A Cuppa Cosy Reads – January 2020

Welcome to my library. My domain. My happy place. In my library I’m in my element. Let’s talk books…

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Photo taken by Angie at A Cup of Grace Photography

I said that something I wanted to introduce a little more regularly on my little slice of the internet was books. I’m an avid reader and while I have an entire blog dedicated to books, I felt like that having such a big part of my life be so separate from my personal blog, was…strange to me. I’ve been sharing my reads as I am reading them on my social media, but I think I am also going to wrap up each month with a little post talking about what I’ve read that month. I’ll have the title, links to goodreads/purchasing options, my rating of the book, and then my thoughts of the book. (If you are curious about my library/office, you can see that post HERE).

In January I read a total of 7 books and listened to 1 audio book. Overall it was what I would consider a really good reading month, the lowest rating I gave out was a low 3 star and on the whole I actually enjoyed most of the books that I read. This month was the month of Dark, Thrilling, In One Sitting reads. I have added a new favorite genre (I’ve always loved it, but I have a name for it now and a narrowed down taste) and I’ve added an author to my “try some more” list. And now, I’m going to stop aimlessly waffling and start talking about the books…

*** I apologize for the Purchase links going to Amazon Audible options, you can select the physical or e-book version using the same link. I will have a different link moving forward***

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Desire by Haruki Murakami (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. This is a collection of short stories that revolve around desire (as the title would suggest). Murakami is a new to me author that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, but haven’t pulled the plug on reading his book. In his own words, he takes quite a bit of inspiration from Kafka, Carver, Vonnegut, and Jazz Music. All of his works are also translated from the original Japanese text. I’ll be completely honest, it was the “inspiration from Kafka” that worried me. I’m not the biggest Kafka fan (which is putting that very lightly) and I have become wary of authors that pull inspiration from him. All that being said, I really enjoyed this little collection! It was a pleasure to read and I only had one Kafka-esque instance. I’ll definitely give another one of his full-length novels a try later this year to see if I still feel the same about his writing in a longer setting.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Frederik Backman (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. I have yet to read a Backman book that I haven’t enjoyed. This book is especially touching as we follow a man who is facing…a crisis of conscience (trying to figure out wording on this without giving away plot). It is written as a father to son letter and allows the reader to question some life decisions within the safety of “knowing the outcome”. Really enjoyed this read, as I always do, and I’m looking forward to picking up the last couple Backman books I have left on his published list.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Goodreads/Purchase): 4/5 Stars. This is THE BOOK of dark academia. The book that kind of “revived” the genre, gave it a name, brought it to the forefront. We are following a group of snobby Classic Majors at a prestigious university as they try to find a life beyond the humdrum. They become very much wrapped in the subject that they are studying (Latin/Classics) and very quickly things start to unravel. This book just has it all, a friend group, dynamic well-crafted characters, a storyline that follows through, a mystery (I wouldn’t go so far as to say Thriller), and some incredibly beautiful writing. This was my second Donna Tartt book and I enjoyed this one vastly more than The Goldfinch (my first of hers). I found sometimes the narrative would be a little meandering, or the writing would get a little too much, but overall I really enjoyed it.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Goodreads/Purchase): 3/5 Stars. Oh boy. It’s been a couple of weeks; I’ve had my book club discussion and I still don’t know what to really say about this book. Gear up, this is going to be a fun one. So much fun in fact that I am struggling to come up with a good description of what the book even is. We are following a young man who stumbles on a moment from his life that has wound up in a strange book. This book leads him and us down a rabbit hole (not entirely figurative) and into a world of stories. We follow his story, the fairytale stories, and a slew of side characters as they are trying to figure out the story. Confused yet? That’s how I was for a good amount of this book. I enjoyed the world (scratch that I loved the world, probably the one thing I really loved about this book), I enjoyed the characters (for the most part), but it was just too much story for one book. I would have preferred if she had stuck with one storyline and followed that through, instead of going on so many side stories that we, as readers, are left feeling like we’ve been chewed up, spit out, and no real conclusion. Just too much for one book and I think that that is why I struggled with it so much.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (Goodreads/Purchase): 5/5 Stars. This was the first book that I read in January that I would classify as a “thriller” and I loved every minute of it. Lock Every Door follows a young woman who has found herself in a bit of a tough life spot. That is until she stumbles upon an apartment sitting ad for an exclusive building. After a quick interview she lands the job, but not all is as it seems. Covering the span of just two weeks, the tension amps up quickly and doesn’t let go until the very last chapter. I read this book in basically one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what was going to happen next, and even though I predicted who the “bad” person was, I couldn’t predict how everything would unravel and just how tense things would get. Highly, highly recommend this one if you are looking for a quick, captivating, read.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (Goodreads/Purchase): 5/5 Stars. Dark Academia that is Shakespeare centered? Give me all of it!!!! Pulling a lot of inspiration from The Secret History, If We Were Villains follows a group of Shakespearean Actors at a prestigious college of the arts as they navigate their final year of school. As you would expect, things don’t quite go to plan, and one student ends up in jail. I have to say, this book did it all for me. I loved the Shakespeare references (of which there are too many to even begin), I loved the theatrical element, the school in the woods dark setting, and the twist towards the end. The level of drama was also incredible. I would say that if The Secret History daunts you, or if it you felt like it was too wordy, too long, but otherwise you like it (or the idea of it), then this will be a really good fit. It’s a much more palatable version of Dark Academia.

