My thoughts on COVID-19

First of all, what the fuck?!

I apologies for the obscenity, but seriously 2020? What are you doing to us?

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute blur. Each day melding into the one before. I have been at home since last Monday. Practicing something, which is now the new norm, called “social distancing”. I feel like we are all living out a movie. And not in a good way.

When I first heard about COVID-19, a student here in London, ON had tested positive on her return from Wuhan. A few days later a friend, who used to live in Wuhan, posted a photo on Instagram of the deserted town. I recall thinking how bad that was, that the entire town was empty. Not once did the thought cross my mind that we too would be living out that same nightmare.

Fast forward five weeks and we are all at home social distancing. Or living out an introvert’s dream. Canada has now surpassed the 1,000 confirmed cases mark and has 19 deaths nation-wide. Though still horrible, that does not sound like a huge number, but it is haunting to know where we are headed. We have seen it play out in China and Italy so far and we aren’t far behind.

Ontario has 377 confirmed cases, and three deaths. We are in a state of emergency, provincially and municipally. The government has ordered Canadians to stay home at all costs and only venture out for necessities. As each day progresses, I feel more and more like we are living out the early episodes of The Walking Dead.

I am trying to stay away from reading so much about it as it is creating more and more anxiety in my life, however I am compelled. I keep checking the stats and reading article after article about how bad this could get and how long we are going to live like this.

I went to our local market today. At the door, I was asked a series of screening questions and my temperature was taken by a paramedic. There were only a handful of cars in what is normally a packed parking lot. Somehow it felt like there were even less people inside.

It’s hard not to focus on all of the negatives of our current situation. I know what we are going through is the necessary evil, whether it is the best way to deal with this public health crisis is still yet to be seen. I think it is the best given the tools we have to work with.

On the plus side, it has been amazing to see communities, cities and countries come together to support one another. The federal government has released almost $95 billion in support to help Canadians cope. Each day, our situation changes and I am thankful we have a level-headed Prime Minister to lead us.

The time home has been enjoyable and afforded me a little more time to do things like clean and bake and tidy up around the house. I miss hanging out with family, but we are managing. We had an 8 person Facebook chat on Friday night that, I think, helped relieve some anxiety. We are going a little squirrelly in the house not being able to just go and do what we normally do, but on the plus side, as an introvert, being one of 50 shoppers in a store comes as somewhat of a relief. Everything is so still and so quiet and I have so much personal space. We will get through this. It will take time, but it will happen. We will never be the same society as before, but I believe that we were in need of a change.

It is crazy to be living in a world that is shocked and stunned and just trying to wrap their head around what kind of mess we are currently dealing with…and trying to find effing toilet paper!

20 for 2020

Resolutions are so tough. It’s almost the end of January and I haven’t really stuck to any ‘resolutions’ but am doing better than almost every other year of my life. Woo hoo!

I’ve been trying to re-look at the way the new year is approached this year. I wanted to focus more on habit changes – introducing better habits into my life – as opposed to strict resolutions.

I spent this month taking stock of things and evaluating what changes might be possible for the new year and I came across the concept of #20for2020. There are a number of different ways to go about setting goals for this approach so I have decided to focus on 10 easy goals and 10 stretch goals. Here is what I am going to be working on for 2020:

EASY

  1. Take guitar lessons
  2. Learn/memorize 3 ukulele songs
  3. Read for at least 15 minutes a day
  4. Complete photobooks for all trips
  5. Reboot Etsy shop and make 12 sales
  6. Run 3 5K races
  7. Pay off debt √
  8. Redefine personal style
  9. Drink more water
  10. Stick to naturopath plan

STRETCH

  1. Read 20 books
  2. Do yoga 300 times in the year
  3. Walk Neva each day
  4. Quit drinking 😮
  5. Give up gluten, sugar and dairy
  6. Go to the gym at least 2x/wk
  7. Complete the #100dayproject
  8. Journal daily
  9. Beef up handmade wardrobe
  10. Support family and friends with LOVE and COMPASSION

There you have it. My 20 goals for 2020. Some of them have been on the list for multiple years. I am going to make a conscious effort this year to complete at least 75% of these goals! Stay tuned for updates…

2020 – New Decade, New Me…

Or something like that.

