Saturday, July 31, 2021

Books I Read in July #MyLifeInBooks

I'm sure you're wondering where my drawings went - just ran out of time this month!

How To Disappear Completely by Ali Standish - a sweet middle-grade book about a girl with a skin condition and her grief over her grandmother, and the whole combination was warm and wonderful to read.

The Chicken Sisters by K.C. Dell'Antonia - two sisters, two competing chicken restaurants, and a reality TV show - this book was fun and sweet, and it made me hungry. 

Float Plan by Trish Doller - This book was about grief and starting over, and figuring out what your life is like when you've planned it around what someone else wants. How do you make that dream your own...or change it? If the chicken book made me hungry, this one made me want to see the world. But not on a boat, that makes me seasick.

The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer - I was given an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this book and I LOVED it. I'm newer to loving the romance novels, and this one had the whole formula down, with really good Jewy elements. Super fun, there were some great "inside baseball" jokes, and while it probably won't be up for any of the big Jewish book awards, it was definitely one of my favorites this year.

The Cellist by Daniel Silva - Each year, these books greet me like an old friend. And this one didn't disappoint. The formula is great, the story was timely, and I am glad to know that Gabriel Allon is still out there in my fictional world, making sure we're all safe. I was not disappointed with this year's installment in his tale.

The Assignment by Liza Wiemer - This is a YA novel about high school kids given an assignment to argue in favor of the Nazis' Final Solution. Some of them protest the assignment, and it gets some national coverage. Along the way, these kids learn a lot about themselves and their town - with some great conversations about how we learn about history and how we live in our stories. A tiny bit after-school-specialish, but maybe that's because it reminded me of The Wave. I really liked it and I recommend it highly!

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner - it seems like Jennifer Weiner bounces between fluffy and serious books. This one was one of her more serious - an exploration of how one high school night could impact several lives forever. A good read!

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory - As I've said - big new fan of the romance genre. Jasmine Guillory's books are so much fun. This one did not disappoint. I loved this set of characters, and I was so happy to lean into their slightly improbable love story. I love how she links the stories, so I can't wait to see who the next character to find love will be....

Field Notes on Love by Jennfer Smith - a sweet story about one of a set of sextuplets who sets off on a cross-country train ride with a total stranger and...well....I'm guessing you can tell what happens based on the title. Delightful read. 

January Books
February Books
March Books
April Books
May Books
June Books

Saturday, July 24, 2021

#BlogElul #ElulGram 2021


#BlogElul is a project that I started in 2010, although it wasn't until 2012 that I created the list of topics. Since then, I haven't always completed the whole month of blogging, although I know that many of you have. I also know that the online world has changed so much since 2010, when blogging was one of the only ways to publish your online content easily.

Now we have FacebookTwitterInstagram, SnapChat, and other many ways in which to express ourselves and dive deeply into the themes of the High Holy Days. And so here we are….I've added #ElulGram to the #BlogElul family and the borders of this project are so wide that they reallly don't exist at all. This project is really whatever YOU want - however YOU want to spend your time preparing yourself for the holiest season in the Jewish calendar.

Elul -- that wonderful and terrifying month that precedes the High Holy Days. A month of introspection and considering, a month of personal reflection and preparation.

Who can participate? ANYONE. It's yours. I gift it to you. Elul is for anyone and everyone.

How could one do it? You don't have a blog… No worries. Maybe you have Facebook or Twitter? Maybe you're a big fan of Instagram? Be creative and find your own path! Maybe you don't want to do it daily. Maybe you just want to dip your toe into the experience, or just read (and share?) what others write. It's totally up to you. I always love to see the creative things that the #BlogElul community comes up with.

There are no rules. I provide the topics (see graphic or below for text) for each of the days of the month. Use the hashtag to share your post (I like to put it in my titles) and share other people's posts as well. This could be a way to revitalize your blog, kickstart a new project, or even just get yourself ready for the holidays! I know that lots of people use #BlogElul as a spiritual exercise each year, and I'm so proud to be a part of their yearly journey through Elul.

And what about #ElulGram? This one is even more interpretive. Photos, art, illustrations, quotes -- what kinds of images can you put together to explore and interpret these High Holy Day themes? You don't have to limit your picture-sharing to Instagram (even though I totally appropriated the name), you can use any image-sharing site you'd like, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Whatever you do, tag it with #ElulGram so we can call share and follow.

These themes and ideas are broad and open, and again -- remember, there are NO RULES except the ones you make for yourself!

And yes, I know that the dates include Shabbat. I personally don't blog/tweet/Facebook on Shabbat, but I will post before and after Shabbat. You can do whatever you like!

Are you going to play along? Let me know! Leave me a comment here, send me a tweet, or send up a signal fire.... Feel free to grab my pretty badge to announce to the whole world that you're Blogging Elul. If you let me know that you're doing it, we can cross-post, or guest-post, or even just do some virtual hand-holding as the days grow closer to Tishrei. I'll try to link to as many posts and pics as I can - won't it be amazing to all share in the Elul journey together?

I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you. Elul begins on Monday, August 9th (it's always on time), so I wanted to give you a head start if you're going to pre-write some of your posts. 

I hope that our shared preparation for 5782 brings meaning and hope, inspiration and enlightenment for all of us.

The list:
Elul 1: Decide
Elul 2: Seek
Elul 3: Prepare
Elul 4: Choose
Elul 5: Commit
Elul 6: Want
Elul 7: Understand
Elul 8: Hear
Elul 9: See
Elul 10: Forgive
Elul 11: Trust
Elul 12: Count
Elul 13: Remember
Elul 14: Learn
Elul 15: Plan
Elul 16: Pray
Elul 17: Awaken
Elul 18: Ask
Elul 19: Speak
Elul 20: Fill
Elul 21: Love
Elul 22: End
Elul 23: Begin
Elul 24: Hope
Elul 25: Change
Elul 26: Create
Elul 27: Bless
Elul 28: Give
Elul 29: Return