Favorites and Fails: September 2019

september favorites autumn

Wow, it’s been an eternity since I’ve done one of these. I considered doing a ‘best of 2019 so far’ round up, but I don’t want to write a Bible-length post, and I don’t think anybody wants to read one.

If you read my last post, you’ll know we’ve been through the ringer here lately, but I don’t want to get into that right now. Let’s talk about the good stuff! I’ve even got some nifty discount codes to share with y’all. Without further ado, here’s my favorites (and a couple of fails) for the month of September.

1.) Mylk Guys: A couple weeks ago, a cool online vegan grocery called Mylk Guys reached out and kindly gifted me a little shopping haul, and I am obsessed. If you’re like me and live in an area that doesn’t carry loads of vegan products, you can get sick of eating the same old things. That’s… not gonna be a problem for me anymore. The problem will be controlling myself when the urge to buy every vegan cheese they’re selling takes hold of me at three in the morning. Late night grocery shopping spree cravings are real, you guys. I need an intervention. If you shop through this link, you can see some of my favorites and get $10 off your first order.

september favorites prodigal son

2.) Prodigal Son: I’m a huge murder fan, which sounds a bit alarming, but you know what I mean. I studied criminology at university, and I love a good crime drama. Key word being good. This one? Is shockingly good. The charismatic Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) stars as Malcolm Bright, a disgraced FBI profiler working with the police to solve crimes with the help of his father, Dr. Martin Whitly, brilliantly portrayed by Oscar-nominee Michael Sheen (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). The twist? Whitly is a convicted serial killer known as The Surgeon. Part House, part Hannibal, and part what-the-Hell-is-this? original, Prodigal Son is a wild ride. You can watch it on Fox on Monday or on Hulu.

3.) ThreadUP: As I mentioned in my update, I’ve seriously messed up my leg, so I can’t wear any of my pants. Because shaving is out of the question, and I seriously cannot handle brushing against my own hairy legs, I am all about the athleisure at the moment. I’ve been shopping more sustainably lately, so I’ve turned to ThreadUP for my current “help, I can’t wear my pants” needs. I snapped up several pairs of Adidas track pants, and my mom bought me some Nike joggers. Are they the height of fashion? No way, but considering I’m hobbling around on a cane at the moment, I really don’t care. (Not sponsored, but I should be. C’mon, ThreadUP!)

4.) Altra Olympus 2.5: Before the leg injury, I screwed up the tendons in my foot and was told I needed to wear orthotic shoes while I healed. Visions of Sophia Petrillo’s old lady shoes flashed before my eyes. Now, I love the Golden Girls, and I joke about how I want to be Sophia when I’m old, but I’m not ready for it yet. Luckily, my uncle did the same thing to his foot months ago, had a lot of success with Altra trainers, and kindly bought me a pair. I. Love. These. Shoes. I love them. They’re so comfortable and supportive, plus the thick sole makes me taller. Every little bit helps.

september favorites sourpuss blanket

5.) Sourpuss bat blanket + pouches: As you can see, Teeny loves her new bat blanket and says thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m so sorry I included it because it’s not on the website now, but I just love it so much, and so do the babies. Also adorable and much-loved are these pouches featuring my all-time favorites, Bowie and Freddie. These are still available, so grab them while you can! I feel like it would be completely disrespectful not to use the Bowie pouch as a makeup bag, but Freddie loved his glam, too. Decisions, decisions.

september favorites yeouth vitamin c&e serum

6.) Yeouth Skincare Vitamin C&E Serum with Hyaluronic Acid: This stuff… Oh, man. This stuff is amazing. C&E protect your skin from free radicals, which cause aging, and hyaluronic acid helps your skin to retain moisture, so any moisturizer you apply over it sinks in properly. Plus you can use my discount code SOCIAL20 to get your own for a nifty twenty percent off. What’s not to love?

7.) Honey by Raveena: As one of the best YouTube comments ever says, “This is what clear skin sounds like.” Yes! Honestly, I cannot get enough of this woman’s voice, and she’s ridiculously beautiful to boot. Her voice reminds me of Norah Jones blended with Lana Del Rey, and I’m so obsessed with her at the moment. Maybe it’s me being a bit odd, but certain songs and albums have seasonal vibes to me, and Honey just feels autumnal. Just… go. Watch the video. Listen to her music. You will thank me.

