Cheers to the Weekend 4.12.19

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“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


Self-care is not just a trend, it’s a way of life. With that in mind, I need realistic ideas for myself that don’t always include a night out on the town, gorging on junk food, or anything incredibly time consuming. I find this article of Finding Self-Care in the Little Things to be everything I need.

I keep finding incredible historical non-fiction books lately. I’m beyond enthusiastic about A Woman of No Importance! This NPR article does an fantastic job at discussing Sonia Purnell’s novel and highlighting one incredible woman.

Tiffany discusses an important topic on the representation of foreign literature, specifically Indonesian, being accepted and translated into the English speaking culture.

Ali Smith recent release of Spring is well-timed and gaining speed in popularity. The Artfulreader writes a brilliant piece on Smith’s book, as well as other interconnected literary references.

I’m always on the hunt for YA books that my teen and I can read together. I love the sound of White Rose, but think my fantasy-loving kid would be most interested in the other two: Wicked Saints and Descendant of the Crane. Have you read any of these?

As a kid, you most likely remember your summer trips to the library. Those trips were life-changing and made summers infinitely greater. I loved reading this sweet note To the Librarian Who Changed My Life. I can only hope my children have such a positive experience and influence from our visits to the library!


It can prove challenging to combine your other hobbies with your reading life on Bookstagram, but traveling happens to be another passion of mine, and Courtney blends her adventures and books so well.

A classically beautiful blend of the literary lifestyle. Although being in Switzerland helps, all the heart eyes over here!

New to bookstagram and killing it! Deliliah’s taste is simple yet aesthetically pleasing, and we love browsing her feed.


Michaela- Moving this past weeek has put reading completely on hold, with the exception of The Raven King, which has been keeping me company on audio while I build furniture and unpack. I love, love, LOVE this series, friends, and will be sad to have it end!

Rikki - Middlemarch, Love and Death in the Sunshine State, Dandelion Wine, and The Octopus Museum; I’m just not sure I’m reading enough right now!

Bookstagram's Favorite Classics

It would seem that most readers are able to pick a favorite book in a specific genre with relative ease. I’m not saying that it’s their all time favorite book, per say, but when I put the call out asking for favorite classics, I was met with many definitive answers. And friends, I envy you. I’ve read a decent amount of classics (by decent, I mean some, but never enough) and have yet to come across what I deem a favorite. I will say that I have a “favorite” author, but he’s amongst many, so is that even fair to say? There are just so many! I could go on and on about my issues with labeling anything a favorite, but, I digress.


I really enjoyed reading through all of your recommendations. I’ve read a handful of those mentioned, and there are many I would love to prioritize. Some books I was more surprised by as your favorites more than others, but there are many that we hear over and over again as being most beloved. There are some that many people recommended that I wasn’t a fan of upon first reading, and so I definitely feel the need to re-read those before I pass further judgement.

Do you ever feel like that? You read a book that is well loved, decide it’s not for you, then a handful of years go by, your reading has matured and evolved, and you think maybe you weren’t sure you got it? I feel this way all the time. Seldom will I write off a classic.


After looking through all of these books, I’ve decided to pick some of the ones that have more of a summer vibe to include to my TBR in coming months. I’m currently reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (which is definitely summer-oriented, but I couldn’t wait, it’s as good as I’d hoped!), along with Middlemarch, but it’s still slow going but feels seasonally on point.

Cheers to the Weekend 4.5.19

*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

It’s been a beautiful season so far and we’re reading our way through the sunshine-y days and rainy days. We’re aiming to spend more time together, discuss future changes for this space, and enjoy our literary community as much as possible. We hope you have a great weekend friends! What will you be reading?


Not sure what I think about this list of most notable books from 2018, but there are some interesting titles on here for sure. Are you often torn on reading all the new releases too?!

I’m very intrigued by Carolyn Forche’s poetry and look forward to her memoir.

Forthcoming fictional novels worth looking into.

