It’s an exciting day! I mentioned a few weeks ago HERE that I had my very first podcast interview. At the beginning of this month, I chatted with Sarah from Sarah’s Bookshelves Live about all things reading and this morning it went live!
Welcome to another edition of my reading list and book recommendations guest post series. Today I have my first guest poster that is a librarian! While I consider myself a big reader, librarians are on a whole other level of reading awesomeness.
It’s that time of the year when people often are looking for recommendations on what books might be good to gift to a spouse, family member or close friend. I have received so many questions about what I might suggest buying for a husband, partner, boyfriend, dad or brother.
While I don’t like to generalize and everyone is different, I do find that what I like to read isn’t always what many of the male readers I know are interested in. So, if you are looking for some suggestions from some very different genres than I usually talk about here, this post is for you!
My husband Lucas is a big reader but he also reads very different books from me. Last week I asked him if he might like to share what he has read this past year and some of his book recommendations. He was a little reluctant but I am persistent! He put this together the other night and I added the photos and book covers for your viewing pleasure!
Lucas as a Reader
Lucas has been a reader for as long as I have known him (the mid-2000s!). I remember when we were newly dating and I would first spend the night over at his house. I would borrow one of his James Patterson books to read before falling asleep as he always had a stack of them on his nightstand. I didn’t like the books very much, but I did appreciate that he loved reading too!
In 2009 we honeymooned in St. John USVI. Every day we would pack a lunch, drive to a different beach and then read, him in the sun and me in the shade. It was amazing! I am going to let him take over now to share more about himself as a reader…enjoy!
Let me start by saying that by no means am I a literary expert! I didn’t study literature or English in school and read the “classics” only because they were assigned. I do however enjoy reading. I read every night. Some nights it’s just 5-10 pages. Some nights it’s 40-50 pages…though those days are becoming rarer and rarer as our 9:30 PM bedtime sneaks up on us quickly with the kids staying up later now.
In fact, my motivation for sharing is partly (mostly) selfish. Perhaps “Gen the Bookworm “will be happy enough with my contributions to her blog that she’ll put her book down for a while…
Gen hoped that I could provide a different perspective on titles and authors that would be different from her mostly female readers and sharers. While I passed on an official “what’s on your nightstand series” post, Gen thought that perhaps I could provide some ideas for books that could be given to a husband or boyfriend or father as the holidays approach.
Hard Copy Books to a Kindle
Prior to receiving a Kindle as a birthday gift a couple years ago I mostly stuck with the same few authors. I’d wait until Dan Brown or John Grisham or David Baldacci (to name a few) came out with a new book and purchase the hardcover, read it, and then wait until the next book was published by one of my favorite authors. My father and I would trade books back and forth as we both enjoy the same authors.
Once I switched to reading on a Kindle (I was VERY hesitant to use a digital reader and now I read on it almost exclusively) I discovered some wonderful new authors. Utilizing the Libby App also helped me broaden the scope of the authors that I read. Often the wait times on the Libby app are quite long for newer releases by popular authors. In turn, I found that wonderful, entertaining books could be borrowed with no wait times.
It also helped me to read titles from popular authors that are maybe less well known/received. (By the way, the best Dan Brown novel is a NON-Robert Langdon story. While I did enjoy Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, etc., my favorite Dan Brown novel is Deception Point. I’ve read it at least a half a dozen times).
I discovered Vince Flynn recently and am working my way through as many of his titles as I can. Red War,Order to Kill,The Last Man…any of the counter-terrorism operative Mitch Rapp novels are fantastic. And you don’t have to read them in order to follow along. The Mitch Rapp character is a stone-cold bad-ass and I can’t recommend those novels highly enough!
I’ve also enjoyed a couple Robert Crais novels recently. I especially enjoyed L.A. Requiem. The two Crais novels I’ve read center on private investigators Elvis Cole and Joe Pike and both were great reads.
