I don’t usually do the “bite-sized book reviews” thing here. But after four months away, it’s probably the most efficient way to catch up! I’m updating my 2017 Book Review Index and reading record with these collected mini-reviews.
Granted, I didn’t do a TON of reading while I was gone. However, I did read too many books to write individual posts about each one. I don’t have the time–or quite frankly, the memory of some of those books–to do that.
This was probably not the best year for me to volunteer as a judge for the Armchair Audies. I made the commitment before I made the job change, though. Fortunately, I’d already read one of the nominees in my category. Also fortunately, Jennifer manages this project with a very easy hand, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure.
The 2017 Armchair Audies: Autobiography/Memoir Finalists
Four of the five Audies finalists in this category were “celebrity memoir” of some form. The degree of celebrity varies, but most of the authors are known for some activity other than writing. My Armchair Audies choice to win was the only finalist that wasn’t one of these.
Journalist Anderson Cooper initiated an email conversation with his mother on her 91st birthday. Gloria Vanderbilt–heiress, actress, lifestyle designer–had been famous since long before he was born, but he realized he might not have much time left to really know who she was. The e-mail exchange lasted a year, until Vanderbilt’s next birthday. The Rainbow Comes and Goescollects these emails. The audiobook literally shifts voices back and forth as Cooper and Vanderbilt each read their own emails aloud.
The earlier sections of the book feel much like an interview, as Cooper sends Vanderbilt questions to answer. This is intentional–the journalist is approaching his mother professionally. Vanderbilt responds as a storyteller–her responses are filled with vivid detail and feeling. As the exchange continues across the year, it becomes more of a dialogue–a revealing, enlightening bonding experience for mother and son.
Although I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Rainbow Comes and Goes, I liked it very much. I was fully engaged in hearing Cooper and Vanderbilt grow closer to each other. I appreciate that they wanted to share the intimacies they exchanged with a wider audience.
Actor Taraji P. Henson’s memoir was published shortly before the release of Hidden Figures, the Oscar-nominated 2016 film in which she portrayed NASA scientist Katherine Johnson. She discusses this role and others, including her Emmy-nominated breakout as Cookie Lyon in Empire, in the context of her experiences as a Black woman in Hollywood. But before Hollywood, there was Washington DC, where Henson was raised to value working hard and women supporting one another. Around the Way Girl makes clear that Henson still lives by those values.
I’m not familiar enough with Henson’s acting work to have sought this out, but I enjoyed it. I did think the later chapters were more fragmented and occasionally repetitive. I find that not unusual in celebrity memoirs, but here, the material sometimes felt very “as told to” Henson’s collaborator. (That may well have been the case.) But actors often make excellent audiobook narrators, and Henson’s reading enhances the book’s conversational, plainspoken style.
I’m not well-acquainted with Taraji P. Henson’s work, but I really don’t know Hannah Hart’s at all. My knowledge of YouTube content and its creators tends to stop at the “awareness” level–I just don’t watch much of it. Buffering likely wouldn’t have crossed my radar without the Audie nomination.
I’m trying to get away from thinking that one needs to have lived a certain number of years to be “entitled” to write a memoir. Memoir and autobiography are not entirely the same thing, for one thing. For another, if one has perspective and insight on the life-shaping experiences they’ve had prior to age thirty, why wait to write about them? Hart writes with compassion, humor, and hope about fragmented families, economic instability, mental illness and sexual identity. She has the experiences and the perspective.
From the New York Times bestselling author of You Should Have Known and Admission, a twisty new novel about a college president, a baffling student protest, and some of the most hot-button issues on today's college campuses.
Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once conservative school now known for producing fired-up, progressive graduates. So Naomi isn't surprised or unduly alarmed when Webster students begin the fall semester with an outdoor encampment around "The Stump"-a traditional campus gathering place for generations of student activists-to protest a popular professor's denial of tenure. A former student radical herself, Naomi admires the protestors' passion, especially when her own daughter, Hannah, joins their ranks.
Then Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group's leader, and the demonstration begins to consume Naomi's life, destabilizing Webster College from the inside out. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi must take increasingly desperate measures to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary.
Touching on some of the most topical and controversial concerns at the heart of our society, this riveting novel examines the fragility that lies behind who we think we are-and what we think we believe.
