Mom, Are We There Yet?

This quarantine feels like a never ending road trip, only we’re not going anywhere cool, I’ve seen the same stretch of highway with the same trees a million times, and we ran out of snacks forever ago. It’s got me asking are we there yet?!

No. No we are not there yet. While states are slowly starting to reopen, we know there will be another wave of this come fall. And what do we do to prepare for long road trips? Snacks. Art. Stories. Music.

What are Americans eating the most of during the pandemic?

Not going to lie, I definitely have turned to comfort foods during this unpredictable time. Why? Because mac’n’cheese will never betray you.

Not exactly Bob Ross, but it’ll do.

The Providence Hotel has a free printable coloring book for everyone missing Paris (or travel in general).

MoMA is offering free classes! Skillshare is also opening up their archives for free for two months!

I’m currently taking a Walt Whitman poetry course through Harvard’s literature department via EdX – completely free and all at my own pace.

Why not make something for the Atlanta History Center? They’re looking for COVID-19 related artifacts to preserve!

Something to think about if you’re about to dive into Rachel Hollis’s audiobooks (which are great and I really enjoyed them! I just didn’t think about, well, I’ll let you read the article and figure it out).

Everyone always asks me how I have the money for all the audiobooks I listen to. I don’t! But I do have a library card. Here’s how to do that online.

In case you missed it – here’s my post about what I’m listening to during quarantine.

See you on the other side!

What I Read in 2019

I am currently enjoying A Life in the Law: Advice for Your Lawyers, Legal Ethics Stories, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Supplement, Contracts…kidding. I’m definitely not reading those for fun. But I am ~technically~ reading them for school. But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for the juicy romcom, sci-fi, young adult weirdness that my Goodreads account is usually full of.

I hit my goal of reading 15 books last year. Usually I read close to 30, but there was no way I was going to have free time to read as prolifically as I usually do during law school. I set my goals lower and hit them, with help from a few audiobooks at the tail end of December.

Here’s a list, and rating, of all those books:

And a few I didn’t finish reading:

What’s currently on my nightstand:

And what I’m looking forward to picking up in 2020:

If there’s any book in particular you’d like me to write a full review on, leave a comment with the title below!

Reading Recap

It’s been a whiiiiiile since I did one of these posts. I know I did many many many of them when I first started the blog, but then they tapered off as I decided to write about other things.

Let’s get started!

I read 33 books in 2018. Ready for a rapid fire list? Let’s go!

  1. East of Eden John Steinbeck
  2. A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounters with North America Sam White
  3. The Big Burn Timothy Egan
  4. Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations Garson O’Toole
  5. Dust Bowl Donald Worster
  6. I, Coriander Sally Gardner
  7. Feminism is for Everybody Bell Hooks
  8. Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Frans de Waal
  9. Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
  10. Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
  11. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  12. The Malthusian Moment Thomas Robertson
  13. One Renegade Cell Robert A. Weinberg
  14. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
  15. The Fountainhead Ayn Rand
  16. The Radium Girls Kate Moore
  17. Hillbilly Elegy J. D. Vance
  18. Good Omens Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  19. The Castle Franz Kafka
  20. Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn
  21. Fire and Fury Michael Wolfe
  22. I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain Will Walton
  23. Missing Microbes Martin Blaser
  24. Bandwidth Eliot Peper
  25. Columbine Dave Cullen
  26. The Girls Emma Cline
  27. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris
  28. The Blood of Emmett Till Timothy Tyson
  29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J. K. Rowling
  30. The Sun and Her Flowers Rupi Kaur
  31. Educated Tara Westover
  32. It’s Kind of a Funny Story Ned Vizzini
  33. The Princess Saves Herself in This One Amanda Lovelace

Phew okay that’s a lot. Some of them I read so fast I don’t even remember reading them.

My favorite(s) from 2018: The Fountainhead; I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain; East of Eden; Educated; Hillbilly Elegy

Books I hated with a burning passion: Bandwidth, Hemingway Didn’t Say That, The Castle

I didn’t include any of the textbooks or scholarly architectural novels I read for class in the above list. I did include texts from my environmental history course, but only because I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and didn’t consider them “textbooks”. If I included all my school books, I would have hit 40. A whopping total!

While I read a lot of print books, I also enjoy audiobooks for when I’m traveling. My favorite audiobook from 2018 was Good Omens. It sounded like I was watching a movie rather than a book. As soon as I finished I picked up my dad’s paper copy of the book and read it again in one day flat. And then I made him read it. And then I recommended it to all my friends. I got a little starstruck…but it’s coming to Amazon as a tv series and I couldn’t be happier!