Michael Connelly and Clive Cussler
I’ve read the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly for years. I like some of Clive Cussler’s books…particularly the NUMA Files and Oregon Files novels (Devil’s Gate and Skeleton Coast were good).
Regarding lesser-known titles from popular authors…certainly most folks have either seen or read one of the many Jurassic Park adaptations, but I found Pirate Latitudes to be entertaining. It was kind of cheesy and far-fetched, but it was a perfect vacation read from our recent family trip this fall.
Archer Mayor…also a fellow Vermonter!
The Archer Mayor, Joe Gunther novels are good reads (I read Tag Man most recently and am waiting for my dad to finish his newest novel Bomber’s Moon). And Archer Mayor is from Vermont!
Most of my reading is fiction. The occasional non-fiction titles I read are typically auto-biographies by an athlete or musician that I am fond of, however, after watching Chernobyl on HBO (which I HIGHLY recommend…even though this is a book blog!) I read Voices from Chernobyl.
It was incredibly powerful and moving, and also obviously sad and emotional. It is based on the author’s interviews of over 500 “eyewitnesses” that were involved with the victims, clean-up, medical care of victims, etc in the years following the Chernobyl disaster.
Hello! These posts always are one of my last priorities here, not because I don’t like sharing them, but because they are so random. I do still love that old journal type blog sharing of 10 years ago..but I wonder, does anyone like reading these but me?
Now that I share a lot of book content, I wonder how much I should step outside of that…I love getting to know the person and interest of the Bookstagrammers I follow myself, and because this is my space, I suppose I can post whatever I like…but I do think about that…and if you know me you know I love to overthink things like this! Alright…moving on!
I am my best self first thing in the morning. Over the years I naturally have fallen into waking up early. Now that the kids are older they stay up later and so the early mornings are my sacred quiet time. It’s when I do most of my book blogging, emailing, etc. I work over a big mug (or two) of coffee and my current audiobook, it’s lovely!
Lucas leaves for work early so we have a daily rhythm that works well for this (getting in bed at 8pm for instance, ha). I can hang for a bit if we aren’t home at night but if we are here, I can barely keep my eyes open past 9pm.
A Night Out With Friends!
Speaking of being out past 9pm (I think we got home around 10!) we had a much needed night out the other weekend with some of our favorite friends. This gettogether was a long time coming. With the coordination of everyone’s schedules (and babysitters) finding a date that works for everyone isn’t easy. We finally made it happen and headed down to Middlebury. We had a drink at Two Brothers and then had an amazing dinner at The Arcadian. I hope it isn’t another 4 years until we make it happen again…ha!
I actually really love November, but it can be a hard time with the lack of daylight. I can easily get a little down this time of year with the time change and just the amount of darkness. I know this about myself so I try to be proactive and implement the things I know that help. Getting outside every day, even if it is just to walk to meet the kids at the bus with Buzz is something I really try to prioritize.
Speaking of Buzz, there is nothing he likes more than when he hears the school bus coming up the hill. He likes me a lot, but he LOVES the kids.
There is also some relief with the slowness of November. October is always a hectic month with the kid’s schedules, my work schedule, and all the festivities that month includes. It’s all great stuff but it can get a little exhausting. I am a creature of habit and enjoy the slower pace of “everyday” life. By the end of the month, I am ready for a little break before the pace of the holidays picks up again at Thanksgiving.
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 35th birthday. I have mixed feelings about my own birthday as it has always brought out a bit of sadness for me. I don’t like to have a big celebration about it, but it is fun to use it as an excuse to get your kids to take a selfie with you at school drop off, drink a maple latte, take extra fun photos at Pure Barre and have lunch with your BFF. Lucas picked up a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake which really ended it all perfectly…
We also have another birthday in our family this time of year…our younger son turned 7! He celebrated the day before by having a low key birthday party with three of his friends. It was really more of a playdate with cake but he was thrilled! On his actual birthday, he had his favorite afterschool art class at Owl Feet (Sonja is THE BEST!) and then we went to dinner as a family at his location of choice, Asiana Noodle House…followed by ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.
