My Favorite Books of the Decade!

Strand Bookstore, NYC, August 2019

Dear Reader,

This isn’t the usual blog post you’re used to reading every week. I wanted to switch things up a bit for my final blog post of the year (and the decade!). Beneath this note is a list of my 40 favorite books I’ve read in the last decade! The organization of the list below is as follows:

Fiction

Non-Fiction

Essays

Poetry

Miscellaneous

I only chose books that were published in the last decade. I read so many amazing books that I had to narrow the list down. I’ve always loved books but my passion for writing definitely reignited my passion for reading. If you do end up buying or reading any of this books, please refer back to this post once you’re done and let me know what you think!

I really appreciate everyone who took some time to read my blog posts this year. It really means a lot to me to have people who read my blog every week! I hope you all have a safe and warm New Years with the ones you love. I look forward to seeing what the new decade has in store!

Best Wishes & Happy New Year!

Kelly

Look at the Green Grass

You choose to look at the dead field instead of the green grass.
Why?
The cliché phrase is true, you know?
The grass is greener on the other side.
Someone may tell you to look at the field.
The green one, not the one with no life.
You won't look at it until someone tells you.
But then you look at it and tilt your head.
Looking at something another way can bring change.
The goal shouldn't be to get to the other side.
The goal should be acknowledging it exists first.
Then you can slowly begin to make your way.
It's about the journey, not the destination.
It's another cliché phrase that fits.
We all have things we can look at differently.
It could be something we have no control over.
Or it could be something that you can change.
Whatever it is that's filling you with shame or denial,
Only you can be the one to decide it's time to change.
No more pretending like it doesn't exist or walking around it.
You can control your thinking.
Will you choose to look at the green grass?
Or will you continue to keep your head in the dirt?

A Reminder to Be Respectful

I don't have to agree with you to respect you.
You don't have to agree with me to respect me.

We can come from two different backgrounds and generations,
have different perspectives, beliefs, and ideas,
and still, be respectful of one another.

The focus is often on what is different about us,
who we love, what we believe, where we live.
While we may have moral differences that define us,
that doesn't mean we can't be kind, or at least civil.

We can get our messages across without yelling at each other.
It's possible to agree to disagree and not be hateful.

Call out injustices that need to be addressed,
make noise when something needs to be changed.
But don't be rude to someone who doesn't agree with you
and don't try to put your beliefs on them.

The goal shouldn't be to get someone
to believe what you believe because it doesn't work.
Repetitive behavior with the same speech
isn't productive or convincing.

It's to be kind to each other regardless of where we stand.
I'm not the bad guy and neither are you.

Morning Crossword

The open screen door lets the cool morning air into the kitchen. Water is heating in a pot that’s on a circle plugged into the wall sitting on the counter. I open my computer and do a New York Times’ crossword puzzle as I wait for the boiling point. When I hear the circle turn off from a click on the top of the pot, I grab a mug, pour the water, add a tea bag, and return to the crossword. The more I do crossword puzzles, the easier they become. My double vision comes and goes depending on what angle my eyes are facing. I grab a sweater to warm the goosebumps on my arm. My day usually begins this way. Some details may shift just slightly but it’s more or less like this.

Trials and Tribulations

When I started my blog a year ago, I didn’t expect to be dealing with the issues I have now. Last year, I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and finishing up my degree in English. These last few months have been defined by my health, particularly my thyroid eye disease. It’s sad but true. Eyes are a huge part of everyone’s life and when they’re sick, it takes a tremendous toll on how one might move about their life.

Last week, I went on a cruise with my dad’s side of the family. While it was great to see other places and learn about different cultures, it’s also difficult to be in the Caribbean when I’m extremely light sensitive. I started the trip with some daily headaches and no real eye problems. But by mid week, I was having a lot of double vision and my eyes were finished with the sun. Trading headaches for burning eyes and double vision wasn’t ideal, to say the least.

Before this last week, I had a few weeks of minimal eye problems. Thyroid eye disease has its ups and downs, some times are better than others. The months before my brief plateau were brutal. A lot of irritation, swelling, and double vision. One thing after another happened. The weeks prior to the cruise, my eyes weren’t my main worry. I certainly had concerns about my eyes going into the trip and how they could react to travel. But they weren’t entirely on the forefront until they began their downward spiral once more.

What these last few months have taught me is to expect the worst and hope for the best. It’s a weird way to live but it’s better to be mentally prepared for something to go wrong so that when it does, I can tread through rocky waters as calmly as possible. And when something does go wrong, I try to find the good in those situations. Things could be worse than they are. At least I can see out of both eyes. This is a difficult moment but it won’t least forever.

A Poem About Nothing

Spring has arrived along with the remnants of winter.
Snow one day, seventy degrees the next.
You never know what you're going to get.
The grass is greener as bees fly
and house cats beg to come back inside.
Days are longer, thoughts are shorter.
Everything looks different upon reflection.
Awareness changes thoughts and perspective,
for once I can look at my interactions without judgment.
The keys on a new keyboard are the best present I could ask for.
Smooth and shiny while working together
without pause or hesitation of a key falling off.
My dry eyes make things coming closer appear
like the wizards from Harry Potter, out of focus
and then all of a sudden clear as crystal.

Power

Poetry that flows like water so natural 
as though it was always meant to be.

I wrote this when listening
to a poet release a poem into the universe.

They were speaking with ease and grace
yet the power of their words spoke 

high volumes to those of us who listened.
Their poem held truths about life

that allowed the soul to breathe.
Not allowing fear to shatter

your future or prevent you from
revealing the depths of your mind

to those who are willing to listen.
Failure is the part of understanding

what you're capable of accomplishing.
Motivation comes from the most

unlikely places and unexpected situations.
Riddles reveal secrets without

saying anything in particular.
The power of poetry lingered

in the newly spring air
as the sky faded into night.