Do I Have That Book CHALLENGE

Even though I regularly cull my book collection, I thought it would be entertaining to give this challenge a go! It was a fun excuse to comb through my shelves and remember some old favorites (as well as remind myself of a few books I should bump up on my TBR). Sharing here so you can take a peek at a little cross-section of the books I own…

Do you have a book with deckled edges? 

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

 

 

Do you have a book with three or more people on the cover?

Goths, Gamers, & Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures by Ross Haenfler

 

 

Do you have a book based on another fictional story?

1932 by Karen M. Cox

 

 

Do you have a book with a title ten letters long?

Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

 

 

Do you have a book that starts and ends with the same letter?

Sweating Bullets: A Story about Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking by Dale Dixon

 

Do you have a mass market paperback book?

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

 

 

Do you have a book written by an author using a pen name?

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

 

 

Do you have a book with the character’s name in the title?

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

 

 

Do you have a book with two maps in it?

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

 

Do you have a book that was turned into a TV show?

The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley

 

 

Do you have a book that is written by someone who is originally famous for something else? (ie celebrity, athlete, politician, etc.)

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

 

Do you have a book with a clock on the cover?

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

 

 

Do you have a poetry book?

Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney

 

 

Do you have a book with an award stamp on it?

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

 

 

Do you have a book written by an author with the same initials as you?

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

 

 

Do you have a book of short stories?

Eveningland by Michael Knight

 

 

Do you have a book that is between 500 and 510 pages long?

Nope 😦 

Do you have a book that was turned into a movie?

Atonement by Ian McEwan

 

 

Do you have a graphic novel?

Relish by Lusy Knisley

 

 

Do you have a book written by two or more authors?

The Innovator’s Advantage by Evans Baiya and Ron Price

 

 

***

19 out of 20 ain’t bad! How do you think you would stack up? Go check your shelves! Have you read any of the books above? Let me know in the comments below!

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

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mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Are you experiencing cold weather? We woke up to snow yesterday morning. SNOW! Quite the sight here in Alabama. I’m all too happy to bust out our faux fire place, fleece blankets, and soup ingredients. Hope you’re having a warm & cozy evening wherever you are, and now here are some links to hunker down and read…

Ummm…*tearjerker alert*.

This cold snap means PASS THE SOUP!

Recent episodes of Survivor have tackled race and gender as never before.

The holiday marketing mistakes you should avoid in 2019.

Is it time for a new job? Here’s what to look out for.

This woman uses her hijab to turn herself into pop culture characters. (Stunning!)

Ricky Gervais is returning for a fifth stint as Golden Globes host. Thoughts?

Excited to read this memoir, out in February 2020.

Ethan Hawke over here being the best dad.

Free college can work. Here are 2 examples.

The world according to Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Tempted to buy (and fill!) this for MYSELF!

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Photo Diary: Everglades Adventure and A College English Teacher’s Take on Last Chance U.

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Book Club: Hunger by Roxane Gay Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body and I’m turning it over to you. While it is great to read other people’s thoughts about a book and learn a bit more about an author and dive deeper into a subject with extended reading/listening watching … what I love most about book clubs is that it allows a space for tapping into your own feelings about a book and what it brings up for YOU. Sometimes this can be difficult when reading books by yourself. You read for entertainment and enjoyment, maybe you underline a passage that speaks to you or remark YAS! to a sentence that really rings true. But in a book club? We can dig a little deeper. So, shall we?

1. Roxane Gay highlights the way society treats fat people in unfair ways. People are quick to voice opinions and make remarks with little regard for compassion. We are constantly bombarded with messaging that being fat cannot be synonymous with being happy.

Explore your own battle with body image. How has mainstream media had an effect on how you view yourself?

2. In Hunger, Gay bravely recounts her story of sexual assault which occurred at a very young age.

How does this trauma play into her relationship with food?

3. This memoir highlights a common paradox, seeking body acceptance AND a physical transformation.

In what ways can we show kindness to ourselves and others when these two truths coexist?

4. Hunger isn’t always about food…

What else does the author hunger for?

