November Wrap-Up

Reading Life

  • Total books read: 10
  • Books read for 2017 so far:  144
  • Couldn’t stop listening to the audiobookRighteous by Joe Ide and a re-listen of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (and I haven’t reread a book in years– so glad I did.)
  • Nonfiction topics explored: insect sex in Sex on Six Legs by Marlene Zuk and US history and genocide in An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • ARCs read: One, but it was a great one. Check out Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak. My review is here.
  • Books Purchased because of good deals: (number redacted for marital harmony purposes)
  • Best of the Monthi be, but i ain’t by Aziza Barnes (a powerful poetry collection) and Adulthood Rites by Octavia Butler. If you haven’t checked out Butler’s Lilith’s Brood series, you’re missing out. Some extremely interesting sci-fi that delves into gender, family, and power.

Writing Life

won nano

I won NaNo.  (deep sigh of relief). This is a really big personal achievement for me and there is something euphoric about writing without filtering yourself at all out of necessity. Even after finishing three novels, I’ve never been able to commit to and win NaNo before (and I’ve tried at least seven times). If you didn’t win this year, try again because you never know!

Even better than finishing 50k in a month is falling knee-deep in a project that I can’t stop mentally plotting.

Next goals: finish draft one by the end of the year, which I can do if I write about 1k a day. Now that I’m in a daily writing habit again, anything feels possible.

Life, Etc

  • Research papers graded this month: 72
  • Number of kids in my house singing Jingle Bells non-stop since November 15: 2
  • Turkeys roasted, with all of the fixings: 1
  • Days of Turkey leftovers: Let’s not talk about it, okay? I’m not gobbling any more, but last week…

Real talk about turkey leftovers: these turkey enchiladas are my favorite thing to make… besides turkey sandwiches with leftover cranberry dressing.


One more month to go this year. Finish strong, my friends.

NaNo Check-In

Hi from the NaNoWriMo/research paper grading trenches that I’ve got set up. Notice the empty glasses of egg nog and crumpled bags of Chex Mix.

It’s fall break for me this week, and I’ve set some goals. To keep accountable, I posted them on Twitter and will repeat them here.

  1. Stay off of social media until Saturday this week (so far, so good).
  2. Write 15,000 words of NaNo project from 11/16-11/24
  3. Grade 30 research papers
  4. Finish reading An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States before Litsy Feminist Bookclub’s discussion on 11/25
  5. Eat, drink, and be merry with family

I’ll post at the end of the week with an update at how those goals went.

How are things going for you? If you’re NaNoing and need support, feel free to find me on the site. My user name is rmm.



August Wrap-Up

Reading Life

Total Books Read: 15

ARCs: 4

Audiobooks: 6

Books I read this Month that I can’t stop recommending: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Best of the Month, which I also highly recommendThe Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin-(I can’t believe this trilogy is over!) and And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

If you loved Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, Books That Shook Us is collecting minireviews until October 1, so submit! It’s going to be a fun set of posts about an amazing series.

Writing Life

Articles finished: 3

scriveProgress made on shiny new thing: 7,000 words

I’ve been trying out Scrivener this month, and so far I’m enjoying it. I like the outline features and the note card organization. It’s nice to have separate places to do some thoughts about character development and store notes for research. Anyone else use Scrivener? Things you like/don’t like about it? Post in the comments. I’m still deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on buying after the trial is over.

Life, Etc

Batches of sugar cookies rolled out with the kiddos on a rainy Sunday: one (and let me just say that toddlers/preschoolers may not be quite old enough for the rolling out portion. We’re sticking to the decoration side from now on…)

Pinball Machines played: 5 (Arcade dates > any other date. I’m pretty amazing at Medieval Madness, by the way, if you need any small plastic trolls defeated with small silver balls).

Back to work this month, and my biggest is starting school for the first time. We’re all still working out the kinks in schedules here, but it’s nice to get back to a routine.

Hope you’ve had an excellent month!




July Wrap-Up

Reading and Writing Life

Number of books read this month:  11

Number of books read this year: 90

Best of the MonthThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Number of books bought this monthredacted for embarrassment reasons I have little self-control where my books are concerned

I’m reading five books currently and loving them, but my big reading project currently is the original Wonder Woman comics. The first collection is 700+ pages, and I’m about halfway through. Lots of random plot-lines, nonsequiturs, and political incorrectness, but thoroughly enjoying it nonetheless.

