What I’m into (February 2016 edition).

What I’m into (February 2016 edition).

As always, linking up with my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into.

February has been wonderful and crazy (but it’s always crazy).

We started the month here on the blog by sharing the things that are saving our lives right now. I love doing that so much because all month I’ve continued to think about the little things that are saving my life in this season.

It was my turn to go help out in Silas’s kindergarten classroom for his Valentine’s Day party, which was adorable and low-key. I got to play story lady, and read one Valentine’s book and one family favorite to Silas and his classmates.

We had a few wonderful sixty degree days when we got to read on the back porch, ride our bikes, and play outside in t-shirts. Glorious.


The podcast

… is so fun. February’s episodes were with Deidra Riggs, Tsh Oxenreider, Osheta Moore, and Preston Yancey. You can listen to the podcast here on the blog or subscribe to have new episodes delivered straight to you. (I explain how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

New episodes come out every Tuesday. If YOU would like to be a guest on What Should I Read Next, this page is for you.

library haul when breath becomes air

What I’m reading

My TBR list was out of control before, and my new podcast has only amplified the problem: I want to read every single book that a guest raves about!

A selection of what’s been on my nightstand:

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. Seth Haines recommended this to me when we talked on What Should I Read Next and its 906 pages demanded a good bit of my reading time this month.
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance and Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Keep Me Posted by Liza Beazley
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I just finished this on Audible.

Currently reading:

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
The Travelers: A Novel by Chris Pavone
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. (What I really mean by this is I have it on my nightstand waiting for me, but I’m so nervous. Talk me into it/out of it?)

What I’m watching

Will went out of town and I blew through the final season of Downton Abbey in three days. (Not bad, not bad at all.)

Will and I have watched a weird number of movies lately: first there was In a World, which had been on my to-watch list for so long I couldn’t remember how I heard about it. It was … fine. Imagine Strictly Ballroom, plus a dash of The Royal Tenenbaums.

We watched 112 Weddings, which was thought-provoking and unexpectedly depressing. I told you all about that here.

And then we watched We Bought a Zoo. I know you’re going to hate me for this, but it was also … fine.

My kids have been loving The Great British Baking Show.

We finally finished Friday Night Lights; we’re still watching The Blacklist week by week. Will and I are currently on the hunt for one really great tv show on Netflix. Recommendations?

Kitchen tile and books

Around the house

We’re making slow but steady kitchen progress. I never thought I’d be so happy about little things, like concealed trash and recycling after six months of having both in the middle of the kitchen floor. And tile, shown above.

I hope you had a lovely February. What have YOU been into lately? 

more posts you might enjoy

87 comments | Comment


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  1. I am also loving this warm weather. We took the kids to a park yesterday and spent an hour flying a kite and playing with their gliders. My husband and I have been enjoying “porch time” after the kids go to bed. We get a glass of wine or cup of tea and head out to the porch to relax and talk for half an hour. Wonderful!

  2. Emily says:

    I have been into enjoying “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”…so good! Have you read it?

    I have also been into the sunshine and warm temps we are FINALLY getting here in the Midwest.

    • Anne says:

      It’s a leather tote from Stitch Fix’s house brand 41 Hawthorne, and it’s 3 or 4 years old. Madewell makes a similar tote but it’s pricier.

  3. Please let us know if City on Fire is worth the time investment or if it is … fine.

    I like some of the Amazon Prime original tv shows: Catastrophe (though there are adult language/situations), Red Oaks, and Schitts Creek (pun intended). I also got a kick out of Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and enjoy TVLand’s Younger.

  4. Marie says:

    I just discovered, on Netflix, a family show, rated G, call Granite Flats. We’re Canadian but I filled my 8 and 10 year old kids in on Cold War era America and they’re loving the show. I love that it highlights the three main characters who are children, one of those being a very strong female character. What a find! I’m telling everyone I know about it.

  5. Melanie says:

    Have you watched Reign? It’s relatively clean and not too overwhelming for HSP’s. There have been a couple of things that made me cringe but nothing that keeps me up at night. Megan Follows plays Catherine de Medici and it’s surprisingly fun to watch Anne Shirley be evil!

  6. Stacey says:

    Yes, yes, yes to When Breath Becomes Air. But be prepared to take breaks. I know people who have read it super fast and I don’t know how. It was super emotional so I really need to come up for air and switch to something lighter every so often. It was so worth it though. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  7. Holly says:

    I read “When Breath Becomes Air” about three weeks ago and proceeded to have an ugly cry for about 30 minutes afterwards. It is reminiscent of Randy Pausche’s “Last Lecture.” I highly recommended it. I followed it the next day with “Into the Magic Shop” by James Doty and my life changed that weekend. Some books are good to us and some books are good for us. This one was good for me. I needed to be reminded of the brevity and fragility of life. Read it…

  8. If you like Downton I’m willing to bet you’d like Grantchester. It’s about a vicar in a small English village in the 50s who partners with a local detective after he realizes people tell him things they won’t tell the police. The author Karen White told me about it and I whiled away an entire Sunday watching it. (There are only 6 episodes.) And the best part is season two is premiering on PBS in March! I watched it for free via Amazon Prime streaming. Definitely check it out.

