Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Blogmas: Day 11-- BookTuber Love

What can I saw, another year, another late Blogmas.  I had hoped to have this series wrapped by Christmas Eve, but life in its many incarnations got in the way.  Just like last year, I am still going to see Blogmas through to the end and hopefully (*hopefully*) wrap this mofo up by Epiphany (January 6, you Philistine).  At least we know that the content will be festive . . . but less Christmas-y, the perfect way to say adios to 2015 and usher in the new year.

For my eleventh post, I thought I would give some love to my favorite BookTubers: the sources of some of my best reading recommendations, my greatest Amazon enablers, the people who have help make my library book queue a prodigious one.  Tis the season to assign blame.

In no particular order, these are some ladies you need to subscribe to NOW:

Mercedes @ MercysBookishMusings

Raeleen @ PadfootAndProngs07

Jean @ BookishThoughts

Ang @ BeyondThePages

Lesley @ WordsOfAReader

Jen Campbell @ JenVCampbell

Ashley @ ClimbTheStacks

Holly @ LibraryAtTheEdgeOfTheWorld

Alysia @ ExLibris

Vanessa @ Chboskyy

Who are some of your favorite BookTubers? Tweet me some of your recommendations @thelexicondev .
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 10-- My Winter Vacation Goals

Now that school is out of session until next year-- well next month anyway-- I finally have some free time to accomplish some of the many tasks that I have had to put off since summer.

  1. Complete my GoodReads 2015 Reading Challenge-- I set the goal of reading 75 books.  Presently, I am four off from my goal with just over a week till the New Year.  I think I've got this one.
  2. Complete My Writing Project-- I have been working on a writing project for a few years and I am very close to being completed with the whole project.  My hope is to have this project completed by the time I go back to work on January 4th.
  3. Watch 10 Movies-- I hate going to the cinema, but I have both Netflix and Hulu streaming subscriptions.  While I am on vacation, I would like to get my money's worth from both services!
  4. Read Two Audiobooks--To meet my personal goal for 2015, I need to have read five audiobooks by the end of the year; at present I have completed three . . . just two more to go!
  5. Lesson Plan for the First Week Back-- I like to do my lesson planning in advance so I don't have to flail when my students get back from their break.  As long as I have a well-planned itinerary for the kids ready to go, their transition back into school should be an easy one.
  6. Finish Blogmas-- Lord help me I have 15 more posts to go and Christmas is in two days . . . can I make it?  You're darn right I can!
  7. Reorganize My Room-- On a good day my room looks like it's one bad weekend away from an episode of Hoarders.  Let's just say I have had a few bad weekends.
  8. Sort Out My Shoes and Clothes for Donation-- I have lots of clothes and shoes that either need to be thrown out or donated to a better home.  Before the year is over I am going to have to do a grand clear out and give some of my gently used items to the Salvation Army.
  9. Organize My Wardrobe-- After months of neglect, my wardrobe shelves are looking worse for wear.  When I am in the midst of my clear out I am going to have to reorganize my storage spaces.
  10. Finally Reach Goal Reward Status at Starbucks-- I have been a Gold Rewards member at Starbucks since the beginning of the program.  However, this year I went off of Starbucks and coffee in general.  None the less, I still want to maintain my Gold Level status just . . . because!  Six more beverages and I am solid!

What are your winter vacation goals?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev .

Blogmas 2k15: Day 9-- Books I WISH I Would Have Read While in School

Even though I majored in English in college and teach English today, there are some marked gaps in my literary knowledge.  Most English teachers, myself included, skew our classes' literary selections towards our own personal favorites.

Contrary to popular thought, there are very few texts that are solid staples in the American grade-level classroom.  Most of us could very easily teach the same skills to our students using a myriad of texts; rather, in many instances our selection of a text is based in large part on our personal preference, not an objective measure of literary brilliance.

So, it's not uncommon for otherwise hyper-literate people to make it through decades worth of schooling without reading major figures in the cannon.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was one book that I didn't read until after I had earned my BA (summa cum laude, btw).  Even then, I only read the novel because I was teaching a lesson in the text to a rowdy group of inner-city sophomores during my pre-professional program.  In retrospect, I imagine I would have had an easier time teaching the text had I more experience with the novel during my high school years.

