Sunday, February 26, 2017

Here's the Crotchety Letter I Wrote to My Grocery Store in Advance of Passover


In this age of activism, let our advocacy not be limited to the halls of Congress & the Twitter feeds of our Cheeto-toned president. Recently, I decided to be that cranky old lady who writes a letter to my local grocery store, the downtown Cleveland Heinen's (which is, by the way, the prettiest grocery store you've ever seen). I wrote:
To whom it concerns at Heinen's,

Each year during the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover, Jews around the world cut from their diets all products made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt. During this time, the only bread we may eat is unleavened bread, commonly known as matzah.

Last year, the Heinen's in downtown Cleveland - the only grocery store in the city's center - did not carry matzah. In fact, when I entered the store to inquire about the product, three separate employees looked at me as though I'd grown three heads, & when I tweeted to @Heinens to ask, I was told, "...we have a limited kosher offering downtown due to space constraints." The downtown Heinens did, however, find room on its shelves for non-kosher-for-Passover matzah, which, incidentally, cannot be consumed during the holiday of Passover - the only time of year that most Jews would ever need or want to eat matzah.

I can certainly understand that space is typically limited in your small store for kosher foods that are, during most times of the year, only consumed by a fraction of the American Jewish population. Passover, however, is the most celebrated Jewish holiday in North America, even by secular Jews who don't keep kosher. As of 2012, there were an estimated 80,800 Jewish people in the Greater Cleveland area.

Twenty-seven percent live in the Cleveland Heights area - but that leaves 73% of Cleveland's Jewish population to reside elsewhere, & surely a great many of us live or work on the west side & in the downtown area.

I find it unacceptable that, as downtown's only grocery store - & a high-end one, at that - that Heinen's has made the conscious decision not to carry kosher-for-Passover matzah during the Passover season (which this years runs from April 10-18). Cleveland has one of the biggest Jewish populations in the U.S., & we're not restricted to the East Side. It's troubling that a west side Jew should have to travel upwards of half an hour to Pepper Pike or University Heights to find the one food vital to celebration of the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, rather than being able to purchase it at the singular grocery store in the city center.

As Passover approaches, I hope the downtown Heinen's will reconsider last year's decision not to carry kosher-for-Passover matzah during this important holiday. Thanks for your consideration.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Heinen's customer relations representative less than a week after writing:
Thank you for taking time to share your comments about the lack of matzah and Passover products at our Downtown store last year.

We apologize to you for the inconvenience and frustration this caused you and any other customers. We did order these products last year, but we didn’t anticipate it selling out so quickly. I have shared your email with the team of buyers and the Downtown store management team and they will be making adjustments to the ordering for this Passover. Again, our sincerest apologies to you.
Congress may not be listening, but at least my grocery store is. Thanks, Heinen's! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hotel Life: What to Know When You're Staffing a Huge Conference for Work


I don't talk much about my real-life job on this blog, & it's come to my attention, actually, that some readers are thus under the impression that I don't have one. I'm sort of impressed that I managed to convey that I'm some full-time blogger & freelancer, when the reality is that I work a 9-to-5 every day.

I won't go into too much detail about my job except to say that I work for a nonprofit, & I love it. Yep, you heard me: I love my job. I've worked for the same organization since I graduated from college in 2007, which means I'm coming up on my 10-year anniversary, which is bananas. Sometimes I feel like I should find a new job, but I don't want to find a new job because, like I said, I really like mine.

Last weekend, my org hosted a 1,400-person conference in Chicago. Our attendees were mainly high schoolers - yep, 1,000+ teenagers! - plus a smaller adult conference that ran parallel to the teen programming. This particular conference took place in a Hyatt Regency, which was the same hotel where we stayed. As a result, we spent a lotttt of time in the hotel!


...but not a lot of time in this glorious hotel bed, unfortunately, or in the city of Chicago itself. So what did we do? Here's a look at what it's like to staff a big work conference like this.

There's no time to see anyone who's not at the event.

As soon as I posted to Instagram that I was in Chicago, I sort of regretted it. There are so many people I know & love in the Windy City, & I knew I wasn't going to have time to see any of them. When event programming runs from 8am to 10:30pm every single day, there's just no way to squeeze in personal time. And in that vein...

Forget about seeing the sights.