8.) My new Macbook Pro: My (less than a year old!) HP started doing this weird thing where the screen flashed blue, everything went back to normal, and then the laptop would freeze up until I popped the battery out and did a hard reboot. At first it happened once a month, and then it was happening two or three times a night. I need my computer for work, so that wasn’t going to fly. I bit the bullet and shelled out for a new MacBook, and now I remember why I’ve always been a die-hard Apple girl. I’m sorry, Apple. I’ll never cheat on you again.

9.) Pumpkin Spice Lattes: They’re back! I get mine with coconut milk and no whipped cream, and they are delicious. Yeah, I know. I sound like a Basic Fall Girl, and I am completely okay with that.

10.) The Keepers: Oh, God. Where do I even begin when it comes to discussing this series? I was reared Catholic, and while I’m no longer a member of the church, my cousin was a priest. I have another cousin who’s a nun. Hearing the testimony of how so many children were brutalized by two Baltimore priests — and the resulting death of Sister Cathy Cesnik, who tried to stop it — sickens me in ways I can’t fully articulate. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching and so well done, but it may be triggering to survivors of sexual abuse. Please stay safe if you decide to watch it. It can be found on Netflix.

11.) 17 Carnations by Andrew Morton: Detailing the affair between Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII as well as their connection to Nazi Germany, which revolved around a rather bizarre scheme to make him a puppet king to the Third Reich. Despite its meticulously researched density, 17 Carnations is a fast, easy read that’s by turns shocking and — perhaps surprisingly given its subject matter — amusing.

And now… for the fails. Oh, the fails.

crutch broken leg avulsed patellar tendon

1.) My stupid leg: If you have never had an avulsed patellar tendon, I don’t recommend it. Basically, the tendon has partially peeled away from where it connects to the bone. On top of the fracture, it makes walking borderline unbearable. There are times when I literally reach the point of almost wetting myself because the alternative means standing up and hobbling my way to the bathroom. I have a high pain tolerance, but holy shit. This sucks, you guys.

2.) The weather: It’s officially autumn. October is just a day away (so prepare for some spooky content), and it’s like a bloody sauna outside. It’s also going to be close to 100 every single day this week. Why? Why?! Can we just have some freakin’ sweater weather already?!

There you have it, my favorites and fails for September. What have you been loving lately?

2018 Favorites

I felt a lot like Frodo at the end of Return of the King on the last day of 2018. As the ball dropped, I whispered, “It’s gone. It’s done.”

2018 was a doozy for me, and I know a lot of you feel the same way. A quick recap of the year, shall we?

  • Massive falling out with a close friend.
  • Finding out my father figure is a disturbed man.
  • Aunt diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Mom’s in poor health off and on through the year.
  • Car wreck ruins my future as a hairstylist.
  • Sister from another mister in poor health.
  • Baby sister from another mister traumatized by family drama.

I’m glad 2018 is over. There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d come out the other side. But it wasn’t all bad. Last year I made some new friends, and I grew much closer to old ones. I endured horrible mental and physical pain, and I got through it. I have a better understanding of myself than I ever have, and I know part of that is due to my experiences last year.

But not all of 2018 sucked! I didn’t get to try out as many things as I’d hoped, but I discovered enough goodness to share it here with y’all. Here’s what I loved about 2018, from the brand new to the new-to-me.

Beauty & Skincare

Image: Ebay.com

1.) Perricone MD Cold Plasma+ Face: I have a host of skincare issues, namely rosacea, adult acne, and (gulp) a few fine lines on my forehead, and I’m always looking for a miracle cure that targets all of the above. When I got the opportunity to test out Cold Plasma+, I was completely blown away. I was suffering from a major rosacea flare-up at the time and had loads of under-the-skin bumps threatening to erupt on top of being bright red. Within three days of using the cream (which I will admit has a funky smell and weird texture), the redness had faded to a faint, patchy pink, and the bumps never fully surfaced. Even better, my fine lines were less visible within a week or two. This is truly a holy grail product for me, and I don’t use that term lightly!

Image: Mercari.com

2.) Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Creme: A brand rep at Ulta recommended this to me at the height of a pre-Perricone breakout when my skin was so sensitive that even plain water hurt my face. Frankly, I was terrified by the thought of any cleanser, especially one I’d never tried, but I am so glad I listened. It’s incredibly soothing and hydrating, which is great considering my formerly-oily skin has decided to become Sahara-dry, and it made washing my face a calming, pleasant experience again after weeks of being something I dreaded. Love!