Shockingly, I didn't read Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, my favorite book OF ALL TIME, until my mother recommended the novel to me until I twenty-three.  In fact, I cannot remember a single class in either high school or college that had SF or any other Vonnegut novel on the syllabus.  As an avowed Vonnegut devotee I can recognize this for the egregious oversight that it is.

In retrospect, I also can't believe that I wasn't assigned a Bronte novel either during high school or college-- not a single novel by a single sisters.  Nada.  Zilch. Zed. Zero. A big ol' goose egg.  On my own I read Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey in my late teens/ early twenties, but I have never taken a course where either book was assigned or even suggested reading.

Similarly, I have never fully read either Homer's The Iliad or The Odyssey either.  I know what both epics are about and can identify allusions to either work in other works of literature, but I've never read either poem in its entirety.  This omission wouldn't sound nearly as odd if I had read Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides in school and on my own.  Oops.

Of all of the authors I never read in school, this one is the worst.  While I was in school, I.  Never.  Read.  John,  Steinbeck.  *ducks under a table to avoid flying projectiles*  Even though I read lots of Steinbeck of my own volition since childhood, his work was never a reading requirement when I was in school.  Steinbeck is a cornerstone of many English programs in the United States and abroad, so his omission may seem no more controversial than any other on my list except for the fact that I live in "Steinbeck Country."  You know The Grapes of Wrath?-- that book takes place IN MY BACKYARD!  Were it not for a precocious streak growing up and my maternal family's socialist leanings, I doubt I would have had any exposure to California's finest writer.

So, what classic novels were you not assigned to read when you were in school?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev !

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 8-- Authors I Have Never Read . . . But probably Should

Since 1988, there has not been a time when I have not been in school, either as a student, a teacher, or a combination thereof.  As over-educated as I am,  there are several corners of the western literary cannon that I have yet to explore-- some of which may surprise you.

Homer: Somehow I managed to get through both high school and college without reading either the Iliad or the Odyssey in ts entirety.  Like anyone, I know enough about either story to be dangerous, but I've never cracked the spine of either work  Given how important either epic is to the CREATION OF CULTURE AS WE KNOW IT, this is kind of a big deal.  

Dante: Even though I am familiar with the whole "Abandon all hope ye who enter" thing and the architecture of Dante's afterlife, I've never gotten past the first two cantos of the Divine Comedy.  I should probably make an effort to actually read this cultural touchstone and not, y'know, the Spark Notes.  

George Eliot: I believe I won one or two of Eliot's novels in thrift editions picked up in order to meet free-shipping thresholds, but I have never read any of them.  To be honest, I like the idea of being someone who has read George Eliot, but finding the motivation to turn the idea into action escapes me.  My greatest stumbling block, I believe is the warning that various Eliot readers have given me over the years: "she's hard to get into." When the size of her books are coupled with the supposed dryness of her prose I can't help put think that reading Eliot is a lot of effort for very little result.  

Aldous Huxley: I own two copies of Brave New World and I have yet to read either of them.  I'm not much of a fantasy/ science fiction reader these days and dystopian themes don't appeal to me in the same way they did when I was younger.  Huxley's reputation for being a druggy hasn't helped either; if I am going to venture out of my comfort zone, I would like to do so with an author that is sober enough to drive the proverbial bus.  

Margaret Atwood: Full disclosure: I read about 20% of The Handmaid's Tale and wasn't taken by it.  Again, I am not a fan of dystopian themes, particularly ones related to the subjugation of women.  When you are a person with a functioning uterus living in the United States, regressive restrictions on your reproductive rights are less of a clever plot point and more of an actual reality.  Who needs science fiction when you have the Dakotas? Amiright?!

Jonathan Franzen: I've read all of Franzen's published non-fiction; I rate Franzen highly as an essayist.  However, I have never been able to get through more than fifty pages in any of his novels.  In some way, Franzen's public persona has something to do with this.  Franzen's pedantic curmudgeonliness is endearing in essay format; he's like your high strung uncle that you mess with at family gatherings because it's hilarious when he loses his shit.  In a novel format, however, this personality quirk doesn't work for me-- think Tolstoy as written by Dwight Schrute.  

So, who should I start with on this list?  What should I read first?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev . 

