What I’m into (May 2015 edition)

What I’m into (May 2015 edition)

Will and I are in New York City this weekend for Book Expo America and Book Con. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

What I’m watching

Now that we’re in a season that’s less crazy, Will and I have been thinking we’re ready for another show. We thought we’d give Twin Peaks a try, and halfway into the first episode … I don’t know if this is worth our very limited tv time.

We’ve loved Parenthood, Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights, Gilmore Girls, and The Office. We’ve seen a few episodes of Call the Midwife and are looking forward to new Sherlock episodes. Got any suggestions? (I asked on Facebook and got this great list but I’m still thinking…)

green books

What I’m reading

I’m slowing making my way through H is for Hawk, which came highly recommended. It’s the kind of book that’s best enjoyed a few pages at a time.

I’m also finally reading Little Women, catching up on Sarah Addison Allen‘s backlist, re-reading The Pelican Brief, and previewing Elin Hildebrand’s newest summer novel.


In my kitchen

We took the kids to Mojito to celebrate the first and last games of baseball season. Will and I thought it would just be a fun night but it turned out to be a great investment: our little chefs are now obsessed with tapas and are cooking up fancy spreads on a regular basis.

Other than that it’s pretty much survival mode around here. I’m turning to your list of go-to weeknight dinners on a regular basis when inspiration is lacking.


Working out

I’ve been running and biking regularly but had fallen out of a regular strength routine. The past few months I’ve been doing P90X3. The ex-Crossfitter in me was skeptical, but this is more than challenging enough to be worthwhile.

My workout clothes have seen better days, so I gave Wantable’s fitness edit a try to get some good basics. (Think Stitch Fix, for workout wear.)

I didn’t do a great job of filling out my style survey for my first shipment (hot tip: if what you’re looking for is basics, say so) but I was pleased with my second: I replenished my basic yoga pants and bike shorts, replaced my faded black tank with a comfy new one, and tried a cute patterned running shirt and crazy-print leggings, just for fun.

reading journal 4

Summer reading

The 2015 Summer Reading Guide is live! View it here. We’ve tweaked the formatting to make it user-friendly (and a printable version went out to newsletter subscribers, so you can print it off and take it to the library or your local bookstore with you).

I also finally released the printable reading journal I’ve been working on for ages. Get yours here.

On the blog

Happiest post for decision-averse bookworms: The minimalist summer reading guide.

Best peek behind the scenes: Summer reading guide rejects.

Most popular from the archives: The life-changing magic of tidying up.

Most indicative of how time flies: The new house after one year.

Most likely to inspire self-reflection (and remind you of your SATs): MBTI: strengths :: enneagram: motivations.

Best of the web

5 timeless lessons from Jane Austen. “That whole ironic, tongue-in-cheek British thing reaches back farther than you might realize. She was pretty saucy underneath those Empire-waist gowns.”

Science says lasting relationships come down to 2 basic traits. “Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.”

Traveling opens your mind and heart to the world’s challenges. “If my years rubbing shoulders with world travelers has taught me anything, it’s this: Going abroad doesn’t blind you to the world’s problems. If anything, it makes you more acutely aware of them.”

A customer complains to Amazon …  “This customer ordered a book from Amazon and it didn’t arrive through the post. Like you do in these situations he made them aware of the situation. He was connected to the online chat, and a customer service representative named Thor. The rest is just brilliant.”

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

more posts you might enjoy

48 comments | Comment


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    • Elizabeth says:

      Arrested Development is the funniest show to ever be on television! My husband and I would laugh so hard that we had to rewind to see what we missed through tears! We also loved Nashville, Homeland and the Fargo series.

  1. Bethann says:

    Oh my goodness. Book Con exists?! I’m done. And I now I have plans & goals for next year!
    I’m mourning Mad Men’s end. It’s a great show to watch and think about.

  2. Alex says:

    You should check out Grace and Frankie on Netflix. 13 episodes, half an hour each. Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen! A delight.

  3. Ciera S says:

    If you like BBC television (like Sherlock and Call the Midwives), I’d suggest the PBS show Downton Abbey. It deserves all the awards it has won. Also, a comedy in line with The Office is Parks and Recreation, which I’d recommend. My summer personally will be a (hopefully) healthy mix of tv and summer reads!

  4. Corby says:

    Bingeing Prison Break right now. Check out Serendipity restaurant at I believe 61st and 3rd. Great little place with great little history. Definitely have the frozen hot chocolate. Enjoy the Strand….. did you bring an extra suitcase ?

