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%




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.





April Wrap-Up

Reading Life:

  • Books finished: 11
  • Best of the Month: The Girl with All the GiftsLincoln in the Bardo, March trilogy
  • Times sobbed during Lincoln in the Bardo : Six, which was not as many as watching A Man Called Ove with my husband
  • ARCs: 4 (Make sure to check out The Hideaway and Stars over Clear Lake)
  • Books bailed on: 2
  • Book club meetings: 2
  • Times read Curious George Goes to the Beach: seventy kajillion

Writing Life:

  • Edit letters received: 1
  • Days spent staring at edit letters before getting back to work: 4
  • Percentage better that work-in-progress will be with edit letter in mind: 110%
  • Pages edited: 80/260
  • Books about entomology read to improve work-in-progress: 2, with 2 more on the docket

Life Etc.:

  • Bad haircuts received: 1
  • Garden status: potatoes, peas, turnips, and onions in the ground; basil in a pot inside
  • Packages of Twizzlers eaten entirely by myself: 1
  • Number of eardrums ruptured in my household this month: 1
  • Song currently stuck in my head: Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell, because, of course, Joni Mitchell

All the best from here.

A Year in Review

So, every good 90’s sitcom had the episode about the parents rushing around the night before Christmas because, oh no, someone forgot to buy Christmas presents and the relatives are coming tomorrow/kid’s toy is hard to get/we need to work in the Gift of the Magi somehow because Christmas. I always rolled my eyes at these episodes (though of course I watched them. I wasn’t going to miss an episode of Family Matters or Step by Step). Who waits that long? What a thin plot line, I mused.

Oh, hey karma, it’s me. Rachel. Just hanging out, completely unprepared for the holiday season.

Still, looking back on the year I think this procrastination is just trying to squish too much into too small of a space, so I’ll give myself a pass and thank God that my son didn’t want a Hatchimal.

Instead of decking the halls, here’s my 2016 wrap-up:


Books read: 98 (though I’m angling for the full hundred before the 31st… have a few in progress)

Favorite Authors Discovered and immediately Binged: Rainbow Rowell, Octavia Butler,  Curtis Sittenfeld, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Lisa Lee

Books that Made Me Ugly Cry: Sister of My Heart (Divakaruni), A Man Called Ove (Backman), The Underground Railroad (Whitehead), Harmony (Parkhurst), The Darkest Child (Phillips)

Longest Book: Infinite Jest (Foster Wallace)

Books I Couldn’t Put Down: Underground Airlines (Winters), The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Elison), A World Without You (Revis),  IQ (Ide)

Books of Poetry: Three

Books of Feminist Essays: Five

Best Non-fiction: Musicophilia (Sacks) or Without You, There is No Us (Kim)

Best friends acquired from reading this year: numerous, via Litsy

Favorite Reads of the Year: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple and Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal


Pieces accepted for publication: 5

Political think-pieces started and then discarded immediately in a rush of angry tears: at least 2

McSweeney’s rejections: oh God, a lot.

Novels completed: one

Novels re-vamped: also one

Queries sent: enough

Agents acquired: one! As of just last week!


TV Series Binged: Last Week TonightCurb Your Enthusiasm, The Office (again), VEEP (again), The West Wing (currently in progress because once, a long time ago, there was optimism in politics)

Forts made in the living room: at least five, and some of them were pretty good

Episodes of Curious George watched: probably only ten to fifteen, but it’s really a question of repetition of those ten to fifteen.

Oceans I’ve dipped my toe into: one

Times a cashier has caught me singing along to the song over the speakers at the grocery store: one

Political elections that I never want to talk about again: one

Years ahead that I’m nervous for, but can’t help but hold the slightest amount of hope for as well: one

Love to all of you during the darkest days of the year, and many blessings for the year ahead.

Reading Wrap-Up for August

Books read: 14

Books by Women: 11

Books by POC: 5

Funniest Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Saddest Books: Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead tied with The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Most Interesting Format: Infidels by Abdellah Taïa

Places Visited in Books This Month: Vietnam, Lagos, North and South Carolina, Boston, England, the inside of a competitive gymnastic gym, a magical circus, Paris, underwater, Calcutta, Morocco, and Lincoln, Nebraska

Best Book of the Month: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


My last month before school began again and I plunged into my To-Read list… hard. I know I won’t match this rate of reading long with grading starting to come in, but it was nice to “travel” a lot this summer, at least in the pages of a book or twenty.