In The Devil and Webster, Jean Hanff Korelitz chronicles a year in the life of a small college destabilized by a long-running student protest.
Naomi Roth’s handling of a residence-hall protest involving a transgender student was her gateway into the presidency of Webster College, a highly-competitive liberal-arts school in western Massachusetts. Her tenure has been mostly peaceful ever since, but Naomi respects protest among Webster’s undergraduates. She was once a campus activist herself, after all.
Naomi’s unfazed when a group of students–including her daughter–assembles on the quad to protest a popular professor’s dismissal from the college. She invites them to meet with her to air their grievances. When she was in their place, a hearing with the college president was the first thing student protestors wanted. She assumes it still is, but student protest doesn’t work like it did during Naomi’s days at Cornell.
Pushing Social and Political Buttons
Webster’s students would rather voice their complaints publicly via social media than air them privately to the college president. The college’s administration defends the confidentiality of tenure decisions. The protesters read sinister motives into their lack of transparency.
The students refuse to believe that the professor’s dismissal was not racially motivated. Webster’s conservative history might support that perspective, but Naomi rejects it. She knows the true reasons, but she also truly believes that her college has evolved into a far more enlightened, truly liberal place in recent decades. As the protests drag on across the academic year, she’ll have many opportunities to re-evaluate those beliefs.
Korelitz’s writing has almost an old-fashioned formality that fits the academic setting of The Devil and Webster. The story she tells is very much of the moment, however. Webster College is a small world where hot-button issues–representation, discrimination, and free speech, among others–loom large. The political climate at the time of this novel’s publication makes it feel remarkably timely.
Four months is a long time for a blogger not to blog. In my case, it was absolutely one of those “life got in the way” intervals in a blogger’s life.
True confession: Sometimes it felt liberating just to dothings without mentally narrating or critiquing them in preparation for a blog post.
That said, here’s a brief accounting of some of what I did while I wasn’t blogging.
While I Wasn’t Blogging…
I worked. 9-10 hours a day at the office, Sunday afternoons, evenings at home. And if the days had more hours and I didn’t need sleep, there were times I’d have worked more. Despite how it might sound, I am actually not proud of this. It’s by far the biggest reason for my extended absence from blogging, and it will continue impacting it–I can’t predict just how, though. I’m still adjusting to two major ways in which the work of my new job is different:
Just because I’m responsible for something doesn’t mean I have to be the one who does the work myself, and
Meetings aren’t an interruption of the job, they actually are part of the job
I traveled. Paul and I spent almost two years planning the two weeks we spent in Italy in late May/early June. The timing actually turned out to be terrible in light of the job change, but at the worst time, it was absolutely the best trip. Some of you may have seen the photos I posted on Instagram while we were there. More are coming here, along with some words!
I watched TV and went to the movies. As item #1 suggests, my workdays have grown long and full. I leave the house at 6:30 AM and am rarely home before 6:30 PM anymore. After all that, hitting the couch with my husband, my dog, and the big screen has more appeal than hitting the books. And with summer movie season well underway, weekend movie-going counts as family time too.
I didn’t write about books. I obviously wasn’t doing that here, but after blowing a generously extended deadline, I withdrew from contributing reviews to Shelf Awareness. I’d been reviewing there for nearly six years–since Readers launched–and it was not an easy decision. Does it make sense to say I regret having to do it but have no regrets that I did it? Because that sums up how I feel about it.
I barely read books. It’s tough to make headway in a print book when the only regular reading time you have is at night and you keep dozing off over the page. I have been reading one print book for over a month now. That’s been my pattern since March, and it’s the main reason I quit reviewing for the Shelf. And while I wasn’t keeping a record of my reading, I made a deliberate choice to slow down my audiobook consumption and listen to podcasts in the car instead.
As of last week, that new role is no longer “interim,” but official. (Time to update the ol’ LinkedIn profile!) The time leading up to that has been very busy. It’s also educational, frustrating, intimidating, and sometimes gratifying. I don’t know that any of that will change, but I do foresee some shifts in how I spend my time…and I hope that means I’ll get to spend some of it here again.
Don’t call it a comeback.
I’m wary of making that kind of commitment right now. But it is very nice to be back here!
