6 things I learned in September

6 things I learned in September

Joining Emily Freeman to share what I learned this month, from the serious to the silly.

1. I’ve been pronouncing Liane Moriarty’s name wrong for years.

We did the keynote at Read Savannah together and the first thing I learned was … it’s Lee-ON. Short “o.” Luckily, I found this out the day before I met her, not the day after.


2. … and she’s lovely. 

One of my continuing surprises of the year is how much meeting an author in person—and hearing them talk about their work—adds to the experience of reading.

(This isn’t always the case, of course. Sometimes I’ll meet an author, and hear them speak about their work, and decide that nope, I don’t want to read anything they’ve written ever again. But this is the exception.)

More often, I come away with a deeper appreciation for their work, and the (rather obvious) revelation that the author is a real person, too.

When we spoke, Liane told us about how Buffy the Vampire Slayer inspired one of the characters in Truly, Madly, Guilty. About how her first marriage veered off course during a Law & Order commercial break. And how she embarrassed herself fangirling all over Elizabeth Berg when she bumped into her on the street. In other words, she was completely charming and wonderful. (I hope to share clips in a future podcast episode so stay tuned!)

Also completely lovely: every single one of the MMD readers I got to meet. Y’all are the greatest.


3. Pack your running shoes.

More Savannah. I almost didn’t pack my running shoes for my trip, because my schedule was packed and I needed to save room in my suitcase for books on the return trip!

But my husband talked me into it, and I’m so glad he did. I’m a slow runner, but even so, my early morning runs were a chance to explore the city on foot, and to see more of it than I could have if I’d just been walking.

There was so much to see there, and I didn’t come close to seeing it all, which made me extra thankful for the bonus sights I could take in during my runs.

Magnolia Hall. #savannah #READSavannah #morningrun

A photo posted by Modern Mrs Darcy (@annebogel) on

4. You can turn kindle pages with your nose.

Many thanks to Jenny Colgan, who shared this tip in the delightful essay prefacing her new book The Bookshop on the Corner. In it, she catalogues the variety of wonderful places to read; one of her favorites is the bath, and—necessity being the mother of invention—she figured out this hack to save her kindle from getting all soggy during her long soaks.

Try it. It works.

5. The Momentum Chrome extension keeps me a little more on task.

It works like this: every day, you answer the question “what is your main task for today?” And then, every time you open a new tab in your browser, the first thing you see—in the second before it loads your page—is a beautiful photo plus a reminder of your big task for the day. It’s basically a very tactful, inspirational way to say “should you really be doing that right now?”

(Also valuable: some mornings I realize I have no idea how to answer the “main task” question, which forces me to clarify it before I get any further in my day.)

Get the Momentum extension here.

6. Baby shampoo makes a brilliant eye makeup remover.

Quick, cheap, gentle, and tear-free if you get some in your eyes.

What did YOU learn in September?

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  1. Holly says:

    Try putting the Kindle in a quart-sized freezer bag. Works beautifully for all wet situations, including a raft in the pool or lake! I read my Kindle all summer long whilst floating on a raft, and never had a problem. (It doesn’t float, though, so don’t drop it!)

  2. karen says:

    I learned that Shannan Martin, author of Falling Free is even more delightful than her blog or book. She’s the real deal! Meeting her in person was such a treat!

  3. Mary says:

    A lovely, personal, post today. I want to hug you for all you do for us. It’s beginning to feel like family!
    I felt the same way about listening to the author interviews in the SRC. It added an immeasurable dimension to reading the book!

  4. Katia says:

    I love the idea of turning Kindle pages with one’s nose! 🙂

    In September, I learned that our mindset plays a major role in how we perceive busyness and stress, but our natural disposition and constitution also play an equally big role. We can try to convince ourselves that we are happy to be busy and in ‘go mode’ every moment, but sometimes the body really is wiser than the mind and whispers to us to slow down. If we don’t heed those quiet warnings, they get louder and louder until one day, we find ourselves unable to get out of bed due to burnout. I learned it the hard way. Now, I’m trying to learn to make time to slow down amid a daily schedule packed with commuting to/from work, parenting solo while my husband works late evenings, preparing meals the night before, etc., etc. while trying to squeeze in a bit of time to read a few pages and get to bed at a decent hour. Someday, I might have all the answers. For now, I’m taking things one day at a time and reminding myself to smile and laugh.

  5. Emily says:

    Just added Momentum, too. Thank you! Can I be nosey? How slow is slow for you? I hear people say “I’m a slow runner” and I always wonder what that means (I am a slow runner, on a current nine month break after a hip injury that jaded me and I want to get back into it – slow for me is about 11 min/mile). Thanks!

  6. Susan says:

    I learned that Louise Penny is truly delightful, as I had hoped she would be. After having the privilege to see her in person on the release day of her new book, I was delighted to see that she is a warm, caring and respectful person. She couldn’t have been kinder when answering questions and definitely has a great sense of humor. And best of all, I learned that she plans to keep writing many more books about Three Pines!

  7. Mary Kate says:

    I am so terrified of meeting authors in person for fear that they’ll be mean or something and I’ll like their books less as a result. Silly, I know, but it really keeps me from going to author meet & greets. Happy to hear Liane Moriarty was a delight! And Buffy-inspired? Now I need to read that book even more.

    In September I learned that waking up half an hour earlier during the week makes a really big difference. I also found a new literary podcast to follow (Literary Disco!). I also learned that spider plants reproduce quite quickly, and if you want millions of plants in your home and don’t want to spend any money, they’re definitely the way to go.

  8. Cassie says:

    I learned that the little will actually sleep in other cribs, at least she’ll sleep in the crib at nana and gramps’s while I am there too. 🙂 Turning one has sure made her independent!

  9. Jen says:

    Meeting Sarah Addison Allen was like that for me. I always enjoyed her books, but after meeting her at a signing, I enjoyed them even more. She is just as sweet as they are!

  10. Dawn says:

    I learned that I CAN do hard things, even if they involve setting strong boundaries in intimate relationships.
    I learned that I need reading breaks, because I read so much that sometimes I have trouble switching my brain between books.
    And I learned that saving money might not come naturally to me, but guess what? I can do it if I try!!

  11. Debi Morton says:

    Over 20 years ago an eye doctor told me about using baby shampoo to remove eye makeup. He said it was both effective and safer for my sensitive eyes. I used it for many years, and then for reasons I don’t remember now, started using something else. Thanks for the reminder! I may start using it again.

  12. Theresa says:

    I agree, meeting authors in person can be so exciting and make you want to read all their work. I am thinking of Anne Lamont and Jane Smiley. When I attended graduate school Ursula Hegi was my thesis advisor and instructor for a number of classes. She never seemed more than a teacher until I graduated and attended an author reading by her. Suddenly I saw her as the author she was and I wanted to read all her writing. In September I leaned a pair of floral black and white shorts are my favorite pair this month, that not all chili recipes have beans, that friends are more important than I sometimes think, and that my sister has great taste. She sent me a plaque that says, “I smile because you are my sister. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it.”

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