2015 was a big year for me. I wrote like 3 blog posts! I wrote this post full of comical goals for the year, in which I actually call out my procrastination skills. Wanna know how many of those goals I actually achieved? Mmmm about 15%. Let’s review:

  • Finish all current projects. I can 100% guarantee this DID NOT happen. In fact, I’m sure I started like 12 more. However, I did finish my Icelandic sweater and the African shorts. That cross-stitch piece? yeah, going on 15 years now. One day…
  • Utilize all my yarn and fabric….hahah I can’t even finish typing that. I’ve definitely amassed even more since then. Maybe this is the year I get through it, or maybe when I turn 80.
  • Read 26 books. Sadly, I’m not sure I have read 26 books since 2015, let alone in that year.
  • Pay off debt. Hmm well. I’m sure I paid off some of it. But in happier news, I will have that accomplished this year.
  • Run 5 races. Well I’ve run 5 since 2015. So that counts for something
  • Stick to my diet. Hahaha I should just eternalize this list and use it as a running “Goals” list each year

Anyway, I feel like it might be time for a little update. Instead of making huge promises to myself, that I know I won’t follow through on, here’s a bit of an update on what I’ve done in the last five years:

  • Adopted an adorable pup
  • Had ankle surgery
  • Switched jobs
  • Moved
  • Bought a house
  • Moved
  • Renovated my kitchen
  • Started playing slo-pitch
  • Went to Scandinavia
  • Lost my dad (no, not in a store or something)
  • Gained two new roomies, plus a cat
  • Renovated the basement
  • Went to Vegas
  • Got a concussion playing dodgeball
  • Took up ukulele
  • Went out West (Canada)
  • Switched jobs
  • Got in two car accidents – 2nd concussion and whiplash

Just making that list exhausts me. So it’s no wonder I haven’t been on here since 2015. It has been a big few years. This year I am looking forward to things settling down a bit and maybe teaching myself how to not take on so many things at once. Riiight. At the very least, this will be comical to look at in another 5 years.

Dear Dad

Today marks two years since you left us. To say it has been difficult would be an understatement. I expected as time passed, the grief to get easier but two years in I can see that is not the way this works. I still think about you everyday and there are a lot of moments when I just break down. Losing someone so close is a devastating experience and often times it does not feel fair. Nothing or no one can justify the loss and we just kind of have to keep moving. Life Goes On. 

I was scrolling through photos on my phone to see if I could find one of you and I to post along with this. At first it made me sad to realize that I don’t have many recent pictures of you and then I realized why. As I scrolled through my memories over the last decade or so, there was a little piece of you in every photo. From the stories you told me about whatever new location I found myself in, the words of praise or pride you had in big moments in my life or the or just simply the conversations we had around daily happenings, there are memories of you everywhere. 

I am so grateful to be able to have these memories but it also makes the grief process so much tougher. 

For a number of years, we spoke almost daily. You were the first person I called when I had news, had a question or simply just wanted to chat. We would call each other when driving ‘just because’. We would call each other to check in if it had been a couple of days. Even though separated by distance, we still shared so much of our lives together.

It has been shocking to me the activities that have become emotionally difficult since you’ve been gone. Sometimes, I struggle with driving long distances. You loved to drive, so much so I questioned many times whether I’d make it out alive. I have a lot of memories of either being in cars with you or sharing stories over the phone while we were driving. At first it was just being in my car that was difficult. Now, it is mostly while I am driving longer distances. Through the silence and serenity of driving, which I ultimately enjoy, I find myself thinking of you a lot and the grief sets in. 

Travelling, something that was for so long a key part of my life, has become tougher. Through all of my travels, while not physically there, you were right there beside me on every trip. You were always so interested in where I was going, what I was doing and who I was seeing. When I travel now, it makes me sad to know that you will not be there to share my stories with or to educate me on the history of somewhere I am going or have just been. You loved travelling and while you did your fair share of it, I know it wasn’t enough for you. I miss your curiosity about the world.

At first, the absence of phone calls felt like you were on a long vacation. I remember about three months later feeling like it was about time you came home because I missed you and just wanted to hear your voice again. Since then it has been hard to let go of the instinct to call you when something happens in my life. I still often find myself thinking “what would Dad say” or “Dad would love this”. It still feels very surreal to me that you are gone. I am not sure that will ever disappear. 