What if an author told you about a book he was writing, then never got to finish it?!

An insight to Vladimir Nabokov’s life on the run over 100 years ago today. A life more wild than his fiction, and no doubt a main source of his inspiration.

Our Abrams partnership has yielded excellent food and bookish discussions, have you seen them yet?

The tales of Beatrix Potter have held a generational interest for my family. There’s no better time than spring and the upcoming Easter holiday to find subtle and tasteful ways to bring the stories to life in your home.


Such an aesthetically pleasing feed of beautiful books, classics we love, and a witty handle.

Carolyn’s light and contrasted photos are striking and lead to a subtle lifestyle vibe we love.

A fun take on the literary lifestyle and adamant lover of all things bookish.


Michaela - Thanks so much to Tor Publishing for my copy of Gideon the Ninth, which is satisfying my fantasy-loving and distracted heart right now.

Rikki - It’s safe to say that I’ll be reading Middlemarch for all of time, but I did take a break to read Love and Death in the Sunshine State.

Michaela DevineComment
Abrams Dinner Party Meets Middlemarch

We have been accepted into the Abrams Dinner Party line up for fall and spring 2018-2019. We are happily rolling through these fun, explorative dinners from the cookbooks Abrams sends us. Even more exciting for us is pairing various novels, or simply what we’re currently reading, with the cookbooks, much like our own dinner parties. Adding a little more of a literary touch is what suits us best as you can imagine, and there’s something especially lively about sitting down to a homemade meal with a good book and a glass of something refreshing.

This is also our final literary lunch at Michaela’s home in the city. She’s moving onto greener pastures and big spaces, AND geographically, we’ll be closer together again! You could say this post feels a little bittersweet, as I know her space as well as my own; where the light shines through best at all times of day, how to change up one area or another, and what she has on hand or in the yard to put together a literary lunch or dinner.


Pescan and The Modern Cook’s Year were both lovely cookbooks which we immediately sat together and flipped through while showing one another various recipes that stood out. We settled on lunch, each one picking a recipe, picking up a few ingredients, and dining outside while the warm spring weather was being generous.


Our classic buddy read has been Middlemarch, and it’s been a slow journey thus far. Admittedly, there’s a lot of busyness occurring for us right now, so we’re generously allowing ourselves to savor the book and take our time with it. It was a wonderful afternoon in Michaela’s backyard while discussing the cookbooks, our thoughts on Middlemarch, and how this would be our very last time in this space. This is where our literary dinners were born and grew into the beautiful work it is today. However, it’s none too bittersweet, her new space is equally charming and will soon hold many more functions.

So friends, we hope you’ve had a great week so far, we appreciate you stopping in to see what we’ve been cooking, discussing, and reading. Stay tuned for changes ahead and hopefully, a wrap up of Middlemarch in the coming month or two!

*We were sent this book in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here

Wrap Up | March 2019


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Ignorance | Milan Kundera- This little novel is a very literal exploration of nostalgia. Like, too literal. I really love books that center on nostalgia, but this was basically the philosophy of nostalgia with a thin storyline to explore it. The book uses the irony of Homer’s homecoming as a basis to examine the expat experience, and to look at memory and forgetting, but it only serves as a framework for thee author to expound on his own ideas about the subjects. If you’re looking for something tender or atmospheric, this isn’t it, though if you enjoy a more straightforward take, it might be for you. Also, fair warning, everyone is miserable in this novel.

The Sense of an Ending | Julian Barnes- From the literal first page I knew I had a winner. This actually ended up giving me everything I had wanted from Ignorance and didn’t get, and it was glorious. Barnes explores memory and nostalgia in such an elegant, layered way with plenty of feels and room to reflect on one’s own life. Plus, it had a great plot twist at the end, and just enough messiness in it’s tight structure to leave some space to make the book highly worth discussion. I loved it. A strong 4.5 stars, and one of those books that will stick with me very intimately in the very best way.