I’ll confess that I didn’t consistently miss blogging while I wasn’t doing it. My time, energy and brainpower were so occupied sometimes that there just wasn’t room to miss blogging. And when there was unoccupied time for me to notice I missed it, the energy and brainpower all too often couldn’t get their act together to do anything about it. When I did find myself missing blogging, I missed the community around it at least as much as, if not more than, creating posts. I haven’t been very “media-social” during the past few months either (aside from the #Italy2017 Instagram Interval), and I’m feeling very out-of-touch with my friends. I’ve missed YOU.
This weekend, I’m working on some short-ish catch-up posts that will go up over the next couple of weeks. I have travel thoughts to share and books I need to try and remember reading!
Watching: My brain’s been more capable of processing video content than print lately. That worked out well, since our spring TV-viewing schedule was quite full! The DVR is less busy now, so we’ve flipped to Netflix for the summer. But I get home from work later than I used to, so evening TV time is shorter and the binge-watching takes longer. We’ve only seen the first two episodes of this season of Orange is the New Black.
Doing: I’ll be filling you in on that in my next post. Stick around, won’t you?
So let’s not call this a comeback. But I do hope you come back to say hello, and tell me about what you’re reading, watching, and doing!
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers. All opinions are my own.
Setting Free the Kites Written byAlex George Published byPenguin on February 21st 2017
Genres:Fiction, Literary Pages: 336
Format:ARC Source: publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers
This post contains affiliate links to Indiebound.org. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
From the author of the "lyrical and compelling" (USA Today) novel A Good American comes a powerful story of two friends and the unintended consequences of friendship, loss, and hope. For Robert Carter, life in his coastal Maine hometown is comfortably predictable. But in 1976, on his first day of eighth grade, he meets Nathan Tilly, who changes everything. Nathan is confident, fearless, impetuous--and fascinated by kites and flying. Robert and Nathan's budding friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and as the boys struggle to come to terms with loss, they take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park. It's there that Nathan's boundless capacity for optimism threatens to overwhelm them both, and where they learn some harsh truths about family, desire, and revenge. Unforgettable and heart-breaking, Setting Free the Kites is a poignant and moving exploration of the pain, joy, and glories of young friendship.
A version of this review was previously published in Shelf Awareness for Readers (March 14, 2017). The publisher provided an advance reader copy (ARC) for review consideration, and Shelf Awareness paid for the review they received and published. All opinions are my own.
SETTING FREE THE KITES by Alex George
Setting Free the Kites by Alex George is a moving novel of friendship, family, loss and reconciliation.
Nathan Tilly and his parents arrive in Haverford, Maine, in the autumn of 1976, following Mr. Tilly’s whimsical decision to buy a lobster boat. Robert Carter’s family owns Fun-a-Lot, the amusement park where nearly every teenager in town has a summer job. Their friendship begins with unexpected acts of kindness and violence. On the first day of school, Nathan rescues Robert from the eighth-grade bully. Days later, Robert and Nathan witness the terrible kite-flying accident that kills both Mr. Tilly and Nathan’s pet mongoose.
Nathan’s life is changed by loss, but Robert’s life has been defined by the expectation of it. His brother Liam is terminally ill, and their parents’ preoccupation with their older son’s condition has made the younger one feel like his family’s afterthought. Nathan is adventurous and optimistic despite his losses, while Robert’s have made him more cautious and reserved. Their personalities balance each other, and they are nearly inseparable as they enter high school and join the summer staff at Fun-a-Lot. They will work together at the amusement park for two summers and will find that a lot of that time will not be a lot of fun at all.
Setting Free the Kites is told from Robert’s adult perspective as he looks back on three years of his youth. So much happens during those years that one might feel like George was piling it on if not for the humor and genuine feeling he shows his characters. At times the novel feels like toned-down John Irving; that’s a compliment, and not a backhanded one. George has crafted an emotionally resonant story with a blend of comedy and tragedy that mirrors the friendship it describes.
THE 3 R’s BLOG turned ten years old on March 16th!
I missed posting that day, but I couldn’t let that milestone go by with no comment whatsoever.
When I started this thing, all I intended to do was set up a place to record my thoughts about the books I read. By early 2007, more and more websites were incorporating, or morphing into, blogs. It looked easy enough to start one, and a reading journal seemed like a good excuse to do it.
As I started learning more about blogging and the concept of “niche,” I decided to look around for others who might also be writing about their reading.
