Sunday, October 22, 2017

Readathon Update #6

CURRENTLY READING: I just wrapped up The Fever by Megan Abbott

THOUGHTS?: While the ending to the book felt a touch forced and rushed, I still enjoyed the story.

SNACKS AND STUFF: There were tasty cookies.


Thus ends my readathon. My eyes are getting droopy so I'm calling it a night. See you all at the next readathon!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Readathon Update #5

CURRENTLY READING: The Fever by Megan Abbott

THOUGHTS?: This book started out as just okay... then I read 86 pages without even realizing it. I guess that shows my enjoyment.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Started my evening with an Octoberfest with sports on in the background. (Go Notre Dame! Go Washington Capitals!)

Then The Husband made us an excellent surf and turf dinner.

There was a salad in there somewhere, too.


Readathon Update #4

CURRENTLY READING: I am about to start The Fever by Megan Abbott.

THOUGHTS?: I finished The Night World (great illustrations) and The Geometry of Pasta (by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy). The pasta book was fantastic. While I don't think it works that well as a cookbook (lacking in pictures and direction), it was a wonderful compendium about the different pasta shapes, their history, and what foods work best with each type.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I put away the lunch spread. The Husband will be making dinner in the near future. We're going to have surf and turf!


Readathon Update #3

CURRENTLY READING: I finally finished The Story of a New Name. I am now going to start The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

THOUGHTS?: The Story of a New Name took me a lot longer to finish than I thought it would. It was a bit dense at times, but I can't wait to start the third book in the series.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Still munching on the lunch spread.


Readathon Update #2

CURRENTLY READING: Still working on The Story of a New Name

THOUGHTS?: Still good but man am I a slow reader today.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I just laid out our lunch spread. Noms.


Readathon Update #1

CURRENTLY READING: I'm about halfway through The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante.

THOUGHTS?: I read the first book in the series while we were on vacation in Italy. I started this one as soon as we got back. I now see why everyone raves about these stories. They have an addictive quality. I can't put my finger on just what it is, but I am enjoying this book immensely.

SNACKS AND STUFF: The Husband and I dined on breakfast. I made a banana bread baked oatmeal. There was also more coffee.

My coffee is guarded by a dragon. Her name is Bubbles.


It is on!

Good morning! It's readathon time and I could not be more excited. The coffee just finished brewing so I am about to fuel up and kick of this glorious day. Nothing says relaxing Saturday to my like a great excuse to stay in my jammies, curl up on the couch, and read all day. All day!

Before I get to the reading, here are my answers to the opening meme.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Washington, DC... where the weather happens to be perfect. I may need to head up to our roof deck to enjoy the weather as I read.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Geometry of Pasta. It's a cookbook that has been on my TBR since it was published.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? The smorgasbord I put out for lunch. There is cheese. Mmmmm.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a librarian, food lover, and fan of exploring interesting things.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I can't even remember how many readathons I have participated in, but I now like I how I do them. I read what I want to read. Eat what I want to eat. And update when and where I feel like it. I call it my chill method.
Now, I've got my kick-off snack, cup o' joe, and my first book.

Let's do this!*

Check back here or on my Instagram feed throughout the day for updates.

*If you're wondering what the heck this readathon thing is, you can see all the details here.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Friday Find: Cozy Socks

Readathon is tomorrow and I am very excited. One of the side benefits of readathon is that it's a great excuse to stay in your pajamas all day. Part of my PJs are my beloved slipper socks. I love slipper socks because they are warm, fuzzy, and some of them even come infused with lotion to make your feet feel like your're at the spa.

These slipper socks are not only shea butter infused but they are also lavendar scented. Excuse me while I buy myself a pair... or two. They are the perfect thing to keep your fee comfy during a marathon reading session.

You can find these on Amazon.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Links and Stuff: October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Three Day Countdown

Readathon is on Saturday. We've got three days to go and I am almost ready.

