130: In Five Years

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I’m not sure how or why this got on my library hold list, maybe from Anne Bogel. I read it in one day, less than 4 or so hours, and it was interesting.

The premise of the book is that Dannie wakes up on the evening of her engagement 5 years in the future … a different future. After she wakes up the next five years are lived considering how her life looks completely different on December 15, 2025.

I didn’t realize her best friend was going to get sick and there would be a strong cancer storyline. I’m telling you in case that’s a trigger for you. It’s not for me, but if I’d known, I probably would have passed.


129: Someone Like You

Someone Like You by Karen Kingsbury

I really love a long series (except when like 40 books are already out and I’m starting from the beginning) tied to one family or group of people. I feel like I really get to know them, understand their inner workings, and are able to grow with them.

These stand-alone titles from Karen Kingsbury surrounding her Baxter Family story-line are delightful. You can read this without having read the previous almost 40 books, but if you’ve read them the story is richer. You know more of the backstory of each character.

This was delightful because I got to see some of those Baxters again. It was also a weird story line involving a young woman who finds out she was adopted the summer after she graduates from college. It rocks her world. This is a story line I’m close to and that’s why her reaction seemed over-the-top.

I don’t think we have a healthy enough response to adoption yet in our culture. There are times when we celebrate it. There are times when we shame people because of it. It’s complicated like so many things in this world. This book left me with complicated feelings too.


128: The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

I was introduced to Kristin Harmel by my godmother years ago when she handed me a library book she’d just finished for me to read while I was visiting. The Life Intended was the book and it was amazing.

When I saw this either on instagram or goodreads, I thought it was about a library in current times. It’s not. It’s about a young woman, Eva, who is part of the French Resistance during World War 2 who’s past is catching up with her.

In a big, wonderful way. It’s a message of books, secrets, heroes, bravery, and love – but not really a love story in the traditional sense. There’s also a pretty amazing mother/daughter story. I read it in two nights … and haven’t stayed up late reading a book in months, which was quite a delight.


127: The Stationary Shop

The Stationary Shop by Marian Kamali

What a beautiful read! And that cover! A friend and I read Funny in Farsi last month for our buddy read, so we thought another book set in Iran would be appropriate for our next read. This was delightful.

I found my heart breaking for the main characters. Their love had an enemy, and the enemy prevailed in keeping them apart. They didn’t realize what happened until six decades later when it was almost too late though.

I don’t want to give the story away – so suffice is to say – go read this book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to go to a bookstore.


126: The Night Swim

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

To say that prosecuting a sexual assault case is complicated is an understatement. Typically the only witnesses are the two individuals and it becomes “his” word against “hers.” That’s what happens in this book. Rachel, a podcaster, is there to cover the case in real time and while she tries to stay out of it, she can’t help but get involved. Mostly because another woman, Hannah, begins writing her letters asking that she investigate the death of her sister Jenny. The story happens over the course of about 10 days, but it dives deep into this recent assault and rape that occurred 10 months ago while also investigating Jenny’s death from 25 years ago.

The two are intertwined in a way I didn’t see coming. Unfortunately they’re also too common.

We don’t have a productive way of prosecuting sexual assault in our country (or in others that I know of). We pit victim against perpetrator, making the victim prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the perpetrator did what she said he did. Reliving the incident over and over again during the initial arrest, then again during the preparation for the trial, then again at the trial. I’m not advocating that a perpetrator is put in jail just because someone said something, but the revictimization isn’t good either.

I have some personal theories about the whole matter that I think have led us to this stage in our society. We treat sex as casual, doesn’t matter with whom or where. ‘You do what works for you’ is our general motto. But that’s not how this works. It’s not casual, and I think that’s how we’ve gotten to this place. We have no parameters on sex in our culture so it’s gotten out of hand. We’re a mess of our own making. That’s not me victim blaming, that’s me society blaming. We’ve created this culture – and if we want to tackle the issues we have with sexual assault and rape, then we’ll need to tackle the relationship with have with sex in general. It’s the only way – they’re inextricably linked.


125: The Lending Library

The Lending Library by Aliza Fogelson

I needed a new book the other night and didn’t want to start my next buddy read so I searched my kindle books and found this gem. What a delightful story about an artist who moves to a small town and ends up starting her very own library when the town library has to close suddenly for renovations.

The stories she learns from her neighbors in the library, during story circle, in the midst of recommendations, and their foodie club are just delightful. A lot happens in the two years the lending library is open including a few loves of her life.

There were times where Do (pronounced like dough, short for Dodie) seems very immature. She’s in her mid-30s and I expected a little more from her at times. Overall though, it was super sweet. (A romance, but closed door, fyi.)


