Let’s Talk Books (Again)

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The thing I miss most about life before business ownership is crushing books like I did in 2020 and most of 2021. Still, I’ve read some great ones. Let’s talk about ’em.

Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson

This book had me shouting “preach” the whole time. Everything from performative Slack messages to “prove” you’re working, companies abusing the ability to hire people as 1099 contractors to avoid paying for any benefits, and the constant desire to monetize hobbies. Because we can’t afford the world as it currently is. Highly recommend.

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo

Mediocre exposes a whole lot of ugly truths. Though, none are especially surprising for anyone with a realistic view of American history. Murder, war, incompetence, the scapegoating of women and people of color in leadership positions – it’s all here. Definitely worth a read.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Man, I loved this debut novel. It’s smart, funny, satirical. So, so good. This book tackles race, ambition, and cult-like sales culture so well. Great read.

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

I laughed so hard reading this book. As a recovering corporate zombie who used Slack as a primary communication tool, I felt this book big time. It’s written entirely in Slack conversation, and though I used Slack daily, I had no idea about the :dusty-stick emoji until I read this book. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Seems no one really knows. If you’ve experienced office gossip, office politics, or the feeling that you’ve become one with your job, you will love this.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

True Crime usually isn’t my genre, but this is a good one. It’s about the Last Call Killer who preyed upon gay men in New York City in the 80s and 90s. Because of the AIDS epidemic and the fact that the victims were gay men, these killings did not get the kind of attention that other serial killers historically receive. Having been entrenched in the gay community in Denver for much of my 20s, I can picture the victims and the bar at the center of this story. Warning: it is a bit gruesome in parts.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

This was my first dive into Colleen Hoover who seems to be everywhere these days. I have to say, she’s an incredibly captivating storyteller. I couldn’t put this one down toward the end. There are themes of generational trauma and abuse that were tough to read, and I have some issues with the ending of the story. Still, a great read.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A movie star of old Hollywood seeks a writer to tell the story of her life, specifically her seven marriages. Who was the love of her life? What did she hide from the public? I’ve read a few books by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and this one is by far my favorite. Such a great story, and the end just hits you in the gut.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Second dive into Colleen Hoover, and this book seems to be everywhere right now. I know she released a new edition with an additional chapter. I have not read that yet. Honestly, I don’t know that I even want to say much about this book except that its creepy as hell and supremely fucked up. Read it.

These are just a few books I’ve read and loved. I hope you find one you enjoy!

January is for reading

The silver-lining of the last 10 months is that I’ve had way more time to read. As such, I’ve become one of those obnoxious humans who wants to tell you about all the books I’ve read and encourage you to read…something… anything.

Here’s what I read in January:

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

As if it’s any surprise, this book is excellent. And fortunately, it doesn’t feel like a 700-page book. It’s a political memoir that is also a page-turner. It’s not often we get a window into modern history like this. Obama provides so much context for his decisions, and anecdotes from working with members of Congress and his cabinet. It will frustrate you and maybe make you cry. Truly a great read.

Memorial by Bryan Washington

I wasn’t sure how much I would like this book initially, but as I got into it more, I really appreciated the honestly of it. From the representation of Queer men, and particularly Queer men of color, to the complicated family situations, to culture, it was just a very honest book. You can love people who have done horrible things to you. You can also have a lot of love in a relationship, but that love may not be enough to sustain it.

How to be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don’t by Lane Moore

Given my reading history and some of my other favorite writers, I should have loved this book. Alas, I did not. While I hesitate to in any way discount Lane’s lived experiences or personal truths, I found this book to be so incredibly whiney and self-indulgent. If I had to sum it up: “I had the worst childhood ever. My parents were the worst parents to have ever existed. Every man I’ve dated has been shit and it’s all their fault that our relationships failed. I have no one and nothing. But look at how good I am at singing and comedy and writing and babysitting and stuff. I’m just the best… no thanks to my awful parents.” Okay. Like a lot of people, I also did not have the most ideal childhood (that’s a whole other blog post), and in a lot of ways, I’ve overcome a lot of shit to have the (mostly) drama-free life I currently do. I’m all about stories of personal triumph. But good grief, the wallowing and the patting herself on the back…. I started skimming toward the end. She says at one point (after talking about a high school trip to Germany, which is confusing because you don’t go on school trips like that without a liiiittttle bit of privilege and means and semi-present parents – it was a struggle for me to make it to Florida to sing with my choir in high school), “I truly don’t know anyone with a family who doesn’t use them like a fucking credit card with every dollar matched by cash back rewards.” Ex-squeeze me, really? I have a family. It’s broken and whole at the same time (again, that’s a whole other blog post). I have supported myself at least partially since I started working at 16, and since I moved out of the house, I have not once asked my family for money even in times that I was very much financially fucked. Also, unless the progressive revolution is achieved and student loans are cancelled, I’ll be in debt until I die. And I think there are more people like me than those that live off their families well into adulthood. But sure, all of us with families- we got it made baby! Life. Is. A. Breeze. I’m sure Lane is a lovely person, and I’m happy for all she’s overcome and the success she’s found.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

