Tag Archives: book recommendations

For the love of BOOKS!

What have you been reading lately? While I believe ALL seasons are great for reading, Fall weather feels especially conducive. Don’t you think? There’s something so lovely about curling up on the couch because, hey, it’s already dark outside…but in reality you still have plenty of hours ’til bedtime.

I think Anne, of Green Gables fame, said it best —

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Sad to see October go. But so excited for what books lay ahead in November! If you’re in the same boat, here are some books I’ve read recently that I’d recommend for next month’s evening couch sessions:

Sharp Objects
Delancey
Honeymoon in Purdah
Under the Banner of Heaven
All the Light We Cannot See
The Vacationers
Some Girls
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

I’m currently reading The Silver Star, which is written by the same person who wrote The Glass Castle. My friend recently recommended Nevada (I added it to my reading list right away), and my mom and sister both LOVED The Electric Woman. Also, I recently saw someone perform an amazing oral interpretation of a story from Her Body and Other Parties, which totally made me want to reread.

So, what are YOU reading? Anything you’ve read in the last few years that you can’t stop recommending to people? Would love to hear!!

P.S. How to make time for books.

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What Will Happen When You Start Reading More Non-Fiction

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

I’m a big believer that everyone should be reading more. Did you know, 1 in 4 Americans didn’t read a single book last year? For someone who has always considered myself a bookworm…this blows. MY. MIND.

Of the books out there, I think non-fiction gets an especially bad rap. They’re all like those school text books that put you straight to sleep, right?

WRONG!

In fact, besides the multitude of non-fiction books that are just as page-turner-friendly as their fictitious cousins, reading non-fiction can come with a lot of benefits…

You’ll Learn Valuable Lessons

When you read non-fiction, you can learn a ton of valuable life lessons. You could read about a specific time in history or read the biographies of interesting folk, giving you insight into both tragedies and triumphs. Reading non-fiction can help guide you when new opportunities come your way. They can offer you a powerful lens through which to view the world around you.

You’ll Improve Your Concentration

Reading requires a ton of focus. Increasing the amount of time you spend reading non-fiction each day can drastically help with concentration and productivity levels. I have found reading for 15 minutes before tackling a task that requires a lot of focus preps my brain to concentrate. Other times this may be of benefit to you? On a public transit commute, before you go to bed, or while you’re waiting for an appointment. 

You’ll Master New Communication Skills

Did you know that reading non-fiction can improve your communication skills as well? Your vocabulary will certainly expand, but you’ll also be able to begin mirroring how accomplished authors formulate their thoughts into words with the greatest efficacy. This can help you look more professional in the workplace and it can also help you gain confidence when expressing yourself.  You’ll find that many language learners practice English by reading aloud. Even as a native speaker you can take a page from their book (pun intended!) and brush up on your skills with a little at-home oration!

You’ll Gain General Knowledge

When you read non-fiction, you can easily boost your level of general knowledge as well as your intellectual level. (And if you’re still in school, actually doing the assigned reading will make sure you’re better prepared for those quizzes as well.) Regularly reading non-fiction will help you to better answer questions on the spot and give you fantastic talking points when you meet people who have similar interests to you.

If you’re convinced, here’s a reading list of some of my favorites to get you started —

A Few Non-Fiction Faves:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook (I blogged about this one HERE.)

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (I blogged about this one HERE.)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky (I blogged about this one HERE.)

* * *

At the end of the day, non-fiction will expand your knowledge and increase your intellectual confidence. When you put the work in and set time aside for reading, you can easily reap these benefits. Reading non-fiction is such a wonderful way to learn more about new subjects and expand your interests! So go do it!!!

 

mid-week round-up

What have you lovely lot been up to? Chet and I went to an aquarium (in Chattanooga) last weekend, which is our favorite way to celebrate his birthday. And tomorrow I’m flying to Kentucky to hang out with my mom for the weekend. Summer – SLOW DOWN! Hope you’re having a great Wednesday, and here are a few interesting internet offerings…

“How Pixar’s open sexism ruined my dream job.”

The forgotten story of The Radium Girls, whose deaths saved thousands of workers’ lives.

An advertising campaign that highlights the remarkable.

Dealing dead people’s things.

Looking into reading options for when I’m done binge watching E.R.

How science is saving ballet dancers.

A summer reading list curated by Ann Friedman and readers of her weekly newsletter.

The arrest of a Russian belly dancer exposed simmering tensions in Cairo’s belly-dancing scene.

