My Year in Reading 2018

Hello and Happy New Year! I’m back from Christmas hiatus and just watched my Kentucky Wildcats beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl. I will celebrate by writing up my year in books. It was a struggle to get to my 100 books again, but I made it. I need to spend less time looking at my phone in 2019 and more time reading. On to the books! All of the stats are from Goodreads(as pictured below). My top books are the ones I gave five stars and then the four-star books I felt were the best of the rest. I will not include re-reads.

Top ten books read in no particular order

  • Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • For Every One by Jason Reynolds
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
  • An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Jordan
  • One of Us by Craig DiLouie
  • Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
  • Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah Dawson

Honorable Mention

  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
  • Noir by Christopher Moore
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
  • Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith

Book I would most recommend

There There by Tommy Orange, but listen to the audio. It has a great voice cast. She Rides Shotgun is a very close second, possibly a tie.

Worst Books I Finished

  • America 51: A Probe into the Realities That Are Hiding Inside the Greatest Country in the World by Corey Taylor – His rants are usually fun. These were not.

Book I Dustbunnied

Space Opera by Catherynne Valente. I know some people liked this one. I felt like she was trying to be Douglass Adams and failing spectacularly.

Number of books read: 101

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 31860. I did the math and that averages to 87.2  pages a day. Once again, I think I can do better.



A Look at Tater’s 2018

Looking back over my 2018 photos(the only way this old guy can remember a lot of the year) I was reminded that this was a year of big events and changes for the Tater family. This year they were all positive events. Let’s look back.

January/February – I never do much in the winter months. We come back from Kentucky and hope for snow days to relax. In January I chaperoned my daughter’s last youth group trip and possibly the last youth event I will ever chaperone. February I turned 49 and did my normal tour of free food I get from restaurants. Not much else happened that I can recall.

In March we finally got our snow. Unfortunately, it happened right when I was supposed to head to Philadelphia for the Public Library Association Conference. I was able to switch my train ticket to the night before I was supposed to leave and get my hotel for an extra night and I beat the storm there. We finally got our snow day while I was away at the conference. I got a good shot of the convention center in the snow.


The spring had some big events. I presented at the Maryland Library Association Conference early in May. The rest of the month had two major events. My daughter’s senior prom and high school graduation and inching closer to an empty nest.

Her graduation gift was a trip to England and Paris. We went to London, Oxford, Bath, and Dover in England and then headed to Paris for a couple of days. It was the first trip in a while with all four of us. It was nice to be together as a family again. It was a good trip.

In July. my wife’s annual conference was in India and I once again tagged along. I’m glad I went and experienced India, but it was one of my least favorite trips for the conference. There was not much to do around the hotel, not much assistance from the hosts and India tried to kill me with a stomach issue and a tree attacking me and cutting my arm. I was really happy to get back to the US this time.


August marked the beginning of our empty nest when our daughter moved into her dorm. After that big event, the rest of the fall was uneventful. I spent a lot of time at home alone and didn’t do anything exciting. The closest to exciting I got in the fall was volunteering where my son is an intern helping them get deer off the property. We didn’t travel for Thanksgiving. I went to some Ravens games. Nothing really to talk about at all.

This month we met the kids in DC to go to Zoo Lights and then go to dinner. It was nice to do something Christmasy where the kids could easily take Metro to meet us. We should do more DC stuff.


This past week was another big milestone for the Tater family. My son graduated from college on Wednesday. That went by really fast.

My year was full of big events with some lulls in between, but it was a good year. 2019 should have fewer big events. I hope it is a good one.

My 2018 in Blogging(So Far)

I decided to go ahead and post a Year in Blogging review tonight, mainly because I have nothing else I want to write about at the moment. I’ve had a pretty good year for me. It wold probably not be that impressive for other bloggers. Here are the details.

I have 7621 views from 4116 visitors. This has resulted in 2280 likes and 798 comments.

Most of my views come from WordPress Reader and Facebook with Twitter and The Bloggess also each resulting in triple digit views.

5415 views are from the US, 656 from the UK., 418 from India and 367 from Canada. Those are the only ones with above triple digits. There are a lot of random countries represented. I’m sure all of them were disappointed when they got here.

