Top Ten Tuesday – Location, Location, Location


I had several different idea for the topic this week. First, I wanted to do books set in cemeteries, what with RIP coming up and me getting all kinds of excited about it. Well, turns out I haven’t READ 10 books set in cemeteries (I know, what???). Then, I thought I’d do books set in bookstores. Surely I have read MORE than 10 of those. No dice (again, WTH?). So then, I decided I would go with boarding schools! Eureka! It was easy.

  1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling – Because DUH.
  2. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – Actually all three books from this series are set in a boarding school in France. They are all fun.
  3. Looking for Alaska by John Green – Still my favorite John Green novel.
  4. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – Another British boarding school, with magic! But all girls this time. ALL GIRLS.
  5. Morning Glories by Nick Spencer – THIS boarding school is completely and homicidally bonkers. It’s freaking awesome.
  6. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – Geeky girl in a boarding school. She’s probably a criminal mastermind.
  7. The Secret History by Donna Tartt – Mysterious! Oh so mysterious!
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – Classic.
  9. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. EVER, I TELL YOU.
  10. Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede – Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Harry Potter in the American frontier. You know you want to.

What books have you read set in boarding schools, magical or not? And why are they so fun to read?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Dead Ladies Project Presents

Last year, I read a book called The Dead Ladies Project by Jessa Crispin and it really spoke to me. I decide to undertake a (starkly different!) version of my own and read more about (or by) women who interest me. I have a pretty extensive list of ladies I want to learn from, but I picked a random ten for today’s Top Ten Tuesday. I want not only to learn about what they did, but what made them the way they were. What made them tick, so to speak.


Ida B. Wells – A few years ago, back when I first started listening to podcasts, I listened a fantastic one on Ida B. Wells (link to the cast) by The History Chicks and I was immediately interested in this great lady. She did many pioneering things for blacks and women, but she’s probably best known for her work crusade against lynching.

Margaret Fuller – I first read about Margaret Fuller in American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever and it only made me want to learn more about this remarkable woman. She was Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend,  the first female war correspondent, and did a great many things before dying tragically shortly after she reached the age of 40.

Margaret Knight – Whenever you go to the store and get a flat bottomed bag, you have Margaret Fuller to thank. She constructed a device to fold and glue the bottoms together. A man stole her design and got a patent on it. She successfully filed a patent interference lawsuit. She created her own company and received royalties for her work. She invented many other things AND I CANNOT FIND A BIOGRAPHY ON HER. Just kids books. I guess I have some searching to do.

Harriet Quimby – Harriet Quimby was one of the first women to fly a plane, was the first woman to fly the English Channel, and found success in Hollywood as a screenwriter. And all before she died at the age of 37.

Lillian Moller Gilbreth – You may or may not recognize her name, but she is the lady who wrote Cheaper by the Dozen, the book the movie was based on. What you may not know is, well, I’m going to let Wikipedia tell a bit here, because seriously, she did SO MUCH; she:  was an American psychologist and industrial engineer. One of the first working female engineers holding a Ph.D., she is held to be the first true industrial/organizational psychologist. She and her husband Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr. were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering in fields such as motion study and human factors. The books Cheaper by the Dozenand Belles on Their Toes (written by their children Ernestine and Frank Jr.) tell the story of their family life with their twelve children, and describe how they applied their interest in time and motion study to the organization and daily activities of such a large family.

Jeanette Rankin – I haven’t found a book on this lady that I think will be comprehensive enough, but I have to find one. She was the first lady elected to Congress. How could I NOT want to learn about her?

Isabelle Eberhardt – From the book description: Eberhardt’s journal chronicles the daring adventures of a late 19th- century European woman who traveled the Sahara desert disguised as an Arab man and adopted Islam. Wow, right?

Sofia Tolstoy – I hate to admit it (or maybe not?), but I’ve never found Leo Tolstoy very interesting. I tried to read War & Peace and, well, let’s just say it didn’t go well. Sofia on the other hand, she sounds interesting. How DID she put up with that man? I WANT TO KNOW.