You were taken way too early and there is still so much of my life left that I want to be able to share with you. Some days it makes me mad, but mostly I’m just sad. There is, and I am guessing forever will be, a hole in my heart with the absence of you. The irony is that while this hole is so big, you are still so ingrained in everything I do.

I miss you. More than words will ever be able to say. I miss your sense of humour, your wit, your love for useless knowledge and your generosity. You had an energy for life that not many did. You lived first and asked questions later. You were fearless and brave. You were an amazing man and I am so proud to call you Dad.

I have been quite silent about your passing for the last two years as I am not comfortable sharing the pain and sorrow of my grief online. But as you were a man of many words and one of my most avid blog followers (there are only 4 of them), I thought this would be an appropriate place to leave you a note. I don’t know where you are or what you are doing, but I am certain you are still having a good time!

Day 7 – So far, so good

I’ve been procrastinating on writing this post, mainly because I was still organizing how I wanted to share this journey with everyone.

I first found out about the 100 Day Project a couple of years ago and have been following so many creatives throughout their journeys. Last year, I attempted a 100 Day Project (100 days of unfinished projects), and guess what? I didn’t finish. Quite ironic, I’d say.

If you aren’t familiar with the 100 Day Project, the concept is simple:

Pick something you want to do every day for the 100 days of the project. Post each day on your Instagram account with the hashtag #The100DayProject. Projects can be anything you want, mainly focused on something creative. I think this is such a great concept and the perfect opportunity to try something new, enhance existing skills, get a project off the ground, etc.

I really wanted to commit and participate this year, but I struggled with selecting a topic. It has been a tough 14 months and I have next to zero motivation most days. I set a goal this year to focus on my creative endeavours but have been struggling.

Winter seems to knock me off my feet every year and I can so easily sink into depression and spend my time laying around not being productive and sulking because the weather is miserable. Anyway, my two options for the 100 Day Project were: 1. #100daysofcontent or 2. #100daysofrunning. And while my goal to create more content (for my blog, website, Etsy shop, Instagram, etc.) is my priority, I was struggling to find the motivation to take action.

I took a step back and evaluated where I was in my life and realized that I had a few other things to conquer before I could commit to creativity. So, I decided to make getting healthy again my priority. Being healthy makes me happy and happy Erin = productive Erin. I love running and find that it is the best version of therapy for me and is an instant mood booster, so I decided to do #100daysofrunning. There aren’t a lot of rules, except that I have to make sure I get my running shoes on once a day and get moving.

I just completed Day 7 and have logged approximately 19kms. Due to an ankle surgery in 2016, I cannot run long distances, but have found that under 5km is the perfect distance for a quick morning run. I mostly take the pooch with me (because she is full of so much energy), but have also included running on a treadmill (I was out of town for work last week) and some evening trail runs.

7 days in and how am I doing? I’ve already been able to focus on eating healthier and making smarter food decisions, have lost about 6 lbs, and am so incredibly sore. I suffer from bad ankles and knees (but have found that running helps a bit) and plantar fasciitis, but I am committed to run through it and let my body call the shots.

I’ll pop in here every so often to update, but check out my progress on Insta @ramblingthroughlife.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – Mark Manson

I have been reading Mark Manson’s articles on his blog for quite some time. So when I found out he had published a book, I was intrigued. I really like Mark’s style of writing – a no bullsh*t approach to some really key discoveries in life.

Mark makes it very easy to relate (for me anyway) to his life journey and conveys his concepts in a very easy, straightforward way. Throughout this book, I found myself agreeing with so much of what he has written.

Something that really stuck for me was the “Do Something” Principle. I am incredibly vulnerable to procrastination when I am feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start, so this mantra is something I plan to use. It doesn’t matter what, just do something and don’t sit around.

Mark talks about the value of his travel experience in his life and after spending most of my 20s travelling and living overseas, I could totally relate. I am so grateful for all of the amazing experiences I had and I learned so much from travelling the world, but the most important lesson that I learned from absolutely everywhere I have been is that societies all around the world can completely function with very different values. So it doesn’t matter what your values are, someone out there is doing it differently, and that is TOTALLY OK. I think in today’s world, that is often overlooked.

