I don't want to jinx us and say spring is here but I have certainly enjoyed the warmer-for-Minnesota weather the last week or so. It makes me miss living in Nashville and San Francisco a little less, too. To be honest, as much as I know I'm in the right place, March was a hard month. I didn't think I'd still be job searching and living in temporary housing. And while my intuition is telling me to hang on, that something better is ahead, my life feels like it's on pause. It's a quiet life or maybe it's in hibernation so I'm trying to soak up the extra time to rest and relax. Because when I find work and then I go back to school, I have no doubt I'll look back on this time fondly.
Read and Reading
Girls In The Moon (McNally) was so lovely and bittersweet! It made me feel so nostalgic but I'm not sure for what. I loved how music and lyrics played such a central part of the plot. I loved the exploration of family dynamics and the roles we play. I loved Phoebe's growing sense of self and confidence as she visits her sister in NYC and seeks out answers to the questions her mother won't answer. And of course I loved her burgeoning relationship with Archer and how lyrics brought them together. There are a few loose threads at the end (will Phoebe and her best friend reconcile?) but it's true to life and because of all that ensues while she's in the city, I had hope she would at least know how to deal with situations back home. Phoebe has taken charge of her life and it made me proud.
Jeff Zentner can write the hell out of a book. His first novel The Serpent King was on my Favorite Fiction of 2016 list. I tried to keep my expectations in check for Goodbye Days. He exceeded them. I was truly blown away. (Full gushing review here.)
I'm not entirely sure what I think about My Name Is Lucy Barton (Strout), other than I can understand why some of my friends loved it so much. Great writing and an interesting character study, even if it didn't really go anywhere.
When I first read the synopsis, I wasn't sure about Under Her Skin. However, I read an excerpt and I was instantly hooked. I decided to go wherever Adriana Anders wanted to take me and I'm so glad I did. The writing is gorgeous and the story unspooled at the perfect pace. There were lines that made me want to weep from the emotions they evoked. Ivan and Uma were such compelling, complex characters. We slowly learn what happened to Uma and see her find a safe place in Ivan. I loved watching their relationship unfold because of what they learned from each other. I was worried the plot would go in some predictable directions but it never did. It was fresh and I particularly appreciated how domestic violence was treated. Uma regains her confidence over the course of the novel and is a direct participant in reclaiming her life. The way Ivan handles his anger is mesmerizing and the particular lesson he needs to learn was so true to life. I could not have loved this book more!
I am still swooning over The Player And The Pixie! I'm so glad Cosway and Reid teamed up for this rugby romance series because they are knocking it out of the park. I had no idea how they were going to make me root for Sean after what an arse he was in The Hooker and the Hermit but I now love him even more than Ronan, which is no small feat. Lucy saw right through his defense mechanisms and I'm so glad she did! I loved the bit of role reversal (especially given Sean's reputation!) and how Sean proved to be a quick learner.The character growth was top notch. The way Sean protected, defended, and cared for Lucy was stellar, particularly how this played out with the ending. True to form, I laughed out loud more than a few times.
Currently reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander), The Art Of Happiness (Dalai Lama), The Garden Of Small Beginnings (Waxman), The One Real Thing (Young), Virgin: The Untouched History (Blank)
Holy buckets to that huge plot twist in the last few episodes of Jane the Virgin. I did not see it coming at all and while it's sad, I think it opens up so many opportunities for the writers. I can't wait to see what happens next season!
I finally caught up on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and don't know what to make of the last few episodes. The first season was definitely stronger than the second season, although there were a few songs this second season that made me laugh so hard. We'll see where the third season goes. Is it too much to hope they'll be less Josh Chan-focused?
Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.
How To Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black is my new favorite. He asks such interesting questions! His interview with Tim Gunn particularly blew me away and the episode with Andy Cohen was delightful. I plan on going through the archives and listening to them all.
Listen to Overdue's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe simply for Craig and Andrew's reaction to trying Turkish Delight for the first time.
Code Switch's Safety Pin Solidarity is a must-listen.
- I've been helping my friend organize her office and realized I have all sorts of organizational wisdom. I regularly come up with things like, "put it on the To Do list, not the Today list" and then I wonder if I'm actually a genius.
- My friend Karin's house is becoming my home away from home. I love going over there for dinner or just hanging out with her and whoever else stops by.
- A few of my friends let me help them figure out their Enneagram type this month and I swear I was flying high the entire next day. Even better: one of them is already seeing a difference from knowing her type. I love it!!
- When you have so many library books, you make a sculpture out of them.
- I met Molly and Peace Coffee and got to learn more about the wonderful world of librarianship. So much fun!
- Sarah had Annie and me over for dinner and it was the best kind of night that starts with drinks and meanders through all kinds of conversational territory.
- I'm taking care of Gus the Cat again and he has indulged me by sleeping in my lap at every opportunity.
- For St. Patrick's Day, Karin, Kristi, and I watched the classic known as Far and Away. Mostly we talked and then paid attention to the pertinent scenes. You know the ones.
- I'm part of a gathering that meets for dinner once or twice a month. I didn't make it in February because I was out of town so it was extra good to see everyone and get to know them better. We ended up having a really interesting discussion about friendship and loneliness.
- My friend Katie invited me to a Vision Board party and I had such a blast. I was completely in the zone, focused on the two boards I made (one for finding work and one for love) but I also enjoyed getting to meet her friends. I'm also super proud of the boards!
- I remembered I had a box of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's I left in the trunk of my car a couple of months ago after forgetting to bring them to a party. They never tasted more delicious!
- My friend Chris Ann likes to get lunch from this co-op place near her and the bison chili made me a believer.
- Alysa sent me the best cross stitch ever. It made my day!
- I procrastinate on getting my car's oil change for as long as I can but I finally took it in and it was so fast, they said I could just stay in my car while they took care of it. Maybe I'll stop procrastinating from hereon out.
- Claire and I met up at COCO Minneapolis and I was completely entranced by the building. I love places that hold so much history! It was also great catching up with Claire and talking about the Enneagram.
In the Blogosphere:
You can find the best of what I've been reading at Storify.
Every time I visit @karinkfarrington's house, I covet this giant book page artwork and ponder what book page I'd want to hang in my home. Let's be honest though: my answer will always start and end with A Prayer For Owen Meany. #booknerd
Artwork by @fsmdesignco
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
On The Blog:
I wrote about the Enneagram and the difference between needing and wanting. Will I ever stop writing about the Enneagram? Doubtful.
On the Leigh Kramer FB page, we improved novels with a particular line, freaked out over the Brontë sisters movie (which I still need to watch!), and contemplated whether Gaston was the better choice. I also shared my thoughts after learning an old friend had died; it's made me think a lot about who from my past I should reach out to and reconnect.
(The best way to see updates in your newsfeed is by liking and commenting on my posts regularly.)
What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:
1. Today’s link-up will stay open for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Monday May 1.
2. Link the unique URL of your post, not your blog's home page. Readers peruse link ups months after the fact and you want to make it easy for them to find your What I'm Into post.
4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!
What have you been into this month?
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