The Dream Thieves | Maggie Steifvater- I continue to love this series on audio. I love the narrator, I love the characters, I love the plot line thats just enough magical to satisfy my YA fantasy loving self. This book centers more on Ronan who is such a fascinating and well built character, and I just really appreciate how Stiefvater handles him. This series is the perfect brain break and fun read when I can’t pick up a physical book. I’ve already started the next one, and will really miss these characters when I finish!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue | Maggie Stiefvater- The third book in The Raven Cycle, and still loving it! On to the final installment!

Hey Kiddo | Jarrett Krosoczka- I love a good graphic memoir, and this one did not disappoint. I loved the art style and the honest look at a complicated family. Just a solid story, beautifully told. I feel like saying too much about it will ruin it, but if you also enjoy a good graphic memoir, this one is absolutely worthwhile.

The Hours | Michael Cunningham- After reading and LOVING Mrs. Dalloway this past December, I knew I needed this book in my life. Annnndddd it turned out to be that magical 5 star read we all hope for every time we crack open a new book. I loved how Cunningham took Mrs. Dalloway and made it something wholly his own, while pulling out some of the most important elements and bringing them into the modern world. He also really nailed the stream of consciousness style and that magical ability to focus on the micro to showcase the macro; zooming in on those little details that end up saying something profound. I can absolutely see why this won the Pulitzer, and it’s one of those books that will not only stick with me, but one that makes me grateful to have read it. I will say that if you haven’t read Mrs. Dalloway, this might be a little less impactful without that context.

Dark Lord of Derkholm | Diana Wynne Jones- A nostalgic childhood favorite, this was the read aloud my brother and I chose for our road trip this last week, and it was perfect. Funny, easy to read aloud and to follow, but with a fun, layered plot and a good message. Highly recommend this one if you enjoy middle grade/YA, because Diana Wynne Jones is truly magical.

At Dusk | Hwang Sok-yong- This was dense in the best way, and much like Elena Ferrante, deceptively straightforward. I picked it up because it was on the international Man Booker Prize long list and I really enjoy books in translation, and am so glad I did. This author is apparently beloved in Korea, and he does a wonderful job with alternating storylines between two characters and working with themes of nostalgia, the effects our choices have on others, and what it means to be successful. These characters are so alive, and their stories so developed despite being under 200 pages. Well worth the read, and I hope to see this on the short list!

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed | Jon Ronson- This was so well done! A great look at how public shaming operates in the age of social media. Ronson manages to be sharply funny and compassionate at the same time, and this is narrative enough to suit the style of non fiction I enjoy. Plus, it’s just morbidly fascinating, honestly. This is our IRL book club pick for April and I can’t wait to discuss it with the group.

Turbulence | David Szalay- This was short and underwhelming for me. I read about 3/4 of it and just DNF’d it because it wasn’t doing anything for me. The concept was great, but the execution was painfully mediocre, which was so disappointing. This comes out in July, and a big thank you to Scribner for gifting us an early copy!



Bread & Wine | Shauna Niequist - I was hoping this would be like Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year, which I loved. And while this book was set up the same way, it wasn’t quite as enveloping. Where Reichl brings in stories of family, travels, and nostalgia to lead up to recipes and beautiful images, Niequist put in a few too many intimately personal stories with a heavy through line of miscarriage, which I was not expecting. I did like the personal touches with her stories of entertaining and friendships, and it would’ve been excellent had she left it there.

Valley of the Dolls | Jacqueline Susann - I’ve been wanting to read this book for so many years, and I finally came across a copy at the library and snatched it up. It was such a fun, interesting book that had an all too real, sometimes heartbreaking truth to women’s lives in the 60s. The pressures women faced back then are still relevant to the pressures of women today, making this novel worth reading for all time.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop | Veronica Henry - I needed to keep going with lighter, fun novels, and this one certainly fit the bill. Found in a Little Free Library, I dove right in and didn’t put it down until I finished it. While it was filled with cliches and stereotypical tropes, it left something to be desired. However, it was truly a charming story with a happy ending you’re expecting and happy to get to.

