Cheers to the Weekend 8.18.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

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Around the web

A great list of kid's books for back-to-school!

This is actually kind of a brilliant way to manage an overwhelming TBR

A short and sweet list of some fun reads to get you in the mood for fall. We are ready!

Morgan's recent trip to Greece and the 6 books she read through in 9 days across 3 cities. We're only a little jealous.

 

Instagram

Dee's account is just so on point with coffee, books, and lifestyle!

How's this for inspiring: books on a boat sailing around the world with Haley

Jeanne attends book clubs and has a fabulous collection of vintage and classic books. Want to be friends?!

A fellow Seattlite, Kaitlin, has a literary lifestyle we love and views we know all too well

 

Cheers!

 

Literary Event | Browser's Cookbook Book Club

So if you've been hanging out here with us a while, you know how much we love our literary dinner parties. We sincerely believe that creating a beautiful atmosphere enhances the enjoyment of any gathering, and we can apply this to books. We've gotten a pretty good handle on using our own spaces and creating within our own homes, so when the opportunity came to do our thing at a bigger event, we were all over it.

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Our favorite local bookstore, Browsers, in Olympia, WA, hosts a quarterly cookbook book club, and we were excited for the opportunity to attend and style the event. The concept is simple: once a season they pick a cookbook, and members make a dish from it and bring it to share. A dinner party ensues as they sit down and enjoy a meal and conversation together in the upstairs space above the bookstore. It's such a great idea, and proves books don't have to be high literature to be a connecting force. This was their summer event, and members were to cook from any of Yotam Ottolenghi's published works.

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Andrea, the bookstore owner (dream job!), and Kelli, a local food blogger work together to put on this book club. Aren't they lovely? They are some of the absolute nicest people, and amazing hostesses. We love connecting with other members of our community who are doing great things!

Before all the guests arrived, we got to talk to Andrea and Kelli. Mostly, we chatted about our mutual love of books (surprise!) and the role they play in our lives currently. While we were chatting about how much we love and enjoy socializing our lives through reading, something Kelly said especially stuck out to us , "It doesn't have to be fine literature." That we could bring so many people together over a cookbook was phenomenal. Some people were avid readers, but others simply love cooking. It was that simple. There's something for everyone and it doesn't take much to get involved, to meet new friends, and to talk about any type of book.

Our vision for decor for this event was to stay true to the vibe of the store and with the feel of summer. We chose pale green candles, an eclectic mix of candles, and a few other objects that made sense and fit in with the color palette of rose gold, light green, white, and pops of brighter oranges and pinks. These were all simply mixed along the center line of the tables; nothing fussy.

We didn't want to overwhelm the tables, just create a relaxed, slightly boho magic in the ambiance that was befitting of a summer evening gathering, while blending with the vintage-modern aesthetic of the store. We also tied up napkins with twine and tucked in our custom bookmarks and fresh sprigs of rosemary from Rikki's garden before setting them on the absolutely stunning plates that Andrea commissioned from local potter Mariella Luz. Silverware, jam jar drinking vessels, and flowers arrangements set in vintage glass jars by Fleurae completed the look.

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Soon people began to arrive, setting gorgeous platters and bowls of food onto a separate table as they came in and began to mingle. Before long, the table was crowded with a variety of dishes, with everything from watermelon salads to fritters, and desserts. After a quick circle-up and brief announcements, everyone grabbed a plate and headed to go dish up a taste of everything while the tables glowed warmly behind us.

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The tables ended up being split into two to accommodate all the guests, and people quickly claimed their seats and began to pour wine, chat, and discuss what foods they brought. Andrea also cleverly placed discussion questions in little envelopes under some of the plates, giving some structure and provoking deeper conversation at the tables. The conversation flowed seamlessly.

You know that electrifying feeling you get when you find yourself in a room full of positive buzzing energy? That was this event; it felt like just hanging out with friends at a relaxed dinner party, despite most people having just met for the first time. Also, we discovered that so many people who attended were doing such interesting things! Podcasters, writers, photographers, foodies, anesthesiologists, and more were all engaged in friendly conversation and discussing the merits of not only the cookbook, but also how food affects our lives.