Diana Prince
Diana Prince with the briefcase in the office

New things outlined: 2

Ideas gotten on vacation that have shoved those outlines aside: 1

We’ll see what the next big project will be, but I’m writing shorter stuff for now and enjoying it.

Days that I plan to write this upcoming month: 30! I’m jumping back into the #AugWritingChallenge on Twitter, which is always my favorite place to get motivated. Such a great group. 500 words a day writing or 1 hour a day editing. Details here if you want to join.

Life, etc

Vacations: 1

Afternoons spent in the sprinkler with the family: 5

Loaves of zucchini bread: 4

Batches of my grandma’s cucumber salad: 2

County Fairs : 1

Percentage ready that I am for the school year to start: -35%




Library Book Sale Love

Stopped by a library book sale recently and picked up too many  just enough new books. The money all goes to the library, right, so it’s half good deed and half “I need to get rid of some old books  build more bookshelves” fervor. (I’m officially done with strike through for this post, so don’t fear.)

Walking into a library book sale feels like going on a first date. Your expectations are high, but you’re trying to moderate them. You’re willing to give your heart away, but not too quickly. Always, always, you’re hoping to meet the right one. Luckily, with books, there’s no right “one“. I dug through stacks and found seven (seven!) copies of The Poisonwood Bible, several copies of Midwives, but also lots of new-to-me books.

On my stack of finds? Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, as well as a Calvino slim-but-heavy read called Cosmicomics and In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner (who I’ve discovered just in time for my summer break). I picked up a few other books as well and now I’ll get to fit them into their new, color-coordinated-by-spine-color home until I get a chance to read them. Yes, color-coordination can make some things hard to find, but I like to think that my copy of Silent Spring doesn’t mind sitting next to Gaiman’s Stardust or my copy of Middlemarch next to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

Want another good reason to support library book sales near you? They don’t hurt the authors you love, in fact, they can really help you find new authors to love (which can help you find their newest book!)

Long story short, I snuck in a big bag of new books this weekend, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know where I am…


June Wrap-Up

Reading Life

Total Books Read: 16

ARCs: 5

Books by women: 10

Books read for the first time for “classics month” in one book club: The Cherry OrchardOf Mice and Men

Books read with multiple POVs for another book club for this monthEmbroideries by Marjane Satrapi, When the Moon was Ours  by Anna-Marie Lemore, Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, Spoonbenders  by Daryl Gregory,  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Memoirs: Hunger by Roxane Gay, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Overall best of the monthHunger (read this one immediately, or better yet, listen to it on audiobook read by the author), Little Fires Everywhere (review forthcoming), and Comics for a Strange World 

Percentage easier it is to focus on reading when you don’t have wi-fi for 10 days: 115%

Writing Life


New, shortish things accepted for publication: 2 (here’s one)

Old works-in-progress dragged out of the depths of my computer that have me re-enchanted: 1

Life Etc,

Things are busy, but not incredibly exciting. I’m okay with that. Veggies are growing in the garden and kids are obsessed with Frozen and I finally got to see Wonder Woman. It’s the little things.

May Wrap-Up

Reading Life

Books read in May: 15

Books for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: 3

ARCs read/reviewed this month: 4

Letters Left for ABC Reading Challenge:  3 (Q, X, Z). Still open to recommendations for books with titles that start with those letters! Post in the comments if you have some good ones.

Books that made me so mad I wanted to throw them across the room but had to finish them for a book club anyway: 1

Best of the Month: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, How to Survive a Summer by Nick White, and Everything I Never Told you by Celeste Ng

This was my best reading month of the year so far, and also the first month I haven’t been teaching all year— I would call that correlation with a clear causation.

Writing Life

I’m in the midst of a big revision on my new project and feeling good about it.

Status: revised 228/290 pages currently. On Twitter hiatus until complete.

Goal: finish revision before June 9 to send to a new set of betas

Life, Etc.

Radishes picked this month: 15

Hours of sod-digging to plant a sunflower border in my yard: 6

Hours spent teaching Goose to ride a bike: Just one. We started yesterday.

Birthday gifts received by Moose and Goose: Approximately 80 billion

Thank You cards sent out “by” Moose and Goose without them putting stickers all over: 0

Number of tokens from Goose’s new game assumed to be swallowed by Moose, who is two:  1

X-Rays taken: 1

Tokens seen in x-rays: 0 (thank God.)

It’s been an exciting month, in good ways and bad. I’d be okay if June were a BIT less exciting.

Love from here, and don’t swallow anything that might land you in the hospital.