Last weekend's event took place just blocks from the Bean, but I didn't get to see it because I never left the hotel. Literally. OK, I stepped outside three times to breathe fresh air, each time for less than five minutes. But beyond that? Nope, never. OK, a few colleagues took a lunch break to run to the Bean & grab Shake Shack, but I opted for a nap instead. Oops.


  

Water. Is. Everything

Yeah, I know, this is always true, but hotels are so dry, & when you're spending all your time inside one, you dry out pretty quickly, too. I didn't drink nearly enough water, which is probably why I ended up so sore & dehydrated by the end of the weekend. I know it's gross & TMI, but you know how you can tell whether you're drinking enough water, right? Your pee should be very light, close to clear. Too yellow? Drink up!  

Eating well is even more difficult than usual

Even with all that time spent in a hotel, I didn't find time to eat in the hotel restaurant! Instead, I grabbed breakfast, lunch, & dinner from a small market in the hotel lobby (think bagels, bananas, potato chips, & Diet Coke),  & on a few occasions, I ate scheduled meals with our teens & got a little bit of protein. I've never been so excited for hotel chicken! It didn't help that a former coworker sent us an Amazon shipment of junk food for the weekend, or that we ordered deep dish pizza twice. Hey, we had to get in a little bit of Chicago!


But at least you'll take lots of steps!

I've misplaced by FitBit charger, so I didn't wear it over the weekend, but the pedometer on my phone says I got in a couple thousand more steps every day than I do on a regular basis. I mean, gotta burn off that pizza somehow, right?

Don't expect to get much sleep.

I slept for about six hours a night, which is more than I usually expect to get at an event like this. I was assigned a random roommate, a colleague whose name I knew but who I'd never met, & we were almost never in the room at the same time. She worked later & woke up even earlier than I did! On Monday, I got home from the airport at 5pm & settled in for a little nap... that I didn't wake up from until 11am the next day. I am 32 years old & that should not be possible. But my body was tired, you guys, because event staffing is exhausting.

A little comp time is well-deserved.

I used to feel bad about asking for a comp day after I'd worked a full event - but not anymore. Staffing events is way more work than usual, & we are not superheroes, nor are any of us, presumably, paid enough to go weeks without a break (is anyone?!). I took Tuesday off & am considering taking Monday off, too, because #treatyoself, #selfcare, etc.


Now that I'm home & well-rested, I'm feeling good again. Exhausting as it was, it was a great event, & it reminded me how lucky I feel to work for an organization that I believe in, staffed by incredible, interesting, intelligent, driven people who I feel fortunate to know. This place built me, & these people continue to help me grow. It was truly an honor to pay it forward by staffing an event that helped do the same for 1,000 teenagers.

But if you'll forgive me, I'm probably gonna get back in bed here shortly. Our next big event is 5,000+ attendees in Boston this December. I've gotta rest up!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

6 Jewish Traditions We're Including in Our Wedding

https://pixabay.com/en/bride-bride-and-groom-field-groom-1867465/

I'm surprised how many times I've been asked, "Are you & Mike having a Jewish wedding?" Since so many real-life people have been curious about this element of our upcoming wedding, I thought I might share here, too, what we have planned - either as a sneak peek of what to expect, if you'll be there, or just as a look at some Jewish wedding traditions you may not know about.

For background: Mike went to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school, but these days, he's an atheist. I grew up Jewish, work for a Reform Jewish organization, & identify as culturally Jewish but spiritually agnostic. Because of my job, people assume I'm more religious than I actually am. I don't really consider myself religious, but Reform Judaism, as a community & a movement, is really important to me, regardless of "the God stuff" that I'm still unsure about.

So yes, we're planning to have a Jewish ceremony... for the most part. Here are some of the things we'll probably be doing - & a little explanation of what each of these things is & means, largely lifted from ReformJudaism.org

We will stand under a chuppah.

This is the wedding canopy that the couple stands beneath during the ceremony, symbolizing the home they'll establish together. Supported by four poles, the chuppah is sometimes held by family members & friends; its temporal, fragile nature is also a reminder that relationships, too, can be fragile & may occasionally need the support of loved ones.
Rather than have our family & friends hold our chuppah, we're going to go with a standalone structure - mostly so it's not too crowded up there! The chuppah will be covered with a tablecloth handmade & hand-embroided by my late great-grandmother.
  

We will sign a ketubah.

