If you have been following me for a bit, then you may remember that I have been on a Sylvia Plath kick this year. I’ve made it my mission to learn ALL about her. My next read on my Plath journey was extra special. 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘪 𝘈𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘈𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘪𝘵𝘻: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘚𝘺𝘭𝘷𝘪𝘢 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘯𝘯𝘦 𝘚𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘰𝘯 by Gail Crowther explored not only Plath but also Anne Sexton. Let me add that Crowther is officially my new go-to author. Plath and Sexton were both extraordinary poets. They were friends and bitter rivals who shared not only a talent for writing but also a world of mental illness and trauma. I love how Crowther drew parallels between these two ladies across multiple domains. She thoughtfully used her looking glass to consider their childhoods, sexual behavior, marriage, motherhood, writing lives, mental health, and suicides relating to their work and livelihood. Crowther’s side-by-side examination of these two women accentuated their need to put words down on paper and highlighted their understanding of each other’s work in a male-dominated world. While I was intrigued by how Crowther showcased their writing worlds, I was FASCINATED by how mental illness was such a dominating force in BOTH their lives. For me, the direct comparison of Plath and Sexton not only reiterated how trapped women were in their expected roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers in the 50s and 60s but how past trauma and intricate upbringings play a role in one’s ability to thrive. Today’s incredible advances in psychology and psychiatric care are astonishing when you compare them to what these ladies endured. Reading about Plath and Sexton (who is still very new to me) is certainly not comfortable. Their lives are heartbreaking and extremely upsetting to read about. Their writing, however, is a front-row seat into their beautiful minds. I can only imagine how brilliant their future writing could have been. If only……… Xoxo, Kelly
*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!
You are here, and I am not even the slightest bit mad about it. I am not one to wish a week away or time in general, but this week was a DOOZY! I traveled for a wedding this past glorious weekend. Even though I felt refreshed from the alone time spent with my hubby away from the kids, I started the week with a significant sleep deficit. Throw in a sick kiddo home ALL week and a few abandoned (and much-needed) routines, and my week was a bit off-centered. Instead of focusing on the things that frazzled me, I am cherishing the beautiful things that kept me grounded and put a smile on my face (AKA…spending more time with my youngest). And in case it slipped your mind, FALL BACK this weekend and set the clocks back one hour. The plus side to daylight savings is that we gain one magnificent hour of much-needed sleep. This dark and cold season is the perfect excuse to cuddle up by the fire, sip something warm, and get lost in a cozy tale.
SHHH…CAN’T YOU SEE I’M READING
It’s officially November and a new month equals a new #DEARBASICBUDDYREADS selection. For Non-fiction November, Katie and I chose Stolen by Elizabeth Gilpin. This memoir sounds absolutely harrowing, and I can’t wait to dive in. Some early feedback from readers in our group is that the audio version (read by the author) is very good. At this point, I am leaning toward listening, but will keep you posted when I get started. Our private group chat is held over on Instagram, so be sure to DM me at @dearmrhemingway over there to join us. If you want to watch Katie and I reveal this month’s pick LIVE, CLICK HERE! Be sure to check out the synopsis and READ WITH US!
“At fifteen, Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student, a state-ranked swimmer and a rising soccer star, but behind closed doors her undiagnosed depression was wreaking havoc on her life. Growing angrier by the day, she began skipping practices and drinking to excess. At a loss, her parents turned to an educational consultant who suggested Elizabeth be enrolled in a behavioral modification program. That recommendation would change her life forever. The nightmare began when she was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night by hired professionals and dropped off deep in the woods of Appalachia. Living with no real shelter was only the beginning of her ordeal: she was strip-searched, force-fed, her name was changed to a number and every moment was a test of physical survival. After three brutal months, Elizabeth was transferred to a boarding school in Southern Virginia that in reality functioned more like a prison. Its curriculum revolved around a perverse form of group therapy where students were psychologically abused and humiliated. Finally, at seventeen, Elizabeth convinced them she was rehabilitated enough to “graduate” and was released. In this eye-opening and unflinching book, Elizabeth recalls the horrors she endured, the friends she lost to suicide and addiction, and–years later–how she was finally able to pick up the pieces of her life and reclaim her identity.”
I CAN’T HEAR YOU…I’M WEARING
I am not typically one to “drink the cool aid,” but I decided to take a sip of Taylor Swift’s latest album, and I am OBSESSED! I’ve had MIDNIGHTS playing in the background since it came out, and I LOVE IT. It’s fun, moody, has a bit of an edge, and works for me 100%. MAROON and YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN, KID, have been my favorites, but I adore all the songs. The best news is that she is going on tour again, and I hope to see her because she makes me feel oh so YOUNG again, and that’s a good thing!