    Perhaps next you’ll start a podcast called What Should I Watch Next! 🙂

  9. LoriM says:

    Doc Martin is good on NEtflix.
    Also Broadchurch – maybe you already saw that?
    We like Longmire, too.

    Also many more I can’t remember now.

  10. Chelle Hershberger says:

    I have currently been into The Good Wife lately. Thank you Sorta Awesomes 🙂 Netflix show recs? Hands down The West Wing and Murdoch Mysteries. I don’t really care for Politics much BUT The West Wing is so well written…it grabbed me and has been a go-to for many years. Murdoch Mysteries is a turn of the century Detective show set in Toronto.

  11. Melody says:

    Do you have Amazon Prime? If so, Justified is a great pick. Set in Kentucky. Not as gritty as Blacklist but still a certain amount of violence. Great characters.

  12. Melanie says:

    Oh, wasn’t FNL so so good. I just loved it.

    I’m on Greys Anatomy currently. It’s such a good series. I recommend anything by Shonda Rhimes: Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder.

  13. Danielle says:

    We (and my kids) loved The Great British Baking Show. Another foodie show we all LOVED was “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” SO fun!

    And for drama we adored “Poldark” and mystery “Broadchurch” was phenomonal on so many levels from story to acting to cinematography. Both are set in Cornwall too, a plus for me!

  14. Natalie says:

    A second vote for Longmire. We watched the first episode on a whim and were hooked. Don’t read the description; just watch it. Granchester is also fantastic, can’t wait for season two. If you’re looking for something frivolous, Hart of Dixie is fun.

  15. Nancy B. says:

    If you miss Downton Abbey, you should check out the Spanish TV series (subtitles) called Grand Hotel on Netflix. It takes place at a big hotel in northern Spain in early 20th century. The romance and intrigue are similar to D. A. but it picks up speed as the series goes along. Very enjoyable. It was one of those series you can’t wait to get to in the evening!

  16. virginia says:

    Foyle’s War a is wonderful story about WW2 in England. We are almost finished and I may have to watch it again. Also I like Broadchurch, Longmire, Island at War (only 6 episodes), and we are going through Blue Bloods from the start,
    I’m glad for the suggestions here.

  17. Erica says:

    Have you watched The Americans? I’m obsessed. Season 1 & 2 are free on Amazon Prime (not sure if you are a member). I’m sure once Season 4 starts in two weeks Season 3 will be free on Prime as well.

    Here is the brief blurb about the show on Amazon: “The Americans is a period drama about the complex marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected President.”

    What is not to love?

      • Erica says:

        I started watching because of my love of Keri Russell as well! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I gave it a go (especially since it was on Prime). I’m so glad I did. You won’t regret it 🙂

  18. I can’t even put into words how much I enjoyed the Great British Baking Show! The contestants / judges and how nicely they all treat each other is fascinating in comparison with our reality shows. Plus, the showstoppers are just absurd, yet sometimes gorgeous? I’m desperately hoping they add more seasons soon.

  19. emily says:

    Emily from jonesdesigncompany.com mentioned Suits (available on Amazon Prime) in a blog post a few months back, and my husband and I were instantly hooked. It’s smart, has likeable characters, and the dialogue has just the right amount of smart aleck-y-ness to keep it from becoming too serious or soap opera-y (apologies for the made-up words…)! The list of shows that we both enjoy is a pretty short one, but Suits and Grantchester are both on it.
    I’ve also heard amazing things about Poldark from several bookish friends, but haven’t jumped on that yet.
    I’m currently reading Joan of Arc by Mark Twain (free on iBooks). It’s longer than my usual reads, but my husband chose it for our 2-member “book club.” So far, I’m finding it far more enjoyable than I had expected.
    Thanks for another great post!

  20. Nichole says:

    Maybe you have already rejected this and I missed it, but we loved Justified. It’s over now, so you could binge it very easily. And of course, set in Kentucky ?. Not sure if it would clash with your HSPness. Another Netflix fave is Longmire. If you can handle Blacklist, this should be no problem. I like the books a bit better, but the show is really good.

  21. Cat says:

    We liked Longmire on Netflix. We are currently working through Blacklist! FNL is next on my list…I’ve put it off because I’m not a big sports fan but I live in Texas and I hear it’s great! We’ll see!

