LA Festival of Books!

 It's been a few years since I've been to the LA Times Festival of Books and it was good to be back! I went with two friends we spent the day buying books and attending panels. The highlights:

- The Vroman's tent did not disappoint we each bought a few books
- We stopped by Octavia's, a new black-owned bookstore in Pasadena. The booksellers were delightful and they had some really cool stuff
- We went to a panel with Ottessa Moshfegh and Rachel Kushner
- Another panel featured Gabrielle Zevin (she's just the coolest)
- The last panel had a few guests, but I was there by Andrew Sean Greer and Rebecca Makkai

A few drawbacks
- It was pretty warm
- It was at USC; it used to be at UCLA and that was much better (says the Bruin)
- There isn't a lot of shade or benches
- The food situation is always a pain; they have food trucks, but they're spread out and it's hard to see what all is there before you decide 
- The panels felt a little shorter this year

March Reads Three Weeks Late

Honestly, I think I'd probably blog more if I brought my laptop downstairs more often, but I loathe clutter, so it stays on my desk in my office/gym/whatever I call it on that particular day. Oh well. 

March reads! Over half way through April! It's fine. It really is. If you'd like a more updated account of my reading-life just follow me on Instagram at @bookishlyboisterous

Three fiction and three nonfiction! I eagerly awaited Rebbeca Makkai's book and enjoyed it, although not as much as The Great Believers, which everyone needs to read. I am so happy that she's finding so much success with her newest book- she's so talented and deserves the recognition. I can't wait to see her (again) and the LA Times Book Festival Saturday!

I felt the same way about Maggie O'Farrell's The Marriage Portrait- it was super solid, just not as good as some of her older books. 

I bought two books about overthinking since it's Anxiety Spiral City over here to the absolute max this spring, but, spoiler alert, neither changed my life. It's who I am. I just need to harness the energy for good... like... Spiderman? Or something? 

I appreciated the message behind Mohsin Hamid's book, but the style prevents you from really becoming connected to the characters, which I would have liked to.

The writer's routine book had a lot of potential, but there were too many dead white guys in there for me.

Squeezing in Reading Time During Busy Seasons

Despite this being an incredibly busy year so far, I have still managed to stay on track in terms of meeting my reading goals. Here's a few things that work for me:

1. Always, always, always have a book on you (I don't count audiobooks, or else this would be a no-brainer). I read during Sawyer's swim class, if I get to an appointment early, or when I'm waiting to meet a friend (I am a chronic early-arriver).

2. If I'm on my phone I ask myself if I could be reading instead. I am still a die-hard Forest App user!

3. I read for a few minutes of my lunch period every single day- ten minutes, five days a week adds up! 

4. I read when Sawyer reads for his homework independent reading time, most days, which is a nice way to transition from work to home.

5. I do a lot of what I call "indoor hiking" (aka crank the incline way up on the treadmill), which I can read paperbacks while doing. 

6. I very rarely watch TV- I get it, we all unwind differently, but I would rather read. I have lots of other hobbies, but on weeknights after Sawyer is in bed and my husband is still working, I pick up a book instead of a remote. 

And, the kicker:

7. I read a few books at once now. I got the urge to reread Lonesome Dove, but that book is a beast at almost 900 pages, so carrying it around isn't super practical. I'm also reading an oral biography of Anthony Bourdain, but I'm not always in the mood. That means I need to have a third book to fill in the gaps. I finished the Strayed one in the picture above and just started Curtiss Sittenfeld's new one, which I'm really enjoying. Having a few options makes it even easier to read! 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts


In the last two months since I posted on of these I've been busy! Most notable was our trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon NPs for spring break. I'm a forest kind-of-girl, but I loved a new adventure (I've been to Zion one other time, but specifically for the Subway Hike, which is on a different side than where we were this time). The first day we were there we had a lot of rain and snow, which we hiked through, and the other two days were perfection. Typically we go to Yosemite this time of year, but after the insane amount of snow this winter I didn't feel like attempting the water-logged park. I rescheduled for the fall, which will be a perfect break when the time comes. 

Sawyer and I also went up to the Bay Area to visit my sister for a weekend and had a great time. My mom joined us for a few hours, too, which was an added bonus.

That same weekend my other sister had a baby! She was still in the hospital when we were nearby, so I didn't detour to visit (they were only allowed one visitor the whole time!), but, honestly, newborns are a little boring. I rather go this summer when she's smiling and they have their routine a little more worked out. 

I went to an event at LA Public Library recently with Emily St. John Mandel and it was so good. She's so quirky and intelligent, without an ounce of pretention. She mentioned the fact that occasionally people tattoo lines from her book on them and how it was flattering, so I stayed in the signing line for the second time EVER to show her and have a book signed. She took a picture and put it on her social! If it had had my face in it I may have been slightly horrified, but more than anything it was just a testament to Daniel Winter's amazing skills. 

It really is the season for literary events! I am going to see Cheryl Strayed this week and Saturday is the LA Times Festival of Books. I have my panel passes ready to go for a few friends and I- I can't wait. (Sawyer is going to Disneyland with his best friend that day, which will be his first real big outing away from us, so it's good that I have something to distract me... I trust the family COMPLETELY, but what if there is a natural disaster and he gets separated and- you get the gist). 

My students just finished reading Macbeth and it was such a great experience this year. I really worked to vary the different ways we consumed the text (group, independent, audiobook, teacher read-alouds, and film) and the kids seemed to get SO much from it. I have incorporated all those elements before, but most days we were doing ALL forms, so the periods just flew by. I can't believe that we finish this play in the next week or two and then move on to our last work of the semester (which we'll have to hustle through, because....)

... there are only six weeks of school left! I cannot believe it! Except, I kind of can. This summer is packed full of travel and fun. I am so thankful I submitted our passport paperwork back in February (we go to Europe in mid-July), since it sounds like things are getting pretty crazy. I'll be nervous until I have both in my hands, but at least I didn't procrastinate. 

Sawyer's birthday is soon- he's going to be nine already! We have lots of fun things in store for him and the fact that he's not wrapped up in it makes it even more tempting to spoil him. We don't really do parties for him, but an art-lesson company that his school contracts through is going to do a project with his class and we have a special weekend away planned, too.