9 books I’ll be reading this summer

Since I’ve started working in the children’s department of a library, summer reading is just about all that I can think about.

summer readingOf course, most of those thoughts are centered around children’s books and programming, so I thought it’d be a nice idea to give myself a break from the endless piles of picture books and focus on some picture-less books that are actually written for adults. Don’t get me wrong, I love children’s lit, but there are only so many repetitive rhymes and cartoonish illustrations that one can look at.

Being surrounded by all kinds of books has made my to-read list grow longer and longer every day, yet I’ve been struggling to give myself actual time during the day to chip away at that list.

If you follow me on Goodreads, you may notice that I’ve only been adding books to my Currently Reading section but not completing them for the past few weeks… whoops.

So, I thought it’d be a fun idea to get together a list of books I’ll be reading during the upcoming summer months, and that hopefully it can motivate me to cross them off my list. Follow me on Instagram, as I’ll be posting more updates on my progress there!

my summer reading list

summer reading list

(all of the descriptions come from Goodreads, aka my fave place to find new books and keep track of what I’m reading)

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

This is the May pick for my Air Force spouses book club, so I better get this one off my to-read list!!

a man called ove“Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’m cheating a bit by adding this to my list because I’m halfway through it already, but MY GOODNESS, this is a fantastic book.the hate u give

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.”

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

exit west“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.”

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

This is a middle grade novel that I’m SO excited to read. My friend Morgan saw it on my Goodreads shelf and got it for me for my birthday!

greenglass houseIt’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House-and themselves.”

March: Book One by John Lewis

march book oneTechnically, this is a graphic novel, but hey, it still counts to me!

“March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.”

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is one of those classic books that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet. Everyone is talking about it again since the Hulu series came out in April! handmaid's tale

“Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.”

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal

no one can pronounce my name“A humorous and tender multi-generational novel about immigrants and outsiders – No One Can Pronounce My Name is a distinctive, funny, and insightful look into the lives of people who must reconcile the strictures of their culture and traditions with their own dreams and desires.”

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

big magic“Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.”

chimamanda ngozi adichieDear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.”


Are any of these books on your list? Have you read any of my picks? Let me know what you think of my list in the comments below! I am also always open to more book suggestions 😉

Thanks for reading!

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March madness & military life

March has been a wildly busy month – but I think I say that about every month!

It has been a month filled with learning, new projects, stepping out of my comfort zone, lots of coffee, family visits, & goodbyes to good friends.

Graduation & goodbyes

One of the main highlights of the month was B graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology with a Masters in Electrical Engineering this past week! He has spent the last 18 months working so hard & learning SO much. His next assignment is {luckily} at this base so we don’t have to move. We realized last week how settled into our tiny house we’ve become. Moving is going to be hard whenever we have to do it next!

The graduation of this class of students from AFIT also means that many many many of my military spouse friends are moving to their next assignments all over the country this week.

It breaks my lil heart to see them go, but I keep reminding myself that, as people say, “it’s a small Air Force” and it’s likely we will be stationed with these same friends in the future. And for the ones going to the DC area, I can visit with them when I return to Virginia to see my family!

Friends moving away is something that is still new to me, seeing as I’ve only been an Air Force spouse for, well, 18 months or so. The more “seasoned” spouses have dealt with this for years, but I can imagine that it doesn’t get much easier to say farewell.

Being a military spouse means leaning hard on the community around you, making fast friendships, and sharing a special kind of bond with those who you might never have spoken to if it wasn’t for your spouse’s career. I don’t exactly know how to explain this connection to people who haven’t experienced it before. Being a military spouse is beautiful & terrible all at the same time.

You have to open your heart fully, knowing that it’ll be broken a little bit every time the PCS orders arrive.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In photo news…

I’ve been snapping away lately, as a few friends have asked me to take photos for them & their families this month. I’ve done head shots, a newborn session, a couple session {which I’m currently editing}, & countless test shots around the house with a new lens.

The newborn session was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, as I had never done anything quite like it. I’m so grateful to my sweet friend for trusting me to take photos of her little one! & happy two week birthday, Ember!

My friend Elisa needed some head shots for her professional portfolio – she’s getting her PhD in English and is a professor! – and asked me to help out. We went “on location” to a coffee shop that has some good backgrounds – lots of brick & colorfully painted walls. Of course, the weather was rude to us and decided to be barely above freezing, but Elisa was an amazing sport and braved the cold!

For the love of books

Life update: I think I want to be a librarian. I don’t know what kind yet {school, children’s, YA?} but since taking this job at my local library, it feels like a pretty great career for me.

I’m working in the Youth Services department as an associate, which means I help the actual librarians in the department prep events, I do teacher collections, & random tasks like bulletin boards.

But it also means that I work the desk in the Children’s department, and answer patron questions all day long! It feels like the coolest treasure hunt ever to be given a random search criteria & come out with just the right book for the kid or a parent.