H is for Hawk | Helen Macdonald - First thing’s first, I didn’t go into this book with the awareness that it was a memoir. Once I did realize it, however, it made all the difference. I was so impressed with the subtle layering of nuance mixed with grief and emotion. With all of that, it wasn’t an emotional read by any means, but I was aware of how emotional it likely was for her.

Dare to Disappoint | Ozge Samanci - My son and I picked a few graphic novels to read together this month. I was really into this one, especially as I noted the concept similarities with The Best We Could Do, on a much smaller scale. I love the memoir aspect and how a bigger picture is shrunk down to fill small illustrated squares, often done by the writer, and keeps you turning page after page. It’s a fun, quick break from typical reading.

Cry of the Kalahari | Delia and Mark Owens - If you’re familiar with Where the Crawdads Sing, you’ll likely be familiar with Delia Owens. After reading Crawdads, I picked up one of Delia’s non-fiction books about her time researching and protecting the wildlife in Africa. She’s a truly fascinating person and I loved this book that details what their living situation was like in the middle of nowhere African desert. I can’t believe how slowly I read this book though, I soaked in every single word on each page, fascinated with the details of wild animals (read: lions) they got to know, how they comforted one another, how they dealt with the intense weather, lack of commodities, and even their marriage. Eye of the Elephant and Secrets of the Savanna are up next on my list!

Clock Dance | Anne Tyler - This book came in on hold for me at the library, although I have no memory of ever even coming across this book before. I decided to give it a try. I kind of knew early on this might be too contemporary of a novel for me, but I persisted. Tyler does a good job at creating detailed scenes and setting the stage for what’s happening. But, I just didn’t get a lot of the book. There are three main parts of Willa’s life (actually broken into Part 1 and 2), which abruptly end and fast forward decades at a time. I was reminded of my lack of patience for overly passive characters, especially if they aren’t truly developed, which was likely the hardest part of sticking through this story.

Did you read anything you loved this month?

Michaela DevineComment
Cheers to the Weekend 3.29.19

*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

And here we are, somehow at the last weekend of March! This is a busy season for the both of us, with major changes happening on Rikki’s property, and with me moving to a new home next weekend! This weekend we are both embracing the spring weather, tackling projects, packing, and of course trying to polish off those last March reads. What are you doing this weekend?


As we start planning some spring literary dinner parties, these tips for hosting in a small space are welcome ones, and honestly applicable to any size.

If you love audiobooks, we spy some favorites on this list of celebrity memoirs that are read by their authors.

Excited for spring releases? Sarah, as always, does a great job rounding up some to look forward to!

Getting a peek into indie bookstores in other cities is one of my most favorite things. Have you been to Warwick’s???

Any other 10 Things I Hate About You lovers? Here are ten books that will give you the same vibes, and I can vouch for at least three of them!

These are some of the coolest Harry Potter tattoos we’ve ever seen. Too bad I’m terrified of needles!


Yadi has such a great lifestyle vibe and such a cohesive vibe.

Need cozy reading shots and great book recommendations beyond just current bestsellers? Paris has you covered.

Bright, fun photos and solid reviews right this way.


Michaela - I just finished off several books, and am starting in on Gingerbread! I’m also still reading Middlemarch in the background, but that’s been slow going for me honestly.

Rikki - I recently finished Clock Dance by Anne Tyler and am trying to decide what to pick up next. And, Middlemarch also of course.

Michaela DevineComment
Meeting Author, Delia Owens

Last weekend, my family and I took a little road trip over the mountains to a much anticipated author event. A gem of a book, Where the Crawdads Sing, has taken off and sold more than a million copies and has remained on the best seller list. Just before making her way to Washington, Delia had visited with Reese Witherspoon, and signed rights over for a film adaptation. SO EXCITING!

