Tag Archives: book recommendations

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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Gilmore Girls Readathon Picks

The other day, a very enticing YouTube video popped up in my recommendeds. Announcing a GILMORE GIRLS READATHON! Of course I was curious what that could mean and of COURSE I clicked.

The video explained that the readathon was a challenge of sorts, inspired by none other than the Gilmore’s themselves — Lorelai and Rory. The YouTuber explained that the aim of the challenge was to choose 7 books, inspired by 7 different Gilmore Girls categories, and to read as much as you could between October 1st and October 15th. I loved all of her suggestions, but  I wanted to come up with a few of my own too!

Now, I probably won’t manage 7 books in 15 days (a girl can dream, but a girl has a job!). But I do think this is a super fun way to choose a Fall reading list. Afterall, Gilmore Girls is such a cozy, autumn-vibes show. Wouldn’t it be fun to rewatch and read your chosen books all season long?

Here are the 7 categories with a few of my suggestions for each! All of the books I picked are either ones I’ve read or they’re on my “to be read” list.

1. Book with a school setting (in honor of Yale & Chilton)

My picks:
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
T
he Secret History by Donna Tart

2. Book featuring a mother/daughter relationship (in honor of Lorelai & Rory Gilmore)

My picks:
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

3. Cozy book set during fall/winter (in honor of Stars Hollow & smelling snow with Lorelai)

My picks:
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
One Day in December by Josie Silver

4. Book with complicated love interests (in honor of Dean, Jess, and Logan)

My picks:
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

5. Book written by an Asian author/has Asian representation (in honor of punk rocker girl Lane)

My picks:
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

6. The next book in a series you’ve yet to finish (in honor of A Year in the Life)

My picks:
Uglies series
Shatter Me series
Crazy Rich Asians series

7. Book with food on the cover/apart of the story (in honor of Luke’s diner)

My picks:
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

What do you think? Are you up for the challenge? 

P.S. More books for Fall. And movies, too!

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to loves? Last weekend, Chet and I saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…complete with a huge tub of popcorn. Have you seen it? Sometimes I just can’t get over how good an actor Leo is! Hope you have a fantastic week, do a few things for your own enjoyment, and here are some links you might want to check out…

The best street art in every state.

How to give constructive criticism without making it awkward.

Everyone knows about urine-detector dye, despite the fact that it has 100% never existed.

These cookies are my new favorite thing.

How to eat candy like a Swedish person.

24 books under 200 pages, recommended by TED speakers.

An ice cream truck owner who hates influencers so much he charges them double.

When should you tell a child their adopted?

A fish pie loaded with summer’s bounty.

Fall is right around the corner!

Sweet new merch from Call Your Girlfriend.

16 words people often mix up that can make you look foolish.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Favorite Words and The Truths We Hold — Continued Material.

Book Club: The True Memoirs of Little K Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about The True Memoirs of Little K, 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. Why do you think Adrienne Sharp chose to claim these were the “true” memoirs of Little K in the title of this novel?

2. From where does Mathilde gain her power? And how is it take away?

3. What are your thoughts on the love between Nicholas and Mathilde? How does your perception of their relationship change as the book goes on and history unfolds?

4. What impact does the revolution have on Mathilde and her son? What do you think their relationship would have been like a century prior?

5. How would you have reacted if you, like Vova, were asked to impersonate the Tsarevich in public?

6. In what ways did being the daughter of an Honored Artist of the Imperial Theater and part of a family of prized performers benefit Mathilde? Can you think of other famous families of performers who impacted culture or history?

7. Why do you think Alexandra ignored popular opinion to hitch her wagon to Rasputin’s star?

8. If you were the Tsar, what would you have done differently to protect your family and heir to the throne?

9. In your opinion, was violent revolution the only way the suffering of the lower classes could have been resolved in Russia?

10. What does this book reveal about the nature of survival?

Your turn. 

Have you read The True Memoirs of Little K yet? Pop any answers or thoughts that come up from the questions 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 or stay tuned to the blog for PART 1 of a brand new book. 🙂

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

Book Club: The True Memoirs of Little K Pt. 3

Last week, we learned a bit more about the author of The True Memoirs of Little K. I shared some of her other books, and a few interviews, which hopefully highlighted how Adrienne Sharp’s experience with ballet strengthens her fiction.

