Social Justice Book Club: Just Mercy Wrap-up

April has come and gone, ya'll, which means an end to the "official" window for the first installment of the Social Justice Book Club. But don't worry if you haven't finished Just Mercy yet... I haven't either. So my own personal wrap-up post will come later next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to get a link-up up for anyone who wanted to share their thoughts or comments or ideas about the book.

Make-Ahead Breakfasts

I learned an interesting thing about myself when I transitioned from working in an office every day to working from home: I do not make breakfast. When my mornings were a rush to get out the door, looking reasonably like a functional adult human being, I assumed this was because of lack of time. Sleep an extra 10 minutes, or eat a healthy breakfast? I always chose the sleep.

But now that I work from home, those 10 minutes aren't a black and white choice between sleep and eat. I could, theoretically, make myself a real, balanced meal in the morning and still get to my desk in plenty of time to dive into the workday. But I don't. I sit at the counter and drink coffee on an empty stomach, making myself sick and leaving me cranky and shaky by 10:30am. Anything to avoid actually cooking something before 9am.

To the rescue: make-ahead breakfasts that require nothing more than finding a clean spoon.

Overnight Oats

There are tons of "recipes" for overnight oats, but the premise is simple: one part oats, one part liquid, add flavorings to taste. I prefer Bob's Red Mill Muesli soaked in coconut milk*, topped with chia seeds and frozen fruit (which thaws in the overnight process).

For a creamsicle-like version, half coconut milk & half orange juice is great (though the berries can overwhelm the creamsicle flavor if you're also adding fruit on top).

*Coconut milk tends to keep me fuller longer than regular milk, and is easier on my stomach pre-workout than dairy. I buy the canned lite coconut milk (in my grocery store, it's with the Asian foodstuffs) as it's cheaper than the refrigerated box variety, lasts longer, and doesn't have stabilizers added into it. I've also done this with skim milk when I'm out of coconut milk and it works just fine.

Banana Chia Pudding

I first stumbled into this dish when I tried a Whole 30, and have kept making it long since re-introducing gluten and sugar to my diet (hello, cupcakes). Blend a banana and a 1/4-1/2 cup of coconut milk until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup of chia seeds and let sit at least overnight. Serve with fruit or other toppings to taste! (Recipe adapted from Stupid Easy Paleo.)

I make both of these in leftover jars (salsa, jelly, mustard, pickles), and eat them straight out of the jars they overnight in. They're also conveniently portable that way for mornings when I do have to put on pants and leave the house.


What are your go-to breakfasts? Favorite make-ahead breakfasts?

Social Justice Book Club: June Book Pick

We're not quite finished the first round of the Social Justice Book Club, true, but I'm comfortable enough calling it a success to go ahead and pick the book for round 2: The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, by Laura Tillman. (Thanks to Julianne for the recommendation!)

Because so many have other reading commitments, and I know some readers weren't able to join us this time around because of delays in getting a copy of Just Mercy, #SJBC will become an every-other-month reading event. So we won't be diving into The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts until June (but I wanted to get the book announced ASAP so folks (like me!) had time to get their hands on a copy).

The more the merrier--link up below if you're interested in joining! No pressure--the link-up just helps me (and others!) keep track of who's participating so we know where to go to discuss.

And stay tuned next week for a wrap-up of this first edition of the Social Justice Book Club, and a call for your input in shaping how we move forward!

Week in Reading: April 18th

Happy Tax Day, fellow Americans! (Happy April 18th, non-U.S. readers!)

As promised, I've done a lot of traveling and not a lot of writing. Not as promised, I haven't done a lot of reading: I spent a surprising amount of my six hours of airport time and two hours of flight time this weekend talking to strangers instead of reading. Who even am I?

Which means this week's reading stack looks almost exactly like last week's...

Some Days Are Better Than Others: A Running Recap

Some days are better than others.

This is a thing that I know to be true, but really experiencing it--and letting myself believe it--has proved something else entirely. A recent run was a much-needed reminder that some days are, in fact, better than others. And that's not such a bad thing.

