3 Books for Fall

The secret is out.

I’m so basic.

I know it in my bones, and now that we’ve cleared that up we can move on to more important things.

Too much of a good thing is a great thing.

Too much of a good thing is a great thing.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved the fall. Growing up in rural Oklahoma, I think I felt fall-the real fall-more than those who grew up in a more urban (read civilized) environment. My house was surrounded by trees, and I spent most of my time outside, so when the tiniest hint of crispness in the air wafted through my nostrils I’d feel myself becoming giddy. The trees would blast their colors and I could finally go outside without fearing 3rd degree burns from the Oklahoma summer heat. My grandparents would organize hay rides and the entire community would pile into a trailer and ride around presumably in one big circle because the weather was just too good and the moon was just too full not to. There were bonfires, there was cider, there were babies wrapped in homemade quilts. It was divine.

That deep love for the fall has now manifested in me buying too many chintzy pumpkins, eating candy corn like it’s my life source, and burning every pumpkin scented candle the good folks of Bath and Body Works can crank out. Fall allows my home to become a campy and overly scented shrine to fall, but you know what, it makes me happy, so I keep on keepin’ on.

With fall comes hot drinks and with hot drinks comes cozying up on a couch and with cozying up on a couch comes reading (or if you’re me, with breathing comes coffee with coffee comes life with life comes reading). Naturally, I’m going to give you 3 book recommendations for the fall and even though these are absolutely not fall themed at all, they are awesome, and I think a lot of my blog readers enjoy awesome.

1.) EileenOtessa Moshfegh

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Y’all this book is twisted in the best way possible. It’s dark and hilarious. At one point while reading it I said “Holy hell!” out loud at a Starbucks at the absurdity of it all. If you consider yourself even a little twisted, and let’s be real, we’re all a little twisted, then you should try out Eileen on for size. The story is told through the perspective of Eileen Dunlop at the age of 70 as she looks back on the days around Christmas when her twenty something self flew the coop on her drab, desolate life as a secretary at a boys detention center and a caretaker (kind of) to her alcoholic, abusive father. Her drab, depressing life changes when a new woman comes to work at the detention facility, and what happens next is sickening, seductive, and downright shocking.

Sounds like a nice, frothy read, eh? What’s impressive is how Moshfegh manages to create such despicable and, at times, disgusting, characterizations for Eileen, but somehow, in the end, we root for her.  Moshfegh delivers doozies like this:

Some families are so sick, so twisted, the only way out is for someone to die.
― Eileen

So just in time for the spooky season is this dark read that will leave you both disturbed and thoroughly entertained.


Spinster-book

2.) Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Kate Bolick

I love a book that details the ins and outs (okay let’s be real the outs) of a woman navigating through her life. As a woman, it’s almost like I’m able to chart my own course in tandem with the women I read.

In Spinster, Bolick doesn’t shy away from the questions many of us have asked, and are probably still asking. What is my place in the world? What is my place in the world as a woman? What is my place in the world as a woman who may or may not see marriage as something I care to pursue? Her book is deliciously structured around 5 incredibly successful “spinsters” (literary and history buffs alike will rejoice) who served as inspirations as she navigated through life, love, and loss. The 5 women (writers Maeve BrennanNeith BoyceEdith WhartonCharlotte Perkins Gilman and Edna St Vincent Millay) were considered her “awakeners” and provide a unique cultural and historical edge to the memoir.

Bolick challenges culture norms that insists women must be married and mothers first, and then fill in the gaps if possible, later.  She writes:

You are born, you grow up, you become a wife. But what if it wasn’t this way? What if a girl grew up like a boy, with marriage an abstract, someday thought, a thing to think about when she became an adult, a thing she could do, or not do, depending? What would that look and feel like?
― Spinster

Spinster is a challenging read, but one that is worth the time. Especially for women. Especially for women who are consistently pushing back against what society deems appropriate for them. You know the type 😉 (read, me)

3.) Sense and SensibilityJane Austen

This book forever holds a special place in my heart/mind/soul. It’s one of those books that, because I began reading it during the fall, I instantly associate it with the season. d0a7a26f5f9cf0347c676788360b92edDo you have any books like that?

For those who’ve been living under a large rock, Sense and Sensibility was written by the incomparable Jane Austen, and, in my humble opinion, is one of her best books. I’m too  much of a wuss to say it’s her best book because I’m constantly vacillating between S&S and Mansfield Park.  It’s also a book with a beautiful film companion (Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, you know just the bottom of the barrel kind of cast) that stays true to the book.

It’s a lovely tale of two sisters as they try and navigate through their family, monetary, and love drama after they are left with little money and barely any prospects for marriage (which, as you know, during that time was seen as basically a woman’s purpose for being).

