I am grateful to last years Reading Women challenge for introducing me to some great women writers and some fantastic series - like the Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas, reading about Appalachia, discovering how wonderful novellas can be, as well as a deep dive into the work of Jesmyn Ward, and one from Jhumpa Lahiri.
A Book Featuring a Woman with a Disability
A Book Over 500 Pages
A Book Under 100 Pages
A Book That’s Frequently Recommended to You
A Feel-Good or Happy Book
A Book about Food
A Book by Either a Favorite or a New-to-You Publisher
A Book by an LGBTQ+ Author
A Book from the 2019 Reading Women Award Shortlists or Honorable Mentions
BONUS 25. A Book by Toni Morrison * I took a look at bookriot’s list of Toni Morrison’s books and a suggested order - The Bluest Eye 26. A Book by Isabel Allende
I’ve done the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge for the last few years and it has helped get me out of my usual genres while also helping me connect with a bunch of fantastic books and keep me looking for new and interesting reads. Sometimes when I’m feeling stuck with a book, it’s fun to check my list, and see what else I had wanted to read so I can switch things up.
I completed most of my ReadHarder 2019 Books with a few exceptions, but one thing I found helpful is having a live document where I could write out some of the books I wanted to read, the categories they fit under, and check them off when or if I completed them. The experience is different versus on GoodReads but I like tracking them on both.
You can see the post from bookriot here with all of the categories and also with suggestions for many categories. I appreciate that they always have some solid recommendations for each of them, and add more as time passes.
You can see my collection of 2020 ReadHarder books on GoodReads, arranged in no particular order right here.
(this list is still a work in progress)
A New Year, same me. I don’t make resolutions anymore because they tended to not be the most healthy choice for me, I’ve had a few intentions I’ve been working on from the moment I thought, hey maybe this is something I should pursue. I’d like to constantly be working on something - be it learning a new skill, or building muscle, meditating, or at the very least, reading a new book.
One of my biggest intentions has been to make it to my lifting class with a bit more consistency. I was avoiding it for reasons that weren’t really real, but they were reasons that I had thought made sense. The net positive impact of going to the class justifies the cost of going to the class - both from a time perspective and the money. I feel strong, and the positive effects of being in a group of body positive people is just incalculable.
My other body-mind related thing is making time for a yoga practice. I completed yoga teacher training at the end of last year, and it’s made every class more accessible to me. I’m still nervous about perceptions but I have a collection of modifications for nearly anything that I can pull from on the fly. I also have some idea of what’s going to happen next because most classes follow a pretty familiar arc. I’m still unsure if I will teach to anyone other than my partner, but at least I feel comfortable doing that. I’ve realized that I’m drawn to more restorative classes with props and time and breath work, so I might aim for more training in that area.
So far this year I’ve read 10 books. Some of them were short, some of them were YA, all of them were enjoyable reads not necessarily on a Reading Challenge list, but most of them probably could fit in somewhere or another. I’m hoping to post a few ideas for Reading Women and Read Harder soon, but at the moment, my biggest goal is to actually read the books I already have kicking around on Overdrive or in the house. It’s so lovely to visit a library or a bookstore, or peruse the online catalogues, but I get excited and start stocking up, and before I know it, the to be read in 21 days pile is much higher than I can manage.
My other reading intention is to make sure I pick up a few books in Polish. I’ve got my sights set on Olga Tokarczuk because I don’t have much awareness of what’s out there in Polish literature, but big name awards like the Nobel Prize are nothing to sneeze at - and since she won last year, it seems prudent to check out her work either way. But first, books in the house.
And on the bright side, there are copies available in English and Polish at the library, and I’ve requested them, but the wait is very long, so it’s feasible that I might finish the books in the house before I ever get to see these new ones.
I’ve started looking at what I will do once the kiddo goes to school and I still don’t know. There are lots of possibilities, but I know I would like to find myself and find an identity beyond being a mom again.
The moment the weather turns a bit north of zero I start dreaming about being outside. Outside in the park, outside in the backyard, outside in the forest, outside somewhere else.
I used to have a tent in my backyard growing up. We’d never go camping, but we would drive out to a park, and make food on a fire. Like me, my mom liked (and still likes) making a fire - and we get really into it. It’s a deep point of pride when it works out the way we wanted it to.
I also spent regular summers in the woods at summer camp with a mix of cabin sleeping and tent sleeping, and I’m hoping to help fill our small human’s life with those experiences as well. I enjoyed them while I was there, and I look back on those times quite fondly.
This year, the first of our outdoor adventures was at Point Pelee National Park. We rented one of their Otentiks for most of the week and just enjoyed the birds and the sounds of not-so-distant lake erie lapping at the nearby beach.
When it comes to Otentiks, they all basically look the same. But some of them have extra bonus parts that are neat - the ones at Point Pelee have indoor heating (either gas or wood), all come with cooking utensils and equipment (like cutlery, pots and pans, plates, cups, and bowls, and more) which makes it possible to pack a bit lighter. It felt quite luxurious, even compared to our last Otentik visit along the Trent Severn Waterway (where there wasn’t heat or supplies.)
The Otentiks also have mattresses inside, so all you need to bring is a sleeping bag or your bedding of choice. The mattresses are mostly twin size with a double size on the top bunk, so they can fit standard sheet sizes if you want to go that route.
We had a wonderful time running through the forest and pathways around the camp site. I enjoyed walking up to hundreds of birds singing their special songs. Our son loved the wagons we used to move our camp gear to the car, and to wash dishes. There was something for all of us.
The Campsite was within walking distance of lake Erie so we got to see some incredible sunsets a few times during our visit.