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By the end of the night, we were full and happy, and feeling like we just met a roomful of new friends. That's the best kind of event, right? The kind that leaves you full in more than ways than one by the end. We left feeling really encouraged that what we're doing has a place and future in the book world; that creating beautiful social gatherings based on a shared love of books, any type of books, is worthwhile. We are absolutely planning to continue to do more events, so keep an eye out!

Would you want to attend an event like this? Let us know what you think!

 

Vendors

Venue | Browsers 

Flowers | Fleurae

Pottery | Mariella Luz

 

People + Talents

Andrea Ballard | Preheated Podcast

Jennifer Crain and Kelli Samson | Oly Appetizer

Cortney Kelley | Cortney Kelley Photography

Kelli Samson | Fresh Scratch

Improving Your Reading Life: Just Put it Down

I think we're pretty much all been there: your TBR stack is staring at you accusingly, but you can't get to it because the book you're currently reading is going sooo slowly. And it feels like a chore. So you avoid it. And nothing gets read. And you start to feel guilty or irritated. 

The moment you find yourself avoiding reading because you don't want to read the specific book you're working on, it's time to give yourself permission to put it down and mark it off as DNF (did not finish). Reading that feels like a chore feels so terrible, and often we feel obligated to finish a book we started, no matter how much we may not want to.

This happened to me pretty recently, there was a book I was reading that I just wasn't clicking with. I genuinely felt like I had to finish it, even though the rest of my TBR looked so much more enticing! It took me over a week to let go and just put the book down. A week

I don't know about you guys, but it is REALLY hard for me to not finish a book. There's the whiff of failure and the lingering sense of guilt that comes with setting a novel aside unfinished. My rational brain knows that I'm an adult and I should use my precious time reading what I want to read, not what I feel like I should be reading, but it's hard to keep that mind set sometimes.

Consequently,  I've been really practicing giving myself permission to not finish a book, and reminding myself that it will always be waiting on my shelf or available at the library if I want to return to it. My time is so limited, I have to remind myself not to waste it on books that don't fulfill me, or excite me, or make me eager to pick them back up. 

Sometimes a book just isn't for you right now. It could just be not what you're in the mood for, the wrong season, hitting on something that feels sensitive to you at the moment, or any number of other things. You can ask yourself: what makes you abandon a book? Sometimes there's a clear pattern, but sometimes it's just natural whims.

I tend turn away from certain themes and writing styles, and since I know that I don't enjoy them, when they do pop up in a book I'm starting, I tell myself it's okay to just put it down. I've read enough books I don't like, that I'm getting adept at spotting when it won't be an enjoyable read for me. And that's okay! Not every book is for everyone!

In the end, just make sure you read for fun. Read for inspiration, for thrills, for love; read anything and everything you want to read, but don't read books you aren't enjoying. We all should feel free to ditch what isn't working for us. Plus, you'll get a lot more reading done when you don't spend days hung up on something you're not loving, and that's always a good thing!

What as the last book you set aside without finishing? When do you know it's time to give up on a book?

 

 

 

Cheers to the Weekend 8.11.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

AROUND THE WEB

A great list of books you've been meaning to read. We've read many of these, but #15 is one we've been talking about. 

I love the concept of this series: Books you should Buy, Borrow, or Bypass

More books being turned into movies!!! We suspect one of these will make you guys verrrryyyy happy.

Proof that reading more than one book at a time has benefits!

 

INSTAGRAM

Anna has the loveliest mix of lifestyle and books. Don't mind while we continue scrolling through her feed.

Vicariously living through Yeldah being constantly lost in good books, moody bookstores and colorful vintage books

Taylor has such a bright, fun literary lifestyle account, and has the prettiest books!

 

Cheers!

Lessons from the Library
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Around here the library is an integral part of our daily lives. We both get most of what we read from ours, and count ourselves lucky to have access to such a great resource in our hometown. As adult readers, libraries are certainly valuable, but as mothers raising little readers, libraries are infinitely more precious. To us, libraries are so much more than rooms full of books.

