Archive for the ‘24in48’ Category

Step 1 – Always have at least one book with you.

So…I read a lot. I read every day. I also read quickly. Sometimes I slow it down a little when the poetry/prose is really good, the same way I take smaller, slower sips/bites when I want to savor a particularly delicious glass of wine or a decadent meal. But I spend several hours each week reading, and my normal reading pace – where I’m still getting all the details, as I don’t consider skimming reading – is fast. So it’s not unusual for me to finish 12-15 books a month.

I have several reader friends who set yearly goals and encourage their followers on social media to do the same. When their check-ins are posted – “How are your reading goals going this year?” – I often refrain from commenting. There’s a good chance that it would come across as braggy from me, and that’s not the point of reading. That’s not how I feel about reading. Because if you set a goal for reading 25 books this year, and you have finished 20 of them, you are doing great. If you set a goal of reading 12 books this year, and you have finished 1 of them, you are doing great. I bet it was a really good book. Any amount of reading is great, and I’m happy for you!

I do enjoy beating my own record, though. A little healthy competition with my ownself is fun for me. Also, there are so many books I am interested in that I want to get to as many of them as possible before I die.

If you are interested in upping your own reading goal or just finding time to read more, there are many tips on the internet for how to do so. Everyone’s life/schedule is different, so some of those tips will work for you and some of them will not. I have two jobs, I make time to work on my own short stories or novel, and I’m active in my art community and church (plus – I have all those book clubs). So if I want reading to be a integral part of my life (and I do), I have to intentionally set aside time to do it. Here’s how I make time to read:

  1. I always have a book with me. If I’m trying to finish up a book for a discussion that’s happening soon or a book that’s due at the library in the next few days, that book is in my bag. Or I intentionally choose the ebook copy so that it goes everywhere my phone goes…which is everywhere I go. Which leads me to…
  2. I read via multiple media. Home decor to me is buying another bookshelf. I love the feel of a printed book in my hands. When I’m at home, that’s usually how I read. It’s part of my nightly ritual. I also love the convenience of ebooks and audiobooks, though. I have five reading apps on my phone, so I’m never at a loss for something to read no matter where I am.
  3. I schedule blocks of time to read. That trick that I learned in college where, for every hour spent in class, I scheduled 2 hours outside of class to complete the reading/homework? I just kept doing that after I graduated (albeit on a smaller scale). In addition to my nightly 20-30 minutes, I have at least 2-3 hours every week that I specifically set aside to read. That is, I put it in my planner as an actual appointment. Do I have plans tomorrow night? Yes, I do. I plan to finish the book due at the library on Saturday.
  4. I have reading marathons. Sometimes, a few hours a week are just not enough. About four or five times a year, I hunker down for a whole weekend (or as part of my vacation) and read like it’s my job. Sometimes I participate in an organized online marathon such as Dewey’s Readathon or the 24in28 Readathon [Aside – this is where not being snotty about whether listening to audiobooks is really reading (IT IS – do not get me started – or maybe do get me started. Maybe that will the topic of its own post this month because I have strong opinions) comes in handy, because 24 hours in just two days is a hell of a long time to be sitting down.]. But most of these reading intensives are just me vs. the TBR list. Speaking of…
  5. I have huge TBR lists. I mark books as “want to read” on Goodreads, and I have large virtual libraries saved on all five apps. I have a handwritten book journal where I keep lists and highlight them when I’m finished. I subscribe to many email lists that send out notifications of new and upcoming things I might be interested in, and I add the ones that intrigue me to at least one of my TBR lists. I have several books checked out from the public library at any given time. I have an enormous book collection in my apartment, and it just keeps growing. There’s no way I’ll ever finish all of them, but that’s not the point. The point is that the question is never “Is there something I want to read next?” but rather “Which one of these hundreds of books do I get to start today?” That question always has an answer.
  6. I read several books at a time. I listen to an audiobook during my commute (or almost any time I’m in the car alone). I read one of the ebooks I’ve started during my lunch break or when I’m waiting on a virtual meeting to begin. I have several books stacked by my reading chair because I’m not always in the mood for the same genre every night, and staying interested in what I’m reading is crucial for keeping it a regular habit. At any point, I likely have at least four books that I’m reading a bit of each day.

Do you have tips on how to read more? What are some of your habits?

I can talk about books for days. Specifically, 31 days.

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This is nowhere near the whole stack – just the ones that were on the unshelved/library cart. Also, this month has a lot of ebook and audiobook selections.

So listen. I got really excited about being three books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge and super happy about the 24in48 marathon this coming weekend and…I kinda overplanned. I fully admit that it is HIGHLY unlikely that I will finish all the books listed below but I do not care because I want to read them all RIGHT NOW and will probably start them all this month anyway because what even is an attention span.