Great sale if you love OXO products. (*raises hand*)

The rise and fall of the family-vacation road trip.

This documentary looks NUTS!

Sign up HERE to be a rapid response volunteer for immigrant parents and their children.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and 18 Movies to Watch When You’re Hibernating (because sometimes summertime heat is cause for hibernating in the A.C.).

mid-week round-up

Happy Wednesday! What are you up to this week? My best-friend Katie is coming to visit tomorrow (squee!) and I can’t wait to show off our new area. I’m ready for some summertime activities and a healthy dose of gossip. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and follow the links below if you’d like to loiter online a little longer…

This made me laugh out loud.

Strawberry cheesecake popsicles for a homemade summertime treat.

I love this blog post that tells the real story behind the beautiful wedding photos.

A sweet pin.

I have mixed feelings about this.

19 quick and easy weeknight dinners.

On my reading list.

Well-behaved women make history too.

My summer mood in a nutshell.

More women in the U.S. live alone than ever before.

How to feed the resistance.

7 ideas for random acts of kindness when the world feels like a dumpster fire.

P.S. A couple Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Two Poems and A Simple Cure.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Now that it’s full-blown, hot-as-heck Summer down here in South Florida, I’m planning to take all my work-related phone calls poolside for the rest of the season. Just the prospect makes the rest of the work-week sound so much more bearable. How are YOU making it through to the weekend? Hope the rest of your week is divine, and here are some links…

10 historical superstitions we carry on today.

Misunderstanding a female serial killer.

22 ambassadors recommend the one book to read before visiting their country.

This family is VERY committed to their karaoke rendition of “One Day More” from Les Mis.

Spend a day working with a paparazzi photographer.

8 books you need to read if you’re interested in cults. (and/or just finished binge watching Wild Wild Country like yours truly!)

I have a free class credit with Master Class and I’m thinking of enrolling in this one taught by Malcom Gladwell.

Absolutely in love with everything about this a-frame house. (When can I move in?)

From friendly mermaids to a fiery volcano, the mini-golf courses in Myrtle Beach have it all.

This ice cream shop is so good that Israelis sneak into Palestine to eat there.

The guy who can’t stop winning HQ trivia.

I’ve been itching to read this book. Anyone have a copy?

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Five Great Poetry Books! and Mini Vacay: Delray Beach!!!

mid-week round-up

What it do, baby-boos? Yesterday I brought back my favorite South Florida perk — the 2 p.m. break from work to to take a dip in the pool!!! Now I’m just struggle-bussin’ it through the last half of the work week when all I wanna do is drink boulevardiers, watch this docu-series on Netflix that everyone’s been raving about, and make pocket letters. Eeps! Weekend where are you??? Hope you’ve got some enticing weekend plans in mind, and here are a few links I found fascinating…

Why is there so much focus on no-platforming at elite universities, when hundreds of colleges across America regularly suppress speech?

Starting your day in a way that works for YOU.

Related: Don’t Hide Your Hustle – Lucy, Graphic Designer

The 33 most exciting new books of 2018.

The maternity care desert in Washington D.C.

A teenager told police all about his gang, MS-13. In return, he was slated for deportation and marked for death.

Gun fatalism is reasonable in a terrifying country.

Native American lacrosse teams reported racial abuse. Then their league expelled them.

Smashing guiding’s glass ceiling.

Related: On the Rooftop of the World

How women see how male authors see them.

As gentrification closes in, immigrants in Lincoln Heights see their American dream slipping away.

The weird true story of the rise and fall of the waterbed.

The most Instagrammed location in every state. (Summer road trip inspiration!!)

P.S. Follow me on Instagram. 

Five Great Poetry Books!

Are you a fan of poetry books? They are my very favorite when I need to mix things up between lengthy novels and dense nonfiction! I love how the language bounces around the page each in their own unique way and they’re so much fun to read out loud.

Here are 5 of my favorites…

Babel by Barbara Hamby

Hamby’s poems drift across histories and continents, from early writing and culture in Mesopotamia through the motion-picture heaven that seems so much like Paris, to odes on such thoroughly American subjects as hardware stores, bubblegum, barbecue, and sharp-tongued cocktail waitresses giving mandatory pre-date quizzes to lawyers and “orangutans in the guise of men.”

Favorite poems: Vex Me, The Tawdry Masks of Women, and Ode on My Mother’s Handwriting.