On Monday, I put in my holds requests at the library. Since all of the books I requested had no wait list, I was sure they'd be waiting for me in 36 hours. Yeah.... no. I just got the pick-up notice on two of them today. Fingers crossed the rest of the titles come in before I head to the library tomorrow after work. If they don't, I might be trolling my own shelves for readathon appropriate books. That's going to be a hard task because I seem to have only non-fiction items left and I prefer to read fiction during readathon.

Snacks wise (and let's be honest, the food is just as important), we're sticking to the tried-and-true meal plan I've followed during past readathons. I'll have a kick-off snack, breakfast will be a hot dish (I'm thinking this banana break baked oatmeal from one of my favorite food blogs), lunch is a smorgasbord of vegetables and cheeses, and dinner will either be delivery or whatever The Husband whips up.

As has been working for me lately, I'm going to take the chill track on readathon itself. I'll post when I wanna post (both here and on my Instagram), eat when I wanna eat, and sleep when I wanna sleep. Even though The Husband and I got back from our vacation not too long ago, I am super-excited for a day a home devoted to nothing but reading.... and a little watching for sports as both my Notre Dame Irish and Washington Capitals have games scheduled... at the same time. The Husband will be flipping back and forth between the games for me.

Is it Saturday yet?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

What I Read This Week: October 15, 2017

Hello there! It's been three weeks since I posted my reading, and this list is surprisingly short. Then
again, the reason it's short is that I spent most of my time since the last update travelling. The Husband and I had a fantastic trip to Italy, but man does recovering from the jet lag on the trip back hit my hard.
  • Books
    • I started and finished the first novel in Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan series. I thought My Brilliant Friend was a perfect read for our trip. I enjoyed the story so much that as soon as I came home, I started the second book in the series.
Readathon is this coming Saturday, and I am very excited to have a much longer list of reading to post next week. Also, I'm uber-excited to just sit around reading all day.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Friday Find: Keep Your Space

After my post earlier this week about bookmarks, I decided to troll through Etsy to see if I could find a bookmark that struck my fancy. This celestial bookmark might just be lovely enough for me to buy.

You can find it in the AsmothDaeva Etsy shop.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Links and Stuff: October 12, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why I Love... New Bookmarks

While The Husband and I were on vacation, I did something that I have not done in a very long time. I bought a new bookmark. It's nothing fancy - just that thick strip of paper that you usually see in a museum shop - but I love it. This bookmark has a picture of my favorite statue in the world.

As a librarian, bookmarks seem to find me. They show up in tote bags or are given to me by vendors. Some bookmarks arrive with book orders. Other bookmarks are just handed to me by folks I know because, "Here! You like to read." Sometimes I think they just appear out of thin air because there are some bookmarks in my small stash that I have no memories of acquiring. Some of these bookmarks I keep, love, and use but most end up in the recycling bin.

Bookmarks are always easy for me to get, but rarely do I buy one. When I buy a new bookmark, it's because it means something to me. There is something special about how it looks or where it came from. In this case, The Husband and I had a fabulous trip to Italy and I wanted something small to remember our days in Rome by. I'm glad I can now use this little memento to remind me of our trip and my favorite statue.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Blog Update: Hiatus

The Husband and I are off on vacation for the next few weeks. Our plane leaves in a few hours and I'm still debating if I brought enough reading material. #readerproblems

Regular posts will resume when we get back.

Happy reading!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Friday Find: Wrapped in Austen

This is one gorgeous (and subtle) Pride and Prejudice scarf. This scarf would be so beautiful with so many outfits. I had not idea literature style could be so chic.

You can find this in the Book Riot Store.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Links and Stuff: September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deciding on Vacation Reading?

What do you take to read on vacation?

This is always the hardest part of packing for me. Deciding on clothing, shoes, and toiletries is the easy part. Frankly, I'm the type who could live in the same jeans or dress for three days at a time. But what the heck do I bring with me to read? What book (or books) could possibly encompass all my reading needs whilst I am away? What book (or books) is long enough to get me through the entirety of my vacation? These are just some of the questions I ask myself when I'm packing up my bags.

It's a process we bookworms all go through and, boy, can it get messy.

