Reading Challenge: Complete

My 15 books in 15 weeks reading challenge ended last week, and I’m happy to report that I’ve not only met my goal, but actually forgot about it entirely and still ended up exceeded it! To recap, here are the 15(+) books I read in the past 15 weeks:

  1. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  2. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
  3. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  4. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
  5. Maus II A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
  6. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
  7. Life and Death are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan
  8. The God of Animals: A Novel by Aryn Kyle
  9. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
  10. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  11. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  12. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  13. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  14. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
  15. The Books of Magic Part 1 by Neil Gaiman
  16. The Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card

This is a pretty diverse list! It includes modern novels, non fiction, graphic novels, sci-fi, war tales…my tastes have been pretty varied these last few weeks! And I can pretty much say I’d recommend all of these books as a good read, depending on your individual tastes and whatever mood you may find yourself in.

One of the best things about this challenge has been realizing the power of my commute time. In the 45 min-1 hour I ride to and from work each day, I am able to do something productive, enriching, and engrossing. It’s been a great reminder to make the most of my minutes, and to make time for the hobbies I really enjoy. Like reading.

And, while I’ve really enjoyed this challenge (and the reminder to keep changing up my reading habits), I’m looking forward to its close. No, I’m not going to stop reading. I’m just looking forward to enjoying a more leisurely pace, and allowing each book to take the time it needs.

That being said, I’m now looking for recommendations! Tell me, have you read any good books lately?

So Yesterday, I Got Engaged.

Oh man.

So, I’m engaged! And that means I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, the guy I’ve dated for a decade and who is so amazing I seriously doubt I am deserving of him. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Seriously, constant butterflies.

One of the most amazing parts about all this happening (other than the guy I get to marry!) is realizing how many of our friends and family were over-the-top excited for us. Several of you squealed, a number of you cursed, and we are just blown away by how much you all seem to like us.

Because so many of you asked, here are some of the details:

  • He proposed yesterday, September 9th, on his birthday.
  • We were at our house, which was so perfect- what better place for something so momentous than the home we share??
  • He was nervous. I was crying. We were basically a mess.
  • We immediately went out for a birthday dinner to celebrate, and I remarkably didn’t crash the car in my excitement.
Here we are a little after dinner. Feeling pretty giddy.

Here we are a little after dinner. Feeling pretty giddy.

And because so many of you asked, here's my ring! I have to get it resized, but it's his paternal grandma's ring, and so unusual and lovely.

And because so many of you asked, here’s my ring! I have to get it resized, but it’s his paternal grandma’s ring, and so unusual and lovely.

The guy at his birthday dinner! 26 is going to be a big year, KP.

The guy at his birthday dinner! 26 is going to be a big year, KP.

Our first toast! Thanks to Shelley and Adam for bringing home the bubbly. :)

Our first toast! Thanks to Shelley and Adam for bringing home the bubbly. 🙂

I can’t tell you all how excited I am about this, and how much all your calls and comments have meant to me. I’m feeling like a big goofy loveball this week, and I want to let everyone know just how much I love them.

Have a wonderful week, my friends!

So what’s the biggest thing I’ve learned while on a wheat-free diet?

I’m about halfway through a month of trying the wheat-free diet. I was compelled to try it out in camaraderie with the guy, and thought that summer, with its fresh veggies and outdoor grilling, would be the perfect time to give it a shot.

So what are some of the big things I’ve discovered since? Well, this isn’t going to surprise anyone, but…

I miss bread

…I really do. And cookies. And cereal. I miss all the things bread products allow you to eat- jams, honey, cheese, sandwich stuff. Although, I’m still eating plenty of those things now.

But what do I like? I like eating a whole plate of fresh fruit and vegetables. I like taking a bit more time to prepare meat for my meals rather than settling for a grilled cheese sandwich. I like that, when I eat out, I feel justified in just ordering the steak.

I have until about September 9th to go, and who knows if I’ll keep it up past that point, but for now I’m enjoying the challenge.

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What I’ve been reading lately

Hello! I’m back. I’m ready to be blogging girl again. Where have I been? Oh, lots of places, but mostly just clearing my head and getting a break.

It was amazing. But more will come on that later!

Books on hold from the library come all at the same time!

Books on hold from the library come all at the same time!

Today I want to do a quick rundown on my reading challenge. Last night, I had book club and was reminded not only of how much I love to read, but also how much I love to share about reading.

So, here’s how that old list is going, 15 books in 15 weeks:

  1. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  2. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
  3. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  4. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
  5. Maus II A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
  6. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
  7. Life and Death are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan
  8. The God of Animals: A Novel by Aryn Kyle
  9. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
  10. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

So…any suggestion of what to read next??? I’m looking!

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Erin’s Reading List Week 4

Hey there! So I have set myself a summer reading goal: I’m reading a book a week for 15 weeks. I started 6 weeks (and 7 books!) ago and will go through to the first week of September.

So after reading Stiff, When Everything Changed and Will Grayson Will Grayson, I was ready for something more of a novel. My book club read a Tom Robbins book for our first meeting, and I really enjoyed it, so I decided to have a go at Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.*

This book, for those not in the know, is essentially a coming of age story about a woman with unusually large thumbs, who finds herself realizing her full potential as the world’s best hitchhiker, but then turns her world upside down when she comes across an all-woman ranch in the middle of a crisis.

Sound a little zany? Well that’s just Mr. Robbin’s style. And it got goofier. There’s a whole page about being able to be whoever you want, realized through different sentences on the page being what they want:

This sentence is made of lead (and a sentence of lead gives a reader an entirely different sensation from one made of magnesium). This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence is made of sunlight and plums. This sentence is made of ice. This sentence is made from the blood of the poet. This sentence was made in Japan. This sentence glows in the dark. This sentence was born with a caul. This sentence has a crush on Norman Mailer. This sentence is a wino and doesn’t care who knows it. Like many italic sentences, this one has Mafia connections. This sentence is a double Cancer with a Pisces rising. This sentence lost its mind searching for the perfect paragraph. This sentence refuses to be diagrammed. This sentence ran off with an adverb clause…

And it goes on and on!

So while I find myself a little overwhelmed with this author, his silly and rambling writing style, and his larger-than-life characters, I really enjoy his writing. His books can be pretty divisive, some people can’t get onboard with the strong narrative approach or the several chapter long tangents.

So, here’s my favorite quote:

“Whatever goes wrong can be used to your advantage, providing it goes wrong enough.”

Happy reading!

*Having just googled this book to get the URL for Amazon, I’ve come across the fact that this book was made into a movie starring Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Angie Dickenson, Pat Morita, John Hurt….and now I need to watch it.