Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

What I Read This Month: May Books

I have a million and one excuses for this month, but it really comes down to two things: I worked too much and I spent what little free time I did have playing Zelda.

At the end of April I started contracting with a magazine in Oakland. This has meant that I spend four hours commuting three days a week. In theory this would be a great time to read, but in reality multiple transfers and rude people who talk on their phone on the train often make it a frustrating experience. Top that off with too much work and I end up trying to squeeze in as much productivity as I can out of my disjointed trek across the bay.

When I did have time to presumably sit down and read, I often chose instead to sit down with my boyfriend’s Nintendo Switch and play Zelda instead. Why? Because my brain has been fried and I’ve really enjoyed playing it. I spent more time playing Zelda on our trip to Iceland than reading. This was aided by the fact that I was quite jet lagged and reading ended up with me falling asleep or not remembering the last 10 pages. No regrets there.

Cafe Skuld, Husavik, Iceland

[If you were going to read in Iceland, this little cafe in Húsavík would be the perfect spot. Or you could get on a boat and see whales like I did.]

May Books… Er… Book

All of this is to say, I read one book this month. And I’m slightly ashamed about it. I was close to finishing another book, but its technical science has slowed me down considerably. Look out for that one in June.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

Ah, another Fredrik Backman book. I just can’t get enough of these. His characters are lively and vibrant. So far every one of his books has fully sucked me in. My Grandmother was no different. I loved Elsa and her view of the world. Her grandmother would tell her fairy tales from a land she made up, and Elsa would in turn see the whole world through the lens of the fairy tale.

Add to that her grandmother’s antics like breaking into a zoo to cheer up her granddaughter and you have the making of a hilarious, touching book. Once I did pick this book up on our trip, I couldn’t stop. Not even Zelda could keep me from finding out what was going to happen next.

If you happen to be able to read this in Iceland or a Scandinavian country I highly recommend it. I read this mostly in Reykjavik and the story came to life for me. While it’s set in a small town in Sweden, the apartment buildings and bright colors of Reykjavik matched wonderfully.

What I Read This Month: April Books

I’m a little late on this one, but nonetheless I did actually read in April. Maybe not as much as I wanted or as consistently, but there are still April books worth mentioning. Spoiler alert, there’s actually fiction in here.

My April Books

What I Read This Month: April Books

The Borrower

As someone who practically grew up in the library or with a book in hand, The Borrower spoke straight to my heart. The story is about a young librarian and her star reader, Ian. The boy’s obsession with books and his mother’s oppressive censorship hit home for me. While my mom never limited what I could read, my elementary and middle school certainly made its opinion clear about the books ‘good Christians’ should read and those that are straight from the devil.

My heart went out to this little kid, but the author does a great job of showing all of his sides. His drama. His manipulation. His self-centeredness. His fear. His desire to escape.

I had to suspend my disbelief a bit more than I would like with this one, but overall I still enjoyed it.

 

Britt-Marie Was Here

I’m still talking about A Man Called Ove, so I was more than excited when another one of Fredrik Backman’s books arrived for me at the library. Britt-Marie didn’t disappoint either. I loved the humor of the story and the quirks of the characters. It’s an easy book to tear through, and I dare say a good one for a long flight if you happen to find yourself in that type of situation.

 

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

While Joan Didion’s piece, Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream, was part of the required reading for my college magazine journalism class, Slouching Towards Bethlehem was my first real dip into her writing. I was left mostly confused and feeling like I was standing just outside the main group at a party. I could pick up things here and there, but in general I was too far out of touch with the culture and time to know what was going on.

 

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016

The first Best American collection I read took me more than six years to finish. Not so this time. If you like stories about the impending catastrophic earthquake predicted to hit the Pacific Northwest or why sports bras are typically so shitty, this one is for you.

 

Want more recommendations?

Check out what I’ve read so far this year:

March
February
January
Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

You can see all of my book reviews here.

What I Read This Month: March Books

Where did this month go? March flew by, and all of the little books I read certainly helped speed it along. My March books are certainly an odd mix. I have been trying to read more of the books that I put on my Goodreads list from years ago (like One Day and Gulp). It’s kind of fun to go back in time and read the books that had caught my attention, although some of them fall a bit flat. Turns out we’ve both aged.