Step 1: What is on my nightstand right now?
I, usually, only read one personal book at a time. This means there is only one book in progress on my nightstand. I always try to finish this book a day or two before I head out on vacation so that I can start fresh. If, however, that is not possible, the nightstand book is a candidate for vacation. To make the cut, my nightstand book has to be at least 350 pages long and less than 50% complete. If travelling by car, it can be any type of binding. If travelling by plane, I will only take a paperback.

If the book is long enough to get me through a short vacation, the nightstand book will be the only book I pack. If it's not long enough, we're on to the next phase.

Step 2: How much do I think I will read?
This is a complicated question. I will read while travelling by plane, but I never read when travelling in a car... unless I know I will be in the backseat the whole time. If I'm heading off to visit family or friends I will read much less than if I'm travelling solo or with The Husband.

The vacation destination plays a HUGE role as well. Week on the beach? I'm reading a lot. Foreign travel and/or seeing lots of sights and doing lots of things? My reading will be limited to the in-transit moments and nights.

I tend to read fiction while on vacation so I know I'll read that faster. But! I have been known to take non-fiction when travelling domestically. I try to estimate my page speed against how many days/hours I plan on reading my chosen material.

Once I have a general idea of how much time I think I'll have to read, I start thinking about mood.

Step 3: What will I be in the mood to read?
As a mood reader this one can be hard to predict. I have, however, learned over the years that I enjoy certain kinds of books with certain kinds of locations. Travelling to family basically means picking whatever looks good at the moment. Going to the beach? Give me all the door-stopper sized fiction please! When I head abroad, I tend to love books that feel like or relate to my destination.

Now that we have estimated pages read and the mood I'm in, we can start to pick out our titles.

Step 4: Grab all the books!
Yes. All of them. I rampage my shelves (and sometimes the library) grabbing titles I think will be a good fit for my timeline, activity level, and destination.

Sadly, I do not own a Mary Poppins bag so reality comes in to play.

Step 5: Reassess my options.
Okay, so I have this pile of books, and they clearly won't all fit in to my bag. What's a reader to do? Well, this reader likes to go for balance. I will pick one book I am reasonably sure meets all my needs and will last for the majority of my vacation. Then, I pick a back-up book. Sometimes I pick a third.

But that's it! (*tosses long-form magazine like The Atlantic on to pile for good measure*)

Step 6: Pack
This is my last chance to consider my options. My nightstand read or first book choice go in to my carry-on bag. The other books go in to the suitcase. Unless! My first choice is thin. Then the second choice book also goes in to the carry-on.

Step 7: Doubt
If there is any space at all left in my bag, I will consider adding another book. You know... just in case. I will then also wonder if bringing a library book is a good idea. Inevitably, I'll decide it's not and take any library books out of my bags. Then I find myself repeating Steps 4 through 6 all over again.

Step 8: Leave and wonder if I packed enough books which is an absurd question because I have never once run out of reading material. Not once. Ever.

The Husband and I are headed out on vacation on Saturday and I'll be bringing the first book Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan series with me. I will also bring the second book in the series as a back-up. But do I bring the third as well? Hmmm...

Of course, I could just use the old Nook reader we have lying around and load it up with many, many titles... but where's the fun in that? #teamdeadtreebooks

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book 20: Hand Lettering 101

TITLE: Hand Lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering
AUTHOR: Chalkfulloflove
STARTED: September 1, 2017
FINISHED: Septmeber 1 ,2017
PAGES: 112
GENRE: Handwriting

FIRST SENTENCE: My background is in graphic design and one of my favorite parts of design is typography or just "type"!

SUMMARY: [From BN] If you follow Chalkfulloflove (also known as Sarah!) on social media, you and thousands of others already know how adorable her hand-lettered creations are. With Hand Lettering 101, Sarah brings her fabulous Hand Lettering 101 workshop right to you with this beginner workbook! In this book, you will go over the basics on how to learn Sarah's fun style of faux calligraphy. This book will guide you through each letter of the lower case alphabet, go over her technique behind connecting letters, give tips on how to mix and match your fonts, and finally lead you to make six finished projects! This is an introduction, so no experience is needed! Since practice is key, this gold spiral bound workbook lays flat and provides tons of opportunities for practice! Chalkfulloflove was created to encourage, inspire and make you giggle, so just pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in to start your own unique, adorable lettering creations!

