Reading Roundup: September 2021

What our lives but a series of farewells and returns, no?

Esi Edugyan, Washington Black

After last month’s triumphant exclamation of having finally found a good rhythm for my reading habit…this past month knocked this nascent habit off course. Again. I’m trying not to get too impatient, however, as my lovely toddler’s sleep regressions are no joke (and in no way under my control).

This isn’t the season of my life when I’m going to do the most reading. I keep having to remind myself of this fact. And, more importantly, reminding myself that I’m not bidding the habit of reading farewell but rather À Bientôt! Because to this habit I will return. Eventually.

But, for now, I did manage to read some interesting articles and blogs in September, if not so many books.

Hmm…there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

Articles

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

How Ultra-Processed food took over your shopping basket, by Bee Wilson

This was, well, an eye-opening read. I mean, I think most of us know that eating at McDonald’s isn’t great for your health, and perhaps everyone is now aware that Fruit Loops don’t exactly qualify as a well-rounded breakfast. But I’m not sure that I was aware of just how much Ultra-Processed foods, i.e. the vast majority of most grocery stores, were affecting my health and my struggles with weight. This article has definitely got me thinking more about how to overhaul the way we eat in our household to see if I can’t spare our kids the struggles my generation has going through when it comes to binge-eating and nutritional deficits. I’m even considering hanging the Nova food chart next to the Canada Food Guidelines in the future…Food (hehe) for thought.

To Monteiro, the bag of sugar on the kitchen counter is a healthy sign, not because sugar itself has any goodness in it, but because it belongs to a person who cooks.

Bee Wilson

Writers notes: the record label remixing novels into music, by George Bass

Those who know me well know that I am a sucker for a good film score. Since my early teens, I have done countless hours of homework to the instrumental accompaniment of the Breaking of the Fellowship scene from The Lord of the Rings, I wrote many an article in Journalism school to the heart-pumping timpani of Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean score, and much of my Master’s thesis was inspired by the musical canvas supporting such films as Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and the entire Harry Potter series. What all of these albums have in common is that they are all the atmospheric support for existing movies (many based on books). But what about all the books which haven’t been turned into movies? Where are their scores? This article answers that question and I sincerely hope the trend they speak of continues to grow and thrive. If I ever finish the novel I am currently writing (and hopefully many many others!) I can only hope someone will write a score for it…even if I never have the good fortune of seeing my imaginative world adapted to the big screen. If someone someday does feel the need to put music to my words, I can promise you I’ll listen to it with an immense sense of joy. And, who knows, maybe even compose new literary work of my own to the sound of these as-yet unheard notes. Stranger things have happened! And what a beautiful full circle of creation that would be.

The label’s objective – asking musicians to compose new scores to classic novels – is an idea so simple it could almost be a happy accident.

George Bass

Body Confidence After Having a Baby by Leah Higgins for That Mama Club

I needed this article. Oh how much I needed it. Aria has been going through a sleep regression over the past two weeks and finding our way through this developmental phase as a family (no naps for a 19-month-old is rough!) has wreaked havoc on my exercise and eating habits, not to mention my sleep and self-care. As a result, I have definitely noticed myself being a lot more cruel in the way I talked to and about myself and my body. This article was just what I needed to remind myself that I’m working hard, that redeveloping a healthy lifestyle is a process and that I need to give myself grace. If you struggle with body image issues, even if you aren’t a Mom, give this a read. It may change your life, I know it has changed mine.

As a mother I don’t want this pattern of self hate to continue. I don’t want my children growing up thinking mommy hates herself and it is normal to pick away at yourself every day for the way you were made. This can stop with us if we try.

Leah Higgins

Interview – Malorie Blackman: “Hope is the spark’ by Sian Cain

If you’ve been reading the last 6 months or so of these reading roundups, you’ll know that despite the immense size of my current to-read list, I’m always looking for interesting titles to add. It would appear, after reading this interview, that this list is about to grow by a few dozen titles thanks to the prolific nature of Malorie Blackman’s career. The Noughts and Crosses series, which apparently has been around for 20 years, sounds particularly fascinating…and since I tend to devour the entire oeuvre of any author whose style I enjoy, well, I’ll likely be reading everything she has produced thus far for good measure. That is…if I can ever find the time! I must keep reminding myself, it’s just not my season of reading. That time will come again! But, come on, a world where Britain is actually colonized by Africa? I’m already hooked, and I haven’t even read a single page yet.

