With August comes the end of summer reading. In my last month’s recap, I mentioned a big stack of books in my room I hoped to cover before starting up grad school again. I made it through everything in my pile except A Room of One’s Own. After four years away from Virginia Woolf, I thought I was ready to return to her again. (I even wrote her a break-up letter back in 2014). Alas, I was wrong. I guess our reunion will have to wait.
Something I noticed this month was a lack of quality YA and an increase in nonfiction. Of the YA I read, none really captured my attention. They all took longer For nonfiction, I read an in-depth analysis of Harry Potter, a book on the Enneagram, and made it halfway through an excellent collection of essays about walking. (The walking book will have to wait until my next school break to finish. It’s fascinating, but slow.)
After sitting on my to-read list for many years, I finally got to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! I was so excited about this one, it was my book club pick for the month. I absolutely loved it.
- Number of books read: 10
- Number of pages read: 3,127
- Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
- Number of rereads: 2
- Longest book: Legendary by Stephanie Garber
- Shortest book: Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver
- Highest rating: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (4.5 stars)
- Lowest rating: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastain
Some notes on my stats:
- Audiobooks are included in total page count. It takes me longer to listen to a book than read it, so I count them
- My ratings are on a 5-star system and are ridiculously subjective
If you want more information about each book, follow the links embedded in the titles. That will bring you to the book’s Goodreads page.
I’ve always loved the idea of summer more than summer itself. When I think of summer, I think of possibilities. Maybe I’ve read too many YA novels, where the season often represents an idyllic in-between time when anything is possible. Maybe that’s why I love YA novels so much. Everything in your life can change between May and September.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz describes it this way in his book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe:
I loved and hated summers. Summers had a logic all their own and they always brought something out in me. Summer was supposed to be about freedom and youth and no school and possibilities and adventure and exploration. Summer was a book of hope. That’s why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.”
In reality, summers are less glamorous. They’re hot, humid, and don’t even get me started on the mosquitos! Growing up on an apple orchard, summer meant long hours of tedious farm labor: crawling up and down ladders and digging up weeds in the dirt. Even when I worked as a camp counselor and the season was everything it’s promised to be, I never got enough sleep, was perpetually dirty, and there were always campers to care for.
Every year, I go into the warm months with rose-tinted glasses. I’m filled with so many ideas for all the people I will see and adventures we will have. Every year, I reach the middle of August and realize all I did was sit at home, mow the lawn, and read a lot of books.
This summer, though, I wanted things to be different.
This summer, I wanted to believe.
I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I arrived at L’Abri. For the past six months, I’ve been going so hard that I didn’t even notice that I’ve been functioning on empty for weeks. As I neared the end of my summer classes, when I thought about how I wanted to celebrate reaching the halfway point of my master’s degree, the only place I could think of was L’Abri. I’m drawn to this place in times of weariness; when the world is heavy, frustrating, and confusing. Here, in this little refuge overlooking the city of Rochester, I always find peace and rest. This weekend was no exception.
It’s been months since I’ve done any kind of life-update on my blog, so let me catch you up to speed on what’s been happening in Amelia-land. First, let me show you where I’m writing. Imagine yourself with me at this table, a mug of tea in hand, enjoying the golden hour as I ramble on.
If we were having coffee, I’d be curled up in a heavy sweater drinking lemon ginger tea. I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past few days and, today, it took a turn for the worse. You might not want to get too close.
It’s crazy that we’re in the final gasps of summer! Where did the time go?
I missed the coffee share last weekend due to being out of town. My mom and I attended a retreat with a church we’ve been attending recently. In a lot of ways, the retreat was really awkward. We only knew a few people and neither of us are good in large groups of people. In other ways, though, it was a really great experience. It was really nice to get away from home–the retreat was held at a camp by a lake, which was lovely. They brought in a Bible scholar from a university in Chicago do lead the teaching. He talked a lot about the original Hebrew version of the texts, which was fascinating! Through forced group games and breakout sessions, I did get to know a few people. And, this past week, one of their pastors texted me and invited me out for lunch! I’m meeting up with her tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to.
Work this week was busy. On Tuesday, I had a programming double-header, which was absolutely exhausting. In the afternoon, I hosted a class on genealogy research, which was taught by some of my library colleagues. It was a full group–every computer was taken. Then, I had about an hour to turn the room around for this month’s Lego Club. Continue reading
If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting at my library. I’d be sipping on a mocha with an extra shot of caffeine that I picked up on the way to work. It’s a slow morning… I’ve been here over an hour and only five people have come and gone. Thank goodness, you’re here to divert me!
It’s crazy that summer is almost over! It always goes by way too quickly. My August is turning out to be very busy. Between weddings and out-of-town commitments, my weekends are almost all booked. When I get off work today, I’m heading down to Rochester to spend the weekend with L’Abri friends. I’ve wanted to visit them all summer, but haven’t had the chance until now. Next weekend, I’m taking off work to go on a retreat with the church my family has been attending.
I’ve had multiple cousins get married this summer–one was last weekend. Is it just me, or are family weddings the most awkward of them all? I’m not close with my dad’s side of the family, so it’s always uncomfortable spending time with them. I’m one of the youngest and was painfully shy as a child, which didn’t help forge good relationships with my cousins. Despite that, the wedding was really nice, there was an open bar, and fantastic cake. And I learned that some of my cousins (and their significant others) are actually pretty cool! So that was a win. Continue reading
If we were having coffee, we’d be at my local coffee shop once more. It’s a full house for a Sunday and I had to take a table close to the counter, which is noisier than where I usually sit. I have a clear sight of the door and keep getting distracted by all the people coming in.
