what I read in September 2019

First Degree by Kayla Hounsell (Audiobook. True account of a murder trial in Halifax a few years ago. Horrifying, but also gripping.)
Gratitude Daily by Nataly Kogan (Audiobook. Fine.)
Happiness by Thich Nhat Nan (Audiobook. It all comes down to mindfulness.)
Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee (Interesting analysis of why things give us joy and how we can create more of it.)
Murder by the Book by Claire Harman (A fascinating account of a brutal murder in 1840s London and how the crime was influenced by the salacious tales of brazen criminals that were popular at the time.)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Audiobook. Easy listening.)
The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey (Lots of short excerpts of interviews with people possessing varying levels of insight into how to live a fulfilling life. Lots of God this and God that.)
Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice by Brené Brown (Audiobook of a live talk given by Brown. I probably should have read Rising Strong first because I felt like I didn’t know the lingo.)
Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Pete Souza (President Obama’s official photographer contrasts shots he took of Obama with the continual hate, filth and nonsense uttered by Trump.)
Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries by Gail Bowen (Now I should read a book by Gail Bowen.)
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles (A challenging read, but worth it.)
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More for Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs (Audiobook. Self-help tough love-style.)
The Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter, MD (Audiobook. Some good information on basic anatomy and troublesome conditions, but I find her unfailingly superior tone really off-putting.)


what I read in August 2019

Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken (Really, really, really good.)
Help Me by Marianne Power (Woman embarks on self-help regimen for a year and barely survives. Entertaining.)
Humans: A brief History of How We F*cked It All Up by Tom Phillips (Audiobook. Both depressing and funny so right up my alley.)
Husbands That Cook by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin (I will never understand why so many contemporary cookbooks feature page after page after page of photos of the chef(s), but whatever.)
Love and Lemons Every Day by Jeanine D’Onofrio (Good-looking recipes.)
Making a Life by Deanne Fitzpatrick (It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of a successful, established artist.)
The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge by Agatha Christie (Audiobook of a short story. I don’t get the point of short story mysteries. Don’t you need time to puzzle it over while the detective gathers clues? Disappointing.)
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Audiobook. Excellent.)
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (All the Catholic stuff brought back some unhappy memories, but extremely well-written.)
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (Audiobook. Didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book in the series, but Martin Freeman was a very good narrator.)
Siege by Michael Wolff (How, after all this time, can I continue to be amazed that Donald Trump is just as bad as he seems?)
Simply Modern by Deanne Fitzpatrick (Needed a more thorough proofreading by the publisher, but lots of good advice and how-tos.)

what I read in July 2019

The 22 Day Revolution by Marco Borges (A decent introduction to plant-based eating, although his tone can be off-putting.)
The Cat-nappers – aka Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P. G. Wodehouse (I laughed. A lot.)
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Audiobook. Too long, but the narration by Blair Brown was excellent.)
Food 52: Genius Desserts by Kristen Miglore (Many excellent-sounding desserts.)
Getting Things Done by David Allen (And I thought I was serious about lists. Some interesting organisational ideas to consider, but his vocab veered into management-speak at times.)
Girl Squads by Sam Maggs (Some of the language was trying a bit too hard to be hip for younger readers, but really great info on groups of women who have been outstanding in their respective fields throughout the centuries.)
Happier Now by Nataly Kogan (Audiobook. It was okay.)
The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Audiobook, read by Stephen Fry. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but I did. Mostly.)
The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner (Think I’ll ask for this one for Christmas.)
The Inner City Mother Goose by Eve Merriam (Delightful and depressing at the same time.)
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth (Audiobook. I’m not the target demographic for this, but her personal story of life and work success should be inspirational for younger women.)
Most of What Follows Is True by Michael Crummey (A meditation on the role of truth in fiction. Enjoyably thought-provoking.)
My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (A bit of a hodge-podge of stories, but it’s Wodehouse, so who cares.)
Nora Murphy’s Country House Style by Nora Murphy (Lovely photographs, but physically too big. Unwieldy to handle.)
Remodelista: The Organized Home by Julie Carlson (Mostly a book of things to buy.)
Scandinavian Style at Home by Thames & Hudson (Too much boring text and not enough pretty pictures.)
Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks by Marie Greene (I’ve long been a proponent of seamless knitting so this was nice.)
Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg (Audiobook. Highly recommended.)

so many questions

From a magazine that shall remain unnamed, may I present the absolute worst intro to a recipe section:


