May & June Book Picks

As many of you may (or may not) know: I’m a pretty avid reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a child, and that’s never truly changed. Reading leisurely took a backseat during college. Spending hours and hours reading textbooks and studying and scrolling through Chegg for assistance on homework problems took up most of my time and also made me want to do anything BUT shove my nose in a book again.

Fast forward six years (wait…six? really?). I’m settled into my cozy accounting job and get to spend my evenings relaxing at home. And with work-from-home in place due to COVID-19, I’m home just about 24/7. One of my favorite things about this is the convenience of just reading on the front porch or curled up on the couch on lunch. Although I definitely miss socializing with friends at the cafeteria or getting in a good workout, these more relaxing at-home lunches aren’t so bad! And if I do choose to exercise on lunch, I have so much more free time in the evening to read due to no commute. Score!

I get two books a month sent to me via Book of the Month Club. It’s a subscription service PERFECT for book lovers (like me!). The monthly subscription fee is $14.99 and includes one book, but you can do an add-on book for another $9.99. For brand new hardback books and free shipping, it’s kind of a steal. If you’re interested in joining, I would love if you would use my referral link . Each referral will score me one free book credit to help fuel my reading addiction.

I read anywhere from two to four books a month, give or take. Reading is my “me” time – it takes me to a different place for a while and lets me leave my own thoughts and stressors behind. I delve into the characters’ stories: I feel pain when they feel pain, happiness when they feel happiness, anger when they are angry. I empathize with their emotions, every time. Every time! And it turns out that this is actually a form of therapy. Ever heard of bibliotherapy? Well, now you have!

Bibliotherapy allows you to gain insight into the personal challenges you’re dealing with and helps you develop strategies to address the most concerning issues. It can also help promote problem solving, understanding, and self-awareness.

Sara Lindberg. “Bibliotherapy: How Stories Can Help Guide the Therapeutic Process”. verywellmind, 30 Jan 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-bibliotherapy-4687157. Accessed 7 July 2020

Bibliotherapy can be used by therapists as a tool to further traditional therapy sessions. This type of therapy may help you gain insight to your own personal troubles, can help you see situations through other perspectives by experiencing them through literature, and may even offer hope in bleak scenarios. Of course, therapy needs are different for everyone. Please note I am NOT a doctor and if you need any sort of help please seek a professional. But I CAN say that for me, reading as always been therapeutic. It’s cool to know that it can also be a tool to help with traditional therapy as well!

A lot of the reading I do is within the fiction realm (although I do love a good self-help/personal growth book!). Here are some of the books I’ve read recently that I would recommend, in the order that I would recommend them (from favorite to least favorite). By the way, I’m not great at book reviews. Click on the titles to travel to thriftbooks.com to read more about the books and also see some pretty great deals (not an ad, I just found out about this website and am obsessed with how many great deals there are!).

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This book broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I was angry. I was sad. I was pulled into so many directions. It’s a heart-wrenching story about young inter-racial love in a modern day and age. I think this is a good book to read in light of current events. It provides a good perspective of how easily situations can be spun to make the wrong person look like the bad guy, and how easy it is to assume the wrong things. 10/10 would recommend.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is just that: a perfect beach read. A heart-warming tale about a young author who moves temporarily to settle her father’s estate. While in the charming beach town she makes a few new friends and makes a surprising bet with a neighbor and rival. Cute, addicting, and simple. I loved this book, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in two days. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for something cute, simple, and easy to read.

