TTT: Books I Am Thankful For

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share my top ten books I'm thankful for. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

Each of these books has a place in my heart for a different reason, but mostly I’m thankful for them because they remind me that we are not alone. Even in tumultuous times like these, we can find unity through our books, and I love that.

Pretty Good Number One–because it showed me that sometimes people are just as nice as you hope they would be. I’ve never before had an author give me a book just because I posted about it on my blog!

The Last Dragonslayer and The Eyre Affair–because sometimes you just need a fun escape from reality.

Good Girls, Bad Girls of the New Testament–because it heartens me that some biblical scholars are paying attention to the amazing women in the Bible.

10% Happier–because this book led me to start meditating, and it really has made me happier.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor–because Flannery’s words made me feel less alone in my often imperfect faith.

Her Stories–because women, especially women of color, don’t get nearly as much page time as they should.

Untangled and The Princess Problem–because girls’ childhood and teenage years can be difficult, and these books show parents how to give their daughters the tools they need to navigate those years.

Jesus Feminist–because this book reminds me that there are respected and knowledgeable Christians who are feminists, not just me. (Review to come soon!)

Last Stop on Market Street–because it’s a simple, beautiful story filled with diversity.

Tiny Beautiful Things–because this book reminds me that we are not alone, no matter how horrible our circumstances may seem.

What books are you thankful for this year?

What I’m Into + November Small Goals

I'm sharing my favorite October moments and my November small goals in today's link up. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my November small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

 

My October goals didn’t go half bad!

  • Have a TBR reading day. I’m counting this one as completed. Although I didn’t take a whole day just to sit and read through a bunch of books, I did request almost 20 books off my TBR list from the library and have read through almost all of them.
  • Open my Etsy store! This is actually today’s project. I have all the supplies I need, I’ve made several sets of m first products, and all that’s left to do is take photos for the Etsy listings! I’ll include the link here as soon as the store is open. The store is open!! I’m beyond excited, and I’d love for you to check out my products here.
  • Get an actually significant amount of cross stitching done. Yeeeesss…? I’m counting this one as completed, but again, there’s a huge amount of cross stitching left to do if I ever want to finish this Christmas stocking.
  • Repair, replace, or remove certain household items. This is another goal that’s about halfway done. I did repair some items that just needed a little hand stitching, but I still need to get my pants hemmed and take a bunch of clothing to Goodwill.

I’m trying to keep my November small goals simple, since I know I’ll be spending a lot of time traveling for the holidays and rehearsing for my church’s Christmas concert.

  • Prep Christmas gifts. I know what I’m going to be giving almost everyone on my list, and I want to prepare them this month so I can drop them off at my family’s house when I visit for Thanksgiving (instead of having to pay to ship them).
  • Open my Etsy store. Yep, for real this time.
  • Dye my hair again. This will be a fun project! I’m trying something new this year–photos to come!
  • Experiment with watercolors. I’ve got some more ideas for my Etsy shop involving watercolors, but I’ve never worked with them before. I’m hoping to harness my husband’s expertise with this.
  • Complete the Skillshare challenge. Skillshare classes were a great help to me when I was learning to hand letter, and I’m hoping to complete the teaching challenge this month so I can start my own hand lettering class.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: A book club I’m part of on Goodreads is going to have its first in-person meeting early next month, and we’re going to be discussing The Girl from the Train. I’m excited to read and discuss it!

TV shows I’ve been watching: I’ll be honest, I’ve only been watching Parks & Rec and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries this month. The first is a great backdrop for my cross stitching work, and the second is a super fun show that I’ve been rewatching with my husband (I’ve already seen all the episodes on Netflix; he hasn’t).

Music I’m loving: I’ve been listening to this song on repeat.

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: I’ve read so many audio books this month (and skipped several that I thought I would like and hated about five minutes in). I just finished listening to Words in the Dust, and I found it pretty interesting.

My favorite Instagram:

My sister and her husband visited us in October, and we spent time doing all the great Florida tourist things. We had a great time at the beach (of course).

