Friday, January 29, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Know My Name by Chanel Miller

BOOK REVIEW: Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Know My Name
by Chanel Miller was by far the best book I read in 2020 (followed closely by Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi). Miller's book is a memoir about her experience as a sexual assault survivor, including the attack, the court case that followed, and rebuilding her life after physical, emotional, and mental trauma. 


I particularly enjoyed Miller's ability to weave memories of earlier times in her life into her telling of what happened to her. She is a master story teller, even when it comes to the awful, most horrifying bits. Miller's memoir is filled with both vulnerability and strength. At times I found myself openly weeping and crying while at other times I cheered and smiled large at her ability to find joy amid the depths of despair. 

After being attacked by Brock Turner on the Stanford University campus in 2015, Miller sunk into a deep depression that was only made worse through the madness of the criminal justice system. Instead, however, she fought her way back to herself and rebuilt her life. It is clear from her memoir though, that this also entailed dealing with long lasting trauma that may follow her and inform her choices and thoughts and overall being for the rest of her life. She chose over and over to not give in. She chose over and over to experience life and explore her interests. That's not to say it was easy and that's not to say she didn't go through periods where she did want to give up, where she did succumb to her fears and dark thoughts. But, she always climbed back out of the depths. 

Included in the memoir is Miller's victim impact statement which is a masterpiece that no one should ever have to write. It is a masterclass in how not to rape, how not to assault, how not to behave, how not to treat others. 

Miller's assault was not that long ago, but I am sure it will have a lasting ripple effect on her life, the lives of her sister and parents, on her friends, and others. I'm sure the intensity has and will continue to dial down over time, but the assault and all that came with it will always still be there, like a little grain of something in their shoes that they forgot about for the longest time. Then it shifts, and they feel it with every step until they try to remove it, but can't find it. It shifts again and they move on and don't feel it -- even forget about it again until, one day, there it is yet again. 

Every now and then Miller's attacker comes up in the news and do not feel a single bit sorry for him when the news is related to him having a hard time in life. He brought that upon himself. 

Rather than rewrite things I've already written, the rest of this post is primarily from comments I made in a small book group myself and three good friends read Know My Name. I've only edited a little bit for clarity and length. 

This was such a hard book to read, but I'm so glad that I did! I'm so glad I bought it instead of getting it from the library. I'll read it again, but not anytime soon. I know I'll recommend it to many people in years to come too. 

I'm struck by similarities with the Netflix short series "Unbelievable" which is excellent and based on real rape cases near Seattle and in Colorado. In both Miller's book and the Netflix show, there seems to be a clear division in the way men handled and treated victims compared to how women responded. There are some women who will take the "what were you wearing/doing/drinking" or "you should have kept your legs closed" stance and also some women who get embarrassed or don't want to to be involved in such intimate invasions, but I see it far more in men both in media and in life. It's unfortunate since men can be excellent allies -- and they aren't exempt from being victims as well. 

Women are constantly held to double standards from birth and both Miller's book and "Unbelievable" highlight that fact. As I was finishing Know My Name, I also was reading the poetry collection Wild Embers by Nikita Gill which was the perfect compliment to Miller's memoir. The poems feature themes about the double standards women are held to, about boys and men being given a pass for bad behavior because of the idea that "boys will boys", and how women are forced into the defensive position when we deserve to stand strong and not to be subjected to abuse. 

I loved Miller's book (and "Unbelievable" and Wild Embers), but it provokes a strong emotional response as a reader and was difficult, at times, as a result. I was struck by Miller's ability to create vivid images and to craft metaphors while mining the depths of her memories and lived experiences to create context, emotions, and so on.

I hope you'll consider reading Know My Name by Chanel Miller. I think about it regularly even though it's been months since I read it. 

You can buy a copy of Know My Name on Bookshop HERE.
Or find it on Amazon HERE
Or look for it at your local library. 

As of my writing this, "Unbelievable" is available on Netflix HERE.

You can find Wild Embers by Nikita Gill on Bookshop HERE.
Or on Amazon HERE.
Or try your local library.

Please note: links may be affiliate in nature. Making purchases through such links may result in a small commission to me at no cost to you. Thank you in advance. 




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

BOOK REVIEW: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
In 2021, I'm participating in a children's literature reading challenge hosted by Mrs. Sarah Collier of Belle's Library and the Victorian Letter Writers Guild

Portions of this post also appear on my parenting blog: Mom2MomED
in a post called 7 Ways to Use The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.
Read the full post HERE.

