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!
Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
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.