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter (Goodreads/Purchase): 4.5/5 Stars. After reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter towards the end of last year, I’ve been anxious to pick up another of her books. I found this one by chance in our local library (where I also picked up Pretty Girls) and it sounded along the same vein as Pretty Girls in terms of pacing and storyline (although they are quite different). In the Kept Woman we follow a detective, Will, as he sets to solve a crime that he is way too connected to. As things start to get clearer in regard to the crime, they only seem to get “muddier” in his personal life. This book is excellently paced, and the characters have a depth to them that makes you feel like they are really standing in front of you. I enjoyed seeing the growth the characters showed, even if it seemed a little…forced at times (or easy at other times) and found that the author conveyed their personalities all too well. This wasn’t quite a 5-star read for me, but it is really up there and after reading, I actually found out that this book is part of a larger detective series (although it is not necessary to read previous or subsequent novels). I don’t think I’ll read any of the previous books, but I may end up picking up the next one in the series just to see.

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy (Goodreads/Purchase): NR (No rating- I do not rate Nonfiction books). This was a random “I really want an audiobook to listen to” pick and I’m not mad about that. A nonfiction selection, this book details the lives of several young ladies (and their moms/families) in the late 19th/early 20th century who would travel to Europe to find husbands in the aristocracy. I don’t have too much to say about this, as it’s pretty straight forward, but I did really actually enjoy it. The author did a great job at giving the insight into WHY each of these girls found husbands in another country, background on the both the woman and man and their respective families, AND a little look at what happened after they got married. Some of the stories are wild and full of drama, others are fairly tame, but all were interesting.

And finally, I figured I would end this post (and future ones) with what I am currently reading. I am currently reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer. I’ve only just started this, so I don’t have any thoughts quite yet, but I hope to enjoy this one. I think no matter what your ideals are, it’s good to see other aspects and points of view. It’s all about continuing to educate yourself and grow.

 

And now, that’s a wrap on all the books I’ve read in January! A couple questions…Did you enjoy this post? Did any of these books pique your interest, and if so, which ones? What did you most enjoy reading in January? Let me know!

Top Recent Reads ( A 3rd Qtr Favorites)

I’m slowly starting to introduce a little more book/reading content into my blog here because it is such a huge part of my life (in fact, I have a whole blog dedicated to it – The Cosy Book Shoppe). I’ve been trying to figure out how best to do this and figured pulling the book section of my Quarterly favorites would be a good place to start. I also have a couple other posts in the queue coming up about literacy, getting children to read, and what books do for us. To give you a little idea of my reading, in the past 3 months I’ve read a total of 28 books (2 being unpublished manuscripts).

Today, I am going to talk about some of the best books that I’ve read in the past few months. I am going to try and pull a wide variety of genre’s (as I typically try to read a wide variety) as a chance to give you as many options as possible should you want to pick something up on my recommendation. I do talk about books over in my Instagram Stories and have a highlight of some of the books I’ve read recently there as well.