THOUGHTS: This book is most definitely a 101. The lessons are incredibly basic and so is the information. That said, the contents are well-presented. The introductory and theory material are a good crash-course in hand lettering. The examples and lessons are straightforward and the examples are easy to follow. The spiral binding makes this book quite useful when it comes to practice. As a beginner in hand lettering, I look forward to referring to this book during my practice.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What I Read This Week: September 17, 2017

You know what I want to do? I want to spend all day reading Hillary Clinton's new book. But I can't. First, I don't own it... yet. Second, real life gets in the way. Instead, I read far too many reviews and hot takes about the release and her book tour. At least I know what I'm tracking down after my vacation.

Of course, What Happened is just one book at the top of my reading list. I have so many titles that look just awesome and I can't wait to read them and gah all I want to do is read and read and read thank goodness readathon is coming soon so I have an excuse to read all day which is no excuse for this horror of a sentence but I'm so excited for reading who needs punctuation...

  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, September 2017 - This was a fantastic issue! It was all about community collaboration and internal collaboration. The whole issue seemed to argue that we need to say yes to more things and try to reach out to others. It was all about partnerships and I loved it. More please!
  • Magazines
    • Cooking Light, October 2017 - My love of fall issue food magazines continues. This edition was chock full of tasty looking recipes that are perfect for fall. I particularly loved all the recipes involving beans. The Husband and I are trying to eat less meat so I am on the lookout for any tasty look vegetarian meals. In addition to the good looking food, there was a great article about to eat more healthfully so you get nutrients while feeling fuller longer. 
  • Books
    • I think my quest to finish Feral before our vacation might be successful. I put a pretty big dent in the book this week. One way or another, I am finishing this book in the next five days.
  • Other

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Friday Find: Book Jockey

Fall is nearly here. I am dreaming of walks to the library with a scarf around my neck and warm beverage in my hand. The trees are rustling in the cool breeze and the leaves are falling around my feet. All I need to do is load up my bag with books and I'll be all set for a wonderful weekend of reading, football, and hygge. Yes. I want this. 

If you're with me, this bag might be right up your alley.

You can find this in the GalaxyPrint Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why I Love... Bookstagram

It's a gray, dreary day in DC. It's the perfect kind of weather for comforting, indoor activities. Tonight, I think I shall spend a few minutes scrolling through Instagram. I love seeing all the pictures my friends take, but I also adore taking a look at the #bookstagram hashtag.

If you ever want to get your reading mojo back or just look at what other bookworms are posting, head over to Instagram and search #Bookstagram. Book lovers all over the world have taken pictures of their books and reading activities. This hashtag is full of great covers, delightful shelves, comfy nooks, and "aesthetics." I've been seriously impressed by the photography skills to be had in this hashtag. The lighting and staging of photos are simply wonderful.

#Bookstagram pictures are pretty to look at, but they're also a great way to see some titles you might otherwise miss. I've discovered some great book (particularly YA titles) when perusing this search. I've also found more than one bookstore or library I need to add to my places to visit list.

#Bookstagram is seriously one my favorite things to peruse when I have some moments. It's one of the good rabbit holes of the internet. Happy scrolling!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Book 19: Theory of Spencerian Penmanship

TITLE: Theory of Spencerian Penmanship
AUTHOR: The "Spencerian Authors"
STARTED: August 18, 2017
FINISHED: August 20, 2017
GENRE: Handwriting

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Present Publisher's Preface] Platt Rogers Spencer grew up loving graceful lines and beautiful writing.

SUMMARY: [From Amazon] This book explains how all the letters can be made gracefully and rapidly using various combinations of a few basic pen strokes. It explains Spencer's philosophy of teaching principles which engage the mind as well as the hand. It also details his methods for teaching classes of children. One of these is having the children write rhythmically, in concert, as the teacher counts. The power of this method is being rediscovered today.

