Wrapping it Up! March 2018

My March, in books and more

What a month. My daughter had major back surgery this month and life took a big pause as we rally around her to support her healing. There was lots of downtime as she slept and rested. Thankfully, my brain let me escape into reading.

Books Read

  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders
  • Giant Days, Issue 36 by John Allison
  • Saga, Volume 1: by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Saga, Volume 2: by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Saga, Volume 3: by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova
  • The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats Daniel Stone
  • Moxie Jennifer Mathieu
  • Saga, Volume 4 Brian K. Vaughan
  • Saga, Volume 5 Brian K. Vaughan
  • Saga, Volume 6 Brian K. Vaughan

My favorite reads of the month were Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders (my review!) and The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone. It was so much fun to revisit the Saga comic and read way beyond the point I had originally stopped.

From Around the Book Blogging World


Favorite Reviews

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw reviewed by Michelle at That’s What She Read

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, reviewed by Gin Jenny at Reading the End

These were fun

How I Met My Favorite Books by Paper Fury totally made me think about how I “met” my favorite books! Also made me want to reread a few.

Reading Makes You Healthy over at Fictionophile is all you need to show those in your life that sitting around reading all the time is actually GOOD FOR YOU. Who needs cardio?

I’m reading (or trying to) Anna Karenina for Anna in April! #annainapril on Twitter

Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness and Alice at Reading Rambo  have a new nonfiction podcast! Goes right to my nerdy heart.

Have you listened to LeVar Burton Reads yet? Here’s why you should listen.

My favorite new recipe of the month was this delicious Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Tart.

Here’s hoping April is AMAZING.


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders

I have all the feelings about Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders and yet, have so many problems.

  1. I wish I had read it sooner.
  2. I wish I had the eloquence to say just how much I loved this book.
  3. I wish I had something new to say about this book. I feel I missed the boat on this one.
  4. And lastly, I wish I wasn’t so rusty when it comes to writing book reviews.

Yet, I feel like my experience in reading Bardo could be helpful.

When first Bardo came out, it came touting its 166 member cast which boasted such talent as Nick Offerman, Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, Lena Dunham, Jeffrey Tambor, Carrie Brownstein, Don Cheadle, Rainn Wilson, and Susan Sarandon, plus many, many more, I could not wait to listen. Count. Not. Wait. It just sounded so exciting! 166 readers? WOW!

Alas, I hated it. I don’t think I have ever felt so claustrophobic and confused while listening to an audiobook. I couldn’t keep up with the characters, let alone the story. I was too busy trying to figure out who the celebrity voicing the character WAS, that I missed what the character was SAYING. I had to give up. And I was sad about it, because it seemed like everyone whose opinion I respected, loved it. I WANTED TO LOVE IT TOO DAMNIT.

Flash forward a few months. I went on a reading retreat with some of my favorite bookish people and I found a hardback copy of Bardo, for $5 (!), and I snapped it up.  I was still absolutely certain the book was for me. Yet, still I hesitated. Until, in the weeks leading up to my daughter’s back surgery, I picked it up (in a long series of other books) looking for a distraction. I was instantly enchanted and I could not put it down.

I had found the perfect book at the perfect time.

I plan to go back and listen to the audio again soon. Now that I know the story, I don’t think I’ll be so overwhelmed. I hope, if you were similarly put off by the audio, that you will try the book again in paper. It’s just wonderful and sits squarely in my top ten favorites for the year, if not ever.

Books, Family

Weekend Reading Notes: March 18

Monday through Friday were spent in the hospital, waiting for my daughter to heal enough from her spinal fusion surgery (for aggressive scoliosis) to come home. And come home, on Friday, we did! There wasn’t much opportunity for in depth reading, between medicine dosages, walks and exercises, and sleep, blessed sleep. I mainly read comics, the first 3 volumes of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan to be exact. She has made a lot of progress, with a lot more to go.

Since we got home, I have been giving The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats by Daniel Stone all my attention (what little is free). I first heard about this book on an episode of the Smithsonian’s podcast, Sidedoor (america’s first food spy). I could not hear of the existence of a food spy without wanting to read the book. It just pushes all my buttons; food, history, and espionage. Do you know where avocados came from? Mangos? The wheat and cotton and kale and lemons and grapes and pomegranates and hops we use? That we now take for granted? THEY WERE NOT ALWAYS HERE. Do you know where the came from? And what (mainly) one man did to get them here?  You may think it’s not exciting, but it is.

Especially the seedless grapes. I just love that story.

Just a small tidbit:

In 1876 at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia, a delicacy called a banana, originally a crop of the Malay Islands, made its public debut in the United States, selling for a dime apiece and wrapped in tinfoil to prevent its phallic shape from offending the crowd’s Victorian sensibilities. How else to eat one but with a fork and knife?

How great is that?

One night in the hospital, when I couldn’t sleep, I read quite a bit of Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. A shy, introverted teen named Vivian, with a former Riot Grrl for a mother, is fed up with the gender bias of the faculty and staff at her high school and the harassment from the asshole guys in her school. Struggling to find a way to protest and blow off some steam in a way her introverted self can stand, she starts a feminist zine called Moxie. I haven’t read a lot of Young Adult lately and I am appreciating the writing and the story, even if it feels a little predictable. I can’t wait to see how the story resolves.

On that note, I’m going to go read some more while my daughter rests. Have a lovely Sunday!

Books, Family, Food

Currently // March 4, 2018

I made this excellent ragu last night for dinner. Isn’t it funny how fancy “ragu” sounds? It really isn’t. It is so easy to make and delicious. It’s basically a sort of beef and tomato stew served over pasta. And O.M.G. I love it. I may love it more than spaghetti sauce. I’m not a huge fan of ground beef, so anything that uses shredded instead is preferable in my book. Since I can’t have regular pasta, and can’t find a gluten free pappardelle noodle, I used gf rotini. I also added a ton of mushrooms because my family adores mushrooms.