5. Gay writes, “People project assumed narratives onto your body and are not at all interested in the truth of your body, whatever that truth might be.”

How would you describe the truth of YOUR body?

6. There are a lot of references throughout the book to damaging portrayals of weight/weight loss/fat shaming — gossip magazines, Oprah, The Biggest Loser — and we can surely call to mind many more that exist in mainstream media.

What media portrayals have you encountered recently that speak to body positivity and acceptance? Are you following any toxic social media accounts that you can remove in order to create a more loving feed/timeline for yourself?

Have you read Hunger yet? Pop any answers or thoughts that come up out of the exercises above in the comments. I’d love to continue the conversation. If you haven’t read it yet, but your interest is sparked, you can order it HERE or check it out from your local library. These posts will be here for you at any time — 

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

So, what’s next for our book club? Subscribe HERE to receive the full Finding Delight Reading List. 🙂

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

A DAY IN MY LIFE | Online Content + Marketing Strategist

Today I thought it might be fun to share a “S**T I GOT DONE TODAY” list from a recent workday.

[I’ve talked about these lists as self-care HERE.]

This was a day I accomplished a lot. But at the end of it, I still found myself feeling uneasy about all the BIG PICTURE items I had coming up in my calendar. To quell my unease, I took a step back to reflect on all the things I’d crossed off my list that brought me closer to completing the scarier deadlines I felt looming large.

If you’re curious, here’s how this day went down —

Copy edited a project – Editing requires careful reading. Careful reading requires full attention. I try to tackle editing work first thing in the morning for this reason. Plus, starting my morning with reading feels like a great warm-up for the more creative work to come.

Wrote and designed 3 monthly newsletters – I’m at my most productive in the morning, and my brain was feeling effectively warmed-up after the editing work, so I jumped into a project that required a lot of writing next. The design aspect of newsletters like these requires a lot of work up front, but I had already designed templates for all three before this day so I mainly had to perfect layouts and make things pop.

2 weeks of social media content – This was the second most creatively-focused task of the day so I rolled right into this after the newsletters. I usually try to batch 4 weeks of social media, but this client had a lot of upcoming events that would be filling their feed in the latter half of the month. I sent off the copy and images for approval and then took a well-deserved lunch break.

LUNCH BREAK 

Created a letterhead – Brain warm-up part 2! I try and slot in a few easy to accomplish tasks right when I get back to my desk. It’s kind of like how Target places the Dollar Spot right as you enter so you’re in the habit of throwing stuff in your cart by the time you roll into the rest of the store. I need to get in the habit of checking things off my to-do list so I can keep my momentum up for the rest of the day. Today it was a simple document design but these sorts of things can also include lengthier email responses, phone calls, scheduling social media, or making small website changes.

Research for a client’s book – This took up the bulk of my afternoon, but while it took brain power and thoughtfulness, it didn’t require a lot of creativity. Making it a great afternoon activity for me. (I get the 2 pm slump!) I love helping clients through the entire book writing process but there’s something about filling in research gaps with a bit of internet sleuthing that I find especially engaging.

Complied data into a deliverable – A perfect item to end the work day on! The research was already done, so essentially this was just some data entry. But the final product needed to go to a client which meant it felt high stakes enough to keep myself on task and to go the extra mile to make it look pretty.

And there you have it! I hope you found that interesting. If you’re ever feeling anxiety about work (there’s just always MORE to do!), I highly recommend taking a moment at the end of your day to reflect on the S**T YOU GOT DONE! Let me know if you give it a try!! 

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? I’m in full hibernation mode this week with these cooler temperatures. I truly look a vision at my desk each morning with blanket, huge cup of coffee, and a space heater on full blast about 2 feet from my feet. God bless working from home! Hope you’re enjoying your October, and here are some things that have caught my eye lately…

Elizabeth Gilbert on writing, grief and her toughest creative challenge yet.

Related: I just finished City of Girls!

The world’s top economists say we need more storytellers.

 Ikea and H&M ran a study on recyclable fabrics to figure out what chemicals are in them.

Stop treating parenting as mom’s burden and dad’s adorable hobby.

