The Question Single Women In Their 30s Ask Each Other
We Need To Talk About Celeste Headlee's We Need To Talk {review}

What I'm Into (October 2017 Edition)


Fall has fell in the Twin Cities and it's been glorious. The changing colors of the leaves repeatedly lured me outside to go on walks and take billions of pictures. I'm not happy it snowed a few days ago (TOO SOON) but I'm glad we had a few weeks of unrestrained beauty beforehand. The Midwest does fall right.

This month marked one year here and my feelings toward this place are complicated and vast. As I shared on Instagram, I have often returned to David Whyte's poem The House Of Belonging (from the collection by the same name.) Even on the blackest days in this year of uncertainty, I have strived to remember that today could be the good day, that life is still filled with possibility, that things could come together at any moment, and I have given thanks for the friends who remind me who I am and what I have to offer. I don't know how this chapter in Minnesota will unfold but I wrap myself up in David Whyte's words and trust, at the very least, I'm making my way. 


5th Anniversary Giveaway Details: 

November 2012 I shared the first official What I'm Into linkup post, unsure if anyone would play along. But people did and they've continued to do so! I can't believe this linkup has been happening for 5 years now. What a crazy ride it's been. Thank you to everyone who has linked up, whether you've done it once or every month. It has been so much fun to read your posts from month to month and see how you've made it your own.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is link up your What I'm Into post before the linkup ends November 8. 


  1. A box of my favorite things, including one of my favorite Book Of The Month selections, FrostBeard Studio tealights, a pouch generously donated by LoveFeast, and a few other odds and ends. This is for US entries only.
  2. Ebook (up to $9.99) of your choice. This is open to everyone. 



Read and Reading 

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Without a doubt, I am Charlie Lovett's target audience. His novels serve as odes to bibliophiles and I cannot resist literary origin story mysteries. Such is the case with his latest The Lost Book Of The Grail. I don't know much about Arthurian legend or the Grail beyond what I've gleaned from, say, Indiana Jones and The Sword and the Stone but that didn't matter. Everything about this novel satisfied me, from the central mystery of Ewolda to the points it raises about technology to the themes about doubt and faith. The tie-in between the Grail and faith was quite moving. I only wish I could spend time in the cathedral library myself and been there to discover its secrets. If you're a book nerd like me, do give Lovett's novels a try. They transport me to magical places and I can't help but smile while I'm reading because of how evident Lovett's love of literature is.

While Turtles All The Way Down (Green) wasn't quite what I expected, I really enjoyed what I got. This is one of the finest renderings I've seen of OCD and in a teenager no less. We are deep in Aza's mind as she contends with what she calls her "invasives" and the way her compulsions spiral down so that she's not quite fully present with her surroundings or circumstances. But there's a lot of love in this story, as well. Aza's friends and mom look out for her, they figure out how to be present to her pain and anxiety and they stick by her, no matter how many other people would bail. Time and again, it is Aza's mother or best friend who bring her back to the present. The depiction of OCD's treatment and the struggles in getting healthier was top notch and I'm so glad Green chose to write about this, as well as some of the unusual ways it can impact relationships. Other things I loved: the way Aza talked about her car Harold, Davis's interest in astronomy, Daisy's Star Wars fan fiction, the underground art show, the use of story and fiction as a framing device. (I really liked Green's interview on Fresh Air.) 


The Hate U Give (Thomas) gets all the stars! It went ahead and exceeded my admittedly high expectations. The writing was both crisp and vivid. I could clearly picture every scene and I'm not surprised this will be turned into a movie. Starr's POV was powerful, especially as she grappled with her grief over her best friend's murder and her place in the two worlds she straddled. She's too Williamson (her private school) for Garden Heights (her neighborhood) and too Garden Heights for Williamson and there's a lot of code switching that happens depending on where she's at. Her perspective was one of the best parts of this novel and I loved the way she grew as a character, going from witness to eventually speaking out and beyond. This has been described as the YA novel about Black Lives Matter. Thomas does nod toward other people of color who were killed by the police and their respective cities' responses, particularly Michael Brown and Ferguson, but the story of Khalil's murder is unique. By making Starr the sole witness, we as readers have a unique experience as well. This was moving and timely and I hope to God more and more people read it because we need to absorb its message. If we're white, we have got to examine our privilege and do whatever we can to dismantle systemic racism. There's no excuse. If this is what Angie Thomas can accomplish in her debut novel, I look forward to seeing what comes next in her career.


After reading Michael Twitty's blog a few years ago, I had a feeling he would eventually get a book deal and I'm so glad he did. In The Cooking Gene, he effortlessly blends the history of Southern food with his own family genealogy and the result is both instructive and illuminating. Twitty knows how to tell a story and I was impressed with the way he wove together genetic testing, plantation reenactments, racism, and the origins of beloved recipes. His perspective is well worth your attention, especially as he illustrates the difficulty people of color face in researching their ancestry. At times he loses the narrative thread or perhaps the book could have been structured differently to accommodate the meandering lanes he goes down but the content is stellar. I'm looking forward to whatever culinary history Twitty serves us next.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Alexander) is one of the most important books I've ever read. I read it slower than usual, reading a few pages here or there, setting it aside for a few months before reading half a chapter. There was so much to digest and it brought up complicated emotions, mostly anger over the plight of people of color and hopelessness over how it can ever change and then sadness because I'm a white woman who benefits from this nation's systems. But it's imperative for us to lean into this conversation. We can't afford not to. Reading at a slower pace allowed me to internalize Alexander's points. Much of the information wasn't new to me- I used to be a social worker and we discussed this regularly in grad school- but the way Alexander established her case blew me away. She laid it out clearly and succinctly. I was particularly impressed by her points about affirmative action. She doesn't have all the answers of how we move forward but I thought the suggestions she had and the questions she asked were fair. Now it's up to us to do something about it. This is a must-read for everyone, especially politicians, teachers, and prison wardens/guards.