NETFLIX & CHILL
I am in between shows, so my hubby and I are re-watching VEEP…a political comedy starring Julia Louise-Dreyfus. This is pee-in-your-pants-my-stomach-hurts-from-laughing kind of funny, and it’s perfect for unwinding at the end of the day. It is WILDLY inappropriate, so consider yourself forwarned. Click here to check it out.
WHAT THE HELL AM I MAKING THESE PEOPLE FOR DINNER TONIGHT?
My answer to that question is NOT MUCH! My enthusiasm for cooking this week was lower than low. I kept it simple by making a few go-to meals such as pot roast and burritos and added in a pizza night to keep things exciting. Tonight my plan is for the five of us to go out for dinner and catch up as a family—all in one place with no phones or places to escape. Now, I may not have executed an epic weeknight meal plan this week, but I did make fresh bread, and that is literally the GREATEST. Not only was it a cinch to make, but it made my house smell homey and like someone baked in it for hours. The best part of this bread is that it is delicious and only has FIVE INGREDIENTS! Because of this, I would advise using the beer you love and high-quality honey for this recipe. It will make a difference. Also, be sure to grease your pan EXTRA EXTRA. I did not, and the bread was hard to get out. I think I will use parchment paper next time. HERE IS THE RECIPE! Happy Baking!
I WRITE THE SONGS THAT MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD SING
Still no songs…sorry. As I mentioned earlier, this week didn’t “flow” well for me. Hiding away and reading is my number one way to re-center myself. But a close second is writing and creating. The past few weeks, I’ve spent some time withBefore You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz and The Parent Compass by Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA & Jenn Curtis, MSW. I have always been very selective about what books I write about for my blog. Not only do I put my heart and soul into what I am writing, but also A LOT of time. These two books still linger in my mind and could not be any more different. Be sure to click the links above and read what I said.
MUST I PARENT THESE CHILDREN?
YUP!!!!!! This is happening! For the love of GOD, I CAN NOT believe that I have entered this new-to-me arena of parenting. I just picked up this book from various parenting sites after reading about how wonderful it is. This is Fiske’s 39th Edition, so it’s safe to say it’s a good one. If you are beginning this process with your kiddo or will be in the next year or so, keep this book in mind. It has a 2-3 page write-up on almost every college in the United States. The information provided is the perfect combination of stats (acceptance rate, cost, financial aid, etc.), the primary focus of studies, student life, campus offerings, and more. I find this book easy to navigate, with digestible information that does not overwhelm me. It is also great for your college-bound kid to poke through. Because it is one “chunky monster,” it can be used as a doorstop once your teen gets into college!
FRIDAY I’M IN LOVE
Have you noticed an increase in junk mail lately? I am baffled at the waste whenever I grab the mail from our box. Junky advertisements, random papers, and piles of catalogs fill my poor mailbox to its breaking point. This, of course, does not include the essential pieces of mail, such as bills and cards—things I want to be able to find. As I thumbed through last night’s pile of crap, a few noteworthy catalogs caught my eye. Even though I’ve seen these stores and ordered from them occasionally, I usually don’t give them a second glance before sending them to the recycling bin. However, Halloween is officially behind us (PRAISE BE), and I am dreaming of the holiday season. So when I spied candy canes, ornaments, and whimsical garland on a glossy page out of the corner of my eye, my heart skipped a beat. I quickly nestled those magical-looking catalogs under my arm, grabbed a cozy glass of red, and beelined over to the couch. I flipped through every one of these catalogs reading through each description as if it was a holiday romance novel while allowing the sparkling images to occupy my mind. I sat cuddled on my couch dreaming about reindeer sheets and a poinsettia quilt draped on my bed, holiday lights dangling from every window, cozy fires created from perfectly stacked wood piles next to the fireplace (meanwhile, I have an electric fireplace), and Christmas trees decked out in various themes in EVERY room of my house (even the bathroom). Do I want to buy everything in these catalogs? YES! Will I buy anything from these catalogs? NO! Here is the thing— these catalogs provided me with 20 minutes of pure joy. And yes, after I finished swooning over the plaid blankets lined with faux fur and stockings hung with care on overdressed mantels, I delivered these bad boys straight to the recycling bin—but not without thanking them first!
I am so excited to share that I am a community host of the podcast, MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO MOVE AND SHAKE. Be sure to check out my episode, Weight Loss and Drinking Alcohol…Can They Co-Exist? I had an absolute blast recording this with my guest and truly enjoyed the podcast process. I am looking forward to recording more fun stuff in the future.