Today, I’d like to offer some extended reading about the historical context of our current book. While the work is fiction, it is based on fact. Mathilde Kschessinska is an actual person and her place in history is well documented. Let’s learn a bit more…

Continue Reading:

Continue Watching

Continue Listening:

Continue Experiencing

  • Look up a ballet company near you and consider purchasing a ticket for their next show! 

Stay tuned for Part 4! xoxo

mid-week round-up

Hello friends! Do you have big plans this weekend? We’re going on a day trip to a nearby state park, and we’ll also be stopping by a flea market. Who knows! Maybe I’ll find something I can’t live without. Either way, after a bunch of project deadlines this week, I’m ready for some weekend diversion! Hope the rest of your week is super sweet, and here’s a bit of reading material…

The story behind Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

[Related: 5 reasons I can’t get enough Dolly.]

Being a mother and a champion was a crazy dream.

How fairytales are told in other tongues.

[Related: Our storytelling minds.]

These millennials got new roommates.

Anytime young people get together, the pics start flowing.

The Japanese secret to a longer and happier life.

Russia is reopening an investigation into the world’s greatest mystery.

Cute kimono for lounging poolside.

Historians have largely discarded the lie that the “frontier” was an empty Eden waiting for American expansion—but not David McCullough.

[Related: The Pioneers by David McCullough]

As thousands of taxi drivers were trapped in loans, top officials counted the money.

Homeless mom’s letter to NIMBY supporters.

A Fab Five favorite writes a new memoir.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — 9 Insights from Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky and How to Spend Your Time Helping Others.

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

Book Club: Last Night I Dreamed of Peace Pt. 4

Hi friends! I’ve been super busy the last few weeks and the blog has definitely taken a back seat…but don’t worry — reading has not!

For consistency’s sake, I wanted to have a part 4 on this book. Butttttt I just don’t have time to write up a full-on reflection. SO! I shall direct you to Parts 1 – 3 on Last Night I Dreamed of Peace — here, here and here. I’d love if you’d check them out!

Also, since reading this book club book, I’ve also devoured Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Either would make for an awesome summer read if historical fiction is your jam!

I’d also like to announce that the next book I’ll be discussing in this series is *drumroll please* THE TRUE MEMOIRS OF LITTLE K by Adrienne Sharp. Nab a copy and follow along, why dontcha?! It’s a fictionalized account of the real life Russian ballerina who was the mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II.

Want the full Finding Delight Book Club reading list?  CLICK HERE.

Book Club: The Truths We Hold Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about The Truths We Hold, 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. So, shall we?

In the final chapter of The Truths We Hold, Kamala Harris shares 8 mantras which she and her team rely on as touchstones and guideposts. They use them as “starting points for policy conversations and as ways to determine whether we’re on the right track.” For our final thoughts on this book, I’d like us to take a moment to reflect on these mantras.

How can we apply these bits of wisdom? How can we start conversations, enact change, and lead the charge in our own lives and around issues that matter to us most? 

How can you embrace innovation?
What is a bold action you’d like to take? Are there risks involved?
How will you test your hypothesis?

In what instance would it be helpful for you to hear from other voices?
What questions would you ask?
How can you amplify those voices?

What happens when seemingly insignificant details get swept aside in favor of grand pronouncements?
Are there tedious tasks you can take on and actually enjoy?
What’s one tiny change you think could have a BIG impact on your life or the country?

How do you wield your words for good?
What words do you think are most powerful?
How can you make your language more inclusive?

Are there goals in your life that would benefit from reverse engineering?
Once you’ve worked backwards, are there ways to adapt the steps to make the end goal better and more attainable?
What can you say to the people in your life who tell you the answer is 8 without acknowledging that they added 4 and 4?

What are you fighting for?
Who are you fighting for?
How can you join forces with other folks?

Have you witnessed any “fights worth having” lately? How did they make you feel?
Who inspires you to keep fighting and to never back down?
What strategies can you use in your life to be brave in the face of adversity?

In what ways are you “first”? What have you achieved, what goals have you met, how have you succeeded?
Now, how can you pull others up with you?
Who do you “take into the room” with you? Who is cheering you on?