March Books

In honor of spring, I read books about deep winter, death by indigestion, and parenting. I’m really selling it aren’t I?

March Books 2017 Book Reviews

Difficult Women

I will read pretty much anything Roxane Gay writes. She has a strong voice that comes through whether she’s writing searing essays or stomach-turning fiction. The short stories in Difficult Women were arduous to read. The women in each story face horrors, try to put themselves back together, and seek out destruction. I was’t prepared for it.

It’s a must to pair this with something uplifting. And maybe don’t read the news while you’re working through it either. In internet speak, the whole thing is potentially triggering. Gay doesn’t make the stories go down easily, but her writing will drag you in anyways.

 

One Day

I finished One Day early in the month, and I’m still mad at David Nicholls. I was fully sucked into this book until he started dropping bombs three-quarters of the way through. By the end I didn’t like any of the characters and I was disenchanted with the whole story.

Is the movie less frustrating?

 

The Little Book of Hygge

The Danish concept of hygge (hue-guh or hoo-gah depending on who you believe on the internet) is right up my alley. I’ve been fully into hygge long before it took over the entire world, I just didn’t know there was a word for it.

For some reason I thought The Little Book of Hygge was a list of great ways to create some hygge. Instead it broke down the cultural importance of hygge and the typical activities that Danes consider hygge. I still enjoyed the book and I came away with a great deal of kinship for people in a country I could never survive in.

I hope this concept continues to catch on. I’m much happier sipping a cup of tea in a comfy, warm room than trying to hear people over the cacophony of a loud bar. Can we all just agree to spend more nights at home with a good book or a great friend?

 

Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Pink and I have never really gotten along (not the singer – we still don’t run in the same circles). Even though I refused to wear pink as soon as I could semi-verbalize my distaste for it, I still fell hard for the princess complex and their damn plastic high heels.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter explores the heavily gendered toys that are marketed to children and how they impact their play, friendships, and word view. This book was just as eye-opening and scary as Peggy Orenstein’s more recent Girls and Sex.

I have got to stop reading books about how hard it is to raise intelligent, well-rounded, well-adjusted, socially-conscious children. It makes me feel terrified at the prospect of being tasked with it myself – like keeping them alive and relatively happy isn’t hard enough.

 

The Science Writers’ Handbook

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to be a journalist or a nonfiction writer. It thoroughly explains everything you may need to know and it answered a lot of my (endless) questions about making freelance work. From what to look for in a contract to the importance of a good home office setup, The Science Writer’s Handbook felt like having a friend and a mentor patiently explain the mysteries behind ‘working for yourself’ full time.

 

Gulp

When I first heard Mary Roach talk about Gulp with John Stewart (way back when he was on The Daily Show), it didn’t grab me. It sounded gross and not very interesting.

Well, multiple Roach books later and it seemed like the right time to bite. It wasn’t my favorite of hers, but it still captured my attention and gave me a few laughs.

 

Eat Pretty

Books like Eat Pretty always remind me to eat better and to pay attention to how I’m treating my body. However, this book was a bit flat for me. It was gorgeous to look at, but I didn’t get anything new or life-changing out of it. None of the recipes in the book grabbed my attention, and most of it was things I had already heard. I would recommend Skin Cleanse over Eat Pretty, but it is a great reminder to eat more healthy fruits and vegetables.

 

Want more recommendations?

Check out what I’ve read so far this year:

February
January
Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2016

You can see all of my book reviews here.

What I Read This Month: February Books

My February books kept me afloat this month. They gave me a break from my own chaotic, self-doubting mind. The books I read this month were either full of much needed advice and encouragement or they were the perfect escape from my overwhelm.

February was my busiest month ever as a freelancer. I worked more hours than I have at any job in years. I’m not saying this to complain, despite the fact that most of this month was downright miserable, or do a weird ‘I’m so busy’ brag. But rather, I’m trying to explain just how much these books meant to me.

The fact that I read at all this month is something worth celebrating. There were days where my brain had turned to mush and my eyes were deep in the throws of revolt. But without fail I started nearly every morning with at least 15 minutes of reading. Those 15-30 minutes were often the best part of my day.

