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

Albus Dumbledore

Halloween Books and Fall New Releases

By Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

Depending on whether or not you, too, were flooded with TikTok videos of Halloween decor and pretend fall coziness in August, or walk into stores full of Halloween displays, or if you’re burying your head because everything is too much, this post including Halloween titles for kids may feel early or late…but let’s go with just right.

Along with some of our favorite Halloween reads with kids, I’ve included some amazing new fall board book and picture book releases.  There are so many for you and your little ones to enjoy and I sure hope you’re bringing that joy into your life.

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Adventure Is Out There: 34 Books and Gifts Celebrating Nature for Earth Day

By Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

After writing this Earth day book list last year and compiling some more favorites for this year,  I’ve realized that I’m a total sucker for books focused on the beauty and wonder of this place we all get to call home.  There’s something about books that delight in both the majesty of nature and learning all kinds of fascinating facts that get me every time.

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The Book for the Instagram Trend

By Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

Whether you can’t scroll past them fast enough or you still find beauty and draw comfort from them, there are definitely trends on Instagram that seem to have some lasting power.  I thought it might be interesting to try to pair books, both picture books for kids and a range of books for adults, to various trends that I see pop on my feed.  What trends am I missing? Any you particularly love or don’t want to see anymore?

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Kids’ Easter Basket Ideas and Bits of Sunshine For You, Too

By For Every Occassion No Comments

With the melting snow, changing light, and bird songs, it’s beginning to really feel like spring around here.

Easter comes early this year and I thought it would be fun to round up plenty of book and toy ideas for the kids in your life, but to also include books and “toys” for you that, even if you don’t celebrate Easter or do a basket for yourself, might add a bit of sunshine to your days.

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Book Recommendations for Your Enneagram Number

By Partner Book Review No Comments

I still remember when it became a big trend for adults to start reading young adult books.  Towards the end of college and into graduate school, I read The Hunger Games and then devoured every dystopian young adult series that followed.  I stumbled on articles about why young adult books were appealing to adults and started thinking about the middle grade books I still reread from when I was a kid and wondering why I never looked into what new books were out there for that age range…but, wait a minute, also for me.

Now I know lots of adults who absolutely love middle grade, but I think that might be the phenomenon of finding your like-minded people on the Internet.  I’m guessing that lots of adults might still feel embarrassed about reading a “kid’s book”.  Please don’t.  Read what fills you up.  Try everything. You never know what strike a chord, and you can always put it right back down. Middle grade books are brimming with heart and humor and imagination and soul.  They’re vulnerable and endearing and illuminating.  They’re, in my opinion, magical, and I hope you can get that feeling for yourself.

Today I’m matching some of my favorite middle grade titles with enneagram numbers.  I am a complete expert on enneagrams, of course (kidding, kidding), but also know that they’re all excellent reads no matter your enneagram number, so hopefully you get a feel for what they’re about and can pick up the ones you think that you, too, might love.

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Mommy & Me Books

By Kids, Partner Book Review 3 Comments

I haven’t done a post of Mommy & Me book pairings in a long time. To be clear, this is also daddy & me, mommies & me, caretaker & me.  One is just alliterative, happens to be what I am, and was an idea initially sparked by the mommy and me outfits that Cotton Stem does with her daughters.

Some of my favorite parts of my days with my daughter include us reading, whether it be reading to her (endlessly!) or when we do what we call “own books” time.  We started doing that when she was one and a few months and, essentially, we pick a big stack of books for her to bring over to the couch and she flips through and “reads” those while I read my own book.  I think it would be extra fun, especially as she’s beginning to constantly make connections between different books and what’s happening in her life to books, to be a little more aware of picking the books that I’m reading so that we can talk about those connections afterwards.

For certain, finding the right book has been all the harder in this continued time of moods being all the more fickle.  This January in particular I’ve been finding that I’m not so naturally reaching for a book as I usually do and looking for a way to change that.

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In the Mood for…

By Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

Mood reading is one of those buzz words on Bookstagram that has made me start to believe that perhaps almost everyone who reads a lot is a mood reader. It seems hard not to be.

For certain, finding the right book has been all the harder in this continued time of moods being all the more fickle.  This January in particular I’ve been finding that I’m not so naturally reaching for a book as I usually do and looking for a way to change that.

