Book Roundup: March 2018

There really isn’t much else I need in life than a good book. Well. Maybe a cold pinot grigio. And a soft dog. Okay, and dark chocolate. And if I’m going to list all the things I need in life, I may as well also mention Coco Chanel Eau de Parfum, my mala beads, and pretty mugs filled with coffee.

But, books. Let’s get back to books.

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I read a lot, and challenge myself to read harder every year. BookRiot is always a great source to find books that wouldn’t normally jump out at me in my typical browsing. So is Goodreads, but I tend to add 20 books to read for every 1 that I finish. It can get overwhelming.

In 2018, I (Nicole) gave myself the goal of reading 30 books. As of today, I’m finished #12. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

kindred

KINDRED by Octavia Butler (Read Harder Challenges: Author is a woman of color; a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author) – THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Should be required reading for every human being on the planet.

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UNGRATEFUL MAMMALS by Dave Eggers (Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book). This is a collection of drawings and poetic vignettes by Dave Eggers, a prolific author.

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THE SPELL THIEF (Little Legends) (Read Harder Challenge: Absolutely none. I read this with my 8yo for his class book club. Come one, 2nd graders! Why aren’t you reading Kindred yet??)

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HOMEGOING (Read Harder Challenge: A book of colonial literature. Also written by a woman of color. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It was actually a great companion piece to Kindred, unintentionally.

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BITCH PLANET Vol. 2 (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written or illustrated by a person of color; written by a woman; A one-sitting book). I love this series. It’s gritty, violent, just enough sci-fi and ends on MAJOR twists. Can’t wait for the next volume.

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BIRD BOX (Read Harder Challenge: None…but it’s a horror book about a mom trying to keep her 2 children alive in a strange new Earth where if you’re able to see it could kill you…so, that’s a challenge enough…) A thrilling page-turner, best read in as few sittings as possible. I think it took me 3. And I didn’t sleep for 3 days.

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MARCH TRILOGY (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written by a person of color; A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image). I also hope this series is required reading for every student. It’s one I’m planning on buying to keep in my house for the kiddos.

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Literary Witches

LITERARY WITCHES: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (Read Harder Challenge: hello! It’s a compilation of women authors throughout history!). This is great. I learned about a few authors I’d never heard of, and the illustrations are mesmerizing. Highly recommend.

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LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE RECIPES: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles – So inspiring! An illustrated cookbook celebrating one of the modern-day design geniuses.

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THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET – How did I miss this novella? It was written in 1982, feels just as fresh today, and is a lyrical and beautiful look at growing up. Smitten.

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MY FRIEND DAHMER – (Read Harder Challenge: A Comic written AND illustrated by the same person) Ooooh, a dark yet sympathetic look at the person who became a monster, told from the point of view of one of his high school classmates.

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WHY NOT ME? By Mindy Kaling. (Read Harder Challenge: author POC; celebrity memoir; collection of essays.) She’s my new best friend. End of story. I listened to this on Audible, and it is so delightful.

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Next on the docket: THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. This isn’t so much a challenge as a throwback, to a series I read and loved as a child. Plus, the author, Lillian Jackson Braun, didn’t even start writing until later in life, which always fascinates me AND inspires.

Any good books that you’ve read that have been out of your typical reading comfort zone? I’d love to hear!

{ Featured photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash}

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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toaster

My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Pure Magic: A Wrinkle in Time Set Design

WHO wouldn’t want to go see the new adaptation of the classic children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time“, a tale about the power of love and light in the time of darkness? Women directed, a diverse cast, and a story of the enduring power of love. What more could you ask for?

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(this was the copy I grew up with, and I just trashed my house trying to find it…no luck, sadly.)

Stephanie took her 10-year-old daughter to see the movie this week, and said she was smitten with the details of the home. Cozy, full of plants and crystals, and Craftsman-style were her exact words. Um. Sold. I’m seeing the movie tomorrow. But not before I look at inspiration for the set.

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Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

This article from Architectural Digest talks about the home inspiration and challenges, which include altering the paint color from a cold yellow to something cozier, and adding wooden beams to hide the camera technician’s cables.

It reminds me of the book I just checked out (and then immediately purchased), The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, in which the author says to clear out clutter and trash, let in clean air and energize your house with…you guessed it, crystals and plants. Um. Sold.

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That lamp! Those pillows! The books! Guhhhhhhh.

Here are some finds to inject your own magic into your charming house:

suzani pillow

Embroidered Pink Cotton Suzani Indian Cushion Cover These Suzani style pillows add a vibrant touch to any space.

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Cozy reading light – GIWOX 4.7″ Rechargeable LED Ball Light, Dimmable Children’s Bedroom Lamps Night Indoor Mood Lighting with Remote – 16 Colors, 4 Dynamic Models Indoors Outdoor

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Fresh flowers! In your house. All the time.

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What makes your house feel magical?

 

Spring Reads for Book Club

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Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

Thanks to my BookRiot weekly e-mail, I went down a rabbit hole of new books to add to the list. Some of these sounded like a good fit for the Mixed Print book club:

fortune

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller – Norbert Zelenka has always lived life on the sidelines. It’s why at seventy-three years old he’s broke and alone except for the company of a Chihuahua. But when “Carlotta’s Club”—three strong-willed seniors with plenty of time on their hands—decide to make Norbert their latest project, he reluctantly agrees to their scheme: establishing himself as the town’s fortune-teller. Soon his life begins changing in unexpected ways.

It turns out that years of observing other people make Norbert an excellent card reader. As Norbert’s lonesome world expands with new friendships and a newfound self-confidence, he finally finds himself in a place where he belongs. But disaster looms on the horizon. When a troubled young woman goes missing after a bad reading, Norbert must find a strength beyond the cards to bring her home safely.

A heartfelt story of coming-of-age late in life, The Reluctant Fortune-Teller is a poignant reminder that we’re never too old to learn new tricks.

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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure)

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

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 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

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 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

“Imagine if Mariyln Monroe lived to be 79 years old, decided to write a tell-all book, and plucked you (assuming you’re an unknown journalist) out of obscurity to write it. Such is the premise of The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo, and it’s fascinating.”

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