Despite the tears after going to bed and the ice-cream-after-lunch days and the downright shocking amount of work I powered through, I somehow managed to read five books this month. In doing so I also realized that my dream job might actually be getting paid to read engaging books all day. If you’ve figured out a way to make that a reality, please let me know.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for some long, rambling thoughts on this month’s books.

February Books

What I Read This Month: February Books

Relativity

This fiction was straight nourishment for the heart. I loved the way that 12-year-old Ethan saw the world (both literally and figuratively). The switching perspectives/ narrators kept me hooked and made it even easier to root for them all, even when I felt conflicted about it. Be prepared to have a greater appreciation for physics and a deep desire to watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey with Neil deGrasse Tyson after reading this one.

 

Voices in the Ocean

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to be in and around water. I used to dream about being an oceanographer (didn’t realize it was mostly about staring at maps on computers) or a marine biologist until the realities of the math/chemistry required and the amount of time I would spend living in a lab set in.

This book was for the 10-year-old marine biologist inside of me. Voices dives into the complex world of dolphins and our fascination with them. It both filled me with a sense of appreciation and awe for our oceans and the incredible animals that live in them, and it also made me feel depressed and helpless about the current state of our oceans and the horrific things we do to their inhabitants.

I loved Susan Casey’s The Wave (and have made just about everyone I know read it). This book didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I still enjoyed it. Lovers of The Cove and Blackfish will likely enjoy it.

 

Tools of Titans

Another massive tome from Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans lays out the best lessons, advice, and habits from the world-renowned guests on The Tim Ferriss Show. I read this one in little chunks throughout the month, and I feel like it’s one that might be worthwhile in going back to. It’s packed with great information (and things that will never apply to my life).

While I recommend picking it up, I will say that if you are a regular listener to the podcast it can feel repetitive (you’ve already heard the interviews, and much of it is direct quotes from guests). It’s also, purposely, all over the place. Advice directly conflicts, people disagree on how to get to the same place, and a lot of it may not be helpful at all.

I think I should also say that I’ve generally been cooling on Ferriss lately. I’m not interested in taking adaptogens or biohacking my body, and he seems to be going further and further into quick fixes and magic pills. A lot of the things that excited him the most in this book just didn’t click with my lifestyle or interests.

 

A Man Called Ove

Oh man, I loved A Man Called Ove. It caught my eye on the shelf at the library, and despite no time and lots of other books in my arms, I just couldn’t help myself.

I’m so glad I picked it up. This was my favorite book of the year so far.

This grump felt like an alternate-reality version of me. I cracked up constantly, and the dark humor was top-notch for me. The curmudgeon inside of me felt perfectly at home inside the pages. This book was the highlight of the month. It’s obvious why A Man Called Ove a best seller in so many countries.

 

Scratch

I have yet to learn that books about writing, especially how to make a living at it, are never uplifting. I have not once finished a book about writing and thought, ‘yes, of course I can do this and it will obviously be easy!’

Scratch was real. Cheryl Strayed exposed the debt that was quickly sinking her and her husband before Wild came out. Sarah Smarsh showed that not being able to afford a haircut means that a best-selling novel is right around the corner (or something not even close to that but that’s the version I need right now). Austin Kleon turned ‘selling out’ on its head and made me regret being terrible at visual arts.

The writers in this book talked straight to the voices in my head that have the same doubts, fears, and ambitions. They constantly made me face the reality of what I’m trying to do (not great timing on that one), and also showed me that they all started here too: broke, tentative, unsure, and desperate for someone, anyone, to help them figure out how to make this work.

While the book is great for anyone who wants to know what their favorite writer’s life is really like and what writing looks like behind the scenes, it’s written for aspiring fiction writers. I still found it helpful for non-fiction, especially the general commiseration about the lack of pay across writing and the terror of setting out on your own.

What I read this month: January Books

Last year’s books were all so good that I was feeling a little uninterested in reading for parts of this month. I didn’t want to be dissapointed. (There isn’t anything quite like following an amazing book with a lackluster read. It feels like such a letdown.)

I shouldn’t have worried. While not every book blew my mind this month, I have regained my insatiable hunger for books. Despite not feeling it for a while I still ended up reading eight books this month. Not too bad.