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Favorite Books of 2020

By Monthly Reviews One Comment

I find it illuminating every year, to look through what I’ve read and watched and, based on my gut reactions and what has stuck with me, select my favorites.

It’s not surprising to see that these lists are full of escapism. With the exception of Stamped, they’re stories that were captivating and often brought me to other worlds, or at least ones that felt very different from my own. They are all well told with strong characters and voices.  I’m still too exhausted to try to process the collective and individual griefs of the year, but I do know that whatever could hold my attention this year felt all the more precious.

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December: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews 2 Comments

December: plans for reading all the Christmas-y books and then not feeling like it.  Plenty of Christmas spirit otherwise, though, and a magical Christmas season minus the pregnancy sickness!  If you missed it, we’ve got a little one coming in June : ).

In other news, this is my last of my monthly round-ups.  I’ve mostly enjoyed doing it, although it is quite time consuming.  One definite benefit is that it’s been fun looking back on the rest of the year to try to see what I was watching or reading or learning about at different times.  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in the new year as far as these round-ups.  Suggestions certainly welcome!

Nope.  I don’t know why, but I was not feeling the Christmas spirit in my books.

I also did not watch as many Christmas movies as I was initially thinking I would, but we did get our fill of music and lots of wonderful traditions and happy Christmas-y moments.

In other news, this is my last of my monthly round-ups.  I’ve mostly enjoyed doing it, although it is quite time consuming.  One definite benefit is that it’s been fun looking back on the rest of the year to try to see what I was watching or reading or learning about at different times.  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in the new year as far as these round-ups.  Suggestions certainly welcome!

I did, however, have a cozy reading month, perhaps in part as an antidote, and watched the cutest show I ever did see.

Unfortunately, though, I’ve noticed I often feel a lot of pressure with what to read during this month because there is such a wide variety of books that feel perfect for October. I initially found myself reading lots of books at once with wandering attention while trying to plan out how to hit each type of book I thought would make for the ultimate October reading list.  This has become an unfortunate October habit for me, so once I became aware of it, I chucked it to the side and just went back to reading what I felt like reading.  If only I could do that with all life’s baggage, amirite?

Below you’ll find a list of mostly excellent reads, some really good watches, some really annoying watches, and so forth.  Some of you are going to leave forever after you see what popular movie and TV show I’m hating on.  It was nice knowing you.

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Best Christmas Books

By For Every Occassion, Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

I have lots of memories of the Christmas books I loved as a kid and now I’m lucky enough to have those books and be sharing them with our daughter.  We’ve also been poking around the library to see which ones we might want to add to our collection, but our library is now closed again, so do give us your best suggestions.

This list could have admittedly gone on and on, but I hope there’s at least one or two here that might be new to you or to a special little one in your life.

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November: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews No Comments

I have to admit, I give the short shrift to November.  October is my favorite month and Christmastime (yes, I’m annoyingly specific) is my favorite holiday, so the month that comes between and throw in crazy election stress…nah.

I did, however, have a cozy reading month, perhaps in part as an antidote, and watched the cutest show I ever did see.

Unfortunately, though, I’ve noticed I often feel a lot of pressure with what to read during this month because there is such a wide variety of books that feel perfect for October. I initially found myself reading lots of books at once with wandering attention while trying to plan out how to hit each type of book I thought would make for the ultimate October reading list.  This has become an unfortunate October habit for me, so once I became aware of it, I chucked it to the side and just went back to reading what I felt like reading.  If only I could do that with all life’s baggage, amirite?

Below you’ll find a list of mostly excellent reads, some really good watches, some really annoying watches, and so forth.  Some of you are going to leave forever after you see what popular movie and TV show I’m hating on.  It was nice knowing you.

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Holiday Gifts For Everyone On Your List

By For Every Occassion No Comments

It’s the moooost wonderful time of the yearrrr. Wait.  I know.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  I have, though, seen that many of you are already getting in the spirit.  I’ve seen peeks of your adorable Christmas decorations, your cozy Charlie Brown record playing, your twinkle lights everywhere. So far, I’ve resisted, with the except of Dash & Lily on Netflix and our annual ornament shopping tradition with our daughter, but it doesn’t mean it’s not very much on my brain.
 
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?

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October: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews No Comments

October is the best month, right?  We’re finally in layers, the leaves demand your attention, and everything is starting to get extra cozy feeling.

