What I’m into (March 2015 edition)

What I’m into (March 2015 edition)

We’re just home from a quick trip to Chicago for an old friend’s wedding. (I feel like I’m getting old now that college friends count as “old friends.” Anyone else?) We had an amazing whirlwind of a time: it was wonderful to combine a favorite city with people I don’t get to see nearly often enough. We drank coffee (the best), visited a fantastic little bookstore, and spent hours catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in too long.

(The weekend wasn’t nonstop fun: we sat outside the church in our minivan so we could listen to our team lose in overtime in the Elite Eight twelve minutes before the wedding started.)

wedding shoes

wedding shoes: Will and I both panicked when we got to the hotel and found we didn’t have the right footwear in the room. At this point we’re praying his fancy shoes and my boots are in the car. (They were.)

On Monday we drove home from still-frigid Chicago, and found our city to be noticeably greener than it was when we left it on Friday. I love spring.
wrigley building

What I’m watching

Basketball! Although since my team lost I might exercise some self-control and go to bed instead of staying up too late watching games I don’t care enough about to merit a loss of sleep.

We’re still watching MasterChef Junior with the kids.

Will and I have watched two or three episodes of Call the Midwife. I’m loving the way the BBC brought the books to life, but we have been busy lately. I’m looking forward to watching more episodes … eventually.

What I’m reading

So. many. bad. books. I had a fascinating conversation with another readerly friend recently about how all the fiction we’ve read this year with a planned publication date of summer 2015 is crap. Fascinating, but kind of depressing.

In my ears

Will and I listened to Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods during our Chicago road trip. For the first time ever, I chose the abridged version of the book on purpose: I vastly preferred the narrator of the abridged version (the author himself) over the uncut edition. We both enjoyed it. (Thanks for all your suggestions!)

On the blog

13 things I’ve learned in 30 months of Stitch Fix (aka my best Stitch Fix tips). I finally answer a frequent reader question: Do you still use Stitch Fix, and are you still happy with it?

40 great book club novels. “Many of these books tackle big—even uncomfortable—issues. Many are polarizing. All are “discussable”—you’ll have enough material to last all night long.”

What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable. My thoughts on spring’s new releases, plus a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

The 3 things you need to have people over. Your cheat sheet for hospitality prep in 15 minutes or less.

What to read next if you want to branch out from your usual genres. “Some readers read more widely than others, but most of us fall into grooves—often without even realizing it.”

Best of the web

How Ikea took over the world.

Children’s books are never just for children. “Many adults – many well-known authors in fact – re-read books that in childhood had a big impact. So why is children’s literature not considered worthy of major awards?”

10 words we’ve forgotten how to pronounce. I’m guilty.

Little Women: a literary pilgrimage. “We carry with us the sister we are “most like” and the film adaptation we like most (sorry, Katharine Hepburn). We have very, very strong opinions about Professor Bhaer.”

What were you into in March?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

more posts you might enjoy

46 comments | Comment


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  1. Hannah says:

    Very disappointed that tons of crap books have landed contracts and are coming out in 2015. Poo. But yay to the link that offered the proper pronunciations for ten weird words. That was fun. Though it doesn’t make up for the crap books.

  2. Sara says:

    I do love A Walk in the Woods (and most other BIll Bryson).

    RE: the words we mispronounce, growing up in New England I knew Worcester and clapboard, but admit to being surprised by blackguard. And I love the word “blaggard”! It reminds me of Willoughby every time.

  3. I’ve been on a similar reading kick lately, i.e. kind of disappointed with my selections. Mine have been a bit older, not necessarily 2015 releases, but still… I’m ready for something really good!

  4. Ana says:

    I’ve read a bunch of clunkers this year too! I finally go to Big Little Lies, which was amazing, though I followed it up with Lizzie and Jane which was…meh…to put it kindly.

  5. Kari says:

    I have been on a somewhat disappointing reading run lately as well. I had been looking forward to summer/fall 2015 releases, but it appears I may have to wait until 2016. Bummin.

  6. Andrea Ward says:

    I have been noticing all the disappointments in the books I’ve been reading recently as well. I said I would read them and review them, so I feel like I need to finish them. But as I’m reading, I think of all the time I’m wasting. So I decided to not be lured in by the “free for a review” and go the library more. Now I just have to get through the not so great stuff first.

  7. La says:

    Regarding the Little Women article (great find by the way)….I’m always surprised how the 1949 version of the movie rarely gets mentioned (it stars June Allyson as Jo and Elizabeth Taylor as Amy). I LOVE THAT VERSION. It’s the one that often played at Christmas time while I was growing up. Eventually someone bought it for me on DVD as a present. It’s always the Katherine Hepburn version or the 1994 version that gets talked about….but does anyone remember this one? 🙂

  8. Mar says:

    My husband (not a reader) and I listened to the same version (Bill Bryson reading) of A Walk in the Woods on a road trip to New England and enjoyed it very much. When we saw a sign pointing to an AT access point, we took a little detour just to walk a few steps on it!