This is my second author event of the year so far, which was the total sum of events I attended last year. I’ve decided that it’s something I enjoy, therefore, I want to make time for, as well as for my kids. One of the events I went to last year was with my son for a local middle grade author’s book we had coincidentally buddy read. Then, my daughter had an author at her school and purchased all of his books and had them personally signed to her. My husband went to a live showing with an author he’s been enjoying lately too. It’s been an enriching experience all around and we hope to continue making these events a family affair.


Hosted by Auntie's Bookshop (a beautiful independent bookstore) and held at the massive Spokane Public Library, Delia is a charming woman and wonderful to hear speak of her first fiction novel inspired by her childhood and her mother, along with her incredible intensive history living in the Kalahari. The best part? Finding out she's writing another novel! Oooooh, I can't wait!


I was so curious about Delia Owens after reading Crawdads that I quickly started researching who she was. Living in Northern Idaho, she's a wildlife scientist who spent many years living in the untouched, wild African desert to study hyenas and lions, and passionately labored to save the quickly dying wildlife. I immediately purchased one of her many non-fiction novels, Cry of the Kalahari, and loved it. I’m so impressed and inspired by her life and her writing.


It was a really great trip, and we all wished we’d had more time to explore the area. Spokane has a lovely history and we enjoy trips like this as a family. However, I met my goal for meeting Delia and I am so very glad I did.

What was the last author event you went to?!

Rikki RiveraComment
Abrams Dinner Party Meets If You Leave Me

We have been accepted into the Abrams Dinner Party line up for fall and spring 2018-2019. We are happily rolling through these fun, explorative dinners from the cookbooks Abrams sends us. Even more exciting for us is pairing various novels, or simply what we’re currently reading, with the cookbooks, much like our own dinner parties. Adding a little more of a literary touch is what suits us best as you can imagine, and there’s something especially lively about sitting down to a homemade meal with a good book and a glass of something refreshing.


*We were sent this book in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here


Korean Home Cooking is a really great cookbook, as I love to make Korean dishes! Fun fact: I married into a Korean family and have grown accustomed to my mother-in-law’s homemade dishes over the years. I have a small pantry stocked with some essentials to make some of my personal favorites like, bibimbap, bulgogi, and as you see here, japchae and korean pancakes. It’s all much easier than you imagine it will be, it’s really just having the right things on hand and cooking with a hot skillet!


I won’t lie, I’ve made both of these dishes before, but the cookbook helped jumpstart my memory and soon, I found myself falling into a rhythm as the aromas thickly enveloped the kitchen. Both of these dishes were quick to whip up and we sat down long before the sun went down, to a tasty and comforting meal. I really enjoyed picking up If You Leave Me, a story set in Korea and getting lost between story and food.

Thanks so much Abrams for having us as members for the dinner parties, we’re having so much fun already and look forward to the next one! Be sure to check out the first one we did and this simple weeknight dinner with a few good books!

Abrams Dinner Party Meets My Current Reads | Ibiza

We have been accepted into the Abrams Dinner Party line up for fall and spring 2018-2019. After the incredible snow storm that rocked the country, many of our fall and winter books arrived late, so we’re still powering through with excitement at trying new things from the beautiful new cookbooks making their way out into the world, all complimentary from Abrams. It’s been so great to explore thus far and with spring upon us, the excitement has renewed with the longer days of sunshine and warmth!


*We were sent this book in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here


Before I dive into what I made, I chose this specific recipe with a few things in mind. I’ve been a gardener for about six years now, and with so much time in learning how and when things grow in my climate, I’ve become well versed in seasonal cooking. As a way to feel more connected to the food we’re consuming, to our lives on micro levels, it’s another world entirely to learn about seasonal foods, especially when growing them yourself. One of the challenges I’ve put myself on with these cookbooks is to cook mostly from what I already have on hand, and try to follow the recipe as much as possible.

