How To Read 1000 Books
Friendship Is An Echo, A Mirror

What I'm Into (August 2015 Edition)

  2015-08-07 12.46.13Sutro Baths

I'm at the point of transition where I have regular routines and more good days than bad, though it can be a thin line. Like when your bus commute home takes an extra 45 minutes because the first 29 bus was too crammed with people to let anyone else on and you had to wait 20 more minutes for the next one. Hypothetically. But the good days are really good: the weather is gorgeous, a new friend asks to hang out, I accomplish something major at work. Way to be, August.


Read and Reading

PicMonkey Collage

Breathtakingly beautiful and brave memoir, Fire Shut Up In My Bones (Blow) is a must-read. I hope Blow plans to continue writing in this vein.

I could gush about my friend Amber Haines' book Wild In The Hollow for hours. It is everything: a moving memoir, an honest plea, a holy benediction, a glimpse of what the Church could and should be. Read it for chapters 14 and 15 alone. Amber's prose is fully her own: her voice is a gift to us all.

Here If You Need Me (Braestrup) is a moving memoir filled with rich insights about grief and loss, faith and doubt, and how resilient we can be for ourselves and others when the occasion calls for it.

Eight Hundred Grapes (Dave) is a novel about the daughter of a winemaker who learns troubling news about her fiance right before their wedding. It is compulsively readable and I loved learning more about winemaking as a family business (especially since Sonoma is so close to me now!), as well as how the concept of synchronicity factored in. I also liked seeing the family dynamics play out and how our parents dreams for us can shape who we are, even without knowing it.

Everything I Never Told You (Ng): rich prose, multi-layered plot, fantastic character development. Ng masterfully weaves complicated family dynamics together and builds the mystery from several angles until leading us to the conclusion. Great insights about how the secrets we keep can be our undoing.

While I've read my fair share of dystopian or apocalyptic YA, Station Eleven (Mandel) was my first foray into the grown-up version and I approached it with some dread. I didn't know what the pages would contain but decided to trust the many friends who recommended it. Some sentences were so stunning, I read them a few times over. This was a very engaging, thoughtful read. I could see myself in this world and wondered about the choices I'd make. I could see everything the main characters faced actually happening- though I very much hope it won't. The way the layers of the story built and the main characters wound toward each other by the end of the book struck me as both organic and masterful. Well worth reading.


We'll be discussing The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho next month on The Red Couch.


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: Embracing the Body (Owen),  Spinster (Bolick), Birmingham Revolution:Martin Luther King Jr.'s Epic Challenge to the Church (Gilbreath), Jesus Land (Sheares), Peace Like A River (Enger), The Book of Speculation (Swyler)


(I read 12 books this month.)



Must-see TV: So You Think You Can Dance, Real Housewives of New York, Real Housewives of Orange County

I'm still firmly #TeamStreet on SYTYCD. I want them all to win!

Almost done with season 4 of West Wing and still loving it. I'm also thinking ahead to what show I'll binge-watch next. Maybe I should get back to Friday Night Lights but I also keep hearing good things about The Good Wife...



I watched Interstellar the other night and woke up still angry at Matt Damon. What a fascinating movie! It didn't feel like an almost 3 hour movie and I actually learned a few things about space and science.



The new albums from Gungor (One Wild Life: Soul) and Matthew Perryman Jones (Cold Answer) are GORGEOUS. I can't stop listening.

Listen to the What I'm Into 2014 playlist. Here's the What I'm Into 2015 playlist.



New subscriptions: The Lively Show, Mystery Show (I didn't like this when I first listened but gave it another shot after all the rave reviews: the Britney episode converted me.)


 This American Life came out with 2 must-listens: The Problem We All Live With and its follow up Part 2, which delves into school systems and integration. I really appreciated Deidra Riggs' piece at The High Calling and Sharon Hodde Miller's thoughts on how we practically and tangibly respond to the problem of education inequality.

Death, Sex, and Money did a fantastic 5 part series on Hurricane Katrina survivors who returned to New Orleans and what's happened to them in the past 10 years. "There's no single story about the storm, or about how people have fared in its wake."

I often ponder the mysteries of intuition but I've been thinking about it even more than usual the last few months because of how my move to SF came together. If you're like me, you will be all about The Lively Show. First listen to episode #87: How to Change Negative Thought Patterns and Understand the Ego with Brooke Castillo and then #88: How to Access Your Intuition and Find the Answers You Seek with Lynn Robinson.


Things I Love:

  • August marked the end of housesitting, though I'm still in the same place. I picked up Micha and her family from the airport and I've been an honorary member of their family ever since...but only until I find a place. The San Francisco rental market is ridiculous. I really am enjoying my time with them though. First of all, it's so great to have all this face time with Micha. Second, it's such a beautiful thing to be a part of a family: to see the routines, the messy and the mundane, the grace and the gifts, to witness how a couple and their children do life together. I'm not 100% sure what they get out of it but it's been amazing for me.

2015-08-23 18.56.36-1

  • Micha spoke on prayer at a Summer Conversation event. It was fun seeing her in action and I enjoyed getting to meet more people from church.
  • A new friend invited me over to watch the Republican Debate and it was so nice to sit with like-minded souls as we sputtered over what we heard. That sure was something.
  • I met a friend of a friend Ellen at Devil's Teeth Baking Company where I had one of the best biscuit sandwiches of my life. Great conversation too!

2015-08-07 11.49.55
I love you forever, Pacific Ocean.

  • Sutro Baths is sure to be one of my favorite SF places. Beautiful ruins right next to the ocean, plus a hiking trail. What more do you need?
  • Feeling confident enough about where I am and where I'm headed to read while riding on the bus. At least whenever I get a seat!

2015-08-02 18.46.07-1

  • It took me 10 years, 3 months, and 19 days to read 1000 books. Here's to the next 1000!
  • Micha's boys showed me around the Academy of Sciences, which was quite the educational experience. My favorite parts: the butterflies, the albino alligator, walking "under" the water
  • Brownie Batter Oreos (limited edition)
  • I ventured out to an Irish pub in Millbrae for dinner with one of our longest serving volunteers. I really enjoyed getting to know Hilary better. Plus, those french fries.

2015-08-21 13.25.31-1

  • Laura is going to help me eat my way through the city. First stop: a fantastic cafe in the Mission, followed by a stop at Dog Eared Books, which is an incredible independent bookstore.
  • Skyping with my niece, Facetiming with my niece-in-love and nephew-in-love (who is now walking! *weeps*)



Favorite Instagram:

2015-08-15 19.59.32-1

That'll do, sun. That'll do.

(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)


On The Blog:

I really want to get back into the regular posting routine. You would not believe how many half-finished posts are languishing in my draft folder. Fingers crossed they see the light of day in September! I did tell you How To Read 1000 Books, at least.



Grab button for What I'm Into
<div style="width: 250px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow"> <img src="" alt="What I'm Into" width="250" height="188" /> </a> </div>


 What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:

1. Today’s link-up will stay up for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Wednesday September 30. 

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.

3. Please include the What I'm Into button or mention you're linking up with What I'm Into at Leigh Kramer.

4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!



What have you been into this month?

Disclosure : Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.