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Books, kittens, lesson plans, and Big News
“We are all living, at most, half of a life, she thought. There was the life you lived, which consisted of the choices you made. And then, there was the other life, the one that was the things you hadn't chosen.” -Gabrielle Zevin, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
I love “roundups” that sum up a whole season. It’s like saying “here are all the things I know I missed because I was busy/tired/overwhelmed, but now it’s a new month, a new season, and I get to catch up.” Beginning of September means End of Summer (for me at least). Excited to share a brief summer roundup below.
Let’s get the big announcements out of the way first:
I got a kitten! Expect to see more cute kitten pics from now on until forever.
School started. My son lost a tooth. I found a pair of pants that fit me (elastic waist but whatever).
And I got a new agent! After a summer of querying my manuscript, I won the lottery of agents and will now be working with the fantastic Danielle Egan-Miller of Browne & Miller. More to come about that journey, but I’m very excited. And maybe even hopeful.
The other big announcement is a slight change to my posting schedule for Mourning Pages. The new monthly plan: one post for all subscribers and one post only for paid subscribers. Paid subscribers will get all the Big News and updates first. Two posts a month instead of trying to fit in four will hopefully give your email a break, too.
Showing My Work
The combination of a new semester in the classroom and starting Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work made me realize one of my favorite parts of teaching: sharing ideas and collaborating with colleagues.
Kleon says, “Become a documentarian of what you do” and encourages readers to share what they love and what they’re working on in order to attract others who love the same thing.
It turns out I’ve been showing my work since January of this year when I started doodling in an unused planner. Now I’m even drawing my lesson plans (really just a colorful list of what I need to discuss that day in class). It’s a blast.
And boy has it helped me anxiety and rage and frustration this year. I can see why adult coloring books were trendy a few years ago. Added bonus: it feels like I’m not working when I’m really working a little bit.
This semester I’m especially excited to try some “ungrading” and use John Warner’s methods, as outlined in his book, Why They Can’t Write. Academia isn’t always fun, but sometimes we enjoy it anyway.
Summer Book Roundup
I read a lot this summer. It helped that I DNF (Do Not Finish) books I don’t love. Listening to books on audio, which I hadn’t tried in years, also opened up my reading life.
Here are my 5 favorite books from this summer (not all of them new, but all of them new to me):
I kept hearing what a great novel this was, so I’m not sure why I waited so long to read it. It lived up to the hype, for sure. I can’t wait to read what Kiley Reid writes next.
If you know me, you know my personality is more Murder Mystery than Rom Com, but I was at the beach and, again, wondered about all the hype surrounding Emily Henry. I enjoyed this book so much. It was exactly what I needed.
Twisty suspense is my comfort zone and I don’t think anyone in this genre is writing with the same humor and voice as Kellye Garrett. I haven’t stopped thinking about Like a Sister since I finished it.
I am kinda obsessed with Razorblade Tears, a work of noir crime fiction that confronts homophobia, racism, and classism. It’s a brutal and raw page turner that I hope is made into a movie ASAP.
I listened to the audiobook of Body Work and loved hearing the author’s voice. Whew. This book deserves a second read. I can’t think of many readers in my life who wouldn’t enjoy it.
My reading list is proof that word of mouth sells books. In this current phase of my life, I am less likely to walk into a bookstore or the library and pick up a book at random like I used to do in college. But if someone I trust tells me to read a certain book, I’m all over it. I’d like to “discover” more new books in the future, but I also have an outrageously long TBR list. (Insert shrug emoji).
Either way, please share your favorite books of the summer so I can make my TBR list even longer.
Note: I’m an affiliate of Bookshop.org and earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I think my next post this month (for paid subscribers) will talk revisions with my new agent. Please consider supporting Mourning Pages by subscribing so I can keep writing and showing my work.
Happy September! Off to drown in cinnamon brooms and pumpkin spice everything.