I haven’t read as many books in 2019…The year is almost halfway over but I’m only at 6 books, with 4 more that I’m currently reading. Oops! Hopefully summer will catch me all back up to where I want to be and I’ll have another nice long post for you all come 2020!

On My Radar

This week’s and next week’s blog posts will be on the shorter side because it’s exam season. Best of luck to everyone studying their butts off (and thanks to those procrastinating by reading my blog).

For anyone else still on a Thanksgiving food kick, here’s a great GrubHub post on a chef’s Thanksgiving week. All of her “spontaneous” dishes sound like they’re to die for

Pediatricians swallow Lego heads to prove a point.

See how the New York Time’s Best Books of 2018 compares to Goodread’s Best of 2018 

Here’s my top pic from both of the above articles! 

The great red cup debate. Great for instilling political controversy and for keeping those holiday brew lattes nice and warm. 

This looks like something I need to do to finish the debut novel I’ve been working on since high school.

For your listening pleasure this week.

Blind Date With a Book – Title Reveal

Back at the end of July I went shopping with my friend DeAnna in Downtown Asheville, North Carolina. We visited one of my favorite bookstores named Malaprops. They have an entire wall dedicated to “Blind Date” books. Each novel is wrapped in brown packaging paper and instead of having a title or author written on the front, each book is characterized by adjectives. I picked out a book with the words magical, original, timeless, tender, and the phrase “love letter to childhood” written on the front.

blind date with a book

I made a post about my bookstore adventures in August (which you can view right here), asking you all what the title of the book could be. No one guessed the correct title, but a friend of mine did get the author right!

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The book is none other than…

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury!

There’s a certain quality about this book that makes me wish I’d read it before heading off to college for my freshman year. Douglas Spaulding, the main character, is a twelve year old boy living in Illinois. And as all twelve year old boys do, he wants the summer to last forever. More importantly, he wants to remember this particular summer for forever. He decides to catalog all the events that occur to him and his brother Tom. He makes a long list of “rituals” and “reflections.”

Everything is starting to change for Douglas. The one electric car the town has is put away in the garage for the last time. The trolley he loves to ride will soon be replaced by buses. His best friend moves away. Summer was supposed to be a time for living and running through tall grass and being happy, but Douglas runs headfirst into a wall of change and doesn’t want to accept it.

This was me my freshman year of college. I loved life because everything was bright and shiny and new, but I was terrified for the exact same reasons.

Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine is a masterpiece of intricately woven, stunningly beautiful phrases. While the story line kept me engaged and interested, the real charm to this work is in the words themselves.

 

Blind Date With a Book

Being the lovable bookworm that I am, I tend to indulge in bookstores way more than I should. Case in point: Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina.

Blind date with a bookseller - Malaprops, Asheville NC One shelf in Malaprop’s, an independent, quirky bookstore, is reserved for something called “Blind Date With a Bookseller.” The books are wrapped individually in brown packaging paper. The black writing on them is a list of adjectives, describing each one. The price and serial number are on the back. The rules are, you pick a book based off the adjectives. You’re allowed to guess what the title is, but you can’t unwrap the book until you’ve bought it. The best part is that if you’ve already read that title, or if you finish it and end up not liking it, you can return it for a refund or for another blind date book.

My friend DeAnna and I popped in here for a quick second and both ended up buying one of the mystery books! books wrapped as blind dates

I’ve done this one time before. I ended up picking out The Catcher in the Rye, which I’ve read nine times. I also have my own copy at home, and while it’s getting a bit worn I still wouldn’t ever replace it. The pages are covered in ballpoint pen sketches of scenes or iconic items from the book, like the red hunting cap, and all my notes from when I read this book with my AP Language class in junior year. Although The Catcher in the Rye is no longer my favorite book, it holds a special space in my heart. Part of me thinks that I picked it out during my search for the perfect “blind date” because I loved it so much.

So this time when picking out a mystery book I looked for characteristics I wanted in an actual date. Somebody I’d swipe right on Tinder to. Maybe Bumble too. An actual dream boy, ya feel? Because boys in books are just better.

I chose the adjectives: magical, original, timeless, tender, and the phrase “love letter to childhood

blind date with a book

So this month, instead of having a “Read This if You Liked…” post I’m going to go on my blind date with my book and let you all know how it goes. Get ready for an awesome surprise review at the end of August!

If you have any guesses as to what my book is, or who it could be by, let me know in the comments!

xo, Bailey

A Playlist for the Week

Sadly, I have but two meager weeks left of my summer. And guess what? I’m sick. Or, rather, I have some form of heat exhaustion that won’t go away. Being a lifeguard will do that to you, I suppose.

