Links I love and what’s on my nightstand this week.

My favorite finds from around the web:

Reading a book really is better the second time around. “The first time people read – or watch – through, they are focused on events and stories. The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film, and allows people to savour those emotions at leisure.”

• A list of positive podcasts from Darling magazine. “[Podcasts] make informative, positive, and interesting content readily accessible.”

5 questions to ask when you feel like quitting your blog (or anything else in life). I was reminded of this great post when I listened to this podcast with Crystal Paine (thanks to the comments on this week’s post about my favorite podcast episodes. Thank you!)

I’m Alton Brown, and this is how I work. Best time-saving shortcut or life hack? “Email gets answered twice a day. I’ve got back to this thing called the “telephone” for most of my communication. Quite effective.”

A celebrity-divorce expert tells all. “The hair and makeup people, they always seem to be the first to know.” Of course this is about Ben and Jen, but it also offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the celebrity calculation machine. It’s more calculated than you think.

What I’m reading this week:

• Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines. If you’re a fan of Amber’s writing, you’ll love her in longform.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. I gave up on this 75% of the way through. I wanted to like this but the narrative voice was killing me. I felt the same way about her first novel The Paris Wife, which many of you loved. If you enjoy first person historical fiction, give this one a try. But if that genre makes you crazy, skip it.

On the blog:

7 books that prove sometimes you CAN judge a book by its cover.

My favorite podcasts lately, plus 7 handpicked episodes to get you started.

• A few of our weird and accessible family traditions. (I want to steal every single idea you left in the comments section.)

Have a great weekend!


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  1. Hayley says:

    I LOVE that you admit to not finishing books. I have a handful that have fallen into that category too – and ones others have RAVED about, but I lose my connection with the book. I used to feel like I couldn’t admit this – but life is short and there SO MANY BOOKS 🙂

  2. liz n. says:

    This quotation from AB resonated with me: “Until proven otherwise, always assume that you are the weak link in the system.” (To which I add: and then make sure you become the strongest.)

    Having just finished a lighter read that I did not much care for, I’m on to something heavier: “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf.

  3. Dana says:

    Love some of Alton Brown’s favorite “technical” tools, they are mine too: pencils ( very sharp Ticonderogas), sticky notes of all sizes and spiral notebooks of all sizes!

    I have been abandoning books left and right it seems recently. I never used to do that. I used to just keep slogging. Now I ask myself if I really want to use my finite amount of precious reading time on that book. On the other hand sometimes a book is just not right for a certain time. I put down Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell several years ago after just 10 pages or so but I just -restarted it last night and I am finding that I like it. I was up until 2am reading!

  4. Books really are different the second time around – usually when I get to reading something again, it is already a book I loved, so of course I will enjoy it again. But they really do develop something else on a second reading.

  5. That Alton Brown quote made me laugh as I’ve found myself calling people more this week as return emails and messages keep getting put off. I am not usually one to talk on the phone much, but it can be so much quicker at times!

  6. I love hearing about books you have abandoned. As a middle school reading teacher, I think that many of my colleagues believe that a child HAS to finish a book he or she has started. But, as Donalyn Miller points out in “Reading in the Wild,” good readers often abandon books. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Jill Lombardi says:

    I wish I had abandoned “Circling the Sun!” I actually loved “The Paris Wife,” and when I picked up “Circling the Sun,” I kind of expected something with the same feel as “The Poisonwood Bible” (based on the setting). I also couldn’t stand the narrative voice, and even though she’s a real-life person- Beryl just irritated the heck out of me! I read the first half on paper and listened to the second half on audio- I just kept hoping Berly would redeem herself for me, but she never did. Lesson learned….

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