Hello! How is your weekend going? I am sitting down with a big mug of coffee to write this and then I need to finish editing a wedding because we are leaving for MAINE tomorrow!!
Currently Loving…Audiobooks at Work!
During my heavy editing season audiobooks get me through the long hours of sitting at the computer. My work is heavily creative so I am able to listen while I work which is amazing! Speaking of audiobooks, I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had this past week which I alternated reading and listening too. I shared more over on Instagram but I think it might be my favorite book ever!
I also decided to go the Audible route to help finish Red, White & Royal Blue and it is amazing on audio. I am hoping to finish it today. Have you read this yet? It has had some raving reviews and I can see why.
Wireless Headphones for the Win!
I had a lot of DMs about which headphones I have after I posted about them HERE.
I have the Tao Tronic wireless headphones. I got them last year after reading a lot of reviews and not being sure if I wanted to make a huge financial commitment. These are currently on sale for $39 and are awesome! I strongly dislike earbuds(and I can’t get them to stay in my ears) and I don’t care about whether I look cool or not, so they are great!
They have many uses which include listening to audiobooks and tuning out your noisy family. I also wear them at work when I am listening to a true-crime podcast because Kristy is afraid of them, ha! I also love wearing them around the house when I am vacuuming or putting away laundry…it makes the time fly by! I also love that I can listen to something without having my phone right next to me because I get less distracted by it that way.
This last week has been a lot of tying up loose ends and finished all our work projects before we took a few days off. Summer in Vermont is short but intense and that means photography work here is similar. During the summer we are in a constant cycle of editing, lots of backend communication and sending out galleries and prints, etc. This does not even include all the work Kristy does to take the photos!
I am lucky to work with someone who is so organized because it is a lot to manage. Kristy recently set up whiteboards that look similar to the patient boards they have at hospital nursing stations, and it is fabulous!
Childcare in August…
The last couple of weeks before school usually mean that summer activities have ended and beloved babysitters have headed back to college! This means we did a lot of working with kids this week which is always a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
They were at home with me, at work with Lucas, spent some time with grandparents and also came to work with us at Kristy’s. Flynn’s mismatched shoes are a good representation of this past week inside my head, ha!
While I haven’t been going as regularly, barre is essential to my mental well being so I have been prioritizing that as much as possible. During the school year I go on my way to work but these days I go whenever I can get there, early morning, midday or afternoon classes.
This is probably good for me as I am a very routined person and it has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit. I have met some new barre buddies which is always the best! I still freak out if I can’t go in my specific spot in the room though…baby steps!
Fitting in Reading:
I bring my kindle along with me during the day and read when I can but most of my reading during the summer happens in the evening. During the school year, I have a lot more chunks of alone time in between meetings, appointments and dropping off and picking up the kids. This time of the year, I AM NEVER ALONE, ha.
Speaking of kids and reading, I get a lot of questions about how we get our kids to love reading. I am not an expert by any means but my love of reading came from being read to as a child and always having access to books.
I vividly remember riding my bike to the library and picking out whatever books I wanted to read…and then trying to figure out how to ride home while carrying them out without the foresight to bring a bag, ha!
So we have always read with our kids and had a lot of books around. We also try to be open-minded about what they want to read, even when the are into super annoying books like Pokemon, Lego and graphic novels like Dog Man and Hi-Lo. I know people have strong feelings about this but I a big believer in the idea that reading is reading even if some of it might not be “ideal”.
We try to enforce at least 20 minutes of reading time a day whether it is on their own or with us. This has been a bit lax during the last couple of months but during the school year, it is a before bedtime requirement.
I had big plans to do a whole post about book suggestions that our kids love last spring and I never got around to it. I have big plans for September and I plan on sharing a more detailed post then!
Vermont Summer Living…
We have been embracing all the wonderful parts of this time of year while also looking forward to school starting again so we can get some of our regular structure back. Summer is great and school is too!
Addison County Fair & Field Days!
Speaking of embracing the wonderful parts of this year, I never posted about our trip to the fair! We visited the Addison County Fair last week which has been one of my summer traditions since I was a toddler myself. I love reminiscing about all my memories there while also seeing how much our kids love it. Lucas grew up in the big city of Burlington so he is still unsure about it all but I think it is growing on him. 😉
We planned accordingly so we could attend the Demotion Derby. We also had lots of fair food including fried Oreos. It was a pretty rainy week but this night ended up being just beautiful.
End of Summer Reading:
We have been soaking in all in and I have big reading planning to finish off our summer vacation. I am a last-minute packer but I have been thinking about what books I want to bring to Maine for weeks!! I think I have narrowed it down and I will keep you updated over at @genthebookworm.
I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend! <3
2019 has been a great reading so far, considering how many favorites I had just during the first half of it! I am excited to see what ends up being on my top reads at the end of December if any of these fall reads make their way to the list.
“For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author of Ordinary Grace.
1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.
Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an enthralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.”
“An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.
Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson’s extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.”
“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…
Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.
During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.
Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.”
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.
Be careful who you let in.
Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.
She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.
Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.
In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.”
“Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise…
A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a plane crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.
Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -and death – of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives and their futures.
Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.”
“A daughter’s tale of living in the thrall of her magnetic, complicated mother, and the chilling consequences of her complicity.
On a hot July night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.
Wild Game is a brilliant, timeless memoir about how the people close to us can break our hearts simply because they have access to them, and the lies we tell in order to justify the choices we make. It’s a remarkable story of resilience, a reminder that we need not be the parents our parents were to us.”
“Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, David and Goliath, and What the Dog Saw, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers—and why they often go wrong.
How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true?
Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland—throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his #1 bestseller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.”
“Hannah Beckerman pens a life-affirming novel that tells the story of a family divided and the secret that can possibly unite them—a must for fans of This Is Us.
“I loved it (even though it made me cry).”—Jojo Moyes
A secret between two sisters.
A lifetime of lies unraveling.
Can one broken family find their way back to each other?
Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.
If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all.
Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?”
“New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers.
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.
Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.”
“The characters in Happy Like This are smart girls and professional women—social scientists, linguists, speech therapists, plant physiologists, dancers—who search for happiness in roles and relationships that are often unscripted or unconventional.
In the midst of their ambivalence about marriage, monogamy, and motherhood and their struggles to accept and love their bodies, they look to other women for solidarity, stability, and validation. Sometimes they find it; sometimes they don’t.
Spanning a wide range of distinct perspectives, voices, styles, and settings, the ten shimmering stories in Happy Like This offer deeply felt, often humorous meditations on the complexity of choice and the ambiguity of happiness.”
“A revolutionary, real-world solution to the problem of unpaid, invisible work that women have shouldered for too long–from a woman tapped by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine as the expert on this topic for a new generation of women.
It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “shefault” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family — and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was… underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.
The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a figurative card game you play with your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.
“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — as in, the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.”
Non-Fiction, Women in History, Adoption & True Crime
“The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach
From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.
The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.
Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.”
I hope this list gives you some new reading inspiration. I would also love to hear what is on your fall reading list!
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Yesterday I shared my book review for You’ve Been Volunteered, the newest book release by author Laurie Gelman. If you missed it you can see it HERE. Today I am excited to share my stop on the Blog Tour with a Q&A with Laurie Gelman herself!
There is something so special about getting to know the person behind the writing and not only did I have the chance to learn more about Gelman but I was able to ask the questions!
Laurie Gelman is a New York City-based writer and mother of two who spent 25 years as a broadcaster in both Canada and the US – including stints on Good Morning America, The Early Show on CBS, and The Mom Show – before trying her hand at writing novels. Her first book, Class Momgarnered rave reviews from several places including The New York Times, People magazine, and Good Housekeeping, and it was just included in Parade’s list of books Mom will love. Gelman’s writing has been compared to Lauren Weisberger’s, Maria Semple’s and Sophie Kinsella’s.
And on to the Questions and Answers!
Q: As a parent, is there a character you relate with most in your fiction books?
A: I guess I would have to say that I identify with Jen the most because she is my protagonist, but I think there is a little of me in all the characters…even Shirleen! Most people can identify with Jen and her quest to try to be a better person…even if she doesn’t quite get there.
Q: What were your highs and lows of having elementary-aged children?
A: You know, as you’re living through those years there seems to always be something going on at school – some project to be helped with, a stack of flashcards to go over and a birthday party to get ready for. And there are highs and lows in all those things. But if I had to pick one of each I’d say the high was watching my child present something in front of the class for the first time and the low was being told at 9PM at night that she needed a pilgrim costume for the next morning. Thank goodness for Google!
Q: How has humor helped you navigate the rollercoaster ride of parenting?
A: Well, I think it’s a defense mechanism against bursting into tears every five seconds. Anything involving your kids and OPC’s (other people’s children!) is always a minefield of emotion. If you can see the funny side of things, you can avoid a lot of explosions. But if you’re alone in finding things funny, well then I guess you write a book about it!
Thank you so much for sharing, Laurie!
In celebration of the release of You’ve Been Volunteered, I am partnering with Henry Holt & Co. to offer ONE reader a giveaway of YOU’VEBEENVOLUNTEERED, Class Mom, a fabulous “Ron’s Gym and Tan” T-shirt, and the chance for Laurie Gelman to Skype into your giveaway winner’s book club. How awesome is that?! And just in time for back to school season…
4. For an extra TWO votes please like and follow along on my Gen The Bookworm Facebook Page… My last giveaway winner did this so it is totally worth it! 😉
The winner will be selected on Sunday, August 18th at 8:00 EST. This giveaway is limited to US Residents only due to shipping. The books and bag will be shipped directly from Henry Holt & Co. so the winner will need to be willing to share their address with both me and the publisher. This giveaway is not associated with Instagram or Facebook.