Tuesday, December 17, 2019

My Best of 2019*

We’re talking books, that is! This was an exciting year outside of the literary sense as well.

*Not necessarily published this year

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
Normal People
The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells (not the erotic novel with the same name)
Daisy Jones and the Six
Ask Again, Yes
Three Women
Disappearing Earth
Crossing to Safety
Tin Man
Women Talking
Night Boat to Tangier

With two weeks left in the year, there will be an update no doubt. Recommendations anyone? Happy reading to you and yours!

UPDATE: I forgot a great one I just saw in my bedside drawer. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday. So good!

Monday, September 23, 2019

A Vagabond Song by Bliss William Carman

“There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood— 
Touch of manner, hint of mood; 
And my heart is like a rhyme, 
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time. 

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry 
Of bugles going by. 
And my lonely spirit thrills 
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills. 

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir; 
We must rise and follow her, 
When from every hill of flame 
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.“

Encountered this brisk, first day of Fall.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Have Small Talk Anxiety

I am so conflicted about my high school reunion this weekend. 
There was a picture taken at our ten year reunion long ago, which we recently passed around our group text chain of ten. Five girls and five guys. 

The ten of us had wide, youthful smiles. Babies, really. Some of us married. Only one couple of the ten of us. Our eyes big and clear and looking ahead. The rest of our lives was out there waiting. We looked happy together.

The same ten from that ancient picture get together at least yearly. In the scheme of things and as rapidly as a year passes especially as we get older, I feel I just saw them. A mini-reunion every year.

This brings me to my inner conflict. 

“So what’s new?”

This question bugs me for some reason at my age and gives me great anxiety. If I haven’t seen you in one, five, twenty-five years and that’s the question you ask? 

I never know where to start so the only answer that comes to mind is, 

“Oh, you know. Status quo. Same old stuff!”

And of course, that’s not true. Tons of shit goes down daily. Who doesn’t if one has a family and responsibilities? Ask me something, anything, more specific!

There was a time where I was fabulously proficient at making idle chit-chat. I had to be because times called for it. But that was oh, so long ago.

Thinking of Saturday, I will be looking at a group of people I haven’t seen in years who are all going to ask me a variation of this same question. Or so it feels to me as I sit here contemplating what to do.

It fills me with anxiety. It just does. I already feel the “fight or flight” response kicking in.

So I asked my hair stylist while in her chair yesterday if I have to go. She said no.

I asked my husband, “Do I have to go to my reunion?”

“I don’t think so. Is it mandatory?”

No, it is not.

I asked three of my closest friends if I have to go. Same response from all of them in one fashion or another, do what I want.

The thing is, I am feeling guilty about it because I said I would go. I also paid $40. Which is nothing compared to the Uber fees I will incur riding to and from the city out to the venue.

It’s not a money thing really. It is an anxiety issue. Or at the very least a “I’d rather be doing anything else” feeling. It is sitting in my gut quite heavily.

For me, it’s about finding comfort and peace and being where my heart wants to be and that is not at my reunion this weekend with old classmates that I don’t keep in touch with because maybe we didn’t want to after all. 

It feels forced.

I will most probably see “The Ten” around the holidays. They will give me shit for not going and I will have a handful excuses on the tip of my tongue. And of course, they won’t buy what I am selling. But it will all be all right anyway.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Tuesday Edition)

I know. I know. It’s Tuesday!

Having an extremely hard time finishing books. Anything really. I am distracted. Wonderfully, horribly distracted. A little bit grumpy, too, if I am honest. Not really liking this combo, but what’s a girl to do? Read my way out of it?

I recently finished two books.

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

This was my book club’s selection. These book club members are teachers, psychologists, marketing content…I got distracted again…

This is what I emailed to a book friend yesterday describing this book:

“This was my book club’s pick. What a literary group they are! It’s like Mr. Bridge or Mrs. Bridge. Did you read those? Or Seinfeld. Nothing overly dramatic happens, but you’re glued to the mundane. It’s about relationships, marital and otherwise, day-to-day working academics, college professors, writing! All the things you love! It is wonderfully written. Kind of Stoner-esque without the sex. I enjoyed and found it incredibly compelling. I recommend!!!”

I will definitely tackle another Stegner. Boy, does he write characters well!

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

I decided to pick up this one because I very much liked Sunburn. I have had bunches of driving time lately, so listening to a thriller was in order and needed to balance out simultaneously reading Crossing to Safety, which requires treading carefully.

I found this one engaging and satisfying! Actually, I fell asleep last night listening to it through my pillow and had to replay a large chunk this morning. I was in a need to know now mood.

Newspaper columnists, forbidden relationships, a couple of murders, coverups and, of course, everyone manipulating everyone. 

Fairly light and exactly what I needed.

So now what?

I need to eat breakfast then exercise because my class reunion is this weekend. I also need to finish The Most Fun We Every Had by Claire Lombardo, which I set aside to read my book club selection. Halfway through and liking!