Blogmas 2k15: Day 7-- My Winter Wish List

I am sure that there is more than one of you out there at a loss as to what to get your spinster sister or wondering how to spend your obligatory spinster sister gift cards.  Since we are getting down to the wire for holiday gifts, I thought I might post my own holiday wishlist to give all of you some ideas on how to spend your dough.  In most cases, you can either buy these items in your local mall or have them sent overnight from Amazon or other retailers.

Happy shopping!  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 6-- My December Playlist

I'll be honest: I hear another damn Christmas Carol, I am going to rip out someone's jugular.  They are everywhere: in stores, in public buildings, on television, and even blasting out of car radios (seriously folks, close your windows, it's an El Nino year!).  The festiveness is downright oppressive, dudes.

For those of you, like myself, who are not taking part in this seasonal nightmare, here are some of my personal favorite tunes of the moment to drowned out "Last Christmas:"

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 5-- My December Reading Goals

Going into the month of December I was a dozen-or-so books shy of my GoodReads Reading Challenge goal of finishing 75 books in 2015. Twelve books is a daunting stack for someone who works two jobs, commutes, and who tries to blog on the side.

With potential defeat staring me in the face I decided to get serious about my reading goals for the month. Like, actually serious this time. 

Chief among my reading goals for December is to complete my 2015 GoodReads Challenge.  I completed two of my past three challenges and I would like to make it three for four.  I don't have a hard and fast TBR for the month, but there are a few formats I would like to explore and read-alongs that I would like to take part in this month.

Read Alongs

Classical Literature Reading Along 2.0

This year I am going to be taking part in the Classical Literature Read Along 2.0 hosted by Jean from Bookish Thoughts.  This year, participants are reading two plays The Bacchae by Euripides and The Frogs by Aristophanes.   If you are interested in reading either play or getting involved in the discussion of these works you can check out Jean's announcement video here and the GoodReads group for the Read Along here.

His Dark Materials Read Along

I've also opted to join the His Dark Materials Read Along hosted by Jen Campbell and Holly from Library at the End of the World; you can read their announcement videos here (Jen) and here (Holly).  I've actually never read the His Dark Materials; when I was a tween and teen, when the novels were first released, I wasn't into fantasy literature or in reading series accept for Harry Potter.  Now that I teach middle schoolers, I think it is important that I make up for lost time and read some series that might appeal to them.  Since I am stepping outside of my comfort zone for this one, I thought it would be best if I attempted the series as part of the Read Along, that way there would be others I could reach out to on social media if I need to.

Experimenting with Formats


At the beginning of December I got a new iPhone and decided to finally delve into the world of eBooks.  I have read various short stories online and have even started reading novels in the Kindle app in the past; however, the smallness of the screen and the severity of my nearsightedness made that process nearly impossible to see through.  Now that I have a larger screen I am prepared to give eBooks another go.  I recently bought John Burnside's The Dumb House for Kindle; since the book is only available in eBook format in the states, I am basically forced to follow through on this eBook!


Earlier this year I set myself the goal of reading five audiobooks this year; so far, I have only read two to date-- Gone Girl and The Scarlet Letter-- and I have a couple of books on my iPod that I can listen to and a few more out from the library that I plan to add to iTunes very soon.  Over the holiday break I will have a lot of writing to do and I have found that listening to adiobooks can be a soothing way to pass the hours when I am tucked into a project.  With a little determination, I can hopefully reach my goal by New Year's Eve.

Unfinished Business

Earlier this month, I wrote about some of the items that are on my Still Need to Finish List, books that I started earlier this year and would like to finally complete (you can check that post out here).  Hopefully, I will be able to get back into the swing of reading one of the books I wrote about and a couple of others that I did not, like Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happenend and Haruki Murakami's After the Quake, a collection of short stories.

Graphic Novels and Manga

A few years ago I was really into reading graphic novels and read several of them every month; however, in recent years I haven't been "on the panel," so to speak.  This year I have made an effort to read more graphic novels and I would like to branch out and read some manga.  Many of my students love reading manga and I would like to have another way to connect to my youngin's.  I've taken the first three books from the Death Note series out from the public library and a small stack of graphic novels out from the academic library where I work.  Hopefully my selections will serve me well and I'll get some comic reading done in December.

What do you hope to read this month?  Let me know on Instagram @the_lexicon_devil.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 4-- My Favorite Podcasts

Hello, everyone.  I am sorry for the break in Blogmas programming but, if you follow me on Instagram (@the_lexicon_devil) you will know  that I have been recovering from a particularly nasty bought of food poisoning.  For the past week it has taken all of my strength to not projectile vomit all over creation; writing, as you can well imagine,  was not one of my priorities.