I’m just going to list them this month because to list AND talk about them would be a little tl;dr even for me. So here we go. At least I’ve divided them up into categories for you.

Books I’ve started and will continue to read/finish this month:

Whew. I told you I have no attention span. Definitely about 20-150 pages into each one of these so far. And we press on.

After my joy selections from last month were of the “ok, Type A, calm down and maybe sit still occasionally” variety, and I am not good at following that advice but I am super great at overcompensating by going the exact opposite direction, my restless soul has gone into super cleaning mode. I’m not complaining, but it seems like a good month for these three:

I also find joy in revisiting things that I’ve read before or series that connect me to people. So I’m dabbling in a little:

Book club selections for the month:

Recommendations from friends or continuing reading from an author or timely re-read or just because I grabbed it from the library because it sounded interesting and now I only have it for 21(ish) days:

And why not finish it off with some poetry?

It’s only…35 books. In a month.

This goal is so ridiculous, I’m making a guessing game out of it. For every $5 you give to Denton Bail Fund, you get one guess about how many I’ll *actually* finish from February 1-February 28. I’ll send the person whose guess is the closest (or the person whose name I draw out of a hat, if there’s a tie) the book of their choice from this list. Because of who I am as a person, some game rules:

1. To qualify as an entry, you must email coffeesnob@gmail.com:

  • Screenshot of your donation confirmation to Denton Bail Fund with date and amount showing
  • Which of the 35 titles you would like to receive if you win
  • Your mailing address (I will not sell your information – just use it this one time to mail you your book if you win)
  • Your guess(es) – one per $5 donated, whole numbers from 2-35 (I’ve already finished 2 – don’t guess lower than that) – about how many books I will finish between February 1 and February 28.

2. Donations made to DBF must be dated between 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2021 (because yes, I reward being already on this) and 11:59 p.m., February 10, 2021, to count toward an entry.

3. Deadline for receiving email entries is February 11, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., CST.

4. I will send a confirmation email when I get your entry. If you do not get a confirmation from me, you have not successfully entered.

All other things being equal, I will have a final total posted by March 5 and will place the order for the winner’s book by March 10, 2021.

Okay, so I’m going to go read now. I have so many choices! This is the best month!

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It’s the International Day of Happiness. This week has been w.e.i.r.d., to say the least. I’ve had a few panic attacks, and I’m still at work as we try to accommodate students who have nowhere else to go and figure out what in the world we’re going to do next (I would welcome faster decisions here…I’m just sayin’.). But there’s also been so many opportunities for joy. Just in my little corner of humanity, there is so much goodness. There are also so many fun things online. Here’s a list for times when you’re feeling more anxious than happy or just want something hopeful.

  1. Italians singing from their balconies.
  2. Lots of love happening on the ‘gram. Nikki Mayeaux is posting a daily creative prompt called Poem Passwords. The pictures on #seeninquarantine are spectacular. Between her early start for April Love and purrs from her sweet cat, Susannah Conway is soothing my soul. Julia Turshen is posting daily foodie prompts. I love this list from worn_ware of people offering yoga, meditations, etc.
  3. Tessera Arts Collective in Philadelphia closed the gallery for now, but they are still on for installing a street art campaign throughout the city this Sunday.
  4. Local businesses that can’t afford to shut down completely are making the best of it with delivery and curbside pickup. The Dentonite is keeping a running list. I love watching local business owners figure out how to take care of their employees by offering alternate earning opportunities and giving devoted patrons the ability to still tip their baristas/servers (*cough* support Golden Boy *cough*). Also…Golden Boy has key lime and coconut pie right now, which are in my top three favorite pies (blueberry is the third, if you’re wondering).
  5. Aid Network Denton and the city of Lake Dallas are keeping up a list of ways to get help or get involved if you can give help.
  6. Nature is delightful. The canals are clear and the swans are back in Venice. And penguins at the Shedd Aquarium enjoy a tour of the zoo.
  7. Since you can’t go in person, many field trip locations and entertainment venues are coming to you. You may also be able to watch the stage production of your favorite musical online. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming. Andrew Lloyd Webber tweeted himself playing “All I Ask of You”, and Lin Manuel Miranda responded with his performance of “Everything’s Alright”. Yale is offering their course on The Science of Well-Being for free (audit only).
  8. For artists whose income is impacted by all the cancellations, here’s a list of places that may be able to offer support.
  9. Books resources! I didn’t know how much I needed Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog in my life until this week. In fact, many children’s authors are reading their books online this week. And one that made me salivate – download from a selection of over 300,000 books for free from the New York Public Library through their reader app!!!
  10. Debbie Allen is teaching online dance classes! So is Chloe Arnold!
  11. Joy the Baker is just a delight. As usual.
  12. People are putting their Christmas lights back up to spread joy.
  13. All the Julia Child is streaming!!
  14. What am I doing this weekend? I’m so glad you asked! 24in48’s Social Distancing Readathon!