 

Skid by Dean Young

 In Skid, Young’s fifth book of poems, social outrage vies with comic excess. He embraces the autobiographical urge with fury and musically lush exclamations. Whether through the dark facts of mortality or the celebratory surprises of the imagination, these poems proclaim vitality and alertness, wasting nothing. Young’s poems reveal his faith in the genius of calamity and the redemptive power of fun.

Favorite poems: Sources of the Delaware, Whale Watch, and Troy, Indiana.

 

Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson

Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born a few years after Jane’s death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche.

Favorite poems: Phil’s Photos, Serials, and The Burn.

 

Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney

The poems in Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. 

Favorite poems: Red Velvet, Thunderbolt of Jove, and Segregation, Forever.

 

New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry

In New Collected Poems, Berry reprints the nearly two hundred pieces in Collected Poems, along with the poems from his most recent collections―Entries, Given, and Leavings―to create an expanded collection, showcasing the work of a man heralded by The Baltimore Sun as “a sophisticated, philosophical poet in the line descending from Emerson and Thoreau . . . a major poet of our time.”

Favorite poems: Planting Trees, The Dance, A Poem of Thanks and The Country of Marriage.

P.S. Bonus: Found Footage by Maggie Woodward is a newly found fave written by a dear friend. You should check it out, too!

My Birthday Book & Movie Haul

In case you can’t tell by the title of this post, I recently had a birthday! Just last week, in fact. I was blessed with some amazing gifts (like this beautiful bar cart from Chet and a huge box of Gilmore Girls themed coffee from my mom!).

But my favorite way to treat MYSELF for my birthday is to pick up whatever book(s) and movie(s) I feel like! Usually I’ll talk myself out of book and movie purchases because of a little thing called the library and another little thing called Netflix. On my birthday though? Well – I deserve it! 🙂

Here’s what I picked up:

Movies

Stephen King’s IT

Who doesn’t love watching a scary movie (or three or four) in October? I still really want to see the new version but I mean c’mon! So many famous faces in this one. Including, but not limited to, John-Boy from The Waltons sporting a rad early 90’s ponytail.

The Edge of Seventeen

This movie looked reminiscent of two of my favorite coming-of-age flicks – Cheaters and Juno…and the back cover likens it to a modern day The Breakfast Club (another fave!) – so I was all in. Plus, I love Woody Harrelson!

Books

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends On Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

Since I left the world of speech & debate, and no longer sit through tons of informative speeches every weekend, my annual dose of pop psychology has drastically diminished. This looked like an interesting and fun way to rectify the situation. I’m excited to dig in!

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 so this book seemed like a good bet. 😉 The subject matter, a city hit by an epidemic of “white blindness,” reminded me a little bit of Station Eleven. Not to mention it won a ton of awards and received rave reviews! So, although it’s not a book I would normally gravitate to, I couldn’t resist.

Which of these interests you most? Have you bought any books or movies for yourself lately? I’d love to hear!

What books would you paint on a staircase?

Here’s a fun thought experiment for your Tuesday…

Recently, my mom texted me the picture above and asked, “If you were going to paint a 13-step staircase in your home, what books would YOU include?” 

After great and labored consideration, here is my list (although I feel like it could change tomorrow–or maybe even in 10 minutes!):

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Christy by Catherine Marshall
Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Which 13 books would YOU choose??? Please indulge me and leave your answers below. I so love finding out what books resonate with people (especially enough that they would paint the spines of said books on their staircase!!).

*Photo and idea found here.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Suffice to say, our slow reintroduction phase after our Whole 30 sorta went out the window as Hurricane Irma blew into town. (We evacuated on Day 31…yikes!) So I’m trying to get back on track and figure out what permanent dietary changes I want to make moving forward. I’m planning to make a pizza without cheese tonight. I’ll let you know how that goes (sorta feels like blasphemy!). I’m also plowing my way through this book, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some links for perusal purposes…

Inside a quiet revolution in the study of the world’s other great kingdom.

Michael Twitty’s new book explains how the story of Southern food is the story of the African-American experience, starting with slavery.

Related: Order the book HERE.

Reclaiming my time.

Dude. This book looks like SUCH a page turner.

Related: Book Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Melania Trump, hurricane heels, and the artifice of fashion.

When we experience art, we feel connected to something larger. Why? 

On the ground in Pyongyang: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?

101 ways to cheer yourself up, if you’re down in the dumps.

Hurricane Irma: historic and harrowing.

Related: Hurricane Irma: What I Learned & How to Help

The bad science behind campus response to sexual assault.

Academics uncover 30 words “lost” from English language.

My favorite mascara.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Are you a word nerd? and A College English Teacher’s Take on Last Chance U.