I set out for a long trail run on a gorgeous morning, planning for 11 miles. I'm training for a half in May, and this was one of my longest runs in my training plan, so it meant a lot not only physically, but mentally: if I can do this, I told myself, I can do the race.

But less than a mile into my run, my legs felt like lead. My feet felt like bruises. My calves felt like fire. My quads felt like jello. I hadn't even hit the hills yet.

Week in Reading: April 11th

I ran a lot this weekend: a long run Saturday, and a short but very, very hilly, beautiful trail race this morning. I (surprisingly) wrote a lot: two long-form pieces, two short blurb reviews, an author interview, and two mid-length reviews. I prepped for a lot of work coming my way this week. I did not read a lot. But that's ok! Because this week is a new week, packed with lots of travel time (aka reading time), exciting adventures, and good books:

I did finish up the very short--but very good--George, by Alex Gino, on audio this weekend, so will be diving into Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman next (both for the Read Harder challenge). For May releases, I wrapped up The Loney, a slow-build debut novel that I expected to be creepy in a fantastical way and was instead creepy in a cult-like Catholicism way (but was still excellent despite my misplaced expectations). Now I'm looking at Swallowed by the Cold, a slim collection of short stories by Jensen Beach, out next month from Graywolf Press, and/or Champagne Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World's Most Celebrated Drink, because who doesn't love a book about champagne? (Side note: My one and only party skill is being able to sabre open a bottle of bubbly.)

Of my own damn books, I'm devouring Just Mercy for the kick-off of what I hope will be a recurring Social Justice Book Club, and plan to tuck The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, into my bag for an upcoming flight (this last will be a re-read to prep for an upcoming book club discussion).


What are you reading this week?

Clean Your Reader: A Wrap-Up (and For Me, Lessons Learned)

But first, an apology: I've been a terrible host of the CleanYourReader challenge. So much so that many of you probably don't even know it's been an ongoing thing that some readers (myself very much not included) have been participating in with all the diligence I'd hoped to inspire in myself.

The goal for Clean Your Reader was simple: Over a three-month time period (January to March), make an effort to finally, finally read all the e-books collecting dust on our e-readers. Some participants did a great job. I, on the other hand, read one e-book. One!

I've Been Reading My Own Damn Books... and It's Changing How I Think About My Reading

So far this year, I've finished 10 of my own damn books (out of the 27 books I've finished so far this year). That might not seem like a huge percentage to some, but considering that 12 of the remaining 17 books I've finished have been assigned for Shelf Awareness reviews, I'm really pleased with it. (Even more so when I consider the fact that only 10 of the books I read in all of 2015 were from my own damn bookshelves.)

Andi's challenge thus far has been more about mere accomplishment, though. It's redefining how I think about my reading entirely.

Looking Ahead: April Books I Can't Wait to Read

Spring publishing season is sneaking up on me more quickly than I like to admit... and though the influx of shiny new titles will be even larger next month, as everyone gears up for the infamous Summer Reading Season, there's no shortage of books calling my name this month:

Week in Reading: April 4th

Welcome to the first iteration of April's weeks in reading. The next three months for me feature a ton of meetings and lots (and lots and lots) of travel, which means I'll likely be reading a lot, but writing very little. My goal, at a minimum, is to keep up with weekly reading posts so the books I'm reading get a little bit of attention (and, of course, I'll still meet my paid review deadlines). Anything beyond that will be a bonus! Having set expectations accordingly, on to this week's reading stack:

Looking Back: March Books

April kind of snuck up on me (what else is new), so this post is a little bit later than intended. But c'est la vie and all that. March felt like a jumble, but in reflecting on it, it was a decent month for reading--especially as it came to Reading My Own Damn Books:

Book Review: Jane Steele, by Lyndsay Faye

I've written before about how much I've loved Lyndsay Faye's historical fiction, so while I was sad to see the end to her Timothy Wilde trilogy, I was excited to hear of her newest venture -- the story of a serial killer inspired by Jane Eyre. And Jane Steele did not disappoint.