Mark also talks about freedom through commitment. Commitment is not something that has been a focus in my life. Until recently, I had never been in one place or job or relationship for more than two years. And while some might think 2 years is commitment, it pales in comparison to my peers who have been working and living in their ‘places’ for more than 10 years already. I used to think that my lack of commitment made me exciting and adventurous. Recently, I have been going through the journey of realizing that there is a slew of other benefits in committing to things. I has been a really interesting ride and I am constantly learning and experiencing so many things that I would never had had the opportunity to if I hadn’t settled down a little.

Enough rambling: this book was a great read. It was enlightening, I liked the no-nonsense approach Mark takes and I would definitely recommend it.

How to Be Married – Jo Piazza

I picked this book up at an independent book store in BC while trying to kill time on a work trip. It was late at night, I was tired and I found myself in the self-help section…which is not an oddity. I ended up purchasing a few books on relationships, which leads me to believe I needed some perspective.

What drew me to this book was the promise of an evaluation of relationships and marriages across cultures around the world. Self help + cultural stories = I’m in.

Not surprisingly, I loved this book. It was an enlightening read that brought some perspective to relationships for me and I found the cultural differences so intriguing. Each culture Jo examines brings a uniquely different lesson to the table.

I really enjoying reading about the different perspectives from each culture, but the ones that stuck most with me were:

  • Sweden – challenge gender roles
  • Denmark – create a healthy home environment
  • Holland – you are not married to your job
  • Israel – love yourself first
  • India – be thankful
  • Kenya – it takes a village

As Jo Piazza navigates the ins and outs of relationships around the world, you are also taken on her own adventure as a newlywed and the joys and challenges of the first year of marriage. More times than not, I found myself chuckling and relating to her experiences. I found How to Be Married and inspirational read that delivered the most important message of all – no matter what culture, religion or nationality, we all experience similar ups and downs in daily relationships.

Definitely a must read if you are at all into self help and learning more about societal norms of other cultures. I look forward to reading more of her work.

Travel Tuesday: Awra Amba, Ethiopia Part 2

I apologize in advance. This is a long post. But it’s worth it – I promise.

Usually when I travel, I prefer venturing into the unknown, but it always proves to be a challenge. When I was planning my trip to Ethiopia I found a tiny blurb in my friend’s Lonely Planet that went something like this: Awra Amba is a quiet weaving co-operative community that is worth a detour off the beaten path.

Well, say no more. I dragged my new Australian friend with me, as this journey required some hiking and I didn’t want to go it alone. (thanks to Catherine for sharing her pics with me. She took most of the amazing pics below)

Yup. At the bus stop in the middle of nowhere

Yup. At the bus stop in the middle of nowhere

Getting ready for our 5km hike!

Gearing up for our 5km hike!

Our hike was long but offered some amazing scenery

Our hike was long but offered some amazing scenery

Ladies headed to the market

Ladies headed to the market

When we finally arrived, we sat down and took in some of the village. Everyone seemed very happy and busy, except the school kids, who were on break.

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Catherine and I in the dining area

Catherine and I in the dining area

Our morning started out with a tour around the community with a brief history lesson and explanation of how the weaving cooperative works. We finished our afternoon with a meet and greet with the man behind everything, Zuma. I’ll explain this a little backwards starting with Zumra and his reasoning for starting a community like this:

Zumra grew up, like most Africans, in a household where is mother did all the housework, farming and child rearing while her husband was off working and/or drinking in the bar. His father would get home and demand dinner and not participate in any of the household operations. Zuma grew up questioning this way of life. He envisioned a community of equals. Where men and women pitched in. Since his thinking was very radical for the times, he was ostracized and ended up leaving home at 13 in order to find like minded people. He wandered around Ethiopia for five years and finally decided to return home (unsuccessful in his search) to become a farmer. He started working to provide for those less fortunate, giving away most of what he made – which provided the opportunity to be criticized by family and friends. He took to the road again during the rainy seasons in search of his ideal community – one without discrimination. In 1972 he finally found the group he was looking for and founded the Awra Amba community. His basic principles for this community to be successful were:

– respecting the right to equality of women

– respecting children’s rights

– helping people who are unable to work due to old age and health problems

– avoiding bad speech and bad deeds

– accepting all human beings as brothers and sisters

Sounds spectacular doesn’t it? I’m sure you are asking “Well how does this work – especially in Africa?” Here are some key points on how the community works:

The community is based on two kinds of membership: Community members, these members can be from anywhere as long as they subscribe to the beliefs of the community, and Cooperative members, the members that actually live, work and participate in the community.

