Tuesday, November 29, 2016

To Read #001

My to-read list, like most readers, grows exponentially. I've had to learn to accept that I will never catch up; there is simply not enough time for all the books I want to read. It is the greatest tragedy of my life.

A more disciplined person would finish reading a book before buying more, but I've never been very good at telling myself "no." I like to think that I'm a fairly logical person in life, but all of that goes out the window when it comes to books.

To put it simply: I just counted and I currently own nearly 80 books that I have not read yet.

Clearly, it's getting out of hand. I've issued a moratorium on books (both purchased myself and given as gifts) several times over the course of my life to varying to degrees of success, and I think it's time for another. I'm going to knock down my to-read list starting with the books sitting on my shelf right now (and I'm sharing them here so maybe someone will hold me accountable). Here's what's up first:

● Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
At the age of twenty-three, armed only with a degree in medieval history and (what some would call) a morbid fascination, Caitlin Doughty took a job at a crematory. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells the story of her first six years working in the American funeral industry, and (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) "will make you reconsider how our culture treats the dead."

● Us by David Nicholls
Douglas and Connie Petersen have been married for nearly three decades when Connie decides she wants a divorce. Naturally, this happens right before they are supposed to leave on a month-long European tour with their teenaged son, Albie. Connie can't bring herself to cancel the trip, and Douglas is convinced this is his chance to fix things. Will it work? Will this be a happy ending? Will this book be even half as good as One Day? I'll let you know.

● Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Having been an English major, there are many books that I haven't read that I feel I should have read already (like The Catcher in the Rye or anything by Ernest Hemingway). Love in the Time of Cholera is included on that list, and even though I can't read the title without hearing Robin Scherbatsky say, "More like Love in the Time of Don't-Bother-a," I'm looking forward to it.
In his memoir, Strub takes us through his own diagnosis and experiences as an activist living in New York during the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s. It will be a tough read, but also, I think, a very important one.

● The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Full disclosure: I started this book over a year ago and for some reason put it down about a third of the way through. I don't know why I stopped reading because I was enjoying it (in an I-studied-English-and-can-relate-to-this-level-of-unabashed-pretension kind of way) and would like to finish it. From what I remember, two of the three main characters were intensely unlikeable, which always makes for an interesting read.

● Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
I think Mindy Kaling is ridiculous in the best possible way and am so excited to finally read one of her books. They're calling it a "second coming-of-age" story–best for anyone who's ever reached a turning point in their life. (I hear there are also details about her "weird as hell" relationship with B.J. Novak and I don't know about you, but that's something I've always been super invested in.)

I'm already halfway through Why Not Me? (delightful) and we're reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes for book club this month (very macabre–in a good way!), so I'm starting off strong. Maybe I could even knock these out before the new year?! We'll see.

What about you? What's next up on your to-read list?

-Maggie

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Goals


I'm sure you thought you would never hear from me again, but I am back to give this goal-setting thing another try... even though we're already halfway through the month. (I would just wait until next month, but I'd already made the graphic, so whatever.) Let's go over the last goals I set (you know, in June) before getting into October.

01. STICK TO MY FOOD BUDGET | I did it! Then I fell off the wagon again in July, but August and September were successes! I still need to work on some of my habits, but I've been packing a lunch for work nearly every day and making dinner at home more often than not.
02. GET MY HAIR COLORED | Done! Per Nicole's recommendation, I went to Shellie at Frenchy's Beauty Parlor, and she did a fantastic job! Also, the shop itself is super cute–all pink and glitter and glamour. I'll definitely be going back.

Two for two! I decided quality over quantity for June, and it worked out in my favor! I'm going to try the same thing for October since, you know, there are only two weeks left now.

01. DRINK (AT LEAST) ONE LITER OF WATER EVERY DAY
I take my fancy BookPeople Nalgene to work every day, but there are some days that I don't manage to finish even one liter. I think I honestly just forget about it most of the time, but hopefully I can make it a habit this month.

02. GO TO ONE EARLY MORNING WORKOUT
I'm not a morning person in general. Most days I can't convince myself to get out of bed until about twenty minutes before I have to leave for work, so you can only imagine the success I've had trying to get up early enough to exercise. I usually workout in the evenings, but since my schedule changes every week that's not always feasible. I figure if I can do it once I can do it again.

So that's it! Have you set any goals for the month? Don't forget to link up with Nicole over at writes like a girl!

