books, lifehacks, movies, music, work

#InboxZero – things I love

I’ve been a champ at #InboxZero at work for some time. It’s unusual for me not to get my entire inbox emptied by the end of the week, if not sooner. My personal email is a whole other thing and i’m spending a really lovely Saturday outside with my laptop, cleaning out Google Inbox. This post is going to be a list of all the links that I kept in my inbox, reviewed, and love enough to share.

Body Language and Confidence

You Don’t Need More Free Time

Female Fronted Bands at this year’s SXSW This is a spotify playlist and I’m going to warn you I already bought 3 albums.

Ashley C. Ford on conversations about race and how they go wrong. Required reading for white people.

This is a really fantastic article about grief and pop culture (namely, how it ties to you) and it really resonated for me. I can talk about how my grief after my father’s death affected my life and there are definite pop culture touchstones to that process- two of many: Snow Patrol’s Final Straw and Finding Neverland.

What Successful People Do Before Breakfast.

Life Changing Books – an interesting list and it’s largely populated by books I’m unfamiliar with, which is why it’s been lingering in my inbox

Another post on the Psychology of the Daily Routine. I find this stuff fascinating because 1. I’ve never bothered much to establish a daily routine and 2. I always feel like I’m more productive in the afternoon. Reading the items on this list is making me rethink my days.

Hemingway’s list of must-read literature. I’m a fan of the writer, and I thought this list was interesting and surprising.

Turning the worst team into the best: I read this book not long after starting my new position. It was a practical and helpful guide to take a look at what/how I was doing and how I could best influence the folks on my team.

How a 90-year-old missing person became a hit on Spotify

An online Yoga Festival– I have participated in these and you get access to an amazing number of classes with great teachers that you can continue to view AFTER the conference. A pretty good deal for the price.

Netflix also sent me two important messages. Season 2 of The Returned is available and Netflix has a new show called Love. Those are the Rotten Tomatoes links, in case you care about other peoples’ reviews/ratings. Season 1 of The Returned (which is the French version, if you care) was intense, creepy and super compelling. I’m going to wait until I’ve got time to binge.

RIP Alan Rickman. This interview for Bullseye is great and they spent time talking about one of my all time favorite films – Die Hard – in exactly the way I would hope people would discuss and interview about it. Fantastic. Streamable from the web- no app needed. The subsequent interview with Sacha Jenkins regarding fashion and music is kind of great as well.

Success! Personal #inboxzero achieved.

books, life unfiltered

The eyes have it

In my case, they have me getting up every hour to put drops in them. Over the weekend it was every two hours. I spent two days in a dark room, listening to audiobooks, in hopes it would help kick this thing to use my eyes as little as possible.

That didn’t work.

I did, however, get to listen to audiobooks of two of my all time favorites: The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, both by Robin McKinley. I think I first got these in late grades hook/early junior high. I suspect I’ve retread them every single year since then. They are my go-to comfor reads. 

Not too long ago, on a podcast I love, one of my Twitter friends said she uses audiobooks for books she’s already read and loved, so that if you get distracted during a task you haven’t really MISSED anything. It was amazing advice and the first thing I thought of when I started to get sleepy while listening. I know both of these books so well that I could practically pin the chapter where specific action happens. It made them the PERFECT listen for a sleep-deprived, eye-damaged weekend. Now I’m going through my well-loved books to see which ones I maybe need some audio for.

Do you have any favorite comfort-reads?

books, health, travel

There’s something in my eye

Actually, it’s not in my eye anymore. After almost two weeks of travel, I’m back in the blustery western plains. My eye was red, angry and sensitive enough to light that walking outside felt like someone stabbing me in the face. I went to the ER, where some things were flushed out of my eye (?!) and it’s hopefully on its way to good repair.

Instead of reading, which I’d planned to do, I listened to several back episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour during my plane and airport time yesterday. Today, instead of finishing Girl on A Train (no, not that one- the other one) I’m watching/listening to Pride and Prejudice.

The 2005 version with Kiera Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen is becoming my favorite iteration of all the adaptations. It hits all the highs and lows needed to make the story feel satisfying and, controversial a stand as it may be, MacFadyen is a better fit than Colin Firth.

Second runner up has to be Bridget Jones Diary and my third place goes to Austenland.

Do you have a favorite Pride and Prejudice?


Books. Just books

So there have been plenty of things, some books, and then other things. I’m not quite done listening to the latest Salman Rushdie as a deer very inconsiderately ran into my car and derailed my listening.

Things I’ve read/finished in the last month:

Still Alice– I haven’t seen the film but the novel is as poignant as one might expect. This particular Alzheimer’s patient begins as a pretty brilliant educator. The story is interesting, engaging and not exactly new territory. The most intriguing part was her note to herself, saved on her computer and how that unfolds. I can see how it would make a good movie, though I’m not sure the book will drive me to see it.