The Jewish marriage contract is signed just before the wedding ceremony by two witnesses who testify to the couple's commitment to one to the other. Modern-day egalitarian ketubot usually include descriptions of how the couple will support one another & the home they're establishing together (rather than, say, how the wife will be subservient to her husband, as in Biblical times).

We haven't yet chosen a ketubah but are on the lookout for something unique that speaks to our personal style & doesn't feel too stuffy. Ketubot are often beautiful pieces of art hung in places of honor in the couple's home, & we'd love to find or commission one that incorporates some element of our common interests or lives together. (Ahem, the Cleveland skyline...)

As a quick plug, my friend Ariela creates ketubot with quirky modern twists. If you're in the market, check her out at GeekCalligraphy.com!
 

We will probably recite the Sheva B'rachot.

Originally it was the groom who made the declaration of the Sheva B'rachot - the Seven Blessings - but in modern, egalitarian ceremonies, both members of the couple do it. The Sheva B'rachot praise the universe, humanity, the joy of the couple, the establishment of a household, & an ode to joy that links this celebration with the time when joy & gladness will be felt around the world. Tradition says that each time two people fall in love & marry, the world comes closer to perfection.

We don't yet have an officiant - unfortunately, the friend who was originally going to marry us is no longer able - so we've yet to discuss this with a rabbi, but it's such a common element of a Jewish wedding that I imagine we'll include it... in both Hebrew & English so our non-Jewish attendees can understand what's going on.
  

Mike will definitely break the glass.

Probably the best known ritual associated with Jewish weddings comes at the end of the ceremony, when the groom breaks a glass by stepping on it. Interpretations include the ideas that in times of joy, we must be cognizant that life also brings sadness & sorrow; that love, like glass, is fragile & must be protected; and that although the world, too, is broken, we can help make it whole again.

At the breaking of the glass, guests are encouraged to shout "Mazel tov!" which translates to "Good fortune!" but mostly means "Congratulations!" I want to note this in the program or have our officiant explain it to our attendees so everyone knows to chime in. It's such a joyous moment!

We may take a moment for yichud.

Following the ceremony, the couple spends a few moments alone before joining friends & family at the celebration. Yichud (seclusion) is a respite from the strain of being the center of attention for a whole day; it is an island of privacy & peace before the public celebration begins.

Our venue is a bit tricky for this, but I'd like to try. We both get easily overwhelmed, so it would be nice to take a quiet moment together before facing the big, loud, happy reception festivities.

We'll all dance the hora!

This is probably what you think of when you imagine a Jewish wedding: wedding guests hoisting the happy couple up in chairs while everyone dances & sings around them. This is called the hora, usually set to the tune of "Hava Nagila."

I love the hora, & I hope our Jewish guests will take the lead & bring our non-Jewish guests in the fold. It's such a fun tradition, & though I'm not wild about the trying-not-to-falll-off-a-chair part, I'm crazy about the dancing-in-joy part.

Even if you're not a dancer, this is a pretty easy one to learn. Headed to a Jewish wedding (maybe ours) & want to participate in the hora yourself? This animated video from G-dcast will teach you how.

***

Have other questions for me about Jewish weddings? I may not be able to answer them, but I'm happy to try (or to direct you appropriately). If you're a Jewish couple or part of an interfaith couple, I'd love to hear which elements of the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony you incorporated into your big day - & how it went, especially if you've got any tips for us!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Live Like a Local: My Newest Gig is Writing Tips for CLE Travelers!


Ever since my opportunity to write for Hearst's online sites fell through (they shut down their freelance platform in June!) I've been looking for new opportunities to get back into writing. I share plenty on this blog, of course, but I've missed writing for varied audiences.

I was really excited, then, to hear from a rep at Localeur asking if I'd be interested in coming on board as a Cleveland-based writer. Localeur is a travel-focused discovery platform designed to help travelers live like locals in whatever city they're visiting. So far, the site is in 40 cities, & they're expanding quickly.

The site is set up in the form of "recs," lists based around a theme. Each rec includes four to six places & a short description of what's worth checking out, with the end result being lists that can help you find the best brunch in town, the coolest cocktails in the city, or even just the best all-around spots in a certain neighborhood. I get to pick what recs I'm interested in writing, based on my knowledge of the city & what I think visitors might like to know about. Fun, right?