It has been nice to realize that doing lowkey things can be just as special. The longer we parent, the more we have realized how simplifying things can make life feel a lot more manageable and enjoyable.
Funfetti For All
Speaking of keeping it simple, is there anything better than Funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting?? NO! And even better, my wonderful friend Kari (of the Lucky Clover Bakery!) helped me frost this boxed and not vegan cake…she tried watching me do it but just couldn’t’ handle it…I am no perfectionist, but she is, ha! She’s a good friend…
Sharing Good Books With Friends…
One of my favorite things about reading is sharing books with friends. Sometimes this means doing a book giveaway with a partnering publisher, and other times it means leaving a book on someone’s doorstep on my way to work. Although I love my Kindle so much, I will never stop getting hard copy books for this very reason.
Quiet was available right away on the Libby App (you can learn more about borrowing ebooks from the library through Libby HERE) and so far it is just fascinating! I love the detailed look at introversion as I often think it can be quite understood. I am quite social in many ways but have always fallen into the introvert category and this book really makes me feel understood!
I am especially loving her discussion on how if we can better understand personality types we can work better together in both work and personal relationships. The topic of how introverts can be much more prone to overstimulation makes so much sense and I am finding myself nodding along with so much of it. I am excited to share my full review soon!
I know some people get into decorating for the holidays right now but we always wait until after Thanksgiving. I have been very into organizing and decluttering though! Now that my work season is slowing down a bit at Kristy’s I am working more from home and I have a hard time concentrating if things are a mess. So I have been trying to be proactive and cleaning things out, donating what we don’t need and going shopping in my own house. Do you do that?
I love finding things I have stashed away or was using in another space and finding a new way to use them. I also decided 10 years was a good time to start using the silverware we registered for at our wedding…I had initially thought I would just save them for special occasions, but WHY? We host something like once a year and use our silverware every day…So I decided to take these out of the top cupboard in our kitchen and put them to everyday use, and it feels so good!
I am also way too excited about my new spin mop. I had seen way too many Facebook videos sharing this type of mop and am easily influenced by those things…When I saw it in person I knew it was a sign. So far it’s amazingly satisfying and works so well! I like that the shapes can really get into all the nooks and crannies and it is super easy to use.
I have been using this cleaner for months after seeing it at Kristy’s house way too many times and it is awesome! It cleans so well, doesn’t streak and smells amazing!! It is a concentrate and a little goes a long way so it lasts forever.
We recently put together an organization station on the back of our pantry door in our kitchen. I picked up the whiteboard at Home Goods but found everything else in my home office and repurposed them. The boys are at an age where they are becoming more independent in a lot of ways but we often have the last-minute drama of “where is that folder you need today for school?!?” right as we are leaving. Having this right in the kitchen, but also where it is hidden when you shut the door, is working so well for us so far!
I also have been doing a little decluttering which feels great, but it also means that when I go to drop things off to donate, I come back with some more books. One of my favorite weekend hobbies is roaming around used book sections and finding old books I loved to add to my collection. It is the ultimate treasure hunt and brings back so many reading memories for me.
Photography Workshop Season!
Now that photography season is winded down a bit here in Vermont, our photography workshop season has begun again! We taught our last workshop of 2019 this past weekend and are excited to get back into things full swing come January! We taught our first Your Life, Your Camera workshop back in January of 2014 and we have come a long way since then! You can read more about what that class looks like HERE, or see what else we offer HERE on Kristy’s website.
After our class, we had a much-needed dinner out together and it was fun to reflect this past work season and also talk about what is coming up! And we were home by 6:30pm which is pretty much my ideal night out…ha!
Deer Camp Life
While we were teaching the boys went to “deer camp” with Buzz, Lucas, his dad, and his brother. Their camp is up near Jay Peak so it is always a lot chillier and they get a lot more snow! The boys had a sneak peek of all the snow we will be getting (tonight!) and had fun playing outside, shooting the BB gun(at a target!) and eating lots of deer camp food. They always have the best time and I love that they get to make these memories like Lucas did when he was their age.
