Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.
1. That voice in my ears should have sounded familiar.
I have a few favorite audiobook narrators I keep an eye out for—among them Davina Porter, George Newbern, Adam Verner, Jim Dale, and Juliet Stevenson. I’ve listened to tons of classics narrated by Juliet Stevenson.
Well, this month my family watched Bend It Like Beckham, which I haven’t seen for at least ten years. I thought Keira Knightley’s mum looked familiar, but it took me nearly two hours for me to recall I knew her as Mr. Elton’s wife from this edition of Emma. When I looked her up on IMDB, I discovered she also read audiobooks, and I’ve spent dozens of hours listening to her voice.
2. Audrey Niffenneger is one talented lady.
More Jane Austen connections: when I posted the above photo on Instagram, I received 127 questions about where to find this edition of Sense and Sensibility. So I flipped open the cover to find the ISBN, and discovered the cover art was by the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife! I had no idea.
3. Search for pretty editions by ISBN.
I actually learned this years ago, but I’m sharing because this tip may bring some beautiful books into your life. If you want to get your hands on a particular edition but can’t find it online, search by ISBN. (This is how I’ve tracked down every beautiful edition of Anne of Green Gables I own, and many more titles, besides.)
You can even use this tip to search down international editions of beautiful books on sites like Book Depository. You’re welcome.
4. If you’re not paying, you’re the product.
Recently we’ve had problems with MMD subscribers not getting their emails, even though everything seems to be working as it should. We finally tracked down a common thread through many readers’ issues: they’d all used Unroll.Me recently. When customers use Unroll.Me, the emails those customers receive aren’t deleted—that data is captured and sold for competitive analysis.
This is a common practice in the industry—so common, my husband was surprised I didn’t know (and particularly, that I didn’t know about the Lyft/Uber furor from last year). He explained that they’re not charging you, but they ARE making money off you—in the form of your data. Huh.
5. Castle of Water is hitting the big screen.
Film rights have been sold, a search for a director is underway, the book lovers rejoiced. This book was a sleeper favorite of 2017 to be a movie. Listen to me recommend it on What Should I Read Next?.
6. You can check out a “human book.”
At some Canadian librarians you can check out A HUMAN. This is a way for people to connect and converse with individuals they may not otherwise interact with. You can “borrow” someone whose career, identity, life experience, nationality, background, you name it, is different from your own. Check out this great list of examples. (Thanks to reader Roxanna for emailing me this tip!)
7. I’ve been pronouncing Mary Kubica and Lisa Scottoline’s names wrong my entire life.
It’s Mary Koo-BEE-kah and Lisa Scott-oh-LEAN-ee. Please don’t ask how badly I got it wrong. (Related: half the people on the beach this summer were reading Lisa Scottoline, but I never have. What am I missing out on, and where should I begin with her work?)
8. Trader Joe’s will hold items for you.
I’ve become a wee bit houseplant-obsessed over the past year, and have been wanting to add an adorable little pilea to my collection. They’re hard to find, and crazy expensive. ($40 for a little bitty plant, IF you can find them.)
But them a friend told me that she’d found one at Trader Joe’s, of all places. I rushed over to grab my own, but too late—the only one left was ON HOLD for another customer. I had no idea! My cashier offered to put one on hold for me, in case more came in. “We put things on hold all the time,” she said. “Call us anytime and tell us what you’re looking for!” (This is in the Louisville store—if it’s different in your market, please tell us in comments.)
(I have my pilea now, and it’s adorable. I also learn they propagate themselves so I can get pileas in the hands of everyone I know, eventually.)
9. Don’t toss those cauliflower leaves.
We eat a ton of cauliflower around here—though mostly in the winter—and we always compost the leaves. But this month I’ve learned that you can roast or grill them. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s totally happening.
What did YOU learn in July?