I’m sure there’s more. What are your favorite things people are doing right now?


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24 hours of reading/listening

I’m very excited that I finished! Twenty-four hours of reading a book or listening to audiobooks in just one weekend. As expected, my goals were loftier than time allowed, but I finished:

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I also read/listened to a little bit of:

  1. Being Dead by Jim Crace
  2. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
  3. Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

I finished earlier this time than I usually do, probably because I didn’t leave my apartment at all until this morning, and that was just because I wanted a croissant to go with my coffee. Even that brief outing didn’t cut into my time, since I have Scarlet on audio CD (yes, my car still has a CD player).

After a busy few weeks at work (with both jobs), this relaxing weekend was just what I needed!


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An ambitious stack. I am never at a loss for something to read.

It’s 24in48 weekend!

The book stack above is misleading. I don’t expect to get to all of those books this weekend, of course. Well, I might at least start all of them. I just like choices.

I have three goals this weekend:

  1. Finish a lot of books that I’ve started. I normally have four or five books on my currently reading list. Right now? I have ten. I won’t finish all of them this weekend, but I bet I can whittle down the list a bit. I am almost done with the following, so I’m focusing on them:
    * Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon
    * Placemaker by Christie Purifoy
    * Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley
    * What Unites Us by Dan Rather
    * An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  2. Read Being Dead by Jim Crace and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion so I am ready for discussion at book club on Thursday.
  3. Have The Michelle Obama Experience
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    I have the book, audiobook, and a coffee mug that my friend (also named Michelle) got me when she went to hear her speak in Dallas. Theoretically, I can read along while listening to Michelle Obama and drinking out of a mug with her words on it. I may save the majority of the audiobook for my next road trip, though, because it’s 19 hours long, and while I have no qualms about listening to most audiobooks at double or triple speed until the reader’s voice sounds like a cartoon mouse, it seems disrespectful to do that with memoirs.

Now back to reading!

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Favorite summer treat. One of maybe five things I like about summer. As things go, though, this one is pretty awesome.

Every year, I love reading Joy the Baker’s summer bucket list. This year, I am especially charmed by her resolve to make a Polaroid photo album and have brunch and champagne on a weekday. I also feel inspired to make my own bucket list (or, erm, the bucket list I have been working on this summer, as it’s basically half over), so here goes!

  1. Read more beach reads. I am not good at choosing what most people think of as “beach reads.” The last book I read on the beach was Like Water for Chocolate (highly recommend). I am part of three book clubs, which I love, but that typically means that I’m reading books I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen and also aren’t typically lighthearted but rather books that lend themselves to discussion. Summer is often when work is busier, so more than usual, I need my nightly reading to wind down and be able to rest. For this purpose, the lighter the better.
  2. Participate in 24in48 and Dewey’s reverse readathon. Speaking of reading, I am looking forward to a couple of readathon weekends. I like that these weekends force me to take a day off and focus on one task, and a relaxing, favorite task at that.
  3. Spiderweb Salon, the local art collective I enjoy, has some exciting events coming up this summer. On Sunday, they’re having a release party for their vinyl album, so that will be fun. There is also a letter-writing workshop/typewriter sale I’m going to sneak away to during 24in28.
  4. Finish Marie Kondo-ing my apartment. Two closets and almost a kitchen and bathroom down, the rest of the place to go. My apartment looks like a tornado hit it. Soon, however, it will all be beautiful, just like my closet.
  5. Average 2-3 hours a week playing the piano (or, keyboard, rather. It’s just not the same. *sighs*). I’m slowly getting the flexibility and control back in my fingers. And I love it.

Do you have a summer to-do list? What’s on it?


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With an hour to spare

My 24in48 weekend was a success! I mean, it was a weekend of reading, so success was a given. Even if I hadn’t reached the 24-hour mark, it would still have been a great weekend.

I finished a few books (that’s right, Goodreads. THREE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE) and got a good start on a few more.

The ones I had already started before and finished during the weekend:

  1. Faithful by Alice Hoffman – I am a sucker for misfit characters (not telling you which ones, because spoilers) who slowly, awkwardly find their way, so this was an easy story to enjoy.
  2. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (audiobook) – I love Nicola Yoon. This is the second book I’ve devoured of hers. Things I learned/remembered as I read it:
    * Love can kill you, but it’s worth the risk.
    * “Love makes you crazy. Loss of love makes you crazy.”
  3. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero – 2 stars, and barely that. It gets a second star because she made me laugh a couple of times. Let me save you the trouble of reading it: Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Then take opportunities as the universe presents them to you. Oh, and all you need to get over depression is to just think happy thoughts instead of sad ones. Just…don’t be depressed. Therapists throughout the world will be so relieved to know that it’s just that easy. No need for all that pesky training and knowledge. Just tell clients to turn their frowns upside down.