Cleveland is one of the newer cities on Localeur's list, so they don't yet have as robust a presence here as they do in bigger cities - which is why I see so much potential. There's so much to do in Cleveland, but it can be kind of difficult to ferret out the interesting stuff, especially if you don't live here or don't get out much. What's worth checking out beyond the usual places that you hear about over & over again? I want to help highlight some of those.

So far, I've written three recs, which you can find here:
Of course, I'm already brainstorming tons of other recs I could write, though I don't want to be the crazy freelancer who writes too much content. Funny thing to worry about, right?

If Localeur is in your city or a city you're planning to visit soon, I hope you'll check them out & poke around a bit to find a rec that will help you better explore. And if there's something you'd like to know about Cleveland? Get at me, & I'll round up a list for you!

Go forth & explore, kiddos.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

7 Podcasts I Love


I'll admit, I'm not much of a podcast person. I think it's mostly because, working from home, I don't have a daily commute, & so I never quite know when to listen to podcasts. I don't spend a lot of time in my car, & I don't spend any time on public transportation, so... I dunno what to do with a podcast.

I eased into them slowly, starting with everyone's favorite, Serial (& once saw its creators live!); now, I listen to them when I'm cleaning the house or putting on makeup in the morning. Of course, that doesn't leave me time to listen to many podcasts, so I have to be picky about which ones I decide to listen to. At any given time, I'm way behind on the ones I like most, but I do still try.

I know there are probably tons of podcasts out there that I'd love, if only I could find them & make time to try them... but I haven't, you know, done that. Have podcast suggestions? Leave me a comment below & let me know what you're listening to! For now, here are my faves.
 

My Favorite Murder 

This is my current most-listened-to podcast, & because I didn't discover it until it was 40 episodes in, I've got an endless supply of episodes to catch up on. In each episode, comedy writers Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark discuss their "favorite" murder stories (& the occasional survivor story), both famous & unknown. It sounds super messed up, & I guess it sort of is, but it taps into that common anxiety that drives people like me to fall into Wikipedia rabbit holes of serial killer stories. It helps that Karen & Georgia are brilliantly funny& often stray off-topic. New episodes every week.

The Shepod

LA-based hosts Sara Tenenbein & Rachael King (a former blogger I knew in D.C.) talk about life over Sunday morning booze - what they're eating, wearing, watching, etc. Their topics run the gamut from dogs to feminism to '90s pop culture, & they also run an active Facebook group where they & their listeners share  similarly snarky content between episodes. This one feels like brunch with your BFFs. New episodes every other Sunday. 

Criminal 

This true crime podcast is easily my overall favorite. I've listened to every episode, & I like that the episodes are of varying lengths . Criminal "understands crime as something sociological, historical, even anthropological," writes New York Magazine. In each episode, former journalist Phoebe Judge tells the story of some crime or an element of one, but not always the "If it bleeds, it leads" kind; they're always a little bit offbeat, interesting, unique. The first episode, for example, is about death by... owl. New episodes twice a month.

Women of the Hour

Hosted by Lena Dunham, this podcast is a lot of aimless rambling, but it sort of feels like conversations with your girlfriends. Topics include friendship, love, work, bodie, & feminism, & guest stars include Ashley Ford, Emma Stone, Janet Mock, Gina Rodriguez, Zosia Mamet, & other ladies I'd like to befriend. I'm wayyyy behind but imagine I'll catch up on a long car ride one of these days, or something (I listened to the first season while deep-cleaning my bathroom). When in season, new episodes come out weekly.

The Swirl Podcast

Here's another one I'm way behind on. Swirl is hosted by my friend Stephanie, a straight white woman, & her friend Kodi, a gay black man (hence the name of the show). While they do discuss race, they also talk about, well, everything, as loudmouthed folks are wont to do. Says the podcast's Twitter bio, "Our favorite workout? Running our mouths. A podcast where we struggle each week to find out who is crazier." Be warned: Their voices are rill loud. New episodes every week. 

Invisibilia

This NPR podcast is "about the invisible forces that control human behavior - ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions." If that sounds way beyond you comprehension, don't worry, I thought the same thing... & it's not. Topics include, for example, "personalities" & "thoughts" - how the intangible defines us. I'm not usually much of an NPR person (sorry), but this podcast is fascinating, & hosts Lulu Miller, Hanna Rosin, & Alix Spiegel manage to present scientific information in ways that feel relatable, compelling, & even life-changing. I think about the "fear" episode at least once a week. No new episodes since July 2016, unfortunately.