I really liked this book. I am generally sort of impartial to the mystery/thriller genre because they tend be soooooo similar. Someone disappears (spoiler: they’re dead), someone is responsible for said disappearance, but it’s probably not the person you think it is. Insert substance abuse problem (Girl on the Train: drinking) or mental illness (Sharp Objects: cutting; The Woman in the Window: agoraphobia) to make it interesting and someone has a secret (or secrets) and boy will they blow your mind. And there you have it – recipe for a mystery/thriller type novel. And hey, they’re usually fun and quick reads, since for some reason, we as a society are really into murdery things. When No One is Watching is a gentrification-themed thriller, so expect all of the elements you enjoy about that genre plus an exploration of a common social issue primarily impacting communities of color. The only critique I have is that the pace was a little jarring. There was a whole lot of build and then the end happens kind of all at once. But overall, it was really good. Recommend.

One of Us is Next (One of Us is Lying, #2) by Karen McManus

This book was…fine. I read the first one a while ago, and just hadn’t gotten around to the sequel until now. I think this book is categorized as Young Adult, which disturbs me slightly. Sinister games and teen murder… Yes children, read this book! Is it a book? Yes. Did I read it? Yes. Did I vaguely enjoy it? Sure. Would I watch the shit out of a trash TV series based on this book series (think 13 Reasons Why)? Yes. Yes I would.

Currently Reading: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

How I’ve survived and you can, too

We’ve all had our own version of a garbage year, #amirite? I’ve gone through my own emotional roller coaster that has ranged from seriously-I’m-fine to oh-look-I’m-crying-now to please-for-the-love-of-god-can-I-please-just-go-somewhere-without-it-being-a-whole-thing!!

This year has given me a shortened attention span thanks to all the doom-scrolling, emotional unpredictability, and levels of laziness and exhaustion that I did not know a were possible, even though I’m an introvert with, what I would call, a tendency toward laziness. AND THEN I had the cool idea to apply for, interview, and get a new job this year. In addition to the events of this year, I also thought it would be fun to feel like I have to prove to my new boss that she was right to pick me for this job (lol I’m dumb).

My point is that every day brings a new struggle. So go easy on yourself. We’ve still got at least a few more months of this, but it looks like we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few things that have brought me joy… or at least helped me pass some time. Maybe they can help you get through this final stretch safely and COVID-free.


Books have been my number one source of comfort this year. Considering my melting attention span, I also do not know how this is possible tyvm. I’m thankful my brain hasn’t completely turned to gravy in the last 9 months. Here’s a list of 10 books I’ve read this year that I loved. For my full book list, find me on Goodreads.

  • Beartown by Fredrik Backman – This was a recommendation from my high school English teacher who I ran into at a restaurant last summer. We immediately started talking about books, and he told me this book was better than A Man Called Ove by the same author. When I started reading it, I was like, “Ugh a sports book.” But then it becomes a different kind of story entirely- about men and ego and loyalty, and doing what’s right. I couldn’t put it down.
  • A Dream About Lightning Bugs by Ben Folds – I love Ben Folds. If you also love Ben Folds, you’ll probably love this book. Or if you’re interested in the music business or song-writing, you also might love this book. Ben Folds sounds like a neurotic genius nightmare who I would probably never be friends with, but I appreciate his contributions to the world.
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – This is the story of two young, Black boys wrongly sentenced to a reform school in Florida during the Jim Crow Era. There’s a reason this book won the Pulitzer. It is very good. The end is just incredible.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – I feel like I’m a little late to the party on this one. I had been hearing about it for a while before I finally read it. It’s a story about growing up and survival, and the secrets we keep. Believe the hype. It’s all true. The end is so damn rewarding.
  • Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan – This is a mystery set in 1990s Denver. The author worked at our local bookstore, Tattered Cover for a time, which is what the bookstore in the novel is based on. If you’re a very Denver person like me, this is so much fun to read with the references to the Colfax bus and different pockets of the city. It’s great even if you’re not from Denver.
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid – This book is about a young, Black baby-sitter and the well-meaning white people around her. It covers race and privilege and saviorism with honesty and even humor. A great read.
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – I’m quite late on this book, as well. It had been on my to-read list for years, I think. Read this book. The white-washed history we learn in school… sucks. I don’t recall ever hearing about the Great Migration or how it shaped the current landscape of our country. We learn history like a series of problems that we put our heads together and fixed and now America is perfect (lol). History is obviously far more nuanced than that. Take responsibility for your education and read this book and books like it.
  • Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby – Honestly, read anything by Samantha Irby. You will laugh out loud. I happened to be reading this book the week that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, and I needed to escape and be able to laugh. This book is a gift in this year of hot garbage.
  • Shit, Actually by Lindy West – I was reading this book the week of the election, so in between refreshing my Twitter feed for updates, I had this book to keep me company. This is another laugh-out-loud hilarious book about movies you love and how they do or definitely do not hold up.