If I were to pick a word to describe this week, it would be quiet. My parents have been on vacation for the past week and I’ve had the house to myself. The solitude has been a much-needed break. I’ve been able to dive into my head in a way I haven’t in a long time. I’ve been writing again in a way that feels fresh and natural. And I’ve been reading! Between audiobooks from my commute and normal reading, I’ve finished about five books over the past seven days. Whew!
Not that I’ve been home much… with work and doing things with friends, I’ve kept pretty busy.
I had an enjoyable dinner with an old friend, who was visiting from the East Coast (where she’s about to start her PhD program). Yesterday afternoon, a college friend came to visit me. I’ve been trying to get her up here for years and was so glad it finally happened! We had quite the adventure! I showed her around our apple orchard and took her to the coffee shop (where I now sit). Then, we wandered around this really cool sculpture garden and hung out at my local State Park. The evening wrapped up at the vintage Drive In restaurant, with rootbeer floats and burgers–the perfect summer meal.
Over the next couple of days, my family will slowly fill the house again. My parents return from their week by the lake in the north woods this evening. Tomorrow, my younger brother comes home from his summer internship in North Carolina. It’ll be weird having everyone around again, but a nice kind of weird. Too much time alone makes me go crazy.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the quiet while it lasts. I have absolutely no plans for today and tomorrow and I intend to take advantage of it. I’m hoping for long hours reading on a blanket in my back yard and at least one big hike in my local state park.
But enough about me! What have you been up to this week? What would you share over coffee?
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster. Be sure to check out the weekly Link Up to see what everyone has been up to.
If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting at the library. Things are slow–no one usually rolls in until around ten, so I’m taking advantage of the quiet by prepping for my programs next week. I just made a cup of tea (cranberry and raspberry)… would you like a cup?
We’re in for a dreary Saturday–with scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. My grandpa is passing through town early this afternoon. He called earlier this week and asked if he could get a tour of my library and then take me out to lunch. I said yes, of course.
The rest of my weekend will be spent traveling. I’m visiting family in Southern Minnesota, which should be really fun. It’ll be nice to get out of town for a while–even if it’s only for a night.
Over the past month or so, a construction crew has been hard at work redoing the road I live on. This week, they began the section in front of my house. They’ve ripped up the entire thing and we have to keep our windows closed to keep the dust out. It’s really interesting, watching them solidify the foundation and widen the shoulders. It’s also been annoying–they begin work at 6 AM and the roaring of the machinery wakes us all up. Still, it’ll be worth it to have a nice new road.
The highlight of my week was hosting a Stuffed Animal Sleepover at the library. Kids came in on Wednesday night wearing their pajamas, clutching their animals. I read them a few stories, gave out a midnight snack, and then they tucked in their pals and said goodbye. When they returned the next day, I gave each of the kids a little book filled with pictures of what the animals got up to. Much mischief ensued!
Playing on the computer
Exploring the book drop
Planning an adventure
This librarian is worn out from all the fun!
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for today. How has your week been? Any fun plans for your weekend? What would you share over coffee?
Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster. Be sure to check out the weekly Link Up to see what everyone has been up to.
If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting once again in my local coffee shop. It’s busy for a Sunday–but, then again, Sundays have been more and more busy lately. Don’t worry about finding me–I’m the girl by the window with the laptop.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined in the coffee share. I’ve been neglecting WordPress lately… I don’t think I’ve even opened the site in over a week. How is everyone doing?
This weekend is our annual summer festival in Lindstrom, one of my hometowns. Karl Oscar Days is one of the highlights of the warm months. The festival is named for the protagonist of a book series about Swedish immigrants by the author Vilhelm Moberg, who stayed in our area while writing the book. The community is obsessed with its Scandinavian heritage. Downtown Lindstrom is peppered with Swedish flags and dala horses. I’m half Scandinavian, so I find it quirky and charming.
Anyways, I had a friend come up from the cities and we joined in the festivities. We wandered all around town, exploring the vendor booths, and chatting with people. The town is perched between two lakes, so we borrowed some kayaks from a family friend and spent a few hours going around the lake. In the evening, we lined up for the annual parade. We ended up walking away with an enormous mound of candy, courtesy of our screaming at every float that came by.
If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting in my library. I’d be sitting at my usual perch behind the circulation desk blinking sleepily at you over a my Shakespeare mug, which is filled with lemon ginger tea. Work is quiet today–the usual patrons are settled and happy on the public computers–so I have time to chat.
Can you believe it’s already July?! Summer is going by WAY too quickly!
On Tuesday, I lead a Marshmallow Engineering STEM activity at the library. I got to work obnoxiously early that morning, giving me time to run around town picking up last minute supplies. I had no idea how many people to expect. In the end, there were around fifteen kids and their parents. I lead them through some basic exercises and challenges before giving them free reign to build anything they wanted with marshmallows and toothpicks. It was so much fun! Everyone had an absolute blast and, when the event wrapped up, all came into the library to do the various scavenger hunts and games I have set up. It’s days like this one where I can’t believe how lucky I am–I get paid to play with kids! I get paid to load them up with marshmallows and send them home to their parents all sugared up. Continue reading
If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting in my house looking out at the sunlit world groggily making conversation. I’ve been extremely lazy and apathetic this week, so most of the things on my To-Do list have gone undone. In fact, I almost didn’t join the coffee share this week out of pure laziness. But I made it and am glad to see you.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the wedding I went to this weekend! I’ve known the bride for four years. We met when I stayed at her house while on day camp assignment during my first year as a camp counselor. While there, I learned that she was going to be a freshman at my college. A month later, my roommate and I started a Bible study and I invited her to come. She did and, over the next few years, we became friends. We even co-lead the group during my final year of school. Continue reading