My inaugural book for the Children's Literature Challenge is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. My child (now an adult) and I first received this book as a gift from my mother several years ago when my kiddo was still quite young. 
On my parenting blog, I share 7 ways to use this book with your children (read the post HERE), but in this post, I am going to focus more on the book itself. I mean, look at these illustrations? The book is GORGEOUS!
My mom was a kindergarten teacher and bought many beautiful books for my child over the years, but The Kissing Hand is one that we returned to over and over. The story and premise are pretty simple but also familiar to pretty much every parent ever -- a child is scared and nervous about going to school for the first time and the parent tries to find a way to make it ok. In this case, mama racoon helps her child to overcome fear and anxiety by kissing the child's palm as a reminder that she's always there even if she's not physically present. 

The Kissing Hand was instrumental in helping my child and I adjust to the emotional turmoil that comes with going back and forth between divorced parents (read about my suggested books for divorce HERE). Although the book is the story of a child going to school for the first time, it easily is applied to any form of temporary separation between parent and child.

I loved reading through this book again and thinking about my mom -- she has dementia, but she still loves a kiss from one of her children or grandchildren -- and my child, now an adult. The story is lovely and the illustrations are beautiful. The animals, trees, and other aspects of nature are beautifully rendered throughout. 
Over the years, I've bought copies of The Kissing Hand for friends navigating divorce with young children and many have started their own kissing hand traditions to help their children navigate going back and forth between parents' homes.  

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak, is such a lovely and sweet book. I hope you'll pick up a copy for a child in your life.  

Grab a copy on Bookshop HERE.
Grab a copy from Amazon HERE.
Or, hit up your local library.

This post may include affiliate links ~*~ making a purchase through these links may result in a small commission to me at no cost to you. Thank you in advance. 



Monday, January 11, 2021

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin ~*~ Chapter 1: January

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: Chapter 1 -- January

In my last post, I wrote about setting up my reading journal for 2021 and the books I planned to read in January. To be honest, I thought by January 9th, I'd have read a lot more than I actually have, but life gets in the way, right?

That said, it's not like I've done no reading at all. I've made much progress in two books not on my January 2021 plan but which I'd started previously and just hadn't finished yet -- The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. And, I added two books that aren't on my original January list: The Odyssey by Homer (Robert Fitzgerald translation) and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

I'd started Crooked Kingdom quite some time ago and have been reading it in fits and starts -- I'm enjoying it, but I'm not so fully captivated that I feel compelled to read it quickly. The Chemistry of Tears was given to me by a friend on Christmas Eve and I do love it, but I've had competing interests and general life ups and downs to contend with.

Then, I suddenly had a surge in tutoring requests for literature and composition. Thus Catcher in the Rye and The Odyssey were suddenly on my list -- I always read books following my students' course reading schedules so that I can best advise them in their studies. Not only that, but I have another student starting The Odyssey this week (hopefully the same version as the first student, but we'll see!).

But, let's switch it up and talk about The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I've read Rubin's book a couple of times and the new year seemed like the perfect time to start since the structure of the book follows the months of the year. The topic -- The Happiness Project -- should make it pretty obvious what the book is about: a project undertaken by Rubin to increase the amount of happiness in her life. Each month, she tackled a different theme or idea.

So, let's dig into January.

In the book, Rubin's themes for January are vitality and boosting energy. She also sets some specific goals for the month:
  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better/more
  • Organize and declutter
  • Take care of a nagging task
  • Act more energetic
Rubin delves into the science behind why some of these can improve one's life, but she also talks about her own successes and failures in tackling each item on the list.

For myself, I'm a night owl and have a really hard time getting to bed at an hour that anyone might consider reasonable. My goal has been 3am for a long time, but I'm trying to be ASLEEP by 2am. With increasing requests for tutoring by students in several time zones, I find it helpful to go to sleep and wake up earlier. So far, I'm only doing so-so in this area. The only time it wasn't a struggle were all the years I worked night shift in hospitals.

As for exercising better and more, my kid and I have made it a point to get out and take regular walks -- usually four to five per week, weather permitting. We've been gradually increasing our distance and we both have noticed the benefits to our mental AND physical health. At some point, I'd really like to get back into bicycling and swimming, but the weather right now isn't my favorite for cycling and I'm waiting until Covid-19 is better under control before I head to a pool again.