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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my new hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

 

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

October Small Goals + What I’m Into

Today I'm sharing my favorite reads and podcasts from September, my goals for October, and a favorite quote. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my October small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

My goals for September seem to have all gotten about halfway finished:

  • Make an opera cake. Yep, this one is halfway done. My husband and I were planning to assemble this for his birthday, but since he’s been sick and exhausted, we put it off. But no worries! Several of the components have been made and are awaiting their assembly date this Tuesday. (Photos to come!)
  • Get a significant amount of cross stitching done. Hmm… Sort of. I got some cross stitching done, but I’m not sure you could qualify it as “significant.” I’ve really got to get on this.
  • Actually finish making hand lettered cards for Etsy. That’s partly why I chose this month’s Write 31 Days series theme as Lovely Words, to give me an extra incentive to finish some cards. I’ve ordered almost all the supplies I need, so this is the month! (Watch for a link to the shop’s grand opening a couple of weeks from now!)
  • Buy (and wear) red lipstick. This one is actually completed! I got some advice from a sweet employee at Sephora, and I wore the lipstick to church the next day. I felt a bit self-conscious, but also awesome.

Okay, here’s hoping my October small goals go a little better:

  • Have a TBR reading day. My TBR list has gotten over 425 books, and it’s causing me some angst. I want to request a dozen or two of the quickest reads and power through them this month.
  • Open my Etsy store! See above. I’m almost there!
  • Get an actually significant amount of cross stitching done. Again, see above.
  • Repair, replace, or remove certain household items. My purse, for example, is starting to fall apart, and I have a huge pile of clothing that needs to be taken to Goodwill. I need to just get that done.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I just got several books from NetGalley that I’m excited about reading, including a graphic novel version of Snow White and The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen, a Vietnamese chef/blogger that I’ve followed in the past.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I absolutely hated reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but I’ve always thought it might make a better TV show than a movie. So now that I know it actually is up on Netflix, I’m going to have to check it out.

Music I’m loving: Is it weird that I’ve been getting into Ariana Grande recently?

Podcasts Audio books I’m listening to: I’ve worked my way through my backlog of podcasts, so I finally got a chance to start on Dodger by Terry Pratchett. It’s not at all what I expected, but it’s fun so far and the narrator is great.

My favorite Instagram:

I spent several hours researching and designing a diverse composer card game for my students, and I’m super proud of how it turned out!

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If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my new hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

Favorite quote this month:

In keeping with my Write 31 Days series, Lovely Words, I’m including one of my favorite quotes that I’ve read recently. As a big reader who occasionally embarrasses herself with a mangled pronunciation, this really resonated with me!

Never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word. It means they learned it by reading. –Anonymous

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

If you want to read the rest of the posts in the Write 31 Days series Lovely Words, you can find them here.

My Top Ten(ish) All-Time Favorite Mysteries

Wanting to pick up some new mysteries? This post is for you! I'm linking up to share my top ten favorite mysteries. | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m linking up with the Broke and Bookish for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post!

It’s no secret that I love mysteries and have for my entire life. So when I saw that Broke & Bookish themselves chose mysteries for their TTT prompt this week, I knew I had to join in. Since I’ve read such a wide variety of mysteries, I’m going to segment my favorites into groups. If you want to get into mysteries, I think at least one of these will catch your interest!

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery, check out:

  • The Oxford Tearoom series [review copy]. I’ve said many times before how much I enjoy this series of cozies. Gemma is a tea shop owner in Oxford who keeps stumbling upon murders. The setting and characters really shine, and the mysteries are fresh (a rarity for cozy mysteries).
  • The Needlecraft Mystery series. If you’re into cozy mysteries, this series by Monica Ferris is for you. Amateur sleuth and needlework shop owner Betsy is a lot of fun to follow, and the other inhabitants of her small Minnesota town are quirky and sweet. This series is not without its flaws, but it is full of fun, quick, satisfying mysteries.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered. This very British mystery revolves around a hapless, clueless barrister on vacation. When she is implicated in a murder, her coworkers back home have to help her out of the mess she’s gotten into. Lighthearted and fun.

If you’re looking for children’s or YA mysteries, start with:

  • The Westing Game. This Newbery book is a classic, and I absolutely love it. It’s convoluted and creepy, but in a way that’s fun and not too frightening.
  • The Three Investigators series. This series of books by Alfred Hitchcock (or at least produced under his brand) was one of my favorites as a kid. It might take a little searching to find them, but if you can get your hands on these books, you (or your child) will probably love the fun adventures the three boys find themselves on.
  • The Dana Girls series. Although I loved the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew series as a kid, the Dana Girls were much more interesting to read about. It’s been a while since I picked up one of these books, so there are likely some outdated and possibly offensive elements within that I’ve forgotten about. Still, I think they’re worth a read if you can get your hands on them.
  • Jackaby. Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Who. Need I say more? (Bonus: the author has written two sequels so far, and I believe there are more still to come for this series.)
  • The Case of the Cursed Dodo [review copy]. Such a cute mystery! It involves a panda detective, some awesome illustrations, and a fun play on the hardboiled PI tropes.
  • Murder is Bad Manners. This is a great start to a series that revolves around two girls at an English boarding school. Fun and not too creepy.

