What I’m Into – May

Where did May go? Didn’t the month just start? It was a pretty good month and as usual, I’m sad to see it go. June will bring with it more summer goodness. Here’s some things I was into this month. Connecting with the lovely Leigh (check out my favorite post of her’s this month. Made me want to hit the road and head to Nashville stat) and the What I’m Into link-up.

What I’m Reading:
Last month I read a lot of books that didn’t connect with me. Some weren’t great or were good but generally just weren’t my thing. I looked at my goodreads ratings for last month. It was all threes and fours. Suddenly I understood why I felt a little burnt out. At the beginning of May, I accidentally devoured a book that I fell in love with. That’s when I remembered why reading books you’re passionate about is so important. It reminds me why I love to read in the first place.

-Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (5/5). An anthology of notes from the Dear Sugar column Cheryl used to write for the website The Rumpus. I loved this book. It spoke to my soul and freed me. I know this book and her advice are not for everyone. But I found the questions and the answers immensely freeing & good for my soul. I love how much of her own stories Cheryl (as Sugar) included in her responses.
-Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (4/5). I love this series of books by Steph.This particular volume in the series wasn’t my favorite. I definitely preferred Isla’s story (which comes after Lola’s). It was a little tropey and very teenage protagonist. That said, it was a (mostly) light and cute read for me, which is what I wanted.
-Find the Good by Heather Lende (5/5). I picked this up on a whim from the popular reads section of the library and loved it. A short collections of essays on life and death from an obit writer in Alaska. These stories were good for my soul.
-Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson (2/5). The back cover sounded interesting: destiny brings a man and woman together as they’re held up at a gas station. But between the characters (both very wounded and unstable) and the unclear flashing between past and present, I couldn’t take it. Halfway through the novel, I nearly gave up because I couldn’t find myself rooting for either of the main characters. I pushed through but still, didn’t like it. Nothing hurts my heart like being disappointed in a book. Sometimes it’s just not a good match for you.
-In the Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (5/5). This book took me by surprise in the best way. Rory, a Louisiana native, comes to boarding school outside of London when a Jack the Ripper imitator is beginning to strike. I’d hesitated at picking this up before but I’m so glad I did. The story picks up about 1/4 of the way in and it’s hard to put down! I requested books two and three…three came first and I haven’t been able to pick up book two yet! Excited to start book two next week.

This month I hit my preliminary reading goal of 50 books! Woohoo! I moved my goodreads challenge up to 75 books. I’d like to read more than that but since I’m not sure what the rest of the year will bring me, I’m going easy on the number. Currently I’ve read 55 books for the year.

On the to-read stack: If You find this Letter by Hannah Brencher, The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker and If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski.

Audience participation: I have a question for you. What does it take for you to not finish a book? Is there a page limit? Do you push on through and just finish? Is there certain content that will make you stop? I’m curious about what you think.

What I’m Listening to:
-Mumford and Sons, Wilder Mind. Yes and please. Don’t get me wrong I miss those banjos like whoa. But their lyrics still connect to my soul.
-Jon Foreman, Caroline. I think I’m really going to enjoy his next musical series The Wonderlands.
-Joy Williams, Until the Levee and What a Good Woman Does. Joy is bringing the soul stirring lyrics to her debut. If I can’t have my beloved Civil Wars back, this is the best runner up.

What Podcasts I’m Listening to:
-Joy the Baker podcast.
-Dear Sugar. Always and forever. The episode about friendship this month nearly brought me to tears. I love the Sugars.

What I’m Watching:
-Once Upon a Time. Alternate Universe (AU) storyline? Yes. I loved this episode so much. I had a feeling I’d enjoy the AU, but not as much as I did. I’d watch a mini-series of these characters in the AU realm. Of course I’m still feeling the ending (that’s as much of a spoiler as I’ll say) and I don’t know how I’m going to make it til Fall.

Other things I loved this month:
-Early morning walks on the beach during our Mother’s Day trip.
-Catching up conversations with a friend.
-Ordering a box of new books I’m excited to read.
-Finding a gift card in an older box and discovering it still had a full balance! That made my box of books order even better.
-Sitting in the new airport cell lot, which is right near one of the runways. Sitting in the car and getting to watch planes take off or land. Dream come true. ❤
-Finding out one of my favorite authors, Allie Brosh, has a new book coming out in October!

Instagram:
-Beachgram. One of those few summery things I got into. But goodness morning walks with your feet in the water are glorious.

beach view

Here’s to a glorious June of warm sun, cool breezes and lots of cool treats. To summer reads and good things, both planned and unexpected.

