March 2024 Book Report

Lots of books on my bookshelf that need to be read. What happened to my reading life? I used to start and end my day with a book and read at least a few pages during some free moments. But, lately, that routine is defunct. Some people say they read more books in certain seasons than others. I also know people who read more books poolside, while others enjoy curling up with a good book on cold winter days. That has never been the case for me; I’m what you might call an all-weather reader.

That is unless I look at the word “season” as a stage in my life.

I recently rebranded myself as a freelance communications writer for nonprofit organizations and small businesses. I’m doing the work I love to do and collaborating with amazing and compassionate people for worthy causes, cool products, and services. With the launch of my new venture and all that comes with it, I’ve been recharging myself with naps instead of novels.

But maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I still read two books this month. According to a New York Times article, most Americans average five books yearly. But that’s not what I’m comparing myself to. I have high standards for my reading life. I hope to achieve my Goodreads stretch goal this year, which is 50 books. I looked on Goodreads this morning and am two books behind schedule. But I’m not panicking yet.

So, maybe these last few months have not been my reading season, but it’s only April 1st, and time is on my side.

Here is what I read in March:

Don’t Forget to Write

Book cover for Don't Forget to Write I love books that make me laugh out loud. I also enjoy coming-of-age stories in communities with strong values and rich traditions. This book contains all of these pieces (and more!), which is why it will probably make my top 10 list this year.

“Don’t Forget to Write” opens an innocent make-out session gone terribly wrong—in a synagogue during the High Holy Days with the rabbi’s son. Marilyn, the young girl involved in this tryst, wants a full life, but in the late 1950s, it doesn’t seem possible. Instead, she is faced with two choices—marry the rabbi’s son or be sent away to live with a strict aunt in Philadelphia who will set her straight. Seeing she has no other choice, she spends the summer with her aunt, who lives life on her terms and sets the bar high for the people in her life. Her aunt is also a well-known matchmaker who enlists Marilyn to help her recruit nice Jewish and single boys for her business. Over the summer, Marilyn meets new friends, makes some bad choices, and learns the tough lessons. She also comes to love her aunt and everything she represents.

This book reminds me a lot of the TV show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s funny, poignant, and has two strong female protagonists out to conquer the world. I think that’s all I’ll say for now, except that if you are looking for a fun and fast read, this is an excellent choice. I also listened to it on Audible, and the narration was exceptional. Enjoy!

First Lie Wins

First Lie Wins book coverFor years, my reading tastes have been firmly planted in the following genres: fiction, historical fiction, family sagas, and nonfiction books, including memoirs, essay collections, writing craft books, and 80s/90s nostalgia. I’m pleased to say that I’ve expanded my preferences to include several mysteries and thrillers. It started with The Silent Patient and The Violin Conspiracy. And then, I never looked back. Another favorite of mine was last year’s Killers of A Certain Age. All of these books were super entertaining, and since then, I have craved the newest mystery novel that everyone is talking about.

Enter “First Lie Wins.” I don’t want to give too much away because of many twists and turns. I would hate to spoil this wild ride for you. Just trust me and pick it up when you get a chance. I will say that our heroine, Evie Porter, is not who she seems. Her identity, backstory, and living arrangements are all a front for her job. Her target is her current doting boyfriend, Ryan. She doesn’t know why he is the target, but her job is to get close to him and retrieve information when ordered to do so by her mysterious boss.

The book is a big puzzle to solve with lots of cool pieces. How it all fits together is worth the read. I loved this book and will probably reread it for any clues I missed along the way.

April 27 is Independent Bookstore Day

Independent bookstore day logo - April 27th

If you have read my book blogs before, you know I’m a huge fan of independent bookstores. Every store is unique and independent and full of book lovers. By supporting an indie bookstore, you are in for a treat. Not only are you supporting a small business, but you will also discover books hand-picked by knowledgeable booksellers. Typically, the atmosphere is friendly and almost celebratory because everyone there loves to read.

So, go to an indie bookstore the next time you want to buy a book. Here is a website where you can find one near you!

Okay, it’s your turn. What are you reading?! Let me know in the comments.

An Imperfect Post

I’ve been trying to write this blog post all day. It’s the beginning of the month and the start of the Ultimate Blog Challenge—where I write 30 posts in 30 days. I’ve been doing this challenge for several years and love it, so I’m not sure why I’m having so much trouble getting started.

And then it dawned on me. I wanted the post to be perfect. Look where that idea got me. It’s 9:30 pm, and I’m just writing this post now.

Someone once told me that practice makes perfect, but I don’t think it’s true.

Practice doesn’t make perfect; it makes you better. Perfection is unattainable unless perhaps the thing you are trying to be perfect at is the ONLY thing you are doing. If I spent all day every day practicing piano, I’d be perfect. But I’m sure I’d still slip up now and then due to performance anxiety or an acute case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

We are all human, after all. Mistakes come with the territory.

So, I’m writing this post to break up with perfectionism. I wish I could say it has been a good run, but it has only brought me depression, anxiety, and fear. Not to mention procrastination.

I just want to be better than before. I’d rather see improvement than be impeccable. I prefer to learn instead of be letter-perfect. Where is the personal and professional growth if everything I do is flawless?

Salvador Dali once said, “Have no fear of perfection. You will never reach it.” I think this is Dali’s way of giving me permission to fail while encouraging me to keep going. This is so much better advice than practice makes perfect.

And it got me to write today’s post. 🙂


Lost Connections

A photo of the New York Times Connections PuzzleMy Dearest Connections,

When the New York Times introduced you to me, it was love at first sight. Sixteen words to sort into four common groups?! Categories that challenged my mind instead of my body?! You sounded so good on paper. While I was already in a committed relationship with Wordle, I couldn’t deny my feelings for you.

At first, we were a perfect match. You gave me a rainbow of choices and let me take my time until I was sure. On the day you put Fantasy, Frontier, Adventure, and Tomorrow in the grid, my heart soared. I knew what you were thinking—Disneyland Lands! It was obvious we were meant to be. It was later that night when I pre-named our children Webster and Roget and bought Genie Plus tickets.

I believed you would never ever disappoint me. And then, it happened. You just got weird—you and your kinky word pairings. Animal names spelled backwards? Words that included names of musical instruments plus the letter A? Food slang for head?!

That’s when I realized, you are one sick yppup*.

I thought we understood each other in the most literal way, but I can’t read your mind. I stuck around longer than I should have because I thought you would start making some sense. But we didn’t speak the same love language. And there were too many days you made me doubt myself as an English major.

So listen, Connections, I’m tired of the mind games and the wordplay. We are so over. You don’t complete me because I have found it impossible to win you over.

I hope you can find the words to forgive-understand-pardon-absolve me.


*Puppy spelled backwards 😉

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