Orange is the New Black

When I was in school, we took a field trip to our county jail so that we could see how the inmates lived. I’m sure the purpose of the trip was to scare us into submission. “Don’t break the law or you will end up here!”

To an 80-pound white girl from a very sheltered small town, those big scary tattooed criminals sure seemed like the worst thing in the world at the time. I’ve grown out of my shelteredness for the most part, and tattoos certainly are no longer scary, but I’m still not sure I want to go wandering around in that place for long.

Still, when Orange is the New Black came out on TV, and I started seeing the trailers for it, the hype sure seemed fun. I haven’t watched the show, but I was eager to read the book. And though I won’t be able to make Club on Monday, I was glad we chose to read this one for Non-Fiction Night.


I wasn’t disappointed. OTNB is a completely different perspective on the prison system than I’ve ever heard or seen. This was not the dark, dirty, depressed view of things. And it certainly wasn’t big scary dudes with tattoos. Piper could have been one of my friends from high school–she screwed up, and paid for it, but she wasn’t a bad person. In fact, most of the people in Danbury were caring and full of life.

Something I did notice was that Piper didn’t list her friends’ crimes. That did not matter to her. This made the women much more human. The crimes did not define the people in her story, and while I’m curious, I probably would have judged them much more harshly for those crimes. The book instantly would have been much darker.

This was a very interesting and educational memoir. I’m glad I read this, and maybe I’ll watch the show now, if I can manage to put my books down!


TBR Pile

Even though I love my Kindle, it will never be a replacement for real books. I love going in and pulling books off my shelves, and there is nothing better than reorganizing those shelves. I’m quite anal about books–everything MUST be in alphabetical order. However, now that I’ve seen how other bloggers sort their shelves, I have been thinking about reconfiguring some of mine. That may be a project after we move in August…OH YEAH…you don’t know yet. WE ARE MOVING TO DALLAS!!!!!!!! Which means I get to unpack all my books, which I’ll be honest, is my favorite thing about moving. Expect lots of blogging that day.

I did create a To Be Read shelf the other day. I had so many I couldn’t fit them all! Guess I better get to readin’. Here’s everything that’s on that shelf, plus a few.



This pile doesn’t include all the “husband” books that I haven’t read. That list includes basically all of John Grisham’s collection, a good portion of Stephen King’s, and most of Tom Clancy’s too. He has a bunch of sports and political books, but I don’t care so much about those.

I also took a Book Haul picture for May. I was surprised at how big this stack was. Don’t get used to this…or maybe you should! I would like this trend to continue, but we’ll see. I would like to keep increasing my collection, but I’m also not the type of person to spend money on myself either.



I can’t wait to read all of these! That Raymond Chandler book is gorgeous. The cover is sort of a squishy leather, and the pages are lined in silver. The ribbon is a little frayed, but other wise it’s in fantastic condition.

Yay books! What did you pick up this month that you are looking forward to reading?

Favorite Non-Fiction

If you look at home videos of my younger days, I liked to show off. A LOT. I have two younger sisters, and we would put on pageants, theatre, runway shows. The one that comes to mind specifically happened shortly after Prince of Egypt came out, where we donned costumes and sang the full soundtrack, LOUDLY, in our semi-formal living room (it had blue carpet…the Nile River, DUH).

At home, I was completely comfortable, free to be me, which was loud, social, and creative. But then I hit kindergarten and my mom started getting reports from my teachers that were completely different from what she saw at home. And she started worrying. Sure, I was “president” of all of the group activities, active and enthusiastic in the classroom when the teacher was around and calling on people. But when it came to actual social things, like recess or voluntary things, I was always by myself. And I was almost always reading. To my VERY extroverted mother, this was not normal. Why didn’t I want to play with the other kids? Why all of the sudden was I so shy, and why was I sitting on the curb at recess?

We talk about this often now, because when I was in high school, and absolutely balking at every social activity imaginable, I thought she just did NOT understand that I was an introvert. My two sisters are pretty extroverted too, so for me to be the only one who would much rather stay in her room rather than go party…I felt that just no one got me. Now I know that she was trying to be encouraging…not torturing. She actually did know, it’s just hard for an extrovert to counsel an introvert. About as hard for an introvert to relate to an extrovert mother!

My introversion has come a long way since then. I’m still an observer first, and until I’m completely comfortable in a situation, I usually keep quiet. I’m much better in small, intimate groups and one-on-one. Give me a little pub where I can get to know the man/woman tending bar, instead of a crowded, pounding club.