We will start with one of the most recent books I’ve picked up that happens to be Adult Fiction, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. This is an adult fiction that deals with overarching themes of morality and guilt. I don’t want to give a lot away as I found going into somewhat blind was actually a better reading experience, but I loved how thought provoking this book was and the different viewpoint we get to a couple of very tough topics. Upon finishing it, I found myself sitting back and thinking about the book for quite a while, trying to figure out what I could or would do in the same situations. I also had quite a good discussion in our book club and would love to discuss with you if you have, or do, read this book. Fair warning, there are some adult scenes, and Schlink’s writing is very blunt.

I also really loved Summer Crossing by Truman Capote, another Adult Fiction. This was Truman Capote’s first novel that he was working on, found only years after his passing. It is definitely a “juvenile” work, but I found it to still be incredible and if you are a fan of Capote, you will be a fan of this work. I preferred this over Breakfast at Tiffany’s and really wished that he could have finished it. Such an incredible short work of fiction.

For a Fantasy pick (a genre that I am kind of iffy on), I’ve got a total of three. The first two, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, are adult and the third, A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, is technically young adult. If you’re looking for a fantasy novel that has really great writing and a perfect balance of sharing/withholding information, then The Fifth Season is for you. Jemison’s writing is really great and I was swept up in her foreshadowing. If you are looking to get swept away by a story and feel transported to a different time and place, then Daughter of the Forest is for you. Marillier has a way of just taking the reader on a journey that is in this world, but not in this world. This particular story involves faeries so bonus if you are into that and is set in medieval Ireland. This one surprised me with how much I did end up loving it as I was unsure of it for quite a while. Finally, if you are looking for an easy read, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, OR a kickass female protagonist, then A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmemer is the one for you. I think that while this technically is a Beauty & the Beast retelling, I found this to be a little more twisty and turny to just your standard retelling.

In terms of a work of non fiction and military related, I found Sacred Duty by Tom Cotton to be a good pick from the past couple months, as well as We Die Alone by David Howarth. Sacred Duty talks about one of the most prestigious units in the military, The Old Guard. The Old Guard performs several tasks, not limited to Military Honors funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, Formal ceremonies at The White House and Pentagon, as well as numerous other day to day activities. The book does get a little dry getting into the actual military history of the unit, but it was overall a very interesting read. I also would recommend We Die Alone by David Howarth. This was an incredible true story of a young soldiers fight to get through Norway to Sweden in an attempt to escape Nazi’s. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t even realize WW2 made it all the way to Norway, but it did and this story is incredible. A bonus is that it includes pictures of different spots and people that were part of the story.

Finally, for some light reading I would recommend the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan and Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. If you are in need of a little light melodrama and a laugh out loud read, the full Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy is for you. It could also be for you if you have been known to enjoy an episode or two of Real Housewives. We follow a rather large, incredibly wealthy Asian family as they deal with “problems” they never thought they would face in their lifetimes. I read each of the books in this trilogy in just a couple days and just loved it. If you are a book lover, or classic literature lover, then Dear Mr. Knightley is for you. We follow a character that quite literally lives her life in her books. She can recite quotes on demand and weaves them into her everyday conversations, using them as a shield. We follow her learn to drop the walls around her and believe in herself. The story is told entirely through letters to a mysterious benefactor, which adds a certain level of fun to the story.

And that’s it! If you have read any of these, please let me know. If you end up picking any of them up, let me know too!

Lately Loving – Media May 2019

Good morning! I wanted to take a little bit of time this morning and talk about some of the things that I am loving lately. I am going to keep this to strictly multimedia (books/tv/movies/music) as I will still be doing my full quarterly favorites. I don’t want to overload you with all of my favorite things, but rather I’ve stumbled on a couple of things over the past month or so that I’ve really loved in those categories that I want to share.

So, we’ll start with Books (as always) :

I’ve recently read two books that I’ve really truly enjoyed, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Two VERY different styles and genre’s, but both really really enjoyable.

Hillbilly Elegy shines a light on the Appalachian way of life, what it was like growing up with that and how he found himself becoming the man he is today. He approaches this novel in a very frank manner (he wholeheartedly acknowledges that he is what would be considered an above average individual) and shines a light on some problems that aren’t typically talked about or are rather glazed over. He doesn’t offer solutions, but rather talks about different options and what we could try to do to help. I appreciate his insight and the fact that he acknowledged and balanced both sides of the equation in this novel.

I’ve been in quite the memoir mood of late and have two more on my list to read, Becoming by Michelle Obama and To Shake the Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins.