It’s not so great when a child asks you to find “the book I was reading a few weeks ago with stick drawings but I don’t remember what it’s about or the name of the book or the author but there was a gun in it.” I wasn’t so successful there!!

Alas, grad school is the next step if I really want to pursue this, and I don’t quite have the funds at the moment – but I am learning a TON in this job.

Goal setting missteps

Remember how I wrote that big long post about how excited I was about my new planner and using it to set TONS of goals and meet them all?

Yeah… more on that later.

April showers

Looking forward to April, it feels like it’ll be a bit of a calmer month for me. I may be jinxing myself just by saying that!

B starts his new job next week, so he’ll be going back to a regular work day, while I mainly work evenings at the library & weekends at the coffee bar. It’ll be interesting to see how we work this out and make time to see each other!!

I’m excited to slow down a bit and re-focus on my goals and on self-care. I also may have a giant pile of laundry I need to catch up on… #adultingishard

Why you need to rent camera gear before you buy

I’m an amateur photographer right now, but more of my friends lately have been asking me to take photos for them – which I’m LOVING!

For a while I’ve felt that my camera bag is missing something, but I couldn’t figure it out. There are about a million + one options of cameras and lenses out there, and for someone who barely knows how to shoot in manual mode, the choices can be a little overwhelming. Continue reading “Why you need to rent camera gear before you buy”

24 hours in Cincinnati

Now that I work two part-time jobs, weekends are not really a “thing” for me anymore.

If I get any days off, they’re probably not going to be on the actual weekend – but somehow, I had a whole Saturday off last week, and wasn’t scheduled to work until the afternoon on Sunday!

So Ben & I jumped at the chance to explore our little corner of Ohio a bit more, and booked a B&B in the cute neighborhood of Clifton in Cincinnati. We had just about 24 hours to spend in Cincinnati, and we were going to make the absolute most out of it.

Continue reading “24 hours in Cincinnati”

Forty truths & no lies {about me}

Hello there, dear readers & people that I actually know in real life! I love you all!

This is going to be like those beginning-of-the-year icebreakers that everyone actually hates, except I’m the only one talking and it doesn’t suck.

I’ve picked up a few new followers over the past few months & thought it was about time to do a proper introduction of myself.

Standing in the snow & wearing my LuLaRoe, as usual.

And what better way is there to do that than dumping a bunch of random {and some fun} facts out onto the interwebs? I can’t think of anything, so here goes! Continue reading “Forty truths & no lies {about me}”

Dayton Coffee Crawl: A visit to Ghostlight Coffee

Ah, Ghostlight. You were the first coffee shop I visited in Dayton, the first one I found in my Google search, my first Dayton coffee love. Thus, I think it makes sense that it’s the first stop on my Dayton Coffee Crawl!

Let’s start with the basics…

Continue reading “Dayton Coffee Crawl: A visit to Ghostlight Coffee”

My husband took my last name when we got married.

Did that get your attention?

It’s a long-standing tradition, dating back to who-knows-when, for women to take their husband’s last name when they were married. In much of history, wives were considered the property of their husband, and taking on their last name was just one little part of that. Even in our relatively recent American history, married women were unable to get a credit card unless their husband cosigned, even up until 1974!

While marriage is an important institution, one that has (slowly) changed along with our society, it has such a deep history connected to female oppression and male ownership of women. The assumption that a woman will change her last name to that of her husband is a part of that history. It’s also super heteronormative.

Okay okay, I know I’m not writing an essay for a women’s studies class. 

It can be a beautiful thing to take on someone else’s last name. It shows that you’re creating a new family unit, that you are a part of someone else’s life so deeply and truly, and it just generally signifies marriage and lasting commitment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the desire for a woman to change her last name, but I do think that it shouldn’t be an automatic, this-is-the-only-way-to-do-this notion.

So, when Ben and I got married, he took my last name.

Continue reading “My husband took my last name when we got married.”

busy bee

Oh hello there.

It has been a busy week!! How busy, you may ask? Well, all of these things happened in the past week:

  • I accepted a second part-time job {that I am SUPER excited about}
  • I worked a Christmas Eve closing shift at the coffee bar {people get a little, um, difficult to deal with around the holidays…}
  • Ben & I flew to DC on Christmas morning to see my family
  • We had a packed 3 day trip that included lots of food, movies, & sitting around the table and telling stories
  • We flew back to Dayton, & with delays, didn’t get back home until 1:30am
  • I worked the next day
  • We unpacked & packed up again…
  • Aaaand now we’re in Cleveland for 3 days visiting some of Ben’s family!

So yeah, just a little busy.

I’m looking forward to starting my new job next week and hopefully finding a good routine to settle into. One of my favorite Christmas presents that I received was an Ink & Volt planner – I have loved planners for as long as I can remember – and I’m excited to use it in the new year. I have a gut feeling that 2017 will be a year full of change and growth and exploration. I think it’ll be a year of being busy and I just can’t wait.