  5. liz n. says:

    For Netflixing: Supernatural, Monarchy (an excellent documentary series from the BBC), Rosemary & Thyme (a fun murder mystery series a la Miss Marple, in which no one ever asks why someone ends up dead every single time these two gardeners show up), Parks & Rec, Monarch of the Glen (more BBC), and Daredevil (not suitable for watching with small children, but excellent. Be prepared for violence).

    I’ve never done P90X, but I used to do the Insanity Workout. Unfortunately, my bad knee said, “Enough, already,” so I had to trade in running and Insanity for walking and a return to workouts that are based on yoga and ballet.

    Currently reading “Denton Little’s Death Date” and working my way through Mary Corbet’s “Stitch Sampler Alphabet.” And wishing for the rains here in Texas to give us a break, already. In the past month, we’ve had exactly two full days of sunshine, and the flooding in some areas is practically of Biblical proportions.

  6. Tim says:

    That Amazon customer service exchange is a hoot, Anne. I look on customer service as extremes: bad customer service is awful, and good customer service is fantastic. That one was fantastic.

  7. Michelle Deckert Richmond says:

    For tv watching I would recommend Longmire…and a new one just out on Netflix….Grace and Frankie (starring Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin). But my favorite still is The Walking Dead! I know, I know….Zombies??? But give it a try. Never in a million years would I think I would like a show about zombies…..but it’s great.

  8. Michelle Turner says:

    Oh no! I didn’t realize we got a printable version of the summer reading guide in our email- and I cannot find that email. I am sure I deleted it. Can I get that resent to my email? Is there a link to it? I REALLY wanted a printable version… so AHHH!

  9. Karrie says:

    On Netflix we have been watching “The Incredible Dr. Pol”. It follows the daily rounds of a real life veternarian in Michigan farm country. Very “James Herriet”. We discovered it by accident and both hubby and I love it. Our kids are grown but I imagine kids would love it too, though there are actual sugeries that might be too much for some.

  10. Trudy says:

    Monk is one of my favorite shows of all time. I watched all 6 or 7 seasons a couple of years ago while I made seventy gazillion tissue paper pom-poms for my daughters wedding.

  11. Kate says:

    Some of these were already mentioned on the Facebook page, but here is what I’ve watched and enjoyed recently:
    Orphan Black (crazy crazy show), Grantchester, Inspector Lewis, Broadchurch (BBC Version), Mozart in the Jungle, and – with my 9 year old son – Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street (an Amazon original series that we both thoroughly enjoyed).

    Firefly & Buffy are classics, and I second Trudy’s comment about Monk – that was such a great show!

  12. Dana says:

    Loved the Amazon customer service exchange. That fellow made a potential problem into something memorable and delightful. I had to contact Amazon once about a purchase and while the rep was not as witty as Thor, I was impressed by the prompt, polite and hassle-free way it was handled. Other businesses could take lessons.

    I just reread Little Women for probably the 5th or 6th time.

    I just started Don Quixote. I know, I know, not a typical summer-time read but I have been meaning to read it for quite a while. It is considered to be the first modern novel. What I am surprised to find is how accessible it is for something published 400 years ago. It is full of humor, satire and social commentary that stands up well. Some of the sentences become a bit long and unwieldy but I am enjoying it. It counts as my book first published in another language , too. ; )

  13. Jacki says:

    TV show recommendations: Person of Interest (if you like plot twists and the unexpected you’ll like this) and Once Upon a Time (fairy tale characters caught in modern life).

    • Jaime says:

      Another vote for The Killing. We’re almost done with season three, and it is addicting! For a much lighter twist, we also like Monk and Psych.

  14. sarah k says:

    I have loved all the television shows you mentioned (except for Midwife which I haven’t tried). My favorites that are currently on tv: Justified (a little violent sometimes but extremely well written with vivid, realistic character interactions and relationships–centers on a US Marshal trying to bring law and order to the backwoods, crime-ridden KY county where he grew up); Suits (great dialogue and characters, fascinating premise of a wunderkind high-powered NY lawyer who secretly never went to law school); The Good Wife (yes, a little soap-ish sometimes, but great writing and pacing and characters, and also thought-provoking tensions). I enjoy Blue Bloods (police drama with traces of Parenthood–the Irish Catholic 4-generation family ends every episode saying grace over their weekly Sunday dinners). I also like Madam Secretary, which isn’t the absolute cream of the crop but is entertaining and I love the strong female lead in Tea Leoni. I second the recommendation of Foyle’s War and also think Inspector Lewis might be right up your alley (it’s a Masterpiece Mystery series set in modern-day Oxford, more cerebral than scary, and laced with literary allusions–the episode titles are often quotes in themselves, like “The Mind Has Mountains”).