Crazy Rich Asians went the completely opposite direction, depicting a story of an Asian family that has riches the rest of the world can’t even dare to dream of. It tells the story of a young woman trying (and fumbling) to navigate her way being introduced to her boyfriend’s family. His family happens to just be one of the oldest, wealthiest families in Singapore (think- members of the government and royalty owing fealty to them-wealthy) and also the strictest in terms of marriage and relationships. We follow several characters in their heads and their lives as they all come to terms to what wealth really means. It is a lighthearted novel that is just really easy to read (I read the 500+ pages in a little over 3 days!) and would be the perfect read for a summer vacation. It is part of a trilogy that I fully plan on continuing.

Next up on the list, TV:

I don’t really watch a lot of TV, but I have been starting to for a series that I’ve been putting together for my other blog (thecosybookshoppe.com). I’ve been working through a couple of shows and plan on starting a couple here in the next couple weeks.

The first show I’ve been watching is Strike. This is a British produced mystery/crime tv show based off of the Cormoran Strike series written by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I really enjoyed the book series and the TV show was not a letdown. In fact, I almost prefer the TV show to the books. It’s the perfect balance.

We’ve also been working our way through The Ranch on Netflix, which I have to say has very much surprised me. I enjoy a good show that somewhat comments on current issues in a comedic, light hearted way. The Ranch balances out current issues, with family drama, friend drama, work drama and everything else that comes with a Sitcom. We are on the second “season” (or part as Netflix says) and have been having a good chuckle here and there.

Finally, I’ve been watching A Discovery of Witches…again. I think I actually talked about this in my 1stQuarter favorites, but it is finally coming out on American TV, which means I can purchase it through iTunes, which means that I’ve been watching every episode as it comes out. I’ve been loving watching it again and seeing the characters that I’ve loved from the book come to life in front of me. This is one of those series that I don’t think will ever get old for me (similar to Harry Potter).

I do plan on watching a couple of shows coming up: You, Game of Thrones (season 7- we are behind), and a couple of documentaries on Netflix. I’ll probably share more of those as my end of quarter wrap up.

Third up, Movies:

Next would be Movies, but we haven’t really watched any lately. Most of the movies we watch are animated for the kids, but even those have been sparse. Send me your movie recommendations because we need some!!

And finally, Music:

Oh boy. Another category that I am kind of lacking in. I’ve still been all over the alternative scene, replaying Billie Eilish’s album over and over and over again. I’ve also been loving listening to Muse’s most recent album, Dean Lewis, and Charlie Cunningham. I get really off and on with new music and I think right now I’m just savoring the music that I’m loving, rather than hearing all of the new stuff. I will say though; I wasn’t the biggest fan of Taylor Swift’s new song <gasp>. It was ok, but nothing that I would go absolutely crazy over.

Some Mommy Picks:

I am going to include some mommy picks in here, because my kids have FINALLY found a show that they love more than Paw Patrol. It’s a miracle! They have recently fallen in love with a show on Netflix called DinoTrux. It’s exactly what it sounds like, Dinosaurs in the forms of different types of trucks (a T-Rex as a crane or digger, Triceratops as a bull dozer, etc. ) and they have just been having a blast watching that. They also love the Boss Baby show and surprisingly they enjoy Teletubbies too (which Netflix has brought back from whatever vault that was in).

And that about wraps up what I’ve been loving lately! What have you been loving lately in the multimedia category? Let me know below!

1st Quarter 2019- Favorite Things

Good morning! It is April!! I can’t believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2019, boggles my mind. I like to think of the year in quarters, in both evaluating my own goals, looking at business/blogging posts and such, as well as in just a general sense. I feel like tracking every month is a bit much for me, but I can’t not check in with myself and others at all, so quarterly is my happy place. I do an overview for what my intentions are for the year, how I’m achcieving (or not achieving) what I want, how my writing and posting are going, as well as how my reading is doing. I look atour family finances, what we’ve done as a family, our activities, etc.

This morning I am going to talk about some of my favorite things from the First Quarter of the year. This ranges far and wide from food and drinks to clothing and accessories, to movies, music, and TV Shows. I will try and include a variety of items and things that I talk about from quarter to quarter.

Clothing/Accessories:

IMG_0265.jpgIf you follow me on Social Media you know that I’ve been pretty much living in sweaters over the past couple of weeks. We are starting to get to that middle ground where it isn’t quite spring yet and winter still has it’s moments. I really like sweaters in general, but especially on those days where it may be a bit chilly when you leave in the morning, but warms up as the day goes on. I’ve been loving this particular sweater as it includes one of my intentions for this year and is the perfect warmth/lightness ratio.