Unfortunately, though, I’ve noticed I often feel a lot of pressure with what to read during this month because there is such a wide variety of books that feel perfect for October. I initially found myself reading lots of books at once with wandering attention while trying to plan out how to hit each type of book I thought would make for the ultimate October reading list.  This has become an unfortunate October habit for me, so once I became aware of it, I chucked it to the side and just went back to reading what I felt like reading.  If only I could do that with all life’s baggage, amirite?

Below you’ll find a list of mostly excellent reads, some really good watches, some really annoying watches, and so forth.  Some of you are going to leave forever after you see what popular movie and TV show I’m hating on.  It was nice knowing you.

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Halloween Reads!

By For Every Occassion, Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

I love celebrations of any and every kind, so even though I’m a scaredy-cat, I’m here for you, Halloween. Read: not fully here.  Horror movies, haunted houses, yard decor that screams at you when you walk past…no, no, no.

A list of some of the wonderful Halloween books out there, from ones for the littlest folks in your life all the way up to you.  I tried to find ones that feel distinctly Halloween, rather than just scary or fall-y. That’s right, fall-y.

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Strong Women in Immersive Stories

By Partner Book Review One Comment

Fable is brilliantly absorbing. It’s exactly the kind of book you might need right now, even though I would, by no means, call it a comforting read. In fact, words like taut and brittle and gritty come to mind.  The world, one of the depths of the sea and trading ships and islands full of thieves, is deftly composed and utterly absorbing.  The motivations of the characters feel real and complex and the strong female lead, Fable, is never brought down to those annoying tropes that many female protagonists have to suffer through.  It’s going to be one of my favorites book of the year, for sure. I loved it.

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35 Books For That Back-to-School Mood

By Kids, Partner Book Review One Comment

We had a few days where we could keep the windows open and walk around without sweating. I busted out the fall-smelling candles and baked scones and muffins. I couldn’t help it.

We’re back to the heat, but there’s still that sense of change in the air.  It’s inevitable- September rolls around and whether I’m a student or a teacher or now at home with our daughter, even without going into stores and seeing those new school supplies and clothes, I always feel that pull of freshness and anticipation and, I don’t know, need to suddenly pretend I’m living in a fall L.L. Bean catalog.

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Book Recommendations For Your Enneagram Number: Pandemic Edition

By Uncategorized No Comments

Enneagraaaaaaam.  You’re so sick of them, but YOU’RE HERE.  It’s kind of like those tests from our teen magazines: You. just. can’t. resist.

I’ve been thinking about doing this since March and here we are in August.  That’s this year in a nutshell.  A while ago, I picked book recommendations for your enneagram number, which you can find here.  The book recommendations you’ll find in this post are more specific to 2020 self, your pandemic self, the self that keeps asking “is this really happening?”.

I’ll get to it.  The links below are affiliate (thank you for using them or shopping independent!) and, of course, I want to hear if I got your number right!  I am enneagram expert, so I’m sure I did*.

*I am an expert on nothing.

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.

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June: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews 2 Comments

My reading brain is mostly only up for middle grade, young adult, and the like, as I’m trying to use it for other things.  June has been a month of sprinkler fun, lemonade, planting (metaphorically and literally), hiking, and then a stomach virus that got us good. I hope it’s been one of positive growth for you, my friends.

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The Book for Your Cancelled Plans

By Partner Book Review No Comments

I’ve been hearing a lot about the trouble of comparing sorrows to others as a way of invalidating your feelings, but I can’t help feel a little ungrateful to be thinking about cancelled plans when I am so fortunate to have had them in the first place. Nonetheless, there is a certain grief to all the might-have-beens.  Below is my attempt to have some fun with the idea of matching books to plans that have been cancelled because of COVID-19 and with the hopes that memories and movements and meaning are being built in their place.

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May: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews No Comments

This is the first month I think I’ve ever read strictly from my shelves, since our library is still closed.  It was also a month full of beautiful spring weather that kept us happily in a routine of long walks and bike rides and dinners on the screened porch. It was a month bringing to head a lot of darkness, from disunity over the pandemic to the racism that runs deep in all of our lives.  Hoping you’ll find something here to bring you some joy or something you can avoid and therefore make time for another joy, though this is not meant to be a distraction.