When it comes to organizing and decluttering (Rubin's actual bullet point is "Toss, restore, organize"), I'm a natural, but Covid-19 and inheriting all of my uncle's stuff when he died, as well as all of his best friend's stuff (a story for another time), has overwhelmed me and resulted in tons of clutter and stuff to toss or restore or organize! Thankfully two friends are doing a lot of decluttering and organizing right now, so we've been able to hold each other accountable. We've all been getting a ton taken care of! With regard to the "restore" piece -- I've always checked our laundry as I sort it or fold it, and I pull out items that need repairs. Right now, I have two shirts with tiny holes that I'll repair (or restore). 

As for tackle a nagging task, well, January is pretty much the perfect time to start working on taxes, right? Yep, that's what I'm tackling. Ick... But, I know the sooner it's done, the happier I'll be!

And, acting more energetic...I'm naturally a low energy, shy, introvert (note: not all introverts are shy, but I am). As my tutoring student requests are rising and I'm taking on more students, I've found myself having to act more energetic, upbeat, and extroverted than I really am. All three of the students I've met with in the past week have commented on how upbeat and energetic I seem to be and how they like it! But, as a hardcore introvert with a shy streak, you can bet I need a few hours after each session to decompress!

I plan to come back every month to review my reading of that month's chapter in The Happiness Project and how it relates to my own life. Have you read it? What did you think? 

Grab a copy of The Happiness Project:
On Bookshop HERE.
On Amazon HERE.
Or at your local independent bookshop or library.

Learn more about my January 2021 reading list in THIS blog post or buy books from the list at Bookshop HERE.

And, if you or your child are in need of a literature or writing tutor (or both), you can find more information about my tutoring practice and offerings HERE.






Monday, December 28, 2020

2021 Reading Plans and Setting Up My Reading Journal

2021 Reading Plans and Setting Up My Reading Journal
I have ambitious reading plans for 2021.

Like many, the chaos and never endingness at the beginning of the pandemic and the impacts on all aspects of life left me feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate long enough to read. However, in June I started to create some routines around reading which I wrote about HERE, and I've been able to get back into the habit. 

My reading slowed down again -- actually almost stopped -- in October and the first half of November with all of the uncertainty of the US Presidential election, but I ramped way back up in mid-November and am almost at my pre-pandemic reading rates. 

For 2021, I decided I would set some goals and themes for the year and that I would set up a reading journal.

For the journal, I selected a notebook from my vast collection and decorated it with some stamp pads from Ranger and Hero Arts and stamps from Studio Calico, Hero Arts, and elsewhere. It was so much fun! I know that this journal will keep me inspired to read throughout the year. 







Once the stamping was done, I planned out what I hope to read in January. A few books will be read a little bit at a time over the course of the year while others will be read just like any other book I might read for pleasure. 

In 2020, I had originally planned to take part in a challenge to read all of William Shakespeare's works in a single year as part of a project that you can learn more about HERE, but the pandemic derailed that pretty fast. I'm committing to the challenge for 2021. I'm also joining a reading challenge focused on reading children's books, and I'll be reading at least two poetry collections per month, as well as doing some normal pleasure reading.

I have ambitious plans for my 2021 reading. Here's what's on deck for January:

Shakespeare: 
  • Twelfth Night
  • Henry VI, Parts I, II, III
Bill Bryson's The World As Stage (all about Shakespeare)

Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project -- to be read one chapter per month (each chapter corresponds to the months of the year)
  • Chapter 1: January -- Boost Energy, Vitality (read about it HERE)
Children's books:
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (read my review HERE)
  • The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky
  • Let's be Enemies by Janice May Udry
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths -- to be read in segments over the course of the year:
  • In Olden Times, Gaea, The Titans
  • Zeus and his Family
  • Hera
  • Hephaestus
Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic -- already started and will be reading chapters 5 through 11

The Black Painting by Neil Olson

Poetry:
  • Blood Oranges by Dylan Brennan
  • Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen
Amy Tan's The Opposite of Fate -- to be read one chapter/essay per week over the course of the year
  • Chapter 1: The Cliffs Notes Version of My Life
  • Chapter 2: How We Knew
  • Chapter 3: A Question of Fate
  • Chapter 4: Faith
Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet -- to be read one letter per week
  • Letter One
  • Letter Two
  • Letter Three
  • Letter Four
Drop a comment and tell me about something ambitious you have planned for 2021!