No, I haven’t quite finished Netflix yet. Far from it, actually. But here are a few things I’ve watched and loved (okay maybe not loved, but they all served a purpose) over the last several months.

  1. Glee (Netflix) – I know there is a very big, dark cloud hanging over this show that just doesn’t seem to clear. At the start of the pandemic, I needed something familiar and comforting, and I loved this show when it was first on TV. It was totally what I needed, and I think Harrison is officially a Gleek now. I’m pretty sure a lot of the deeply inappropriate Sue Sylvester insults went right over my head the first time around, so watching this show again was a wild ride.
  2. Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix) – I have never really been into food or travel content, so I have no idea why I can’t get enough of this show. It might be that I can relate to the goofball level of happiness around trying different foods when you go somewhere new. This is also how I react to food when I travel. Traveling may not be a super chill thing to do right now (are we even allowed in Europe yet?), but watching someone else’s adventures has brought me some happiness.
  3. Emily in Paris (Netflix)- No this show is not “good,” but if you want something mindless that you can binge in a day, this is it.
  4. I’ll Be Gone in The Dark (HBO)- I couldn’t really get into this book, but a lot of people loved it. The docuseries was really, really great – weaving Michelle’s story with the ultimate conclusion of finding the Golden State Killer. Such a crazy story!

Other Stuff

There may be no more important task than protecting our mental and physical health. There are days that it is hard, like really hard, for me to get out of bed. I’ll be honest- there have been some Saturdays that I haven’t left my bed, opting to stay under the covers with a book. It’s okay if that’s you some days, but try to give yourself some things to look forward to.

  1. Go outside as much as possible – Hike, bike, go for a walk. Do something. I have found this to be absolutely necessary for my sanity, and it hasn’t been easy. We did a fair amount of hiking in the spring and summer, but there were long stretches where the air quality here was so bad because of the fires in the mountains that going outside or even having a window open was out of the question. Now it’s dark by the time I finish working during the week, so I’ve had to adjust by trying to get outside in my lunch time hour instead.
  2. Virtual Game Nights – Harrison and I have been hosting game nights for friends to give them something to look forward to during the week, especially now that it’s colder and outdoor events are more difficult. We just brought both of our families together for games on Thanksgiving since we were all apart that day. Check out Jackbox games party packs. They have a variety of games, and they make it so easy to share an evening with friends when you can’t be physically together.
  3. Exercise – At the start of the pandemic, the yoga studio I had been a member of for years did a great job shifting classes online, which was such a comfort. Then they closed abruptly in June, and I had no idea what to do. Fortunately, I found Black Swan Yoga online which is only $8 month and has a huge library of classes. If you’re comfortable going to a gym or a class in person, great! For folks like me who can only seem to visualize the respiratory droplets flying around, there are a ton of online options for classes. Whether it’s yoga or something else, find something physical to do.
  4. Attend Virtual Events – I know it’s not the same, but this year has robbed us of our ability to make plans. These virtual events are a little way of getting that back. Virtual concerts, comedy shows, book tours, or even a hard seltzer festival (yep, we did that) have been small ways that we have been able to pass the time and enjoy an evening. The true silver-lining of this year is that we can do all of these things from the comfort of our homes with or without pants.
  5. Support Your Local Businesses – Harrison and I have been extremely fortunate this year. We’ve both maintained employment. He got a bonus from his company, and I got promoted- twice. We have tried to be very intentional about how we spend the money we are so lucky to still be earning. We think about the places we used to spend our time before all of this, and how we can play a part in making sure they’re around for a while. Whether it’s a local brewery or distillery, or a local plant shop, think about the places you love and where you want to be able to go when this is finally over.

And it will be over.

No I do not want to join your book club

Am I the only reader who wants nothing to do with book clubs? This is a serious question. I love to read, and I love books. But I hate book clubs. Yet, I repeatedly get asked to join book clubs, and I feel like a jerk for declining as many times as I am asked.