I really love Mimine’s earthy style that is represented in her cookbook, Ibiza: Land and Sea, which immediately drew me in. Initially though, I held off wanting to cook from her cookbook, because the sun drenched photos and bright red tomatoes were all I could see. I wanted summer and fresh off-the-vine toms more than anything! After further perusing, I took note of the main ingredients she uses through each course, broken up into categories, and that’s when I noticed that she had her vegetables lined up just right for the season—despite all that gorgeous sunlight pouring in through the trees. Do you think you can tell I’m from the PNW and have been stuck in a long, dark gray winter?!


I’m really glad that we had some extra time to get to cooking from this cookbook, because spring is slowly approaching and the sun was shining when I found the recipe I wanted to try! With some leftover sugar pumpkins waiting to be roasted and a few fresh greens ready for trimming, I formulated a quick and easy meal to go with the pumpkin gnocchi recipe in Ibiza!


After gathering fresh herbs and greens to pair with the sausage I had waiting and the gnocchi I was getting ready to cook, it was time to assemble the dish and get it “piping hot!” A dainty stem of sage and a stack of new books took us outside to set the table and soak in the last rays of sun before reluctantly pulling ourselves inside for the night.


I’ve never made gnocchi before, and I was truly shocked at how easy, even a little fun it is to make! Also, I can see this being an incredibly versatile thing to get creative with, and I absolutely plan to. Since I had this one last sugar pumpkin left from my fall garden, I loved learning a new way to prepare it, AND this was a hit with the whole family (who might be a little tired of pumpkin and squash).

Of course, I did amp up the garlic and herbs, cooked down some fresh arugula and baby kale, added sausage, then made the sauce to pour over the gnocchi before letting the flavors cook together one final time. Mimine suggests pairing this dish with a lovely roast, but this seemed too good an opportunity to pass to make a one pot dish. It was a tasty and filling success!


As we get closer to summer, I’m really looking forward to trying more of her recipes. Although, there is a cherry rhubarb crumble that will be perfect to try when the rhubarb comes in this spring (although, sub cherries for strawberries since they’ll be season together in my garden). I can just imagine all of the dinners outside and reading until the sun goes down.

While reading Cry of the Kalahari, I’ve been thinking a lot about seasonal living and working toward a greater purpose. It’s no surprise that I find myself working out in the garden more and more with the clear days we’ve had, but also breaking to read from time to time. This book will undoubtedly become a favorite, I’ve really been captivated by Delia Owens once again. Where the Crawdads Sing is her most recent and popular release that I also enjoyed immensely.

Thanks so much Abrams for having us as members for the dinner parties, we’re having so much fun already and look forward to the next one! Be sure to check out the first one we did and this simple weeknight dinner with a few good books!

Cheers to the Weekend 3.15.19

*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

Around the web

As we wait for winter to fade into spring, we’ll be cozying up to watch these classic books on screen!

Did you guys see the Man Booker International Prize long list? Hooray for women and small presses, and it’s been a great reminder to read more books in translation!

When keeping your books on your shelves just isn’t enough, check out Elizabeth’s incredible use of her books!

Are you just as curious as we are about what Michelle Obama’s favorite books are?!

The options for family novels with unique dynamics never fail to pique my interest, and I’ve only read one from this list! Time to update my TBR.

Bookworms rejoice! According to this article, we’re going to live forever! Or, a long time—maybe.


Katie has the most creative and interesting art journals, and book stacks I love perusing.

A lovely London flat, a cozy feed, and interesting novels keep me coming back to Patrick’s feed.

All the greatest movies, books, and selfies. Rebecka is a wonderful artist, plus, we’re in love with her orange kitty!

What We’re Reading

Michaela - I’m focusing on Middlemarch this weekend and can’t wait to pick up the pace!

Rikki - I recently finished the graphic novel, Dare to Disappoint, which was fantastic and the perfect way to break up a big classic. I’m fully immersed in H is for Hawk and Middlemarch right now, both of which are lovely.