One of my favorite things about books is that you never know what they’ll inspire. As a kid, I was always pretending that I was living in whatever book I was reading, which meant a lot of spying and scribbling in notebooks, since I read Harriet the Spy over and over again, and plenty of tree naming with Anne, writing for The Pickwick Papers with Jo, and trying to figure out how to make a bow and arrow by following the instructions in Sign of the Beaver. Now, I love when books like The Montessori Toddler and Station Eleven worm their way into my thoughts and I can see the ways in which they’re having an impact of my day to day life.
Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
In the sleepy, mountainside town of Winchester, Vermont, every night and early morning, you can find Jane Littleton concocting scrumptious confections in the warm and homey kitchen of Red Maple Inn. It’s what she always wanted, but it’s lonely, too, especially since the only other person even awake is Tom.
This is such a special book. I would have been obsessed with it as a kid and, as an adult, I still found it delightful and have been thinking about it days later. Tilly Pages lives above her grandparents’ bookshop and, after encountering Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland in the store, discovers that she can bookwander, which, yes, is exactly what you hope it is. I particularly loved the details about the bookstore and all the cozy food mentions, plus how fun is it to think about what you would do if you could bookwander?
This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but I wanted to write about some of the new fall releases I’m excited about and thought it might be fun to compare them to fall clothes because I AM A FASHION BLOGGER NOW. Just wanted to yell that like Harriet the Spy. I did actually dive down the rabbit hole of clothes on Amazon, which I’ve never done before, and now I’m thinking this might be a problem because this stuff is cute. Anyways, books as their fashion counterpart, here we go:
I had been nervous to reread Little Women. Many of the books I loved as a kid hold up for me. I still believe Anne of Green Gables (and most of the rest of the series) is brilliant and I reread the Betsy Tacy and Harry Potter series all the time. Why the nerves about Little Women?
It meant a lot to me as a kid. I admired fiesty, literary Jo and wanted sisters to write newspapers with and put on plays with and talk about our castles in the air with. My husband and I travel over to Concord fairly often, home of The Orchard House, and I have to stop by every time, even if it’s just for a quick walk around the house.
I read a lot of board books. A LOT. We are fortunate to have a decent library, but it’s still easy to quickly get burnt out by reading the same ones over and over again, so I know how important it is to find ones that will keep your baby interested and will make you happy to read the book for the 100th time.
One of the things that automatically attracts me to a book is a character with a quirky voice. I know I’m not the only one who is drawn to offbeat types of characters, which made me start to think about WHY. What I think it comes down to, at least for me, is that these characters are often vulnerable and have a certain innocence to them, which brings out our protective sides. We find ourselves rooting for them and wanting the best for them, while laughing good naturedly over their social foibles and perhaps too honest opinions.
31 now. I began planning my #goingclassicat30 project when I was 29 and wanting something that I would find both fun and developmental in some way to set apart my 30th year. The gist of what I settled upon was that over my 29th year I would buy 12 classics I’d never read before and read one each month of my 30th year.
I’m in the middle of one of those books that feels just right for all of us book nerds out there. Nina Hill is a shy, list-loving bookshop worker who loves her introverted life. She’s got her trivia team and book clubs and everything scheduled just right, including Thursday nights, which are for reading and cozy pajamas and snacks (yes, please).
I like to think that I have more than a little of Jo’s nature in me. Isn’t she the March sister that all of us most wish to be? She is so spirited and romantic and a deep thinker. I relate to these qualities and wish that I would embrace my spirited/romantic side as fully as Jo does. I think I could be inspired to be far more daring if I asked myself now and then, “What would Jo do?”. Jo inspires me. She seizes life without fear and she makes me laugh. That’s a winning combination for this reader.
Is summer the ultimate reading season? I’ve been thinking about that lately. It seems like lists for summer reading come out unlike at any other time of year and there definitely is that sense of freedom that I have a strong suspicion is embedded in us from the time when we were kids counting down the days until school let out. I know there are a ton of these out there, but I’m of the opinion that a long TBR list is just a long list of wonderful opportunities.
I’ve changed my mind about contemporary romance books, all thanks to Kerry Winfrey’s Waiting for Tom Hanks. It’s so stinking cute that you’re going to want to pre-order it (it comes out June 11) and then you’re going to want to take it on a date.
From so many beloved classics, the books that triumphed through the wild ride of Middle Grade March Madness and made it to the championship were Little Women and Anne of Green Gables.
Enneagram. So hot right now. (That should be read in the voice of Will Ferrrel’s Mugatu from Zoolander, of course.) Podcasts, Instagram accounts, my mom…everywhere I turn I’m hearing about the enneagram. You might be sick of it, but I’m not yet.
One of the things I like most about reading is that it’s the only way I can think of where you can be inside someone else’s head. You get to experience so many perspectives and live so many lives through reading in a way that even through the screen or conversation you don’t have in the same way. I think that’s the appeal of the enneagram and other personality typing systems for me, too: a chance to see inside of the way someone else experiences their world.
