Monthly roundup

Monthly Roundup: August 2020

Oh, August, we hardly knew ya!

It felt like this month went at warp speed. First, I was turning 40 at the beginning of this month; now, my daughter has started virtual learning! And somewhere in all that whirlwind, we did school at home, I started a new virtual class (more on that later), my back turned into hot summer garbage again, I walked around the neighborhood with my family a zillion times, and I read a few books. Not a terrible month as a whole, really, but still. Pandemic life isn’t exactly optimal.

We’re doing okay, though. Hanging in there as best as we can amidst all the chaos of the world. Lots of deep breathing, escaping into books to avoid everything out there, and making the best of everything we can. I hope you’re managing as well as you can, too.

Let’s get this recap on the road, shall we?

What I Read in August 2020

  1. The Chosen Wars: How Judaism Became an American Religion by Steven R. Weisman (no review)

2. Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

3. Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

4. Chasing Echoes by Dan Goldman and George Schall

5. Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

6. Bingo Love by Jenn Franklin and Tee St-Onge

7. The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy by Masha Gessen

8. No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

9. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

10. Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

11. Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

12. The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren (review to come)

13. Wayside School Is Falling Down by Louis Sachar (no review; read out loud to my daughter)

14. The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today by Evan Moffic (no review)

15. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (review to come)

16. Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon (review to come)

Phew! Not a bad month of reading. As you can tell, I spent a *lot* of time reading aloud to my daughter (and this isn’t even all of what we read aloud. I’m not marking down the shorter books we read for schoolwork. My mouth gets seriously dry some days with all the reading aloud!). Nine of these came off my TBR, so I’m happy about that- of course, I probably added eighty books to the TBR, so it doesn’t quite balance out, but that’s okay. 😊

Reading Challenge Updates

And there we go! I realized that The Brothers by Masha Gessen fit the prompt for a book by a journalist, so all I have left is to read a banned book for Banned Books Week, and I’ll start on that at the end of this month. GO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

State of the Goodreads TBR

Last month, I was at 152 books; this month, it’s expanded to 158. I *was* in the 160’s, but I read it down a bit. It’ll be time for another trip to the library soon, so I’ll grab some more off my TBR and we’ll see where I am after that.

Books I Acquired in August 2020

I grabbed a copy of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown from a Little Free Library on a walk with my son; I’ll read it (eventually!) and send it back out into the world. And I bought a copy of Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (something I’ve always wanted to read!) for a virtual class I’m taking.

Bookish Things I Did in August 2020

Some of my awesome parenting group friends gathered online to have a book chat- which of course dissolved into a general chat, but we talked about favorite books and favorite authors and lots of other random things, and it was fantastic.

Current Podcast Love

Catching up on some new episodes of What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel (I was sorry to read on Instagram that her father passed away; may his memory be a blessing), and then listening to all the back episodes of Jew Too? Tales of the Mixed Multitude with Rabbi Emily Cohen. Lots of interviews with a diverse group of people who speak about a lot of things I can relate to. She’s on a break but hopefully there will be new episodes in the future, because I really enjoy this one.

Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge

Currently on hold until life goes back to normal and I have two seconds of quiet time to actually read tougher stuff!

Real Life Stuff

I turned 40 this month. Doesn’t feel much different than any other decade of my life, but, like my childhood best friend said when we were young, I was 40 before I turned 12. *grin* We celebrated by taking a several-hours-long hike around a local preserve, and by ordering Indian food (my favorite!) for dinner that night, and then consuming a key lime pie. All in all, an okay version of an at-home birthday.

My son started virtual college and is enjoying it. My daughter has done some prep-type stuff and has had one full day of virtual first grade so far. Too soon to say how it’ll go as a whole, but her school is virtual until further notice and, even when they go back, parents who wish (like me) will have the option to keep their students virtual. My daughter is pretty stressed out by the idea of physically going back to school (no matter how much we reassure her that we won’t be sending her back until it’s safe) and we’ve been dealing with a few meltdowns here and there, which breaks my heart. There’s going to be a lot of mass trauma on the part of children when all this is over and I pray that schools are making plans to step up their counseling departments in light of this.

Not much writing done at all this month, but that’s fine. My focus has been elsewhere.

I started another virtual Judaism class. I’m studying with a local rabbi here in town with the goal of of pursuing conversion- that’s where my new copy of Jewish Literacy by Joseph Telushkin comes in. It’ll be a slow process, especially with the pandemic and synagogues and mikvehs still being closed (although I’ve been attending virtual services most Friday nights since March!), and that’s okay. It’s definitely something wonderful and amazing and exciting to look forward to. 😊

So what’s coming up in September?