Homes and Relationship Statuses

Current Living Room Situation

I made my first decision to buy a house almost six and a half years ago when my roommate decided to move back home after we had just renewed our lease for another year. Since I couldn’t afford the apartment on my own I went apartment hunting. Found nothing worth living in that I could actually afford so I started looking at townhouses and condos. That’s when I bought this place, after it had been on the market for a year and was being offered for much less than it was really worth. It was a buyer’s market for sure.

I hesitated because I was single and wanted to also get married. Friends helped me reason to the fact that no matter what happened regarding relationships I still needed to live somewhere. That’s still true for me and for you, if you were wondering.

So with less than $3,000 in the bank I sought out community loans where I could put nothing down, get help with closing costs, and was in a house in less than 2 months. Disaster struck a week later with a sewage backup, so then a month later I was back in my house.

My life has changed a lot since I purchased this house. I changed jobs, started working from home, and been to more than five weddings (none of them my own). I’ve even got more than $3,000 in savings.

This place has allowed me to be generous by letting out my spare room/office to three friends who were in need of long term housing and dozens of visitors. I’ve hosted a bunch of parties, even with my split downstairs and small rooms. I’ve also been able to be creative in the way I decorate. That’s been a real joy. (Side note: all the stuff is down and packed – see above pic – and the place is being painted “snowbird” this week when I’m out of town.)

My neighborhood started off quiet and has slowly changed as the selling market has improved. Many people have sold to investors who now rent to people who have different levels of pride in their living spaces. I’ve been the president of the HOA now for two years (retiring at the end of 2020 – might just be the greatest gift of this year). It’s been grueling work; most of my neighbors dislike me because of it. Even with that, I still can’t agree with those who say that “HOA’s are evil.” (Yes, people have said that to me.)

So I’ve decided to sell and then move across town to a house I’m going to build from scratch. I couldn’t be more excited.

Last night I was chatting about this decision (which was made less than 14 days ago) and she said I was “adulting hard.” Not a term I love. I’m taking care of my well being. That’s all.

She also made a comment about how she bought a house before she was married but would never have considered selling that and buying another before she got married. What does that even mean?

After an evening, a night, and a morning Rosary & Mass of contemplating it, I can’t figure out why she said it. My housing situation has nothing to do with my relationship status. I’m not single because I bought a house. Or because I’m selling that house. Or because I want to build a new one. Or because I’m “adulting.” Frankly any man who’s not interested because of those things isn’t the man for me anyway. So there’s that.

124: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

After reading Followers I finally picked up this book that I’ve been meaning to read forever! While it was written in 2015, it’s so timely for today and our perceived love for “Cancelling” people. We used to call that publicly shaming them, but cancelling sounds better doesn’t it?

Jon looks into a few stories, discusses the history of public shaming, and even compares what’s done by the public on the internet to the real sentences one judge gives to offenders. Can you guess which is worse and more effective in making changes in people’s lives?

Hint: It’s not what’s done on the internet.


123: Garlic and Sapphires

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

I read this book a few years ago and loved it so much I gave it to my sister-in-law for Christmas. They proceeded to read it for their book club. Then I got it in a MMD book club box from Page One Books and thought, “I’d like to read this again.”

My first 2020 book club pick for my IRL group was Station Eleven, right as the pandemic was hitting … so I thought I needed something a little lighter for my second pick. Now we’re discussing this at the end of the week.

It was amazing the first time I read it, and this time did not disappoint A few have done it on audio, and they say it’s been rough because of the recipes and articles included – so a heads up. It’s delightful on paper, and the recipes sound amazing.

I also think it’s a bit of a social commentary, and I can’t wait to discuss it as a group. The differences between Brenda and Betty and Ruth. This is a short read and completely worth it!


122: Oona Out of Order

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

If you like stories such as The Time Traveler’s Wife, this is the book for you. Oona finds out on the eve of her 19th birthday that she time travels on her birthday each year. The book follows her chronological internal age, but jumps around in time.

This story beautifully explores what one might do to change their life. How can they influence the future after they’ve already experienced it the next time they experience the past? it’s a forking mind puzzle and I loved it! LOVED it!

The writing was great, the story was fascinating, the only regret is that it only covers her life through chronological age 27 (7 years total). I want to know what happened in her 20s, when she made the decisions that influenced her future.

Does she decide to start the binder at physical age 19 because she saw it for the first time in her house at physical age 51 (interior age 19) on her first leap? Dale, Edward, Kenzie, Crosby, and Peter … what happens with all of these men? I need to know more!!