Go Book Yourself: Top 5 Young Adult Novels 2013 

We read 34 YA novels this year. Here are our Top 5…

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell for first love in all it’s messy glory

More Than This by Patrick Ness for a mind bending coming of age story

In Bloom by Matthew Crow for a funny, life affirming story

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher for a unique story of guilt and loyalty

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein for a harrowing but important concentration camp story

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Year in Review

This year has been an interesting and transformative one:

- I got married in New Orleans, with a full Thelemic, Gnostic Mass ceremony with my family (especially my Evangelical parents, my ex and our daughter), friends, and religious community in attendance
- I got back into therapy, finally focusing treatment on my PSTD which lead to me finding peace on some hairy things, some I’d carried with me since childhood
- I got a raise and promotion at my last job (big personal accomplishments), then was laid off a few month later (right before my wedding)
- I did a 2nd ayahuasca ritual that showed me how much I’ve grown, lead me through a death trip, urged me back into therapy, showing how much more I have to grow
- performed as a officer of several initiations for the first time within my tradition
- DJ’d for several of the biggest parties I’ve ever done, many of them out of state, and for shows of several of my all-time favorite bands (Leatherstrip being one of special note)
- I finally left the food industry after working in it for a full decade, moving into low voltage/telecom work
- I quit the club on good terms, and now that club is closing at the end of this year
- made it onto unemployment, fumbled that after 2 months, made it through many interviews, and finally persevered through the longest hiring process I’ve ever dealt with to have the most stable job I’ve ever held
- got a rescue puppy that has been a very positive influence on and addition to our family
- visited my grandparents for the first time in years, learning much more about our family history on my mother’s side (and insight on how it can take a long time to find the field of work one will eventually settle with)
- small moments throughout the year showed me that I have earned my peers respect and admiration. Basically, I realize that I don’t need to see myself as the worthless kid I have for so long seen myself as.
- I also reached 5 years of sobriety from alcohol

Year in review, 2013

I figured since I found that old post recapping 2010 I might as well post one for 2013. So here it goes.

I have to admit, living in California is pretty awesome as is working at Google. I’m a very blessed individual and I try to take time each day to remember those little moments that I’m thankful for. But I do have a poor memory these days. Trying to remember this past year, I’m bound to leave out a lot of things. It was a tough year, that I do remember…

2013 started out with my first trip to NY thanks to Google. It was a quick trip but looking back, it was the start of everything we’re launching this year. I didn’t get to explore too much but it was fun seeing another office and staying at the Ace Hotel (gorgeous NY hipster hotel).

I had a great Super Bowl party at my apartment and nearly watched my new pro football team almost pull off a great comeback only to choke like my hometown team (Vikings) in the last minute. ARG. Thankfully, great friends bring amazing food like cake pops shaped like footballs! My-Linh is one talented person!

Can’t forget my scooter! I took a weekend riding class and then a couple tests and officially received my motorcycle license and, of course, went out and grabbed a used, green, vintage-looking Vespa. I’ve put over 4k miles on it since April after a slight, costly spill on the first day I had it. Now it’s got a little beauty mark on the side to remind me to take it easy I guess. I was so in love with this thing I tried to sell my car to someone but after three months of her not paying the loan I had to fly down to LA and repo the car myself (thanks to the help of Ninja Maria!) Pretty scary endeavor actually. Wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Early in the year I went on my first business building trip to Victoria, BC. Gorgeous area and a great trip as I got to spend some time with a team of designers I’ve always admired.

The team went to Tahoe again and My-Linh talked me into snowboarding. I actually went out a couple days and had a ton of fun. Thanks to Tina and others, I got the hang of it pretty quickly and even rode on a chair lift! Who cares if it was really still the bunny hill, it was totally worth it and great to get away with the team. A lot of people left the team this year, so that trip was pretty special and I’ll always remember it.

The next trip I went on was to help with a quick Design Thinking training with the talented Beth in Taipei of all places! Couldn’t pass up the trip even if it was only for a few days. Beth is a planner, had a little book with places to hit and loved to take public transportation so we had a lot of fun exploring the city and culture. I’m sure most of you are wondering what I ate as there aren’t many meat and potato places out there but I actually ate very well, even took a cooking class with a bunch of Googlers!

I think I had a couple weeks between getting back from that trip (did the Electric Run with friends, scooted around) and then hit the big trip of the year… Sydney! It was meant to be a week long trip centered around Brynn and the teams +20 event (which went over very well) but something got to me and I was out for a day sick. Thankfully the mighty Matthew was there to make sure I was ok and then Antin and Little Jay showed us all the amazing things Sydney has to offer, most importantly, meat pies. So much fun and a place I will most definitely be going back to soon! So many fun picture opportunities.

I flew back to Minnesota in June for a sad family affair but it was good to see the family and spend some quality time (even if it was raining) with those I love the mostest.

I ended up hitting New York one more time, seeing a bit more of it and yearning to go back again. I mean, B&H was closed! So of course I’ll be going back!

One of the biggest highlights of my life happened in September when I took my team on our first offsite to Pixar! We had an amazing time getting a tour of their facilities, watching The Blue Umbrella with the director, Saschka Unseld, talking to Ed Catmull and seeing other directors just walking around. Amazing experience and a cool little company store, too!

The year might’ve ended in a flurry but it also introduced me to Marianne who I have shared many great adventures with and look forward to many more new ones in the year to come!

The rest of the year had a lot of smaller excursions, a wedding shoot in San Antonio, dates, and good friends visiting (come on back anytime Becky and Betsy!). Every weekend I try and explore a bit more of this great city and the surrounding parks.

The city is definitely feeling smaller these days but still so surprising.


Go Book Yourself: Top 5 Novels 2013 

Every book is a winner, but some are more winners than others…

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton for a breathtaking, beautiful prize winner

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson for intricate plotting and a heroine to fall for

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer for a literary romance in letters

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for a perfectly formed epic

A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride for a truly unique voice

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“The most exciting book of fiction I read this past year is Claire Vaye Watkins’s debut collection of stories, Battleborn. Despite her many recent accolades and awards, I hadn’t heard of this young writer – the collection was published in fact in 2012 – and from the moment I opened the first pages I was enthralled, utterly and completely.” Chang-Rae Lee on his Year in Reading.

So, it seems that I am late to the party. Not only am I late to the party, I resisted going because everyone was going and word on the street was so loudly proclaimed, “Best Party of the Year,” that I felt sure I’d be disappointed. But, finally, only one year late (honestly, I am often far more behind than this), I slunk in the door and, low and behold, Jess Walter’s BEAUTIFUL RUINS is indeed bumpin’.