That’s a Vanilla Ice reference, as I’m sure you expected. This year is my first Mother’s Day with Maeve here with us and I’m looking forward to seeing what she has planned for me. At least, I think that what she’s been working on after she “goes to sleep”.
This is a list of books and bookish gifts that you might want to get for your own mother (and the other women in your life who play mother roles). I’d also highly recommend, if you’re a mother yourself, sending this link to whomever will be spoiling you along with some heavy-handed hints. You might have to periodically remind them that they need to allow time for shipping. Sometimes you have to be clear about your expectations, right?
It’s been a good year for new releases and there are some really promising looking ones on the horizon. Below I’ve written about the best of the books published in 2019 that I’ve read so far and a classic I’ve paired with each of them based on the impressions the books left upon me. I’m hopeful that it will give you a good sense of which ones you’ll want to pick up and perhaps even inspire a reread or initial read of some amazing classics.
Eleanor is the literary heroine I just didn’t expect. While I was reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I couldn’t believe how quickly her character grew dear to me. She is desperately lonely and socially awkward. She tells it like it is and is kind of a snob, which is pretty hilarious considering her awareness of its unacceptability is nonexistant. She finds comfort in routine and logic in order to avoid facing anxieties and past traumas and, to a much lesser degree, I related to that. She’s an unusual inspiration and a reminder that despite our individual pasts and any negativity we’ve endured, there is still life and hope and kindness in the world.
I like to make anything and everything a celebration, so, naturally, holidays are always a cause for extra excitement on my end. As a kid, I loved picking out my Easter dress and the gloves, hat, and purse to pair with it and I’d wake up on Easter morning eager to hunt for candy and my Easter basket hidden somewhere around the house. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that I woke up one morning recently with my thoughts happily buzzing about books and presents that would be perfect for Easter baskets for all ages. (They also happen to be perfect if you don’t celebrate Easter and just want some spring feeling things. Also…very important reminder…the Easter bunny or spring fairy or whatever should come for you, too.)
Your votes are all in. I rubbed my hands together and cackled as many of you messaged me about the cruelty of having to choose between childhood favorites. It had to be done.
From so many beloved classics, the books that triumphed through the wild ride of Middle Grade March Madness and made it to the championship were Little Women and Anne of Green Gables.
If I was ever in the very probable situation where someone told me that I could only ever read one category of books, I know my answer. Middle grade and, if that’s still too general (that’s a cop-out, right?), then middle grade classics. Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about.
I listen to a lot of book podcasts. A lot. That’s why it’s a pretty big deal when a new book podcast immediately hops into my favorites and is one that I look forward to popping up in my feed every week. You guys, Curtis and Chelsey, the husband and wife behind the He Read She Read podcast, are an absolute delight.
We’re a week out from Valentine’s Day and romance is in the air…or at least hearts are being printed on candy bags filling the grocery store aisles. Being the book lover that I am, I wanted to come up with a fun way to do a little book matchmaking. The idea settled upon? I asked past guest bloggers to share with me their dream imaginary dates and, from there, using my top secret book matchmaking algorithm, I’m providing them with their date’s book match. I hope you enjoy seeing their answers as much as I did, plus you’ll have to weigh in with your matchmaking skills.
Whether it’s the witty writing or Rory’s insatiable love of reading, fans of Gilmore Girls and bookish people tend to meet in the middle of the Venn Diagram. That’s about all the math I know.
I still remember first stumbling on episode 4 of season 1 “The Deer Hunters” while randomly flipping channels (how quaint) and I was hooked from that moment on up to finishing the series in college with my roommates who would join me in singing our hearts out to “Where You Lead”. It’s a show I’ve rewatched over and over again and, while Lorelai and Rory can drive me nuts, it will always be a favorite.
Having had our first child this year, I think I can safely say that 2018 will always be a memorable year! It also happens to have been the year that I started this blog, obviously deciding that now was THE time to blog. Ha. Really though, I was looking for a creative outlet and way to continue to connect over something I love and this blog has indeed been that (as well as a lot more work than I would have thought!). I’ll be writing some more thoughts about blogging soon, but basically it’s been a lot of fun and it makes me so thankful that so many of you actually take the time to come over to this site and read what I’ve written and be a part of this in whatever way you choose. I know time is precious, so thank you for spending some of it here with me. When my husband was recently telling me some of the blog’s numbers I was feeling very honored and grateful. It means a lot. Thank you, thank you!
As is probably expected from the type of person who blogs, I really like year end lists and general retrospective looks (Give me all the lists! All the nostalgia!), so when I was thinking about this year’s new books, I thought it might be fun to relive those glory days (ha) and hand out some class superlatives. A drumroll for the class of 2018…
Gumption. It’s a wonderful word, isn’t it? I grew up with two older brothers and I can remember being filled with pride when I once overheard my dad quietly chuckling and commenting on how I could hold my own after a sassy retort in reply to their teasing. My mom kept me well supplied with books centered on women who were resourceful and feisty and plucky (there’s another word I love). I love a strong woman and I love reading about strong women in all the forms in which they come.
If you’re reading this, then I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t feel like there’s such a thing as too many books. I know I currently have teetering piles of books around the house, but I’ll still be delighted to see books under the Christmas tree this year. Below are a few of my favorites for you to share with your loved ones…or yourself.
“I finished Pollyanna with a smile on my face, feeling as if I had just walked on sunshine. I’ll always remember her bright, cheery disposition, and her ability to look past herself (and her less than stellar circumstances), in hopes of bringing a bit of joy to someone else’s life.”
“Marian Halcombe is smart and not the typical demure lady waiting to get married. She’s sharp and cunning and without her, the mystery of The Woman in White would not have come to light. Without Marian, her sister would have been doomed forever.”
Spotted in Sawada Coffee in Chicago. She’s drinking a cortado and next to her copy of Transcript is an old concert ticket she uses as a bookmark. Later in the day she plans on meeting up with friends at Girl and the Goat and getting her favorite drink, the Very Old Fashioned, before returning home to binge watch The Wire.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Do you consider having listened to an audiobook counting as having read the book? Ah, the great debate of our time.
Finding new releases you enjoy can be hard. We see pretty covers in bookstores, certain titles over and over on Bookstagram, and quotes from authors who may or may not have read the book splashed across the backs of books, but often there’s simply not enough to go on to try to determine if a book is right for you.
“To critics, Nelly is an archetypal unreliable narrator, but her voice swayed me as a young teen, and continues to do so today. When I first read Wuthering Heights, I realized how strongly tone could affect my opinions on characters, and my experience of the story as a whole. One of my favorite things about Wuthering Heights is that the storytelling itself is so distinctive as to almost have a role of its own within the tale—and it is Nelly who evokes that powerful effect.”
I cannot believe it’s already halfway through 2018!! Not to mention that my husband and I have our first baby coming in August! Eep! Time is only going to go faster and faster, I assume?
After admiring people’s monthly reading wrap-ups on Instagram for a while, I decided to try it myself this year. It’s been fascinating for me to see the books piled up at the end of the month and get a better idea of how I read. For instance, while I think I read a somewhat wide variety of books (kind of?), it’s all the more clear to me that my sweet spots are children’s classics and what I’ll call British comfort. I’ll sometimes click on the hashtag and look at all the pictures together in the hopes of developing some very deep insights about my personality from looking at the book stacks, but have yet to find any. Perhaps you can blow my mind?
When I think of summer, I think of activities. That might be because I live in New England, where it gets hot but not as unbearable, and also because I left school only to become a teacher, thus permenantly associating summer with sweet, sweeeet freedom. Because of that, when I was thinking about what might be a fun challenge related to summer reading, my mind kept drifting to the things that I like to try to do every summer. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to get a peek into a bit of each other’s summer living? No? I’m the only nosy one? Fine.
Around my 29th birthday I began to think about what I might want to do to make my 30th year feel a little different, something a little special to mark a new decade. (At the time I didn’t know our little girl would be coming along shortly after my birthday. I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be providing plenty of change and excitement :D).
I wanted whatever I picked to be something I’d genuinely look forward to, something specific to my own interests and not just what other people might find fun or illuminating or worthwhile. I wanted it to be simple enough, but I also thought it would be nice to figure out a way to spread the joy through the year. So what did I come up with?
I don’t know about you, but I sure do love a good book podcast. Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next was the first one to hook me and I haven’t looked back since.
Naturally, I was so excited to hear that Katie, who is a YouTuber and a Bookstagrammer, and Mollie, also a YouTuber and a Bookstagrammer, were going to be creating a new podcast. It’s called No Thanks We’re Booked and their description of it being “life through a bookish lens” sounds like exactly my kind of podcast.
The characters of Friday Night Lights are some of my favorite on television — you can’t help but root for them, no matter how flawed they may be. Tami Taylor was possibly my favorite of them all (although I’m most definitely on #teamriggins). She is highly relatable, has a well-defined sense of self, sticks up for what she believes in, and sees the best in people.
Here it is! This is my attempt at the #bookstackmechallenge, which I detailed in last week’s post. While these are all favorites, I specifically picked the books in this stack because I believe they each show something about who I am as a person AND who I am as a reader.
I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day playlist with a literary twist, so I thought I’d imagine some song pairings for a few of literatures’ more well known couples. Try out the matching game to see if you can figure out what song I intended for what couple. I’ve provided a taste of the lyrics with each song in case you’re not familiar with it. Good luck!
If you grew up somewhere where it snows, you know the drill. Pestering your teachers and parents all day to get their expert opinions. The backwards, inside-out pajamas; spoon under the pillow; and all important interpretative snow dances. My husband has videos of me finding out, as an adult teacher, that we had a snow day the next day and let’s just say: pure, childlike glee. Here’s what I’m imagining for a perfect snow day.