The following search terms were recorded as bringing people here:

friends boring strangers

hangover movie memes
the tater family bad influence
alan meme
read before commenting
 and then “unknown search terms”
My top five posts were as follows:
My Philly Adventure with 134 views
Exploring Career Options with 109 views
A Short Rant with 92 views
So, that’s my boring look at the numbers behind my year in blogging. Almost 2000 more views than last year. Maybe next year I can get close to 10,000.

My Year in Reading 2017

This is the year I finally got lazy and stopped keeping my written list of the books I read. I might try to go back to it this year. You never know when Goodreads might disappear. All of the stats are from Goodreads. My top book are the ones I gave five stars and then the four star books I felt were the best of the rest.  I started the year with a 1000 page book and ended the year with a 700 page book.This year will be an easier start for me. So, here it is – my year in reading for 2017:

Top ten books read in no particular order

  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill
  • Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  • Revolver by Duane Swierczynski
  • Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick(I might have a crush and it was audio so she read it to me)
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Honorable Mention

  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King
  • The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor
  • IQ by Joe Ide
  • Spoiler Alert by Michael Ausiello
  • Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Book I would most recommend

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. It was close between this, Impossible Fortress and The Hate U Give

Worst Books I Finished

  • Who Is Rich by Matthew Klam
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera(though a teenager implied I was too old to get it)

Book I Dustbunnied

None this year. I finished History is All You Left me because it was for work. I’m not sure why I kept reading Who is Rich. I need to be better about abandoning bad books.

Number of books read: 104

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 30869. I did the math and that averages to 84.5 pages a day. I think I can do better.


Tater’s 2017

The first part of these posts is always hard because I can never remember what I did at the beginning of the year. I should start keeping note. I do think, though, that part  of it is that we really don’t do much in winter – that or I’m old and forgetful. Maybe both.

I can recall two things from January/February 2017 – I chaperoned a youth group weekend trip to a conference in Ocean City and I did my free food tour for my birthday. The conference was fun, but I can’t help comparing it to when I used to work regularly with a youth group.  In the olden days youth events were easy for me because I knew most of the kids and their families. I was a regular presence in their lives. Now, I’m just a random dad who pops up on occasion as a chaperone. I don’t know the kids. It makes a big difference. The free food tour is just me going to all of the places that give me free food for my birthday because I signed up for their email list or rewards program.

March 2017 had two major events – my daughter turned 17 and we held my Human Library event at the library. The Human Library is an event where people come to the library, but people are the books. We had people from a wide variety of backgrounds who acted as books. The customers could “check out” a book and have a conversation with them about their experiences. It was well received and we are planning another one for this coming March.

April/May – I went to see Bowling for Soup in concert again. I went alone because I have no friends. You should feel sorry for me here. It was once again a great show and I will be back the next time they come to town. In May I was once again the emcee for the library’s professional development day. I really don’t understand why they keep asking me to do it. There has to be multiple better choices. I also attended the Maryland Library Association Conference in May. It was at a swanky hotel in Cambridge this year so I booked an extra night and my wife met me for the weekend to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It rained most of the time I was there.  I also bought a new car around this time so I could give my daughter the old one. I make sacrifices like this all the time.

Summer was eventful. My daughter got her driver’s license and her first job. We went on college tours in the midwest, spent some time in St Louis(where we got the greatest family photo ever) and then spent time with family in Kentucky. While I was there I also attended my 30 year  high school reunion. I still don’t understand how everyone else got old and I’m still young and handsome. It is a mystery.

We had a fall full of travel. My wife had a conference in Manila, so we tagged along. You can read more about that here.img_2616


In November we went to New York City. I love the city and I was happy to have time to walk around and enjoy the sites, but the main reason we went was to see Hamilton. I had purchased the tickets way back in March. It was a long wait to finally get to go, but it was so worth it. My son went with us and said that he might want to go see more shows now after seeing it. It was phenomenal. We also stopped at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken on the way out of town. You can read more about the trip here.

So far in December the most exciting thing to happen is that my daughter received her first college acceptance letter. We are one step closer to an empty nest. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

If anything exciting happens over my Christmas vacation I will be sure to post about it. I’m sure you are all so relieved to have that news.

All in all 2017 was a good year. It was much better than 2016. 2016 sucked and the worst part of 2017 was dealing with the depression caused by 2016. Did I mention 2016 sucked? It did. A lot.

My Year in Blogging

I’ve decided to start my yearly wrap up posts early this year. If I can remember what I did this year, I will do my personal year in review this week as well. Sometime around New Year’s Day I will do my year in reading post. This is a nice lazy “post my blog stats and top posts” blog post.

