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Amy’s Top 10 Books of 2023

“A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.” – Franz Kafka

I love this quote and the imagery it conjures up. I especially love the idea that a book has the power to crack open something frozen or hidden within us. My ten favorite reads this year were such axes. Each book opened me up in a variety of ways, whether the story took me out of my comfort zone, helped me explore another culture or an ambiguous moral dilemma or simply made me laugh. Click here for the list and enjoy!

Also, you can support local booksellers and shops by visiting my bookshop here to purchase any of my top 10s from this year. I’ll continue to add all of my top 10s from previous years to my shop!

Amy’s Top 10 Books of 2021

Resilience, love conquering all, secrets revealed, Russian dancers, identity crises, internal and external battles — you’ll find all of this and more in my 2021 Top 10 book list. This year’s crop of books was so strong that it was tough to choose 10 winners out of the 34 I read. At one point, I had four contenders for the Number One spot. Read on to see which books rose to the top of the heap on my nightstand. As always, let me know what you read and loved this year so I can add it to my reading list.

Top 10 Books of 2019

Wow. It’s been 20 years and counting that I’ve kept this little tradition alive. It started on a whim because so many friends asked me for book recommendations throughout the year. It started at a time when I mailed out paper copies of the list along with our holiday cards because that was the only mechanism for delivery. The internet and email were still in their infancy and e-books and Kindles weren’t even a thing yet. A few years later, I transitioned the list to email but keeping the distribution list current proved more complicated than posting on this mostly-dormant blog. The blessings of technology and social media. I love looking back on the books I’ve read each year and love sharing my favorites with you. This year’s Top 10 List is available here. Share and forward to fellow book lovers as much as you’d like. May 2020 and the new decade bring you peace, joy, good reading and plenty of wonderful stories of your own to share!

Top 10 Books of 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That time when I gather up all the books I’ve read, decide which ones I loved the most and then share my top 10 with you, dearest readers and friends. You can find the 2018 list here. And most of my lists from previous years here.

The year I started this tradition remains a mystery but I’m pretty certain I’m closing in on the 20th anniversary of the list.

If you’ve been part of this tradition for awhile, you know that my list begins with a wrap-up of our year. Feel free to skip by that little bit of history and head right to the list so you can compare your faves with mine. As always, let me know what you’re reading so I can add to my own pile on the nightstand . . . and  coffee table . . . and bathroom . . . and office . . . and backpack . . . and any other flat surface that appears in need of a book.

Happy reading!

Resolutely Adhering to Our Resolutions

This is Seamus and Macy Purcell reporting live from Northside where we are now one week into the new year. We’re pleased to report that we have yet to fall off the proverbial resolution wagon because we resolved to simply continue the behaviors that we have already mastered. Like, we’re really smart, beyond stable geniuses here.

“Change schmange,” says Macy. “It’s overrated. This old dog doesn’t need to learn any new tricks.”

Our deep investigation into the tradition of setting resolutions at the beginning of the new year uncovered that it’s best to aim low so here are the resolutions we have kept for seven days straight and resolve to continue for the next 358 days and beyond.

This nose for news will continue to bring you the latest and greatest from Northside and the world at large. Not to mention, my followers can’t get enough of my freckles. I predict freckles are the new black for 2018.

The Aussies of Northside are firm believers in twelve or more hours of sleep per day. Macy resolves to find the absolute best down-facing dog sleeping position to maximize comfort. Lying in the middle of the floor with front paws crossed and extended so that mom and dad have to walk around her seems to be the winning pose.

Speaking of comfort, I will continue to maximize my sofa time, including curating new pillow constructions to accommodate my needs. This also includes rearranging mom and dad as needed when they’re in my favorite spots. As an Aussie, it’s my duty to herd everyone into the right place.

Macy will continue embracing her gray and will be accessorizing with anything pink, including the bridge of her nose. The Aussies of Northside believe this is a very chic, very Paris kind of look.

In 2017, I worked hard on perfecting my “I’m starving and pathetic and really serious about needing a scrap of whatever it is you’re cooking up here” face. This year, I’ll be bringing a more serious, less cute expression because begging is serious business.

Macy will continue her quest for perfect hygiene by cleaning my ears. Sometimes she forgets I have an appointment so I just sit really close to her and nudge her until she remembers. Macy also resolves to keep her paws pristinely manicured, a healthy habit she’s kept up since she was a pup. How she does it remains a mystery but I intend to investigate her birth records to see if she’s half cat.

I am resolute in continuing my ongoing observations of The Dyson Beasts’s activities when he escapes from the closet. I will, of course, observe from a very safe distance and always with a ball in my mouth in case I need to use it as a weapon against this loud and nefarious character.

While I have no intention of getting into the clearing craze, I am assessing the condition of all of my rope toys to determine which ones are worthy of remaining in my vast collection. In order to do so, I absolutely must have all ropes out on the floor at all times for random inspection.

Reporting live from this super comfy faux fur blanket Aunt Mary brought just for me, this is Seamus and Macy Purcell hoping your resolutions have gone well this week. If it’s Sunday, it’s meet the press.







Welcome To My New Site

My old site was woefully outdated, so here’s a fresh start. Look for more updates soon.

My most recent good news is having “This is an Exercise in Detachment” selected by Roxanne Gay for The Masters Review’s Best Emerging Writers anthology. An alternate version of the story won the 2017 Bosque Fiction Prize. You can find the story here at Lithub.