A Year In Review

Happy New Year!

Although it is almost a month into 2014, a review of 2013 cannot be overlooked. Last year was a big one for Sitting in the Stacks and for me. Sitting in the Stacks received a make-over, introducing a new blog that reflected all of my interests. Books remained a key focus of Sitting in the Stacks, but religion, current events, creative writing, and personal reflections breathed new life into the all new design.

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A couple of events took place not long after the inaugural post of Sitting in the Stacks that brought new readers and offered content for two of the added categories — religion and current events. The first event that Sitting in the Stacks reported on was the election of a new Roman Catholic pope. As Pope Benedict XVI went into retirementSitting in the Stacks covered the papal conclave of 2013. On March 13, 2013, the new pope was announced and the world was introduced to Pope Francis I. Pope Francis I has proved to be a popular pope so far, gracing the screens and pages of the media. He was even voted “best dressed” by Esquire Magazine. Thanks to the readers, the election of Pope Francis I marked a milestone for Sitting in the Stacks.

Sitting in the Stacks reached 27 followers only two months after its re-opening! The day of the announcement of the new pope, Sitting in the Stacks had 52 visitors, which remains among the largest amount of traffic this blog has seen in one day. Readers came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Namibia, Spain, the Republic of South Korea, and Hungary.  Today there are 54 followers of Sitting in the Stacks and I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of them.

Source: Wiki Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thank_you_001.jpg
Source: Wiki Commons
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thank_you_001.jpg

The second event that brought readers to the new and improved Sitting in the Stacks was the national debate on civil unionsSitting in the Stacks strived to provide information for its readers as the United States Supreme Court began hearing arguments about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). On June 26, 2013 the Court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA, which described marriage as between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional. This ruling marked a landmark decision for same-sex marriage.

The election of Pope Francis I and the Supreme Court case about DOMA provided Sitting in the Stacks with lots of traffic in the beginning of the year. However, the posts on these subjects were not the most popular in 2013. They made the top 10, but not the top two. According to data tracked from Jan. 15, 2013 to Jan. 15, 2014, the top 10 posts determined by amount of traffic were

10. “FYI: Beltane – A Pagan Celebration” from May 1, 2013 with 27 views
9. “And We’re Back! The Grand Opening of Sitting in the Stacks 2.0!” from Jan. 31, 2013 with 29 views
8. “Book Trauma” from May 7, 2013 with 31 views
7. “The ‘Terrible Awful’ Truth About The Help” from Jan. 10, 2012  AND “I’m Going M.I.A.” from March 20, 2013  with 34 views
6. “To Be Or Not To Be”: My Take On The Choice To Be “Spiritual, But Not Religious” from Feb. 20, 2013 with 46 views
5. “Thank You” from March 13, 2013 with 47 views
4. “FYI: Pope Francis I – Who is he?” from March 13, 2013 with 52 views
3. “FYI: Civil Unions and Same Sex Marriage” from March 26, 2013 with 70 views
2. “Save the Dolls: Why Historical American Girl Dolls Are Invaluable” from April 26, 2013 with 78 views

And the #1 post for the past year was….

1. “Comedy or Tragedy: A Confederacy of Dunces” from May 20, 2103 with 135 views

That list just shows that books are still the heart of Sitting in the Stacks.

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At the beginning of this post I mentioned it was a big year for me personally. It was the end of a rollercoaster year that began in the Fall of 2012! The year 2013 started with me being out of school for the first time in my life in a new city with a new job. Needless to say – I was scared! I will not say that everything went smoothly or that I did not doubt my decision to drop out of graduate school, but looking back I can confidently say the choices I made were good ones.

My job educated me about the world of interfaith relations and when I say the “world” I literally mean the globe. I met some great people, gained useful experience, and made a connection with an organization I hope to maintain. However, there was more than work in my life. There was Sitting in the Stacks!

Writing for Sitting in the Stacks allowed me to pursue a dream I was not sure would come true — publication. In May 2013, I had my first published article! It was a remarkable feeling and one I hope to experience again. This achievement came on the heels of a major decision to return to graduate school. That April I chose to once again dive into the scholastic world. For those of you who stuck out the long silences and still visit Sitting in the Stacks, you know it is an endeavor that has taken me away from this site. I know I have promised posts that have never been written, particularly an article about my interview with artist Indira Johnson, and I know there have been no posts at all! However, after the rollercoaster of 2012-2013, I am enjoying 2014. Graduate school occupies all my time not because it is a lot of work (which it is) or because I’m procrastinating all the time, but because I am loving where I am. Since returning to school I have learned more about religion and politics in the U.S., started to realize the meaning of being an adult, begun seriously considering what I will do with my education, and met fantastic people I can call friends!

Some of you may be asking what does this all mean for Sitting in the Stacks. My answer, I do not know. I cannot promise that I will post once a week or even once a month. What I do know is that I have ignored Sitting in the Stacks. I can promise to try to write more. This promise of effort is not altruistic. I need to write more! I love to write and it is important to flex my non-academic writing skills. So, here is my New Year’s resolution: I will try to write more.

If I find an interesting news article, I will try to share it. When I finish a particularly good book for class (I read about 3 books a week for school), I will try to review it. If I enjoy a movie or a TV show, I will try to post about it. If something is really nagging at me about life, I will try to reflect on it. I promise to try!

In the meantime, I must go back to reading Moral Man and Immoral SocietyProcess and Reality, articles about the literary and historical context of the New Testament, and multiple texts on the Christian Right. I do have a few articles to suggest you read. These are articles that I came across that I find to be particularly compelling.

1. An article connecting the ruling on DOMA to a same-sex marriage case in Oklahoma

2. This is a series of articles discussing the musical “Book of Mormon” and responses by the Church of Latter Day Saints
“LDS Church responds to the Book of Mormon musical in Cincinnati”
“For this Mormon, the book is a mission, not a musical”
“LDS Church buys ad space in ‘Book of Mormon’ musical playbill”

3. This article speaks to me on a personal level and educated me about the world I live in — academia. I will probably try to write a reflection on this article, but I am still processing.
“In the Name of Love”

Oh – and don’t forget to check-out A Lensview of the World. This photo site gets updated more often as it takes less time to post a picture than an article.

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