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What I’m Into – April

Hello lovelies! Another month has come and gone. April was good to me, though I spent the majority of the month swamped. It feels good to have time to reflect on what I loved and learned last month. (What I was into the last week of April: R&R!) Linking up with Leigh to share what I’m into.

What I Read:
-I read Marcus Borg for the first time this month. When he passed in January, I reserved two of his books from my local library. And since I’d run out of renewals (oops) I finished them up this month. I may have been a little intimidated because I’m not a scholar. There was nothing to be afraid of, for me. I picked up Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (4/5) and Evolution of the World (3/5). These books touched on similar themes and often repeated themselves. I enjoyed them both but ultimately wished they were longer (yep, a 500 page book needed to me longer) and had a little more depth. He glossed over ideas as facts, then skipped past them, whereas I wanted more of an explanation. Guess that means I need to do more reading!
-#girlboss by Sophia Amorosa (4/5). Found this in the new and relevant section, so I grabbed it for a quick read. Not the standard book I’d pick up but she had some great insights about business, professionalism and running a company.
-Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (4/5). So good. A collection of short stories and poetry. Not everything is a hit but there’s so much variety you can find a favorite easily.
-The Last Letter to Your Lover by Jojo Moyers (4/5). The setting of this book felt very much like Mad Men, as the stories are set around the same time. The story is split into two parts, then and now. Then takes up most of the novel with now taking up the last fourth.
-Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith (3/5). I’d read mixed reviews before picking this book up. I understand why once I read the book. Some modernization elements I like, others I thought fell flat. I didn’t enjoy this book (but if you love Emma, you probably will).

Given the amount of 3 and 4 star books I read in April, I can see why I’ve been itching to read something I really love. I read 9 books in April bringing my total up to 42.

What I Listened To:
-Home by Josh Garrels. I haven’t listened to this album too much yet. But I know it’ll be one of those albums that will stick with me.
-Ioexa by Copeland. Haunting and beautiful.

What I Watched:
-Once Upon a Time. The Robin centric ep was my favorite. I still have mixed feelings about the Cruella ep.
-Greys. I haven’t watched this show for a while because of time issues. I remembered it was on last week and decided to watch it. Bad move. Ughhh, I don’t want to talk about it. Still not over it.
-Star Wars – The Clone Wars: Picked this series up during Celebration. I hear it gets better past season 1. (if you see jar-jar in the description, it’s probably safe to skip that episode)

What Else I Listened to, Podcasts:
-I listened to a lot of podcasts this month. There were a couple days where I was anxious and needed the extra noise to focus on what I was doing. I expanded my borders and picked up a few new podcasts.
-The Boredom Experiment. Photographers Jeremy and Ash Parsons have lived their lives online. Now: they embark on a new journey, a year without social media. So far they have two podcasts up, one about how the idea began and the second about how their two oldest boys were effected by their parents use of social media.
-Dear Sugar. I loved Cheryl’s memoir Wild so I thought I’d check out her podcast. I really enjoyed the episodes I listened to. Definitely a podcast I’ll be coming back to.
-This American Life. Caught up on a few episodes I downloaded and missed. I really like this series, because it makes me think critically about the things around me.

I’ve downloaded two more that I haven’t started yet: Sorta Awesome and The Liturgist Podcast.

What Else I’m Into:
-One of the coolest things I saw come out of RHE’s book release (besides the awesome Searching for Sunday itself) were these printings. Ruth is so talented, creating a work based on each of the Sacraments. I was taken aback when I first saw these. They are so rich and gorgeous and meaningful. ❤ I love them, I love art. Here’s the link to check them out. And by popular demand she’s made them available for purchase on her Society6 page.
-I did a series of writing this month during Holy Week. I was apprehensive about it at first but I loved the results (coming soon to a blog near you, I hope).
-Summer is almost here. Though I’m not a fan of the weather, I’m so grateful for the possibilities it brings with it. I’m looking for renewal, recharging and growth.
-The weather on the last day of April was the perfect spring weather! 70s and breezy. Just what I needed.

What I Instagrammed:
-My favorite snap this month was a plane, of course. I love when my travel takes me near the airport.

May Goals:
-Painting. I have one project in progress and a couple in mind, so I want to get those done this month.
-Make a dent in my to-read stack. Besides the fun, I do have a few practical research books in there.
-Pick up a few new books. New releases from Rachelle Dekker and Jamie Tworkowski are coming out this month, among others, which I’m super excited about.
-Write. Both in generally and here on the blog.
-Training. I need to get myself in shape now that I’m going to have a little more free time.
-Find a few more ways to have fun. Because why not, right?

Until next month, lovelies! I hope May is everything you want and more. ❤