The FourFiftyOne

At this moment in history, how can you not be down with a podcast that bills itself as "a podcast for the resistance"? This newish project is hosted by Summer Brennan, Jesse Hirsch, and Jonathan Mann, two journalists & a musician who discuss what it means to be an American in the age of Trump. Its name comes from the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, set in a dystopian America. New episodes every week.

What's your favorite podcast? Let me know what else I should be listening to!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can We Talk About Mental Illness for a Second?


I was 20 when I learned that my high school boyfriend – my first love – had committed suicide. His death shattered me, both mentally and emotionally – but in retrospect, it also saved my life. You see, in the months leading up to his suicide, I had been planning my own.

As soon as he took his own life, though, I knew I could never do the same. The carnage he left behind – the emotional wreckage of those of us who loved him – was too unimaginably painful. After experiencing such a loss firsthand, I knew I could never do the same to my own friends and family, no matter how deep my mental anguish.
 

Still, following his death, I fell into a personal tailspin that took years to recover from (if you ever really “recover” from such a loss). I became a cutter, I drank too much, I alienated my friends, and I acted like an all-around terrible person. Oblivious to the correlation between my untreated mental state and my less-than-savory actions, I never thought to seek help; I figured this was just my personality, and perhaps it was simply a bad one. 

Read the rest of this essay on ReformJudaism.org.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Tech-Friendly Way I'm Saving More Money


In the last few years, I've been trying to get a lot better about saving money. I'm 32 years old, & I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck my whole life. I am fortunate to make enough money to save a significant amount from each paycheck. The problem is that I often dip into my savings in a pinch, or to pay off some bill, or to pay my taxes, etc. I'm also still trying to pay off my student loans, my car loans, &, most pressingly, my credit card bill.

In addition to my regular direct-deposit savings, which are automatically taken from my paycheck & deposited into a separate savings account before they ever make it to my checking account, I've started using Digit.co.

You connect Digit to your primary bank account, where it analyzes your income & spending habits. Every few days, Digit transfers a small amount of money from your checking account to your Digit account; their no-overdraft guarantee ensures that they won't take too much. You can fiddle around with the aggressiveness with which you want Digit to save for you, & you can put withdrawals on hold at any time.

Based on my income & savings habits, Digit takes a few bucks from me every 2.48 days. The average withdrawal is $12, but that will vary depending on your income & spending habits. Digit is designed to work within your lifestyle, not to go against it - & the end result is that you save money without even realizing you're doing it. Since joining three months ago, I've saved $320+.

Digit texts you on a regular basis to let you know how much is in your savings account and how much it in your Digit account. Want to access the money you've saved through Digit? Again, just send them a text & they'll begin the transfer process. I confess that I "took" $200 from myself to pay off a medical bill. I felt guilty about it until I realized: Isn't that what savings are for?!

For the cautious among you (& we all should be, when it comes to money & the Internet), Digit uses state-of-the-art security measures & doesn't store your bank login information. Not convinced? It's been written up by & its safety confirmed in trusted publications like Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, & the New York Times.

If you're interested in giving Digit a try, you can sign up using my referral link. I get $5 for every person who uses my link, but I also just think this tool is worth sharing. This isn't a sponsored post - just me telling you about something I like.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Read in January


One of my reading goals for 2017 is to read more books written by authors of color, in part because there are so many issues with just how white the publishing world is. Simply put, it's easier to "make it" as a white writer than as a writer of color, & I want to make a personal effort not to overlook these talented writers in my own reading. In January, I started reading a bunch of the books on my to-read list written by authors of color, & I'm looking for more recommendations to add to that ongoing, ever-growing list.

I started three or four other books this month & am now about halfway through all of them, so I guess they'll count for February's total. The one that's really holding me up - but fortunately also keeping me intrigued - is Stephen King's 11/22/63, the 866-page beast we chose for book club. I'm not even close to done with it... & we meet in a week! Gotta buckle down & see if I can get it finished before then. Add me on Goodreads to see what else I'm halfway through, then tell me: What are you reading?

Here are the 11 books I finished in January.

