A Good 2018, A Better 2019

books year 2018The year 2019 started a little differently, with my mom and I struggling to get over jet-lag. Now that my sleep is more or less back to normal, I can write my obligated annual “good-better” post. It is quite overdue…

I failed to accomplish most goals I set out at the beginning of 2018, but it was a very good and productive year nonetheless.

  • Read 50 books – at least 5 in Chinese, at most 25 in audio format. Not done. I only finished 48 books but I could argue that with 1,440 pages, Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ should count as three books. 🙂 Only 2 of the 48 books were in Chinese; and 6 were non-audio books. Here are the quarterly book reports: Q1; Q2; Q3; Q4.
  • Visit 5 new countries – Done. And some more. I visited 9 new countries this year! Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore.
  • Swim 50 times; yoga at home everyday. Not done. I met slightly less than half of the swimming goal, and yoga at home even less. I did attend 8 hot yoga classes though, which were much more strenuous than the home practice. 🙂 On average I walked 7,317 steps a day, the highest in recent years. This compensated somewhat for my failed exercise goals.
  • Publish 30 blog posts; write at least 3 full-length travel articles in Chinese. Not done. I only published 16 posts on this blog, and wrote 1.5 Chinese travel articles. 😦 Definitely need to write more in 2019!
  • Learn to cook 3 new dishes. Done. I successfully cooked two new dishes (one pork, one chicken) using my Crock pot. I also learned a dish or two from my mother during the last week of the year (and a few more in the new year. :))
  • Lose 5 pounds. Not done by a wide margin! I actually gained 7 pounds in 2018. I blame it on two wonderful cruises, both times followed by a trip to China. I guess this coming year I should aim to lose 12 pounds…

There is a good reason why I deviated a bit from my goals – 2018 was a year of big change. I started A New Journey, by taking a break from work to travel and spend more time with family and friends. With 88 days away from home, I wasn’t able to carry out read/write/swim/cook routines as usual. At one point I was four books behind schedule, and gaining weight was not surprising at all.

That said, this journey has been very rewarding so far. I did two cruises with Windstar, which gave me the 9 new countries. Plus a 2000-mile road trip in US Northwest from Crater Lake to Glacier National Park via Columbia River Gorge. Awesome trips, great memories.

I also spent quite a lot of time with my family and many friends during two trips back to China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong); also with David’s family from three road trips to New England. Starting from Christmas Eve is my mom’s three-month visit in US. I really enjoy and cherish our time together – chatting, walking, exercising, shopping, cooking…

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It is rather difficult to predict what is in store for me in 2019. Besides, it is a little late to think about new year’s resolution. Therefore I am not setting any goals except the usual 50-book challenge on Goodreads. Just let the fun continue, and I will report back on the first day of 2020 what transpired…

Happy New Year!

 

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Books read in 2018 Q4

In my last book report I mentioned that I would need to finish 16 books in the fourth quarter to accomplish my 50-book annual goal. Well, I ended up reading 14, therefore I am two books short of meeting my reading goal for 2018. 😦 Given that Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ has 1400+ pages, which is more than enough for three average-length books, I can persuade myself that I did a decent job. 🙂

Here are the books I finished this past quarter:

  1. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
  2. The Stand by Stephen King
  3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
  4. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
  5. 纵有万般心碎,也要笑得甜美 by 谢姣姣
  6. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  7. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
  8. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  9. The Sea Wolf by Jack London
  10. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
  11. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  12. The Outsider by Stephen King
  13. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
  14. Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

I enjoyed most books on this list, except #4 and #14. Here is a mini book review I wrote on #4; and I didn’t include the meaningless long subtitle of #14 in the list.

I learned a lot from #7, highly recommend. #8 exceeded my expectations. Books from Stephen King, Erik Larson, Haruki Murakami, and Michael Lewis were as good as ever. Looking back, I indeed accomplished a lot in Q4 in terms of reading! 🙂

Just set a goal of 50 again for 2019. Keep reading…

Books 2018 Q4