    • Claire says:

      I love Inspector Lewis and Endeavour, too. The storyline is always intelligent, and that Oxford skyline gets me every time! The actors are all fabulous, too.

  15. Kelty says:

    Hey there! I was trying to unsubscribe from the daily post email (as I read the posts through feedly) but I think I unsubscribed from the newsletter as well, unintentionally. Is it possible to get back on the newsletter and get the printable Summer Reading guide? Thanks!!

  16. Anna says:

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Little Women! It’s one of my favorite books. I also own three of its movie adaptations.

  17. I have tried watching Twin Peaks before, but I have never lasted long enough. I am currently watching Orange is the New Block and based on your other shows, I feel you may enjoy it! Also, your copy of Little Women is stunning.

  18. amanda june says:

    no recommendations, i’m just jealous your husband liked gilmore girls. i have to watch it alone 😉

  19. Sarah says:

    I rarely watch TV, but with a newborn and a sleep-deprived brain, I’ve been wading through Netflix, and found “The Paradise”. Have you seen it? Think Downton Abbey set in Great Britain’s first department store. I like it because it’s a short term commitment of only 2 seasons at 8 episodes per; the time period (1875) makes for fabulous costumes and settings; the setting is quirky enough to be intriguing; and the array of British accents is just plain fun to listen to :). It’s not stupendous writing, but it is good and entertaining enough to keep you coming back for more. The main love story is almost believable– maybe the casting wasn’t spot-on for it? But you do root for them, anyway, and it’s fun to see how it plays out. It isn’t without a touch of mellow-drama, but it has just enough seriousness and humor to balance it out.

    Now, if you’re looking for a sit-com, my go-to is Night Court. The end. 🙂

  20. katieh says:

    TV recs – Leverage (clever, fun show about a team of con artists who work for good), Brooklyn Nine Nine (my current favourite sitcom), Jeeves and Wooster (obvs from the PG Wodehouse books, as portrayed by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in the 90’s – though i’m guessing you’ve seen this already!)

    hope that helps. 🙂

  21. Tori says:

    I’m sure others have mentioned it, but I’m really enjoying Parks and Rec. The first season is a little slow but it picks up after that! I find myself laughing out loud all the time. Love it.

  22. Alicia says:

    Hi Anne! I am a loyal reader but this is my first comment! So nice to meet you! :). I am currently watching Mad Men and really enjoying it. The relationship dynamics on the show are so interesting and so screwed up. I also recommend Under the Dome. I read the book which was really good and watched the first two seasons on Amazon. I am really excited for the third season which starts in June!

  23. Traci says:

    Orphan Black is a great binge. More on the side of Veronica Mars and Sherlock (intense, great characters).

  24. Torrie says:

    We’ve recently gotten hooked on Drop Dead Diva (on Netflix), which is about an aspiring model who is killed in an auto accident but gets a second chance at life–by coming back in someone else’s body. It’s both hilarious and addicting, full of courtroom drama (the person whose body she took over was a lawyer) and plenty of drama AND comedy. Surprisingly entertaining! Definitely worth checking out.

  25. Arati says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to BookExpo America… I’ve been to the Frankfurt Book Fair and regularly attend the London Book Fair also… it’s my job as a freelance designer, but it’s also because I’m a bookworm and can’t keep away.

  26. One of our favorite shows on Netflix is a series called Foyles War. We’ve watched the entire series two or three times. It’s a BBC show, set during WWII in England, about a chief super-intendent detective. The main character is brilliant and so great to watch, and the stories are really well written as well.

    Another show I enjoy (my husband finds the main character annoying) is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The story and characters are entertaining, but I’ll be honest and say that the romantic tension between the two main characters is what really has me hooked 😉

  27. Ashley says:

    Endeavour! It’s BBC, Oxford, 1960’s and an opera loving detective. Two seasons are out, they’re filming a third this summer. It’s free on Amazon Prime. Really fabulous.

  28. You and I seem to have very similar TV tastes, so I’ll just add to your list Prison Break (this is the hubs and my favorite show together, thought it’s very dramatic/intense) and Pretty Little Liars. I’m excited to check out your summer reading list, too!

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