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

I picked up this book without being familiar with its author, the take-no-shit blogger behind AwesomelyLuvvie.com. While the book initially seems frivolous & pop culture-centric, it turns into a smart, worthwhile take on feminism, racism, & a bunch of other important aspects of our culture - namely the ridiculous & unacceptable ways we act when it comes to them. ★★★☆

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I'm comfortable saying that this book should be a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand racial tension in America, whether you're a POC who's living that reality every day or a white person who seeks deeper understanding in order to become a better ally. Truly, Coates' writing - a memoir & social commentary in the form of a letter to his son - is a work of art, & I believe this book will long be looked upon as a classic in its genre. ★★★★★

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

I have almost no experience with poetry, save the bad poems I wrote myself growing up, but on a whim, I bought this book as a gift to myself while doing some holiday shopping. It's one of the most moving works of art I've ever consumed, & it had me feeling all kinds of ways for days to follow. I have a feeling this is one that'll end up dog-eared & well-loved. ★★★★★

Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry

Like the rest of the world, I fell hard for Serial, & after finishing season one, I wanted to know more about Adnan Sayed's story. This book is written by his friend & advocate, the lawyer who reached out to Serial's Sarah Koenig in the first place. Elements of it were fascinating & personal & compelling, but the overall book was, unfortunately, a bit of slog. Still, it ultimately did what the podcast couldn't: convince me of Adnan's innocence. ★★★☆

Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family by Najla Said

Said is a great storyteller, in terms of language & visualization, but I found much of the story itself to be too disjointed to feel as compelling or cohesive as it should've been. The atheist daughter of Christian Lebanese/Palestinian parents, Said was raised as a WASP surrounded by Jews; this memoir is about her ongoing identity crisis. This was a bit of a difficult read for me; when it came to Jews, I found Said hostile at worst, appropriative at best. I liked her book, but I wasn't sure I liked her. ★★★

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson

I lovedlovedloved this one, written by the co-host of the 2 Dope Queens podcast (a Cleveland native!), which I plowed through on my Austin flights. Robinson has a way with analogies, using hilarious & unexpected pop culture references to discuss important issues like racism, feminism, etc. Yes, it had a lot of similarities to I'm Judging You, but they were both worth the read. I liked this one better, though, if you only want to choose one. ★★★

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

This YA fantasy novel is full of color & curiosities, with writing so lovely I wanted to, like, wrap it in cotton candy & glitter. Like the rest of the townspeople in Ferenwood, 12-year-old Alice was born with a magical talent - but, unlike them, she was born completely colorless. With the help of former enemy Oliver, white-haired Alice goes in search of her missing father in the renegade magical world of Furthermore - which is very dangerous. I loved the imagery & the storytelling, but rarely have I been so disappointed in such a rushed ending. ★★★

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda is just a normal teenage girl who's well-liked at her new school & falling in love with a cute boy. But she has a secret: She was born male. What will happen if her new friends - & her boyfriend - find out? This was a very simplified version of just one of many trans stories & issues that trans people face, but I think it's so important that novels like this exist. I hope it helps readers better understand that trans people are just people. ★★★

The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

This was my first book by the indomitable Miss Angelou, but it won't be my last. She was incredible, with writing to rival her personality. This memoir focuses primarily on the time of her life when she was in a relationship with a South African civil rights activist who tried to mold her into the perfect African (rather than African-American) wife. Her spirit, work ethic, & sense of justice are all on full display as she struggles to be the perfect wife while also remaining an activist, a mother, a writer, an independent working woman, & a proud, justice-seeking Black woman. ★★★

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson  

This book came highly recommended by a few friends, & for good reason. It's fascinating! Academic psychologist Jon Ronson takes a look at trends in public shaming, including the latest angle: the online shaming. Can people bounce back from these pile-ons, or are they destined to ruin their lives? With real-life examples (remember the white-girl AIDS tweet?) as well as a look at the history of public shaming, this nonfiction book will make you rethink the Internet. ★★★

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

This was my first book by bestselling Australian novelist Moriarty, though Goodreads tells me it's not her best. The book's first half switches back & forth between present day & a recent BBQ, told from the perspective of three suburban couples who were all in attendance & who are all struggling to deal with the aftermath of something terrible that took place there - though we don't find out until halfway through the book what it was. Even though it started verrrry slowly, the character development was fascinating , which makes me want to read more from Moriarty. ★★

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

Please note that my "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but please also don't judge me too harshly for including them. 
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