  22. Judith Lopez says:

    Hello Anne, Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I read it everyday. I believe you should definitely read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Yes, it’s sad but it will give you a new perspective on what it means to live a life of purpose. I actually read it because you mentioned it in one of your posts stating that you weren’t ready for it. I am so glad I read it. Here is my Goodreads review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1524074702
    I look forward to your thoughts.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for sharing your review. I actually just finished it last night. I survived the book but that epilogue was like a punch in the gut. But so good.

  23. Wow, I bet “Half a Yellow Sun” was intense to read on Audible. I mean, it’s an amazing book (here is my review of it), but I always get a little nervous listening to intense books rather than reading a physical copy. I guess I just find it easier to skim parts that are overwhelming to me when I’m reading rather than listening.

    Also, I’ve been loving your podcast! Thanks for all the work you’ve put into it and keep it up!

    • Anne says:

      Yes to intense, and there were definitely moments I wish I could have skimmed on paper. But it was very well done and I always love audiobooks with accents that aren’t my own.

      Glad you’re enjoying the podcast!

  24. Donna says:

    Hi Anne,
    I just love these posts! I picked up When Breath Becomes Air on Friday and I’m already halfway through. I can’t put it down. It’s a gorgeously-written memoir about life and death. I am thoroughly enjoying it. So far,
    there isn’t a whole lot on Kalanithi’s cancer journey if
    that’s what you’re concerned
    As a cancer survivor (I was
    diagnosed at 31), I tend to stay
    away from cancer books, but
    this memoir is worth the read.
    It’s my challenge pick for ‘a book published this year’.
    P.S. I watched ‘Chef’ on your recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed it!?

  25. Donna says:

    Oooo I forgot. I finished Descent by Tim Johnston and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls last week. Loved them both!
    On Friday night I finished The Far Side of The Sky by Daniel Kalla. It’s such a beautiful
    historical novel. It’s set
    Second World War Shanghai
    and Kalla does an incredible
    job of exploring an often-neglected part of history – Shanghai’s role in German
    Jewish refugees. It’s so well researched.
    He draws on his emergency
    medicine background and weaves an incredible family and love story that takes us across continents. Highly recommend! Oh and it’s book
    one in a trilogy.

  26. Jamie says:

    Michael Pollen’s book Cooked came out as a mini-series on Netflix last week…or the week before. Maybe check that out? Also, I binge-listened to ALL your podcasts over the past few days. Aaaaaand…so many more books to read. 🙂

  27. Leigh Kramer says:

    My book club is reading When Breath Becomes Air so I’ll hold your hand while you read. I’ve really been looking forward to reading it. I watched In A World last year and thought it was fine- I wanted it to be more than what it was or maybe friends oversold it to me.

  28. I appreciate hearing from everyone on When Breath Becomes Air. A friend was raving about it recently, but I keep holding back.

    On Netflix, I was excited that they recently added the last season of Parks & Rec and another season of It’s Always Sunny.

    And YAY for warmer weather. In Rome, the trees are starting to bloom, and I’ve been excited for jacket weather.

    You’ve inspired me with What I’m Into, and I share a few of my things for February here: https://romanreboot.com/2016/02/29/what-im-into-february-2016-edition/

    • Anne says:

      I’m glad you were inspired to share your favorites. 🙂 And I just finished When Breath Becomes Air last night. So many thoughts ….

  29. Lauren says:

    I’ll be sole commenter here to recommend a kids book….when you said you were the reading mom for your son’s Valentine’s Day celebration I immediately thought of my family’s all-time favorite Valentine’s themed book ever; Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. I don’t know who loved it more, me or my kids!

  30. JulieB says:

    Hi. I read your blog from “across the pond” and am amazed how many people are recommending British shows. All those that have been mentioned are great. Series 2 of Grantchester started last week so I’m guessing will be a while before it reaches you. James Norton who plays tge vicar is very popular here at the moment. He just played the lead in a BBC adaptation of War and Peace. Unnervingly though he also plays a really wicked man in a brilliant BBC series called Happy Valley. I highly recommend it but the title is very ironic. It is most definitely not happy. The Great British Bake Off is an institution over here and j think was the most watched programme on TV all year. The final is a major event and is on the front page of every newspaper. One of the things we Brits love about the show is that it feels the contestants are all in it together rather than against each other.

  31. Linda D. says:

    Do read When Breath Becomes Air. It is so worth it. Yes, we know the “ending,” but his writing is so lovely, and the way he connects medicine and the written word is amazing. His words to his little daughter had me sobbing, but that’s quite all right. A neighbor lent it to me, but I want to buy it so I can keep it to read again. It’s that well done.

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