But the great thing about being sort-of sick during summer is that no one questions me when I lounge around reading after work. I actually made it though The Hunger Games yesterday (the first time I read it I fell asleep somewhere around page 18…)!

So here’s this week’s playlist, inspired by The Hunger Games series. Also, side note, I live in District 12 where the movie was filmed!

hungergamesplaylist

P.S. What book(s) should I read next? I’m thinking about Carry On or Me Before You

This Summer’s Hottest Reads

Summer 2016 has plenty of popular books ready for you to stow away in your suitcase or sling in your backpack for time spent at any vacation spot. Here’s what’s hot now so you can read it before everyone else spoils the ending.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes220px-me_before_you

What better way to start off summer than with a romance novel. Another perk? The book is about to become a movie, so read it before hitting up the big screen! If you’re looking for a tale of romance and adventure, look no further.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Reading the reviews of this book (because I’ve yet to read the novel, sadly) I’m sincerely reminded of the movie Up. Ove is a cranky old grandpa, somewhat like Carl from the Disney flick. One afternoon a young, energetic family moves in next door and crushes his mailbox. And thus, the plot line is born. I’m looking forward to picking up this book as soon as I can; it’s bound to be a charming read!

milk and honey by Rupi Kapur

milk 31-odaa7erl-_sx322_bo1204203200_and honey is a book of poetry and prose about survival and the loss of femininity. Broken up into four chapters, each part deals with a different type of pain and heartache but instead of focusing on the bad author Rupi Kapur manages to find points of joy and resolution.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Will the world ever get it’s fill of Harry Potter? And for that matter, his children? I don’t think so. Or at least I never will. Follow Albus Potter on a new, magical adventure in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I just started reading this book and I’m already bawling; happy tears, sad tears, the whole 41jfvzl72yl-_sx336_bo1204203200_shebang. When Breath Becomes Air is a touching memoir about both death and life. Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of 36, during the height of his career as a neurosurgeon and the beginning of his life as a father. His memoir grapples with living life day to day because the future isn’t a given, what makes life worth living, and other hard questions that presented themselves during the last stages of Kalanithi’s life.

What are you reading this summer?

xo, Bailey

Read “Star Sand” if You Liked…

The Island of the Blue Dolphins!

I can’t tell you how many times I read this book as a kid, either for my own enjoyment or for a class requirement.

The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is a tale of adventure that starts when a young Indian girl named Karana gets left behind on an island when her people leave with a ground of white sailors. She must learn to fend for herself, fight off predators, and keep herself company. Nearly two decades pass before another ship docks at Karana’s island. This ship takes her to Stanta Barbara, California, where she learns to live a new life.

In Star Sand by Roger Pulvers, a young Japanese-American girl named Hiroumi is abandoned by her family in Japan when World War II comes to the islands. Alone, she makes her way to the island of Hatoma, where she fends for herself. While wandering the beach one day Hiroumi finds an American solider in a tattered uniform. He is obviously in distress. When she goes to assist him, a Japanese deserter comes to her aid, helping her carry the American to a nearby cave. In the cave both the Japanese and the American deserters live, with the help of Hiroumi.

I won’t spoil anything for you, but the reason these books are so similar is because of how each book ends.

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Read This if You Liked…

The City of Ember!

Does anyone else remember the movie that came out about five years ago? Wasn’t much of a hit. But I clearly remember the book floating through my elementary school classrooms, being passed off from one curious child to the next. I even had to be put on a wait list at the library to read the sequel.

In case you never read The City of Ember, I’ll give you a short synopsis. The end of the world has come and gone. An entire civilization, perhaps the only one left, has moved underground with no access to the outside world. They grow vegetables in greenhouses powered by electricity, use electricity to get water from inside the earth, and have electric light bulbs for suns. Sadly, the electricity is running out – quickly. Lina Mayfleet, a child of Ember, discovers a mysterious document that could save the city. She and her friend Doon must lead the city into the outside world before they’re trapped in darkness forever.

Much like The City of Ember, The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen is set in a post-apocalyptic world. A family is living underground after a fire nearly burns them all to death. The main character, a young boy, spends his days wondering what the world is like outside, why the family is shut in the basement, and who the father of his sister’s baby is. After fireflies appear in his bedroom he creates a master plan to escape, similar to the way Lina and Doon make it out of Ember.

Overall The Light of the Fireflies is a mature, and haunting, story about “finding the light in the darkness of places” (as the back of the book reads, but really, it’s true). It’s about finding a way out of the situation you’re in rather than making the best of things. If you’re ready to cry, get angry, and feel inspired you can pick up this book on the Kindle eStore (free in the month of March for Prime members) or Barnes and Noble.

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