THOUGHTS: Goodness me! I am a huge fan of this style of penmanship but, man, did this theory book feel snooty. It actually breaks down everything nicely, but the writing is so old school it's not hard to imagine bored kids sitting at desk reciting lessons by rote.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Sunday, September 10, 2017

What I Read This Week: September 10, 2017

Guess who walked 13 miles on the holiday Monday. This girl! (And The Husband.) We had planned on just walking down to Roosevelt Island and hiking around the island for a bit (5.5 miles). We did do that, but we then tacked on walking from Roosevelt Island to the Tenleytown neighborhood of DC for a tasty Mexican lunch and errands (4.5 more miles). We then walked 3 more miles home. It was a jam packed day but the weather was too pretty to be inside.

One thing I love about DC is that we can, generally, walk almost everywhere. The Husband and I consider walking distance to be anything within 3 miles, but if the weather is good we'll basically walk everywhere. It's great for the health but it does do a number on my shoes. I've walked holes into many of them.

  • Work
    • It's been a while since I posted about this, but I'm slowing working my way through Digital Imaging. It's turning out to be quite useful as I draft our plans for a digitization program.
  • Magazines
    • HGTV, October 2017 - This issue had pretty pictures. That's about it.
    • Food Network, October 2017 - I generally love it when the fall issues of food magazines come out. They are full of comforting casseroles, soups, and stews. This issue had a few nice looking recipes of that sort, but I most enjoyed the features on tailgate snacks and Halloween party themed foods. I might be able to use some of those (with a few festive tweaks) for our annual Christmas party.
  • Books
    • I'm still reading Feral. The writing is very good and so is the narrative, but man does it take me forever to get through non-fiction. I'm aiming to finish this before we go on vacation at the end of the month.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Friday Find: Wreath

There is a nip in the air in DC. Fall is nearly here! This time of year, I always think about how I can adapt my home to become more autumnal. Usually, I just adjust our throw blankets... but this year, I am contemplating adding a wreath to our front door. This book page wreath just screams fall to me.

You can find this in the ShadowCatCrafts Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Monday, September 04, 2017

Book 18: Botanical Line Drawing

TITLE: Botanical Line Drawing: 209 Step-by-Step Flowers, Leaves, Cacti, Succulents, and Other Items Found in Nature
AUTHOR: Peggy Dean
STARTED: August 7, 2017
FINISHED: August 7, 2017
PAGES: 216

FIRST SENTENCE: Welcome to botanical line drawing!

SUMMARY: [From BN] Line Drawing is an easy art form featuring illustrative, doodle-like designs. It's used widely among artists of many types with both fine and bold lines, creating different variations. This book walks through drawing very simple doodles, into more elaborate, delicate illustrations, and is easy to follow for all skill levels.

THOUGHTS: This book is full of great illustrations that offer many different kinds of botanicals. Each example is easy to follow and I can't wait to start drawing these. The downsides of the book are that the printing is a touch pixelated and I wish each botanical was identified.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, September 03, 2017

What I Read This Week: September 3, 2017

Hello three day weekend! You are much welcome here. This past week was the first week back with students. It's always kind of crazy at work. At least I got to have fun with GIFs on our social media accounts.

Outside of the office, our fantasy football league's draft was this week. I did not do great... but I don't care cause it means that football is almost back... which means that hockey is almost back. Hooray!

