Regular readers know I love sharing a monthly round-up of what I’ve been learning lately, ranging from the (occasionally) significant to the (mostly) shallow. Here goes with the September edition …
1. Book people are the best people.
We hosted our inaugural MMD Book Club retreat and I’m still speechless about what an amazing experience it was. Full blog post coming soon.
2. What to do with Everything But the Bagel seasoning.
I bought a jar of this many moons ago at Trader Joe’s—at your urging—and then let it sit in my cabinet, unopened. This month, I finally took to social media to ask for recommendations. And WOW, did you have a lot to share!
Browse the lengthy twitter conversation here, but know that far and away, the most popular use was in or on eggs. After that, fresh or grilled veggies, sliced tomatoes, avocado toast, crackers or celery with cream cheese, and popcorn were frequently recommended. The more you know, friends.
3. Our team is all first-born daughters.
We had an amazing conversation this month at MMD/WSIRN HQ, prompted by this wonderful episode of What Should I Read Next. That episode includes a conversation about whether readers should finish every book they start. While our WSIRN producer Brenna Frederick was editing the episode, she shared a clip with our team and joked that she felt like I was calling her out.
You can listen to that exact clip right here (it’s queued up to begin at just the right spot), in which I say that because I’m a conscientious first-born daughter who got good grades and aspired to be an upstanding citizen, I once believed that I had to finish every book I began because good people finish what they start.
Other team members soon began chiming in, and we soon discovered that this blog and podcast are brought to you by … conscientious first-born daughters who got good grades and believe in finishing what they start. (Even if they do abandon books these days.)
4. How to make Spotify playlists for podcasts.
Until very, very recently, Spotify’s playlist feature was just for music, but now you can make podcast playlists as well, woohoo!
I took this opportunity to compile my 12 favorite episodes of What Should I Read Next from this post and to add more than a dozen episodes to it that I couldn’t squeeze into that blog post.
Check out our What Should I Read Next playlist here. Today is International Podcast Day, a day meant to celebrate the power of podcasts—so it’s a perfect time to give a podcast a try, or share the shows you love with friends.
5. How to export highlights from egalleys.
This information will be hugely useful to a small percentage of you, and mean nothing to the rest of you. Bear with me?
While my Kindle Paperwhite isn’t my first choice for reading, I rely on it for travel and for reading e-galleys—that is, advanced reader copies that are delivered electronically. I love to take notes while I read, and heavily use the highlighting feature when reading ebooks; even after I’m done reading the book, I can access my highlights and related notes at any time.
But egalleys are delivered as docs, not as ebooks, and those highlights aren’t saved in the same user-friendly way that ebook highlights are. BUT THEN. I recently discovered a way to email myself my highlights from any Kindle doc—including egalleys. If you have an iPhone and the free Kindle app, you’re in luck. Here’s what to do:
- Open the relevant doc in the Kindle app on your phone.
- Tap the “notebook” icon at the top right. (It looks like a page of lined notebook paper.)
- Tap the share button at the top right. (That’s the square with the arrow pointing out of it.)
- Choose “export notebook to email.”
- Choose your citation style. (I always choose “none.”)
- Tap “export.”
- Enter your email address and hit “send.”
- That’s it! You’ll receive a downloadable document of all your highlights.
If you regularly read Kindle docs or egalleys, I hope this helps you. This little trick has been a lifesaver for when I’m preparing bonus episodes of One Great Book or otherwise gathering my thoughts about forthcoming releases.
6. Dormant is not the same as dead.
I’m talking about my newish purple oxalis, the one I ordered on Etsy, but this whole conversation is ripe for metaphorical extrapolation.
I ordered my purple shamrock plant on Etsy, where I was surprised to discover an extensive houseplant collection earlier this summer. The plant looked okay when it arrived, but during the next two weeks the leaves shriveled, turned brown, and fell off.
I thought the poor plant might have died in shipment, but my plant-loving friends on Instagram told me not to compost it yet—that the oxalis goes dormant each year (at least in my climate), and that the leaves shrivel because it’s fall, not because it’s unwell. If I hadn’t known that, I would have tossed it.
(It turns out it wasn’t dormant at all—at least, not yet. I put it in a decently-lit but out-of-the-way corner and waited. Waiting really is the hardest part. But a few weeks later, I have fresh, healthy growth.
7. New books!
I shared my Fall Book Preview earlier this month, but I already have so many good books on my radar for winter and spring!
March 3 is shaping up to be a particularly fine Tuesday for new releases. Erik Larson has a new book, called The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. Louise Erdrich’s new release is called The Night Watchman. Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare, and Mindy McGinnis all have new books. And my book Don’t Overthink It shares this March 3 release date. CAN’T WAIT.
What did YOU learn in September?