If you’d rather read a mystery written for adults, look into:

  • The Flavia de Luce series. Although these books have a child protagonist, they are clearly written for adults. Flavia is rude and nosy in the best way, and she ends up poking her nose into matters that are really none of her business. Still, her love of chemistry and her trusty bicycle get her out of most of her scrapes and help her solve mysteries that baffle the adults around her.
  • The Likeness. This book sucked me in. The intense relationships between the characters and the blurring of lines around the undercover detective involved will keep you guessing and turning pages until the very end. I’m looking forward to reading Tana French’s sequel Faithful Place soon.
  • Tommy and Tuppence. Whether you check out The Secret Adversary or my personal favorite N or M?, Agatha Christie’s mystery-solving secret agent couple are sure to bring a smile to your face. The Tommy and Tuppence books are a little more action-packed than Christie’s other novels, so if you’re not sure about taking on the classic Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mysteries, Tommy and Tuppence are a good place to start.
  • The Junior Bender series. This series has a lot of action and comedy to supplement its mysteries. The characters are fun and unusual, too. Definitely worth checking out.

If your taste in mysteries leans more toward thrillers, read:

  • The Passenger [review copy]. I think of this book as the better version of Girl on the Train. Definitely check it out if you liked that book.
  • All the Missing Girls [review copy]. A murder mystery told backward, this book is another that will keep you guessing till the very end.

Bonus: Here are my top seven favorite murder mystery TV shows–in case you can’t get enough mysteries in your life! (These are all currently available on Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime.)

  • Castle
  • Death in Paradise
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Rosemary and Thyme
  • Broadchurch
  • Sherlock
  • Veronica Mars

What are your favorite mysteries (books or TV shows)? Let me know in the comments–I’m always on the hunt for my next favorite mystery!

September Small Goals + What I’m Into

I'm sharing my September small goals and what I'm into from last month! | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my August small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I actually did all right with my goals for August:

  • Prepare my students to perform the national anthem. Check! It was a lot of fun, and I was super proud of my students. They did a great job.
  • Review Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You can check out the review here.
  • Make some hand lettered cards for my Etsy store. I’m giving this one a half check. I got some fancy new Tombow pens–they have made such a difference!–and I’ve been playing with them for the past few weeks. Now, to make some actual cards…
hand lettering | NewberyandBeyond.com
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  • Get paperwork done. Yep! Thank goodness. I hate having those nagging tasks looming over me.

And my goals for September:

  • Make an opera cake. This fancy cake has so many steps that it’s going to be an all-day project.
  • Get a significant amount of cross stitching done. December is coming much faster than I had hoped, and the stocking I promised to make for my husband isn’t nearly close to done! I need to buckle down and do it.
  • Actually finish making hand lettered cards for Etsy. Are there any particular words or designs you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!
  • Buy (and wear) red lipstick. It looks so cool on other people, and I want to try it! But this requires that I go into a Sephora and ask for help, because I have no idea what shade would look good on me.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: I’ve got Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series sitting by my bed, along with Tana French’s book Faithful Place. But both of those are going to have to wait until I finish Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French, which I’m really enjoying so far.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I’m about to start a rewatch of Parks and Rec. I tried watching the series from the beginning a couple years ago, but the first season was so bad I gave up. But I’ve seen episodes from later seasons and thought they were really funny, so I’m going to give the show another shot. (But I think I’ll start from season two this time.)

Music I’m loving: I created a playlist I call “chill” that I’m really loving. Think Bon Iver, The Civil Wars, Hozier, and Jose Gonzalez.

Podcasts I’m listening to: Piano Parent Podcast is right up my professional alley–it has tips for parents of piano students on what instrument to choose, how to help your child practice, and much more. (It’s also hosted by Shelly Davis, my own piano teacher when I was a kid!)