The relationship between Marianne and Willoughby is one for the books. If you love drama, like Real Housewives chair flipping level drama, then they are the couple for you.  The other sister, Elinor, is maybe one of the most honest, kindest characters I’ve ever read (right up there with Atticus Finch in TKAM) and the way she navigates through her environment, her distressed love, and her station in life is really very beautiful.  If you’re looking for a wonderfully written work that will whisk you away from your everyday life, Sense and Sensibility is for you. It’s also a nice dip into the Jane Austen pond, for those who’ve only read Pride and Prejudice (not judging you…but kind of judging you).

So there you have it. Three books to take you through the lovely fall months. Which books do you enjoy reading in the fall? Have you read any of these three? 

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Put on Those Travelin’ Shoes: Why I Make Time for Travel

There’s only four ways to get unraveled; One is to sleep and the other is travel. – Jim Morrison

Hi there. It’s been much too long, friends. My reason for the delay is a good one, even though on principal I kind of hate lame excuses. But this one isn’t lame, I swear. I’ve been, you guessed it, traveling. Le sigh. I recently got back from a long cruise where I spent a good portion of time hiding from the sun, hanging with my wonderful family, slathering SPF all over my body, and eating my weight in ze foodz. Traveling is such a wonderful little thing we as humans are allowed to do. Our world is so vast, and we are so small, so it’s only natural we’d want to crawl over it like ants seeing whatever is possible during our little lifespan.

If you’re an ant, I’m an ant.

There are many reasons people travel, but true Ginger fashion, I’ve narrowed down my reasons to three. These are why I habitually stuff my things in a suitcase and hop onto flying contraptions at the blink of an eye.  My intent with this is to inspire a little wanderlust in you while giving you the push you need to plan that getaway and ant your way around the world (yep, ant is a verb now).

Reason 1: Traveling presses that reset button

Day after day, it’s easy to get caught up in that ever-expanding, ever-annoying to do list. Buy groceries, send 60982 emails, take a shower, mow the lawn, wash your hair (LOLZ), catch up every season of Gilmore Girls. You get it. Taking a much needed break allows you to do exactly what you want for a set period of time, to do list be damned.  Travel also makes a little headspace for life when you finish your trip (more on that later).  On a vacation you get to take long lunches (something I thoroughly believe in), sleep in, look at trees, sniff clean air (depending on where you’re traveling), talk to random people, do a cart-wheel, etc.

I can do these things most days, you say. My retort: When is the last time you did a cartwheel?

A real cartwheel, not the butt only in the air, feet never leaving the ground mess adults tend to do. Taking a vacation, at its core, is an act of spontaneity. It doesn’t matter how Type A, planned to the max you may try and make your vacations, something always sneaks up on you, and usually that thing is freaking LIFE. Traveling opens you up to the wacky, insane, beautiful, hilarious world we live in. You’re able to meet new people, hear new accents, try new food, look in the mirror at yourself in a new way. What’s even better is travel reminds us how very similar we all are.  At our very core, we all just want to laugh and love and eat good food, amiright? Travel grabs your hand in a non-creepy way and helps you press the reset button that seemed just out of your reach mere seconds before.

Reason 2: It forces you to make time

Time? Time for what? More like time for whatEVER (see what I did there). Traveling gives you space. Wherever your destination, for some reason a vacation gives you permission to do what you love–writing, reading, trying out a new language, running, telling a lame joke, experimenting in the kitchen or through ordering a new, wacky dish.  These are all things we’re allowed to do everyday, but for some reason we tend to prioritize them lower than something as riveting as investing money or paying a bill or picking up your puppy’s poo. Yes, technically those mundane things are important; however, on vacation your thought process is Heck I’m already giving myself free time, I might as well ____________(fill in the blank with frivolity aka fun).

But for the love of all that is holy, don’t judge yourself. If you relax by watching a couple episodes of Real Housewives of New York in a fluffy hotel bathrobe while attacking the food in the mini bar like a ravaged wolf, go for it! Something I always do before leaving for a trip is perusing a book store for the perfect book. Sometimes it’s a challenging book, sometimes it’s frothy and easy, but it’s always something I want. Then I use the vacation as an opportunity to tackle the book into submission. An added bonus is if I ever re-read the book, I’m instantly transported back to my vacation!

Reason 3: It reminds you why your life is pretty stinking awesome

One of my favorite feelings in the world is falling into my own bed after a long flight home. After vacation, no matter how fabulous, no matter how beautiful, there is truly no place like home (clicking the heels, donning the red shoes). Vacation both expands your horizons and allows you to zero in on why you’ve chosen your little slice of the earth as home. It’s great drinking a new, fancy schmancy latte from a fancy schmancy coffee shoppe where seats are tiny and uncomfortable and the lighting is perfect for Instagram, but it’s just not the same as the corner shop where they know your order and (occasionally) spell your name right on the cup. It’s almost like your life after a vacation is perfectly filtered–brighter, clearer, more likable. It might be ironic going somewhere else just to remember how awesome life is back home, but it’s an irony that this Katy or Katie or KT or Caidey (yes that’s happened before) is willing to accept

Now I’d love to hear from my fellow travel bugs. Why do you travel? What are things you bring on your trip to unwind? Is anyone as obsessed with RHONW as I am?