Image: Amazon.com

3.) Covergirl Goes Cruelty Free: This was the biggest news in the beauty industry for me. Apart from products I have to use due to my skin being as moody as a Grumpy Cat meme, I try to use as many cruelty free items as I can. Covergirl is really paving the way in terms of affordable, cruelty free beauty, and I’m so thrilled I can finally point my budget-minded girls in the direction of the local drugstore for beauty products. (It should be noted that both Milani and Wet N Wild are also cruelty free, but they don’t have the shade range Covergirl does.)

Books

Image: NYTimes.com

1.) American Prison by Shane Bauer: Author of the shocking Mother Jones exposé, which earned him a National Magazine Award, reveals his harrowing four month stint at Winn Correctional Center, a privately run facility in rural Louisiana.

Image: Amazon.com

2.) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari: Released in 2015, this #1 international bestseller blends science with history in a fascinating narrative on humanity’s creation and evolution. Over one hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans walked the Earth, and now there is only one. Renowned historian Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks new ground to answer that nagging little question: why?

Image: Amazon.com

3.) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Despite the fact that this was released way back in 1990, when yours truly was only a small child, Good Omens has found its way onto my 2018 favorites. It never fails to cheer me up when I’m sad, and I was a mopey gal for the better part of the year. The premise, you ask? If you’ve never read this gem, all you need to know is that the end of the world is coming. Actually, it’s coming next Saturday… a little before dinner. Our salvation rests in the hands of a rather charming demon and a very fussy angel. Oh, and the Antichrist is missing.

Television

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1.) Preacher: Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is having a crisis of faith. The problem is that God has rage-quit Heaven to shirk His duties, and Jesse is the only one with the power to find Him. To make matters worse, the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish) is hot on his trail, and tensions between Jesse and his ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), run high. Preacher is like nothing else on television. It’s irreverent, crude, and brutal, yet its core — thanks to the phenomenal Cooper and Negga — is strangely sweet. Go on. It’s on Hulu. I’ll wait while you catch up.

Image: pbs.com

2.) Victoria: I will admit I’m a recent convert. My mom’s been a fan since day one, but I have seen the light. The story of the monarch’s life begins with the death of King William IV and follows Victoria (the stunning Jenna Coleman) after she assumes the throne at the age of eighteen. With her devoted husband, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes, whose Albert is endearingly awkward), and equally dedicated Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell), at her side, the young queen thrives in her new role. Victoria offers a human — and often surprisingly humorous — look into one of the world’s most famous monarchs. Even if you’re not into history, it has so much to offer. You can watch it on PBS in America.

Image: dailydead.com

3.) The Exorcist: Due to work/school/life being uncooperative, I only got around to watching this show in 2018. After it was rudely canceled by Fox. Needless to say, I am displeased. Guided by a vision, young parish priest Father Tomas Ortega (brilliantly played by Alfonso Herrera) seeks out our titular exorcist, Father Marcus Keane (the inimitable Ben Daniels) for help when suspicions that a young girl from his parish may be possessed arise. Filled with I-did-not-see-that-coming plot twists and an incredible supporting cast including Oscar-winner Geena Davis, The Exorcist is at turns hauntingly beautiful and genuinely scary. What the actual Hell was with that cancellation, Fox? You can watch both seasons on Hulu.

Film

Image: Wikipedia.com

1.) Black Panther: After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman, who truly comes into his own in his first solo outing as Black Panther) returns home to his native Wakanda to assume the throne. From its intricately crafted and sympathetic villain (Michael B. Jordan) to the most stunning cinematography I’ve ever seen, Black Panther has all the hallmarks of the Oscar-winning film I hope it will become. Wakanda forever!

Image: qctimes.com

2.) A Quiet Place: Written, directed, and starring the incredible John Krasinski, A Quiet Place centers on a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where blind aliens with impenetrable skin hunt anything they hear. I don’t want to give too much away because you need to see the film for yourself if you haven’t already. But I can tell you one thing: Emily Blunt’s heartbreaking performance as Evelyn is sure to leave you breathless.