Reading is my loner, introvert activity. It always has been. Even when I was a kid, I remember sitting by the window reading a book while everyone else played outside. It’s one of those few things that I can do completely on my terms, unlike most things in life. I choose the book and how quickly I read it, and the experience I have reading the book is completely my own. I don’t have to talk about it with anyone or be influenced by someone else’s experience. Most importantly, I do not have to leave my house to discuss the book with anyone else.

Dear everyone,

It’s not you. It’s me. I hereby decline any present and future invitations to join your book club.

I guess it’s a New Year

I do not enjoy New Year’s Resolutions. I do not enjoy goal-setting in the way that it’s often discussed. I think it leads to a lot of disappointment because we set goals that we don’t know how to achieve and then wrack our brains to figure out what went wrong. We want to lose 20 pounds or save money. Okay, but how? And I’m guilty of this, too. Everyone is. Regardless of how I feel about this custom, I always seem to turn to self-improvement this time of year. It’s a natural thing for us to do. I begin to think about what happened last year and how I can make this year better. Keeping that in mind, I’ve obviously been thinking about the upcoming year and how I can make it better than the last by building on what I’ve already done and the things I know will offer me growth as a human.

Here we go!

Yoga goals

 This might be the only area where I’ll make a quantitative goal, and that is to get to a minimum of 3 classes a week this year or at least an average of that. By ensuring a consistent practice, I can only benefit. The amount of quality sleep I get far surpasses the sleep I got a year ago. I’m happier, my mind is quieter in the moments I need it to be, and I have strength in my body I didn’t know I could have.

There are some things that I still struggle with when I go to class. I found a studio that I love this year, and eventually, I could see myself teaching. I have a tendency to retreat and try to be as anonymous as possible, even though I see the same teachers and students all the time. I have a hard time embracing the community aspect of this practice. It’s an introvert thing, I guess. I have wanted to expand my social circle for a while, and this seems as good a way as any. Making friends as an adult is hard, and I have a place that is not work that provides that opportunity. I should take advantage of that.


If I ever want to do ANYTHING exciting, I need to be a lot smarter about money. I eat out too much, particularly during the work week. I buy coffee in the morning instead of using the coffee maker I have in my kitchen. I have a bad habit of ordering in whenever Harrison is gone in the evening because I hate cooking for one. It’s such a waste of money. I’ve made some progress the first two weeks of the year. I’ve packed breakfast (because I definitely don’t get up early enough to sit and eat breakfast pre-work) and lunch at least three days a week, and I’ve made coffee at home about the same number of days. I’ve only ordered in once, and I made two meals out of it. I have a good stock of things in the pantry that are simple meals for one that I can eat when Harrison is not here. The challenge here is to avoid slipping back into old habits.


Last year, I read more than the year before. I’d like to simply continue that trend and also read consistently through the whole year instead of letting it taper off around June. I’m not a crazy ferocious reader like some people. I was browsing the blogosphere, and saw someone who read 9 books in the month of December. Who has time for that? I love reading, and I love to learn. But I also have a full-time job and other things I want to do. I also enjoy television as an art form. Yes, I said art form… and also as a way to turn my brain off when I need to.

You can become my friend on Goodreads or look to the right and see what I’m reading.

Complement and congratulate 

I am incredibly even keel in my day to day. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I do think it’s a product of my incredible ability to go through the motions and not really pay attention to what’s happening around me. I’m really good at showing up, but I’m not the best at expression of feelings. So, things happen to people I’m close to, and I act like it’s just any other thing. I don’t know if this is a flaw, but it might be. People deserve to be complimented for good work and congratulated when something awesome happens. Doesn’t mean I have to had these out to everyone, but I should do it more.

Be present and reflect

 As I mentioned above, I’m really good at going through the motions, but I don’t feel like I let experiences penetrate the surface. Things just happen, and then I move on. Granted, most of my days are painfully boring. But how much is just passing by without a second thought. So I’m going to try this Bullet Journaling thing and see how that goes. Remember what your teachers told you? Writing things down helps you remember. I can barely remember what I did this morning, and I think that’s because I just move without experiencing. Every picture of Bullet Journals I see on the internet looks really pretty and artsy. I don’t think mine will look that nice, but we’ll see.

Things I’d like to reintroduce to myself this year:

  1. Cross-stitching- It’s the only crafty thing I’ve ever been decent at, it can include swear words if you so choose, AND it makes a really good (and inexpensive) gift.
  2. Music- I’ve become a bit lazy about keeping up on new music, which is a little embarrassing for someone with a Music Industry Studies degree.
  3. Some sort of creative outlet…or maybe I’ll try to make this thing better. I miss performing, but I need something that feels right.
  4. Activism because Trump is what happens when we become complacent. See you at the Women’s March next week, Denver.