Friday Reads

I am so excited for the weekend because my to-be read pile is growing, and since I’ve checked all of these titles out from various libraries and I’m fastidious about turning them back in on time (no renewals allowed on any of the titles I’ve checked out!), I have a lot of pages to read.

First up: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson. I’ve never read anything by this greatly esteemed author, but I’ve heard from lots of people that she’s a favorite author of theirs, and this book fits the bill for one of my reading challenge categories: published in the year I was born.

Second: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I’ve never read a comic book from cover to cover, so I’m excited to branch out and read this, especially since it was recommended on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour.

Third: The Wang’s vs. The World. I’m a huge fan of Chinese immigrant and Chinese-American stories (side note: did you know Kevin Kwan’s next book, Rich People Problems, is coming out this May?!? I’m so excited!!) and this is a comedic take on a rich Chinese-American family’s downfall during the recession.

Fourth: Exit West. This new novel is getting rave reviews and I’m very interested in the timely subject matter in light of Trump’s latest travel ban. The NYT calls it “a dystopian parable about the current refugee crisis.” Anyone else want to read it for a virtual book club?

Happy Friday!

 

Books & Podcast Recommendations for the Easily Distracted Parent

In the six years since I first became a parent, I’ve discovered that my attention span is exactly the length of two Paw Patrol episodes. But due to a recent surgery, a broken wrist and seven (yes, count them: SEVEN) weeks of suffering through various head colds and the flu, I found a newly redeveloped talent: the ability to sit still and pay attention to printed words. However, I realize that not every parent has the luxury of sitting on their couch for hours on end, so the following recommendations can be enjoyed in snippets, too!

Books:

Act Like It When I received the iBooks email with the phrase “free books” in it, I didn’t know I was going down a rabbit hole of romance novels, but this book is well-written and a good read, which I discovered after two shout-outs, one on Book Riot and one on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. After reading this, I’ve read a lot of BAD romance novels and I’ll tell you, this one is rare: good, an interesting plot with real-life characters. Trust me.

Dumplin’ If you enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, you will like this book. It’s YA fiction at its best: it doesn’t insult your intelligence and portrays teenage characters in a realistic way.

Hag-Seed Totally and completely different than the previous two recommendations, this is a highly entertaining book by Margaret Atwood. It’s her reinterpretation of The Tempest and you don’t have to remember the original (or even have read) to enjoy it.

We Live in Water I don’t usually enjoy short story collections, but this one by Jess Walter is so, so good. The first story is probably my favorite – it’s gut-punching, magnificent writing and the PWN is lucky to have such a talented writer.

And if you’re not in the mood for books right now, here are a few podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately:

Podcasts:

Crimetown Go behind the scenes of organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island, with this fascinating look at a larger-than-life mayor and the mob. After each episode, you’ll marvel that this is a true story.

Missing Richard Simmons I didn’t even know Richard Simmons was missing, but that doesn’t matter. Why did he disappear? Why haven’t his closest friends heard from him? And will the mystery be solved by the end of the season? I need answers. NOW.

I Highly Recommend 

Time is short when you have two kids, a full time job, spend at least 2 hours in the car every day and a husband you love dearly. So. Anyway. Here are some short blurbs about things I’ve loved recently.

Books

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Life changing. No, I really mean it. If you have too much stuff in your life, read this book. It will make you rethink everything you’ve been holding on to for so long.

Eat to Live
While I’m not sure I can sustain a lifestyle change like this permanently, I am trying to incorporate more clean eating in my life. This book has good recipes and a philosophy about healthy eating I can get behind.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
The baby sleep bible, re-reading this book made me rethink how many times I’ve disrupted Junior’s sleep to run errands. Babies need sleep! I’m so much better about letting him nap well and sleep early after reviewing this advice.

Emma
I love Alexander McCall Smith and this retelling of a Jane Austen favorite is delightful.

Yes Please
If you can, get the audiobook version of this book. Prepare to laugh and cry.


TV Shows

Veep
After signing up for a free trial of HBO Now, we’ve been binge watching the first three seasons. So, so funny.

Recipes

In my effort to eat more vegetables and reduce the amount of dairy I eat, I’ve had to be creative with quick meals at supper.

Here are three recent favorites:

Baked polenta with sautéed veggies. I sautéed onions, squash, and mushrooms and then added peas to the pan, then poured the vegetable mixture over sliced polenta and then added tomato sauce. I admit to adding a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese, too. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Curry udon. Make the curry as instructed on the box, then add udon noodles. I added a bit more water than the recipe called for so it would be more of a soup than a thick curry.

Lettuce wraps. I sautéed tofu with mushrooms and then added water chestnuts and soy sauce. Serve with lettuce cups.

Luv a Little

Let me tell you about a new site called Luvocracy.

My friend Aaron DeSimone of I HEART LUXE introduced me to one of Luvocracy’s fabulous staff members and she told me about the start-up – it’s like Pinterest but it’s more: you “luv” things you find on the Internet and people you know and people you don’t can trust your recommendations.

In my case, I love recommending books, bookish things, toddler things and techie things. After you “luv” something, other people on the site can view what you’ve “luved” and if someone makes a purchase based on your recommendation, you earn a small commission. Luvocracy will also try to find the item that you want to buy as cheaply as possible.

Right now, I’m showcased on the site.ImageYou can check out some of my Book Lovers collection here:ImageInterested in joining the site? Request an invite here.