When we stopped to think about it, we realized the library is teaching our kids so many amazing lessons, just by virtue of using them. The library is truly helping shape them into the sort of respectful, considerate, educated adults we hope they will become. 

1. Returning things on time- Learning about deadlines, calendars, and the importance of returning things on time is a core value most successful adults have. Our little ones get due date slips and learn that the due dates need to be respected to maintain the privilege of using the library. 

2. Consideration of others- How many people are on the wait list for that book you have? Online access makes it easy to see who else might want that book you just finished, and we are able to teach kids that returning that book early is a show of respect and kindness for others.

3. Treating things with care- At the library, being careless with the book in your possession can result in damages and fines. Our kids learn to be responsible with the books loaned out to them, to take care not to bend covers or tear pages, and to be respectful of the library's property they've been entrusted with.

4. Basic responsibility- When a book is checked out to them, we are sure to let them know it is now their responsibility and theirs alone to make sure the book doesn't get lost or damaged, and that it is returned to the library on time. When they walk out of the library with those books in their hands, we've entrusted them with something precious, and they are always eager to practice responsibility with their book treasures. 

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5. Respectful transactions- Sure sometimes we use the self checkout (a brief lesson in its self) but most of the time we have our kids go face to face with librarians and practice good solid human interaction when checking out. They learn to wait their turn in line, greet the librarian, produce a library card, and stow books in their totes. It's one of the few places they can fully handle a transaction right now, because it doesn't require money, but great training for later in life when transactions are an everyday part of their lives. Having good, respectful habits through practice early is valuable!

6. Exploring interests- One of the best things about the library is that it is a risk-free way for them to explore their interests. Books are a great way to learn about the world around them, and since there is no cost associated with it, they are free to choose whatever and however many books they want to explore. We have one kid who likes science fiction, another who loves the natural world, and another who is trying a little bit of everything as she begins to read independently. 

7. Engaging with community- Our kids have learned to view our libraries are a hub of our community. We find out about local events there, bump into friends, and generally feel connected to the living breathing humans who share our corner of the world when we visit. Teaching kids that there is value in getting to know the people around you, and supporting your community is priceless.

In addition to all these lessons that are built into the act of using the library, our local branches offer so many programs tailored to each age group, and we bet yours does too! Do you use the library with your kids? Do you have any amazing memories of libraries from your own childhood? We'd love to hear!

 

 

A Classic Tome as an Adventure Buddy, or What I Learned Toting a Big Book Around the US for a Month

Even though I'm nearly 30 years old, summer still conjures that same gut feeling of the glorious promise of unlimited free time that I felt as a kid. When I was younger, summer especially meant more time to read! I loved having nothing to do all day except finish my book, take weekly library trips, complete summer reading programs, and go book shopping with my mom to stock up for our annual summer road trip. Books were always the highlight of my summer, and back then reading was 100% stress free.

As an adult, I hate to say, I feel pressure to use my time "wisely", and that generally means reading as many books as I can each month, often trying to keep up with what's trending, at a breakneck pace, so I can get through my never-ending-always-growing TBR mountain. How many of you have avoided reading a huge classic novel, simply because it was a big time commitment? Yeah, me too. It feels like you're giving up the 3 other books you could read in the same time frame...but you know what? I find that they're always worth it.

So this July, I decided to hit pause on my TBR and spend a few weeks solely in the company of a big classic novel I've been meaning to read for years: The Three Musketeers. I didn't want to rush through it, instead I wanted to savor it's company and try to recapture that endless feeling from the summers of my childhood. So the timeless adventure novel came along with me for the ride as my personal adventure buddy while I travelled through parts of the Western US this month.

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We began our adventures together with the long drive from Washington to Montana. My brother and I were off to visit our grandma, we and switched off between who drove and who read the book aloud. I'm sure most of you have listened to an audiobook...having someone sitting next to you and giggling over passages as they read a book aloud is about a thousand times more entertaining and I highly recommend it. It was extra entertaining in this case because the book is shockingly funny, and we weren't expecting how completely looney tunes it was!

Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan continued to hang out with me in Montana. They came to a small town 4th of July parade, saw fireworks, a rodeo, attended a dinner party, and were also dragged to restaurants, bars, scenic views and calm, park-like settings all throughout our stay. Some of the best reading I did was on my grandma's deck with a cup of coffee and her million dollar view of mountains off in the distance, framed against the endless sky. They don't call it "big sky country" for nothing.

Once again, we read aloud on the drive home, and back in Washington the musketeers were my cozy companion in my house, on beaches, and at my favorite cafe's. The book sincerely saw me through a memorable period of my summer, and became almost like a safety blanket; I began to panic a little if I was out and realized the book wasn't with me! I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with it, and laughing at the exploits of the musketeers and marveling at Dumas' genius. Most of all, my increasingly battered copy began to feel like a friend.

By the end of our journey together, it had collected dust from a rodeo, water marks and sand in it's spine from Washington beaches, bends and wrinkles in the cover from being shoved into purses, a bent spine from being left laying open around my house, and sun fading from being stuck on dashboards or left outside on the table while I played with my son. The crisp edges and smooth, inky black of the cover are long gone, and in it's place is a book marked with all the love and adventure of the past month. It was difficult to close it for the last time, and place it back in it's slot on my shelf; it felt like saying goodbye. But the best part of books like this, is that they'll be waiting for you when you're ready to pick them up once more and dash off on another adventure. 

What big novel have you been avoiding? Or what big novel have you recently read and enjoyed spending time with?

Cheers to the Weekend 8.4.17

Exciting articles, inspiring Instagrammers, and other fun stuff worth sharing!

Around the web

This sounds like a list of beach reads we could actually get into!

We are always just BLOWN AWAY by Bryton's literary dinner parties!

This podcast is full of information on supporting your local library and encouraging children to form their own reading life. Loved it!

A great answer to the question: why do you read?

 

Instagram

Emily is a teacher, reader, and gives an honest depiction of the literary lifestyle we love

Stacks upon stacks of books, great reading choices, and lots of IG buddy reads. YESSS!

All the books and tea you could desire and a beautiful aesthetic that kept us scrolling

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Judging a Bookstore by Your Favorite Author

This is about how a day with us and our "bookstore adventures" go. Since moving to a new town, Michaela and I are no longer living quite as close as we used to be, but it has opened up a bunch of new things for us to experience and explore together. We scoured all the bookstores in town, finding one incredible gold mine of a place, a fantastic new lunch spot, and a tea house which was absolutely delightful and is the perfect scene for many more future bookish conversations.

One thing we realized while scouring stacks upon stacks of books at all these new local bookstores, is that the first thing we did every time was look for our favorite genres, books, and authors. The major find of the day was a store that had almost everything we could've wanted. To top it off, the lady who worked there was friendly, there was a place for our kids to play, and we barely touched the tip of what they had to offer. It was maze-like and stuffed full of books, and much bigger inside than it looked!

Our next stop wasn't so fabulous, but it made us think about what specifically it was that made us appreciate the other place so much, and we realized it was partly the comfort of finding your favorite author amongst so many that aren't familiar. It's the same as finding someone who also likes a book you like; there's an instant connection there. The bookstore suddenly feels like it gets you, when you see your favorites sitting on the shelf. It's such a relief knowing a store that understands me is in my new hometown, and can't wait to go back!

Anyone else have weird bookish quirks in bookstores? Or is it just us? Tell us we aren't alone!

Small Ways to Tangibly Connect with Your Current Read

You know how when you get really wrapped up in a story, it stays in your head all day? You're going about your day with one foot in another world, and sometimes it just feels really good to tangibly connect with it. Getting the story and it's spirit into the real world and out of your brain and off the page can be a really satisfying exercise. You guys already know we love to throw literary dinner parties (here's our how-to-guide, if that's your thing too!), but of course that's just a bit too much for every day life. When we need a smaller outlet we find ourselves turning to a couple of things:

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1. Eat food inspired by the book- Maybe your book has specific references to dishes, but often we find that novels are strongly rooted in time and place, and you can draw from the setting to create something tasty for a meal or just for a snack. Bryton has a really amazing archive of recipes from popular novels that we especially love (and there are a couple of cookbooks out in the world too!), but often we just pull inspiration from the setting or mood of the novel. It can be as simple as a batch of cookies or as elaborate as a big dinner, and heck, you could even order yourself some takeout that fits the book!