This coffee mug is very much my vibe.

Welp, never taking a ride share again.

Bleeps and bloops.

I, too, loved working in a grocery store.

The impact of ICE raids on a community in Mississippi.

Librarians are pretty dang funny.

Halloween costume ideas (and you can buy them on Amazon).

Is the sick day dead?

P.S. I finally took the plunge and joined Goodreads! Wanna be friends? 

Book Club: Hunger by Roxane Gay Pt. 3

As a preteen, Roxane Gay experienced horrific sexual trauma perpetrated by a group of neighborhood boys. Hunger is a memoir about how her body was used and exploited and what has happened to her body since. Her writing is candid and open about the reasons she’s gained weight as a result of her trauma. She also shares what it’s like to navigate a world that cares little for folks they deem overweight. 

This book has so much to say about sexual assault, trauma, how society treats larger bodies, and believing women’s stories. Here is some expanded material on these themes…

Be Bigger, Fight Harder: Roxane Gay on a Lifetime of Hunger

Roxane Gay’s Hunger Complicates Narratives About Being Fat

Smile Sweetly, Don’t Shout

14 Women Open Up About Size Prejudice

Believing Women Means Believing Their Pain

The Sickening Consequence of Doubting and Dismissing Women and Girls

Finally, one of my favorite things about Roxane Gay is that she’s a prolific reader! So, if you want even MORE extended reading after Hunger, there’s no better person to turn to than the woman herself…

HERE she breaks down her 2018 in Reading and Writing. So there’s a TON of material to pore through to find your next great read. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for Part 4! 

A Budget Friendly Meal Plan for Busy Seasons

There are usually two scenarios that find people diving head first into the world of meal planning — they need to save time or they need to save money. But at this point in the year, it often seems those two go hand and hand. We’re in the heart of the fall semester, activities are ramping up, and something about the waning evening sunlight makes it feel like a mad rush between the end of work hours and climbing into bed at night. There’s no time for planning and executing a healthy dinner on the fly!

Then you’ve got money saving. Ah yes, I feel you there. Maybe you spent a little too extravagantly on summer travel or plan to spend extravagantly on the upcoming holidays. Either way, there’s no room for extravagance in this in-between!

Enter the power of the stupidly simple meal plan…

Shopping List

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas

Lunch

  • Bread
  • Lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Salad
  • Salad Dressing

Extras (Snacks, desserts, and lunch add-ons)

  • Granola bars
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, berries on sale)
  • Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookies

Dinner

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Stir-fry vegetables
  • Bulk frozen veggie
  • Pasta noodles
  • Ground turkey or meatballs
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tortillas 
  • Shredded cheese
  • Avocados
  • Refried beans or black beans
  • Green peppers
  • BBQ sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Chips

Meal Plan

Breakfast – Oatmeal or yogurt topped w/ bananas

Lunch – Sandwich or salad w/ 2 sides of choice (and/or any dinner leftovers)

Dinners – 

Monday/#1: Chicken stir fry w/ frozen veggie

Tuesday/#2: Spaghetti w/ fruit salad

Wednesday/#3: Quesadilla w/ beans and guac

Thursday/#4: Stuffed peppers w/ frozen veggie

Friday/#5: Panini and chips

Saturday/#6: BBQ chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggie/fruit salad/chips (whatever is left)

Sunday/#6: Eat out

What meals are on YOUR stupidly simple meal plan? Here’s to a stress-free and money-saving AUTUMN!! 🍂 🍁 🍂

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to? My birthday was over the weekend, and I had the perfect day! Chet made a bunch of envelopes for me to open throughout the day, each with a different activity for us to complete. We went to the bagel place up the road for breakfast, hit up the thrift stores, browsed the bookstore so I could pick out some book gifts, and even saw the Downton Abbey movie! Hope you all have a great rest of your week, and here are some internet treasures I thought I should pass along…

Schools should go back to teaching teens Adulting 101.

A pro athlete on what to pack for every type of hike.

Royal correspondents on what it’s like to write about Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.

How living near a Trader Joe’s can affect home values.

Everything you need in a 72-hour emergency backpack.