My favorite Instagram:

I went with a couple of friends to do a painting class, and it turned out to be one of the hardest classes the studio offers. Still, we persevered and came out with these enormous, beautiful canvases.

painting | NewberyandBeyond.com
I’m no artist, but I was pretty proud of this piece!

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and some of my new hand lettering ventures), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

Classics Link Up: Slaughterhouse-Five and A Room with a View

The latest classic books I've checked off my list: A Room with a View and Slaughterhouse-Five. | Book reviews by NewberyandBeyond.com
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You might remember the classic book challenge that I’m doing myself (and you are welcome to participate too! Just post your links in the comments below with your latest classic book reads). These two books are the latest on my list (I actually finished A Room with a View just before I created my list, which is why it doesn’t appear there).

A Room with a View

One of E. M. Forster’s most celebrated novels, A Room With a View is the story of a young English middle-class girl, Lucy Honeychurch. While vacationing in Italy, Lucy meets and is wooed by two gentlemen, George Emerson and Cecil Vyse. After turning down Cecil Vyse’s marriage proposals twice Lucy finally accepts. Upon hearing of the engagement George protests and confesses his true love for Lucy. Lucy is torn between the choice of marrying Cecil, who is a more socially acceptable mate, and George who she knows will bring her true happiness. A Room With a View is a tale of classic human struggles such as the choice between social acceptance or true love. (Summary via Goodreads.com)

This book is sweet, reminiscent of Jane Austen. After a life-changing trip to Italy, Lucy has to decide which man to marry–Cecil, a protective and traditional man, or George, who refuses to live by society’s rules. I must say, I was confused about feminist overtones–I’ll admit, this is one of those classic books that I’m not sure I’m getting completely. Have any of you studied A Room with a View? I’d love your perspective on it!

Rating: Pretty Darn Good

Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

This is one of those classic books that I’m pretty sure everyone except me has already read. It’s actually an easy read, and the structure is interesting–Billy Pilgrim, the main character, thinks he has become “unstuck in time,” and his reminiscences shoot from one phase of his life to another, all centering on his experiences in Dresden during WWII.

Despite the ease of reading and the occasional humorous (or at least absurd) scene, the book tackles huge topics about the effects of war. It’s very reminiscent of Catch-22 (although it didn’t make me nearly as angry as that book did; Slaughterhouse-Five was more resigned and hopeless). It’s an unsettling look at the bombing of Dresden and its effects on the humanity of soldiers.

Rating: Pretty Darn Good

Have you read either of these books? What classics have you read lately? Don’t forget to leave your links in the comments!

July Wrap Up + August Small Goals

I'm reviewing last month and making goals for August in my July wrap up post! | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with writes like a girl for my August small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

Small Goals

To start with, here’s a quick review of my July small goals:

  • Celebrate my third anniversary with my husband. Check! We ate at an Indian restaurant we’ve been wanting to visit, and, of course, ate our wedding cake replica.
NewberyandBeyond.com
Delicious!
  • Actually finish a couple of Etsy projects. So close! I’m not sure if I can count this as completed, but I did finish formatting one project and ordered supplies for another.
  • Work on my hand lettering. Again, I completed this one about halfway. I ordered some brush pens to experiment with, and I’ve been watching all the how-to videos.
NewberyandBeyond.com
Yeah, my spacing needs work.
  • Type up a chord and scale sheet for my students. Done!

So two goals completed, two half completed. Not too bad! Now, my goals for August:

  • Prepare my students to perform the national anthem. And probably brush up on my own conducting skills–I haven’t directed a group since I was in college! Still, I’m excited to lead my kids in singing at our local baseball game.
  • Review Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Oh yes, I read it. But if you want to know what I thought, you’ll have to check back next week.
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Review coming soon…
  • Make some hand lettered cards for my Etsy store.
  • Get paperwork done! I have several nagging paperwork-related tasks that have been on my to do list for a while. Now is the time for me to actually get them done. Not the most fun goal, but a necessary one.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: As part of my classic books challenge, I’m currently working my way through Middlemarch. I haven’t had much time recently to read it, but I’m really looking forward to picking it up again this month.

TV shows I’ve been watching: I was looking for something to put on in the background while I work on cross stitching a stocking (a project that has turned out to be much more involved than I anticipated), and I ended up selecting Guy’s Grocery Games. I’m not a huge fan of Guy Fieri, but this game show/cooking competition is funny, lighthearted, and something that I don’t have to watch every second to enjoy.