There are 13 committees that lead the community. Anywhere from Guest Reception and Lost and found property to Edlerly and Oprhans Care and Security and Education. Each committee plays their own role in ensuring the community operates smoothly. They have a committee that identifies problems, one that resolves complaints and even a hygiene and sanitation committee

For work, women and men partake in the same activities as long as they have the physical strength to do so. Men weave, women farm, there are no restrictions. They select workers for each task based on their specific skills, interests and ability to do the job. Gender and age do not matter. To foster this equality, all salaries for any work done in the community go into a communal pot and is distributed throughout the households, committee funds, library, school, and clinic.

They have schools built in the community for the young kids and the high school age kids go to a nearby town of their choosing. When children are finished high school, they have the option to remain with the community, or seek work elsewhere. The majority of them stay based on the strong foundation and principles the community has to offer.

When it is time for marriage, it only occurs at the full consent of the two parties. Either party is welcome to marry outside the community. Women are not allowed to marry before 19 and men 20 – giving them ample time to finish their education and make the decision to marry on their own. Couples are monogamous (a rarity in a lot of African communities). There is no special celebration after weddings – it is recognized as a paperwork activity. All decisions are made equally. In order to get a divorce you have to go through the Complaint Resolving Committee and they will work to help resolve issues before resorting to a divorce.

I think one of the most crucial foundations of the community is that they all care for one another. The community has something called Lewegen Derash, which is a fund that supports the elderly and those unable to work. On a designated day of the week all money raised from activities done within the community (weaving and spinning) are donated to Lewegen Derash. This fund supports things like providing educational materials for children, provide treatment for sick people who have no money, support people who are unable to work and even to help people from outside the community.

Here are some pics of our tour:

The Library

The Library

Beautiful babies

Beautiful babies

Wee kids in the classroom

Wee kids in the classroom

Our lovely tour guide showing us how they make injera in the community kitchen

Our lovely tour guide showing us how they make injera in the community kitchen

My favourite part of the tour was getting to see the weaving happening. It is utterly astounding and I probably could have watched them for hours:

I wanted to purchase this blanket but they were all sold out...

I wanted to purchase this blanket but they were all sold out…

So I got this one instead!

So I got this one instead!

And this robe...very warm!

And this robe…very warm!

After the tour, we got to meet Zumra and ask him some questions. He was a very interesting man. I think the most intriguing part of his story was that he was fighting hard for a community of peace and equality in an era (1970s) when this was completely unheard of. He has received support from a few other areas in Ethiopia and he knows of one other community that has been inspired by their beliefs and principles, but his dream would be for his community concept to spread around the world!

Catherine and I with Zumra

Catherine and I with Zumra

Sharing photos of Zumra's world

Sharing photos of Zumra’s world

Catherine and I got to spend the night in the village in some newly constructed dormitories. It was a wonderful experience (except for the flea bites I seemed to accumulate) and we were very pleased with the reception and incredibly humbled by the energy, passion and dedication that all community members seemed to posses for their lifestyle. We were escorted (for the whole 5kms) back to the main road by Zumra’s youngest son (he was 19), who was attending University in Bahir Dar (about 2 hours away). He said that he couldn’t wait to find a wife and build a family in Awra Amba one day.

Once again, sorry for the length of this post, but this was probably one of my favourite highlights of my trip to Ethiopia!

Travel Tuesday: Ethiopia Pt. 1

It has almost been two years since I was in Ethiopia. I spent three weeks there traveling around after I was finishing my volunteer placement in Kenya.

I landed in Addis Ababa and was immediately surprised. Ethiopia was very different from what I was expected. It had come a long way from the starving children on those Plan Canada TV asks. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very poor country, however you could tell that there had been significant improvements – especially in infrastructure.