I am a bibliophile! There, I said it! I read books, I listen to books, I buy books, I borrow books, I give books, I write about books, I cook with books, I talk about books, and I decorate with books. When I can’t get my fix from one or more of these things, guess what I do???? I listen to other people gush about their love of books via literary podcasts. As I battle my never-ending to-do list, I eagerly listen to author interviews and new and old book recommendations making my routine chores much more bearable. I relish all of the dialogue, opinions, and banter between the hosts and their guests and oftentimes pretend I am there too chatting amongst friends. Like all my fellow bookworms, my days are so much brighter when books are a part of them. Today I am sharing four podcasts that bring me lots of joy. Get ready to pop in your earbuds, hit play, and escape into a world of endless reading possibilities.
What Should I Read Next hosted by Anne Bogel is the quintessential weekly literary podcast. I have been listening to this show since 2016 and it never grows old. Anne talks with one guest each week about their reading life and what they would like to change or make better. Her unique format is what makes her so special and I love how predictable and comforting each episode feels. Guests need to name three books they love, one book they don’t like, and what they are reading now. Anne then offers three book recommendations based on their responses. What I love about this podcast is that it is not hyper-focussed on hot new releases. New books are of course recommended, but I discover so many “new to me” backlist books that make me squeal! Her guests are a variety of everyday readers, authors, and people in the book industry. Episodes run between 40-60 minutes long making What Should I Read Next, my go-to listen while cleaning out my pantry. Anne and her guests are great company while I vacuum up crumbs, put chip clips on bags, and get rid of cereal boxes that were put back EMPTY. Anne is famous for her literary matchmaking skills and she never ever disappoints.
Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books is the award-winning podcast hosted by Zibby Owens. Lovers of shiny new books will be in their glory listening to this gem. Zibby is THE Literary Cheerleader for all books. She talks with a different author EVERY DAY about their new or upcoming book. Episodes are light and fun and showcase fabulous writers and their book babies. Episodes are spoiler-free and range from 20-30 minutes long making Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books perfect to listen to while waiting in the school pickup line. Zibby and her fellow writers ease the boredom of sitting in an endless line of cars and make school pick-up almost pleasurable. If you want to be in the know about all things books and writing, Zibby is where it is at. In case you were wondering…there are over 800 episodes to listen to.
This is My Hobby ishosted by Maddie and Abby, two MN teachers who break down one book each week for our listening pleasure. Because book spoilers are plentiful, I enjoy listening to episodes that focus on a book that I have already read. This gives me different perspectives and insight which I absolutely crave after I complete a book. Maddie and Abby talk freely with each other and their dialogue is organic and enjoyable to listen to. There is explicit language from time to time, so be mindful of the little ones around. This podcast debuted in December 2020 and episodes range from 50-90 minutes long. I love tuning in to This is My Hobby while managing mountains of laundry. Folding endless piles of clothes is actually somewhat enjoyable when Maddie and Abby are around.
Book Talk, etc. is hosted by Tina and Renee, two mid-west mood readers easily distracted by new release books. This podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It debuted in May 2021 and has been going strong ever since. Each week, these ladies discuss a specific literary theme such as Book Hangovers, Celebrity Book Clubs, Under The Radar Books, One-Sit Reads, etc. I absolutely love how accessible and unintimidating their conversations are. Not only do they share all of the new and old books they have read, but they also reveal books that they are eagerly awaiting as well. Before they dive into all of the books, Tina and Renee briefly share what they are loving lately, which can include skincare, podcasts, TV shows, etc. I have definitely gotten more than just great book recommendations from these two beauties. Episodes range from 45-70 minutes in length. Each week I pretend I am hanging out with Tina and Renee on Book Talk etc. while I vacuum and mop my floors. Sometimes they even accompany me in the bathroom while I aggressively scrub toilets and shine toothpaste splattered mirrors.
I hope you check out all of these lovely podcasts Mr. H. Who knows… maybe your books have been talked about 🥰🥰🥰!
Your Biggest Fan,
P.S. I am out of witty things to say today. Just go listen!
“When Ali steps up to the podium, she adjusts the mic. She starts her talk with a question. How many of you have ever been seduced? What was it about that time in your life that felt exciting?
Ali knows the answer, of course, even if the audience can’t quite put their finger on it.
It was the uncertainty. The highs and lows. The push and pull. Attraction without polarity cannot be sustained. Once the excitement is gone, you might as well just be friends.”
April 1, 2021
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
You should know by now that my love of psychological thrillers is a real thing. I will always adore your writing, but every now and then I need to read a book that really messes with my brain. A mind bending story with sharp turns and more twists than a pretzel is what I crave more often than not. My go to author for this kind of fun is Britney King. Any one of her books paired with a fabulous glass of pinot noir is my perfect Friday night. Her latest book, Kill me Tomorrow is out TODAY, and let me tell you something….it did not disappoint. Let’s take a look!
“Don’t focus on what you fear. You know where all the walls are. If you look at what you’re afraid of, you’ll literally steer into it.”