Music I’m loving: I’ve had Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” and Adele’s “Send My Love” stuck in my head on repeat for weeks.

Podcasts I’m listening to: If you enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s books about happiness and habits, you’ll love the podcast she hosts with her sister Elizabeth. It’s called Happier, and it covers the same topics as The Happiness Project and Better Than Before. Gretchen and Elizabeth are fun to listen to, and they always have interesting tips and tricks to make your life better.

My favorite Instagram:

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Some of my all-time favorite books

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want to Do

Linking up with Broke & Bookish to share the top ten things books have made me want to do or learn. | NewberyandBeyond.com
This post is part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s TTT prompt is all about things that books have made me want to do or learn in real life. I love this! So often, books inspire me to try something new, and in some cases, I have. Many of these books are nonfiction (their ideas are easy to turn into projects), but a few are fiction books that have inspired me nonetheless.

  1. The Year of Reading Dangerously. Although I thought this book was just okay, it inspired me to make my own list of classics that I’ve skipped out on and challenge myself to actually read them. (If you want to join me, link up with me here!)
  2. Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day. The author’s adventures in famous tourist cities using only an outdated book as a guide sounded super fun! I’d still like to try it one day.
  3. I tend to hate poetry, but Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry made me want to try reading a bit more. (The poetry of Langston Hughes is now on my classics list.)
  4. #GIRLBOSS made me want to stretch myself in my business ventures.
  5. Pretty Good Number One. This book that I was sent for review (by one of my favorite podcasters!) made me desperately want to travel to Tokyo and eat all. the. food.
  6. The Palest Ink (another review copy) made me realize how little I know about the history of Asian countries and made me want to learn more.
  7. Ready Player One. I never thought I’d say a book made me want to play video games, but this one did.
  8. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. This amazing children’s book gave me a fascinating glimpse into Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and made me want to learn everything I could about her.
  9. Roller Girl made me want to learn about roller derby. I’d never want to participate (yikes!), but I’d love to watch a match.
  10. 10% Happier. I found this book really interesting. It actually inspired me to give meditation (basically mindfulness training for your brain) a try.

What new things have books inspired you to learn or do? Leave your TTT links in the comments; I’d love to check them out!

A Classic Book Challenge + Link Up!

Join the classic book challenge and link up with your list of classic books that you want to read! | NewberyandBeyond.com
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After reading The Year of Reading Dangerously, I was inspired to create my own list of classics that I’ve overlooked over the years. These are books that I want to read, books that I feel I should have read already, or books that I have read but I feel like I didn’t “get” the first time.

I know I’m not the only one who has a nagging list of overlooked classics waiting to be read, so I decided to create a link up for us all to share our experiences and reviews as we work through that list. In this month’s link up, you can share your list of classics (and feel free to tell us why you picked those books or why you haven’t yet read them). Here’s my list of classics that I’ll be working my way through:

  1. Middlemarch; George Eliot
  2. A Confederacy of Dunces; John Kennedy Toole
  3. Lord of the Flies; William Golding
  4. Vanity Fair; William Makepeace Thackeray
  5. Beloved; Toni Morrison
  6. Orlando; Virginia Woolf
  7. Mrs. Dalloway; Virginia Woolf
  8. To the Lighthouse; Virginia Woolf
  9. 1984; George Orwell
  10. The Grapes of Wrath; John Steinbeck
  11. The Bell Jar; Sylvia Plath
  12. Julius Caesar; William Shakespeare
  13. Slaughterhouse-Five; Kurt Vonnegut
  14. Their Eyes were Watching God; Zora Neale Hurston
  15. Walden; Henry David Thoreau
  16. The Sound and the Fury; William Faulkner
  17. The Canterbury Tales; Geoffrey Chaucer
  18. Faust; Goethe
  19. Invisible Man; Ralph Ellison
  20. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; Maya Angelou
  21. A Raisin in the Sun; Lorraine Hansberry
  22. War of the Worlds; H.G. Wells
  23. On the Road; Jack Kerouac
  24. Paradise Lost; Milton
  25. Inferno; Dante
  26. Tess of the D’urbervilles; Thomas Hardy
  27. Brideshead Revisited; Evelyn Waugh
  28. Crime and Punishment; Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  29. Les Miserables; Victor Hugo
  30. Fahrenheit 451; Ray Bradbury
  31. Dracula; Bram Stoker
  32. Watership Down; Richard Adams
  33. Candide; Voltaire
  34. My Antonia; Willa Cather
  35. Much Ado about Nothing; William Shakespeare
  36. Thank You, Jeeves; P.G. Wodehouse
  37. The Maltese Falcon; Dashiell Hammett
  38. Slouching Towards Bethlehem; Joan Didion
  39. The Outsiders; SE Hinton
  40. The Collected Poems; Langston Hughes

I’m so excited to see your lists! Be sure to check out the other posts in the linky as well. Each month, I’ll open a new linky for everyone to share their progress in working through their list.