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2. Don't forget drinks- If food inspiration isn't striking, your other edible option is drinks! We love to pair wine with novels, based on their setting, but cocktails are also a great option, as are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. Again, sometimes a drink is specifically mentioned in the text, but often it's a matter of drawing on the setting and picking something that feels fitting to you! Books set in foreign countries are especially fun for this, because you can look at what's popular there! Sake for Japan, fancy tea for England, etc.

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3. Add some simple decor- Think about what colors feel fitting for the book, what kind of mood and tone it has and add a jar of flowers in those tones. Go a little further and pull some candlesticks out, or maybe you have a couple objects around your house that fit the theme of the novel you can put in the center of your table, and suddenly you've got yourself a mini-tablescape and a perfectly set scene. You'd be surprised at what you have tucked away and how fitting it can become put together.

4. Go exploring- Check out what might be near you that also exists in the book you're reading. Maybe there are a lot of references to libraries, or the setting of the novel feels park-like; whatever it is, go find it in your hometown! Drop by a park for a few extra minutes of reading after work, duck into that restaurant that's just like the one in the book, just go do the thing that makes sense for your current read. If you think ahead, look for books that are written by a local author, it's so fun to read about and visit places you're familiar with and add an even greater sense of connection with the novel.

5. Watch the movie, or a movie like it- So many books (especially classics) have movie adaptations, so it's worth a google search. If there isn't a direct adaptation, there will often still be an option that fits in. Maybe you pick a foreign film from the country your book is set in, or a movie adaptation of one of the author's other works. Maybe there's just a movie out there with a similar storyline you can watch and compare it to.

As you're reading, if something sounds particularly interesting, take down notes of food mentions, flowers, and drinks that are worth trying (we've done this plenty). Whatever you choose, we hope it genuinely helps you feel more connected to the book you're reading and creates a great memory to go with the experience of reading the book! Let us know in the comments if you've ever tried, or want to try, any of these!

 

 

Wrap Up | July 2017

Read In July

Michaela

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid- Once again the hype machine totally ruined a book for me. I was hesitant to read this given that I was underwhelmed with Reid's other works, but everyone was saying it was so good and deep! It wasn't. It was fun, entertaining fluff, but it was not in any way profound or handing the topic in an especially interesting way. It WAS head and shoulders above her other books I've read though! If you're going into this, manage your expectations is all I'm saying.

A Wrinkle in Time | Madeline L'Engle- This was a book club pick this month, and one I had previously read as a child. Reading it as an adult, it actually wasn't nearly as good as I remembered. It's still an important book, and a fun one, but it didn't quite have the power it used to, which i think is common when you re-read childhood favorites. I did still enjoy it though, I flew through it one sitting and it definitely had larger themes that I never noticed as a kid, which was interesting! I will definitely go see the movie and hope Hollywood doesn't butcher it.

Reading People | Anne Bogel- This book definitely isn't for everyone. If you don't find personality typing remotely interesting, you're gonna wanna skip it. However, if you are into that sort of thing, this book functions kind of like a crash course for different personality frameworks, and Anne does a good job of taking an overwhelming amount of information and making it feel not only intuitive, but actionable in real life. I enjoyed some chapters more than others, but thats the beauty of a book like this; you can pick and choose what feels applicable and helpful to you. It's a quick read; Anne comes off as approachable and human, and provides many thoughtful and amusing anecdotes to illustrate her points. If you're a fan of her blog, or are curious about personality typing, this book is definitely for you. 

Delancey | Molly Wizenberg- Our buddy read this month; we decided on doing something a bit different since July was such a busy month for us both. Wizenberg has such a clear, distinct voice and her writing makes the book feel effortless to read. I really enjoyed the story of Delancey and all the restaurants and places in Seattle that they talk about that are accessible to me. As someone who is endlessly fascinated by aspects of restaurant life, this was a brand new viewpoint and I just devoured it. Rikki and I can't wait to go visit!