Have you read The Truths We Hold 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 or tune in next week for PART 1 of a brand new book. 🙂

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

Would You Do This?

Would you buy copies of your favorite book(s) in bulk and keep them on hand so you can give them away?

Mimi Ikonn mentions doing this in a house tour video I watched years ago and it’s such a great idea that it really stuck with me. As she says, “We always buy a couple extra copies of our favorite books. That way, when people come over and we end up talking about our favorite books, we can just give them a copy.”

She and her husband keep spare copies of The Alchemist. Isn’t that brilliant?

What books would you want to keep copies of? I think I would choose The Poisonwood Bible and Wild. Maybe an extra copy or two of my book club selections? But it is so hard to choose!

So, what do you think? Would you do this? Have you read anything lately that you loved so much you would totally rush out to buy extra copies??? Let’s chat below…

Book Club: Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower Pt. 4

Welcome back, Finding Delight Book Club members! Today is my final post about Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, 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?

confessions of a secular jesus follower tom krattenmaker reflection questions

1. In Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower, Krattenmaker clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the Jesus presented in the New Testament. He recounts many stories and offers a secular spin.

How well do you know Jesus? What stories of him, from Scripture, do you remember? Do you have a favorite?

2. Historically, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples served an invaluable role as a place where emotional and spiritual needs were met and where a sense of purpose was established. With the move away from organized religion, these needs and purpose are often cared for elsewhere.

Where would you say these needs are met and purpose established for you? 

3. Jesus has been held captive by a nationalistic culture of white, middle-class, anglo-centric, mostly male people. Yet, he was born with darker skin, was from the lower class, had a male body but a seemingly female soul and often voiced disdain for religion. He lived between east and west. The only thing he excluded was exclusion itself.

What do you struggle with including in your circle of love and acceptance? How might you work towards being more inclusive?

4. Jesus said, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” The early Church actually forbid membership to soldiers. And yet countless people of faith have fought and died believing a a “just war policy” that simply was not of Jesus’ thinking.

Is it possible to end violence and war? What might that transformation look like?

5. Marie Kondo is gaining immense popularity right now for her clear the clutter that fails to bring joy philosophy. This book really highlighted for me the similarities between her take and Jesus’, who reminds us that there is enough for everyone to have all they need.  We tend to be hoarders rather than distributors of our wealth.

How might you better meet the needs of others? How might you share your wealth? What do you think it will feel like if you give some stuff away?
*Note: Krattenmaker’s interpretation of the loaves and fishes story would be a wonderful section to revisit before taking on decluttering projects! What do you think?

6. Isolation, depression, and anxiety are at epidemic levels in our country today. Much of this stems from a feeling that no one cares, no one gets me, there is no one. Jesus was all about radical hospitality so that everyone cares, everyone gets me, there is everyone. So, your challenge today is to make contact with people – chat with a cashier, make eye contact and smile at a homeless person, check in with a family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile (actually talk, no texting). And then come back and reflect on how it  felt.

Who benefited most from these encounters? How might you incorporate these little actions into your everyday life?

7. You read the statistics – we are an Incarceration Nation.

What would it look like to offer restorative justice rather than retributive justice (locking everyone up) in our society? Where might this begin?

8. The author asks a very good question, “Were he suddenly inserted into our time and place, were he to behold our structural racism and all the other forms of injustice borne by one group or another, what would Jesus have us do?”

Thoughts? 

9. Let’s talk about non-dual thinking or living with paradox. Many hear this and think of eastern religions. But Jesus was also a non-dual thinker. That means sometimes there is no right or wrong, this or that, my way or no way. Sometimes both are right, my way and your way. It’s about coming to the conversation with an open mind.

Can you think of someone you strongly disagree with? Do you know that person’s whole story? Have you really listened to that person’s reasoning without judgment? Could you have that conversation? If not, why not?

10. Lunatic, Liar or Lord? Time to brainstorm some more L words that might describe Jesus. One I love – LOVE.

Your turn. 

Have you read Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower 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 or tune in next week for PART 1 of a brand new book. 🙂

❤ Thank you to my mom and sister for their help with this series. Grateful to be part of a family that loves and encourages reading! ❤

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