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June 18, 2015

Well, so much for my New Year’s resolution to blog once a month. Here it is June, and I haven’t blogged since March.  Interesting thing is though, somewhere in April, I lost the need to write.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometime in March or April, I finally started adapting to this working full time thing.  I equate the whole process to the stereotypical freshman year of college.DSC_5580

I still remember from over 20 years ago hearing people warn me that the first semester of college is rough, especially if you left your hometown.  Hang in there for a whole year, people told me, because it takes at least a semester to get settled in.  I fell back on that wise advice over and over this past year.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy my first semester of teaching this year–I did!  It was full of thrills and excitement and sheer adrenaline from this wild jump I took.  However, I found myself missing my former life a lot–trying to carry over as much of the old as possible into this new adventure.  By the middle of the spring semester though, I started to set down the burden of my prior years at home.  Those things I tried to hold on to “maintain who I was,” I no longer needed.  It was ok to have freezer to oven meal every once in a while–I didn’t have to cook something from scratch every single night.  I didn’t need to bake in any free moment I had.  And, I didn’t need to write to keep my voice and creativity.  I was finding a new voice in teaching and creativity in lesson plans.  I walked away from this blog, briefly, because I didn’t really need it for my survival.

With all that said, I am back!  It’s summer time now and I have more time in my day to choose what I want to do.  In my short week and a half of summer vacation, I’ve baked blueberry muffins multiple times, slowly drank coffee, pinned recipes for blueberry jam (and not freezer jam at that), ordered 30 lbs of tomatoes for processing, seen my brother married (yippee!!), and have sat down to write.  I feel sweet and glorious freedom of planning my days.    I lay in bed this morning and debated working on the kids picture albums over the summer.  I have even managed to go on my first bike ride since October (which feels like an eternity ago).

On my first blog post in month, I wanted to do an edition of What I’m Into–School Year (and first two weeks of summer vacay) Books Edition.  We’ll see what I can remember!  This may get long…  Pull up a chair and let me help you with your summer reading.IMG_3954


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer.  I read this in the midst of other books about WWII.  This one hung with me longer than some of the others.  It takes a slightly different bend than many of the books I read in that it began in Paris, France and the protagonist was a blind French girl.  At the same time, a parallel story was that of a young German soldier, who didn’t necessarily buy into the Nazi Germany propaganda.   It was an amazing story.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie  I just finished this book and it was amazing.  I had heard about it a year ago from the SheLoves book club and decided I wasn’t interested in it.  Since then, it popped up on my radar over and over and over.  A month or so ago, I started perusing the online summer guide reads and saw this book on at least three lists.  So, I decided maybe it was time.  Incredible.  It’s a bit of a hard read at times because Adiche talks about racism in the US.  There’s more on my thoughts on that later, because I’ve realized over the past year how being “color-blind” about race can be harmful as well (because it doesn’t let us see the blatant racism that runs rampant in almost every system within the US).  Highly recommend this book.

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny.  I had thought the Inspector Gamache Books were finished after How the Light Comes In.  Turns out, I was wrong!  As always, the Inspector Gamache books are an enjoyable read, with the right balance of mystery, depth, and avoidance of gore.

MadAddam by Margaret Atwood.  This was the end of a trilogy that started with Oryx and Crake about 10 years ago.  The series is science fiction/fantasy, looking at what may happen to our civilization if it continues on the current path we are on.  The beginning of the book was incredibly disturbing with a lot of violence (including violence against women).  However, once I got past the beginning, I enjoyed this book and found myself thinking about it for days after I finished it.

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarity.  This is a pretty popular book right now.  I didn’t like it.  Too much dysfunction and unhappiness.  Too many abusive relationships.  I don’t think I’ll read any more of Moriarity’s books.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.  I loved this book.  I love Gladwell.  That’s all.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Purse and I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley.  The Flavia de Luce mystery series is another one I really enjoy.  This are safe, fun reads I know I will like and good for those times when I don’t want to take a risk on a book.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.  I was hesitant to read this book when our book club chose it for the spring.  Turns out, I loved it.  The netflix show was a bit to graphic and over the top, and I was worried the book would be the same.  It wasn’t at all.  Turns out it was more about the state of the prison system and the subculture it creates than a fluffy comedic drama that’s made for TV.  I’ve thought about this book countless time since I’ve finished it.

The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley.  Meh.  Didn’t like this book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  Curtis and I went to see the movie and I had a hard time liking the character of Cheryl Strayed in the movie.  I found I could relate to her and like her a lot more in the book.  I enjoyed this book, but didn’t love it.

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker.  I love Jen Hatmaker.  This book didn’t challenge me as much of some her other writing and found a little bit of repetition between Interrupted and 7.  I still liked this book though.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diane Gabaldon.  This is the second book in the Outlander series.  This is the last book in the Outlander series that I will ever read.  The end.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.  Heartbreaking book.  I devoured this book on a plane (I can read on planes again!  Yippee!!).

Exploring Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris.  Normally, I find Sedaris laugh out loud hilarious.  This book I found more bittersweet–the funny stories seemed tinged with sadness and longing.  I think it could easily have been the mood I was in while I read it.  My favorite stories were the ones in which he invented new characters.


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