Friday, September 1, 2017

August 2017 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on the 100 Best Novels goal, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

August News 

School is back in session. And that's about my whole life right now.

The first few weeks are always crazy. It's hard to remember the first half of August when I'm mired in the fog of the start of school. However, it's been a good start and August, really, was a good month for us.

We celebrated big things in August. I turned 30, which still feels silly to say. I think it'll take me a while to mentally adjust to being in my 30s. I keep forgetting. It was a wonderful birthday weekend. I told Kevin that I every part of my soul got fed. I got wonderful alone time to self-care and indulge. We had friends over for a small party and everyone brought amazing food and we had great conversation. I went to a yoga class, which I hadn't done in forever. And, as my gift, we did a culinary tour in downtown Durham. It was all so good and I felt so refreshed in every way. Adult birthdays have, on the whole, been pretty disappointing for me, so I'm so happy this one turned out well.

We also celebrated Kevin finishing his MBA (on the same night as my birthday!). I'm so proud of him and even gushed about it on Facebook, which I never do. Though he's traveling a ton this fall, we're excited to be entering a new chapter and have a chance to take a breath and refocus as a couple.

So, those things were great. The start of school has gone great. I'm still losing weight - almost 20 pounds now! Personally, things are going well. Which, in some ways, makes coping with the news so much harder.

Between Charlottesville and Hurricane Harvey, I have spent a lot of time crying over the news lately. On the day of the Charlottesville rally, I spent most of the day in bed crying. It's just so hard to confront the reality of hate in our country. I've known it was there, but seeing Nazis marching in the streets three hours from your house is stark. Then, last week, when I saw bouquets of flowers laid on the monument to Confederate soldiers in the next town, I was furious. I live in a relatively rural part of North Carolina. I know there are hate groups here in my own back yard. There are certainly plenty of culturally ignorant and insensitive people (everywhere, not just here), but it's still hard to look it in the face and recognize the tangible reality of it. I'm more committed than ever to fighting for change in our country. In some ways, the situation in south Texas has been a great reminder that hate does not fuel most people in our country. In the face of such devastation, it's so encouraging to watch people come together to serve others. We need more of that. Why does it have to take a disaster to do that for us?

All that to say, you can expect to see more books about activism and injustice and equality and political change showing up here. I am desperate to educate myself about the experiences of people unlike me. I want to learn so I can act in a wise, effective way and follow the lead of wise, thoughtful people who have been doing this work far longer than I have even considered it.

That's what I'm thinking about these days. Life goes on, but my inner activist is stirring and constantly rummaging about in the back of my brain. Meanwhile, in the book blog world, make sure you check out my posts about completing the 100 Best Novels challenge. I did a whole week of review and if you missed them, you definitely want to go back and read what I wrote about that challenge. Here's the rest of August what August brought to my world of books: 

Books Reviewed

  1. The Nix - Nathan Hill
  2. Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick
  3. Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson
  4. Tribe - Sebastian Junger
  5. Captive - Aimée Carter
  6. Point Counter Point - Aldous Huxley
  7. A Dance to the Music of Time - Anthony Powell
  8. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - Maria Semple
  9. The Search for Delicious - Natalie Babbitt
  10. Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close
  11. Not the End of the World - Kate Atkinson

Books Read

  1. Not the End of the World - Kate Atkinson
  2. Salt - Mark Kurlansky
  3. In Sunlight and in Shadow - Mark Helprin
  4. Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon
  5. Seriously Delish - Jessica Merchant
  6. The Daily Show - Chris Smith
  7. Yes, Chef - Marcus Samuelsson
  8. Hold Me Like a Breath - Tiffany Schmidt
  9. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Pages Read: 3,587

Favorite Book Read: Since I don't count rereads (i.e. The Handmaid's Tale) for this, I have to say The Daily Show. It was a very interesting read. Review coming two weeks from today. 

2017 Monthly Goals 

One of my goals this year is to read 5 books every month:
  • 100 Best Novels - This challenge is OVER!
  • 1 Faith-Centered or Philosophical Book 
    Didn't get to this in August. I was so relishing ready whatever I felt like after finishing the 100 Best Novels challenge.
  • 1 Nonfiction 
    Salt - Mark Kurlansky

Elsewhere Online...

Have you all been listening to LeVar Burton's new podcast, LeVar Burton Reads? It's him reading short stories aloud. Episodes are 30-40 minutes. I'm not usually a short story person, but I've been loving this podcast.
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That's August! On to the fall. I'm thrilled for the weather to turn just a bit cooler. We're moving away from constant oppressive heat down here and into the mild, beautiful fall days that I love. I'm not quite ready for sweaters and boots and scarves, but I'm very ready to transition back to jeans and PSLs from Starbucks. Bring it on. 

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