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April: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews No Comments

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it weird to proceed as normal and yet needing to proceed as normal when possible.  Asking myself things like:  Is it okay that I’m just posting my random lists of what I’ve read and blathering on about puzzles? Is that just more annoying than usual?  I know we’re all experiencing such varied emotions and in different waves, but hopefully you see something here that might serve as a happy little distraction…and hopefully not fuel for rage…unless you want to spiritedly debate the new Jessica Simpson book.

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22 Books for Earth Day

By Kids, Partner Book Review One Comment

I can’t say I’ve ever celebrated Earth Day (except maybe that school performance we did of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax?), but I do love this old place very dearly.  I’m an enneagram 4, so, trust me, there’s a lot of marveling over the beauty of the light slanting through trees and water rippling through stones and twirling around like Anne of Green Gables.  We’re outside every day and I so value books that somehow capture the awe and majesty of our natural world.

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In Times of Fear

By Partner Book Review No Comments

The other day we got a picture book in the mail from Candlewick Books: Don’t Worry, Little Crab.  I expected that, like most of Chris Haughton’s books, it would good, silly fun.  This one is good. But it’s not silly.

In this, Little Crab is so excited to finally go to the ocean, except when Very Big Crab finally brings him to the edge of  the ocean, the enormous waves seem insurmountable.  Sound familiar?

Many of us are wondering if we can handle these waves.

I couldn’t read at the beginning of our social distancing.  I was restless and my head felt too busy to focus on much of anything. Eventually, though, I’ve found a bit of my old rhythm.

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Easter! Spring!

By For Every Occassion One Comment

Around here the birds are chirping their hearts out, which means our daily walks are filled with toddler yells of “listening to the robin! Chickadee! Tufted titmouse!”; the forsythia is in full bloom; and the daffodils are almost here. We’re grateful to have our yard and neighborhoods to walk around in where we can be far enough away from people in this strange time.

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Using Social Distance To Come Together

By Kids, Uncategorized No Comments

Things are not easy and I know there are so many nuances and complications to these suddenly new lives we’re all leading.  That being said, for those of you who can, I wanted to gather together ways to look for the good and find bright moments in this dark time. A lot is not in our control, so it can be empowering to take control of the things that we can in a way that brings peace and joy to ourselves and our loved ones.

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Things I’m Obsessed with That Are “For My Daughter”

By Partner Book Review No Comments

We just started showing our daughter some TV.  It’s been hard to find what we’re looking for (educational, story-based, not torturous for us), so thus far we’ve settled on Arthur, Daniel Tiger, and my new obsession: Molly of Denali.  Molly is an Alaskan Native, which means that the show is full of amazing Indigenous knowledge and stories, plus living in Alaska means that her adventures are awesome. Like…go to an island full of puffins awesome. I can’t say enough good things about it.  I just think she is the cutest and, basically, she’s my influencer of choice. Also, that theme song…give it a listen even if you don’t have kids and I dare you to not want to join in.

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Grace Kelly: Bookstagrammer

By Partner Book Review One Comment

With much thanks to Berkley, I received a review copy of Kerri Maher’s The Girl in the White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly.  I was trying to think of something fun to post about and, after becoming enthralled by her early on in the book and spending way too much time diving down rabbit holes, thought I’d amuse myself by turning Grace loose in the world of Bookstagram.

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Books That Need Theme Parks

By Partner Book Review 4 Comments

Kate Milford, best known for her book Greenglass House, has a new book out: The Thief Knot.   I was so incredibly excited to receive a copy from Clarion and I’m thrilled to report that it’s a delight.  I couldn’t help but start it as soon as it was in my hands and, once I started reading, I did not want to put it down. I hadn’t had an experience like that with a book in a while, so it was so fun to feel that urge to jump back into the story whenever I had the chance.

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January: Books Plus

By Monthly Reviews, Partner Book Review 2 Comments

I’ve decided to start sharing a version of my monthly wrap-ups over here on the blog because, even though maybe I don’t like thinking about how long some things take, even just cataloging things I like does take time and I want to give a little more value to that time.  I think sometimes it’s easier to pretend like everything is casual and fun, but most of the time there’s hard work of at least some kind behind the fun. Adult 101.

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What Makes A Child Love A Book?

By Partner Book Review No Comments

There are the books that seem to be universally beloved. “Little Blue Truck,” “Goodnight Moon”, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, “Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?”, “etc. etc.. But what about those books that your child insists on reading over and over again that feel, well, a little random to you? Those books you might, er, hide behind the couch or in another room for a little while because you’re not sure you can read it one more time? I’m not alone here, right?