I had no idea what an adventure it would be. I certainly had no inkling I’d still be on this path ten years later. And while I’m spending less time walking it lately, I have no intention of leaving it entirely.
If I hadn’t become a blogger, I might not be the person I am right now.
5 Ways That 10 Years of Blogging Has Changed My Life
While I may not read as many books as I once did or finish them as quickly, I am a more discerning and intentional reader.
I’ve become more effective at expressing myself in writing–and sometimes, that helps me be a better speaker, too.
Being a more confident writer has made me a more outgoing person online…and that’s slowly infiltrating my offline life, too.
I’ve been self-publishing in my own space for a decade, and that’s led to opportunities to publish in other spaces (sometimes even for real money!)
My world is bigger. I’ve learned new things and new perspectives, and I’ve traveled to new places. And the best part is that there are people I count as friends across the country and around the world.
I’ve seen many bloggers come and go over the past decade. There are some I still miss, and others I’m keeping up with elsewhere. (My decade of blogging has been marked by the number of times one social-media outlet or another almost killed the whole thing, but for now, it seems we’ve learned to coexist.)
That said, I’m happiest when I look around and see how many of my blogging friends are still here. I’m not the only one who shows up less often, but eight and nine and ten and eleven (or even more!) years on, we keep coming around.
Thank you for being on this adventure with me! I’d probably still be doing this even if you weren’t, but I wouldn’t love it as much–it’s so much better because you are.
Currently: March 2017
Reading: Mostly work-related emails, documents, and spreadsheets
‘Riting: Mostly work-related emails, documents, and spreadsheets
Exaggerating: Some, but not as much as you might think
I’ve been in my new job for one month as of today, It’s kicking my butt slightly less some days, but the overwhelm is still running high. I spend less time at my desk than I did in my old job. There’s more interacting with people and less with a monitor, and the impact of that on my blogging is obvious. I’m also putting in more work hours generally, which leaves less time–and brainpower–for non-work-related reading and writing.
That said, I’ve finished two audiobooks in the past month:
The Girls by Emma Cline, read by Cady McClain, and
The Guineveres by Sarah Domet, read by Erin Bennett
Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother--his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.
BORN A CRIME by Trevor Noah: Reading Ahead of a Readalong
I gave up watching The Daily Show once (my beloved) Jon Stewart left his role as host. I’ve read that his successor Trevor Noah has been coming into his own as host after a bumpy start, and I’ve seen Noah as a guest on talk shows and found him rather appealing. But I haven’t gone back to DTS, and I might not have even noticed Noah’s memoir Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood.
Noah broke through as a stand-up comic, and if you intend to read Born a Crime, I highly recommend you listen to him read it to you; his performance is terrific. However, I need to say this: many of the stories he has to tell are not all that funny.
BORN A CRIME, Growing Up Under and After Apartheid
Trevor Noah was born in 1984, several years before South Africa’s institutionalized system of racial segregation ended. His mother was Black, from the Xhosa tribe; his father was White, a Swiss expatriate. It was illegal for them to be together at all, let alone have a child. But Patricia Noah wanted to have a kid, and she wasn’t intimidated by the prospect of raising a mixed-race one on her own.
Trevor wasn’t just “a crime” by birth; he was a misfit within South Africa’s racial classifications. “Biracial” was illegal and therefore didn’t officially exist. Raised by a Black mother, he self-identified as Black but was questioned about his light skin tone. He looked “Coloured” but didn’t come from the colonial history of race-mixing that predated apartheid. He wasn’t fully White, and he was clearly not “Indian” (Asian).
Noah lived under apartheid for the first ten years of his life, until it ended in 1994 with the formation of a democratic South African government. His background gives him a unique perspective on race and society. His “stories from a South African childhood” include plenty of humor and mischief, but there’s no shortage of struggle, either. The family was often desperately poor and moved frequently.
Born a Crime is about growing up in a particular place in a time of great change. I was intrigued by the compare-and-contrast between South African and American cultural and racial attitudes. But it’s also the story of a mother and son. With Trevor and Patricia Noah, the personal resonates even more strongly than the political.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be a regular Daily Show viewer again, but I’m so glad I read Born a Crime.
Noah had a very religious childhood, attending three churches every Sunday.
He was raised speaking English as his first language.