I ended up at this quiet little hotel (there are no hostels in Ethiopia) a short distance from the airport. It was cheap. The manager was nice and spoke a little English and there were only two cockroaches in my room – you’ll understand the important of this statement further along in this story.

I spent a couple of days checking out the city, getting accustomed to the money and new time and date. They operate on a 12 hour clock that starts at 6am. According to wikipedia:

To convert between the Ethiopian clock and Western clocks, one must add (or subtract) 6 hours to the Western time. For example, 2 AM local Addis Ababa time is called “8 at night” in Ethiopia, while 8 PM is called “2 in the evening”

Confusing enough for you? Well, get this:

The Ethiopian calendar has twelve months of exactly 30 days each plus five or six epagomenal days, which comprise a thirteenth month.

Yeah, that’s right. 13 months! Luckily enough, most Ethiopians understand time and dates of the rest of the world, so I wasn’t too lost.

After a couple of days in Addis, I decided to get on a bus to my first destination – Bahir Dar. The bus left super early in the morning, which involved standing around in the dark and cold waiting for the right bus to show up. I met this woman named Catherine, who I eventually ended up traveling with for most of my journeys.The journey took a full day and we arrived at the bus stage in Bahir Dar, exhausted and dirty and subject to so many hawkers trying to get us to stay at their hotels and overcharge us for taxis and whatnot. Before I get into that, check out these amazing pics from our bus journey:

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Traditional housing

Traditional housing

Family compound

Family compound

Spectacular views as we drove up into the mountains

Spectacular views as we drove up into the mountains

Crossing the Nile River

Crossing the Nile River

So we arrived at the bus stage only to be hounded by thousands of touts trying to get us to take their taxi to their ‘friend’s’ hotel. We picked the most trustworthy guy and got in a tuk tuk with him. We had also met a Dutch girl along the way, who joined us to the hotel. I think we picked something that looked cheap from one of our guidebooks. The hotel was empty and was relatively clean so we settled our stuff in and headed out for a walk to the market.

Very similar to Kenyan markets, but a lot more organized. This was the mattress section.

Very similar to Kenyan markets, but a lot more organized. This was the mattress section.

And indoors you could get any grain you like. As long as it was teff :)

And indoors you could get any grain you like. As long as it was teff 🙂

We took a day trip from Bahir Dar across Lake Tana. The weather wasn’t amazing, but we ventured off to some islands full of monasteries. I borrowed some pics from my friend Catherine:

There was lots of beautiful 'art'

There was lots of beautiful ‘art’

A woman transporting water

A woman transporting water

Enjoying the sun while waiting for our boat to leave

Enjoying the sun while waiting for our boat to leave

The outer 'ring' of the monastery

The outer ‘ring’ of the monastery

The one thing that I really wanted to do (because I’m such a crafty person), is visit a small weaving cooperative called Awra Amba. I feel like this special little place deserves its own blog post, so I’m going to save it for later. All I will say is that it required some hiking and taking nondescript buses to get there, so I am really glad that my new friend Catherine was down for it too – it was definitely off the beaten path!

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Ethiopia journey…

 

 

2015 Book List

If you have read my Goals/Challenges for 2015, you see that I set a pretty lofty goal of reading 26 books by the end of the year. I found this cool list online that I thought might help me work towards my goal. Some books will check off more than one category, but it should provide some variation to my reading list.

  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A classic romance
  • A book that became a movie
  • A book published this year
  • A book with a number in the title
  • A book written by someone under 30
  • A book with nonhuman characters
  • A funny book
  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book of short stories
  • A book set in a different country
  • A nonfiction book
  • A popular author’s first book
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  • A book based on a true story
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  • A book your mom loves
  • A book that scares you
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book based entirely on its cover
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  • A memoir
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  • A book that came out the year you were born
  • A book with bad reviews
  • A trilogy
  • A book from your childhood
  • A book with a love triangle
  • A book set in the future
  • A book set in high school
  • A book with a color in the title
  • A book that made you cry
  • A book with magic
  • A graphic novel
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your hometown
  • A book that was originally written in a different language
  • A book set during Christmas
  • A book written by an author with your same initials
  • A play
  • A banned book
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show
  • A book you started but never finished