  • Work
    • American Libraries, September/October 2017 - This is the annual library decision issue. It's a favorite of mine because I love seeing all the different ways libraries can be designed, built, and decorated. There was a great short piece on how libraries are using their maker-spaces to teach repair in our throwaway society. (An awesome idea!) This issue also included yet another story on the opioid crisis and libraries. I think it bears repeating that libraries are on the front lines of this nationwide issue.
  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, September 2017 - As much as I love NatGeo, I always find myself blase reading the issues that focus on medical things. The cover story on addiction wasn't bad, it
      just wasn't my cup of tea. I did, however, like the piece on the gorilla community protected by Dian Fossey and the look at how they're surviving today. There was also a great story about how the communities on the Baja Peninsula are protecting their waters. 
    • Real Simple, September 2017 - I was very disappointed in the cover story. It focused more on one family then general organization tips. I did, however, really like the story on noise pollution and how we can reduce hearing damage. I also liked the interview with a general contractor. As someone who is in the market to buy a place, I have a feeling that knowledge will come in handy one day. Finally, there
      was a great story about discovering the history of an old house as it was remodeled.
    • The Atlantic, September 2017 - I was surprised that the cover story was at the back of the magazine. No matter. It was a great look at how we arrived at our current political climate. I love how the author looked at previous generations and moments in US history to show the road-map to today's chaos and "fake news" your-feelings-are-your-truth era. In addition to the cover story, there was a fantastic piece on the problems of plea-bargaining in our justice system. That should be a must-read for everyone (particularly those in government and law). The article on how smartphones are ruining a generation has been bouncing around the zietgeist since it came out online. All I can say is, I'm not surprised at the findings but parenting might be the solution here.
  • Books
    • I'm about halfway through Feral. The writing on this book is simply amazing and the author's thesis is becoming clearer. I'm trying to find some time to settle in with this book for a longer reading session. Something about it just screams, "Read me while drinking tea and curled up on the couch!"

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Friday Find: Fit Together

It's supposed to be a gray and rainy weekend in DC. Excellent weather for building a puzzle! I like this reading room dome mini-puzzle from the Library of Congress.

You can buy this from the LOC shop.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Links and Stuff: August 31, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why I Love... Syllabus Week

The students are back on campus and, boy, does that make me happy. While I love the summer months because we can finish major projects (like moving HUGE collections) with minimal disruptions, I absolutely adore that time of year when our students come back.

I love syllabus week because students come to the library eager for a new (or their first) semester. There's a sense of positivity and possibility that does not occur at other points in a year. Syllabus week is fantastic because it means the library is back in action. There are books to be collected, articles to be found, and new study areas to scope out.

A library needs people to come to life. Sure, we can much of our jobs online these days, but the heart of an academic library is the pulse of the students. They fill the tables, browse the shelves, and ask questions at the desk. Their actions give the library a sense of purpose. Their needs offer a renewed sense of direction.

Syllabus week is the best time of the year because there's no sense of stress from papers and projects or dread of deadlines. Instead, the library is alive with curiosity and wonder. Just as it should be.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

YouTube Tuesday: Accompany

Classes at my university started this week. It seemed a good time to share a video that might make long reading even more enjoyable.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Book 17: Before The Fall

TITLE: Before the Fall
AUTHOR: Noah Hawley
STARTED: July 12, 2017
FINISHED: August 6, 2017
PAGES: 391
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: A private plane sits on a runway in Martha's Vineyard, foreword stairs deployed.

SUMMARY: [From BN] On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs—the painter—and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members—including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot—the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage. Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

THOUGHTS: I put this book on my list because it was getting rave reviews and the story seemed interesting. The story ended up being enjoyable (if somewhat existential) but now that I'm done reading it, the book has flittered away from memory. While reading this book, I was very into the plot and the characters. I want to see what would happen; I want to see how these flawed people would react; I wanted to see how all the plot lines would wrap up. I even spent a solid hour on the couch one afternoon finishing the final 50 pages. But, once I finished the book, it had no staying power. I simply added it to the pile of books that needed to back to the library and went about my merry way.

As intriguing as the story is, I think the book gets a bit dense and philosophical for what is, essentially, a beach read. It's a thriller that has digressions on philosophy and what it means to be a survivor or human going through a dramatic period. It pits individual peoples life choices against one another but, because the book feels like the plot of a thriller, it doesn't all quite work together. I wish the author had picked one style: beach read or look at human nature... not both.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, August 27, 2017

What I Read This Week: August 27, 2017

I had so many meetings this week that I honestly thought Friday was Wednesday. It's very rare that my week gets stacked with meetings so, when it does, it really throws off my mental schedule. On the upside, however, I end up being super productive because I hyper focus during that time I have between meetings. I was shocked by just how many things I was able to accomplish this week. Huzzah!

Also, the weather took a turn for the gorgeous this week. I spent most of my lunch time walking around campus just to enjoy the sunshine and cool breezes. I cannot wait for fall to get here... bring on the scarfs!