36 hours in Milwaukee.

I wonder if this lint roller works.

Will you be listening to this podcast?

This map shows you what Indigenous lands you’re living on.

The most adorable jacket for fall.

Jojo Moyes has been accused of publishing a novel with crazy similarities to another book.

The ancient world was full of warrior women.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — A Decluttering Thought Exercise and How to Spruce Up Your Neutral Rental.

Book Club: Hunger by Roxane Gay Pt. 2

Part 2 for each book is typically where we dive into other works by the author of our current read. So, let’s get to it!

Roxane Gay is currently a visiting professor at Yale University as well as a writer and editor. If you enjoyed Hunger, you should absolutely pick up some of her other work…

An Untamed State

A novel about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.

 

Bad Feminist

A collection of essays  spanning politics, criticism, and feminism. Through this collection, Gay reveals herself as one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.

 

World of Wakanda

Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey were the first black women to be lead writers for Marvel in this spin-off from the company’s Black Panther title. In it, Gay spins a Wakandan love story.

 

Difficult Women

A collection of fictional short stories that follow different women as they journey through a traumatic experience or something that sets them apart from the societal norm.

 

More on SOCIAL MEDIA: Twitter
More to READ: The Year I Learned Everything, We Do Not Speak of Graceful Things, On the Death of Sandra Bland and Our Vulnerable Bodies, and MORE.
More to WATCH: On writing tips, The Nickel Boys, and Pretty Woman.

Pictured above – Roxane Gay presenting “Confessions of a Bad Feminist” which you can watch HERE

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Got any thoughts? Leave ’em below! And if you want exclusive book club content (incl. the full reading list and FREE printables) sent straight to your inbox — SIGN UP HERE

Part 3, coming soon!

Book Club: Hunger by Roxane Gay Pt. 1

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I’m unveiling Book #7 in the Finding Delight Book Club. If you’re new to this series, I’m reading 12 books and sharing about them with you here. I plan to post 4 times for each book. The current pick is Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay.

For the full book list CLICK HERE. I’d love to have you along for the ride!

“This body is resilient. It can endure all kinds of things. My body offers me the power of presence. My body is powerful.”

Synopsis

In this intimate and searing memoir, the New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay addresses the experience of living in a body that she calls ‘wildly undisciplined’. She casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens and twenties – including the devastating act of violence that was a turning point in her young life – and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains and joys of her daily life.

With the bracing candour, vulnerability and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen.

“Living in my body has expanded my empathy for other people and the truths of their bodies. Certainly, it has shown me the importance of inclusivity and acceptance
(not merely tolerance) for diverse body types.”

Initial Thoughts

Hunger is a gut-wrenching, vulnerable memoir that, at times, was super difficult to read. Yet, Gay’s wit and intelligence, coupled with short chapters, make it quite the page turner, nonetheless. You could easily devour this book in a day or take your time, letting the stories wash over you more slowly.

Gay recognizes all the ways in which our culture associates larger bodies with feelings of shame. She also shares all the ways in which her own body, and her relationship with food, have shaped her life and how she exists in this world. She shares stories of her life that speak to these themes, from her early childhood all the way to now as a bestselling author and sought-after speaker. While many of these experiences are painful and highlight all the ways our society could DO BETTER, they are never shared as an admonishment. Just stories, truth, as if Gay knows her audience are trusted friends.

I think anyone would benefit from reading this memoir. The writing is compelling. It’s a tough read, but the takeaways are so, so important. I saw one review online say Gay succeeds at “tough reporting from the inside out” and I couldn’t agree more.

“In our culture, we talk a lot about change and growing up, but man, we don’t talk nearly enough about how difficult it is. It is difficult.”

Read this if you’re interested in: body politics, women’s stories, feminism, society & culture

Read this if you loved: Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy, Sex Object by Jessica Valenti

Other books by Roxane Gay: Difficult Women, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, Ayiti

Keep a lookout for Part 2! I’ll be posting it soon.

And don’t forget — if you want the full reading list CLICK HERE. You’ll basically become a card-carrying member of the Finding Delight Book Club! ❤