Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Jewish Holiday Books

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Holiday-themed books aren't a tradition in Judaism the way they have become in American Christianity, and they're far from a cultural phenomenon. Furthermore, December is definitely not my holiday season. Yes, we have the minor festival of Hanukkah, but if we're really talking about a season, that would have been back in September-October with the High Holidays, Sukkot etc. That said, with a bit of digging, I managed to find some Hanukkah and other Jewish holiday books! I'm excited because I've never seen those books before and I've certainly never read any (re: not a Jewish phenomenon). However, here are some of the awesome books I found for all of my fellow Jews who are hunkering down amid this month of Christian festivities in the States.

Jewish Holiday Books and Stories

Hanukkah Romances (I haven't read any of these, but I'm glad they exist)

1. Eight Kisses: Eight All-New Tales of Holiday Romance by Mindy Klasky

2. "Eight Tiny Flames" by Crista McHugh in A Very Scandalous Holiday: Anthology

3. Hearts of Hanukkah by Eve Paludan

4. Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story by Sarah Wendell

5. A Whole Latke Love: A Hanukkah Short Story by Jodi Payne

Jewish Holiday Kids' Books

6. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (this is an old favorite picture book of mine)

7. The Mitzvah Gang and the Extraordinary Sukkah by Sarah Mazor (Jewish kids' book I found online)

8. Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy (a middle grade Hanukkah book)

9. Lights Out Shabbat by Sarene Shulimson

A Book I Should Probably Read

10. A Kosher Christmas: Tis the Season to Be Jewish by Joshua Eli Plaut

Sunday, December 1, 2019

November Wrap-Up

Books I Read This Month

  1. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris
  3. The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez
  4. And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready by Meaghan O'Connell

Favorite Book This Month

Hardly a competition, obviously it was Call Down the Hawk.


I won NaNoWriMo this year (writing 50k words of a novel in 30 days) for the second time in my life! I'm pretty proud of myself, since I haven't been able to finish in the past few years. This year, I'm even almost finished with the novel. Last time I did NaNoWriMo, it took me two more months and about 40k more words to finish the book, but this time, I think I have only 10k or so to wrap it up, so I'll probably be writing the first draft still for another week...and then time for a second draft!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ten Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2010

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

I'm a little late to the party today after food poisoning over the weekend had me madly catching up on NaNoWriMo today  (I broke 30k! *happy tears*), but I wanted to reflect on this topic.

Ten Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2010

1. I actually like/read some poetry

2. I read much more nonfiction, some of which isn't even biographies and memoirs!

3. I read a LOT more books by women

4. I read more books by POC (but still not enough)

5. I've changed how I conceptualize classics

6. I don't look down on people who read "lowbrow" novels anymore (and guess what, I am one of them!)

7. I don't feel like I need to HOARD ALL THE BOOKS, but instead just the ones that are special to me (which is still plenty).

8. I have my own dedicated space for books in my own home

9. For a while, I was making a lot better use of the library

10. I started listening to and enjoying audiobooks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

My Favorite Bookmarks

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

My Favorite Bookmarks

Because everyone knows that I love to read, people are always getting me bookmarks. Lovely bookmarks--Harry Potter-themed, Little Women-themed, Anne of Green Gables-themed. Bookmarks with clever quotes like "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" (C.S. Lewis) or "When I have a little money, I buy books; if I have any left over, I buy food and clothes" (Erasmus). Bookmarks that pin down the page you're on, or come with a built in booklight or even a piece of the Berlin Wall (true story). I adore all of these bookmarks.

I never use them.

It's a cliche, but it's true for me. I hoard a pristine collection of idiosyncratic bookmarks, while I use everything else around the house to hold my place in my books. Here are a few of my most commonly used favorites:

1. Post-It notes

Yellow, pink, green, white--I keep several shades of neon Post-It notes around the house, and they often end up as bookmarks.

2. Sticky flags or book flags or Post-It flags or whatever you call them

Before I knew about these, I used to rip up Post-It notes to create them. My friend bought me a beautiful set of these some years ago, and I still use them to mark my books without marring them (and to hold my place).

3. Receipts, specifically restaurant receipts

CVS or grocery store receipts are too long (at least, mine usually are), but restaurant receipts are often the perfect length to use as a bookmark, and the only bit of paper I have in my purse at any given time.

4. Mail, usually postcards or coupons

I guess I get the mail around the same time I'm likely to start or continue reading a book, so a convenient postcard often gets wedged between the pages.

What are your favorite or most commonly used bookmarks?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Thoughts on Call Down the Hawk

Well, I finished one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I have to say, it did not disappoint. I also appreciated the major fall vibes throughout the book. Stiefvater expels atmosphere like a dragon breathes fire; you appreciate the experience even as it consumes you. Our beloved Ronan and Adam of the Raven Cycle are back, and we learn much more about the other Lynch brothers, Declan and Matthew, particularly Declan. In addition, we meet a new cast of dreamers, dreams, and bystanders/victims thereof. I enjoyed meteing them and look forward to spending more time with them in the next two books of the Dreamers Trilogy,which cannot come quickly enough! I really do not enjoy these cliffhanger endings when the rest of the books are not out yet.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Call Down the Hawk Autumn Vibes

I was so excited to get Call Down the Hawk yesterday! And true to my predictions, there are definite autumn vibes. Here's an early quote:

"It was a sharp October, a wild October, one of those fretful spans of time that climbs into your skin and flits around."

Happy reading to me and my fellow fans!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Top Ten Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes

Happy Top Ten Tuesday over at That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten  Four Books That Give Off Autumn Vibes

1. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

Of all the Anne books, this is the most autumn-vibey. The phrase "Windy Poplars" definitely gives off autumn vibes, and there's a definite chill in the air as Anne takes on the town. And lots of pumpkin preserves. And cemeteries. Definitely an autumn book.

2. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Listen, I am so freaking excited that this book comes out today and even though I haven't read it yet, I can just TELL it gives off autumn vibes, okay? It's coming out in November, and it has Ronan and Adam, who are woodsy autumn boys, in it, so what more do you want?

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

All the Raven Boys books are autumn-vibey, but especially this first one, with the leaves and the woods and the mystery.

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch definitely has some autumn vibes going, between the color palate of the eponymous painting and Theo's emotional state throughout the book.

Annnd, that's all I've got right now. While compiling this list, I realized I've read a lot of winter-vibey books in recent years (mostly to try to psych myself up about my least favorite season), so  I hope that's a topic in a few months, because I will nail it!