Looking for an audiobook recommendation to fill some time? Got any?

As always, I have a stack of books next to me. They give me comfort. I touch them a lot.

What are you reading these days? Anyone?

Hosted by The Book Date

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Are You Like Me?

Last night the sky was clear and deeply dark. In your world, too?
I saw its trail down the lake’s length from my bedroom window at about 2:00 (positionally, not the time) and ran down the pier illuminated like a runway, arms spread wide, into its glimmer.

It sure did look full. I knew that it wasn’t. Mother Nature was saving her last bit of waxing for tonight. 

And you better believe I will be out there. Sitting at the end of the pier. Maybe a glass of wine in hand. Maybe after having several. Definitely with bells on. 

So my question to you is this…
Do you do what I do? Do you look up at the moon and think about who else took the time to find it and think? Think about anything, or think about the people who would take the time to search it out? Think about who is connected to the same show?

You don’t know what you don’t know until you do.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

It’s 11:30 pm EST. I am heading to bed. Not alone.

Interesting to me just now was how or why I chose the book to bring with me. 

Both are new, within the last day or so. Both inside fifty pages. Both fifteen feet apart from one another.

I would like to say impulse or closest, but I think it is how one makes me feel.

Yeah, go with the feeling. And who would ever pick over a word like “gorgeous”.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Semantics Then Books

Quick question friends out in the ethers.

Today is Monday, The date doesn’t really matter.

If I were to say to you,

“Hey, I made a reservation at this fabulous taco joint next Thursday.”

Which Thursday do I mean?

Inquiring minds want to know…


I started Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller and loving it! Also knee deep into On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, and I think it will break my heart...just have that feeling.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Truth or Dare? (100-Word Challenge)

I thought about her as I was stirring awake today, a modern-day flower child. I have no idea why, but this part of the story is pure.

Only regarding her at length once before, she bebopped up next to me as I walked. Her hair held fresh blooms.

“Tell me a story.”

My mind was utterly paralyzed. 



The first words that came to my mind were these.

“Truth or dare?”


At first my weave was frantic, unsure. But softly I settled into a surprisingly elaborate web.

“Is this true?”

“I’m not sure. Does it sound real?”


This was written for Tara's 100-Word Challenge over at Thin Spiral Notebook. The word was "Speak" to be used in any form or inferred. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

What I Am Reading Now (June 3, 2019)

Hosted by The Book Date

Not here to make excuses, but life, yet again, has disrupted my would be reading time. A short list of those include: a deer, delayed flight, construction projects, puppy, prioritizing, self-motivation (Oops! Now that IS under my control).

So be it.

May I please be excused for is not dolling up this post with linked pictures/descriptions of the books? Some slack here is greatly appreciated.

What I recently finished:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

If you loved Conversations With Friends, which if you haven’t read it yet, drop everything right now and get on it, you will love Rooney’s latest. She is a master of quirky, authentic feeling relationships. The story takes place in Ireland between two teenagers from a small town, one wealthy and the other a housekeeper's son, who know each other though pretend not to…at first. The chemistry between them through the course of their formative and college years then adulthood is palpable. 5-stars all the way!!!

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I gave it a 3-star rating on Goodreads probably because it was a little draggy for me. It’s about complicated family dynamics, another culture, protecting our children. You know, the stuff that makes you want to read a story. Except, that it felt like a chore. Check out the Goodreads description (Okay, I lied. I added one link)  Maybe “It’s me, not you” kind of thing.

What I am currently reading/rereading:

Ask Again, Yes by Maribeth Keane

This Goodreads description accurately sums up what I know so far:

“A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness.”

Can’t find my Bluetooth earbuds so now the only thing I want to do is sit in my car all day.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

OH YEAH!!!!!!! 

One of my all-time favorite books/authors. I had the great fortune to hear him speak about his more recent A Gentleman in Moscow, which I also loved. He did address writing Rules albeit all too briefly! 

Anyway, he is fascinating!

And I NEVER reread books. Can’t remember the last one I did or where my original copy of Rules of Civility resides although I have a sneaking suspicion. So I picked up a signed paperback at the event and intend to start it tonight. 

Future plans include:

Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

After just receiving it in the mail, I’ll fill you in next week!

That’s it for me! I promise to be fancier next time.

But what about you? What are you reading or planning to read? I am always looking for recommended books from other avid readers.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Guess What?

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

I’m going to start writing again this summer.

And if I do not, please feel free to heckle the hell out of me!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Did Someone Say It's National Poetry Day?

Well then, HOORAY! 

I am thankful for the gorgeous one who introduced poetry to me, though I encountered my favorite on my own. 

I remember the exact Saturday in early September (It was 8:30 in the morning.) I remember precisely what I was doing (If you care to know, I was laying on my back in Millennium Park preparing for a 100 person community yoga class. My eyes were closed.) I remember exactly how it felt at that moment (The bright, Indian summer sun was warming my body. Anticipation.)

And this is when I heard it for the first time…

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles throughout the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

- Wild Geese by Mary Oliver