-Maggie

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Monthly Mix: September 2016

  1. Wood – Rostam
  2. Pretty Pimpin – Kurt Vile
  3. Arizona – Frances Cone
  4. I Wish I Was – The Avett Brothers
  5. N'importe quel gars – Les Hay Babies
  6. River Wider – Tall Heights
  7. Casual Party – Band of Horses
  8. Gooey – Glass Animals
  9. You Already Know – Bombay Bicycle Club
  10. Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight) – The Wild Reeds
  11. The Con – Tegan and Sara
  12. South – Hippo Campus
  13. A Summer Song (Radio Edit) – Conner Youngblood
  14. Aphasia – Pinegrove
  15. Feeling Ok – Best Coast
  16. Lover – In the Valley Below
  17. In the Light – The Lumineers
  18. Still – Seinabo Sey
  19. This Feeling – Alabama Shakes
Although it's now officially fall, it probably won't feel like it in Austin until the end of October (or later—the leaves didn't really start changing until December last year), so my summer mix is relevant for at least one more month. I've found that these songs are best listened to driving through your favorite city in the rain or back home late at night with the windows down.

Until next time.

-Maggie

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Read This: The Art of Fielding



For those who don't know: 1) Round Rock is a suburb just north of Austin, 2) Round Rock is home to the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Texas Rangers, and 3) I love baseball. I've always wanted to go to a game, but never made it out there until Saturday. The Express were playing the Sacramento River Cats, who are affiliated with my beloved San Francisco Giants, so I bought a ticket and drove the forty minutes to Might As Well Be Canada to watch some baseball.

I spent nearly thirty dollars on food and sat in direct, blazing sunlight for most of the game, but it was so worth it. Sacramento won, I got to see Hunter Pence (!!!) play, and the fans were let onto the outfield for a Bob Schneider concert after the game. It was all very #summer. If you're in the area and like baseball even a little bit, you should definitely catch a game this summer.

A day of baseball had me thinking back to The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, the second book we read for the book club I host at West Elm Austin and my favorite choice so far. I had heard the buzz surrounding the novel when it was released a few years ago, but brushed it off as a "sports book" and that wasn't really my jam. But it totally is my jam, guys.

The story takes place at fictional Westish College and centers around Henry Skrimshander, a prodigy for all intents and purposes, who seems to be headed straight for the big leagues until a routine play goes horribly wrong. Westish's president Guert Affenlight falls in love despite himself, while his daughter returns home after leaving her husband. Mike Schwartz, Henry's mentor, struggles with the idea of life after college, and his and Henry's teammate Owen Dunne enters into a risky affair. So, as you can tell, it's a book about baseball that's not really about baseball.

One of the most pleasing aspects of this book was the seemingly effortless transitions. Harbach moves from viewpoint to viewpoint, often several times within one chapter, but he does so so skillfully that you never stumble while reading. Each character has a distinct voice, and you find yourself rooting for all of them, which makes it that much harder to put down once you pick it up.

-Maggie

P.S. The Voyage Out Book Club at BookPeople will be meeting to discuss The Art of Fielding on July 31st at 5 PM! I'll be there!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Few Things



I had one of those weekends that make Monday mornings especially hard. It was full, but full of relaxing and reenergizing things like brunch with friends, live theatre, and writing in coffee shops. I'm hoping I can carry the good vibes through the week with me, and that you can too! Just in case–here are a few things to distract you from those Monday morning blues.

→ I've probably thought about this once a week since it first aired. Leslie Jones is the best.

→ There are a lot of weird, unsettling things happening in the world lately, and as nice as it would be to just ignore them, we can't. More recently, we had the Brexit issue, but what does that even mean and why does it matter?

→ Some interesting woman facts you may not know.

→ I spent most of Saturday afternoon listening to The Temper Trap's new album Thick As Thieves, and it's phenomenal, guys. Grab a copy and a ticket to the tour (I'll be seeing them at Emo's in October!). You won't regret it.

→ Andrea of hula seventy is one of my all-time favorite bloggers, and you should follow her if you don't already. Her summer manifesto is perfect.

→ One of my favorite babes Charlene Kaye is releasing a new EP soon. Read all about it and listen to the single here!

Important words and a beautiful comic in tribute to those we lost in Orlando two weeks ago. We remember you.

Happy Monday, all!

-Maggie
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