Cozy Sweaters & Woodstove Season
While the daylight is short this time of year, it is such a cozy time of year in so many ways. I love that the pace of life slows down a bit in the winter and we have more time to just “be’. We have our woodstove going all the time now and I am embracing all my favorite sweaters and pullovers.
I also like that I will have a bit more time to share on my blog and I have been working hard on getting my editorial calendar in place! I am planning on bringing back the Nightstand Series and I also have some interviews lined up with some really amazing people in my life so stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.
Unless that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her evangelical husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger fired from her job at the local pharmacy.
Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a busted Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.
With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn, but when the one that got away comes back, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.
In her warmest, wittiest, and wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.
April 28th, 2019
Southern/Family Life Fiction
Feels like Falling was my first book by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I read it while traveling home from vacation and it was the perfect balance of being easy and engaging without being too fluffy. It was the kind of book that I had a hard time putting down but I also didn’t want it to end because I wanted to follow along with these main characters even more.
I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the idea that sometimes “family” is the one we create ourselves. Harvey’s writing is emotional, engaging and has a perfect touch of humor. I loved the topic of friendship and supporting one another through tough situations and choices.
Feels Like Falling perfectly captured how sometimes the right people come into our lives when we least expect it and the amazing power of connection. The romance element was light and easy and helped round out this powerful story of friendship. I hope this becomes a series like her Peachtree Bluff trilogy!
Hello out there! How is September going for you? Besides the semi-regular book review posts, it has been very quiet around here. I will eventually get back into the swing of things and be back with more regular Currently Loving posts, guest posts and that old summer vacation to Maine post I promised a couple of weeks ago…oops!
The “B” Word
I try not to use the “B” word (BUSY!) because it is one of my pet peeves but this time of year would probably fall into that category with work obligations…I like to say it is just a little more hectic and blogging on here doesn’t fall high on my priority list because that is really what it is. While my photography work is year-round, this beautiful time of the year in Vermont means we are running in high gear and our days are full.
I certainly have some free time but I am just doing other things, like putting away laundry while listening to my audiobook!! I do a lot of extra things in the morning before the kids wake up, but if doesn’t get done, it gets pushed off to the next morning and the blog posts tend to fall into that category.
I am NOT a computer before bed kind of person and I think it is important to have some time of the day to just “be”. Reading before bed is sacred to me, and I tend to read even more when life is hectic because it helps shut my brain off and wind down. Do you do this as well?
Busy as a Status Symbol
Busy has somehow become some kind of status symbol which is a bummer to me. Have you noticed this too? I think maybe because we see so much more of each other’s lives because of social media posting in general, which can be a great thing in many ways!
I love when it helps make me feel less alone, or feel connected to someone else experience the same thing. But usually, if you have time to write about how BUSY you are, well, yeah…
Blogging vs. Social Media Posting
Anyway, I love blogging because I have a lot to say and sometimes(most times…) I reach the maximum amount of text on Instagram, ha! But blogging is a process, and so posting on social media tends to reign supreme when I have a smaller chunks of available time.
So if you are wondering what I have been up to, you can find some links to my recent Instagram posts below. You can also find me at @genthebookworm if you are interested in following along on a regular basis!
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!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps cover some of the costs of this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Hello and happy Thursday! Today looks like another beautiful Vermont June day. Yesterday the sun was shining and the kids were happy to be at the pool and I was working on this post(yes it took me multiple days…ha!) from a table nearby in the shade.
The day before the kids had swim practice and it was pouring and freezing. Weather in New England is never very predictable but we do try to soak it all in, even if it means swimming in the rain!
Favorites by Category & Theme
I have been doing some reflecting on my most loved things lately and I thought it would fun to start regularly share some of my current favorites…each time with a different category and theme. I talk about some of these types of things on my Currently Loving posts and thought it would be a fun addition to my regular posts.