More of the same! School for my daughter, college for my son. My son is in his classes in his room, my daughter is using a previously unused end table from the basement as her desk in the living room (if this goes on past this school year, we’ll get her an actual tiny desk). She’ll be on her school-issued iPad during various live sessions throughout the day; thanks to our split-level house that is ridiculously open, I’ll be able to hear her from every corner of every room and will be available to help out if needed. I’m hoping to get her as independent as possible when it comes to things like logging in to various apps and meetings; that way I can get whatever parts of dinner started as early as possible so I can help her with her post-virtual session work. We’ll see how it goes! I already love her teacher this year and I’m deeply impressed with all the hard work her school has put into making virtual learning an exciting new prospect for the kids.

My apologies for any mistakes in this post; WordPress isn’t letting me save my work at certain points in each post, and I’ve had to go back and forth between a Microsoft Word document. It’s also not letting me preview before I publish- anyone else having these issues? It’s been going on all month and it’s been *seriously* annoying.

Hang in there, friends. I know we’re all feeling tense and anxious these days. Spend some time in nature if you can (WINTER IS COMING, FOLKS). Be there for your Black and brown friends. If you’re in the US and you’re not already registered to vote, get on that, and bring some friends with you to get registered as well. Be kind; you never know what others are going through, but always remember that bigots never, ever deserve peace if you’re trying to keep the peace with them. Stand up for justice, friends, and read on. ❤

Here’s to a peaceful, book-filled September!

7 thoughts on “Monthly Roundup: August 2020

  1. It’s nice you were able to celebrate a bit for your birthday. Sounds like a great day to me, honestly, but I am not a big party person. You can see me, but I am bowing while saying, “I am not worthy” [think Wayne’s World]. The Pop Sugar Challenge is not easy, so I am so impressed with your progress. ((HUGS)) to your daughter. This whole 2020 situation is not fun. I think if my job wasn’t so awesome about it, I would be in tears too, worrying about riding the trains and whatnot. Good luck with your classes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 2020 has been an absolute beast of a year, we all need about a decade off from EVERYTHING after this is done. I keep trying to keep things in perspective and remembering times in historical when everything was uncertain and scary, like World War II and the Great Depression (super American-centric, ugh, but it’s stuff I’ve been studying with my daughter, so it’s fresh in mind). They survived by being creative and resourceful, and those are definitely things that help out now. Hang in there! I know it’s not easy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy belated Birthday! It sounds like you had a nice day. My birthday is coming up this month and I’ll be celebrating by working. LOL Not much fun in that, I’m afraid.

    I hope your class is going well and your daughter’s schooling as well. I can’t believe today makes four weeks of virtual learning for my daughter already. It’s going mostly well considering. My heart goes out to your daughter. She is lucky to have such a supportive mom like you. I work from home most days and the way our house is set up, my daughter and I are fairly close (my husband is working upstairs), although technically in separate rooms. I hear everything and am in her line of sight. It’s both an advantage and a curse. Like you, I want her to be as independent as possible–and I know the teacher wants this too–but sometimes it’s hard. He’ll ask her a direct question and she gets this deer-in-the-headlights look and look right at me. LOL Sometimes I hear the question, other times I’m busy with my own work and miss it, but regardless, I tell her to talk to her teacher, not look to me for the answer. I hope your son continues to enjoy his college courses online!

    Otis Spofford brings back so many memories! The school librarian read that to my class when I was in elementary school. It was my first Beverly Cleary book. I loved it so much and went on to read her other books on my own.

    Winter here means being able to spend more time outside. 🙂 I am looking forward to it. It’s been so hot. I hope you have a great weekend. Take care and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes! I hope your birthday-workday goes smoothly and that you’ll be able to celebrate when you have time!

      My class is going well (one of my cats made an appearance last week, to everyone’s surprise, haha). We’re onto week 2 of virtual learning and so far it’s going mostly okay. A few internet foibles, some hectic days with weird schedules, Google meets can be a bit finicky, and my daughter is easily frustrated when things don’t work perfectly (we’re working on this!), but we’ll get there. 🙂 It’s gotta be so hard to be able to hear everything while you’re working. I can’t get any reading done when my daughter is in class; I can’t focus with the sounds of first grade six feet away from me!

      Happy reading! 🙂


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