Of course, we cannot forget the new slipper socks that I’ve fallen in love with. The coziest slippers I’ve worn (aside from my Uggs), these have been pretty much on my feet during the day when we are in the apartment. I can’t find the exact pair that I have, but THESE cabin socks are also a really good option!

IMG_9585I also picked up a new handbag of sorts. I’ll be talking about this more in my travel favorites, but I’ve been eyeing a new backpack/handbag for our little short travels. I wanted something that felt more…not diaper bag and all of my nicer bags are packed away in a shipping container with the rest of our household goods. Enter this Michael Kors backpack. It’s been a back/shoulder saver and I really love it!

Multi Media (Music/TV/Podcasts/Movies):

IMG_6705.PNGMusic is such an important part of our days and lives. I use it to calm down, to get pepped up, to have dance parties with our boys. We listen to just about anything, although lately I’ve been gravitating to Alternative and Classical. I’ve been really loving listening to Charlie Cunningham of late. Something about his music is just really calming and comforting right now. I’ve also been loving Billie Ellish, The 1975, and Imaginary Future. If you know of any good Alternative artists, please comment them down below because I would love for some new music to listen to!
IMG_6706As for TV, I quite honestly don’t even know what my favorite is anymore. In January A Discovery of Witches came out on Sundance Now and Shudder and I binged those 8 episodes about 3 times before we left the states. I am OBSESSED with the trilogy and am equally OBSESSED with the TV Show. It was really well done in terms of Book to TV adaptations. They are going to be doing a series 2 and 3, so I’m looking forward to those as well as to getting the first one on DVD whenever that can happen.

The only movies we’ve watched lately are animated ones on Netflix for the boys and with those I can’t think of one truly memorable one…

Books:

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I’ve decided to make books it’s own category because reading is such a big part of me and who I am. I didn’t just want to lump it in with something else. So, it gets its own time JLet’s see, I’ve done a lot of reading over the past couple of months, but a few standout favorites are Us Against You by Frederik Backman, Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield, and Educated by Tara Westover. I also really enjoyed An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekannen. I’m looking forward to the reading plans I have for the next few months, more non fiction and memoirs alongside my standard adult fiction and mystery/thriller selections.

Food/Drink:

Let me start by saying the food here is absolutely delicious. I don’t think I’ve had something that was bad yet! I’m not going to touch on all of the food that I’ve been eating (stay tuned for the potential of a later post), but rather talk about some of the snacks that I’ve really liked over the past few months. This is going to probably be the most unhealthiest couple paragraphs you will ever read from me, but I figured why not share the yummy stuff.

First off, for travel I LOVE Kind Bars. These are healthy, filling options and even my picky toddler will eat a bar or two. IMG_6707.jpgOnce we got here, we feasted on the local candy options- which have been plentiful. I’ve been loving the Milka Oreo Bars, and the Cadbury chocolate eggs. We also found a chocolate mint filled stick, Choceur Mint Deluxe Chocolate Sticks, that we’ve absolutely loved.

As for drinks, we are just going to keep up the unhealthy options and I am going to talk about a soda. Now, I try to only drink soda a couple times a month, but I’ve had this particular soda a couple of times already and have loved it! I still love my regular Coca-Cola, but this one is just as good. It’s a mix soda that goes by many names, Mezzo Mix, Spezzi, Cola mix just to name a few. It’s basically Coca Cola mixed with Orange Fanta (or rather just Orange Soda) and it is delicious.

Now that all that crap food talk is over…

Beauty:

I don’t know if I will always have a beauty category because, let’s be real for a minute, beauty is only partially my thing. I know enough to put myself together and to keep my skin clear and not much more than that. I’m also forever behind the curve so there’s that too. My favorite this month is the perfect example of that…I’ve been loving the Too Faced Chocolate Bar eye shadow palette. It has the perfect amount of colors and the shadows are the creamiest. There have only been maybe one or two shadows that I’ve had an issue with in the palette, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

Other Random Bits:

I am going to share a couple of other travel and kid related favorites here in the Other category. The first being car seat carriers for travel. These carriers saved both our car seats and our sanity of trying to transport car seats from the car to the check in gate to baggage claim back to the check in gate. The next item I am going to talk about are the Vtech laptop computers. These have been great for our boys to a)sit calmly for a little while at the same time and b) be learning in a developmentally appropriate way. They don’t get a lot of time on them, but they’ve been so great for our older son to work on mastering his words and letters.