This was a deliberate choice from his Xhosa mother, to give him more opportunities later in life.
His mother chose the name Trevor specifically because it had no meaning in South Africa, nor any biblical reference. “It’s just a name. My mother wanted her child beholden to no fate.”
He became a profitable businessman in high school. This meant he floated around his high school like a social butterfly, mixing with different groups without ever being fully included in their circles
He was arrested as a teenager and spent a week in jail. When he returned home, he tried to pretend that he’d simply been staying with a friend. In time, he realized that his mother had been the one to hire his lawyer and pay his bail.
I was nine years old when my mother threw me out of a moving car. It happened on a Sunday. I know it was on a Sunday because we were coming home from church, and every Sunday in my childhood meant church. We never missed church. My mother was—and still is— a deeply religious woman. Very Christian. Like indigenous peoples around the world, black South Africans adopted the religion of our colonizers. By “adopt” I mean it was forced on us. The white man was quite stern with the native. “You need to pray to Jesus,” he said. “Jesus will save you.” To which the native replied, “Well, we do need to be saved—saved from you, but that’s beside the point. So let’s give this Jesus thing a shot.”
My whole family is religious, but where my mother was Team Jesus all the way, my grandmother balanced her Christian faith with the traditional Xhosa beliefs she’d grown up with, communicating with the spirits of our ancestors. For a long time I didn’t understand why so many black people had abandoned their indigenous faith for Christianity. But the more we went to church and the longer I sat in those pews the more I learned about how Christianity works: If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.
Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett's mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.
"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season."
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.
In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothersasks whether a "what if" can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
THE MOTHERS by Brit Bennett: Mothers and Daughters
What’s it about? The Mothers by Brit Bennett is a debut novel about mothers and daughters and community. “The Mothers”–the elderly women who form the backbone of Upper Room Chapel in Oceanside, California–represent the community. Their voices frame the story of two young women navigating the world after mother loss.The Mothers is about secrets–keeping them and sharing them–and how either course of action impacts relationships. It’s a story of the choices women face when motherhood arrives. And so it’s about CHOICE—-the debate over a woman’s right to it and the personal impact of making it.
Why did I read it? The Motherswas one of 2016’s most buzzy fiction debuts. That caught my attention, as did the Southern California setting. The novel’s premise is nothing too unusual for literary fiction. However, I haven’t often seen it filtered through a Black perspective, and I was curious. (That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening, of course, which is why I’ve been working on broadening my reading.)
THE MOTHERS And the Choices
What worked for me? Bennett shifts the narrative perspectives between three characters over the course of a decade.
Nadia Turner remains haunted by the choice she made at 17 to remain on her college-bound path out of Oceanside. Meanwhile, her friend Aubrey Evans struggles to feel rooted in their church community and her relationship with Luke Sheppard, the pastor’s son. And Luke and Nadia have a history they’d both rather keep quiet. I was more invested in the women, but I was impressed by how well Bennett develops all of them. She has a good ear for dialogue and a strong feel for the emotional complexities between women.
I also appreciated how The Mothers filters some big issues–loyalty, morality, questions of privilege and class–through one Black church community.
What wasn’t so great? I read The Mothersin audio, and while I thought Adenrele Ojo’s narration was fine, nothing about the performance really stood out for me. Having said that, I wouldn’t have minded if the book was longer–I’d have liked more of this story!
Recommended? Yes! And not just by me:
THE MOTHERS: Book Thoughts From Other Places
From Vogue: “The Mothers begins with Nadia’s abortion, an experience often missing from consideration in our culture’s stories about women or shorthanded as a tragic plot point. Here, it’s given the emotional resonance it deserves, setting the scene for a book about growing up amid absences, both emotional and cultural. At the same time, it demolishes the stereotype of absentee African-American fathers; Nadia’s father is both present and, like all of the novel’s characters, complexly human. The novel finds its focus in the unlikely friendship that develops between Nadia and another motherless girl, Aubrey, the sweet to Nadia’s spiky—and in the many ways in which women nurture, and sometimes betray, one another.”