Want to read along? You can find all of the books above (where possible) on Bookshop in the USA HERE. I like Bookshop because you can support independent booksellers and readers more easily and directly than through Amazon, but Bookshop does have limits, including much smaller inventories than Amazon and lack of overseas availability.

These books are not available via Bookshop as of this writing:
  • You can find Blood Oranges by Dylan Brennan on Amazon Kindle HERE.
  • Let's Be Enemies by Janice May Udry on Amazon HERE.
Want to try to recreate my stamping project? You can find these supplies on Amazon:
Please note: Links may be affiliate in nature. Making purchases through these links may result in a small commission on my end at no additional cost to you. Thank you in advance!

Monday, December 14, 2020

3 books to help your kids (and you) cope with divorce

3 books to help your kids (and you) cope with divorce
Please note, this is cross posted at my parenting and education blog, Mom2MomEd.
 
Divorce isn't easy for anyone, but it can be especially hard for our children who may not have the maturity or vocabulary to understand or talk about what is happening in their family. It is hard for kids who may feel insecure, who may worry that they are unloved, who may think the divorce is their fault. 
 
It's obviously hard for parents too. 
 
And, the difficulties on both sides -- parent and child -- can make talking about divorce and making your and their way through it difficult. Books can help. 
 
My son was 4 years old when his father and I separated, and it was hard on all of us, but especially on JP. My priority was making sure that he understood that he was loved and wanted and that he had a safe way to explore and express his feelings. I spent a few hours at my local bookstore, looking at children's books about divorce and changing families and brought home the following books -- the first two are specifically for children and the third is for parents.
 
I will be honest, my son wasn't always in the mood to have these books read to him or to read them with me. Sometimes he was just mad and wanted to stomp around and be angry or to curl up in a ball and cry. But, I would calmly remind him, "Hey, I know you don't want to read these books right now, but I also know that when we do read them together, you always end up feeling better. You start smiling and relaxing and we can talk about what you're feeling and thinking about afterwards. It's OK if you just want to curl up in a ball while I read to you, or I can rub your back, or you can pace around and just listen."
 
Most of the time, he'd curl up next to me or in my lap or he'd want me to rub his back while we read, and almost every time, he would feel better -- and he'd recognize that too. We read each of these books dozens of times from the time he was 4 years old until about 7 years old, and they truly helped both of us to navigate difficult emotions and conversations.
 
If your family is going through divorce or separation or you know a family that is, I hope these books will help you or them too. 
My Family's Changing: A First Look at Family Break-Up by Pat Thomas and Lesley Harker
 
This sweet book combines a story with discussion prompts. You can read it straight through as just a story, you can stop at each discussion prompt as you go, or you can stop at one discussion prompt and set the book aside while you talk things through.
 
The illustrations combined with the story and the prompts helped my son to feel like he was seen and heard amidst the grown up problems. The prompts are especially great if you aren't sure how to talk to your child about divorce or a family break up. 
 
There's an entire range of books in the series from topics such as family dynamics to bullying to inclusion and diversity and more. 
  • Buy My Family's Changing on Bookshop HERE.
  • Buy My Family's Changing on Amazon HERE.
 
Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown
 
Like My Family's Changing, Dinosaurs Divorce helps kids navigate the ups and downs and new normal of divorce and changing families. And, if the dinosaurs look somewhat familiar, it's because Marc Brown is also responsible for the Arthur books and cartoon series. Of all the books we had about divorce -- and we had many -- this is the one we read the most.
 
My son particularly liked this book over the others because of the dinosaurs. I think it was easier for him to view divorce through the lens of a non-human character and it was easier to approach a very real and difficult topic through very unreal/non-human characters. Children live in a magical space between reality and make believe, and they often use make believe to sort out their feelings about very real problems. Using dinosaurs in place of humans is a great way to help ease kids through such a difficult experience.
 
Also like My Family's Changing, Dinosaurs Divorce is part of a larger series of books that tackle numerous topics. One of the most popular other books in the series is When Dinosaurs Die
  • Buy Dinosaurs Divorce on Bookshop HERE.
  • Buy Dinosaurs Divorce on Amazon HERE.

Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci
Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci
 
This book is for the adults in a child's life, but it will help you manage your own way through the divorce or separation in a way that supports your child. 
 
