What I’m into (September 2015 edition).

What I’m into (September 2015 edition).

As always, I’m joining my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

September has been crazy. I feel like I say some version of that every month, but seriously: my kids started school on August 31, and fall ball not long after. We are, quite honestly, struggling to find our rhythm. It’s been bumpy.

But it’s been good, minus a few back-to-school freak outs (mostly my own).

Ridgewood Wine and Beer

Going places

Raleigh was lovely, especially this time of year. I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I wanted but the event was amazing, and I got to visit renowned indie bookstore Quail Ridge Books.

We also stopped in for a tasting at Ridgewood Wine and Beer around the corner, where they display their wares on bookshelves. Highly recommended if you’re in the area.

Last weekend we headed up to Cincinnati to rendezvous with our cousins. Everyone had a blast, as always.

Next week we’re taking the kids to NYC. If you have suggestions for New York with kids, I’m begging you to tell me in comments.


What I’m watching

Will and I fell down The Blacklist rabbit hole. We’re hooked.

kitchen progress

In the kitchen

This is what it looked like at the beginning of the month. We’re getting somewhere. (And we have a sink now, thank goodness!)

books under the window

What I’m reading

Now that summer reading season is officially over, I’m taking a giant step back to figure out my fall and winter reading priorities.

I’m reading lots of nonfiction for one project, lots of upmarket fiction for another, and as many forthcoming fall and winter releases as possible.

Next on my reading list:

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. I abandoned this one a few weeks ago, but after meeting the author and learning more about its structure, I’m giving it another try.
Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech. I’m very curious about this debut novel.
Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr. This memoir has been on my list for a while. Several of you have raved about this one.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain. When I mentioned to a friend that I’ve never read anything by the prolific Chamberlain, she was horrified. (“Whyever not?”) Point taken.

On the blog

Most popular: Un-put-down-able. This post from the archives about the books I finished in 24 hours or less because I couldn’t put them down was the most viewed in September.

Most heated comments section: Mr. Darcy vs. Gilbert Blythe. These comments are great. I loved reading your other contenders for your favorite fictional male lead.

Most likely to make you rush out for a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils: 9 campus novels that will totally make you want to go back to school.

Most likely to resonate: When you’re good at overcomplicating things.

Best/worst for your wallet: Now available: get kindle deals delivered straight to your inbox.

I’d love to hear what YOU were into in September.  

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53 comments | Comment


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  1. Bethann says:

    Hey Ann! We did NYC with kids a few years back and my number 1 recommendation is to get the NYC pass. You get discounted tickets to everything! I’m usually not one to rush around and jam in everything, but the city pass forced us to maximize our tickets and we literally saw everything in the pass! We got a weeklong subway pass and hit the town from morning to midnight! Highlights for me included the Guggenheim (on the pass) and the Empire State Building (which allows you to go twice in a day..day & at night). I was surprised how much I loved it. I thought it would be a touristy trap. Nope. You have to get separate tickets for the 911 Memorial/museum (the museum wasn’t yet opened when we went) and the Statue of Liberty. The trade off… We didn’t see any Broadway plays/musicals, but we saw everything on the pass!! Have a great time!!

  2. Karen says:

    Have fun in New York! The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must-visit–so much for kids and adults to love. My kids also always enjoyed Ellen’s Stardust Diner, http://www.ellensstardustdiner.com/, and Serendipity 3, http://www.serendipity3.com/
    I was at Quail Ridge last night for the Lovable, Livable Home signing (so fun!), and bought an extra book in your honor as promised! 🙂
    And I also abandoned Fates and Furies so will be curious to hear how your second try goes.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the NYC recs! I’m jealous about your book signing, and interested to hear that I’m not the only one who bailed on Fates and Furies. I promise to write about how the second attempt goes. 🙂

  3. Alissa says:

    Resident NYC-er here, with two kids (5.5 and 2.5). I’d definitely recommend the Museum of Natural History, it’s fantastic for kids. A great day is going to the museum and then the UWS Shake Shack for lunch! Central Park is always great, and full of fun playgrounds (check the park website for descriptions and locations, since some of them are pitched much older/younger). Across the park the Met is great, the sculpture hall and the armor room in particular are big hits.

    The subway is obviously fantastic for getting around – with cabs you’ll need two unless you happen to get a van cab (you can also try things like Uber and the like for larger vehicles). The Union Square Green Market is also fun (lots there on Wednesdays and not as crowded as the weekend).

    Hope you have a great trip! The city really is a fantastic place with kids – we’re obviously fans!

  4. Paula says:

    The Season of Dragonflies sounds really good! I’ll have to check it out too. And I really enjoyed the first season of Blacklist! James Spader is amazing! Now I need to get caught up on the other seasons. 🙂

  5. Suz says:

    In New York take the kids to the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Mathematics, Empire State Building, Jane’s Carousel. Museum of Mathematics, Jane’s Carousel, Wave Hill & Queens County Farm Museum.

  6. Shannon says:

    Hi! I’m a Long Islander and I frequently take my kids to NYC. Their favorite spots are: Norma’s for a quirky-delicious-amazing breakfast, Serendipity 3 for a fun dinner, Central Park Zoo, Museum of Natural History, Intrepid Museum, Ancient Playgound, playing/walking anywhere in Central Park, Top of the Rock (better than the Empire State Bldg in our opinion), The Lego Store. We don’t typically venture south to the more usual touristy spots, but the ferry around the Statue is fun, and of course the 9/11 memorial is a highlight, as is walking around midtown and going to a Broadway show. The subway is convenient, but with kids, and maps, and timing…I highly suggest Uber instead.

