2018 Book Roundup

In 2018, my friend Claire challenged me to read 100 books in a year. In general, I'm not really big on reading challenges. I don't want to get so focused on hitting goals that I'm not enjoying my books anymore. But 100 books was exactly the right challenge for me. I could still read whatever I wanted, and that number was only a little higher than what I have read in previous years. If I eliminated just a couple of my bad habits, I had enough time to increase my reading time. (That said, if the goal were much higher,…

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Saturday Distractions

One of my favorite artists, Austin Kleon, wrote this earlier this week: I love meeting my readers, but I am so aware that the person who writes the books that they read is the best version of me — the most hopeful, the most helpful version of me. In my day-to-day life, I am as confused, and stupid, and pessimistic as anybody. I’ve stayed offline lately because I’m having a hard time even finding my best version of myself during a national humanitarian crisis, and my rage won't help anything. But this blog is mostly about books and recipes and cocktails, and it all…

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Take Your Goddamn Meds

Anthony Bourdain was my introduction to foul-mouthed, bad boy chefs. But he was much more than that, and if you are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to skip over the salacious stories that are sure to emerge this weekend and instead read about some of the good he did. He was a perfect example of how to be a traveler, but he was also outspoken about the role of the immigrant workers in the restaurant industry. Most importantly, lately he was totally aware of the role he may have had in sexual harassment in food world, and…

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On Binge Reading

Let’s talk about a giant reading binge – by series or by author? Do you do it? Any you recommend?  I’m not talking about a reading binge just to cram in more book titles, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing; right now I’m talking about a binge because you love an author or a series so much that you have a completist mentality about them. I read last week that Louise Penny is releasing a new Gamache mystery in November and I am soooo excited. I hope she does another book tour, and I really hope she comes to…

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Obstinate, Headstrong Girl

  I mentioned in my 2017 book round up that I haven't re-read a Jane Austen book in 2 years, which is unusual for me. They are among the books that I re-read constantly and love more every time. I plan to rectify that situation in 2018 with Mansfield Park, because it's been longest since I've re-read that one. I am feeling very Austen-ish this weekend, so I thought I would hit you up with a whole bunch of Jane links this weekend. What do you think of re-imaginings of classic books, or retellings from the point of view of other characters? I love…

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2018 Word of the Year

I don’t make resolutions anymore. For the last two years, I’ve chosen a 'Word of the Year' and I think that works much better for me. Something about setting a resolution feels like a zero-sum game. Even though I totally know that isn't true; if you set a goal to lose 20 pounds and you only lose 15, you’ve still done very good work. I do understand that. But my brain is all-or-nothing, and I’m tired of beating myself up on December 31 (or, more accurately, around mid-January) for not keeping up with my goals. I was having a hard time…

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2017 Reading List

While I think we can all agree that 2017 was an epically stupid and oftentimes terrifying year to be a human, it was a magnificent year to be a reader. That has always been the case in my life: books save me from the crazy in my head and the crazy in the world. I read 69 books in 2017, which is a little bit less than what I read last year, but still pretty average for me. In my day job, I edited an additional 28 books for other authors, so I suppose my total book consumption is 97 books. That does…

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Mojitos, Books, and a Romantic Friendship

Happy First Saturday of May, my friends! I hope your weather is nice and your cocktails are delicious. I'm going to try this Strawberry Pineapple Mojito. Because vitamins, yo. What are you reading right now? If you need a new book, check out J.K. Rowling's recommendations.  Related: I've only met one person whose favorite March sister was someone other than Jo, and I had to stop being friends with her. Because really. The whole point of that book is Jo March, right? Like, the person who identifies with Amy just doesn't even make sense to me. Or, if you are feeling adventurous and…

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Top Two Most Embarrassing Moments Last Week

  I spent last week at the Smarter Artist Summit in Austin. If you look around the interwebs, you'll see all sorts of wrap-ups from writers who came out of their shells, talked to other people, and learned about writing, marketing, and branding. It was an awesome time, even for introverts who aren’t used to peopling. Of course I had to mess some things up. It was inevitable, and knowing me it could have been way worse. If you ever think to yourself, That Julie sure is brave! Look how she goes to other states with other people and tries…

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Do It Afraid

As you read this, I am at a writing conference in Austin, Texas, sucking up knowledge and stealing tacos from a whole bunch of crazy talented authors. This is my second trip to this particular conference, and I am SO excited to see my gang again. We are planning meals and drinks and bookstore visits, and a trip to see the bats, and even karaoke. (Oh, right, like I'm really going to do that one. I'm so sure.) I was not this excited last year. I had been listening to the podcast and reading the books for a long time. Something…

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