Books of the Month: December 2020

December was rough. After reading 55 books for the last 11 months, I was pretty burned out and almost gave up for the month; I did not start reading until 12/7 when I decided I should at least try, and several friends recommended some quick reads. I made it to my goal of 60 which was incredibly exciting…and I’ll never do that again! Here are my December reads:

The Queen’s Gambit was….alright. I watched the show twice and was obsessed, but I felt the book didn’t measure up? I felt the characters had more of a story arc within the show, and in the book the characters, especially Beth, fell a little flat. Had I read the book before watching the show, I would have enjoyed it, I think. I still smiled with a warm feeling when the book ended, so was still worth it. For those who haven’t seen the show, “The Queen’s Gambit” is about a young prodigy’s rise to fame in the chess world; would recommend the show over the book.

Girls on Fire was a very good thriller story? It was easy to piece together what happened, but essentially it’s a story about a mouse-y teen and the angst-y friend she makes at school that leads her down some interesting paths. It begs the question, can anyone make you do something or are all your actions of your own will?

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love was fantastic, even for those unfamiliar with “Queer Eye.” It made me laugh out loud, many times, but it also made me break down and cry. JVN regales the tales of life, basically from birth to present day, and that queen went through it, multiple times. Like how JVN came out on the other side as this self assured and badass queen, like I can’t even fathom after hearing this journey. This needs to be listened to on audiobook so JVN can tell you the story, I don’t see any other way to read this.

The Midnight Library was a delightful story, well sort of. The main character decides to take her own life and ends up in a library full of books that tell the stories of her parallel lives she could have had. I really liked the theme of the book and how Nora learns to love her current life, even though it’s not “perfect” or how other people wanted her to live.

Transcendent Kingdom was a quick read and a good story, about a Ghanaian family and their trials through separation, addiction and grief. It touches a lot on the tug of war between science and faith. I would really like to read Gyasi’s first book, Homecoming, as I quite enjoyed her writing style.

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

I did manage to read 60 books by the end of 2020 (huzzah!). I think my favorite book this month might have been The Midnight Library, or Over the Top, honestly would recommend both! As for 2021, I’m setting my goal at 45 books, although after watching Bridgerton, I guess I have at least 9 books on my to be read list…

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 51

Another week, working through issues at work, only this week was coupled with having bad wifi, so I wasn’t in the best of moods. It felt like a longer week than usual; I only worked four days but it was a long four days, especially since it snowed here in Pennsylvania. We might actually have a white Christmas? I’m trying not to get my hopes up but also PLEASE. Although, I’m sick of shoveling, so maybe no more snow.

Can you believe Christmas is this week? I feel like I should be doing something… but I’m just listening to ‘Evermore’ and reading the days away.

This is my friend, Barney, enjoying a post walk rest.

Here are the things that got me through the week:

  1. Bustle interviewed Dan Levy and can we all promise to never stop talking about and watching re-runs of Schitt’s Creek? Like 20 years from now, it will be revered by most like Friends is today? But seriously, hearing about all the hard work and time Levy put into the show, like I can’t even fathom, even to the point of having paralyzing anxiety. Also, if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek, you MUST…NOW.
  2. This Tik Tok artist has been drawing Christmas characters in different styles, and I’m pretty sure I could watch these all day. I love see the characters especially in the Tim Burton style. He also does other celebrities and characters, in various drawing styles but these Christmas ones are more fun, love seeing this creativity!
  3. I found this article very interesting, about toxic positivity and how we all diminish someone’s pain when we try to help with reverse psychology to help someone. Saying things like, ‘it’ll be okay!’, or ‘there’s always next time’, or ‘this is God’s plan’, can force a person to feel like they are unable or shouldn’t be in their pain. This is definitely something I’ve been guilty of, and will now try to be better about after reading this.
  4. This Ranking of ‘Evermore’ songs by how much the author wants to stare out a window on a rainy day while listening…same.
  5. I spent the entire week researching the Dyson Airwrap because they make your hair look incredible. Does anyone have that could give honest feedback? Trying to research before I splurge!
  6. I really want to make a gingerbread house from scratch, but it seems like so much work and I don’t have my Kitchen Aid mixer here in PA. I’ll just stare at this mid-century modern house, and these Schitt’s Creek houses.
  7. Lastly, Kristen Wiig was on SNL last night and the “Mom Got a Robe” skit was absolutely hilarious, but a good reminder that you have 4 days to get your mom something nice!!

