Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August Books I Read #LifeInBooks


This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub - I need to say "wow" on this one. It started out pretty innocently, and then it turned into a time travel novel, and THEN it turned into a novel about grief and what it would take to spend just one more day with someone you love and I'm going to say "wow."

How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny - She's always on the list of "if you like Daniel Silva" and I asked a friend who is a fan to suggest a good starting point for an Inspector Gamache novel. After I got past some of the French, I found it very enjoyable and could definitely see myself reading all of these someday. 

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb - Ooh, this one was good. A mystery about a black classical violinist with a super-special violin. So many layers and I really liked this one a lot. 

Cyclorama by Adam Langer - Let me start by saying the first half of the book was SO cringey with the teacher's behavior that I almost quit it - but a friend's review kept me going and I thought it was really great. A Chicago high school puts on a production of The Diary of Anne Frank in the first half of the book, and the second half follows each of the actors AND keeps the Anne Frank connection going - it was really unique and powerful.

How High We Go In the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu - This book was breathtaking. It starts out innocently enough with a discovery in the Arctic, and spans decades of heartwrenching, interlinked stories that speak to who we are as humans, and what we are willing to endure and what will we become...heavy and a little bleak, but wow.

Mr Perfect on Paper by Jean Meltzer - let's just say I needed a little fluff after the previous book, and this was great. A little heavy-handed on the "Jewish marriage" thing but overall a fun read. (Also, big fan of the Jewish romance genre!)

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune - Delightful small-town Canada romance story. Girl-next-door meets summer-boy-next-door. 

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

Monday, August 15, 2022

#blogElul #elulgram 2022


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.

#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.

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'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you. Elul begins on August 28th (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 5783 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