One of the reasons I love this book is that it doesn't assume anything is one parent or the others fault. In fact, it offers suggestions and analysis for self-reflection to look at your own behavior and thoughts as both a parent and a divorcing or separating adult and think, "Is this thought or behavior reasonable or am I the problem in this situation?" Ricci also gives many ideas and tips and thoughtful suggestions for how to talk to children and how to work with the other parent or guardian.

Ricci's book helped me to navigate disruptive issues with my son's father and to set firm boundaries during a difficult situation. It gave me a framework for sorting out what I needed as a half of a divorcing couple but also what my son needed and how to best show up for him. It helped me to see both sides of the divorce and gave me many excellent ideas and tips to consider when it came to the overall situation, as well as for specific situations and for sorting out a parenting and custody plan. The book gave me a vocabulary to use and a way to look at things more objectively. 

I truly believe Ricci's book helped me to navigate what was best for my son, even when that sometimes conflicted with what I wanted for myself.
 
There's also a kids version of Mom's House, Dad's House by Isolina Ricci, but I have not read it or reviewed it. Have you?
  • Buy Mom's House, Dad's House on Bookshop HERE and the kids version HERE.
  • Buy Mom's House, Dad's House on Amazon HERE and the kids version HERE.

There are many, many books about divorce for parents and children, but time and time again I am led to believe these three are the best. What books do you think divorcing or separating couples should read? How about kids stuck in the middle?

Please note: links may be affiliate in nature. Making purchases through these links may result in a small commission to us at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance!
 


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

REVIEW: The Antiquarian Sticker Book -- Over 1,000 Exquisite Victorian Stickers

Book Review: The Antiquarian Sticker Book
This certainly is not my normal book review! I never expected to review a sticker book, but this one -- The Antiquarian Sticker Book -- is fantastic!

Warning: this post is image heavy.

Even though I'm a middle aged woman, I still love stickers. I still get that school child jolt of glee at opening up a new sticker pack and deciding where and how to use them. And, I still sometimes think some stickers are too precious to use and I want to save them instead.


As a child, most of my stickers were used fairly randomly and often were affixed to construction paper, my own skin (usually the back of my hands or my cheeks), or were attached to handmade cards -- I was very much a rule follower growing up (and still mostly am), and would not have dared to put a sticker on furniture, a book, or anything else that might be of value or ruined by the placement of a sticker. The last several years, most of my sticker using has been reserved for letters sent to pen pals or I have used them in my journal and planner spreads. And, of course, I have the obligatory vinyl sticker assortment on my laptop cover -- don't you?

Recently, I realized my sticker collection had outgrown the small drawer in which I contain it. As such, I culled several, sending many on to a friend that had recently mentioned a desire to use stickers in her planner, and then I used several to create a rainbow theme, inspired by the professional crafter, Amy Tangerine (professional crafter = #goals), in a notebook. Even with both of those purges of my sticker collection, I still have a TON, so I put myself on a sticker buying ban.
A rainbow sticker spread inspired by Amy Tangerine
The rainbow sticker spread in my planner.

Then, the very next day, someone in a Facebook group I'm part of posted a picture of The Antiquarian Sticker Book! I was in awe of the amazing stickers between the covers -- more than 1,000 of them! They were just so beautiful that I ordered the book despite my sticker buying ban.

And, I love it! The stickers and the book as a whole are gorgeous, and I don't regret the purchase at all. Let's take a walk through some of the pages:
Front cover: The Antiquarian Sticker Book
Front Cover: The Antiquarian Sticker Book
The book's end papers are gorgeous!







There are a few page where almost the entire page is one big sticker.

The peacock is my favorite sticker in the entire book!


The stickers are fairly low-tack, meaning they aren't super duper sticky. I tested one (a sticker of a spider since I am not a fan and can't see myself ever using the spider stickers...ewwwww!), and was pleased that it was tacky enough to stick to a piece of cardstock, but not so tacky that I couldn't easily lift and reposition it. If you need to ensure that the stickers stay stuck down, use your finger to rub across the surface. A painter once told me that the friction helps. I don't know if it's really the friction or heat generated or what, but the trick seems to work on stickers and washi tape. However, if I could see a need to apply glue to some stickers if the surfaces they are going on is not paper or if they application requires that the sticker be permanently affixed. This does not bother me at all as I often use extra adhesive on stickers anyhow when I craft or if I am applying the sticker to a letter that will be folded where I've placed the sticker.
After applying a sticker to this cardstock,
I as able to peel it up with minimal damage to either.

