What’s on my nightstand

After a slow couple of months where I was mostly reading Harry Potter, I finally seem to be back in the habit of reading far too many books. Here are a few that I’m currently pretty stoked about:



The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler : Family saga + circus + libraries + mermaids + booksellers + all the tragedy = sign me up. Strongly recommended if you like one or all of the above.  Caution if you have strong feelings against tarot cards, as there were about a thousand too many for my liking. It is naturally being compared to its popular circus predecessor, The Night Circus, and I highly recommend that you read them both.


CURRENTLY READING (I can hesitantly recommend these to you, but keep in mind I haven’t finished them and I very well may end up hating them all)

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey: I’m way more excited about her upcoming book Out of Sorts, but after reading a lot of Sarah Bessey’s blog, I decided it was time to finally start this one too. No matter how you define feminism, Bessey offers another look at the Bible’s view of women and invites us to have a better discussion.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James: This book is on the short-list for the Man Booker Prize and seems to be a favorite to win. Though not a plot that would initially draw me in (a fictional account of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s and the tumultuous history of Jamaica in the decades following), this book keeps appearing amongst my favorite book bloggers and so I’m giving it a try. Though to be honest, if it doesn’t nab the prize on October 13, I may not finish… its 700 pages are not as brief as its title would imply.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick: In a similar style to Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck, Selznick’s latest novel is another extraordinary example of combining text and illustrations (but probably not what you’re thinking, we’re talking hundreds of fully illustrated pages) to create beautiful and complex stories. The Marvels has a dual narrative set in two different time periods in London; one story is told in words, one in pictures, both enchanting. This is the kind of book you need to experience for yourself, so get yourself to a bookstore and check it out.


What are you reading right now?

Hey There/Autumn Goals

Did you think I forgot about you?

I did.

There are many big changes in my life in the last few months that I will maybe start telling you about. In the meantime here are the big spoilers: new skull, new job, new gym membership, new library card, new car. {Some changes are more exciting than others; I never said this would be interesting.}

But instead of playing catchup for a year and a half (because let’s be real, if you are reading this your name is probably Olga, Celia, or Gretchen and I love you greatly but you already know about these life updates), we’re going to jump into one of my favorite topics- setting goals. Here’s hoping that publishing these goals makes me more inclined to remember them past the next twenty minutes.

Hosea. The story of God’s relentless love for his people (that applies to me! and to you! God is cool); also the inspiration for making hesed a permanent reminder on my body. I love She Reads Truth and these daily devotions (ew, I hate the word devotions though) and how they keep me accountable to reading and thinking through scripture each day. Now that I’m finally settling into the routine of my new job, I’m getting up earlier in the morning so I have time to drink my coffee, read my bible, and journal before the chaos of my work day begins. This study on Hosea helped me finally restart that habit; my church is in the middle of a three month series on reconciliation, so I’m planning to dive into the Justice series next.  P.s. this article on millennials in the church sums up many of the reasons I am loving my new church.

Gym. I rejoined the Y in August and I have since been… twice. I knew I wouldn’t be going a lot these last couple months as I was still recovering from surgery and then going through the two busiest months of the program year with my job. But now that I’m finally getting into work routines, I want this to be a regular part of my life again. Still figuring out what that looks like day to day, but Celia never lets me down as my ultimate exercise inspiration: if she can be in her fourth year of med school and train for a marathon, I can probably find some energy to walk over to the Y after work.

Books. You probably know that I read a lot. You may not know that means over 100 books already this year. (I willingly accept all nerd awards right now.) In 2014 my goal was simply to read more, since I had spent a lot of the year before simply rereading favorites. In 2015 I set out with the goal to read more diversely, since I spent most of 2014 getting distracted by my beloved middle grade novels. I created a reading list of 60 books across six different ‘genres’ (loosely defined by me–one genre is titled “pretentious”). I started the year strong and was halfway through my list in June… but since then I’ve only crossed off two more books. I’ve got some ambitious reading ahead of me in the next three months and I’m going to try to work through this list. At the same time, I want to read the books I’m currently excited about, so I’m okay if my 2015 list stretches into next year or gets abandoned altogether. My goal of reading more diversely was definitely accomplished this year, even if it didn’t go as planned.

Family. In November, I am going to go see my mama in Connecticut! Thanks to some generously donated airline miles, Vanessa and I got to surprise our mom with a plan to join her (plus my grandmother and uncles) in Connecticut for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait for a whirlwind three days of family, cuddling, and Ukrainian food.

Here’s to a fall full of laughs and adventure and lots of good books.