I finished Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders (5 very enthusiastic stars) yesterday. I am still in Book Mourning. The audio was cluster for me (I felt too claustrophobic and distracted when listening to it) but I knew the book sounded like something I’d love. Turns out I was right. Reading the novel was the way to go for me. Now that I know the story, I’m going to go back and listen again. (Thanks for the advice Michelle!)

I thought I wouldn’t be able to get into a new book right away, because FEELINGS, but turns out I was wrong! Thanks to my daughter’s surgery rapidly approaching, I have been desperate for ways to disconnect for a bit. I heard Daniel Stone on the Smithsonian’s Side Door Podcast and knew knew KNEW I had to read his book about David Fairchild. The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats is just flat out fascinating. Who knew being a Food Spy was a thing??? I’m going to love this book.

Speaking of podcasts, Alie Ward has a fantastic one called Ologies. She interviews different “ologists” about their field and guys, it. is. amazing. The latest one was Teuthology, the study of cephalopods (squid, octopus, etc) and it was excellent. The last one was mythology and it was even. better. Listen, you won’t regret it.

That’s all for me now! Have a great week!

Books, Family

Reading Plea…

My reading has ground to a halt. You see, earlier this month we got the news that my 14 year old daughter, who has scoliosis, needs surgery to correct her curve. She went from a 49 degree curve, to a 70 degree curve, in just 6 months. For now, everything else looks good. Her nerves are fine. Her internal organs are fine. Let unchecked however, they may not stay that way. We’ve accepted it, it’s coming very soon, we’re scared, \ and wow. Our lives are very confused right now.

And, I have been distracted ever since.

The books I was reading have been pushed to the side. I’m not even completely sure what I WAS reading. Now, I’m flitting between books, trying to find something comforting and familiar. I started A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my very favorite books, in audio and I’m not even sure it is going to work. Same with Pride and Prejudice. I managed a short story in the collection, The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova, but I haven’t exactly raced back for another one.

What do you read when you want to be distracted, but can’t seem to be? I usually turn to an old favorite, but like I said, I’m not sure it’s going to work. I’m not in a rush to get back to it. Sometimes nonfiction works. Short stories? What have you read in times of crisis for comfort?


2017 Books and Reading Recap

I almost thought I shouldn’t post my 2017 recap. It feels too late, but what the heck right? It’s my life and dannnnng I love wrap up posts.


  • 2017 was a rough reading year. Starting with the election in 2016 all the way through to the end of 2017, I had little focus, little motivation, little desire to read.
  • I did manage (at the actual last minute) to read 100 stories. I mean literally. 11:59 pm December 31st, I finished my last book.
  • My fiction to non-fiction ratio was lower than I would like. Still 20% nonfiction is better than previous years.
  • My diversity ratio was better than previous years (25% of my reading was what I consider diverse) but I need to do better. I’m shooting for 50% this year.
  • My audiobook reads fell off at the end of the year. Thanks TuneIn. I hope this picks back up.
  • My comics reading really slacked off. Thanks to having two house payments, money is tight. I had to let some (as in all but one) subscriptions go. I also kicked Comixology Unlimited to the curb. (sad face)
  • My average rating was 3.995. Yay free range reading!
  • Longest book was The Girls Complete Collection by the Luna Brothers – 608 pages
  • As you can see below, December was craaaaaazy. I read A LOT. It was glorious.

Here is a link to all the books I read in 2017 (via Goodreads).

Total Books 2017

Total Pages 2017


Total Audiobooks

Total Time Spent Listening
6 Days, 5 Hours, 4 Minutes

Favorite Fiction


Favorite Nonfiction



All in all, while 2017 may not have brought me the QUANTITY I may have wanted, I definitely had QUALITY. Here’s hoping 2018 is kind to both of us.



The Weekly Menu – Week of January 21

In typical fashion, things did NOT go according to plan last week. Or the week before. If you were to look at my last Weekly Menu post, you will see I planning on breakfast for supper one day that week. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN. It WILL happen this week. This week will be interesting, as I seem to have been felled by the weirdest flu EVAH. (By that I mean tired, achy, fevery, and….not much else. Yet.) So, here are my BEST LAID PLANS for the week:

Sunday: I really hope to get some things made for the kids’ lunches this week. Pizza rolls, quiche, calzones…the things they’ll actually eat. AND, since I won’t be watching the Super Bowl with everyone else (!), I may just have some soup or something. Alone. (I’m banned due to having the flu.)

Monday: Dang it, I’m having some breakfast. I will have it! Even if I don’t cook it!

Tuesday: I don’t know how I will be feeling by this point. I’m either be on the road to recovery, or the road to bronchitis. Writing this on Saturday, I think I’ll be feeling better, so let’s keep up the positivity, shall we? As I am making a conscious effort to eat more fish, I think we will have this Crispy Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce recipe I have my eye on. It’s in My Lodge Cast Iron Skillet cookbook and it sounds quick, healthy, and delicious. I think some pasta (for that lovely sauce) will be great with this! Oh! And some roasted asparagus!

Wednesday: The kids love pork chops. There is a Dry Rub recipe, again in My Lodge Cast Iron Skillet cookbook I’d like to try. I think we’ll have that with some rice and green beans perhaps. (I really really like that cookbook.)

Thursday: We eat with my family tonight.

Friday: It’s just me tonight and I’ll probably have leftovers.

Saturday: Depends on our schedule. We usually eat out for lunch and have a “fend for yourself” night for supper.

Here’s hoping I can stick to this! What are you eating this coming week?