  7. Lisa says:

    If your children like Eloise don’t miss the Plaza Hotel to see her portrait and all things Eloise. Also if Madeline is a family favorite DON’T miss the Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel. Bemelmans lived at the hotel and painted the bar (even the lampshades) to pay his bill. It has been a must stop with my daughter (for a coke or Shirley Temple) when we are in NYC since she was 8. The Carlyle is lovely to children who visit. Serendipity is a charming place to treat for sweet things.

  8. Anna says:

    NYC with kiddos – eat at Shake Shake as many times as possible, The NYC Transportation Museum, walk any part of the High Line, ride the Staten Island ferry round trip to see the Statue of Liberty (I think it’s free?) – you can get great pics from the water, Central Park & visit Grand Central Station -stunning building & we love the Oyster Bar downstairs. If you plan to do Natural History museum watch the original Night at the Museum before you go. Enjoy!!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I live in NYC and have a 7 year old daughter. I would recommend: American Museum of Natural History – and Central Park right across the street, Transportation Museum in downtown Brooklyn, Jane’s Carousel and the Brooklyn Bridge Park (the great view of the skyline is worth the trip across the river – and you could walk over the Brooklyn Bridge!), the High Line, ride the Staten Island ferry (free – and great view of the Statue of Liberty). Broadway shows good for kids: Lion King, Wicked, Matilda, Aladdin.

  10. Kimber-Leigh says:

    Alice’s Tea Cup is a wonderful place for lunch or tea. 🙂 They have three locations (they call them chapters) I’ve been to Chapter III several times. It’s whimsical, delicious, and a great spot for adults and kids. (They have fairy wings to wear and pixie dust to sprinkle over anyone who wants some!) Their pumpkin scone is the best I’ve ever tasted (and quite a unique take on a scone) and they have an amazing chicken salad that is marinated in their Lapsang Souchong.

    My daughter loved just wandering around Central Park and riding the carousel too. Have a great trip!

    • Anne says:

      There have only been a a few days when it was bad, seriously. (And I could look on the bright side and notice that on a day I needed to up my step count, I could get 700 by just making coffee.)

  11. Laura says:

    My kids very favorite is the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. Google it and buy tix in advance. It sells out all the time! If you can only do one tour, I’d recommend Hard Times. They also love the fancy cakes at Lady M’s. There is a location near the Met, and then another near the NYC Public Library.

  12. Laura says:

    Oh yeah….bike riding in Central Park!!! A must do! Rent bikes as close to the park as possible. We usually rent from location right on Columbus Circle.

  13. Megan says:

    The Met would be fun, especially if you and your kids have read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which takes place there. I have to admit that I was pretty excited to visit the Met on my first trip to NYC because of this book–a favorite from my childhood! Have a great time!

  14. Chrissy says:

    In September, I started reading Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and I’m hooked! It’s a bit sad though that her books were never really famous during her short lifetime (due to publishers and her older sisters), but I still love it none-the-less. She gives an uncensored and realistic view into the life of a governess during the 1800’s. The stores in the book are very similar to her own experiences as a governess. Can’t wait to read her next book, The Tenant of Whitfield Hall next. <3

    While you're in New York be sure to get some authentic New York pizza and bagels. The pizza was pretty good (very much Sicilian style, thin crust) but the bagels are beyond amazing.

  15. Maggie says:

    I see you have an Isabel Allende book in your picture today. Her first book, House of the Spirits, completely mesmerized me. I still have the old worn out copy that I read in high school. She’s written many books at this point. I’d be curious to hear what you think of her more recent writing…

  16. Oh! I went to the library to request Four Seasons in Rome before I even finished reading your post. Sounds wonderful! We’ve been to Rome once and my son is studying abroad there next year so we’ll be visiting again. Thanks for the recommendation.

  17. Claire says:

    The Intrepid museum is great for kids of all ages. The view of the city there is pretty great, too. Also, if Pearl River Mart in SoHo is still open, it’s so much fun. It’s a huge 3-story Chinese department store that my kids loved. I had heard it was closing by the end of the year, so I’m not sure if it’s still open.

  18. Annie says:

    Does your kids like Alice in Wonderland/Lewis Carroll? There’s quite the exhibits going around for its 150 years anniversary. Several museums / libraries are in coordination including the Grolier Club and Morgan Library & Museum and more. Along with a trip to the Alice statue in Central Park and Alice’s Teacup, it’ll be a great themed activity.

  19. Leigh Kramer says:

    I am LOVING that picture of your kitchen! Proud of you guys for knocking that wall down and opening up the space. It’s going to be amazing when it’s all done. I’ve been wanting to read Fates & Furies so I’ll be curious to hear what you think when you’re done. I never read anything by Diane Chamberlain until last fall: The Silent Sister. Hard to put down but I haven’t read anything else by her. I should!

  20. djes says:

    For your NYC trip I’d add the Sony Wonder Technology Lab. It’s free but you must have a reservation as they keep the number of people going through small so everyone can play. It’s all hands on and you could spend hours there. My kids loved it. Have fun!

  21. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Anthony Doerr memoir. Turns out I read it before (and enjoyed it), but this time around it’s even more interesting because he’s writing All the Light We Cannot See (which I loved)!

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