Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Year of Slow Reading

A few years ago, I joined a book club. Prior to that I'd just been reading, what I wanted and when I wanted. But these book clubbers are serious readers, who note the titles they read in a year, make extensive lists and, in some cases, write detailed reviews that only serve to increase the number of books one wants to read.

I am nothing if not conscientious, so I dutifully started recording my reads. For the two consecutive years I attended the Christmas parties, it turns out I read the most books among the group.

Starting last December, though, my reading pace has slowed drastically as my workload has increased. Since this year has begun, I've barely finished one book, whereas I normally average ten to fifteen a month.

No matter the pace, it's the quality that matters. For the past couple of years I've resolved to read more books by local authors, and this year that looks to be on track, as the first quarter's book discussions and read-along all feature Filipino authored works.

This year, I also resolve to read less of the self-published free books that have mostly turned out disappointing. If I can somehow narrow down my to-be-read pile from the 50 books it's hovered at for the past couple of years down to about two dozen, that would be amazing.

So, on to page turning then.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Matilda Moments

We started the new year with a trip to the mountains, Little A's home away from home. There is a set routine when we are there, places we always visit, activities we do together. One of these is a visit to the public park. There are boats on a man-made mini lake, bicycles for rent, and a large playground.

In the city Little A has few chances to visit parks, as he has a full day at school five days a week. In addition, the weather is usually far too humid. But when we are in the north, he enjoys romping on the climbing frames.

This time, he watched other boys crossing the monkey bars several times, but knew he didn't have the upper body strength to do the same. So he found another way, all on his own. He boosted himself up on his tummy, and moved across the bars from above all the while being careful not to fall through. Once successful, he was very keen to repeat this feat.

Another new thing that happened this trip was that Little A was brave enough to ride a horse. Twice, even. This was something that happened gradually, over several trips. First he would watch them, then pet them, and finally sit on one. Last visit he wasn't ready for the horse to walk, but this time he bounced up and down in the saddle to urge it forward. His first ride, the guide rode behind him and they did a full hour of walking, trotting, and a short trail ride. The second ride was in a gentle circle, and this time he was on his own as the guide led the horse.

Finally, Little A spent a lot of time revisiting his favourite places on the grounds of the country club we stay at every time we are up north. There is an aviary with peacocks, pheasants and various other birds, two reindeer couples in a pen, and a hutch of rabbits next to the strawberry field. We are all quite sad to go back to the city, but needs must, and responsibilities call. This only makes looking forward to our next mountain trip all the sweeter.