Why am I telling you my whole life story? Because my favorite non-fiction book is Quiet by Susan Cain. Every Introvert will cry when they read this because YES YES YES SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS FINALLY WHAT WE GO THROUGH EVERY DAY. And I want to give it to every Extrovert parent of an Introvert because it helps to show how to relate between the two. I want to give it to teachers, managers, CEOs. Basically, everyone should read this book.

I read this in about 4 hours. I devoured it. We live in such an extroverted society, where people are expected to be as outgoing and go-get-em as possible. If you can’t be popular and society-driven, you are going to get run over. Those of us who need to recharge in quiet, and heaven forbid if you have an anxiety disorder, life is so much harder, if not near impossible.

And for those Extroverts out there saying, “What about us? Introverts need to learn how to deal with us better too!” You are absolutely right. And I’m getting better. Learning why I react the way I do to certain simulations, and knowing that I can only handle so much of those stimulations before I have to recharge, has helped me so much. When I was dating, I would show up 15 minutes early, get a beer, and get settled so I wasn’t so anxiety-ridden. And if I have a meeting, or group event–like book club on Mondays–I do the same thing. I’m learning what I can handle, and what I can’t, and what I can do to deal with social situations.

There you have it. Way too much information about me, and a little bit about my favorite non-fiction book. But that’s what this is all about right? We learn from reading, and we learn from each other. As you can see, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I know there are a lot of Introverts out there who feel the same way I do, and have been hurt badly because they don’t know how overcome it. One step at a time, and don’t wait too long to recharge. We need the quiet.

Favorite Memorabilia

I don’t have a ton of things in the way of memorabilia. I know a lot of book lovers have Harry Potter medallions, and Lord of the Rings brooches, things like that. And trust me, I love all those things.

But I also have this horrible affliction of “can’t spend money on myself” syndrome. Only recently did I start buying things again, now that I have a husband who budgets discretionary income into my life. (He’s pretty awesome, that one.)

However, when we got married, we wanted to incorporate some of our nerdy tastes into our wedding.

Photo by Lauren Reber Photography

I had found kept seeing a quote by Dr. Seuss on Pinterest, over and over again, and it so perfectly described Richard and I, that I knew I had to have it on our programs.

“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” –Dr. Seuss

Then, in my quest to find jewelry, I failed miserably. I just could not find a necklace that worked perfectly with my beloved dress. I really wanted a pendant that I could wear every day forever, something that was just me, but would also work for the wedding. And for my bridal shower, my wonderful Maid of Honor came through for me. Look what she had made!!!

Photo by Lauren Reber Photography

Is that not perfect? I still wear that every single day. I get a lot of comments on it too, and get asked about the quote often. I have been told that the quote MAY not be as Seussical as I thought, but I’ve never been able to find out for sure. Either way, it’s still our marriage motto.

Do you collect any booky type things and stuff? I’d love to hear about it!



Go check out my amazing photographer, who took the pictures above. She’s pretty amazing.

Lauren Reber Photography

Favorite Book Blog

Starting this blog has been one of the most refreshing things for me, because it is encouraging me to become more involved in the books I read. My book club teases me relentlessly because I always show up with PAGES of notes that I’ve taken about the book–it’s become almost involuntary now.

And not only that, but the discussions I am getting into, here, and on Tumblr, are incredible. The Book Community on Tumblr is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. Sure, I’ve gotten more recommendations on books to read. That I expected. But I am also quickly gaining friendships–that I didn’t anticipate from a relatively “anonymous” website. Everyone has each other’s back, and everyone (for the most part anyway) keeps an open mind. The goal here is to fuel constant discussion, and that is not something you see anywhere else.

It is also a place for humor and beauty, creativity and wonder. I am constantly amazed by what people post. We have artists, poets. We have photographers and writers. But my favorite…mostly because I am one myself…are the book hoarders. I am always in awe over the pictures of  constantly changing shelves, the weekly, monthly book hauls. I may post a book “haul” of my own every month on Instagram…though don’t get too excited guys, it’ll only be a few at a time. I think I MAYBE have 5 this month.

Mostly the book community is a place for encouragement, and a place to be ourselves. Every day I log on, because I cannot wait to see what else is new in my world, the world that no one on the outside of “nerdland” really gets. I had a full on discussion about Game of Thrones and a few other books the other day when we went out, and my husband just watched in awe, and I looked at him and said “SEE?! THIS is what I’m talking about.” That so rarely happens on the outside.