Along with Day In The Life posts, I love seeing regular everyday items that people use and love. There is something so interesting to me about practical items that people use and enjoy all the time. Do you like this kind of thing too?!
These Are Some of my Favorite Things…Summer Edition!
When thinking about the things I use the most this time of year, it was super easy to come up with a list. I am very routine oriented and there is nothing that makes me happier than structure and knowing what to expect!
I am the person who parks in the same parking spots, uses the same mug for my morning coffee(with a stainless steel straw) and don’t you dare try and make me stand in a different place of the barre studio!!! So needless to say, this list is somewhat practical but all of these things have stood the test of time which I think is very important when making a suggestion. I hope you enjoy seeing some of my very favorite things…summer edition style!
If you don’t have plastic Birkenstocks yet, how are you even surviving summer? Summer in Vermont is very unpredictable, it will be beautiful and sunny and an hour later it will be pouring rain. Sometimes it is hot and sometimes it is freezing! I have a few go-to summer shoes but my rubber Birkenstocks are my number one pick.
They are so comfortable (I love the molded footbed for arch support) and are awesome because they can get super wet (unlike the regular Birkenstocks) so they make the perfect pool, beach or just regular life shoe. I am a size 8.5 in women’s shoes and I get the 39 and it fits perfectly.
I love that I have more time with my kids this summer, but they are also LOUD!! Whether they are happy, unhappy, excited or mad, it all is a rather high noise level and most of the time that is totally fine, but everyone has a limit. 😉
I have flexibility with my job and do most of my work on the day I have a babysitter or early in the morning before they wake up, but sometimes it doesn’t all get done and life overlaps. I was hesitant to buy wireless headphones for a long time, and a lot of it had to do with the price point. I wasn’t sure if I would love them and it seemed like a big commitment. I read review after review and finally bit the bullet last fall and ordered these.
Under $40, impressive sound quality and easy to use and charge!
They were under $40 which seemed reasonable and seemed easy enough to use…which was also something I was worried about as someone who struggles with new technology…
6+ months later I am so pleased with them! I use them to listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I am working or even cleaning the house. They charge easily by plugging them into my computer (or a USB charger), are super comfortable and the sound quality is amazing. And back to the kid’s noise levels, sometimes I just wear them as noise canceling headphones and they do a great job with that too!
I talked about my love for UV sun-shirts back in April and my fondness for them is still going strong. I have worn them swimming in the ocean, at the pool, on the baseball field and while picking strawberries last weekend. I am ALL about sun protection and this top is super comfortable, fitted without being too snug and very lightweight. I am a size 8-10 in US women’s sizing and I ordered a large for reference.
We bought our Sport-Brella two summers ago and it was life changing! We store it on our boat so we have it with us when we go to the beach. This umbrella is amazing because it can be used standing upright like a regular beach umbrella or down on one side as pictured, more like a half tent. We would have loved having this with young babies but we still get so much use out of it now. It is so nice to have a shady spot that is also super easy to set up and disassemble.
To make it even easier to set up and even more secure, we have thisscrew-in sand anchor and it is the best little accessory!
Give me ALL the skorts. As someone with a more, umm, curvy figure, I know the struggles of trying to wear dresses or shirts when it is hot and sweaty out…ugh the thigh rubbing! If you don’t know this struggle, consider yourself lucky! And if you do, welcome to the club! There are many amazing options now and skorts are one of them. I have two skorts from Athleta and they are wonderful!! I have this one in grey and they also have it black. It is currently on sale and in stock in all sizes! I ordered a large for reference.
A few years ago I learned about the wonders of foot peels. If you haven’t heard about these before there are tons of articles sharing informative reviews (and very detailed photos like this one HERE). While you may think it is gross, they really work!! I have used a few different kinds and they all work the same, these are just the most cost-effective ones I have found and the foot booties are super easy to use. To make this even easier I put a pair of socks on over them while I do the peel so I can continue on with life as usual in the evening time.