  9. liz n. says:

    I would be afraid to listen to the audio version while driving, lest I lose control of the car while laughing and end up in a ditch. Bryson’s description of Little Debbie snack cakes alone had me rolling! 😉

  10. Sara K. says:

    I read the article you linked to – 10 words we’ve forgotton how to pronounce. Very interesting, but then this happened…

    I’m currently listening to The Fiery Cross (Diana Gabaldon) on audible. There is a scene where Claire is describing Jamie’s attire. In one sentence, Davina Porter says “waistcoat” pronouncing it “waist coat”. In the very next sentence, she says it again but pronounces it “weskit”. I even had to back it up to listen again! Never would I have caught that if I hadn’t read this article today 🙂

  11. Dana says:

    I am feeling the same about the books I have read so far this year….nothing that I feel like recommending highly to anyone, especially fiction-wise. I have read some OK stories but no five star ones. Hoping to find “That Book” soon. I want to fall into a book and be enthralled and immersed in a story rather than looking to see how many more pages I have until the end so I can get on to the next one….Everything seems shallow or formulaic right now or just plain boring!

  12. Laura says:

    That game! Overtime! As my husband said, “if you had told me two months ago the Cards would make it to the Elite Eight, I would have been thrilled,” but a heartbreak nonetheless.

    • Anne says:

      We listened to it on the radio (which was plenty painful on all kinds of levels) but at least we weren’t watching the game and actually SEEING the balls keep clunking out. UGH.

  13. Miriam B says:

    Very interesting article on IKEA. Thanks for sharing! I keep hearing from acquaintances that it is THE place to shop. I have never visited a store, but my curiosity is piqued right now.

  14. Brandy says:

    How did you listen to your audio bookin the car? Did you connect your phone to an auxiliary cord? Do you have to pay for cellular data that way? Anyway, I’m about to do a three hour road trip with my kids. I want to listen to an audiobook up front while they watch a DVD in the back. Any suggestions from you or your readers would be greatly appreciated!

    • Anne says:

      Our car is old with the original stereo, so I bought a little bluetooth speaker at Costco for $30. It holds a charge for ten hours, plenty long for the trips we take. I can fit it in my purse. We haven’t actually done this yet, but we could put the speaker on the dash and let the kids watch a dvd in the back without losing our minds, I think. 🙂

  15. Sarah says:

    I loved the Little Women link! I used to live near Boston, and some friends and I would make our yearly pilgrimage to The Orchard House. You really do feel a kinship to the other visitors, as if you grew up together!

  16. I’m still in college, and I am encouraged to hear that you have maintained friendships from this time of your life! I often worry that they will fade away, but I know with a little extra effort, it can happen!

    I love MasterChef, but I have never watched the kids version! I will have to look into that next time the series premiers.

  17. Amy M says:

    And now I’m curious about which are the crap books. Partly curiosity, but partly not wanting to waste my book money. Do we get mini reviews?

  18. Jocelyn says:

    A Walk in the Woods is one of my favourite books. So funny. I love Professor Bhaer but have never actually come across any other Little Women fans who had strong opinions about him.

  19. A says:

    Alright, regarding the 10 Words article…my life is forever changed now that I possess knowledge of the proper pronunciation of Worcestershire sauce. Although, if “shire” is supposed to be pronounced SHUR, why is it pronounced SHY-ur in the Lord of the Rings? 🙂

  20. MBCance says:

    I feel like I’ve also been reading lots of books than I’m lukewarm about. So tempted (because of Anne) to start the Outlander series but I’m still not sure if it’s up my alley, However, I am currently reading Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center and I don’t want it to end! It’s so good in the way that all her books are good. I can’t put it down but I’m already sad that it’s over – and it’s not over yet! I haven’t felt that way about a book in a while. So Anne, what next? I’ve read all Katherine Center’s books, and Liane Moriarty. Jojo Moyes? I need to have something ready to go the minute I’m done with Happiness:)

      • MBCance says:

        Thanks! Going on vacation tomorrow so I just loaded up my Kindle with Love Walked In and her second book as well. Can’t wait! As I was looking on Amazon, I saw that Alexander McCall Smith has written a modern retelling of Emma. The reviews aren’t great but I’m willing to give it a chance.

        • Anne says:

          Yes he did! I haven’t read it yet but I have tickets to hear him speak at our local library this week. I’m willing to give it a chance, as well. 🙂

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