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

Currently reading: Write Naked: A Bestseller's Secrets to Writing Romance and Navigating the Path to Success (Probst), What Happened (Clinton), Divine Intuition (Robinson), The Heart's Invisible Furies (Boyne), Managed (Callihan), American King (Simone) 



John Legend and Cynthia Erivo's cover of God Only Knows. Perfection. 

Leon Bridges: Tiny Desk Concert 

Listen to the What I'm Into playlist.




The Decision is a must-listen for sports fans of all kinds. Alex Kapelman tries to decide if he should stick with the Knicks, who have broken his heart time and again, or if he should become a fan of another team. I was fully invested in the outcome. The genius of the show is how some of the guests couldn't make an argument for Alex to root for their team. Because, as one guest said, fandom is really about nostalgia plus the hope of a future possible win. I'd never thought about that before but doesn't it make sense? I also really appreciated the discussions on the politics of the NBA, from Black Lives Matter to who should pay for stadiums. Truly thoughtful and insightful. Listen to episode 1, then you can pretty much go in any order for 2-31. (Some of my favorites: Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Seattle SuperSonics.) Save 32-35 for last. Enjoy!

I've been enjoying #AmWriting With Jess And KJ. I commend it to fellow writers.

DeRay McKesson's interview on How To Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black.

I have admired Paralympian Mark Zupan ever since watching the documentary Murderball (which I believe I first heard about after he appeared on Miami Ink) so I was super excited about his interview on Smartest Person In The Room.

My name came up on Pantsuit Politics! I was tickled when a friend told me she heard my name on this episode and even more tickled to be described as an Enneagram expert. (That part of the discussion starts about 20 minutes in.) Sarah shares about the Healing Attitudes and I must clarify I did not come up with that helpful tool. It's from Rizo and Hudson's The Wisdom Of The Enneagram. But back to the episode- anyone who's trying to understand where people are coming from in these divided times will want to listen. I'd also suggest listening to my episode on The Lively Show, where we really press into the Enneagram and how it can help us understand one other.




  •  Caribou with JJ in the Denver airport before we caught our respective flights home


  • Regular phone calls with Tracy


  • $5 well spent at the library book sale


  • A helpful fiction writing webinar


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  • Finding new-to-me Little Free Libraries in town


  • Getting the ins and outs of self-publishing from Kevin Hendricks. My mind is still spinning.


  • Green curry chicken at Nong's Thai and good conversation with Lois


  • The random books one finds while volunteering at the library. For example, learning there are books about knife making and way more than I believed possible about puppetry.


  • Karin and I went to TeaSource for the first time and it was so lovely to sip on Gingerbread Orange tea (which smelled like fall) and catch up.


  • Addie and I had a writing date at Buffalo Books, which has a small cafe tucked in the back. I got a lot down and then we got to browse the bookstore. Pretty much a perfect morning.


  • Lunch at French Meadow Cafe with Sarah, where we cracked up over remembering how we met: she's friends with someone who reads my blog. But I've never actually met her friend! I totally forgot that's how we first connected.


  • I saw Ian Cron talk about the Enneagram for the Faith & Life series. Afterward, he signed my copy of The Road Back To You, which is the most readable of the Enneagram resources and a great place to start if you're trying to figure out your type. I would love to talk Enneagram (and debate who is the more unique Four) with Ian someday. If you're in the Twin Cities, keep an eye on the Faith & Life speaker list. They bring in great people!


  • I Skyped into my old book club in San Francisco to join the discussion for Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. It was so good to see everyone's faces and be a part of the gang, even in a limited constricted to a screen kind of way. I've really missed being part of a book club.


  • Fun and random Little Free Library story: About a decade ago, when I was still a hospice social worker, I would read to a patient at an assisted living facility (usually true crime or romance, always her pick) when I visited. I was reading a JD Robb book to her but she died before we finished the story. (Not during the visit. In between visits.) It was her book and I hadn't paid close enough attention to the title so I couldn't find it on my own, though I did check at the library every so often. I've never forgotten the story, however, and I've always been curious about how it ended. I stopped by a new Little Free Library over the weekend and noticed the JD Robb book in there straightaway. The odds were slim but I read the synopsis AND IT WAS THE BOOK. I will finally know how Origin In Death ended and I am so happy. It will also likely lead to me finally reading that whole series but I shall not complain.


Favorite Instagram:


“Reading was her great love.” Never were truer words spoken. I’m looking forward to reading John Green’s new novel! 📚 


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


On The Blog:

The Question Single Women In Their 30s Ask Each Other (Based on the response, it looks like we need a wider conversation on this important topic.)

Book reviews: Code Girls 



What I'm Into

What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:

1. Today’s link-up will stay open for one week. Anyone who links up this month is eligible for the 5th anniversary giveaway. The next What I'm Into link up will be Friday December 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.

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? 

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