  • Magazines
    • Cooking Light, September 2017 - This issue was notable for two reasons. First, the magazine has a completely new look in terms of layout and design. I liked it! There is more white space, recipes are organized better, and it's a generally cleaner and fresher look. Second, they've added new columnists whose content I enjoyed. In terms of feature articles, I liked the pieces on snacking and eating as a family. Finally, I might have saved over half of the recipes to try later. Great issue!
    • Washingtonian, September 2017 - The cover story was about the best new restaurants. I was underwhelmed. It was short and not much was detailed about the restaurants or their menu. There were two pieces, however, that I really liked in this
      issue. The first was on local newscaster Jim Vance. He passed away recently, but his impact on the area was great so it was nice to read a retrospective. The second piece was about two dads who walked around the DC Beltway. That was a great story because it gave such insights to what lies just off the main path.
  • Books
    • I think I'm making decent progress in Feral considering it is a non-fiction book. The writing is fantastic and I get the point the author is making but, so far, his thesis is subtle. I hope there is a call to action before the final chapter.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Friday Find: Snail Mail

I love sending snail mail to people. These days the contents of mailboxes tend to be boring or transactionary. I like to add a spark with an occasional card that was sent for no reason at all. This card is adorable and I just may have to add it to my collection.

You can find this card in the SquidInkArtMelbourne Etsy shop.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Variations on a Theme: Productive

School is back in session! The freshman at my university are moving in today. Where did the summer go? I like to think the new school year is a chance to start fresh on to do lists and goals. This month's Variations on a Theme is a collection books devoted to productivity.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
David Allen

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots. Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text with important perspectives on the new workplace, and adding material that will make the book fresh and relevant for years to come. This new edition of Getting Things Done will be welcomed not only by its hundreds of thousands of existing fans but also by a whole new generation eager to adopt its proven principles.

Stephen R. Covey

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity -- principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Peter Bergman

Based upon his weekly Harvard Business Review columns (which is one of the most popular columns on, receiving hundreds of thousands of unique page views a month), 18 Minutes clearly shows how busy people can cut through all the daily clutter and distractions and find a way to focus on those key items which are truly the top priorities in our lives. Bregman works from the premise that the best way to combat constant and distracting interruptions is to create productive distractions of one's own. Based upon a series of short bite-sized chapters, his approach allows us to safely navigate through the constant chatter of emails, text messages, phone calls, and endless meetings that prevent us from focusing our time on those things that are truly important to us.  Mixing first-person insights along with unique case studies, Bregman sprinkles his charming book with pathways which help guide us -- pathways that can get us on the right trail in 18 minutes or less.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

This groundbreaking New York Times bestseller has helped hundreds of thousands of people at work and at home balance stress and recovery and sustain high performance despite crushing workloads and 24/7 demands on their time. “Combines the gritty toughmindedness of the best coaches with the gentle-but-insistent inspiration of the most effective spiritual advisers” (Fast Company). We live in digital time. Our pace is rushed, rapid-fire, and relentless. Facing crushing workloads, we try to cram as much as possible into every day. We're wired up, but we're melting down. Time management is no longer a viable solution. As bestselling authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz demonstrate in this groundbreaking book, managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness, and life balance. The Power of Full Engagement is a highly practical, scientifically based approach to managing your energy more skillfully both on and off the job by laying out the key training principles and provides a powerful, step-by-step program that will help you to: Mobilize four key sources of energy, Balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal, Expand capacity in the same systematic way that elite athletes do, Create highly specific, positive energy management rituals to make lasting changes. Above all, this book provides a life-changing road map to becoming more fully engaged on and off the job, meaning physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned.

Arianna Huffington

In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters--of juggling business deadlines and family crises, a harried dance that led to her collapse and to her "aha moment." Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.

Charlies Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

More Productivity Titles
The Art of Strategy - Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
Eat That Frog - Brian Tracy
Enchantment - Guy Kawasaki
Essentialism - Greg McKeown
Fierce Conversations - Susan Scott
Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
Making It All Work - David Allen
Mindset - Carol Dweck
The One Thing - Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Ready for Anything - David Allen