Exit West | Mohsin Hamid- Long listed for the Man Booker prize, this book DESERVED it. The prose was delicate and beautiful, there was a lot of unexpected twists and details, and the whole thing was clear allegory. The edge of the fantastical made a hard subject more approachable, and though I enjoyed it, the book also kicked up more complicated feelings, and those took me a few days to sort through. Which really, that's the best kind of book. 

The Three Musketeers | Alexandre Dumas- This was the classic I put the rest of my TBR on hold for, and took along with me for my summer adventures over the past month. Dumas is so amazingly witty and I didn't expect how completely loony tunes the story was! This was loooongggg, but had an incredibly interesting cast of characters, including the fabulous villain Milady. It's definitely not profound, it's not a deep work of classic literature, but it's a great romp, an adventure story, a romance, and has great antagonists to our heroic musketeers. A really fun classic novel, it almost reads like a series of vignettes; it really reminded me of a TV series in it's structure, where it was somewhat episodic with overarching storylines grounding the whole thing. Plus it was sincerely laugh out loud funny! A great one if you want a less "heavy" classic

Rikki

Delancey | Molly Wizenberg - This book was a breeze to get through - it was a fun, somewhat intimated portrayal of a blogger's marriage and career change. I really enjoyed the way recipes were incorporated, BUT YOU GUYS, there wasn't anything even close to pizza in there! An entire book about learning to make the perfect pizza and opening a pizza restaurant, and we didn't even get a slightly altered version. I was also excited to find Molly and Delancey online after devouring her story, and was really sad to learn that they were no longer married. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone | J.K. Rowling - This one took me a bit to get into, we'll blame moving for that. Harry Potter is just fun, and Rowling does a wonderful job with really making this wizarding world seem so real. I'm looking forward to continuing on with the series.

The Lemon Orchard | Luanne Rice - I picked this book up on a whim some time ago. I'm a sucker for titles related to gardening, outdoors, or anything nature-y. The summary had a good mystery to it, so I gave it a try. Within the first 20 or so pages, I debated putting it down. Then I debated putting it down three more times. I became so frustrated with Rice's inability to properly depict the language shift between cultures and characters (there's a heavy Mexican, American, and Irish cultural foundation to the story). Some things she wrote were just too cheesy and predictable, and I found myself looking at Goodreads reviews over and over, wondering if I was missing something. I stuck with it, but it was predictable and dull for me.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe | Fannie Flagg - I had no real idea what to expect coming into this book, but after the previous one I read, I fan girl'd all over Fannie Flagg's brilliant prose. This book has a unique timeline format, even some controversial topics, but none of that bothered me. Her ability to write in such a way that connects you to the hearts of her characters and places is truly unbelievable. I can't wait to read all of her books!

When the Future Comes too Soon | Selina Siak Chin Yoke - I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book quite as much as I did, but it was really great. I really enjoy different perspectives on WW2 and this is one I've never encountered. You definitely find yourself rooting for the main character, then being completely upset by her choices in the end. You really feel from this story and I'm so glad the publisher reached out to us and sent this novel our way. Thanks to JKS Communications to sending it to us for review!

Number the Stars | Lois Lowry - I've been a long time fan of Lowry's. Dating back to 7th grade and reading The Giver in school, my love affair with reading took off. I've read a few of her others, but it wasn't until we did the Year You Were Born post that I came across this one and decided it was time. This is a great novel for kids to read based in 1943, during WW2. It's delicate, but honest and Lowry does a beautiful job describing the difficulty of those years in such a short story. Very well done, I'll be passing this off to my oldest kiddo to read next.

Two by Two | Nicholas Sparks - After reading everything I intended to this month, I picked up a fluff read from my shelves. I once loved Sparks' charming and easy stories, but this one was ridiculous. Not only is it a long and unnecessary 500 pages, the story could have been told in 300 or less pages. And no one needs to read what any character has for every meal in a book. Just no. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and ultimately wanted to find out what happened at the end. It was still a breeze to get through, which can be enjoyable in itself as well. I've definitely read better by Sparks.