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

An entertaining story about a group of rich mom’s living in NYC and a young aspiring musician in need of a job. You travel through the intricate relationships of the group of friends and get to slowly watch things unravel, with a surprise twist at the end that I certainly did NOT see coming.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I both enjoyed and felt slightly ripped off by this book. I enjoyed the thrill of it, and the writing kept me sucked in till the very end. But I also feel like it had SO MANY similarities to that Netflix show that came out, The Haunting of Hill House, that I kept picturing THAT story in my mind while reading it. And much like my opinion of Hill House, I felt that this story was great the first 75% and the last bit of it was just…lackluster? Still worth reading if you like a bit of a thriller novel. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you got the same vibes as I did!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A fictional story of a Hollywood icon, and how she made her life from scratch. I wasn’t too entranced with this novel at first, but I kept wanting to know how the journalist was tied to Evelyn. Why did Evelyn want this girl specifically to write her story? I kept reading for that, and honestly it was worth it. I enjoyed the ride, and loved that the character came to terms with her love and her life, and made big bold decisions regardless of what others thought (but only after struggling for years with whether or not those decisions were worth the public scrutiny). It’s a good story to show that a lot of your life really does lie in your own hands, you just have to know what’s worth it to you.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I so badly wanted to love this book. I liked the characters well enough, and the story was a pretty great rock&roll adventure. What I really struggled with most was the way it was written: interview style. It still paints a beautiful picture and tells a good story, but for some reason reading it interview style stressed me out a little? That’s probably just a weird personal thing. Of all the books I read in May and June, this is the one I probably could have done without.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were! Alternatively, if you have any other great book recommendations, let me know. I need to expand my reading list!

Back to Blogging

Here we go again.

I’m not new to this. I’ve “started” a blog a handful of times now, but I’ve never really stuck with it. In my head, “blogging” is akin to running a Tumblr account. In high school and early college I LOVED scrolling through different hashtags on Tumblr for hours, “reblogging” images to my page that I felt fit my aesthetic. Usually that would be anything from wellness and fitness to nature photography to food. Occasionally on Tumblr I would post something original: workout stats, Myfitnesspal logs, meal ideas, and progress photos. Sometimes I would post something more along the lines of a diary entry. Sometimes I would go full out “emo” and post a stupid self-deprecating quote or some vague depressing song lyric. You know, typical young adult stuff…right?

The nice thing about Tumblr is that it was easy. So easy that it inspired me to start multiple different wordpress blogs. I think some of them are still out there if you look hard enough. But they definitely fall into that young adult “emo” category more than a useful or interesting lifestyle blog. This time around, I have a more focused vision in mind.

Karli’s Kandid Life is a play on words off of my photography business, Karli’s Kandids. I’ve used this as my Instagram handle for a few years now, and it just kind of stuck. It really transitions easily to a blog name, don’t you think? Karli’s Kandid Life is going to be a lifestyle blog. Expect posts from me about hiking, vacations, recipes I’m loving, books I’m reading, clothes/accessories I’m dying for (because as much as I try to escape it, I’m a tad materialistic), cute photos of my cats and my dog, etc. Another type of post you can expect will be those regarding transitioning into a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Those ones will be pretty important to me, and I hope maybe they can convince some readers how easy it is to ditch a “one-time use disposables” lifestyle and replace those things with longer lasting, environmentally friendly alternatives.

Another focus of mine will be small/local business shopping. One of my personal goals for this year is to start taking my shopping habits and redirecting the focus from big brand box stores and billionaires to local artisans and small business owners. If I find some amazing products or small scale brands, I want to share them with others and encourage everyone to try to shop more local business.

My life isn’t glamorous. I won’t be one of those bloggers posting photos of their luxury beauty products on carrera marble counter tops. I don’t wear a size zero (or heck, even a size six) and look amazing in slip dresses and blouses. But I’m excited to share some of the best parts of my normal, simple life. And I hope that any of you reading this find joy in what I have to say, but if you don’t that’s okay too.

Thanks for stopping by. ❤

P.S. Here’s a pretty picture of my hibiscus tree’s blooms. Honestly I’m just uploading this so I can see how the image looks in the post and how it might interact with the rest of the site. However, if you’re like me and love hibiscus flowers and are looking for a tree of your own, I highly recommend checking out Bremec Garden Center. I purchased mine from the Concord location in early May and she’s still doing so well and blooming so nicely, and I’m not exactly a green thumb.