Taking Emily Freeman’s lead to share a handful of things I learned this month, from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow.
1. Lime makes it smell like summer.
I’m starting with the simple: my friend (and MMD Book Club community manager) Ginger passed along a hot essential oil tip: add a little lime to your favored diffuser blend and it will smell like summer. (My house smells so good right now.)
2. Readers are still learning how to use the holds list at their libraries.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Gwen and Frank of the New York Public Library for a (really fantastic) episode of What Should I Read Next? I asked them to share what they wished readers knew about the library, and their answers surprised me—especially Gwen’s, who said that believe or not, many library patrons don’t know about the holds system. But the NYPL librarians (and likely your local librarian as well) are on a mission to change that. (If you don’t know how to use the holds system, your librarians or fellow readers would be delighted to fill you in!)
Also learned: Gwen works as a professional book recommender for the NYPL, because that is an actual job. Who knew? (And woohoo!)
It really is a fantastic episode. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or just click play on the little blue triangle here.
3. It’s a small world after all.
No personal connections should surprise me anymore—not after running into a podcast guest at a peach stand in rural Alabama—but in the course of our conversation, it came out the NYPL librarian Frank knows my local school librarian, because she used to work for the NYPL before falling in love with a Kentucky boy and moving down here. And I was surprised.
4. You can stick your paint samples to the wall.
She’s been listening to old episodes of Young House Love Has a Podcast, and heard about peel-and-stick paint samples on this episode. They’re made by Samplize, come in a wide variety of colors, and cost $5 each.
So we ordered, and impatiently checked the mailbox until they arrived.
Verdict: the stickers are small-ish, and have a sheen to them, so they’re not quite as helpful as rolling a sample onto the wall. (We couldn’t decide on a color until we experimented with actual paint.) But they’re so easy and an excellent starting point.
When we put the Samplize stickers on the wall it was immediately obvious that despite looking gorgeous in photos, the colors we’d chosen looked dingy in the north-facing room we were painting, so we regrouped—before we got to the actual paint stage.
Also learned: don’t leave the stickers on the wall for more than a day or they’ll peel the existing paint off.
5. Open Streets are a thing—and they’re everywhere.
For a few years now, my city has closed a major street to cars for one June Sunday afternoon, and it’s amazing. After I instagrammed about it (I’m @annebogel) I heard from so many of you who said your town did this, too.
I knew the idea began in Bogotá (which I learned from this book), and that Louisville wasn’t the only U.S. city to follow suit. But your comments inspired me to look into it, and I discovered that Open Streets Initiatives are vastly more widespread than I’d imagined. I’m an urban planning junkie, so this was a delightful discovery, and one bound to inspire future reading. (If you’ve read any good books on the subject lately, leave them in comments?)
6. I’m impressed by the old stuff.
Especially when it’s alive. This spring my family has been on an unplanned tour of really old trees and plants: we saw a nearly-400-year-old Japanese White Pine at the National Bonsai Museum, and a 300+-year-old-fern at the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago, and a 340-ish-year-old oak tree (dubbed “The Big Oak”) in Thomasville, Georgia.
We’ve been wowed by the plants and their age, and have surprisingly learned that we’ve become the kind of people who will drive out of our way to see an impressive tree.
7. Book news!
I’ve started keeping an actual list of the books I can’t wait to get my hands on, coming in 2019. This month I learned that Diane Setterfield has a new novel called Once Upon a River coming out January 8, and Lyndsay Faye’s The Paragon Hotel releases January 9. And of course Angie Thomas’s much-anticipated On the Come Up is coming February 5.
It’s shaping up to be a good winter for new releases.
What did you learn in June?