Heart-Eyes for Days

Edition 27: February 2021

Hello to all my new friends here! This letter comes out monthly—usually at the beginning of the month, but sometimes life gets in the way—with things I’ve read, learned, and written since the previous letter.

My February was a bit of a cliché. I recognized and accepted all the love around me, from my partner baking a birthday cake with peanut butter frosting (my life will never be the same) to my parents and brother coming over for cupcakes and laughs. We adopted a new cat and he is the biggest love bug I’ve ever met. And at work, I was given the opportunity to work on the biggest book I’ll probably ever get to touch. My eyes are stuck in heart-eye mode lately.

What I read

Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe: A fascinating dive into the lives of four women who became obsessed with crime, but not in the weird “I wrote love letters to Ted Bundy” kind of way.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson: A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful novel in verse about a boy and his dad, an NFL star who is acting differently, and the many ways CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused my repeated head traumas) affects their lives and family.

I Am the Rage by Martina McGowan: Buckle up for the most devastating work of poetry you’ll read all year. Each poem is filled with rage and anguish over the state of racism in America. The poem dedicated to Breonna Taylor made me weep. (Disclosure, I work for the publisher, yada yada, IT IS VERY GOOD IN AN UNBIASED WAY)

What Doesn’t Kill You by Tessa Miller: I read this memoir about chronic illness ever so slowly. Miller writes in such a candid way about all the shit she’s gone through with Crohn’s and other diseases/infections/horrifying experiences. I am in awe of her strength. Also, did you know that poop transplants were a thing? Because I did not.

The Sweetness of Venus by Sarah Chadwick: “A fun, straight-talking history of the clitoris, The Sweetness of Venus is a win for feminism.” Read the full review at Foreword.

What I learned

This list of 28 mini rules to simplify your life, from The Financial Diet, is helping me find a better way to frame my daily life after a year of staying home.

I’m also researching every sustainable thing I can do for our new home. Recycling? The village has a list of what can and cannot be recycled in their facility. Rain barrels? We can buy them from the county for $50! Composting? I…haven’t started this project yet. If you’re also starting on this journey, I recommend starting small. Check out your city’s website for what services they offer regarding recycling and sustainability, and go from there!

What I wrote

I present to you some very good book newsletters for your inbox, the product of a year’s worth of compiling zillions of links.

And as a person who hates chores, I rounded up some of the best audiobooks to make chores more interesting.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.


Crooked Reads is a monthlyish newsletter from Ashley Holstrom.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through any book links and make a purchase.

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