Ali is our leading lady of this story. She is a well known sex therapist who practices what she preaches. She is not afraid to put herself out there on a dating website with her gorgeous looks, complex past and mysterious baggage. Her moodiness and habit of abruptly disappearing leave her men drooling for more. Next we have Ethan who is a former FBI agent turned Private Investigator. He is hired to investigate a possible suicide, but lands on a string of murders all with a common thread. All of the dead gentlemen were on the same dating website as Ali. Ethan needs the money from this gig to provide for his kids who live with his ex-wife. He goes undercover on the dating website and lands a date with Ali, one of his suspects. As the two get to know one another (lots of “sexual healing” going on guys), the plot truly thickens. Ethan has his own theories about all of these murders, but in order to prove them right, he needs to stay alive. Easier said than done in a Britney King book. A perplexing sex goddess, secrets galore and a potential serial killer keep this story moving at a tremendous pace. At what cost will this mystery be solved?
“My cheek pressed against the cold tile. I think, so this is how it ends. There’s a rattling in my chest, the kind you hear stories about. It tells me I don’t have long.”
I can only leave you with a taste of this story in order to not give ANYTHING away. What I can tell you for sure is that King writes multifaceted characters who lack reliability and have killer charm. PERFECTION! There are three POVs in Kill Me Tomorrow: Ali, Ethan and the killer. Mystery narrators in thrillers are my absolute weakness. They add an extra layer of creepiness and “whodunit” to the story keeping me guessing until the very end. King’s latest creation is sensual, ominous and down right binge worthy. I personally found this book (and her last book Savage Row) not as graphic as some of her previous books… just throwing that out there to curious readers. The best part about King’s book is that you can try and guess your way through this story all you want, but she will stump you in the end!
Cheers to this thrilling tale!
Your Biggest Fan,
P.S. Kill Me Tomorrow has a PLAYLIST. Check it out over on SPOTIFY! How cool is that!!!
P.P.S. Here is where you can find the lovely Britney King. Go say HI to her. She would love to hear from you!
It is almost spring time here in Maine and I am already thinking about what my spring reading is going to look like. Katie @basicbsguide and I are continuing on with our monthly buddy reads. It’s all about the backlists for us, so get ready to check your shelves for all those unread books that keep staring you down. This April we will be reading 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘯𝘦 by John Marrs @johnmarrs.author This will be my second book by Marrs and I CAN’T WAIT! You can check out what I had to say about What Lies Between Us, RIGHT HERE!
If you didn’t know, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘯𝘦 has been made into a Netflix series. If you haven’t read this yet…. don’t watch the show until You do. 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭, 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐮𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐉𝐔𝐈𝐂𝐘 𝐈𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐡…….𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 😂😂!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Instagram to join in the fun! 𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐨𝐩𝐬𝐢𝐬 “How far would you go to find The One? A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner–the one you’re genetically made for. That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love. Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…”
I look forward to chatting books with you!
P.S. Click on the book pic below to purchase this book!
I can not believe it is March already. With a new month comes a new buddy read. This month, Katie (@basicbsguide) are co-hosting a group discussion on Betty by Tiffany McDaniel. Our group discussions are a wonderful and safe place to talk about all things books and reading and sensitive topics. Also, you will most likely make a new reading friend or two along the way. How fabulous is that!!!! Here is how it works….
1. Read at your own pace 2. Private Instagram chat at the end of March. Date and Time TBA.
If you have an instagram account and would like to join in with an awesome group of fellow readers from all over the country, please connect with me via email or message me on instagram. It is simple and a great way to connect with some new readers.
Be sure to visit Katie on instagram as well. She is from Texas and has an awesome account. @basicbsguide
“A girl comes of age against the knife.” “So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a white mother and a Cherokee father, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit in the rural town of Breathed, Ohio, is one of poverty and violence–both from outside the family and, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich with birdsong, wild fruit, and blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family’s darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters. Despite the hardships she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father’s brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all to which she bears witness, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family’s past and present with pen and paper and buries them deep in the dirt–moments that have stung her so deeply she could not share them, until now. Inspired by generations of her family, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by delivering this heartbreaking yet magical story–a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the most important voices in American fiction.”
Greetings from Maine…a balmy 25 degrees when I woke up this morning. Needless to say, Cecilia and I are freezing. Winter is coming and so are some fun things over here on Dear Mr. Hemingway. First, this website is in the process of getting a makeover…so fun! The new version will give me more room for content, videos, and so much more. I can’t wait to reveal the new site this November. Also, The 2020 Dear Mr. Hemingway Holiday Books & Pairings is almost complete. This year all of my pairings are from small and local businesses. Be on the lookout……its coming before Thanksgiving, just in time for all your holiday shopping!
I wish you a safe and healthy Halloween! I will be back in a few weeks with the brand new site! In the meantime, I will be putting the finishing touches on all my bookish projects!