What I Read In January

January Books

No Baggage

I’m all for packing light, but I never considered taking no bags at all. No Baggage is the story of a woman’s (real) travels through eight countries over three weeks. More than the story of her trip, I appreciated her openness about her struggles with depression in the years before her trip and what it was like to finally make it out of that. Also, their extremely light travel made me think hard about what I will pack for my next trip. (Spoiler, I’m definitely still going to travel with layers and tooth paste, even if it means I need a bag. Sorry, Clara and Jeff.)

 

The 4-Hour Body

Tim Ferriss recommends just reading the 150 pages that interest you the most in his massive book. Well I hate being told how to read a book. I read the whole damn thing, index and appendix included. So there, Mr. Ferriss.

I doubt I’m going to “lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercise,” “increase fat-loss 300 percent with a few bags of ice,” or gain “34 pounds of muscle in 28 days without steroids.” But I didn’t read it for those things anyways.

Things I didn’t like about The 4-Hour Body:

  • It often feels gimmicky and too good to be true
  • It’s based on self-experimentation and the experiences of a select few people
  • The advice is often contradictory depending on what outcome you are going for (losing weight vs gaining muscle vs just being a stronger, better athlete).
  • So many supplements and unnatural substances!

Things I liked:

  • I really appreciate Tim’s self-experimentation beliefs and his encouragement to find your own answers. It’s refreshing to have someone remind you that you know your body best and you are your best hope of figuring out what works for you.
  • His chapter on injury prevention and finding imbalances was right up my ally.
  • The book was a nice reminder to find your minimum effective dose, but things often felt too reductionist. Sure, maybe I could increase my strength or muscle mass in less than 2-hours a week, but that completely leaves out the other benefits of exercise like enjoyment and stress relief.

Bottom line? Tim was probably right about only reading the parts that you are the most interested in.

 

Future Sex

I picked up this book after hearing Emily Witt talk about writing it on the Longform podcast. I expected an open-minded, curious exploration of the ways that people seek out and experience sex. And it was sort of that, but it was also a snaking journey of her realization that she may never have the life she thought she wanted.

Future Sex left me feeling depressed and like her searching was still unresolved.

 

Come as You Are

Through sheer fate of the library request system, this month turned into a bit of an exploration of female sexuality. Overall Come As You Are was interesting, but not life changing. It was definitely geared toward women who were experiencing particular problems or frustrations. It was relatively interesting, and I certainly learned things, but I don’t think this is one I will be widely recommending to my friends.

 

Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life left me with mixed feelings. I expected to feel uplifted and ready to create the life I want. Instead they (unintentionally) destroyed my fall back plan and added a lot of items to my to do list.

Overall, I really recommend it. They lay out clear steps toward creating a life that will leave you fulfilled and happy. Just be ready to do a lot of work and not have them hand you any easy answers.

 

Carry On

So good. If you can set aside Harry Potter and try to forget about how magic works in that world, Carry On will suck you in. I never read fantasy, despite reading it as a child. I only picked this up because I can’t get enough of Rainbow Rowell, and it was the story the main character in Fangirl writes fanfiction about. Even the boy, a master fantasy/sci-fi reader, enjoyed it.

 

Homegoing

This was a rough way to start the year. I finished Homegoing on New Year’s Day, but it stuck with me long after that. No part of this book is easy. I had to take breaks and come back to it when I was ready to absorb more. People do horrible things to each other, and it’s a lot to take.

The writing is beautiful. I love the structure of the book as it follows the decedents of two half-sisters. You hear from so many people, but the story feels like one. Read it, but be kind to yourself and know when you need some space.

 

Female Chauvinist Pigs

In an effort to read some of the books that I added to my to-read list in 2012 (or before…), I picked this up before the holidays. Originally published in 2006, Female Chauvinist Pigs felt almost nostalgically dated and also a little too relevant. It’s a bit too outdated to be a really important read, but in a way it felt like a precursor to Girls and Sex.

4 Months Post Peroneal Tendon Surgery

Life is creeping back toward normal, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Four months post peroneal tendon surgery I’m sleeping without mummifying my leg. I am just starting to get back into squatting again. I got the go-ahead to finally leave the brace behind for daily life. I’m physically moving on.

