Back to Reading

I feel like most people who write also love to read. This makes sense, because to be good at writing, you really must be a reader. We learn all of our best writing habits from reading without even knowing that we’re doing it. This is how we learn to spell and where to put those annoying commas (just kidding, I love commas; for me it’s really where not to put commas).

What I mean to say is that reading is important and I love reading. However, in the past few years, I haven’t been as much of a reader and that makes me sad. Towards the end of last year and this year I’ve been picking up my reading again. In honor of reading, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites I’ve read recently.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane written by Lisa See

tea girlThis novel is so inspiring. It is both a family drama and a coming of age tale of a young woman, Li-Yan who grows up in rural China and tries to strike a delicate balance between the the practices of her culture and her hopes to live the life of an educated woman. I learned so much while reading this as I had no previous exposure to the cultural differences between regions of China. I also found the woven story-telling between times and places to be an extremely effective way of building anticipation and exploring different characters. I highly recommend this pull at your heart strings read.

 

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
this isI couldn’t tell you what it is that makes me this way, but for me, there is nothing I love better in a book than something that makes me cry giant crocodile tears. It makes my husband so concerned and he doesn’t quite understand it, and his reaction makes me laugh. So we come full circle?

This Is How It Always Is is a big crocodile tear book about Rosie and Penn and their five boys. However, their youngest is not quite the same as the others and so it begins. Claude becomes someone new, bringing on  changes, questions and challenges that seem like all too much for a child. This novel explores the growth of the family and the people around them as they all discover who this child is and how to help on the journey of growing up.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

bernadetteThis one is mostly a break from all the tears. So if you aren’t like me, and prefer a book with lots of laughs, this is one for you. I knew I had to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? when it was described to me that the relationship between mother and daughter greatly resembled that between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Although the daughter in this situation is quite a bit younger than Rory when we meet her, the dynamic between mother and daughter is one of selfless love, silliness with a touch of dry humor and absolute stubborn will. I enjoyed this book for all the laughs, but I loved this book for the characters and their individual evolution.

 

That’s all for now! What are you reading? What have you enjoyed? I’d love to hear about it!

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Fall Declutter

When I lived in Los Angeles, space constraints and frequent moves made it impossible to hang onto things I didn’t care about. Since coming home to San Diego, I have more space. Not only do I have more space, but I am reminded every week at family dinner that I actually have two spaces because my childhood bedroom is still not cleaned out. Does anyone else have this problem?
So, I’m working towards the declutter. Here are my steps towards a clutter free closet.
1.) Recycle anything that is too destroyed to wear.
  • Denim can go to Blue Jeans Go Green. Bonded Logic turns denim into insulation for homes and they, in turn, donate a portion of their products to build homes for those in need for charities such as Habitat For Humanity. You can donate at Madewell or send in your items.
  • Cut up t-shirts, ratty towels and sweatshirts into cleaning fabrics. This will allow you to get the most out of the fabric and use fewer paper towels!

2.) Sell anything that is in excellent condition, high quality, or high-end label to a thrift store or online.

3.) Anything that can’t be sold that is in good condition, donate!
  • Salvation Army
  • Goodwill
  • Father Joe’s Village
  • San Diego Rescue Mission
  • Women’s shelters
  • Animal shelters (they need towels and blankets the most, but sometimes have thrift stores of their own)
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Image courtesy of Audible.
I’m hoping that once the clutter is gone, it will become clearer what I’d like to do with this space and how I’d like to change things around to feel more like my own space. I recently read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has really helped to inspire me. It’s also really helped me to realize that some of my sentimental habits are a littttttle overboard. For example, all those tchotchkes I have from Bar Mitzvahs and Sweet Sixteens and college: why do I have them?
However, Kondo emphasizes strict adherence to all of her rules. I’m really not going to do that. I am going to have more stuff than Marie Kondo and that is ok with me.
How about you? Have you read Kondo’s book? Are you an organization maniac or a hoarder? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
PS. Kondo’s book is now available as a manga, which sounds like so much more fun.