A bookseller once said to me: ‘Oh, we don’t stock those books because we don’t have a big multicultural population around here.’ Yeah, you don’t have a hobbit population around here but you’ve still got Lord of the Rings!

Malorie Blackman

Blogs

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Maybe I Don’t Have A Purpose… (and maybe that’s OK), by Jenny at Jenny in Neverland

This is another blogger whose work I have been reading forever and her posts always strike me as accessible while also being well-researched and thought out. This one was perfect for me to discover right now as I am struggling to figure out what my purpose is and if I do indeed have just one…I feel like so many of us also go through this same thought process. What if we haven’t dreamed of being the person to cure cancer since we were 4 and this goal drove our entire lives up until this point? OK, OK, bad example since if I had the chance to cure cancer I would of course do so in a heartbeat but…you get my drift, right? I do still think I am meant to write (I love it and it comes naturally to me) but is that my PURPOSE? Or is it just something that makes me happy – a feeling I can share with others by publishing my work? Or is my purpose to raise my kids to be good human beings who make the world a better place? What if my purpose is to help my Dad learn about the mysterious parts of his family history? Is it OK if I find my purpose in all these things? Jenny’s post really calmed my monkey mind on these niggling thoughts. And I hope, if you feel similarly to me, that her post will do the same for you!

But in terms of that big, profound purpose that everyone talks about? I think it skipped me.

Jenny

How to Define Success on Your Own Terms, by Jenny at Jenny in Neverland

Another one from Jenny this month because her content is just that good. This is something I have been struggling with for a LONG time. I constantly compare myself to others and find myself coming up short. I mean constantly. When a friend posts a picture of a neat craft they did with their toddler? I’m not as good of a mom as them. When I see someone running? I’ll never be that fit. When my husband finishes another book? My reading habits suck and I’m wasting too much time. Why do I do this? Jenny’s post reminded me that this kind of thinking is normal and is simply something each of us just needs to work through. Because at the end of the day, we are all successful in our own way in our own time. And everyone else’s success? Celebrating them does not mean we can’t also celebrate ourselves. We all need to recognize the amazing things we have accomplished – myself included. I need to get this habit in check before Aria gets old enough to imitate it!

This is a big one and something I’ve always struggled with in terms of my age and where I am in life in comparison to my peers. Again, it all ties in to that big old comparison factor. Timelines are an illusion.

Jenny

Books

View on Goodreads

As I mentioned in the intro, this was not a good month for reading books. I did finish the Washington Black audiobook after only two renewals, which is an improvement, and I am on the wait list for the first book in the Artemis Fowl series (which has been on my To Read list forever).

In terms of physical books, I’m still working my way through the last of The Fiery Cross and I still need to finish Ramses. My goal this month is to at the very least finish both these books and hopefully one or two more shorter ones. I’m still hoping to reach 21 books by the end of the year (I’m currently sitting at 10). What do you think…can I do it?

I know, I know, if I would read fewer articles and blogs it would likely be easier but…I am who I am.

Well, wish me luck in this last quarter of the year. I hope after all the farewells I’ve been bidding to my attempts at redeveloping a reading routine this will be the month when I finally make my return.

Regardless if I manage to achieve my reading goals, however….

Life remains beautiful.

xo Erin

2 thoughts on “Reading Roundup: September 2021

  1. Sleep regressions suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. My 4 month old is having one.

    This is a really interesting reading list. I would not beat yourself up if you don’t hit your reading goals though. Parenting is a whole thing that takes a lot, and sometimes it’s best if our goals are flexible.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I’m so sorry you’re going through the madness that is sleep regressions too. They are seriously no fun at all, regardless of the age. I hope you’re able to get some rest!

      I agree with you completely about being flexible on the goals. I’ve always been type A and find it hard not to complete a list but, really, you’re right. Parenting is a lot as it is, there will be more time for reading at some point. It’s just not now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s