What I’m into (February 2015 edition)

What I’m into (February 2015 edition)

After a few glorious 60-degree days (Walks! Bike rides! Reading on the porch!), the cold blew in and just won’t leave. Early last week it snowed 8 inches, which is enough to shut down a city in the Upper South, and it still won’t melt. We’ve been playing Monopoly, drinking tea, and reading, all of which are lovely … but I’m yearning for spring.

What I’m watching

I’m watching Downton Abbey again, but the season’s almost over. I’m hoping (against hope, I fear) they can pull together a satisfying finish.

You know we’ve been watching Project Runway. Thanks to your suggestions, the kids and I have fallen in love with MasterChef Junior. They love the show, and I love how they’re creating their own “challenges” in our kitchen. I haven’t cooked dinner in a week: my 9-year-old is doing it.
What I'm into February 2015 edition

What I’m reading

I’m well on my way to breezing through two authors’ whole catalogs.

My Oyster trial (get yours here) gave me the push I needed to finally read Lisa Genova’s Still Alice. I finished that and promptly blew through Left Neglected and Love Anthony, and I’m getting ready to start Inside the O’Briens (coming April 7.)

I mentioned to a friend that I was reading The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos (coming March 15) and she gushed over Love Walked In. While I was reading Love Walked In, another friend emailed me about Falling Together. Now that I’ve finished Falling Together, I might just finish reading everything she’s ever written. I just borrowed Belong to Me from the library …

I’m also reading writing books. Lots and lots of writing books. My local writing buddy recommended Second Sight (useful despite its YA focus), and a big stack of books arrived yesterday.

In my ears

Will and I went to hear Ben Folds with our local orchestra (so great) at the beginning of the month and I’ve been listening to his stuff all month.

As for books, I finally finished Middlemarch (all 36 hours of it), and promptly started Tana French’s novel Faithful Place for a serious change of pace.

I feared Middlemarch might drag as an audiobook; it didn’t. (1.5x speed didn’t hurt.) I feared Faithful Place might be too overwhelming for my HSP self as an audio book, but 5 hours in (out of 16) I’m enjoying it so far—not that there isn’t some cringing involved. Like French’s other Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, there’s serious family dysfunction, violence, and f-bombs galore. But the narrator is terrific.

Alice in Wonderland Puffin in Bloom

Can’t wait for

Rifle Paper Co. announced they’re adding to the Puffin in Bloom collection with this dreamy version of Alice in Wonderland. Coming this November. I’m not much of a book collector, but I couldn’t resist the first four books in the series. I hope there are more to come …

daily

On the blog

Books that changed the way I live, love, and parent. Saying that a book has actually changed the way I engage with the world is a huge compliment. These 7 books are special because they have fundamentally altered the way I live, love, and parent—on a daily basis.

7 ways I’m minimizing decision fatigue in my daily life. A few obvious and not-so-obvious ways I’m streamlining daily decisions to boost creativity and productivity.

Every ten years you have to remake everything. “Sometimes, you break things on purpose so you can reassemble them, stronger this time. Sometimes, they are broken for you, and you have to put the pieces back together.”

The books I can’t stop recommending. 9 past and current favorites I find myself recommending all the time. (Plus, my thoughts on Oyster’s Netflix-for-books subscription service.)

What’s saving my life right now. Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life. This is my list of the life-giving things that are getting me through this hardest season. You all share yours, too, and I loved reading through your lists.

Best of the web

This giant poster plots all the many fiction genres. I could get lost in this … until it makes my head explode, which is a real possibility.

Ballet-dancers’ hardest moves in slow-motion. Incredible. Best line: “Not everyone can do this.”

40 tiny tasks for a richer reading life. #4. #15. #16. But not #18. At least not till the snow melts.

MasterChef Junior: the secret ingredients are moppets and empathy. “The funny thing about this show, though, is that they’re kids, and they’re all pretty nice people who have a legitimate skill (that would be cooking). That gives the audience a chance to enjoy some of the really fun things about competition shows (growth, personality, triumphs) without the bad things about competition shows (backbiting, unpleasantness, resentment).”

What Ira Glass explains in one minute will change your life forever. “All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good.”