 

Ten Facts About Me + July Small Goals + What I’m Into

Ten facts about me, plus my (overdue) small goals for July and my "what I'm into" contribution for June. | NewberyandBeyond.com
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I’m linking up with the Broke & the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday, writes like a girl for my July small goals, and Leigh Kramer for my monthly what I’m into.

I’m so behind on all my monthly link ups! (I blame my 4th of July vacation.) So I decided to combine my link ups into one big post. If you’re one of those people who likes seeing behind the scenes of the blog, you’re going to love this post.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts You Should Know About Me

  1. I was born in Nebraska, spent some time living in Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee, and currently live in Florida. I never know what to say when people ask me where I’m from.
  2. My husband and I own two gerbils named Ethel and Millie. One day we’ll have cats (once we’re no longer living with our deathly-allergic roommate!).
  3. I’m afraid of whales. Why? Because they’re enormous, and that freaks me out.
  4. Animal friends are my favorite. I love seeing pictures of different species hanging out together.
  5. I actually hate coffee. (Hot tea forever!)
  6. I play Neko Atsume. Yes, I’ve collected all the cats.
  7. When I was in college, I went on a four-day trip to visit thirteen states with some friends. It was such a ridiculous idea, but some of my fondest college memories came out of that trip.
  8. I like to cross stitch. Mostly because I’m too impatient to learn to knit better.
  9. I don’t have any piercings or tattoos because I’m phobic about needles.
  10. I’ve never met a fruit I didn’t like.

July Small Goals

First, a review of my June goals. I actually did pretty well this month!

  • Finish my Etsy projects. Halfway. I’ve started formatting one of my completed projects, and the other two will be coming soon. I’ve run into a snag, though, because Canva won’t let me create a design that’s more than 30 pages long. Do you have any tips–is there any way around this?
  • Plan a staycation. Done! And this was so fun. My husband and I spent several days going to the beach, visiting the local wildlife park, and eating at new local restaurants. It was relaxing, fun, and cheap (three of my favorite words!).
  • Contact our wedding cake baker. Also done! The cake is ordered, and we should be receiving it a few days after our anniversary this month.

Goals for July (now that we’re halfway through):

  • Celebrate my third anniversary with my husband. Three years doesn’t sound like much, I admit, but I’m still surprised at how quickly they went!
  • Actually finish a couple of Etsy projects. A continuation of last month’s goal.
  • Work on my hand lettering. I’ve just gotten into this, and I’m really excited about it. I’m not very good, but I’m hoping to get better!
  • Type up a chord and scale sheet for my students. I have a few students who are starting to work on their technical skills, and I’m having a hard time remembering what each one is doing. I want to make a chart of some kind to track their progress.

What I’m Into

Books I’m looking forward to reading: The Princess Problem by Rebecca Hains; Magyk by Angie Sage; Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal.

TV shows I’ve been watching: My husband and I are making our way through the newest collection of Good Eats on Netflix. Alton Brown knows how to make cooking (and even science) fun.

Music I’m loving: I created a singalong playlist on my Spotify account that’s full of old favorites from my high school and college days. When I’m upset or stressed, I crank it up and destress!

Podcasts I’m listening to: The maelstrom of political talk online is no good for my sanity, so I’ve turned to the Pant Suit Politics podcast for my political news. I’ve just started listening, but so far I’m loving it. The two women who run the show (one on the left, one on the right) are polite and thoughtful even in their disagreements, and they keep me apprised of the latest political happenings without the vitriol that’s so prevalent elsewhere.

My favorite Instagram:

NewberyandBeyond.com
Feeding the birds on vacation

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram (I post lots of book pictures and the occasional selfie), you can do so here.

If you want to see more of what I’m into every month, along with sneak peeks and my favorite posts from the blog, sign up for my email newsletter! It’ll show up in your inbox once a month and bring you the latest blog news and the things I’m loving.

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