The Sparrow– Jesuit Priests in Space. Super simplified but nonetheless accurate. In the future (less far away now than when it was written) humans make contact with aliens. The collective governments can’t get their poop in a group to beat the priests to space and so the first contact – and the team that makes said contact – is intriguing, complex and takes what could be just a good story and makes it an interesting discussion about society, cultural development, prejudice and faith. Slow starter, but once it gets going it was hard to put down.

The Comeback Kiss – I really enjoy Lani Diane Rich’s books because they are just… nice. Nothing is ever really simple but it’s always relatable and usually funny.

Rooms– This is a ghost story told by ghosts. I don’t think that’s a spoiler. What’s most interesting about how this plays out is how the stories of the ghosts are slowly revealed and how they interact with the people they come in contact with.

I feel like I’m missing a bunch of things, so I’m going to have to review.


This Week in Books 10-24

This week I finished:

The Girl on the Train– I know I’ve heard a lot of people saying that the ending is problematic. While I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, I suppose the ending is only a real problem if you’re actually comparing it to Gone Girl. Honestly, except that there is a female protagonist, interesting depictions of marriage/relationships, and a supposed murder, I don’t think the books have anything in common. The tone is different, the characterization is a bit less arch and it was still a solid read.

The White Magic Five & Dime– Got this on a Book Riot deal and found it to be surprisingly engaging. The title lets you know this is going to be a different setting, with a hint to the occult, but the book itself is more a straightforward mystery. The characters are interesting and have creative dynamics. The protagonist isn’t warm and fuzzy, but isn’t really unlikeable (in short, like a normal person). The ending wrapped up a bit nicely and I was surprised to find out there’s a second book, though I haven’t picked it up yet.

Ancillary Sword – 2nd in the Ancillary series by Ann Leckie and still as engaging and interesting as the first. Breq has been removed (removed herself) from the system and is attempting to pay an old debt. The new system, ignorant to the political infighting Breq discovered in the first book, has its own particular problems and dilemmas. Satisfying read and I’m looking forward to the conclusion. FWIW, if you like audiobooks, these are not too lengthy and make for good listening while walking/running.

I’m nearly finished with Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It’s been a lovely light read to help me travel this week and get my mind off things. I’ve also started the last of the Ancillary series (Mercy) so I should be done with that by next Saturday.

In semi-related news, the obssessive listening to Hamilton continues.


This week in books

I finished The Emperor of All Maladies. I began it before I knew my mother’s breast cancer had returned and finished it while she recovered from her mastectomies. It’s compelling, if you’ve got experience with cancer, and equal parts disappointing and inspiring. Disappointing at how much has not changed since the 1800s and inspiring because of the changes that HAVE happened. It’s a personal story for the author, an oncologist, but it’s a story that I have to believe almost everyone can relate to. Thumbs up.

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I can’t remembe why I picked up the first in this series, but I really enjoyed it. It took the ‘hidden princess’ trope and really did interesting things with it that I hadn’t expected. The second book, I will not lie, went a WHOLE different direction than I expected. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a time travel aspect and future apocalypse storyline that seemed a bit out of left field. They’re woven into the story neatly and now I’m really intrigued for the next book. Thumbs up, even if I have no idea where the next one is going.

books, life unfiltered, movies

You Should Go See The Martian

My husband and I had a cross-country date last night with The Martian: 3D.

More than a year ago, he told me he thought I might like the book. He was listening to the audio, so I picked up the kindle version. Fast forward to me recommending that book to literally  EVERYONE, including pepole who don’t like sci-fi, ever since. I also read no less than 5 space-fic novels after that- when space and hard sci-fi is not generally my jam.

I was excited about Drew Goddard doing the adaptation. I’ve been a fan since he wrote for Buffy, so I knew he could get the humor out of a bad situation. Matt Damon also seemed like a really good casting choice. I was less sold on 3D until I heard Bob Mondelo talk about it on Pop Culture Happy Hour (where both he and Linda Holmes said excellent things about the film).


So The Martian was our movie! And it is really, really good. It’s a ‘feel great’ kind of film. Since it was a Monday night, I was in the theater with approximately 6 other people but we all laughed at the funny parts and got tight at the tense parts. It was a super enjoyable film experience. The 3D is not ‘shit-flying-at-your-face’ 3D which really did make the film better. You get the sense that you are in the room, in a way that 3D hasn’t worked for me since Avatar.


Go see it. You won’t regret it. And if you want more “sciencing” read the novel. If you want more space, I recommend: Old Man’s War, Ancillary Justice (first in a series of 3, already complete), Seveneves (much longer than the other 2 but worth it). I’ve got more but those are my top 3 post-Martian space reads.

Do you have favorite books about space?