The way the book is structured, each page features stickers on one side and a decorative backing on the other side. The backing side is the same throughout, so although the book is 1 3/16" thick, excluding the front and back covers, only half of that is actually stickered pages. 
A look inside the book The Antiquarian Sticker Book

I love the cover of this book and the backing of each sticker page so much that I plan to repurpose the book as an art journal when the stickers are all gone -- I'll do art work and collages on the sticker side of each page.

Have you bought The Antiquarian Sticker Book? If so, leave a comment and tell me which sticker is your favorite and how you'll be using the stickers.

Don't have a copy? 
  • You can buy the book on Bookshop HERE
  • Or, buy it on Amazon HERE.

Please note: links may be affiliate in nature. Purchases made through these links may result in a small commission for me at no additional cost to you. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Now Reading ~*~ November 2020

Now Reading: November 2020
I haven't posted any book reviews or other reading related items since late October, but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading. I guess I've just not been motivated to sit in front of my computer to write. I don't know...

Regardless, I thought I'd share my November 2020 reading plans and progress. 
If you are struggling with reading during the pandemic, check out THIS post where I talk about increasing my reading amid all the stress and uncertainty in the world right now. 

November 2020 reading
My full reading plan for November includes:
💙 Lips too chilled by Matuso Basho (poetry)💚 Howl by Allen Ginsberg (poetry)💛 The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac (poetry)💜 Essentialism by Grego McKeown (non-fiction, lifestyle, self-help)💛 Know My Name by Chanel Miller (memoir, sexual assault)💚 Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic (non-fiction, politics, history)💙 The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard (non-fiction, environmentalism, lifestyle)💛 The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (non-fiction, lifestyle, psychology)💚 The Black Painting by Neil Olson (fiction)💙 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (fiction)
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard feels like the perfect compliment to The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb (read my review HERE).
I've already finished Know My Name by Chanel Miller, but as of writing this post, I have not written a review yet. I can tell you this much for now though: Miller's memoir is MUST READ material! She recounts being the victim of a sexual assault and the lengthy trial and messy aftermath, including finding her way back to herself. I truly believe you need to read this book!
I've been slowly making my way through The Power of Habit and Blueprint for Revolution, but am likely to finish both this month. I'm enjoying them, but one has lived in my bathroom until recently, and the other was misplaced until recently. 
I've been reading a chapter or two from Crooked Kingdom several nights per week, and it's been a great book to read in the bathtub on cold nights when I need to warm up! The book is the second of a pair and follows a rag-tag group of young adults through peril, adventure, and the under belly of society. They are at turns terrible and wonderful people. Bardugo's characters all highlight that we all have potential for good and bad within us and that the two can co-exist. This is young adult fantasty/sci-fi fiction and great escapism.
Now reading: Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac, Lips too chilled by Matsuo Basho, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
The last two days, however, I've been focused primarily on:

💜 The Scripture of the Golden Eternity by Jack Kerouac (poetry -- I'll likely finish it tomorrow)......buy it on Bookshop: https://bit.ly/3nz5v8e......buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3f59czn

💛 Howl by Allen Ginsberg (poetry -- I'll also likely finish this one tomorrow)
......buy it on Bookshop: https://bit.ly/2HcRbTg......buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3f8qeN0

💚 Lips too chilled by Matsuo Basho (poetry, specifically Haiku -- I finished this one today)
......This specific book is not currently available on Bookshop or Amazon, but I found several copies at reasonable prices with a quick Google search; I happened to buy my copy in Paris, France at Shakespeare and Company.

💙 The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard (non-fiction, environmentalism, lifestyle -- I'll likely finish this one by week's end)......buy it on Bookshop: not available......buy it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3pBPgcc
Drop a comment and let me know what you're reading these days!
If you aren't in the reading mood, but you still want to occupy your mind, check out my coloring pages and stationery for sale HERE on Etsy! It's all super fast and easy to download and print at home after purchase! I'm a small business owner, and with the pandemic's economic toll, it's more important than ever to shop small, local, and independent -- hence, my including links to Bookshop above!
Adult coloring pages and stationery available at http://marblesandjam.etsy.com
Please note: links are affiliate in nature. I'm not sharing them to "make a buck" but rather because I love to share what I'm reading and access to finding the same books. If you do purchase through these links, many thanks! I may receive a small commission as a result, but at no additional cost to you!