January 4, 2019

Happy new year! This partial week has me feeling like I’ll never know what day it is or what I’m supposed to be doing with my time. But it’s also meant I’ve had extra quiet and space to reflect, and I always welcome that. Here’s some stuff I read this week:

  1. Dumplin’, Julie Murphy. I loved this book! It’s sweet, melancholy young adult romance with a fat protagonist and nuanced friendships throughout. I really enjoyed the Netflix movie, but the book always gives you more space and time with the characters. Here’s a quote from near the end that doesn’t give anything away: “Sometimes figuring out who you are means understanding that we are a mosaic of experiences. I’m Dumplin’. And Will and Willowdean. I’m fat. I’m happy. I’m insecure. I’m bold.”
  2. The Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen. I am picky about my mystery series — I think I like them historical, I know I like them feminist or at least fearless, and on the spectrum of cozy-English-village-knitting-shop to gory-English-village-serial-killer, I err on the side of knitting shop. But I have enjoyed (and devoured) this series. Molly is an Irish immigrant  in the early 20th century, come to New York City with very little and ambition to be a lady detective. I like that it hasn’t been easy for her, and there are times that she’s come perilously, frustratingly close to poverty and prison, but her determination and creativity keep getting her out of jams. Read them! Talk to me about them!
  3. Six Years with a Distraction-Free Iphone, Medium. I initially read this a few weeks ago, but it’s stuck with me. He talks about how he’s deleted most distracting apps from his phone, and the part I find most compelling is how he believes that opting out of distractions has given him a competitive edge amongst his creative peers. “Here’s the thing: When I stopped instantly reacting to everyone else’s priorities, I got better at making time for the projects I believed were most important—even if they weren’t urgent or nobody was asking for them. I invested effort in documenting and promoting my design sprint process. And, after a lifetime of putting it off till “someday,” I finally started writing, eventually publishing two books. How much of my improved output can I attribute to the distraction-free iPhone? A lot, I think. Doing big projects takes many sessions of focused work, added up over time. It’s like building a pyramid, and every work session is like cutting a block of stone and stacking it on the foundation.”
  4. The Real Reason You’re Burned Out, Tiffany Dufu on Oprah.com. This is an excerpt from Tiffany Dufu’s book Drop the Ball: Achieve More By Doing Less. I read this book last year or so, and I remember really liking the idea of the “MEL” (see the excerpt!). The book has some other great and very readable pieces of wisdom in it, including one I’ll paraphrase here: She talks about how she’s prided herself on being able to “get things done,” from housework to parenting responsibilities to her career, but during a period of burnout she realized that by not setting priorities, all demands become of the same importance. She says, “Do I really want to spend as much energy on the laundry as I do on my mission to educate women and girls?” And in the part I loved the most, she said, “Do I want my epitaph to read, “Well, she got a lot of things done?” And what I liked was not that laundry isn’t important, but that getting things done for the sake of doing them is not meaningful. I beat myself up for not “getting things done,” but if I take the time to sort out what is urgent, what is important, and what is not urgent but is important, then I can see a little clearer, and breathe a little easier.
  5. Introducing the BraverMountain Varsity Team, Blair Braverman. Okay, so this one is a Twitter thread of really cute sled dogs and their awesome sled driver (musher?). She gives some sweet fun facts about each dog, and reading through it made me wish it was a novel I could read, but also very glad it’s real life and these adorable, athletic dogs exist.

Have a great weekend!

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