From The Washington Post: “Bennett doesn’t ignore the broader racial situation in the United States. Her characters talk about the pain of hoping an unborn baby is a girl. ‘Black boys are target practice,’ one says. ‘At least black girls got a chance.’ They also acknowledge the problems in their community, including drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse. Some of the most simultaneously funny and painful sections involve the church mothers talking about men, and in those conversations we see resignation and rage about how societal ills have poisoned gender roles. The genius of The Mothers is how Bennett uses those feelings in service to a story that could take place in any part of American society.”
In the darkness of the club, you could be alone with your grief. Her father had flung himself into Upper Room. He went to both services on Sunday mornings, to Wednesday night Bible study, to Thursday night choir practice although he did not sing, although practices were closed but nobody had the heart to turn him away. Her father propped his sadness on a pew, but she put her sad in places no one could see.
The bartender shrugged at her fake ID and mixed her a drink and she sat in dark corners, sipping rum-and-Cokes and watching women with beat bodies spin on stage. Never the skinny, young girls—the club saved them for weekends or nights—just older women thinking about grocery lists and child care, their bodies stretched and pitted from age. Her mother would’ve been horrified at the thought—her in a strip club, in the light of day—but Nadia stayed, sipping the watery drinks slowly.
I had hoped to get Readings for the Resistance, February 2017 (Part 2) up last week, but job transitioning took precedence. (On that note, today is officially my first day as Chief Financial Officer at Aviva Family and Childen’s Services.) The delay just gave me more time to collect links!
“The greatest tragedy right now is that you believe that we are the enemy or that we believe thatyouare the enemy. We don’t believe that you are; nor is faith, family, security, safety, or whatever you treasure because chances are we probably treasure it too.That’s how Humanity works. Hatred is the enemy, bigotry is the enemy, injustice is the enemy, isolation is the enemy, inequality is the enemy. It is againstthesethings that we resist, in whatever form they take and from wherever they originate and whatever religious or political affiliation conceives them.”
Some of you may have already seen this on social media, but I had some big news last week:
After nearly 14 years as Controller with Aviva Family and Children’s Services, I’m excited to share the news that I am moving up into the role of Chief Financial Officer as of February 20!
I’ll officially start as Interim CFO, transitioning into my new responsibilities as I start handing off my current ones. I am grateful for this opportunity and hopeful that I’ll rise to it.
Wish me luck, y’all!
The CFO I’ve worked with for over eleven years resigned a few weeks ago to move to a similar position with another agency, and I saw a “now or never” opportunity. I’m part of the executive team now. I’ll be doing less number-crunching, but I’m trading that for a lot more meetings! And I’ll have to put tasks I’ve done comfortably and competently into the hands of other people. I’m excited and apprehensive about making this change.
At least in the short term, the change in the job is also going to mean changes for the blog, too.
The Blog, It Is A-Changin’….
I’m just over a month away from marking the tenth birthday of The 3 R’s Blog, and I do NOT intend for that to be its last! However, I think it’s going to be a quieter place, at least for the next several months.
The biggest change right now is that the Readings for the Resistance roundup I’ll be posting later this week will probably be the last one for awhile. I’m really enjoying putting it together, but it requires a lot of online reading to prepare it and a couple of hours to compile it. I’ve been used to having quiet time at my desk to read between tasks, but I think that’s going to change in a hurry. I could spend time catching up on evenings and weekends, of course, but I also want time for other reading…not to mention things that aren’t reading. Being able to browse and skim online reading without an agenda will take some pressure off.
Other content will appear when I have time to create it. That’s a pretty non-committal commitment, but it’s all I want to make until I have a better idea what my new normal looks like.
Reading, ‘Riting, and…Well, You Know
Even with the new full-time job, I still want to keep my “one-review-a-month” Shelf Awareness job. I have a March review due to them this week. Meanwhile, I’m two reviews behind here on the blog, but I’m trying not to fall further back. I didn’t get very far with any offline reading last week and I’m between audiobooks, so I have some room to catch up. This is my reading journal, and I have no intention of changing that!
What We Do Now: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump’s America: essays(ebook)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund: fiction (galley, pub date January 2017
A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman: memoir (galley, pub date February 2917)
Read and Not Yet Reviewed:
The Mothers by Brit Bennett(audio)
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (audio)
And just because I think it’s been a while, here’s a gratuitous Winchester photo!
Today’s Agenda: We may bite the bullet and tackle our income taxes. And/or see The LEGO Batman Movie. What are you up to this weekend?