IMG_9313.jpgAnd finally, since I can’t seem to get through a post without mentioning mugs, I picked up a couple mugs over the first quarter of the year, and I’ve been loving this floral find that I got in a little tea shop. It is the perfect size and has the perfect hand hold. The floral design is minimal enough for my tastes and perfect for the spring weather ahead (and the cold winter days we just dealt with).

That’s all I’ve got for my 1st Quarter Favorites! What are some of the things that you are loving and have been loving lately?

 

 

 

 

The Day The Books Got Packed

The morning had dawned gray and dreary…quite appropriate weather for what was about to happen on this day. In their home. Today was the day the books would get packed. It was almost as if the sky and Mother Nature were telling her it would be OK (as she loved the rain, it was her comfort weather).

A house is not a home without books, or so she thought. She had been raised surrounded by books. Piled high on the book cases, rows three books deep in some places. Books shoved in nooks and crannies in her room, piled high on her desk, her bedside table. Reading had always been her escape, when life just became too much.

Reading was her life, beyond just a hobby, she desired nothing more than to live her life with a cup of tea in one hand and a book at her side (of course her husband and children fit into that picture as well). She wanted to make a life/career centered around books and she was working towards that.

She formed quite her own collection of books, although smaller than she had wanted at this stage of her life, it was still a very nice start to a home library. Three bookcases piled high, packed to the brim held her treasures. And then, in random corners of the rest of their home there would be books piled here and there, always in a neat and orderly fashion, but piled none the less.

Often times her husband would comment on the sheer amount of books that were coming into the little library of theirs, or when the piles in other places would grow to large ( though by and large he let her be as he saw how happy she was reading her books). Their kids would often thumb through her books, not really ready to truly read yet, but loving the act of thumbing the pages just the same. The kids library was quite substantial as well and they loved being able to pick up a book on a rainy afternoon as well (which is a story for another day).

She may not have read every book in her collection, but the ones she had read had left marks on her soul. Some left deeper marks than others, but each book had a memory of some sort. Her collection was her joy and bringing the collection into each home that they lived in was something special for her.

In fact, the first thing she would do whenever they moved and found a new house (they moved relatively frequently due to job) would be to bring in whatever books that she had squirreled away in their take with them luggage and set them up somewhere in the house. Usually this would lead to enough books for anyone to read in a month.

Their last move had been state to state, and only consist of a month of travel (vacation for her and her husband), but just a straight forward move. This move was different. An overseas move meant that her collection would be packed up and shipped on a boat, they wouldn’t be in a house for at least a couple months, which meant about 4 months without her library.

She didn’t panic (well maybe she did a little), but rather tried to take a practical approach. Pictures of every shelf, then a meticulous sort through to get through of whatever didn’t need to be kept, and then it was time for the hardest step before the movers came…picking the physical books that she would take with her.

This was probably the hardest packing decision there is. As a reader you never truly know what you will be in the mood to read next, where a certain book will leave you when you finish, and ultimately what you want to read will change with each book you read. It’s a tough call to make when you are going to be “in transition” for 4+ months. She wanted to have a bit of variety, but also some chunkier, longer books to keep her going.

**I want to clarify something- I have a kindle. I fully plan on taking advantage of that. BUT there is a difference between reading on a kindle and reading a physical book. I highly prefer physical books and so I definitely wanted to have some physical books on me, not just for reading purposes, but for comfort and home purposes.**

And so, all of her plans and preparations being done, the dreaded day had come. As the movers placed each book into the boxes she found herself feeling a mournful silence. It seemed quite silly in the moment. After all, they were just books, but then again they weren’t just books. They were stories that had touched her soul, some in incredible life changing ways.

And honestly, each book going into the box was a signal to her. This was happening. They were moving. Soon they would be in a new country. In a new environment. Navigating new adventures, new challenges. Learning a new language, a new culture. It was as if everything she had been feeling for the past few months had hit her in this moment of watching her collection get packed and loaded away.

