Hi, friends. I hope you all are doing okay in this wild world.
My partner and I just bought our first house and things are full of exciting chaos around here. So much space! So many trips to Home Depot! So much snow to shovel!
As we settle in—and especially while we diligently packed and unpacked everything we own—I’m noticing just how much stuff we have. A few days ago, my beloved shower caddy (which only had the suction life for one bathroom, apparently) collapsed into a big, loud, gooey mess. But the thing is, why do I even need four different conditioners and three different face washes? Why do I always sniff around the candle aisle when I have so many I never light? Why, oh why, do we have so many special drinking glasses that never get used?
It all boils down to that notion of saving things for a “special occasion,” but the truth is that my enjoyment of these things right now is a special occasion. I’m doing my best to embrace that feeling and to be less wasteful in general.
Except for my library. This entire room dedicated to bright colors and books is a special occasion all its own.
What I read
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: It’s like a true crime podcast, but we’re solving the case along with our narrator and investigator! In Pip’s town, everyone knows about the murder of popular Andie Bell five years ago. It was her boyfriend, Sal, of course—he even killed himself, wracked with guilt, after she went missing. The case is closed and Sal’s family is ostracized. But Pip is certain Sal is innocent. As she starts digging, she falls down a labyrinth of dark secrets that can prove his innocence. The more she finds out, though, the more threatening messages she gets telling her to stop. And when she thinks she’s finally cracked the case, it just keeps going. Highly recommend this on audio—it plays with a cast of narrators and sound effects in a fun way.
But sometimes remembering isn’t for yourself, sometimes you do it just to make someone else smile. Those lies were allowed.
—Holly Jackson, A Good Girls’s Guide to Murder, 2019
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson: Jacqueline Woodson’s done it again. This beautiful novel in verse is about ZJ and his dad, everyone’s favorite NFL star. Things aren’t going so well lately—Dad’s been missing games and complaining about headaches and getting forgetful. ZJ is scared as he watches his dad become a different person. The book gently explains the dangers of contact sports and the effects of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), brain degeneration caused by repeated head traumas, with a truly lovable family.
What I wrote
Just one piece this month: A list of books set in the Midwest for Book Riot’s 2021 Read Harder Challenge.
Crooked Reads is a monthlyish newsletter about books and stuff 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.