• Lists

    The Proper Care & Feeding of a Bookworm: the holiday edition

    gray notebook beside tealight candle
    Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

    As November winds down and the holiday season ramps up, I decided I would make a list for myself and share it for those who need a little extra care to get through to the end of the year.

    1. Gratitude – I listed this first because gratitude sets a lot of emotions back on course. Stopping to be thankful can change your focus. It’s not to pretend that what you’re feeling doesn’t matter but it does give you a break from the sadness, anger, grief, etc.
    2. Sleep – Coming from someone who used to run on very little sleep, I’ve realized how important it is for my health.
    3. Food/exercise – If you can’t do both, pick the one you can do marginally well and stick to it. When I’m struggling, I have a hard time with the exercise part so I focus on what I eat instead.
    4. Say no – I am terrible at saying no. As in, I have a sign on my body somewhere (haven’t found it yet) that advertises this. I have really been working on this though and it is making a big difference. Plus I feel better about the things I say “yes” to because I wanted to say yes.
    5. Ask for help – My husband fusses at me about this one all the time. I don’t ask for help until I’m imploding or exploding. Asking for help, with even mundane tasks, has helped me tremendously.
    6. See a therapist – See all of the above because I basically ripped off all this from him. But seriously, my therapist has been invaluable. Finding a good one can be a bit of trial and error so don’t give up if you don’t click with the first one.
    7. Quiet moments – Plant some flowers. Turn off the TV/the noise. Pray, meditate, etc. One of the best things I do for myself in the fall is planting pansies. I get an afternoon outside, in the quiet, and add some color to the dying leaves.
    8. Readobviously. I have been on a nonfiction binge this month which is strange for me. But I think this goes back to #1 – everyone has a story and reading nonfiction has let me look at life from other perspectives.
    9. Write – It doesn’t matter what or where. Writing has helped me a lot this fall.
    10. Social media – Comparison is the thief of joy. If all the perfect table settings and Christmas trees in your feed are leaving you feeling inadequate, cut back or take a break. This also frees up time for # 1-9. Win/Win.

    Lastly, don’t be afraid to look beyond this list.

    One of my biggest pet-peeves are the quotes about “running is my therapy” or “I knit so I don’t kill people”.  Those things and the activities on this list are not a cure-all and I will be the first to admit this. In the past I have ended up in real trouble with depression believing that running, diet changes, crafting, etc were enough. These things help but please ask a doctor for help if you’re still struggling. There is no shame in taking medication or getting intensive help.

    And please, if find yourself in a really bad space where you feel like hurting yourself there is help 24/7:

    National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

    UK

    Canada

    Australia

    Now I’m going to go back and read this list to myself another 50 times. Happy Holidays!

  • Book Reviews,  Writing

    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – a book review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Have you ever read a book and felt like you were reading a letter from a friend? Or listened to an audiobook and it seemed like a long conversation with a friend who moved away?

    That is what a book by Anne Lamott feels like. A letter from an old friend.

    I had been living under a rock because it took Amazon suggesting this book, after loading other books in my cart, for me to figure out who Anne was. Sure, I had seen some of her quotes floating around the interwebs but I didn’t realize she wrote books – really good books.

    November is probably my toughest month depression-wise. Everything is dying around me and even though fall comes every single year, it takes it’s bite out of me before winter comes. Couple that with some some other stressful situations completely out of my control and you get this super-fun November 2018.

    I try a lot of different things to feel better, most of them healthy, and I’m thankful that I started this blog a few months ago because writing for it has been one of the things to keep me afloat this month.

    I wrote last week about NaNoWriMo and that is going well so there’s another bright spot in the Month of Dead Leaves. In my preparation for it, I bought a few books on writing because let’s face it – I’m a numbers person with a degree in economics & finance. I sure sound super fun and interesting.

    Anne has very unique writing voice which is what made it feel conversational for me.

    Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and your shitty first draft. … Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California). – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

    Girl, I know. About the the perfectionism and people from California (like my husband).

    See what I mean?

    This book was about the writing process but wove in life, hard lessons, family, friends, and even religion. I appreciated her take on writing because it felt like a manual on writing for people who have a million things going on besides waking up, making coffee, and sitting down for the day to write: see yesterday’s post as exhibit 562.

    Her methods of observing life and capturing those moments have become a part of my daily thoughts and it’s made these tough weeks a little more fun and interesting.

    The last chapter was my favorite and I had my husband pausing a football game so I could read to him. He really loved it. No really, he did.

    The basics were this: avoid libel by changing details in your writing with the last detail being a tiny appendage. No one is coming forward claiming it was written about them if they have to admit to that last little part.

    I enjoyed this book immensely and I have since read another one of her books, Stitches, which I’ll review soon. Who would I recommend this book to? Anyone who is interested in writing and would enjoy a perspective from an author who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

    And that tiny appendage part? Since I read it to him, my husband and I have laughed multiple times about that and who I could write about.

    See, I told you that he loved it.

  • Writing

    Wednesday Words: the Karen edition

    coffee-cup-working-happy.jpg
    Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

    You know the old advice of wearing clean underwear just in case you’re in an accident? It’s next level when you just throw a sweatshirt on over your pajama shirt and leave the house.

    It starts off like any other day. Coffee and taking Chaney to school.

    Except it isn’t. I have precisely two days a year that everyone in my house goes to school or work but I’m off for a bank holiday. This is one of those rare days so I am wearing my pajamas for school drop off. I have big dreams of writing at home in my PJ’s all day. Alone.

