quick lit – next page, please {october 2020}

I mentioned in my October What I’m Into post that I’m leaning into the weirdness and mystery that is this time of year. I am no longer trying to stave off the desire to be in the dark, both physically and metaphorically. To that end, I selected a few books that are generally outside of my comfort zone. One was my first book in the horror genre! I was listening to October 29th episode of Laura Vanderkam’s podcast, The New Corner Office, and she mentioned that one of the reasons people are drawn to horror is that “it is an over-the-top manifestation of some things we already encounter in real life: fright, anxiety, dread.” Well, ain’t that the truth?

And I reached my Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge goal of reading 40 books! Yay!

Read

  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This book was a lot of what I hoped that it would be when Anne told me about it on my episode of What Should I Read Next. It dealt with serious themes but in an entertaining way. I read it in two sittings.
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren. I was browsing my bookshelves (does any one do this besides me?) and saw this romance that I had gotten early in the pandemic. It was a quick, easy read and I read it in one sitting. I think I might have liked it if it hadn’t turned two of the main characters, based on Chip and Joanna Gaines, into adulterous and manipulative people. And, of course, I kept picturing Chip and Joanna which just didn’t seem right. Thanks to Snail on the Wall for the advanced reader’s copy.
  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. I can’t say enough good things about this book and if I have had a conversation with you recently, I have probably already told you about this. The first few chapters alone were worth the price of the book. I was introduced to it by Brenè Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, and if you are interested in the content but don’t feel like reading the book, you can gain some nuggets from Brown’s interview of Emily and Amelia.
  • Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth. This was my horror pick! I started it not knowing if I would be able to finish it – it’s horror, after all. While I did not enjoy the story that much, Danforth’s writing was amazing. I started it on audio, read by the brilliant narrator Xe Sands. After listening for a while, I had to see the words on the page and I was able to download an advanced digital copy (thanks Snail on the Wall) to note the sentence structure and how Sands translated that in her reading of the text. It was appropriately spooky for the season. Thanks to Libro.fm for the Advanced Listener’s Copy.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. I LOVED this fantasy! I read the first half in one sitting and was so nervous to read the rest and because I wanted to fully experience it, I didn’t do what I normally do and read the ending first. I was sustained in this because my friend, Kari, told me that she thought I would be OK with the ending. I was and Addie is easily a contender for my best books of 2020.

Currently Reading

DNF’d (Did Not Finish Reading)

Anticipated Reading

  • Hmm, I don’t think I’m anticipating anything right now. I need to do something about this! Any suggestions?

If you are a member of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, be sure to check out Anne’s interview with Alix Harrow. If you’re not a member, join the fun.

And as usual, Anne does a Quick Lit post every month discussing what she is currently reading, to which I am linking this post. If you’re here because of her, I thank you and I thank her.

As Anne would say, “Happy Reading”!

enjoy life…

what i’m into – keeping me sane {October 2020}

what i'm into - keeping me sane {october 2020}

October is a weird month for me emotionally.  In Alabama, it’s doing the “is it summer; is it fall” thing but there are days that are very winter-esque which doesn’t bode well for my psyche. But I am reimplementing last year’s plan with a caveat: to hibernate as much as possible this winter, which with COVID will be pretty easy for me.  But instead of just hibernating, I am attempting to lean into the weirdness of this time of year and embracing what is coming.

At the beginning of the month, I was feeling very overwhelmed and unorganized with work, educating at home, my writing, etc. So I watched a few videos on YouTube about productivity which sent me down a rabbit hole of productivity gurus, books to read, etc. Did you know that there are ways to get more done and organize your task list, email, etc. and that these ways are systematic?

The first step is to take all of your to do’s (all of them) out of your head and onto a Task Management system, which could be an app or a bullet journal.  I had a bullet journal in 2019 but stopped using it for some reason; I can’t tell you why.  Well, I have brought back the bullet journal and have really harnessed the power of Apple Reminders and that’s been a great change for me.  Right now, I’m am trying to decide if I should have one Task Management System for everything or split my tasks and systems by my life areas: work, daily life, writing, etc.  If anyone has any ideas, pop ‘em in the comments below. After I figure that out, the next step is selecting a calendar to use and I have the same question: one main one or different ones for different life areas?

Since I was feeling very much overwhelmed I decided to declare Fall Break for the Buddy Man.  I had initially thought that we didn’t need one, but he was trying hard not to throw temper tantrums at the idea of having school AGAIN the last few days and I was throwing my own temper tantrums in the bathroom where he couldn’t see me.  So as teacher, principal, and the Board of this particular school, I declared a week of Fall Break.  I also took a day off work.  And I do mean a complete day; I didn’t check email, Slack, etc., I turned off notifications and I read books.  It was awesome.

