You may have noticed that most recent posts have started to have a singular focus on books, bookstores, reading, etc. And while I’ve always been a bit of a bibliophile, it’s become apparent that I have a problem. So after taking the first step of admitting that I DO have a problem, I’m taking the next logical step and opening a bookstore. But not just any bookstore, we are opening a store full of amazing new adult and children’s books but also carrying over 20 local artists who make brilliant goods that fit into different book genres. Add to that some community space for after school art classes, book themed birthday parties, BookClubs, etc and I’ve created my own dream of local, literature heaven. I invite you to join me over at The Novel Neighbor¬†/ @NovelNeighbor to stay up-to-date on opening information, book reviews, author visits, etc. I’ve had a wonderful time creating Life Simplified but it’s time for me to make my life a whole lot more complicated. ūüôā

Spring Twitterature Round Up

As proposed by Modern Mrs Darcy, here are my current reads which consist of short, casual book reviews in 140 characters or less.

quickThe Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick –¬†Entire book composed of letters to Richard Gere. Awkward, sad, strange YET tender, lovely and eternally hopeful.¬†#oedipusschmoedipus

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin –¬†Lonesome bookstore owner and a cast of wonderful characters, quiet relationships & a steady promise unfold on Alice Island.¬†#LovedIt

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi –¬†Intertwining story of family, relationships and fables. Alternating narrators, beguiling females & mysterious mirrors.¬†#fairytalesforadults

handlerWhy We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – Love, love, love. Pick it up, read it. The writing & art in this YA book in brilliant, perfect and a far cry from so much else that is out there in this genre. Will recommend to ages 15 – 105 and place it on my ALL TIME FAVORITES shelf. Do not read on ANY e-reader as the illustrations/layout are what add to the greatness of this book. ( I cheated on this review as there’s no way to contain my love in 140 characters).

Perfect by Rachel Joyce РHeaviness of characters, while sometimes overwhelming, made me keep reading in hopes for redemption for each of them. It was, quite #perfect.

Just Jake by Jake Marcionette (Age 12!) –¬†Jake’s story of ¬†his family’s move from FL to MD includes sibling rivalry, parent’s well-meaning encouragement & trying to fit in.¬†#AWESOME

Let me know what YOU are reading.



What’s on your bookshelf?

photo (27)When we moved last year, many people thought I would be MOST excited about having a second bathroom after 10 years of sharing one among our family of four. They were wrong. I walked through this empty (at the time) front room with great light and declared that it was MINE (!) and I was going to finally have my library. What turned out even better than I had anticipated was that I found some great colors among my books and shelved them accordingly which I love. Below are some of my shelves and I’ll point out a few favorites among the titles.

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White Truffles in Winter & In Praise of Slowness

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Amazing Adventures of a Nobody & 168 Hours

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The Miracle & The Willoughbys

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The Chronicles of Harris Buck & Endangered Pleasures

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The Fairy Ring, Labor Day & God is in the Small Stuff

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Disneystrology & Where’d You Go Bernadette

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Destiny of the Republic & Sh*t My Dad Says

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My Stroke of Insight & Church Signs Across America

Of course there are piles of books and bookshelves in almost every other room including this stack next to my bed. Share with me what’s on your bookshelf or over at Modern Mrs. Darcy as part of a synchroblog today.

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What Do You Feel Like Reading?

When someone else does something so freaking brilliant, I’m rendered momentarily speechless. Check out this awesome infographic from Retreat by Random House. So what DO you feel like reading? (Click on Retreat by Random House for larger print).


What was I thinking?

foldersI’ve been on a bit of a purge lately as we move from one season to another. The area that I’m slowly wading though are the crazy amount of folders that have pages and pages of articles that I deemed so important that I ripped out (one dates back to 2004) and filed. Yesterday I managed to clear out the entire HOME folder. You know the one – dream rooms, decorating ideas, possible purchases and I’m cracking up at what I’ve found.

Apparently I was very into vintage fruit signs, curtains, water filtration systems, energy saving tips, video cameras strawberries& composting. I probably haven’t looked into this folder in over 5 years but I’ll catch you up. We moved into a new house last year and there are definitely no vintage fruit signs anywhere and they only curtains are in the guest room. (My mom most frequently stays there and she bought them herself). We drink water out of the faucet, definitely don’t follow energy saving guidelines (which we should) and the only videos I ever take are on my phone and of course they stay there as I forget to download them. The only thing we managed to start is composting and that’s simply because my son got into it and stays on top of it.

It’s interesting to me how quickly I’ve come to rely on the convenience and accessibility of¬†evernote to organize what used to be my chaos of ripped out pages. If you’ve never used it before, I recommend checking it out. I’m able to keep track of all my varied interests and it doesn’t make me feel insecure like pinterest. Now onto my ‘GIFT IDEAS’ folder. That should be a hoot.

Road Tripping through Bookshops

photo (23)Here’s our stack of book purchases from our commitment to visit an independent bookstore at every stop along our road trip. Some are used bookshops, mostly new and some delightfully had both. I urge you to SHOP LOCAL & INDIE as these are some of the best town treasures, truly! (Note that if my 14 year old son was with us, the stack would be twice as tall).

STOP at these shops if you find yourself in the area:

Bardstown Booksellers – Bardstown, KY ¬†(Currently FOR SALE if you’ve ever had a dream of opening your own bookstore in The Most Beautiful Small Town in America)

Carmichael’s Bookstore – Louisville, KY

Politics & Prose – Washington, DC

Fountain Bookstore – Richmond, VA

The Regulator Bookshop – Durham, NC

Flyleaf Books – Chapel Hill, NC

Politics & Prose

Politics & Prose

We hope to make a few more stops as we head home in the next 2 weeks at Duck’s Cottage Downtown Books (Manteo, NC) and Tales of the Lonesome Pine (Big Stone Gap, VA). Click HERE to find independent bookstores in your area.