Helen Pitts Douglass – Love came to me, and I was not afraid to marry the man I loved because of his color. She was the second wife of Frederick Douglass. There is little written about her, so I will look for her in her husband’s writings.

Daisy and Violet Hilton – Conjoined Twins. Freak show notoriety. Vaudeville stardom. Crash landing. Good golly geeeeeez fascinating.


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


november30Oh you guys! I’m actually kinda sad that Nonfiction November is over today! I KNOW I can keep reading all the nonfiction I want, but, somehow, it’s just not quite the same. I can’t wait for next year! I’ll be reporting on all I read in another post soon. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked – but it was all fantastic. FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.

As for today, what am I reading? Well….

The kids and I are listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m so happy that both are at an age to appreciate it now! So far they are loving it and begging to listen at bedtime. The boy, surprisingly and also not, seems more into it than the girl. He IS my reader, which is why I’m sort of not surprised, but I didn’t expect him to jump right in like he has. Win! So happy.

As for me, I started listening to Paris Letters by Janice Macleod. It’s read by Tavia Gilbert, a favorite reader of mine, and I think it’s going to be great. One last nonfiction book for November, I hope!

Well, I’m also reading The Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. I’m about halfway through and I’m really enjoying it. I really hope I can finish by tonight, but I may be doing that wishful thinking thing again. Crossing my fingers on that one.

As for what’s next, I’m not sure! I haven’t read any fiction (not counting Harry) for a whole month. I’m quite likely to binge on comics. I have new issues of Lumberjanes, Rat Queens, The Fade Out, Paper Girls, and Wayward to read!

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good this week?

It's Monday What Are You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney

Top Ten Tuesday – You Can Quote Me On That


It was so hard to pick just ten. I have noted some pretty awesome quotes this year!

“Once you’ve held a book and really loved it, you forever remember the feel of it, its specific weight, the way it sits in your hand.”  ― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation: A Novel

“It’s an inconvenience, true enough, and I don’t like it at all, but I know that you do it for everyone, Mister Death. Is there any other way?’

“My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all, I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in our family is dead.”  ― Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle

“Do not try any of this at home. The author of this book is an Internet cartoonist, not a health or safety expert. He likes it when things catch fire or explode, which means he does not have your best interests in mind. The publisher and the author disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting, directly or indirectly, from information contained in this book.” ― Randall Munroe, What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

“But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.” ― Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.” ― Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder

“The women also put my life of privilege, opportunity, independence, and freedom into perspective. As an American woman, I was spoiled: to work, to make decisions, to be independent, to have relationships with men, to feel sexy, to fall in love, to fall out of love, to travel. I was only twenty-six, and I had already enjoyed a lifetime of new experiences.” ― Lynsey Addario, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War

“But then again I wonder if what we feel in our hearts today isn’t like these raindrops still falling on us from the soaked leaves above, even though the sky itself long stopped raining. I’m wondering if without our memories, there’s nothing for it but for our love to fade and die.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

“My ears become my conduit to the world. In the darkness I listen—to thrillers, to detective novels, to romances; to family sagas, potboilers and historical novels; to ghost stories and classic fiction and chick lit; to bonkbusters and history books. I listen to good books and bad books, great books and terrible books; I do not discriminate. Steadily, hour after hour, in the darkness I consume them all. By way of this unprecedented, unbridled literary promiscuity, I have made some pleasant discoveries.”  ― Anna Lyndsey, Girl in the Dark

“She felt the panic rising in her then. She knew. She knew how quickly things could break. You did the things you could. You tended to the world for the world’s sake. You hoped you would be safe. But still she knew. It could come crashing down and there was nothing you could do. And yes, she knew she wasn’t right. She knew her everything was canted wrong. She knew her head was all unkilter. She knew she wasn’t true inside. She knew.” ― Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things

What are some of your favorite quotes from your reading this year?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

RIPX Micro-Reviews

Image used with permission, property of Abigail Larson.
Image used with permission, property of Abigail Larson.

