A Blogging Farewell

If 2015 taught me anything, it’s that I don’t blog when I’m stressed. It’s like my brain just has no extra energy to spend on reflection, or making connections, or general frivolity. Instead it goes into autopilot, only focusing on the next immediate thing that needs to get done, until it crashes and I end up sprawled on the couch, binge-watching Veronica Mars for the 17th time (I may exaggerate, but you get the idea.)

I went through some tough periods last year, and I even stopped reading for a while. Luckily I managed to get back into the reading groove, but the enjoyment I used to get from blogging about books and being part of the book-blogging community just went away. To be honest, it’s still gone, and I’m not sure that it is coming back. I just don’t feel the need for it anymore, and let’s face it–I was only ever doing it for myself, anyway.

I still enjoy writing, and I will always love reading, but I think the blogging part of that is pretty much over. Thanks to those of you who stopped by over the years and kept me company here, for sharing bits of yourselves and your own love for the world of books. I wish you all the best in your own future projects, whatever they may be, and I wish you happy reading.

The (October and) November Wrap-Up


I’m a reading machine! Clearly, posting only once every two months is doing wonders for my reading habits, if not my writing ones.

It’s been a busy couple of months in my non-reading life as well. I started a new job mid-October which is going well so far. My commute is almost an hour long, which means I have plenty of time to listen to audiobooks.

In October and November, I manage to finish eleven books:

  1. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson*
  2. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  3. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
  4. The Accident by Chris Pavone
  5. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (audio)
  6. Lottery by Patricia Wood (audio)
  7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell*
  8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (audio)
  9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  10. The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig
  11. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith*

Three of these were five-star reads for me (signified by *), which isn’t too shocking considering they are some of my favorite authors. I probably enjoyed Carry On the most, however, simply because it completely surprised me. Having read Fangirl and not been crazy about the Simon Snow parts of that book, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a book all about him, but I did. Rowell’s take on the ‘Chosen One’ was hilarious and touching and much more thought-provoking than I expected. So, so good.

My least favorite read this month, hands down, was Gone Girl. I waited a long time to read this much-hyped book, and I wish I had never read it at all. Getting in the car everyday and turning on this audiobook made me a little sick, and I wish I had just stopped listening rather than feeling that I had to finish it. What a depressing read. This may be my least favorite of the year.

I finished an item on my 40×40 list this month as well–I took my girls camping! We had the best time and I hope I won’t have to wait until I’m officially 40 to do it again. So much fun.

October 2015 014

Hope everyone has a great December and end of the reading year!

The (August and) September Wrap-Up

monthly-wrap-upTime flies when you’re having fun, right? I honestly don’t know where the time has gone since school started back in August. With the addition of Girl Scouts and other outside activities, our calendar has been pretty full.

But I’m not complaining. As much as I love having downtime, it’s been nice to get back into a routine and I’ve been having a lot of fun, so the saying must be true. In addition to reading, I finished FIVE things on my 40×40 list (woohoo!) The pictures below sum those up pretty nicely.

In August and September, I read eight books:

  1. Broken Harbor by Tana French
  2. Invisible City by Julia Dahl
  3. An Age of License by Lucy Knisley
  4. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  5. French Milk by Lucy Knisley
  6. Run You Down by Julia Dahl
  7. The Secret Place by Tana French
  8. Last Ragged Breathe by Julia Keller

The one thing I could say overall is that with each of these author’s books I’ve read, they just keep getting better. Both the Dahl, French, and Keller books are in a series, with each book being stronger than the last. Knisley, who writes graphic novels, shows a marked improvement in her later works; French Milk was her first and it definitely showed. The one exception to that is John Darnielle. Wolf in White Van is the only book I’ve read by him so I can’t judge the rest of his writing, but in this case one was enough. I found WIWV (which received a lot of critical attention and praise) to be incredibly depressing. Not recommended.

Coming up in October, I’ve got a pretty blank slate, reading-wise. Plenty of room for surprises. On the 40×40 front, I’m taking my girls camping for the first time towards the end of the month and I’m almost finished making a quilt for my new niece. I’ll leave you with some photos of the things I got to check off recently!

Hope everyone has a great October and happy reading!

Library Loot: August 26 – Sept 1

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Hello, my name is Beth and I’m a library addict. I know, I know. I just can’t help myself, especially when I’m home during the day and have plenty of time to indulge all my interests and hobbies and “oh, wouldn’t I just love to know more about this and that” tendencies.

The books with the red stickers are recent ones which means I can’t keep them out of the library as long, so I’ll have to finish those first. I’m proud of the diversity in the mix, though, with some fiction and non-fiction and even a graphic novel thrown in there for fun.