Merry everything and happy always to all my followers, I hope you have a good and safe holiday whether celebrating alone or with family.

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Sincerely Seven: Week 50

Another week gone by, and nothing overly exciting other than I tested negative for COVID. It’s the small things at this point tbh. I also got a chess set (I told you I was obsessed with The Queen’s Gambit), but I’m basically a grandmaster now. Here are the other things that got me through the week.

The only exciting thing this week, watching TV with Aurora
  1. UHM Shifty Swifty released ANOTHER surprise album this week and like, I don’t know, is she trying to kill us? Evermore is kind of dark and sad, like a goth folk album, IMO? But I love ‘Willow’ and ‘No Body, No Crime’ and ‘Ivy.’
  2. In other important news, we are getting a vaccine for COVID which is really exciting and gives us something to look forward to. But let’s not forget, until you get the vaccine personally, continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and avoid large gatherings. ALSO, because of this, I’m wearing a mask for the rest of my life.
  3. I don’t know about you guys, but I love three things… butter, cheese and potatoes. Half Baked Harvest put them altogether for what I’m only assuming is a delicious and tasty dish, Crispy Cheesy Potato Stacks. I haven’t made them, but they’re on my ‘to be made’ list. I mean the name alone is making me drool.
  4. Anyone remember Olivia Jade? You know, Aunt Becky’s daughter, for whom Aunt Becky bribed college admissions for and is now serving a term in federal prison for? Well, she was on Red Table Talk this week and it was so satisfying to watch a privileged white woman get knocked down a few pegs? I do think it was a fruitful conversation and I truly do hope she’s sorry. I also think it was an important conversation and I would recommend watching!
  5. I loved this article about non-traditional holiday celebrations where women have created their own customs. I love the self-affirming travel and pet sitting abroad. Uhm, I will gladly travel to another country for a week or two to watch someone’s dog, though I think my family would have some choice words to say…
  6. Assuming most people are having low-key Decembers. If that is the case, here are all the new things to stream this month, on ALL the platforms. I’m personally looking forward to “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle“, “Wonder Woman” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “
  7. Your daily reminder there are still good people out there….a Florida man paid of the utility bills of 114 families who were at risk of being turned off which is just so heartwarming and lovely. I would also encourage folks to donate time or money to those less fortunate during this month. I personally buy presents for children through my church’s Angel tree, or through USPS Operation Santa. I’ve also donated to this GoFundMe for snacks and flower donations to hospitals in State College, PA for doctors and nurses. I also like to donate in someone’s name as their gift, because that’s what this season is about!!

Hoping you have a beautiful week ahead, loves !

Sincerely,

Sara Ann

Favorites of the Week.

1. Taylor Swift

tumblr_nfzgslWikh1t08kcso1_1280Can we all agree that Taylor is flawless? Like, I’m over Beyonce, the new Queen has arrived. She’s so happy like living life with her friends and fans, it’s basically infectious. She’s taking hold of her life and romanticizing it without a guy and I just want that. She’s an inspiration. Plus she looked kick ass at the VS Fashion Show… Taylor, what is your leg workout routine? Please help us mere mortals.

2. December

GUYS. Did you hear, it’s December! I know I know, it happens every year but it means I can finally skip around singing Christmas carols and decorating everything and making cookies and drinking wine and just so many festivities! I LOVE DECEMBER.

3. Fall Semester

I just finished my last class of the semester today, which means I almost officially have one semester left of my college career. Am I excited? Am I nervous? I have no idea. Just none. All of the above. No more sitting in Starbucks for 5 hours trolling Facebook, not wearing a bra and drinking $5 coffee. You know? Like I want life but I’m also not ready to leave this lazy world behind.

4.Tea

It’s December (like I said…) and I just want coziness all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. So after I drink my daily coffee, I start on tea. I’m all on green tea right now in addition to my chamomile at night. I just can’t think of anything better than snuggling under a blanket and drinking some tea. Add Hulu/Netflix and it’s the perfect night.

5. Red.

I want a red sweater, a red dress, red lips. I want everything to be red. I don’t know if it’s an empowered thing or I’m feeling oddly confident. I definitely think it’s a power statement that’s bursting to get out. I go through phases of only wanting things in a certain color from season to season, but now it’s red and it’s borderline an attention grabbing confidence stunt.

Darling, I’ll be back next week when I’m not stressing about finals slash end of the semester projects slash college ending.

Just know that I do miss you and you can follow my Instagram account if you really miss me.

Love, B.