July 2013 Twitterature

As proposed by Modern Mrs Darcy, here are my current reads which consist of short, casual book reviews in less than 140 characters.

CT tenth_of_dec01.jpgThe Tenth of December by George Saunders – I’ve never been a fan of short stories, until now. Heavy, sometimes haunting & hilarious. #notfortheasilyoffended



711785484The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides – 13 disc audiobook which contains the most memorable writing/sentences I’ve come across in literature in a long, long time. #roadtrip



mrs-poe-198x300Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen – Less about The Raven and the mad man behind it & much more about the mysterious woman in his life. #historicalfiction

BEA Highlights

Author Bob Shea

Author Bob Shea

I attended my first BookExpo America (largest annual book trade fair) this past week in New York City. For this literary nerd, it was pretty close to nirvana. I had never gotten a chance to go as a bookseller so I wasn’t about to let my first year as a Librarian pass me by. I knew from research that it was to be a haven of publishers, authors, FREE BOOKS, exhibits, presentations & parties. Now before you assume that this conference wouldn’t be open to you, you are wrong. BEA has embraced all the non- industry book lovers/avid readers and created a special day just for them called Power Readers day that falls on the last day of the conference.

I would encourage anyone who is a lover of books to investigate attending this conference. Here are some highlights and I’ll post my top tips later this week.

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket

  • Attending a party where 8 authors were bartending¬†their own stations & mixing cocktails.¬†
  • Walking along The High Line which Peter Brown so beautifully writes about (and illustrates) in The Curious Garden.
  • Trading music festival tips with Rob Sheffield while he signed his new book,¬†Turn Around Bright Eyes:The Rituals of Love and Karaoke.
  • Talking tattoos with the winsome¬†Obert Skye, of Potterwookie¬†& Wonkenstein books.
  • Being completely charmed by the talented Greg Pizzoli & loving The Watermelon Seed.
  • Acting like a ‘fan girl’ while getting FaNGIRL signed by Rainbow Rowell,¬†gushing about Eleanor & Park.
  • Attending the Children’s Author Breakfast with Mary Pope Osborne, Rick Riordon, Octavia Spenser & Veronica Roth.¬†photo (20)
  • Zola Books FINALLY a brillant alternative to Goodreads. Can’t wait until the site if fully operational next month but go play around right now!

As promised, books & more books

I’d be happy to talk books all day – fiction, biographies, YA, Middle Grade, picture books – I’m an equal opportunity reader. But before I get into some of my favorites from last year, I’m going to recommend that you sign up on It’s a great place to not only track books that you’ve read, but also books you want to read. Friend me, I’ll happily accept. Now, in no particular order:

Malice of Fortune РA delicious masterpiece of historical fiction set in 1502 Italy that brings together Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, a polished courtesan & a Borgia Pope. Click on npr to hear Lynn Neary & I discussing it on All Things Considered.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? –¬†Loved this book. I’ll admit I’m attracted to people who are amusing, smart but also a little nuts so I fell hard for Bernadette.

Wonder –¬†Loved absolutely everything about this wonderfully character driven, heart tugging, quit feeling sorry for yourself PERFECT (middle grade) book.

Gone Girl – Really? You haven’t read it? Seriously?! What are you waiting for – go read this book but make sure you have plenty of time because you won’t put it down.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home –¬†Beautiful story of family, loss and all the right & wrong kinds of love. Story takes place in the 80’s so I completely identified with the time period & family dynamics.

Heads in Beds –¬†Easy, entertaining read about life in the hotel industry. Makes me want to go find Jacob “Tommy” Tomsky and ‘slip him a brick’ for so much of the crap he’s had to endure and then I’d like to go have some drinks and hear more!

The Legend of Cowboy, Ninja, Bear – Great new take on rock, paper, scissors. Kids will love it.

And if you are looking for MORE, check out my earlier BOOK posts or head over to Books on the Nightstand, a brilliant literary podcast that keeps my ‘to-read’ list growing & growing.


At Least I’m Reading

With 13 days left until the official Chinese New Year starts, here’s where I am with my preparations and resolutions. Once everything kicks in, I’ll update with much more detailed info.

Cooking More – I’ve tried 3 new recipes over the last week and 2 are keepers. Also, I’m getting better at remembering to thaw out my ‘make-ahead’ meals that I do on a semi-monthly basis at Time for Dinner.

Eat More Paleo / Blood Type O – Not so good. Having a difficult time at breakfast and damn those chips & salsa.

Get up earlier – I’m reading Laura Vanderkam’s What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast¬†(ebook) and it’s a strong, persuasive argument for not hitting snooze. I also joined the Hello Mornings Challenge that started today and maybe tomorrow I’ll actually get up early for it.

Find an exercise to do 3/week – I carved out the time that I could go exercise, but so far haven’t made it out the door.

Read 43 books – 10 books so far. Okay I cheated and started counting on January 1 AND I read really fast AND I LOVE books. Next post, I’ll give my favorites from 2012.

Watch 15 Independent Films – 1 so far. I may have to partner this with spending quality time with husband as that’s harder to plan that I realized.

For the remaining ones, I’ve done zip, nada, nothing but that’s what so ingenious about this plan. When most people are already falling off the wagon with their resolutions, I’m just getting started! Anyone else with me?