 

Featured Reviewer

Ashley | @The_bookish_mom

Hello fellow readers! My name is Ashley, and I'm so excited to be here on The Ardent Biblio! I live in Canada, am a wife and a mom to two (3 and 1), and I LOVE to read! I am not the most articulate and tend to (quite excessively) use parentheses, but the bookish community over on Instagram has been so welcoming and the perfect outlet for all my bookish thoughts and reviews! When Rikki and Michaela invited me to share my favourite reads from July here on the blog, I (of course) jumped at the chance to talk books with you all! Today I'm sharing my top five July reads, and you can find the rest of my July reads and reviews over at @the_bookish_mom on Instagram. 

Hidden Figures | Margot Lee Shetterly- This was the first audiobook I've listened to, and it was incredible! The women in this story were so inspiring- they led the way in so many areas: in their workplaces, their churches, their families. They worked tirelessly to pave the way for their race, their communities, and the next generation. I have so much respect and admiration for each woman and her story. I learned so much about math and space science, but in a way that was never boring. The story is one I'd especially recommend for educators and moms and daughters to read together. These women accomplished so much, especially considering the discrimination and  career-related obstacles they faced. I believe theirs is a story that needs to be told! I'd definitely recommend picking this one up.

The Nix | Nathan Hill- This was a GOOD book. It had all the elements I love in a story; it was deep, intelligent, witty; it had two of the most detestable but well-written characters I've ever read; and the story carried me excitedly along, right through all 600+ pages! I love when a book takes diverse characters and seemingly unrelated subjects- online gaming? the Chicago protests of 1968? Norwegian fishermen?- and mixes them into a seamless, intriguing storyline. If you loved well-turned, thoughtful writing, this book is for you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane | Neil Gaiman- This is the second audiobook I listened to this month, and before we get to the story, let me gush for a moment about Neil Gaiman's narration. His slow, deep, nuanced voice was perfect for this magical story- he even did the accents! His love for his story was so evident in his narration, and the afterword only added to the entire experience. This book had a similar feel to The Graveyard Book (the only other Gaiman book I've read) although it felt deeper and darker to me. I loved that it was told from a seven year old's perspective; the childish observations made the seriously creepy things a little more palatable. The genre was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I ended up really enjoying this book!

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-  Adichie's manifesto was little in size only- It was so clear, concise, and empowering! I loved that her feminist message was well balanced, thoughtful, and kind. She wasn't brash or hateful, and truly encouraged the kind of feminism that strives for real equality. Although the book was short, I found myself writing down so many quotes and each of the suggestions. The ideas presented felt attainable and practical. I'd recommend this as a starting point for people interested in feminism who find the subject a little daunting. 

The Royal We | Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan- I HAD to include this really fun read for you guys! Despite the fact that it's unabashedly royal fan-fiction, the story is very well written, with well-thought out characters and a gripping plot line. It was a quick read, but not necessarily a dumb one, which actually surprised me a little bit! I'd recommend this if you are looking for a fun read that still has a little substance to it. I don't usually pick up books in the "beach read" genre, but I unapologetically loved this book and think you will too! 

Posts In July

Other Notes

We had the honor of being chosen for the Modern Mrs. Darcy's launch team for her new book, Reading People, out September 19th! If you pre-order you'll receive a couple of perks: a free download of the audiobook and free access to Anne's amazing online personality class! We'll be sharing more snippets over on Instagram as we get closer to the release!

We also accepted an ambassadorship with Little Brown and Co., so expect to see us featuring some of our favorite new releases over on instagram and on here in the months to come.

We aren't getting paid for any of this, just happy to be reading and sharing books we genuinely love. Trust us, if we hate it, or even feel it's mediocre, it's not gonna show up here (or you'll definitely know we didn't like it)! All of this is simply in effort to diversify our reading lives and join the conversations and community around books in a new way.

This post is part of the Modern Mrs Darcy Link Up!