    I make it home unscathed and celebrate by finishing a book. I’ll spare you all the details but while I was making breakfast my dogs managed to tear into a fifty pound Amazon box that contained their food. It was sitting in our study; the place I was going to write in peace all day.

    Dog food everywhere and a box that I cannot move means that my day is changing. I clean up the food and get ready to go out in public. Yes, this time I put a on a bra AND lip gloss.

    I head to Barnes & Noble and set myself up at a table. I order my coffee and decide writing here isn’t going to be so bad.

    Now someone is talking. We’ll call her Jane. She’s asking me if I can move because her group always sits at the table I’m currently occupying.

    Um sure, Jane.

    I certainly don’t want to start something at my local B&N. And maybe it’s a book club. That would make sense. They’re retired. It’s their routine.

    I move one table over and unpack again. By this time Jane, Cathy, and Sue have gathered and ordered their coffee.

    Karen is late. Jane finds this strange because Karen is never late but what a way to start their meeting – with one of them late.

    Definitely a book club. I wonder what book they will be discussing? This could be fun.

    Late Karen shows up. She explains that she was cooking a turkey and had to carve it.

    What?

    Jane, Cathy, and Sue share my confusion. Thanksgiving is 10 days away.

    All eyes are on Karen now as she explains that yes, she cooked and sliced the turkey today. It’s sitting out and cooling while she’s at this “meeting”. Once room temperature, she freezes the meat and then defrosts it Thanksgiving morning; her family has never noticed.

    KAREN.

    I fully admit to looking over at Karen with disdain. I am not alone in my outrage because, food safety. I take a moment to silently judge while her trio of friends all start talking at once.

    They are loud and hen pecking comes to mind.

    I stop writing and start reading a book. It’s easier to eavesdrop while reading the same page over and over.

    The scolding of Karen finally stops when her coffee is ready and she jumps when her name is called to pick it up. The conversation shifts to their Facebook feeds and did you see what so and so posted?

    Sue likes Facebook for finding recipes and now they are talking about recipes for Thanksgiving.

    Two things: I did not give up my table for a book club. And this recipe discussion is not going to go well for Karen.

    Sue tells everyone about a sweet potato dish that she made last year. Jane comments that it sounds wonderful and probably freezes well.

    JANE.

    I almost spit out my coffee and I know it’s time to go. As I’m packing up Jane thanks me for moving.

    Oh, I’m so glad I did and I’m so happy that I put on a bra for this.

    I smile and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.

    And good luck to you and your family, Karen. Because Jane is putting this shit on Facebook.

  • Bookish,  Lists

    Top Ten Tuesday: bookish wish list

    Today’s Top Ten, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl , is essentially a holiday wish list. I pretty much buy what I um, need so feel free to use this list for the reader in your life.

    1. Book cart – I have two of these and they are not only cute, they are useful. I use them to keep my to-be-read books organized, a place to hold and charge my iPad, and hold the occasional plant.
    2. Book totes – always handy. I love this banned books tote from Out of Print
    3. Enamel pins – I’m a big fan of enamel pins and these are so fun!
    4. Post-it notes – But not just any post-its. These Wizard of Oz notes came in my most recent Page 1. box and I have loved using them as I write.
    5. And speaking of Page 1… A monthly subscription book box is a great gift. Page 1. is my favorite out of the several I have tried.
    6. Bookplates – I’m big on putting these in my favorite books that I want to loan out. I also think they turn a book into a heirloom. Some of my books have old bookplates in them and they make the book unique knowing who loved it before.
    7. A favorite Little Golden Book – I found my favorite childhood one, The Poky Little Puppy, here. Fun fact: this puppy looks like a beagle and I now have two beagles.
    8. Clothing – if you know they love a certain book or series, there are tons of options. I have actually seen the full Handmaid outfit which is a bit much for me but this hooded sweatshirt is awesome.
    9. A donation of books in their name – if they have kids, their classrooms most likely have a classroom library. Teachers frequently come out of pocket for the books and this is a fantastic way to support local schools and teachers.
    10. When all else fails – a gift card to their favorite independent bookstore!

    This post does contain Amazon affiliate links. You pay no more for the item(s); I just receive a little extra money from Amazon to buy more books!

    What’s on your bookish wish list?

  • Bookish,  Lists

    Top Ten: the backlist edition

    aged antique book stack books
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    Happy Friday! Today’s list is the top ten backlist books I want to read. I tend to read a decent amount of them already but here are the ten that are high on my list, a.k.a I should buy them.

    1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – I actually already own this one so I should probably add it to my TBR stack soon. I typically enjoy plots that have twins and this one looks really good.
    2. The Name of Rose by Umberto Eco – I don’t remember where I saw this book for the first time but the plot summary sounds like an early version of the Da Vinci Code.
    3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I own this book and have started it and put it down a few times. I know it’s a great book; it’s just been a little hard to get into at first.
    4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – The cover alone makes me want to read this one. I have a pretty good track record picking books based on their cover art so I should probably go ahead and “invest” in this one.
    5. A List of Cages by Robin Roe – This one has been on my list for awhile. The subject matter is supposed to be tough which is probably why I have been putting it off.
    6. Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon – The cover alone is pretty awesome. The synopsis seems even better and also very important.
    7. Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West – “Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.” I should probably read this one ASAP.
    8. A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr – I have had this little book forever. I was reminded of it when it popped up in an author’s interview as one of their favorite novellas.
    9. The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor – published in 1982 and currently lives on my Kindle.
    10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – Listing this one is a bit of a cheat as I’m 25% of the way into this one. I put it down and need to pick it back up again.

    What backlist books are on your to-be-read list? Or what are a few of your favorite backlist books?

%d bloggers like this: