gift guide: books

2013-09-20 15.30.04Christmas is a week out.

WHAT!?

Luckily I do have most of my shopping done…just stocking stuffers to pick up at this point. I love giving books as gifts. I especially suggest it if you live in the Louisville area because Carmichael’s gift wraps for free with amazing paper selections!

While I might not read as many titles as I’d like each year (52, I will get there one day!), I am a total book news geek. I love to listen to podcasts, read articles and suggestions. This is one of my favorite times of the year for reading because of all the Best of the Year lists.

If you’re a sucker for this kind of thing and need new book ideas, immediately click here. The NPR Book Concierge is fantastic.

Here are some books that I think make great gifts.

fiction

 

The Paying Guests  Oh this book. You will not be able to stop. Post WWI, murder, illicit affairs, and excellent writing.

All The Light We Cannot See: A Novel  Again, I couldn’t stop. Even though it’s ANOTHER WWII story…Seriously, I’ve had enough!

Euphoria  My favorite book of the year. Short and sweet, but so vivid. Again, affairs abound, only this time throw in 1930s Papua New Guinea. Yep. This is for the adventurous reader.

The Children Act  This is a tentative suggestion. Do not give this to a casual reader, but someone who knows their stuff. It’s typical McEwan–full of obsession, moral conflict, and weirdness. Serious readers will appreciate this short novel.

  Some of the funniest, weirdest little stories I’ve ever read. The one about heaven is worth it alone.

NONFICTION

  I confess that I haven’t actually read this, but for the technical/science-minded person in your life, this is good. I heard it discussed on NPR…that counts for something right?

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir  A hilarious take on taking care of your dying parents. I know, doesn’t sound like a good gift. But it is. SO wonderful.

  For the foodies. Fabulously detailed description of working in contemporary fine dining.

  Because it’s impossible to not love her. Especially if you live in Indiana #ParksAndRecForever

CHILDREN’S….AKA MY WHEELHOUSE

Quest Another beautiful, wordless picture book from Aaron Becker. I gushed about Journey last year. This one is equally fabulous.

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog And Instruction Manual Weird, Weird, Weird. And really good.

  Surprisingly deep. Leaves kids puzzled, but has a lot of playful suspense. Fun to read aloud for sure.

  I love me some Chris Van Allsburg. However, this one will rip your heart out. Tread carefully.

  Because you have to include it. It’s hype is out of control I know, but it’s good.

  Herve Tullet’s follow up to Press Here. Not nearly as good, but still fun. Much prettier too.

  You can never go wrong with Kadir Nelson. This is about the sweetest book ever.

  Like a coffee table book for kids. So funny and clever.

There you have it. Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gift guide: books

back when we were friends

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I apologize ahead of time for this post. Excuse me while I feel all the feels.

I recently finished Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His  Years of Pilgrimage. Among other things, this book is about someone who had a very close knit group of friends and this group one day inexplicably shut him out. He met his friends when they were put together as team of volunteers to run after school children’s programming. Like many of Murakami’s novels, things get a little crazy from there, but that opening premise hit me not just a little, but way too close to home.

After my junior year of college, I took a year off to be a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer. I was randomly placed on team to run after school children’s programming in public housing developments. There was a group of us that grew very close. I’ve never felt better integrated into a group of people so fast. For two years, we had countless costume parties, laughed harder than I ever have before, shared multiple houses in different combinations of roommates, and fell in love with each other.

For that couple of years, I was rarely without them…really, pretty much always with one or more of them.image

I have so many memories with these people. But they’re all tainted unfortunately. For the majority of this time, I was seriously dating a member of the group. He was my best friend. But near the end of my senior year, I reluctantly realized that he was not the one for me and that Andrew was. Plain and simple.

Well, he did not take it well and the rest of group saw it as grounds to shut me out. I’ll never get it, it will always make me sad and I have yet to get any closure. I have never heard anything ever again from him in particular and this was just a simple, “it’s not you, it’s me” break-up. I’ll never get it. This might all sound a little harsh and of course there are two sides to every story. Directly following the split, I tried numerous times to reach out to them with no luck.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The silver lining in all this? I came through with my girl Tate. She moved to Japan the same time Andrew and I headed to Norway. She has remained one of my dearest friends.

I see a few of these guys every once in awhile, whether it be for weddings or whatnot. Several of them shake their heads in confusion about the others and that makes me feel awkward. I have no clue if any of them read this blog, but if they do, I can’t say that I care.

I have album after album of photos that I can’t bring myself to delete. It will always make me sad. Not that we aren’t friends anymore, but that all my memories of that glorious time are affected.

I don’t expect you to have read this far. I’m writing this more for me than anyone else.In short, I recommend Murakami’s new book. It’s great and I meant to include some quotes, but returned it to the library before I could copy anything down. Typical.

I promise not write many more long, schmoopy posts, back thanks for reading if you have.

Much love,

graysig

 

back when we were friends

friday

Processed with VSCOcam Oh….that thing when you find ridiculously gorgeous photos of where you used to live…Norway, you’ll always be Christmas for me. That was a tough Christmas away from home–Andrew and I’s first together–all alone in a country where we knew no one, didn’t speak the language, and it was only light out for a few hours a day. Yeah, that’s a beautiful sunset…at 2:00pm! Busy weekend ahead. I still have some shopping to do, teaching, book club on Saturday, and then a fun morning at lululemon on Sunday. If you’re into yoga and a local reader, I encourage you to check out this event! Hope to see you there! Have a good one.

friday

you better be watching this

Are you watching Black Mirror on Netflix?

If you’re not, GO NOW. It’s one of most creative, well-written, well-acted, brilliant things I’ve watched.

Watch it now and tweet me what you think. It’s all I can think about right now.

However, a caveat. Since every episode of this show is a stand alone story, I suggest starting with the first episode of season two called “Be Right Back.” It’s the best and the very first episode is so bonkers you might be scared to watch more. Also, the last episode is totally weak. Didn’t like it at all.

There’s a Christmas special starring Jon Hamm coming up…time to get stealth and find out how to watch it online!

 

 

you better be watching this

how did I do?

2014-12-07 20.34.38

ugh.

This is first year in awhile that I’ve slacked on my New Year’s resolutions. Need a reminder of what they were? Click here.

However, I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished–it’s not like I sat back and did absolutely nothing.

Did I read all the books I own, but have not read?

No. But I’ve read 42 and counting….that’s decent.

Did I keep a clean car and closet?

No. But I honestly think I did better than before…

Did I get comfortable kicking up to the wall for handstand?

No. But I am doing pincha mayurasana! That’s something right?!

Did I paint much?

No. I wish I had.

Did I finish my 52 poses blog project?

Kind of…not really. Here’s an explanation.

This year, I plan to ease up on my resolutions…back off a bit.

Sorry to not post for a few days—will hopefully be back with regular posts soon.

 

 

how did I do?