According to WordPress I have 5,582 views, 3,190 visitors, 914 likes and 403 comments in 2017. I know these numbers are very small for the more popular bloggers, but for a sad little blog like mine it is pretty darn good. Y’all need to work harder to get those numbers up next year. I trust you can do it if you try hard enough.

The majority of my views have come from the USA(4575) but Canada, United Kingdom. and India came in in triple digits this year. Good job other countries!

People found me with the following search terms –

  • survivor debbies delusions
  • debbie survivor delusional
  • being awkward is cool washington post
  • tater
  • i don’t believe in guilty pleasures
  • washington post date lab
  • clean and sober i’m just a little bit smarter and a hole lot older
  • world thoughts lyrics
  • tater brackets

The top referrers to my blog were Facebook, WordPress Reader, The Bloggess and Twitter

My most read post was On Marches and Life with 101 views.

There you have it. My year in blogging. I thought about posting my top 5 read posts, but that seemed too much like a desperate attempt at more clicks.



Tater’s 2016 In Review

I don’t know anyone who thinks 2016 was a great year. Multiple popular celebrities have died. Half the country is angry and scared about an angry, giant cheeto running our country. The other half of the country is happy, but angry at people like me calling the president elect an angry, giant cheeto. The country seems even more divided than ever and it doesn’t seem like it will be better any time soon. But, this post is about none of this. This post is a self centered look at my personal 2016.

While considering this post I realized I don’t really remember much about the early part of 2016. This isn’t too surprising since I tend to hibernate as much as possible in the winter. I can remember two events from the winter. My son went skiing and fractured his shoulder, but didn’t realize it was that serious for a month and we had a storm that gave us over 30 inches of snow. I do enjoy the peaceful, snowed in days but I don’t know if I can deal with the shoveling or the walking around in snow drifts for clear vents again. I’m too old for that. I do enjoy being trapped at home. I’m still looking for that job that will allow me to never leave the house.snow

Spring was highlighted by my daughter turning 16. I’m not sure how I got old enough for my little girl to be 16 but here we are only a year and a half away from an empty nest. That is a little depressing.I think this is also around the time my son got his job doing animal classes for a non-profit, but I’m not really sure of the timing  At work I did my after hours recess event which was relatively successful and I hosted one of my favorite writers, Drew Magary. This also happened to be my 24th anniversary, but for some reason my wife didn’t want to come to the Drew event with me. How rude.

Summer started with my son turning 20. That seems even more unlikely than my daughter being 16. How is he not a teenager? Weird. We did our annual trip to Kentucky to visit family. It was a fun trip as always highlighted by fun with arrows.

The first picture is when an arrow was stuck in a tree and we were all looking up trying to find it Before we were done we had a football and a kickball stuck in the tree. The second picture is me doing the arrow thing the proper way. Our next family vacation was out west to California where we spent several days at Lake Tahoe, a day at Yosemite and a couple of days in San Francisco. The entire trip was great, but the highlight for me was going to Alcatrazalcatraz

I’m hoping we get one more vacation together as a family before we are faced with my son going off on his own adventures.

The summer ended on a somber note when I got the news that they were ending my mom’s cancer treatments and hospice was being called in.

My fall was in the shadow if this news. I went home a couple of times to visit. I face timed my kids from there so they could talk to her. The times I was not there I spent dreading the possibility of the phone call telling me she was gone. That call came early in the morning of October 16. It was time for another trip home to Kentucky, this time to say goodbye. The rest of my year has been done in a state of sadness and depression. It has been very difficult. To make the fall even more stressful, a little over a month after the funeral I accepted a new job within the library system. I left the branch where I had worked for 15 years to become the assistant manager of a different branch. I know in the long term this move was best for me, but the timing was very bad. A major life change after a devastating loss is not an optimal life choice. It has been a little stressful.

We ended the year with our annual trip home to spend Christmas with family. It was weird to be home and not get up every morning to drive to my mom’s house for the day. We filled the time doing fun stuff with my brother and his family. 3D, blacklight mini golf, ice skating, Catchphrase, etc, but I would have gladly given up all of that to be sitting with my mom watching the Game Show Network. The actual end of the year was spent back home watching Mariah Carey’s disastrous performance on New Year’s Rockin Eve

Here’s hoping 2017 is filled with more fun and less sadness.