I could go on and on about sun protection all day long. You will never find me out in the sun without a hat on, but it is hard to find ones that don’t make you even sweat even more. We have a few of these hats and they fit our whole family with just a quick tightening (or loosening) of the velcro in the back. They really do what they claim and they are breathable and dry super quickly, which makes them great for when we are at the pool or on the boat.
Face sunscreen always seems like a tricky thing to find, both for myself and for the kids. For me, I want to be able to put it on first thing under my makeup and not have it feel sticky or greasy. For the kids, I want it to stay on when they are in and all of the water all day and also not cause a huge fuss when we have to reapply it several times a day.
Both of these do the trick and are a go-to in my shopping cart. The Elta Md sunscreen has been a favorite of mine for years. As someone with sensitive and acne prone skin(you can read more about that HERE) I needed something that worked but that was also not irritating or super greasy. This goes on super easily just like a face lotion and I love the pump style bottle.
The Babo Botanicals face stick has been awesome for the kids and I love that it is easy to apply (no tears!) whether we are putting it on them or they are doing it themselves. It has great coverage but also rubs in really well. Highly recommend!
I talked more about my favorite body sunscreen in my Currently Loving post last week but we are obsessed with The Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen Pump. It may seem ginormous but it’s awesome and lasts a long time, even when you are using it daily. It is super easy to rub in too which we are always a fan of.
This is more of a year-round obsession but I have been so impressed with this Lavish Lash eyelash and brow serum. I have been using it since last fall to grow back in the outer parts of my eyebrows which were the result of years of serious overplucking. I started using it on my lashes too and after a couple of weeks, there was a noticeable difference!
A bottle lasts a couple months of daily use and hasn’t been irritating at all. I tend to wear less makeup in the summer, and don’t wear mascara every day, and I love how this has not only lengthened my lashes but also made them fuller.
One of the best parts about summer is that we don’t have to leave the house until almost an hour later than during the school year. This means there are a few bookworms in our house that have been staying up later and reading and these clip-on book lights are amazing! You can adjust the brightness of the light and you charge them by plugging them into your computer or USB port. They are also great for travel!
When it comes to footwear for our kids, we are in the less is more category. They have Bogs boots for fall, winter & spring, sneakers year round and Natives for summer. The kids have had these since they were toddlers and they are THE BEST!
We have always called them “racing shoes” because when our older son was little he thought they made him go SUPER FAST. 🙂 They are the best summer shoes, not just for going in the water. They are super easy to clean, we just toss them in the laundry and are so great for quick on and off. Unless we are doing a lot of walking, these are the only shoes they wear all summer.
I use my Scout bags/organizers all the time. They are structured so they stand upright and don’t lose their shape, which can happen with a lot of tote bags. They are also great because you can wipe them down(so I don’t stress about them getting a little dirty/setting them down outside) they zip closed, they have a reasonable price point and they also have the cutest patterns.
After years of having a diaper bag, it feels nice to be able to still have a lot of storage but also just have it look like a regular bag. Now to be fair, I think diaper bags have come along way in 9 years, so that is what I am comparing it to, ha!
I have the Daytripper Tote that I use as a summer purse/”catch-all” and we have the Weekender Tote that is perfect for a beach/pool trip or a night away. Although our kids are older now, we still carry around a ton of stuff. These bags are so versatile and I love that there are so many size options. I use my daytripper bag every single day, and I have a second one that I use for a work/gym bag as well.
We have the Junque Trunk in the bag of my car and it is amazing! I use the bottom if it to store things we use frequently but not all the time (waterproof blanket, Crazy Creek chair for sports games, and reusable shopping bags) and then when I get groceries, it is a great place to store them on the way home os they don’t tip over or spill.
Finally, the Packing Heat Makeup Bag is amazing! It is a perfect size and I love that it has the interior side pocket that I use for makeup brushes. It is super easy to wash out if anything spills and after a couple of years of daily use, it still looks brand new.
