Monday, August 23, 2021

August RWLB

 Here we are again! I remembered this recurring post! Yay for me! Yay for you!


Reading

I'm 50% through two very good books right now. 


I started Empire of Pain a while ago and I am riveted every time I pick it up. It's dense though, and a little depressing--like, how did we let this happen??? I should finish it up in the next two weeks but we'll see. This one requires lighter reads sprinkled in now and then so it may take me a little longer. I'm in no rush.



The other book I'm currently reading is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I read this before bed each night and it is fun! There are definitely some creepy vibes and few scenes I needed to read in the safety of daylight, but mostly it's thought-provoking and plot-driven in the best way. It's nearly 900 pages so I didn't expect it to be a quick read, but still, I'd love to finish by the first week of September so I can move on to King's new release that's getting a lot of love from people I follow on the internet, Billy Summers.



Watching

Ummm...Ted Lasso came back so I'm watching that of course! This show is so good. If you haven't seen it yet, you have to stop reading right now and go watch the first two episodes. You'll fall completely in love and then come back here and leave a comment about how great Ted and Coach Beard are.  


And...because I'm basic and follow all the trends...I finally got caught up on Mare of Easttown. This show on HBO is veeeeeeeeery dark. There was an episode that was so hard to watch I nearly gave it up. I'm glad I didn't though. Definitely got Long Bright River vibes throughout the show which is set outside of Philly. Kate Winslet deserves all the awards for her performance which was absolutely gripping. And, Jean Smart was the absolute best mom I've ever seen on TV. Wow.



Listening to


We went on vacation a few weeks ago and I blasted Sublime in my AirPods while my kids played in the ocean. Is there any better music to listen to on the beach? I think not. 

i took this while listening to 'what i got'


My book podcasts keep me afloat during stressful times and coming home jet-lagged to headlines that made me sick and having a mountain of laundry to face, I knew I need the soothing voices and book talk that I find in my usual selection of podcasts. I'm a huge fan of Currently Reading and of course all things Anne Bogel, but last week I discovered, Book Talk, etc. So good when you need an hour of bookish escape but can't focus on an audiobook. 




Buying

I took my kids back to school shopping today and bought myself an outfit too. I've never done this before but after this summer, after this year, I'm celebrating each new season in whatever way I can! I got the cutest pair of pants at anthropologie and I have to share them with you:


Of course, my kids were making jokes about how they could have easily made these pants for me and saved me a little money. Maybe next time...


I've recently taken up cross-stitching at night while we watch tv. I'm an even slower stitcher than I am a reader, but I love it. It's relaxing and so fun to see the pattern emerge (albeit slowly). I bought the Caterpillar cross-stitch winter stitch along to give me a project that I will hopefully complete by winter. I love seasonally-themed crafts and this is one I can frame when I'm done. Plus, it's Nutcracker-themed!


So that completes another month of RWLB. Leave a comment with what you've been reading, watching, listening to, and/or buying this month. I'd love to know! 



Friday, August 20, 2021

Reading is FUN...right???? 😬

I love literary fiction as much as the next person...maybe even more. But sometimes those kinds of books can be heavy and depressing. When real life also feels heavy and depressing picking up a novel like that seems impossible. 


And then I know what my reading life needs is a little fun.

maybe I just need a pink unicorn pillow to make my reading life more fun


As August is coming to a close, with the headlines being so horrible and scary, I find myself needing books that don't add to the weight I'm already feeling. What I need is a little levity and I find that in books.


When I'm looking for books that are fun I often gravitate towards thrillers and mysteries that sweep me up in intricate plots, books that have propulsive force driving me to turn another page. Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books are fun for me, even though they often describe a gristly murder. I'm totally in love with Three Pines and the character development through the series makes these books obvious picks when I need shelter from the world: I'm going to a familiar place filled with people I have seen grow and change across 16 books. Bonus points for descriptions of croissants, wine, and coffee.



I'm currently having a great time reading 11/22/63 which is more mysterious than thriller-ish. Who Is Maud Dixon? also scratched this itch earlier this summer. And Maud Dixon gets bonus points for short chapters. 


Another genre I reach for when I need to lighten up my reading is books that are like soap operas. I was a big All My Children fan back in the day and reading stories with hyperbolic drama keeps my attention when I feel distracted. 


I read Olympus, Texas this month and Stacey Swann managed to keep me thinking about her characters even after I had closed the book. Instead of scrolling through social media and seeing hot takes and non-expert expert opinions, I went to bookstagram to read and comment on posts about this great novel because I needed someone to discuss it with.


        "Could you believe Arlo??"

        "I know! And what about Hap?????"


The Fortunate Ones was like this for me too. 


twisty, turny plots + controversial decision making = me racing to the last page


i literally gasped at a certain plot point, totally blindsided me


A genre that I'm just recently exploring for fun books is romance. I'm a pretty PG-13 reader so I prefer closed-door romances (where most of the action takes place behind a closed door). But, as a 90's rom-com lover, I appreciate the humor and fun of a good love story that doesn't take itself too seriously. 


I read The People We Meet on Vacation on vacation and it was delightful. I haven't read Beach Read (by the same author), but it's on my TBR and my actual bookshelf. Things You Save in a Fire was a perfect palate cleanser this spring when I needed a story that would make me forget my virtual school woes. 


palm trees sold seperately

I also have to include PG Wodehouse. His books are slapstick and laugh-out-loud funny. When I'm really struggling, I grab a Wodehouse book and feel markedly better by page 50. 



Fun reading is a crucial part of consistent reading for me. It gives me the break I need from the heaviness of literary fiction and life. It helps me approach reading with the same love I had when checking out Babysitter's Club and Beverly Cleary books. And, the authors who are writing these works of fun fiction are GOOD and are doing something magical: giving the reader a little levity and joy, crafting a plot that keeps your attention for a few hours, or scaring the pants off their reader. 

This is the feeling I want in my reading life


These books are just as important as all the prize-winners, classic Literature, and books that make you think deep thoughts. They are all part of a balanced book diet. 

my philosophy on balanced food diets