Recent Reads

    Let’s start here.

    The most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels. It has to do with empathy. It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you. – Barack Obama

    Cue: 1,000 AMENS!

    This is precisely what I love about reading. The glimpses of humanity and connection with stories not my own lead me to a more empathetic and understanding place. Reading allows me to participate in a world beyond my own and engage in relationships with people of a different place and time. It’s my favorite way to exercise my imagination, stretch my ideas and question my assumptions.

    I’ve told you before how much I enjoy picking the books in my queue. The quest for the next story is so exciting! So, it probably comes as no surprise that I love when people ask me for book recommendations. It makes me straight up giddy to think upon what I’ve read, where the reader is (in their journey) and find a match. It’s like playing Match Maker with friends (one real and one imagined).

    AND it is with great excitement that I share some favorite reads from the past few months. I’ve narrowed it down to my top five. (The struggle to do so was real.)

    Top Five Reads

    • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – A story about a family from Calcutta making their home in the US. We see their lives as foreigners, outsiders and most of all people looking to find their way without losing where they came from.
    • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – This is not the first time I’ve read this book. But, after starting the series on Hulu (OMG have you seen it?) I had to do a re-read. Margaret Atwood’s introduction at the beginning of this new edition is so interesting. Mainly, her elaboration on the context in which she wrote the novel.
    • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – A family saga that stretches over 200 years and across two continents. It’s the story of what slavery cost a family. The truth in her characters struck me again and again. “No one forgets that they were once captive, even if they are now free.”
    • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – This gem is a Pulitzer Prize winner for a reason. Good Lord. The depth of character and emotion sucked me in like no other.
    • Kaftka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Isaac recommended this one to me. It’s a total trip. The blurred line dividing dream from reality makes for a dream-like read. I’ve read a few of Murakami works and this is by far my favorite.

    Those that didn’t make Top Five, but are nonetheless wonderful…

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

    Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

    Blue Shoe by Ann Lamott

    Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Ann Lamott

    And here is what I am currently reading…

    The Mothers by Brit Bennet

    Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandburg and Adam Grant

    What are you reading now?

  • Liberate the Summer Vibe

    According to some, summer was over before it even started. Back in May, I got an email from our elementary school announcing that the deadline to order school supplies for the…

  • Hello, Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

    Mr. Weatherman has thoroughly freaked me out with 108 degree predictions for today. Luckily we’ve already got plans to ditch our furnace (i.e. AC-less house) and head for a coastal breeze.…

  • Portland Places: Kruger’s Farm Concerts

    Isaac and I spent a magical week on the coast of France one summer. If we hadn’t had jobs to return to, we would have stayed, learned French and lived on…

  • Hello, Bike Tabata

    Like the treadmill, the stationary bike can be a butt kicker. It’s currently my go-to machine to get my heart pumping and sweat dripping. Whether I’m busting things up at BurnCycle, joining…

  • The Who of Summer

    The idea of summer evokes a lot of images… all of them include sun, bikinis, cocktails and large bodies of water. And loved ones. Always, loved ones. Because, let’s be honest,…

  • Voices from the I-5

    I just got back from a five day road trip with my little big girls. Most of our time on the road was spent with them reading books and watching movies…

  • Digging for motivation

    One of the things that motivates my healthy lifestyle is performance. I love feeling like I CAN, I WILL, I JUST FUGGIN DID! It’s what gets me up at 5am most…

  • Cheerleaders vs Challengers

    I find cheerleaders difficult to trust. Regardless of what’s happening in the game, they’re all smiles and Rah! Rah! Rah! After a while “Go Team Go!” starts sounding a little bit…