially if you edged anywhere near public heresy), and how politics and religion affected society. Mantel's good at balancing the broad societal change (England breaking away from Rome!) with the deeply personal (Cromwell's wife dying), which can be really hard to do.

    I get you about modern fiction. A lot of the stuff I've read over the past couple of years is about dysfunction and dissatisfaction. Not that they were all bad, of course--some are really good--but sometimes I want to read a book where I actually like the characters.