Now that I am back in fighting shape-- or at least what passes for fighting shape in my neck of the woods-- I am back to blogging and will be catching up with posts over the next couple of dates.  Expect posts to go live every six to twelve hours until I am up to date.

In honor of Day 4, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite podcasts.  Whether I am grading papers, skittering between buses, or try to decompress before bed podcasts are one of my preferred things to listen to.  Like most folks, I listen to and subscribe to podcasts through the iPhone app and usually spend a few hours a week catching up with some of my favorite series.

Here are some of my personal favorites

Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale is a twice monthly 'cast that is set in a Twin Peak-like small town radio station.  The show features newscasts for the fictional town, crime reports featuring the sheriff's secret police, cultural events, and updates on the Blood Space War waging sometime thousands of years in the future.  If you like mysteries, aliens, and David Lynch films, this ones for you. 


Sweet and Savory Baby Jesus it's back!  For those of you who are not familiar, Serial, the most popular 'cast in history, is an NPR produced series that takes one complicated crime-based story and, over several weeks, approaches all angles of the case in a narrative, nuanced fashion.  Season 2 started TODAY.  As soon as you finish this post you should probably go and listen to episode one.  If you haven't already.

The New York Times Book Review
This weekly podcast features in-depth reviews of new releases and news from the publishing industry.  If, like me, you sometimes find it challenging to sort through the hype surrounding new releases, this would be a good 'cast to check in with.  Not every episode will suit every listener, but this is a cast you can dip in and out of without fear of "losing your place."

Esquire Classic

This one, dear folks, is a hidden gem.  If, like me, you like to know the story behind the story, Esquire classic is the one for you.  This 'cast takes an in-depth look at some of the iconic articles that have graced the pages of Esquire Magazine including a look at Norman Mailer's look at the presidential campaign of then Senator John F. Kennedy, "Superman Comes to the Supermarket."  Another podcast looks at the magazine's piece on the 9/11 falling man.  Again, like the New York Times Book Review podcast, you can dip in and out of this series without the fear of missing something.

What podcasts are you listening to?  Let me know on twitter @thelexicondev. 
Thursday, December 3, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 3-- The Still Need to Finish Pile

Those of us in the bookish blogosphere are well acquainted with our TBRs (to be reads) and DNFs (did not finishes), but what about the SNFs?—the books that we still need to finish? 

Any hardcore reader knows that there are books that you begin reading and, for one reason or another, put them down.  This isn’t to say that these books are boring or even that you lost your interest, you just got . . . distracted.

As the year winds down, there are a few books that I started reading within the last few months that I want to pick back up and complete.  Here are some of the highlights from my SNF pile:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This novel—and all Donna Tartt novels, actually—have a lot of hype attached to them.  I originally started reading The Secret History a few months ago and liked the book . . . but I wasn’t as enamored by the novel as everyone else in the Anglophone seems to be.  To be honest, I found the book slow-going and I wasn’t as enraptured by the niche-y private school vibes the book gives off.  I went to a niche-y private university, too—the cliquishness of these institutions doesn’t wow me like it seems to wow others.  So, when newer purchases and newer stacks of library books made their way into the house I set this one aside.  I hope— *hope*— to complete the novel by the end of the year. 

Under the Skin by Michele Faber
I started reading Under the Skin at the end of summer, around the time I started my new job.  Needless to say, I put the book down in large part because I was overwhelmed on the professional front.  When I was reading the novel I was enjoying it . . . in a slightly unsettling way.  For those who are unfamiliar, Under the Skin is meant to be an allegory about the factory farming industry . . . but with aliens.  Trust me when I say that the novel is more readable than my description makes it sound.  I will definitely be picking this one up before the year’s end. 

Brave Genius by Sean B. Carroll
This is a nonfiction work about the war experiences of novelist Albert Camus and biologist Jacques Monod, both eventual Nobel Prize winners, who were involved in the French Resistance.  I was sent this for review about a year ago and have been reading it piece-by-piece since its arrival. The books is engaging and suspenseful, it’s just a heavy read.  With all that has been going on in the news for the last year, it’s been hard to immerse myself in the WWII era.  The present day is rough enough.  I hope to complete this one by the end of my winter vacation in early January. 