What were you into in February?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 

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21 comments

  1. Laurie says:

    Belong to Me and Love Walked In are two of my favorite books ever. I borrowed these books and after reading them, knew I needed to own them. So they now live happily in my rainbow book display (thanks to you). 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed Love Walked In, and was hesitant about others because I thought I picked up another book of hers from the library and detested the beginning. But I just looke it up and realized it was Tatiana de Rosnay, not Marisa de los Santos. Sorry, de people. I’ve been holding an undeserved prejudice against de los Santos!

    I need to start MasterChef Junior with my kids, too. They LOVE Chopped with a passion.

  3. Dawn says:

    I think Belong to Me is a sequel to Love Walked In. Y’all feel free to correct me on this. I also read Still Alice this month and gobbled it down in a day!

  4. Betsy says:

    If you like Masterchef Junior, try The Great British Bake Off. I just happened upon it on my PBS app while looking for Downtown and I am in love! So much better than American competition shows and you can’t beat the great accents!

    • Kate says:

      I love this show! My friends and family are all hooked on it now.

      Faithful Place is just heartbreaking. I had to read something light right after.

  5. My favorite book this month by a landslide was Annie Lobert’s memoir, Fallen: Out of the Sex Industry and Into the Arms of the Savior. I also enjoyed A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner. The 3-part PBS documentary, A Path Appears, blew my mind, too. On a lighter, funnier note, the comment thread on Jen Hatmaker’s Facebook post about moms losing it was out-of-bounds hysterical!

  6. Kelty says:

    We saw Ben Folds + our local orchestra several years ago and it was fantastic. He’s such an excellent and gracious performer. We loved singing along with him sitting in our proper orchestra auditorium.

  7. Lindsay says:

    I, too, am antsy for spring. But as a Facebook meme told me, I live in a state shaped like a mitten-hard winters should be expected.
    Speaking of Facebook, I am social media fasting for Lent. It has been good to have more mental quiet and more time to read books instead of statuses. This month, I’m reading Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider and Still Alice is next on my list. I’m also very into podcasts right now, whether running or folding laundry. That Ira Glass quote is fantastic;). Happy Friday!

  8. LOVE WALKED IN is one of my all-time faves. Just finished THE PRECIOUS ONE and in some parts it was like she was reading my mail (or my mind). I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it over at She Reads once it’s out. I listened to LOVE ANTHONY on audio and it was all the better with Debra Messing narrating it.

  9. Jules says:

    This February I am into packing the house, moving countries, finishing work for (early) retirement, being full of gratitude for my good fortune and seeing long-term plans pay off, reading lots of novels to distract from the chaos of packing, anticipating my first cold winter in nine years as I move to New Zealand’s South Island, eating some odd combos as I use up what I have, treasuring the kind words I hear as I leave a place I have worked for seven years, contemplating starting a blog …

  10. Angela says:

    That ballet video was amazing! And full disclosure, I have dreams of me doing fouette turns because I’ve always wanted to be able to do them. In real life, I’ve done 4 in a row once and never again. Hahaha 🙂

  11. Jeanne says:

    I just finished Falling Together and I just didn’t love it. Nothing about the writing or the plot bothered me, in fact it was quite beautifully written, but I couldn’t get myself to really care about what happened to the characters.

    Yes to Great British Bake-Off. Love that show!

  12. Dana says:

    Loved Love Walked in and Belong to me….good to know she has a new one. Haven’t read Falling Together yet either. The only thing bad about reading an author’s whole catalog is waiting for the next book! I love discovering a “new” wrier who has lots published already!

    I am into Chopped and the kids cooking competitions on Food Network…that is basically all I watch on TV… in fact I was surprised on Tuesday when I opened my door to discover it had snowed overnight and was still snowing (guess I should look at the news now and again!)

    I am into Kahn Academy …relearning some math…decimals, fractions, geometry and metric system..Also Duo Lingo I am loving relearning French. These are both great sites for kids and adults…found them via TSH Oxenreider’s blog.

    Also into Mixed Media, water color painting and Zentangling…I started art classes and am loving messing about with the materials.

  13. Johanna says:

    Belong to Me is one of my favorite books of all time. I love the way she describes her characters. I feel like she wrote a book using people I know, even if the story line is all new. It made me happy to see one of my favorite authors on one of my favorite blogs :).

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