Watching the moving truck pull away from the house (clutching one of her treasured books that would be traveling with her), she felt a sense of calm come over her. All the stress, the nerves, the planning had come to fruition and now they could just enjoy the vacation and travel to their new home. And of course, she had a small collection of books to accompany her and her family along the way.

 

*** Authors Note- I hoped you enjoyed this latest installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life! I’ve been kind of enjoying poking fun at my seemingly innocent, but none the less stressful moments. I do want to say- I wasn’t going to start with “the morning dawned”, but it only felt right considering the last two started that way. Of course, as with the other two, this is meant to be a lighthearted look into an experience that I had and even though we got a little deep at the end, please know the humorous side of it.

If You Could Do Anything…

IMG_7190.jpgI’m curious…if you could do anything, anything at all, what would you do? What is it that your soul yearns for? What is that you want to do, above all else.

Say the stars aligned right now, money, time, family, nothing was getting in the way of you chasing your dream…

What does that look like for you? Is there a way to make some version of that happen?

For me, my dream is two fold.

First, I would love to have a little book shop in a little town that offered walls and shelves lined with books, a little café with some tea and baked good offerings. Somewhere where anyone could find a small comfort, friendship, a safe space to just sit for a spell.

But I also want to do MORE with life (not that owning my own place wouldn’t be more). I want to inspire. I want to create a space for people to just not feel alone. To feel like there is someone else out there who gets it. I love to write. I love to write blog posts, to write short stories, and I’ve loved the beginning process of writing my book.

For years, I dreamed. I constantly thought about what I wanted to do, made plans, made goals for a future that I could have. For ways that I could live a life that I loved and was passionate about beyond being a wife and a mom (which were always dreams).

I’ve managed to live out my dreams in a way. To find a way to bring my passion, what sets my soul in place, to fruition. Now, I don’t own a bookstore, but I do share and talk about books over on The Cosy Book Shoppe. It was also an online store for a little while. Through that I’ve created a book community with the blog, the Youtube vlogs, and our book club. AND I’ve got this blog. This blog that allows me to share little bits of myself with others. To hopefully help others with my stories, my insights, my day to day.

So, to come full circle with my original question, is there a way for you to live out your dream, now? What is holding you back? Is it time? Is it family? Is it funding? Is it fear? Is it not knowing what exactly it is that you dream of? Is it dreaming of so much that you don’t even know where to start? What is it that is stopping you?

Tell me, what do you dream of doing and what is stopping you from doing it?

Personal Development Book Challenge: Update 1

Good morning! You may remember at the beginning of last month, I posted about doing a Personal Development book challenge. I asked for recommendations and boy did yall give me some! You can see that original blog post HERE.

Today I am going to share the books that I picked out of the recommendations, as well as share my thoughts on the two that I have read so far.

The Books that I picked:

I picked a total of 5 as that is what I think is a reasonable amount to give me a jumping off spot. There were a couple that, to be honest, I had no interest in based on what I know or have read about them, but the few that I did pick I was excited about.

  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
  3. Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini
  4. Boss Bitch by Nicole Lapin
  5. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

As of writing this first update, I have read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and I am halfway through The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. So far, I am finding that a lot of Personal Development books are about taking what you want to take from them and discarding everything else.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (the same person who wrote Eat, Pray, Love) is about not letting fear get in your way in the realm of creativity. I’m going to be honest, there were parts of this book that I rolled my eyes at. That is just on a personal level, but on the whole I actually did take some things away from the points she was making. The biggest take away being, to create as if no one is consuming. I have a major fear of failure (one that gets in the way of me accomplishing a lot of things I think I could) and while I try to practice the whole “Dance as if no one is watching” it was something to realize how much I wasn’t doing that. So, a good one for the challenge and a book that on the whole I think is good.

I’m currently (as of writing this) halfway through The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I’m going to be brutally honest here, this book is a bit of a letdown. I’m applying the concept of take what you take, discard the rest and I’m not really taking much away from it. It’s a bit cold in reading it, a bit scientific. It vaguely reminds me of Quiet (however I loved that book), but not in a good way. So far it is listing quite a few studies and finding of things that I already know. I’m only halfway through, so we will see if it goes up from here. I think this one (and The Book of Awesome) may have been one of my tops from my list and so I think that is playing into my disappointment level as well.

So, that is my first update! I will try to update every couple books or so until I finish them. I may continue on here and there to talk about books that I am reading in future posts as well.