Holy guacamole sports fans; it is time to say good bye to RIP X. It has been my (and Andi’s) extreme honor to host in Carl’s stead this year. I hope a good time was had by all! I know I had a great event, even if I couldn’t get into The Quick. Here is what I read:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, read by Bernadette Dunne 

Oh Merricat. How you bring on the shivers. From Bernadette Dunne’s first word to the last, she gave me chills. Such a great Halloween read. Glad I reread it!

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs (my review)

Not only was it the last Tiffany Aching book, it was the last Terry Pratchett book. A fitting ending for both. Now excuse me while I go dry my eyes, yet again.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, read by Biaca Amato, Jill Tanner 

Another great reread. It had been a while since I read or listened to this one. Just as good as I remembered.

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, read by Lenny Henry

Why oh WHY did I hold off on reading this so long? Just because it wasn’t read by Neil Gaiman. I am so STUPID. It was so so so so so sooooooooooooo good. Lenny Henry is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Jackaby by William Ritter

Part Sherlock Holmes, part, okay yeah, I’m going to go there – part Doctor Who, Jackaby was a LOT of fun. I have to read the next in the series.

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, read by Dan Stevens

I hadn’t read this since college and, when I saw it was read by Dan Stevens, I decided it was high time for a reread. Despite Steven’s MASTERFUL reading, I found the reread to be somewhat…boring? Alas alack, I’m sort of wishing I had stayed with my rosy memories.

What did you read for RIPX? What should I put on my list for next time?

Nonfiction November 2015


I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that Nonfiction November is here. Along with my Harry Potter Binging (see previous post), I will also be binging nonfiction. All kinds of nonfiction. I have a varied pile on my table, in my iPad, and my phone (the audiobooks are there). So, any bets how many books I can read this month? I think I’ll go for 15 again.

So. Oh, yes. My nonfiction list. So many excellent sounding books!

From the library:

  • American Bloomsbury : Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau : their lives, their loves, their work by Cheever, Susan.
  • Galileo’s middle finger : heretics, activists, and the search for justice in science by Dreger, Alice Domurat
  • Murder by candlelight : the gruesome crimes behind our romance with the macabre by Beran, Michael Knox,
  • A reader on reading by Manguel, Alberto.
  • The woman who would be king by Cooney, Kara.

On the iPad:

  • On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope
  • Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen
  • The French House: A quirky and inspiring memoir about turning a ruin into a home by Don Wallace
  • Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter
  • The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean
  • A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield
  • Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
  • Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett
  • Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann
  • A History Of The Wife by Marilyn Yalom
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman
  • This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All Marilyn Johnson
  • Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon
  • Tracks: One Woman’s Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson
  • Curse Amazon and their sales. There are more. And I may read one of them. But I’m tired of looking. I think you get the idea. I have a lot of nonfiction I want to get through next month.

Have you read any of these? Which do you recommend?

Things that make me absurdly happy

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Foxes. It’s the new owl. (Totally kidding. Nothing will take the place of my beloved owls. This is more like an almost equal to.)

My kids. Today is my son’s 8th birthday (remember this anyone?). He told me at 7:05 this morning that he was going to sit back and enjoy his last 15 minutes as a 7-year-old. “It’s been a good year,” he said. He’s so old.

And my daughter, the almost teenager telling me she’s not almost a teenager in her best whiny, prepubescent voice.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I’m very late to the bandwagon, but I’m ready to party like it’s 1999.

Jamestown Revival. Especially California and Revival.

Readathon planning. We’re getting started for October 17th! Changes are coming, but hopefully good ones.

A sharp pencil and my new sketch book.

There is this shade of yellow, in my set of Prismacolor Premiers that makes me smile every time I pick it up. It’s called Yellow Ochre. It is delicious.

What is making you absurdly happy these days?