Speaking of books, my selections this month have reflected my intentionality this season to lean into the strangeness but I will talk about that in my Quick Lit post in a couple of weeks.

I also ran my first virtual race this year, the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run. I beat my anticipated time by almost 5 minutes! I couldn’t believe it!

I voted early!

That’s a good summation of what I have been up to.  Let me know what’s been keeping you sane in the comments and if you have a post on your blog, summing up your month, feel free to link to it below.  We will do it again next month,  Wednesday, December 2.

enjoy life…

quick lit – next page, please {september 2020}

Quick Lit - Next Page , Please {September 2020}

I read so much this month. I really surprised myself. I am 9 books ahead of schedule in my goal to read 40 books this year. I have only have 2 more left to reach my goal.

On the other hand, my Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge is not going nearly as well. I have only read 6 of the 10 categories and am missing the following: (1) a book by a local author-I’m not sure how to categorize this-local in my city or my state, (2) a book in translation-does British English to American English count? (3) A book nominated for an award in 2020 and (4) a classic you didn’t read in school.

Here’s what I read last month and what I am currently reading now.

Read

  • The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. This was THE pick from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. And I liked it; didn’t love it but I did like it. The storyline was a bit more serious so it wasn’t a light-hearted read that I expected but I did like it and am happy to have read it.
  • The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley. This book imagines the life of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter, Anne, whom we know next to nothing except that she is sickly. Well, Greeley, fills in those gaps for you and gives us an idea of what might have happened when she didn’t wed Darcy. It was very interest. Thanks to William Morrow for the Advanced Reader’s Edition.
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I have finished my reread of this one. And will probably read it again.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I identified with the main character, Nora Seed, I have not experienced anything like the death of parent, the total estrangement of a sibling, or my cat dying but I did once have a sense of an overall dissatisfaction, a malaise, with my life and some of the choices that I believed had led me to that point. I have dealt with guilt and regret which are teh true villains in this story. I enjoyed this tale of Nora moving from regret to acceptance and the lessons Haig teaches on the journey. I plan on rereading this again at some point. I have also added one of his backlist, How to Stop Time, to my TBR. Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reader’s digital copy.
  • Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams. I love the premise of the Bromance Book Club series; a bunch of guys get together to read romance novels to help them with their relationships with their spouses/significant others. Can’t wait for #4. Thanks to Snail on the Wall via Edelweis for the advanced reader’s digital copy.
  • What You Wish For by Katherine Center. She joined Brene Brown at a virtual event and said that people mistakenly believed that Katherine Center was Brene Brown’s pen name for writing fiction. I had to admit that the thought had occurred to me as well. Her stories often deal with issues of vulnerability and forgiveness. While I liked this novel, my favorite of her’s is still Happiness for Beginners. Thanks to Netgally for the advanced reader’s digital copy. Just took me a while to get to it.
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is my first novel-in-verse. I don’t really count myself as a poetry girl but I really enjoyed this one. And she was delightful when she joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club last month.

Currently Reading

  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Anne’s pick from my time as a guest on the What Should I Read Next podcast and the current pick of the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. I am halfway through it with just one sitting so, yeah, it’s good!
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This is the classic that I didn’t read that everyone tells me I will just love. I started giving it a go last month and haven’t really made much progress. We will see but I don’t know if I’m going to finish since I have another book in my mind for that classic category.

DNF’d (Did Not Finish Reading)

  • A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro. Charlotte is the sister of Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorite fictional characters but, at some point, you have to decide whether a book is for you at this time or not. I read the first few chapters and if I didn’t have so many anticipated reads I might have finished it. A book for another time, perhaps.
  • Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. I started this on audio. I had it in my head that these were short stories from Tom Hank’s life and I don’t think that was the case. I read/listened to the first two stories and then had to return it to library.
  • Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga #5) by Stephenie Meyer. This is a very thick hardback (and I generally like my fiction the shorter side) and it is in demand at my local library so I was unable to finish it before I had to return it. I don’t know if I am particularly interested in finishing it. After all, I know how the story ends.

Anticipated Reading

Check out the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club if you need some more reading inspiration. If you are a member of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, you can check out Anne’s interview with the delightful Elizabeth Acevedo here. If you’re not a member, join the fun.

Anne also does a Quick Lit post every month discussing what she is currently reading, to which I am linking this post. If you’re here because of her, I thank you and her.

What have you been reading lately?

enjoy life…