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A Very Bookish Holiday

By For Every Occassion One Comment

Hi, I like gift giving. I also don’t have that many bookish people in my life, so consider this my version of window shopping for myself and for each of you.
 
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?

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Books and Families

By Partner Book Review No Comments

Family. It can be beautiful; it can be brutal; it’s usually somewhere in between. There’s both the blessing and the curse of it being meant to be unconditional. There’s the family you’re born into and the family you can find. The dream and the reality. Basically, it makes for good book content.

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Reading and Traditions: Carson Ellis’s “The Shortest Day”

By Kids, Partner Book Review 3 Comments

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.

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All The Cozy Mystery Goodness

By Partner Book Review No Comments

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.

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Bookwandering

By Kids, Partner Book Review No Comments

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?

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Fall’s New Releases as a Fall Capsule Wardrobe

By Partner Book Review No Comments

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:

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Rereading Little Women

By Kids, Partner Book Review One Comment

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.

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Books with Quirky Characters

By Characters, Partner Book Review No Comments

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. 

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Reflecting On My Year of Classics

By Challenges No Comments

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.

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Guest Post: Jo March

By Characters, Guest Post No Comments

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.

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Never Enough Summer Reading?: The New, The Backlist, The Way Backlist, The Audio

By For Every Occassion 2 Comments

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.

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You’ve Got A Date With Kerry Winfrey’s “Waiting for Tom Hanks”

By Challenges, Partner Book Review 4 Comments

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.

The game?

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Book Recommendations For Your Enneagram Numbers

By Uncategorized 5 Comments

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.

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Word(s) To Your Mother- Books for Mother’s Day

By For Every Occassion No Comments

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?

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Classic Pairings for Some of 2019’s Best New Releases

By Partner Book Review 5 Comments

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.

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Guest Post: Eleanor Oliphant

By Characters 8 Comments

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.

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What To Put In Those Easter Baskets: Books and More

By For Every Occassion 5 Comments

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.)

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And The Middle Grade March Madness Champion Is…

By Challenges One Comment

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.

The game?

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Middle Grade March Madness

By Challenges One Comment

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.

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Book Matchmaking For Your Imaginary Dates

By For Every Occassion No Comments

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.

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Gilmore Girls Book Stack Matching Challenge

By Challenges No Comments

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.

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2018: Stats, Favorites, Looking Ahead, and So Much Thanks

By Challenges 2 Comments

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!

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Class of 2018 Superlatives

By For Every Occassion 4 Comments

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…

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Marilla, Alva, and Women With Gumption

By Characters, Partner Book Review 6 Comments

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.

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Books Make The Best Gifts

By For Every Occassion 3 Comments

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.

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Guest Post: Pollyanna

By Characters No Comments

“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.”

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Guest Post: Nelly Dean (Narrator of Wuthering Heights)

By Characters 2 Comments

“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.”

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Halfway Through 2018: My Not Imaginary Monthly Book Stacks

By Challenges No Comments

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?

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Soaking Up Summer Reading Challenge

By Challenges No Comments

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.

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Going Classic at 30

By Challenges 4 Comments

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?

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No Thanks We’re Booked Podcast: A Bookish “Newlywed Game” and Interview

By Interview, Podcasts No Comments

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.

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Harriet M. Welsch

By Characters No Comments

As a child, I read Harriet the Spy more times than any other book. Actually, since my rereading of Harry Potter is divided by seven, I think Harriet the Spy still holds the title for my most often read book. Over 20 times? 30?

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Guest Post: Tami Taylor

By Characters 2 Comments

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.

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My Book Stack Me Challenge

By Challenges No Comments

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.

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Love Songs & Fictional Couples

By For Every Occassion No Comments

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!

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Imaginary Snow Day

By For Every Occassion No Comments

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.

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Imaginary New Year

By For Every Occassion No Comments

Introducing “for every occasion”, the category of Imaginary Book Stack in which I imagine a book stack and its accompanying accessories, whether it be for my ideal imaginary first day of spring, summer camping adventure, snow day…whatever I’m dreaming up.

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Jo March

By Characters 11 Comments

To start this off, I had to begin with one of my all time favorite characters: Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  Despite, or perhaps because of, her flaws, Jo is the character almost all of us wanted to be. 

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