Currently Crushing On….

crush-on-you copy

  • I have a big ole crush to start with this week. Our state, North Carolina, has a magazine (called Our State ha!) and this months issue features “voices” of our state. On the cover is Rhiannon Giddens. I had not heard of her, but I had heard of her band Carolina Chocolate Drops (their cover of Blu Cantrell’s Hit ‘Em Up Style is a thing of wonder). She released a solo album earlier this year and holy cow guacamole she is great. She’s like a cross between Nina Simone and Patsy Cline.

This is my favorite song of hers so far. Listen to her! What a set of pipes.

And, speaking of Patsy Cline, check out this cover!

*weeps* Check out more music here. Seriously, do it.

  • Another thing I AM HUGELY EXCITED about this week is RIP X! I am loving all the posts and tweets and just general excitement going on for this event. Makes my readerly heart so very happy. Check out some of the tweets and reviews that have already gone up! And heck, JOIN IN THE FUN.


  • I love love love Pinterest and I love Trish’s Pin It and Do It Challenges! (Sign up here!) There are several things I’ve pinned that I want to do, so I’ll be reporting back on this one!
  • Remember last week when I was obsessing over double exposures! I did it!

double negative play

I’m so proud of me.

That’s it this week. I’ve been too busy to be obsessed with much! What are you currently obsessing over?

Currently Crushing On….

crush-on-you copy


I am currently loving all these different “entrees” that can be made in a muffing tin. They make packing lunch SO EASY. Or, hopefully they will when I actually try them out, my kids actually try them, and then hopefully love them. (Mini Deep Dish Pizzas, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, and Cheesy Corndog  Muffins [see above] are all in my sights)


I am currently obsessed with double exposure photography. I will figure out how to do this. There are several tutorials online and I WILL LEARN. But I am obsessed, I tell you, OBSESSED. More to come on this one.


DOCTOR WHO LEGOS!!!! Must have.



Netflix. I’ve had to bring some work home with me lately, and I’ve been watching these shows. THEY ARE SO GOOD. Bomb Girls is absolutely fantastic. And now that season 8 of Doctor Who is FINALLY on Netflix, I’m catching up. Hidden Kingdoms is a marvel. It got my Minecraft-and-YouTube-obsessed son to sit, spellbound, for over an hour. And now all he’ll talk about are these tiny animals. It’s true love. For both of us.

So, what are you obsessed with this week?

I Don’t Feel So Bad – Some Favorite Things


1. Chai Latte. Where have you been all my life? Seriously. I die without it.


2. Coloring books. It’s not COMPLETELY new, I’ve been coloring (and drawing and such) for a long time, but in the last couple of weeks it has reached near obsession. Buying Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest DID NOT HELP.

3. Pasta. Again, not new, but since going Gluten Free I have had a super hard time finding one I like. Now I have two! I had alfredo the other night and I HAPPY. Two years without good ole pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, and parmesan is a freaking long time.

4. YouTube. Hey, I didn’t say they were NEW or OLD favorite things. Sure, YouTube has been around a VERY LONG TIME, I just never paid it much attention (except for you, my dear Andi!) but now, suddenly, I am waking up to the marvels of YT. I’m learning InDesign, getting coloring tips, and excellent book recommendations. Oh, and the occasional Jamestown Revival song:

or The Brothers Bright

5. Incidentally, I am really loving on some music right now. I went on a mission a month or so ago to find some new tunes and I hit the jackpot in a little genre called Southern Gothic. I’ve also seen it called Dark Americana, Americana, and other such things. It’s like the bastard lovechild of Southern Rock, Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, American Roots, and Country. With some soul and jazz thrown it. It includes old (Johnny Cash) and new (Delta Ray) and oh so much loveliness in between. It nurtures my repressed goth soul. Some of my favorites include the aforementioned Delta Ray, The Brothers Bright, Jamestown Revival, and others like Lucette, Dorothy, Sun Kil Moon, Kari Kimmel (Black is like the BEST SONG EVER), Whiskey Shivers, and yeah, I could go on and on. I’ll make you a playlist. I’m sure you won’t listen, but if you actually do, PLEASE let me know if you like any of it. I don’t know anyone who listens to this stuff!

What new (or maybe not so new) favorite things are you jamming on right now?