These are some of the books I hope to get to sooner rather than later.  What books are in your SNF pile?  Tweet me and let me know @thelexicondev . 
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 2-- What I've Been Reading Lately: Middle Grade Edition

Since I just started teaching seventh graders, I have found myself diving headlong into middle grade literature.  One of the best pieces of advice I was given during my pre-professional program was to read what your students are reading: this not only helps you connect with your kids on an informal, non-academic level, it aids you in identifying high interest books for reluctant readers. 

It has been a white since I have written a monthly reading wrap up. In lieu of prattling through all of the texts I have read since the summer, I thought I would update everyone on some of my notable middle grade reads from the months of October and November. 

Dork Diaries #1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russel [GoodReads Rating: 2/5]

In the immortal words of one of my students, the Dork Diaries series is a “rip-off of Wimpy Kid” that is aimed at middle grade girls.  Whereas Wimpy Kid addresses universal themes such as academic struggles, social woes, and your family’s ability to mortify you in public—this is to say, themes that both boys and girl can identify with—Dork Diaries subscribes to traditional, consumerist, binary gender roles to the exclusion of young male readers.  I personally found it difficult to identify with the series’ main character, Nikki Maxwell, and her fascination with cellphones and lip gloss. 

To make matters worse, the books are deeply entrenched in the here and now; the pop cultural references made in the book will begin to feel dated rather quickly.  The first book is about six years old and its references to Juicy Couture are already cringe inducing.  I own the first three books in the series and will be putting them in my classroom library; however, once these copies are trashed, I will not be replacing them—they will be irrelevant to my crop of young ones in just a couple of years.

Wonder by RJ Palacio [GoodReads Rating 4/5]

I will be the first to admit that I had wanted to read Wonder for a long time, even before I started working with the young ones, because I liked the cover design.  I am happy to say that the content of the book was as well-crafted as it was designed.  The novel is about Augie, a fifth grader who, after being homeschooled his entire life, begins to attend a traditional school for the first time; however, Augie isn’t like other ten year olds: he has a pronounced facial deformity.

With great honesty and empathy, Palacio follows Augie, his family members, and his classmates as he makes the adjustment to traditional school.  This book is a great way to model empathy to young children and to help children who are bullied put their own experiences into perspective.  Also, Wonder is just a quick and engaging read for anyone, really!

LumberJanes #1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen [GoodReads Rating: 3/5]
I had heard a lot of scuttlebutt about LumberJanes online over the past several months and, since I am interested in reading more graphic novels and more works by female authors, I gave this one a go.  For those who are unfamiliar with the series, LumberJanes is about a group of diverse young women who attend a feminist scouting camp.  Whenever the girls set out to earn a new merit badge they run into a supernatural challenge that threatens to derail their efforts.  With pluck and their collective—and quirky—talents the girls face their challenges head on. 

To date I have only read the first book in the series and I have yet to purchase the second, which came out in October.  Even though I liked the book I didn’t fall in love with it; I will continue to read and purchase the series nonetheless because I believe in supporting the creative efforts of women writing about other strong, creative women. 

El Deafo by Cece Bell [GoodReads: 4/5]

El Deafo is a middle grade graphic memoir about the author’s experiences wearing a massive hearing aid as an elementary student in the 1970s.  Bell anthropomorphizes her characters (making herself into a bunny, for instance) which provides a level of distance between the reader and Bell’s own struggles, which could otherwise trouble a younger audience.  Instead, Bell recounts her struggles, her coping mechanisms, and her successes in a deeply engaging and wildly funny text. 

El Deafo was a 2015 Newberry Honor book and it is one that I will be buying for my nieces when they get older.   

Those are some of my recent middle grade reads.  Tweet me some of your seventh-grade appropriate recommendations @thelexicondev . 
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Blogmas 2k15: Day 1-- Review: Audition by Ryū Murakami

Audition by Ryū Murakami [Good Reads Rating: 1/5]

In my August Reading Wrap-Up, I promised to review this book along with a pair of other Ryū Murakami books I picked up in the waning days of summer.  Originally, this was my intention.  As the weeks wore on, however, it became readily apparent that my disappointment in Audition wasn’t drawing me to my other books by this Murakami.  At this point I am uncertain if I will really the other two books I own by Murakami so I had best post my thoughts on Audition NOW, while my review notes are still [relatively] fresh in my mind because. 