August 2015 002

So here’s what I’ve got on the shelf for this week:

  1. The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. A writer whose work I admire recommended this and I’m finding it interesting so far. I don’t think of myself as a ‘helicopter’ parent, but I do help my children more than I should, and as my oldest just started middle school I need a timely reminder to take a step back and let her successes and her failures be her own.
  2. Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein. I’ve loved other books by Wein but I’m having a hard time getting into this latest one for some reason. This is actually the second time I’ve checked out this book, so I may need to try the audio instead.
  3. Run You Down by Julia Dahl. The second installment in a mystery series about a young reporter with roots in the New York Hasidic community. The first one was just okay, I thought, but I’m a sucker for a series.
  4. Last Ragged Breath by Julia Keller. Another series book, this one being the fourth novel in the Bell Elkins series about a West Virginia county prosecutor.
  5. Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich. I don’t really talk about religion here, but I grew up as a preacher’s kid in the Deep South. Since I’ve been an adult, I think I would best classify myself as a ‘seeker’–I’m not a fan of organized religion (for lots of reasons I won’t go into here) but I do believe we all have a spiritual connection to each other and the universe as a whole. Ehrenreich’s latest book is about her own quest for Truth.
  6. The Path of Druidery: Walking the Ancient Green Way by Penny Billington. See above. 🙂
  7. Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond by Aimee Ray. I checked this one out because it has a pattern for a quilt I’m going to make for my soon-to-arrive niece, Guilia. (Shhh, it’s a surprise!)
  8. French Milk by Lucy Knisley. I just love her graphic novels about life and traveling and art. They make me homesick for Europe, but in a good way.
  9. And finally…How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson. I’m trying to work on spending more (and quality) nature time with my kids and to encourage their own love of the outdoors. I’m hoping to find some good ideas here.

What are you reading this week? Any good ‘loot’ from your local library?



It’s been a while since I checked in with a ‘Currently’ post, so I thought I would talk a little about what I’ve been up to lately. I haven’t been reading too much this past week but there are plenty of other things taking over my brain…

Loving: That I’ve been sticking with my menu planning for almost a month now. I don’t always follow my plan to the letter but it is definitely cutting down on the number of times we eat out and I’m feeling less stressed about what I’m going to put on the table.

Thinking about: A job offer that I turned down this week. It was a hard decision to make but I weighed the pros and cons, talked to my husband, and decided that it wasn’t the right choice for me.

Anticipating: The Decatur Book Festival. an upcoming weekend away with my husband, and a camping trip with my daughters. So many good things to look forward to.

Watching: ‘Alone’. Did you guys watch this show on the History Channel? It was so good! I won’t spoil it by telling you who wins, but I found it to be such a thought-provoking and inspiring show.

Listening to: Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle on audiobook. I’ve only listened to one cd but I’m finding it intriguing.

Eating: Good things, mostly. This morning I went to buy doughnuts for a Saturday morning breakfast treat, and they were yummy. Tomorrow I’m making a sausage and kale soup in the slow cooker.

Wishing: That the right opportunity would come along and that my path would appear before me, clearly lit and well-blazed. I’m not good with uncertainty.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and enjoying every moment of this last month of summer.

Menu Plan Monday – Week 3

MPM_ButtonYa’ll are going to think that all I do is menu plan! I swear this isn’t about to become a food blog (because I don’t take very good photos, for one). I am still reading plenty, and I still plan to talk about books again one day soon. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s what I have planned for our family to chow down on for the week:

MONDAY – Crockpot shredded chicken tacos (evening activity)

TUESDAY – Chicken avocado lime soup w/ tortilla chips (didn’t get around to making this last week, so we’ll use the leftover shredded chicken from Monday)

WEDNESDAY – Slow cooker lasagna rolls

THURSDAY – Leftovers

FRIDAY – Pizza night

SATURDAY – Ratatouille w/ couscous

SUNDAY – Veggie quiche w/ salad

Hope everyone has a delicious week!

Menu Plan Monday – Week 2

MPM_ButtonTwo weeks in a row, woohoo! Feeling very accomplished over here. The week went pretty much as I had planned with the exception that we had Asian takeout instead of pizza on Friday night and we had enough leftovers that I didn’t need to make one of the meals I had planned, so that will go back into the rotation.

The girls were back to school on Thursday, so I also got two days of lunch packing under my belt and that went fine. Now that my oldest is in middle school and starts school a little later, the mornings aren’t quite so rushed. Only getting one ready at a time feels like a luxury.

Here’s what I’m cooking up this next week:

MONDAY – Pizza and salad (easy freezer meal as we have an evening activity)

TUESDAY – Breakfast for dinner (veggie omelette, chicken sausage, buttermilk biscuits)

WEDNESDAY – Creamy spinach tomato tortellini

THURSDAY – Chicken avocado lime soup w/ tortilla chips

FRIDAY – Hot dogs w/ baked beans

SATURDAY – Daughter’s birthday & picnic at the lake

SUNDAY – Leftovers

Hope everyone has a delicious week!