I told you there would be some practical items on here and these definitely fit into that category. When you can’t wear a skort, these are a great alternative! 😉 I don’t like to wear dresses that much, but when I do, these Skimmies slip shorts are awesome to wear underneath and provide the perfect defense again the dreaded “thigh rub”…
They are long enough that they don’t show when you wear a shorter dress but long enough so that they don’t ride up. I am in a wedding in a couple of weeks and you better believe I will be wearing these! They have the benefits of Spanx without the super amount of compression which often isn’t necessary or comfortable.
I have to finish this list off with my favorite thing probably ever. I love drinking water, I love having a lot of it and I love drinking with a straw. I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle and I am not joking.
A few months ago I found one of these tumblers on the clearance rack at Target because the packing was damaged, and I knew it was a sign. I probably didn’t need any more tumblers or water bottles, but it was just too good of a deal to pass up. I have not gone a day without using it! They are amazing for water but you can also use them for ice coffee/tea, or even a cocktail.
You can use it with the lid and straw or without. I love the style of the straw because unlike most stainless steel ones, it has a silicone piece in the middle so it bends! I knew I had to share this in my favorites list and even better, these colors (along with grey if you are boring) are 20% off right now! Enjoy!!!
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this collection of my tried and true summer favorites. Do you have anything you would add to yours? I would love to hear!!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase I receive a small percentage of the sale. This helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you so much.
I know some people are just naturally organized but I am not. I get systems in place but then I either forget to use them or it feels super inconvenient…and then it is just worse!
In theory, I would like to have a place for everything but what I have realized is when everything is put away all the time, it actually becomes more of a hassle. Over time what I have realized is that we just need to have organization habits that work for our family…
For instance, we have two large bins, one for each of our boys in my office. I keep them out because I add their artwork and school projects to it multiple times a week. I tried keeping the boxes put away but then it became more of a pain every single time I wanted to add to the box, so we keep them out, and things stay tidier this way. It might not be ideal for everyone but it works for us. I don’t mind that our house looks like we live here, I just like when things are a little more contained, while also being practical.
So this a long way of saying, I don’t mind having my books around the house. I love seeing the things that make us happy in our everyday life. We have bookshelves in almost every room and they are wonderful but the books on our shelves are typically ones that I have read and loved.
What I was struggled with was the “in between” books. The books that are on my TBR list, the books I am planning on lending to a friend, the books I am still needing to review, you get the idea.
My books started to take over a bit. For a while, I thought I could keep my TBR list books in a cute little fabric box to keep everything contained. But then I was always taking them out and putting them back in and it ended up just being a mess.
Then there were books all over our table where my laptop is. It was convenient in the sense that I had easy access to them, but it was kind of making the rest of the table unusable…
I have been part of the Bookstagram community so I had seen these utility carts all over the place but I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago and now I can’t figure out why I waited so long!
How I use my book cart…
I have seen beautifully organized carts on Pinterest and on Bookstagram and the options on how to use these are just endless! What I was looking for most was a way to have easy access to my books and also being able to put them away easily if needed. Because the cart is on wheels, I can easily move it around (or put it away in my office) but I also love the way it looks so I have been keeping it in the corner of our dining room. I am tempted to get another one for the boy’s playroom to organize their art supplies.
(image from homeofmalones.com)
The top two shelves I have been using for book storage and the bottom shelf I am using for things like publisher paperwork, extra bookmarks, giveaway supplies, and other book blogging related items. I love knowing I have extra room if I eventually need it and it is nice having everything reading related in one place.
Where do buy this cart?!
I purchased my cart through Target for $30 and I have been so impressed! You can see it HERE. I used the pick up at the store option and it was so easy to run and grab it and then be on my way. You see, Vermont only got our first Target last fall, so we are still in the honeymoon phase over here! I have also read they have a great one at a similar price at IKEA.
So that is how I have been utilizing my new book cart
Do you have a utility cart? Do you use it to organize your books or something else? I would love to hear! <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog. Thank you!