  1. Man berries? Seriously? That has to be intentional, right? If so, why? I do not want to contemplate what recipes I can whip up from man berries.
  2. Manly recipes? What are manly recipes? Are there womanly recipes? What makes a particular recipe manly? (The answer, based on the recipes that follow: meat and booze.)
  3. Maybe it’s time I snuck my boyfriend or husband into the meals? How on earth did this clumsily constructed first sentence make it past an editor?
  4. If I find it difficult to convince my boyfriend or husband to eat more fruit, shouldn’t that be his problem? If he’s over the age of, say, three, isn’t it a tad insulting to trick him into eating something?
  5. Speaking of insulting, what’s with the assumption that my boyfriend or husband isn’t handling or at least sharing the cooking duties? Maybe instead of thinking up ways to sneak things into meals, it’s time to quit thinking of men as clueless infants who not only don’t know and don’t care about basic nutrition, but have to be bribed into eating produce by burying it in bacon and beer?

what I read in June 2019

Celebrate by Pippa Middleton (I expected this to be a bit of celebrity fluff, but it’s a hefty book with lots of game, decorating and recipe ideas.)
The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne (Audiobook with full cast dramatisation featuring Judi Dench and Stephen Fry. LOVED it.)
Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones (The evolution of a friendship between two young women who’ve been chewed up and spit out by society’s love of fame and infamy. Definitely recommend it.)
Ghost Stories and Legends of PEI by Julie V Watson (Entertaining.)
The Gown by Jennifer Robson (A bit sweet for my taste. I’d have cut out the modern-day granddaughter parts and kept the focus on the women from the fifties, who were much more compelling.)
Let Me Feed You by Rosie Daykin (Entertaining commentary and beautifully styled.)
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (Audiobook, but I only listened to two hours of ten total because the narrator’s delivery was unbearable. I’ve seen so many reviews about how funny this book is, but I never so much as cracked a smile. Is it supposed to be funny because the main character is a taxidermist? Someday, maybe I’ll consider reading the paper version to see if it’s any better.)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (I’ve learned to be wary of the wildly praised books and this one proves the point yet again. It was okay. The characters were okay. I got bored sometimes. Maybe I’m too old for it?)
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie (Audiobook. Lots of fun.)
Simple Organizing Wisdom by Good Housekeeping (Put things where they belong. If they don’t belong anywhere, figure out where they should belong.)
Striped Crochet Blankets by Haafner Linssen (More than meets all my striped crochet blanket needs, which are, admittedly, small.)
Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (Audiobook.  Christie’s pure comfort reading/listening.)
Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey (Fine.)
Wild Mittens, Unruly Socks by Lumi Karmitsa (I admire, but do not share, her dedication to rendering wild animals in wool.)
Winter Knits from Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant (If only I had more hands to wear more mittens.)
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Audiobook. More than twenty-three hours long, but I was completely captivated the entire time.)


what I read in May 2019

Abridged Classics by John Atkinson (Amusing cartoon summaries of famous novels.)
The Ask by Sam Lipsyte (Audiobook. Enjoyable.)
At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Audiobook. Okay.)
Branding for Bloggers by Zach Heller (One long ad for the author’s blogging course.)
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (Comprehensive.)
Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford by Desha Peacock (Spoiler: get things at thrift shops, garage sales and from other people’s garbage.)
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg (Audiobook.  I’d hoped it was non-fiction, but it’s a collection of short stories. They’re okay.)
Doug Knockwood, Mi’kmaw Elder by Doug Knockwood (Quite the life story.)
Feel Free by Zadie Smith (Audiobook. Some really interesting essays, some not so much.)
Follow Your North Star by Martha Beck (Audiobook. A good introduction to thinking about what you want in life.)
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King (The author is lucky Mister Rogers is an interesting enough subject for readers to put up with his weak, repetitive writing.)
Head-to-Toe Winter Knits by Monica Russel (I had no idea boot cuffs were so in demand.)
Mittens from Around Norway by Nina Granlund Saether (Gorgeous.)
The Old Man and the Gun by David Grann (Three true crime stories, each crazier than the last. Really fascinating.)
Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin (Not as interesting as her other books, but good tips if you’ve somehow never heard decluttering tips before.)
A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie (BBC Radio Full Cast Dramatisation. Good fun.)
Reproduction by Ian Williams (I described this on Twitter as being like reading a dream and I stand by that description. Experimental.)
Small Space Living by Roberta Sandenbergh (This lady is a hard-core minimalist and I admire her, but I couldn’t do it.)
The Year of the Introvert by Michaela Chung (365 days of lame “advice”.)