In the day to day it’s hard to see the progress I’ve made. And it’s even more difficult when my pain and mobility fluctuate wildly. Some days are great, others feel like I’ve lost weeks of progress overnight.

But I’m slowly slipping toward normal and my obsession about my progress is going with it.

I was wrong.

My expectations about my recovery were woefully incorrect. I was under the impression that I would be back to where I was before surgery after three months. At four, I’m still not there. But I’m also not worrying about it anymore.

My outlook on my recovery post peroneal tendon surgery is heavily skewed by the nine months I spent desperate to get better before anyone realized I needed more than physical therapy could offer. I feel like this has been dragging on forever, that I will never actually get better. But when I can set all of that aside, it’s clearly not true. I’m making strides, I’m inching forward and the steps backward are much less frequent.

Healing is slow. Connective tissue like tendons is particularly sluggish. I’m doing what I can, and I’m not worrying about the rest.

I’ve stopped comparing myself to Lauren Fisher, the CrossFit athlete who had her surgery within days of mine and has shot past me. We aren’t the same person, we have different goals, and frankly, it just doesn’t matter.

2017 is my year.

I’m so excited to start the new year feeling a bit more like my old self. I can throw on my sneakers and head out the door (for a walk, but still). I am working on my leg strength and aggressively building my balance. When it stops raining I can ride my bike outside instead of being cooped up in the gym. My physical therapist has given me a great deal of space to try things out on my own and decide what feels right for my body right now.

I don’t want to be too bold, but I have a feeling I’ll be running in the next month. I’ve already done some really short jogs on the Alter-G treadmill at 80 percent of my bodyweight. If things keep moving like they have been I think I’ll see pavement soon.

Yoga has brought back my sanity (and some of my flexibility). I’ve left each class with a huge sense of relief and space in my body.

My body is forever changed, and it still hasn’t quite figured out what that’s going to be like, but I’m starting to get a hang of the way things are now.

 

In Case You Missed It:

I thought I could still play basketball
One Month Later
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Eight
Nine
10 months and surgery
11 Months + Surgery
What I learned from a year of being injured
Three months post peroneal tendon surgery

How I use a planner to stay organized

I’ve tried a few different techniques to stay organized and productive, but by far writing things down by hand in a planner is best for me. It helps me to break down big tasks into smaller to dos over a few days. I can visually see all of the things I need to get done and feel like I have a grasp over them all. Plus, you just can’t beat the feeling of physically crossing something off your list.

How to Use a Planner

After at least 15 years of using a planner, I finally have a system that works for me. What started as a place to keep track of my homework has morphed into how I organize my entire life. I use my planner to keep track of my work tasks, daily errands and chores, habits, and personal goals.

How to Use a Planner

How to Use a Planner

 

1. Plan Big Three

Each day I set aside my main three (or fewer) tasks for the day. These are my main priorities that need to be done before I can call it a day. If I only do these three tasks, my day is a success. My last work task for the day is writing out what needs to be done the next day.

 

2. To Do List

Laundry, quick emails, and other lower priority tasks go to the side of my big three. In theory I should do my big three before diving into these quick to dos, but in general I tend to sprinkle them in between.

 

How to Use a Planner – Blogging Editorial Calendar

 

3. Monthly Editorial Calendar

For years I would hand draw a calendar for my blog in a lined notebook. It was tedious and didn’t make it easy for me to actually sit down and plan out my posts for the month. Now all of my tasks are in one place, and I can quickly flip to the front of my planner to see what I have coming up for the blog.

 

4. Deadlines and Dates

Meetings, appointments, and deadlines all have a home (and a symbol) in my weekly planner. While I also have all of these in a digital calendar, I find it really helpful to have it written out. I can easily take them into consideration when I’m planning my tasks and priorities.

 

How to Use a Planner Habit Tracking

 

5. Habit Tracking

There are so many great ways to track habits. But I find I won’t actually mark it as complete (or do it at all) if my tracker isn’t front and center. Each week I hand draw my own habit tracker right into the weekly spread. Lately I’ve been tracking habits related to my ankle physical therapy including how often I contrast bath, do scar tissue massage, eat or drink foods high in anti-inflammatories, and other ankle-related tasks.