My review for Audition is best summarized by a simple, monosyllabic “no.” 

No, you should not read this book.

No, the plot wears thin and the writing in adolescent.

No, this book isn’t for the faint of heart.

No, the depiction of women in this book is worse than you are thinking.  

Ryū Murakami (no relation to Haruki) is something of a Japanese renaissance man: he was the drummer in a rock band, produced 8 mm films, ran his own music label, created and edited his own email magazine, started his own video streaming service, hosted his own talk show on business and finance, and started a business to create ebooks.  With all of these business ventures in his past and currently on his place, one can’t help but wonder if Murakami has spread himself too thin. 

Based on the novel it would seem so.

 Audition tells the story of a middle aged widower, Aoyama, who with the encouragement of a friend, holds auditions for a fake movie as a ruse in order to find the perfect woman to potentially become his new wife. Eventually, Aoyama sets his sights on Asami, a former ballet dancer half his age.  The pair’s courtship starts off well but begins to encounters some hiccups when Aoyama professes his love for Asami and his desire to marry her.  Asami momentarily retreats from Aoyama, blaming her reticence on her traumatic childhood and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her paraplegic step-father.  At first Aoyama is amazed at Asami, though a little skittish, is as well-adjusted as she is.  However, soon after he reveals he has a teenage son, Asami goes cray cray and things get . . . splatter-y (?).

My beef with Audition has a lot to do with the last thirty pages or so of the novel.  First and foremost, there is a scene of graphic violence against animals that would have been a deal breaker for me, regardless of if the book had been well-written or had a feminist twist to it (spoiler: it had neither).  If you are a critter lover (like me) or CAN’T EVEN when it comes to cruelty to animals, give this book a wide berth. 

My second issue with Audition is its use of the “crazy ex-girlfriend” trope.  Not only is this plot twist its ablest, it’s misogynistic.  Women’s thoughts and feelings have long been marginalized as “crazy” by male relatives, partners, or colleagues.  Questioning a woman’s sanity is an easy way to avoid answering her charges.  Furthermore, the “crazy” has long been used to cut women in positions of power down to size.  The label is an act of projection whereby an insecure man casts his anxieties upon a woman; certainly, in a patriarchal society there must be something wrong with a woman who both commands and confounds, right? Right? No.

And what about the crazy villain, eh? Having a villain who is criminally insane is a distortion of the facts.  Mentally ill individuals are exponentially more likely to be the victims of a crime than to be the perpetrators of a violent crime.  Characters like Asami serve to further a dangerous stereotype that stigmatizes mental illness and prevents many people from seeking the help they need.  While one work of transgressive fiction is certainly not responsible for the stigma surrounding mental illness, the book—and the cult film based on the novel—is one of a multitude of works of popular culture that reinforce this insulting point of view. 

Believe me, there are far better ways to spend your long winter nights than to read Audition . . . like cleaning out your cat’s litterbox. 

Blogmas 2K15

For those of us who “don’t do Christmas,” the holiday season is a trying time. The stores are a chaotic mess of people and picked over items.  With the influx of people on the road during the holiday season and the inclement weather, even the great outdoors can seem like a nightmarish hellscape. 

Social media doesn’t help matters either.  For many of us, our YouTube feeds and blogrolls are filled with festive themed videos and posts from mid-November onward.  If you don’t celebrate Christmas or subscribe to a Christo-centric worldview December can turn into one prolonged, FOMO-filled panic attack.  If it isn’t bad enough that no one can get a McFlurry on the 25th, they have to make us anxious about it for eight weeks—seriously, folks?!

Believe me, I know the struggle.  I take my McFlurries seriously.  Very.  Seriously. 

This year, when I was conceiving Blogmas 2015 for TLD, I decided to focus my 24 daily posts on topics and reviews that would be a welcome distraction from the traditional yuletide clusterfudge; I want to redirect the conversation. 

December isn’t just about fat Coca-Cola pitchmen and their Nordic beasts of burdeon: it’s about winter, curling up with a good book or a crappy movie, and relishing the fact that you aren’t at the mall in sub-zero temperature.—these are the ideas I want to celebrate, the experiences I want TLD to champion. 

So get ready for four(-ish) weeks of posts that will challenge the end-of-the-year blogger’s paradigm.  Get ready for Blogmas, TDL-style.