Sometimes I feel like I really do need to say, “I like your shoelaces.” And wait for the appropriate response, just to see if my people are out there.

I could never choose just one Favorite Blog. There are way too many. But here are just a few I follow, both on WordPress and Tumbr.



Beth’s Books

Bitten and Written




The Bookvengers




Payge Turner

Oh man I know I’m leaving out so many amazing bloggers. I love all of you, and I’m meeting new people every day. Come join the conversation!


Favorite Guilty Pleasure

I shared this picture a few days early, when I picked it off my bookshelf. There are some books you just CRAVE to read over and over, and this is mine.



I started reading The Thorn Birds years ago, before I was really old enough to understand everything that was going on. In fact, I remember having to ask my mom to explain some of the more…ahem…romantic parts. I had just pulled it off the shelf because it was thick and ORANGE, so it had probably caught my young eyes as something intriguing.

I can’t tell you what draws me back to this over and over, other than it is so familiar and delicious to me, it is like a big piece of chocolate cake. I know that I rescued this copy from one of my mom’s garage sale piles–when I found she was getting rid of it, I quickly snagged it up, and now it’s mine. The pages are falling out of it–the binding is in utter shreds because I have read it so many times. Every time I read it I tell myself just to go buy a new copy, but somehow, this one goes back on the shelf, and that new copy never appears. And next time I’m ready, the musty, yellow pages welcome me home again.

Dymocks’ 101 Must Read Books for 2014

Tee posted this list on Tumblr, so rather than reblogging it there, I thought I’d share my list here. I’ve read quite a few!!

  1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  4. The Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
  5. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  7. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  8. The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons
  9. The Hunger Games Series – Suzanne Collins
  10. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  11. Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon
  12. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  13. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  14. The Divergent Series – Veronica Roth
  15. Magician – Raymond E. Feist
  16. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  17. Pillars Of The Earth – Ken Follett
  18. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  19. Anne Of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  20. Obernewtyn – Isobelle Carmody
  21. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent
  22. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
  23. The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
  24. A Fortunate Life – A.B. Facey
  25. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  26. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  27. The Infernal Devices Series – Cassandra Clare – currently reading
  28. The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
  29. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  30. The Name Of The Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  31. Angelfall – Susan Ee
  32. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series – George R.R. Martin
  33. Paper Towns – John Green
  34. People Of The Book – Geraldine Brooks
  35. Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
  36. The Bible
  37. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  38. The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  39. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
  40. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  41. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  42. Daughter Of Smoke And Bone – Laini Taylor
  43. Fifty Shades Of Grey – E.L. James
  44. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  45. Knife Of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
  46. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  47. The Mortal Instruments Series – Cassandra Clare
  48. Peter Pan – James M. Barrie
  49. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  50. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  51. The Host – Stephenie Meyer
  52. The Messenger – Markus Zusak
  53. The Passage – Justin Cronin
  54. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
  55. We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  56. Iq84 – Haruki Murakami
  57. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  58. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  59. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  60. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  61. Looking For Alaska – John Green
  62. Graceling – Kristin Cashore
  63. Ender’s Game – Scott Orson Card
  64. Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
  65. Shantaram – David Gregory Roberts
  66. Wool – Hugh Howey
  67. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  68. Tully – Paullina Simons
  69. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
  70. Tomorrow, When The War Began – John Marsden
  71. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
  72. The Goldfinch – Donna Tart
  73. The Narrow Road To The Deep North – Richard Flanagan
  74. Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
  75. All That I Am – Anna Funder
  76. Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey
  77. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  78. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  79. The Eyre Affair – Jasper Forde
  80. The Casual Vacancy – J .K. Rowling
  81. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
  82. Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
  83. Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  84. Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  85. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  86. Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cunxin
  87. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  88. One Day – David Nicholls
  89. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
  90. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  91. Rivers Of London – Ben Aaronovitch
  92. Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night – Mark Haddon
  93. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  94. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen
  95. Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami
  96. Memoirs Of A Geisha – Arthur Golden
  97. The Road – Cormac Mccarthy
  98. The Power Of One – Bryce Courtenay
  99. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane – Neil Gaiman
  100. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  101. Signature Of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert

Crossed Out: Read (40/101)

Italicized: Own (8/101)

Bold: On my immediate (within this month) to-read list (23/101)