This is a great way to track multiple habits, but there are so many ways you could do it. You could highlight the days you completed your main habit (or New Year’s resolution), put a mark on each day, have a symbol you draw on the day when you’re done, or create a little logbook style like I have.

 

6. Sketch It Out

In college I got into the habit of planning out my priorities and to dos for an entire week at a time. While this was helpful for me to plan out when I needed to get started on things and to space out my workload, it was terrible for actually getting it done. If I didn’t finish something it caused catastrophe.

After years spent working off of yesterday’s (or last week’s) to do list, I finally learned how to frame out my big projects and take it a day at a time. These days I will take a big project and break it down into individual tasks that have to get done. I then add them to do my to do list one day at a time so I have room to move them from one day to another if things aren’t chugging along perfectly.

This technique is key for my freelance writing assignments. I will have anywhere from 5-10 articles due in a month. At the start of the month I sit down and roughly sketch out when I will do each step for each article so I don’t get overwhelmed or miss a deadline.

Because this process is messy and constantly shifting, I use a piece of scratch paper so I can cross things off as I go and rewrite them as necessary. My rough frame lives in the back pocket of my planner, but you can also include it in the notes section. Or you know, use a pencil.

 

7. Move It Forward

Any main priority tasks that don’t get completed are automatically the top priority for the next day. Sometimes I just don’t realize how long a task will take me and my top three for the day are really more than I can tackle. Instead of feeling like a failure for not getting it all done, I just move it forward to the next day.

There are exceptions to this rule. I will always meet hard deadlines. Typically I have it all planned out so I’m not doing anything last-minute, but things happen.

 

8. Set Yourself Up for Success

Like most people, I could easily write out 20 things that I want to get done each day, but that’s never going to happen. I am strict with only having three top tasks for the day. No matter how many times I try it, four isn’t realistic. I just can’t get it all done.

There are days where three is way too many as well. Know what your priority will take (time, effort, energy, focus, someone else’s time, etc.) and plan accordingly. If something is going to take you six hours to complete, don’t add two more priorities to the list under it. You’ve already filled up your day with your main task.

 

How to Use a Planner – Goals and Intentions

 

9. Set Goals or Intentions

I put my goals for the week front and center so they are always on my mind. Sometimes these goals are big projects I want to tackle that week or my general focus for the week (like reflection, goal planning, inspiration gathering). I don’t always have an explicit goal for each week outside of just getting my normal tasks done. On those weeks I just leave the space blank.

 

Planner

The planner I use isn’t special. I searched for hours (I wish I was exaggerating) for a sustainable, ethical notebook that did everything I wanted, but I ultimately came up short. I’m currently using Moleskin’s 18 month, weekly planner. In the past I used a handmade, 100 percent recycled paper planner from Etsy.

 

Related:

I haven’t tried bullet journaling, but I am fully intrigued by it. I mean look at these examples! The colors and perfect penmanship make me happy. If only I knew how to draw (and could write legibly).

How to Get It All Done

December Reads

December was a lighter reading month for me. I spent a great deal of time baking cookies, visiting with friends and family, and indulging in a bit of TV. That said, this month was all about the ladies – all of these books were written by women, about women.

December Reads

December Reads 2016

What’s Not Yours Is Not Yours

This book felt like required reading in high school, only no one ever explained to me what it meant. I just couldn’t figure out what was going on, and the aspects of fantasy felt jarring. Most of the stories left me extremely confused and disinterested in starting the next. Just not for me.

 

Feminist Fight Club

This book earned its place on my list of the best books I read in 2016.

 

The Wangs Vs. The World

After seeing this book just about everywhere, I decided to finally see what the fuss was about. I wasn’t overly impressed, but it was an entertaining read. The characters frustrated me and the story took odd turns. Overall it’s an eh for me.

 

Where She Went

A sequel to If I Stay, this book is junk food for the brain. I didn’t learn anything or have any insightful revelations. But I did sit down and finish it in a few hours on a lazy day after Christmas. Can’t complain.

 

Men Explain Things to Me

Expectation: A hilarious compilation of men talking down to the author and unnecessarily explaining things. Reality: Rebecca Solnit’s collection of essays covered everything from the pillage of the global South and its ties to how women are treated to war to why we should have hope for the future. The incredibly short book was thought-provoking and connected a lot of important dots for me.