The ones I started and finished this weekend:

  1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery – After Everything, Everything, I had to make my yearly-ish re-read of The Little Prince this weekend. I really do get something new out of it every time, no matter how many times I read it.
  2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Loved. It. There were moments when the tension was so high I almost cried because I just couldn’t read fast enough. I would never survive an audiobook version. But once again, I have foolishly started a great series when the next one is nowhere near out yet.

The ones I started this weekend but haven’t quite finished yet:

  1. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (audiobook – do yourself a favor and listen to it – I’m not even tempted to increase the speed on this one) – He’s a great storyteller, and hearing his stories reminds me a lot of my teen years (not that they were similar to his but that his face was plastered on my walls for the majority of mine). Also, he makes me want to re-watch The West Wing.
  2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami – I’m only about halfway through because I’m taking it slowly and decadently. Even in translation, Murakami’s prose is exquisite. Also, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. I recommend playing the songs mentioned in the background as you read. And buy lemon drops before you start; you’ll soon be craving them.
  3. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny (audiobook) – The next book in my quest to catch up before my church book club reads the newest in the series in June.

I didn’t even touch most of the books in this stack, but I’m so glad to have read/started the ones I did. Hope your weekend was as fun as mine!

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Current view: My trusty Serenity mug and Scaachi Koul’s amazing collection of stories that made me snort-laugh approximately 43 times in the first three pages.

The 24in48 readathon is officially halfway over, and I’m almost halfway through the 24 hours of reading (11:10, to be exact-ish). I have actually stuck to books in my TBR pile this time (so far). I have finished two and will easily finish the third before I go to sleep.

  1. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – I love her writing and most of her recipes. This book is about the experience she and her husband had opening/running their restaurant. Friends, when I serve you lightly salted sauteed dates, you have Molly Wizenberg to thank. I’m also half-convinced that her husband and I are the same person. Or at least we approach tasks/projects/problems in very similar ways and seem to have been raised as if we were heroines in a novel where it was important for young ladies to be accomplished. “Choreography and cooking pushed the same buttons in him. They were both about making things, about taking a series of separate elements and assembling them in a particular sequence to make something appealing and new.”
  2. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton – I made a mistake. I know better than to start a series that I’m likely to love when the next book in the series isn’t out yet. But I did it anyway. So now I am at a cliffhanger in this imaginative and descriptive story that explores societal beauty standards, and I have to wait until freaking March 2019 to get some damn resolution. I feel vulnerable and delirious, and I absolutely recommend that you become vulnerable and delirious, too, by reading this book.
  3. One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul – I have laughed loudly enough to alarm the neighbors (I think I actually heard one of them yelp after an outburst. Could have been unrelated. Maybe) while reading these stories. When my book club chose it, I enthusiastically agreed, even though I had just said, “No more memoirs for a while,” because it’s been on my TBR list for so long. It’s definitely memoir-esque. But hilarious, and filled with rampant social commentary, so it gets a pass.

Now back to the reading!

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Coffee? Check. Delicious rye for sandwiches? Check.

Large stack of books that I absolutely will not get through and – let’s be real – will probably forsake for audiobooks while I knit or jog (indoors, because Texas is stupid hot in summer) or one of the four ebooks I am about halfway through? Check.

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. Reading. Sleeping. Eating. More reading.

It’s not too late to join. You can sign up at the 24in48 website.

Or you can just read with reckless abandon, and not just this weekend. That’s an anytime thing. You don’t have to sign up to do that.

Now on to the books! I think I’ll start with Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey.

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Not Friday Five

My most recent newsletter (click to subscribe) outlines a little bit about my reasons for being quiet around these parts lately. I’m restructuring some priorities, to put it mildly.

It’s no wonder then that the links in my inbox that catch my eye talk about change and restlessness and anxiety (also, that’s just pretty much the nature of my inbox in general, but I digress).

The words that have resonated recently:

  1. What if the work we see to do isn’t a burden but the way we were meant to be in the world? What If by Austin Channing Brown.
  2. Jenny Lawson is one of my favorite people on the planet. This post makes me out-of-my-mind happy. I want this so bad for her (and the rest of us).
  3. Maybe you’re going through (or thinking about initiating) a major life change. Adjustment disorder is not so rare. Consider talking to someone about it.
  4. The only business plan that matters? Keep going – from Over the Rhine.
  5. Wil Gafney’s sermon on Michal is exactly what I needed to hear. Maybe you do, too.

24in48 is coming up next weekend, so I’ll see you again then, if not before. I hope you’ve had a great weekend!

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