Obligatory Book List 1: Self-Help/Self-Improvement

While I have consumed many non-fiction, self-help, and self-improvement books, the following three books were very helpful to me this year.

I believe this book came out in October of this year. This will be one I read over and over again.

This is a lovely book about turning everyday tasks and moments into holy, spiritual, or sacred practices.

I’ve read this book at least 20 times. In my mind, this is a definitive guide to help us all live in the moment .

What Was Your First Library Read?

I have a clear memory of visiting my elementary school library. I remember the musty smell of used books when I walked in. I remember how everything was covered in a sticky film of juice and peanut butter.

How we all survived, I do not know.

Mostly, I remember looking on the bottom shelf where the second grade reading and first grade reading met. That’s where I found The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall with illustrations by Barbara Cooney. A ‘Barbara’ like me.

My five, six-year old self had never seen my name printed on a book before which is why I was initially drawn to the book, but it wasn’t the reason that I checked it out again and again.

The words and illustrations in this little picture book transported me to the north east, to a farm, to the snow and cold.

When I was in my early thirties, I still remembered this book. I didn’t remember the name or the author, but I remembered everything about the story. After some searching, I found it, and I bought it.

I read The Ox-Cart Man from time to time silently to myself. Rarely do I read it without crying, because I cannot believe I found this magical book again.

Do you have any books in your life like that? Any magical books from your school library days? If you do, tell everyone about them. We need good books now. We need good books always.

What I Read – March 2020 Edition

I’ll be honest – I read one book.

Song of a Wingfin is the first book by author Annette Williams McCann. Annette is a singer, songwriter, and now author. She is also a friend of mine. I’m basically pre name-dropping.

In this book, we follow a young girl named Noreen who finds herself in the midst of an adventure after making a black thorn pact with a…wait for it…fairy mermaid which is called a wingfin!

This book packed full of magical characters with the most interesting personalities. This book was a joy to read, and I feel very honored and lucky to have had the opportunity to read it early.

You can read more about Song of a Wingfin on Goodreads.

If you do read the book, please be sure to leave a review as it helps other readers find the book. Thanks in advance.

What I Read: January 2020 Edition

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Firefly: The Outlaw Ma Reynolds #1 by Greg Pak and Ethan Young

Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense by Rory Sutherland

The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges and Lev Grossman

Mister Miracle #1(2017)

Mister Miracle #2 (2017)

The Magicians #1

The Magicians #2

The Magicians #3

John Constantine: Hellblazer (2019)

All of the links above will take you to the Goodreads page for each book, so you can read summaries and reviews.

Where the Crawdads Sing

This year, I find myself in a book club. Our first book club read:

In-My-Own-Words Summary

Girl with troglodytes for family finds herself living in the marsh alone at a young age. Things are pretty well crap. But, it’s cool. Things are don’t end as poorly as they could have.

Also – murder mystery.

Also – nature book.

What I Liked

The descriptions of nature were absolutely lovely. Delia Owens could have written her entire book about the sites, smells, and sounds of the marsh, and I would have torn through it with enthusiasm and vigor!

I am a bit of a birder, so I loved the descriptions of the waterfowl and their feathers.

What I Didn’t Like

Reading about racism is hard for a southerner. I should say it is hard for this southerner.

Given the times we live in, it is especially hard to read about southern racism, because I was a fool and thought it didn’t exist anymore. It touches a nerve.

Being southern means we have good food, good music, and generally warm and welcoming demeanors. Unfortunately, it also means we (not me, but we southerners who were here before me) were on the wrong side of the war.

Also, reading about abuse and assault is never fun nor is it necessary. While the book did not recount the abuse and assault in incredible detail, I found myself shaking my head and putting the book down every now and then.

Final Thoughts

The writer is skilled. I look forward to reading her other non-fiction works for sure!

That being said, this is not a book I would have chosen for myself. Reading about abuse, assault, and racism has never been comfortable for me. That discomfort has only increased as I have gotten older.

I am glad that I read the book. It was incredibly different from anything I’ve read in the last few years and was emotionally evocative which is how we know the writer did a good job.


If you look at my GoodReads account, you’ll notice that I very rarely give less than a three-star rating. This is because I know what it takes to write a book. Every author deserves at least three stars for finishing the thing!

My scale goes like this:

3 stars for appreciation of completion of work, but not a book for me.

4 stars for appreciation, and I liked it.

5 stars for appreciation, I liked it, I will read it again, and I’ve already purchased it as a gift for someone else!

I gave this book 3 stars as it simply did not suit my reading taste, but the author did a wonderful job.