Reading Challenge

Aileen attempts to read a book a week. Follow along as she loses her mind. We used the PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge as inspiration, then went off on our own, as you’ll find we do a lot around here. Join in by reading the books Aileen reads, or by choosing your own.

The Wedding Date

I need you to know what a sucker I am for a really good meet cute. The Wedding Date by  Jasmine Guillory hits it out of the park. That is a baseball metaphor and alludes to the equally charming sequel to this book, The Proposal. As usual, I will not waste time rephrasing the blurb for this book, something someone far more talented than me spent an inordinate amount of time writing: Read more

Welcome to Temptation

Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation was published in 2000. Older Son was five and I was 27 years old. Although I lived in Los Angeles my parents lived in Lodi, where I grew up. Well, I grew up in Manteca but the two are pretty close and when the wind blows a certain way, both places smelled of cow poo. You now often see Lodi on your wine bottle label. There was once a very good Zinfandel that was grown across the street from a Walmart. I had nothing against it but I told the people I was eating dinner with and they all refused to order that wine.  Read more

A Study in Scarlet Women

Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite authors. Anyone who has read a lot of these reading challenges will recognize that phrase. I have a lot of favorite authors. Nerds generally do. A Study in Scarlet Women is the first book in Thomas’ The Lady Sherlock Series. Read more

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life

Do yourself a favor and read We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. Her work belongs in your life. She knows of what she speaks. You can open this book to any page, begin reading and instantly want to find the beginning of her thread. Most books aren’t like that. I can open them to any page, read a bit, feel happy or irritated then close the book and get on with my life. Not so with Irby. She pulls me in and keeps me right where she wants  me. Read more

The Supremes’ Greatest Hits

I bought a copy of this book at the Supreme Court gift shop last summer. Yes, there is a gift shop and yes, it is as delightfully dorky as it sounds. I sat in the actual Courtroom, where the long, high bench resides, along with the 9 tall chairs sitting behind it. I honestly couldn’t believe they just let people line up then walk in there, sit down and listen to a little history lesson given by a very nice man in a very funny jacket. But they did. You can’t get near The White House and yet, possibly the most important building in these entire United States, sits open all day long, welcoming anyone who wants to have a look around. I love America. We make inaccessible places that don’t really matter and leave open places any lunatic would happily burn to the ground. Read more

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Someone please make The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and it’s sequel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, into a series on one of the seemingly hundreds of streaming services. Please. I’ll sign up for your service for a year and watch it over and over. Read more

Forget “Having it All”

If you’re a woman who uses the internet, you’ve likely seen the quote that mothers are expected “to work as though they don’t have kids and parent as if they don’t have jobs.” If you’re like me, when this popped up in your feed, you hit like then scrolled through the comments to see responses like “THIS!”, “YES!”, “TRUTH!”, and a variety of enthusiastic hand gesture emojis. Read more

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Want a really good research tool that isn’t Wikipedia. No shame, I love wikipedia, I just used it to write about Alice Bowman. Anyway. If you want to start slow on a topic, go directly to the juvenile nonfiction section of your local library and there you will find adult topics with training wheels. Thin books with lots of pictures and simplified sentences describing complicated ideas. In books written for younger readers the authors aren’t trying to impress their colleagues or their haters. All they are trying to do it convey the essence of the topic. Read more


Don’t panic, I’m not going to present you with a poem written 200 hundred years ago then say, “Now what do you think the poet meant to convey?” I’m almost willing to bet even the poet had no idea what they truly meant to convey. I also won’t ask you how a poem made you feel. Instead, I will begin with my own embarrassing poetic past. Read more