Image: imdb.com

3.) Venom: The critics might have called Venom a disaster, but it’s one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in a long time. Tom Hardy (one of the most talented actors of his generation) balances humor with vulnerability as disgraced journalist Eddie Brock, who bonds with an alien entity that takes a liking to its new home and vows to protect it.

Music

Image: Amazon.com

1.) High As Hope by Florence + the Machine: Florence Welch has the sort of voice that can raise the dead, and it’s never been more honest than it is here, on the band’s most understated album. Simultaneously ominous and airy, High As Hope often feels like reading Welch’s diary, and it’s all the better for it. It’s like MTV Unplugged… with magic.

Image: Amazon.com

2. Wanderer by Cat Power: The first time I heard Cat Power sing, it was a cover of Wild Is The Wind, and I burst out crying. Few singers have a voice as emotive as Power, and her latest album is an emotional journey that leaves you feeling raw and hopeful all at once. Woman, her duet with Lana Del Rey, may be the most Cat Power Cat Power song. Go listen to it. You’ll know what I mean.

Image: Amazon.com

3.) Soil by serpentwithfeet: I’m not entirely sure what serpentwithfeet is doing on this album, only that it’s never been done before. Soil has the heart of R&B, the soul of gospel — fitting, as Josiah Wise (our tour guide in this strange, new realm) got his start as a Baltimore choirboy — and the guts of something completely unique. Equal parts ‘what the Hell?’ and ‘oh, my God,’ Soil is the most arresting album I’ve heard in a very long time.

That’s all, folks! 2019 is already off to a much better start. I hope it’s the same for y’all. What are your picks for best of 2018?

Top 10 Books to Keep the Halloween Spirit Alive

best spooky books to read year round

October is my favorite month of the year, and Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday. Every year, I’m torn between excitement as Halloween approaches and sadness that I’m going to have to wait another year to celebrate it again.

Well, at least to celebrate it officially. Being goth means that what most people call ‘Halloween decorations,’ I think of as ‘year-round bedroom decor.’ Thanksgiving isn’t a major holiday in my household, so for me, October is only the first month of a two month Halloween celebration, the next big holiday being Christmas.

Taking a break from heavier topics after my last blog post is a necessity, so I’m falling back on my first love: books. Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the spooky spirit has to be sidelined for another year.

Whether you’re a Halloweenie like me or just love a good scare every now and then, I know you’ll find something on the list of my all-time favorite bone-chilling reads. So grab yourself a pumpkin spice latte, open up Amazon or Thrift Books in another window, and be prepared to add a few bloody good books to your library.

books to keep the halloween spirit alive

1.) HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt: In a thoroughly modern tale with folk horror roots, Heuvelt (a Hugo nominee) depicts a seemingly idyllic town in the Hudson Valley. But Black Spring is also home to the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. The witch (sarcastically referred to as “Grandma” by the town’s younger inhabitants) enters homes at will, often looming over beds and lurking in corners. When a group of teenagers decide to break Black Spring’s rule against telling outsiders about the curse by releasing footage of their prank on the witch, their picturesque town is plunged into turmoil. Filled with hauntingly beautiful prose intertwined with dark humor, HEX will keep you on edge from beginning to end.

2.) Dracula by Bram Stoker: You can’t write a proper list of horror novels without including this classic. While Stoker didn’t invent the vampire, he undoubtedly shaped its modern incarnation. For the uninitiated, the novel follows the mysterious Count Dracula as he journeys from Transylvania to England in search of a new home. And, of course, new blood. Written in the form of personal diaries, letters, and even newspaper clippings, Stoker’s unique style allows readers to delve into the minds of those who encounter Dracula. There are no sparkling vampires here; Stoker’s vampires are cold and brutal. Jonathan’s histrionics are often cringe-worthy, and the novel’s ending leaves much to be desired, but the overall mood of the book is lovely and dark, perfect for a chilly autumn night.

3.) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: Deeply unsettling, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is narrated by an unusual woman called Merricat, who invites us to take a closer look at her isolated, ostracized family and the drama that unfolds when a cousin enters the picture. Jackson’s last novel is a short, chilling page-turner that’s impossible to describe in detail without giving away important plot points. As with all of Jackson’s work, the ordinary can become macabre at a moment’s notice, and nothing is ever as it seems.

4.) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: After a young woman finds an ancient book and letters addressed to ‘my dear and unfortunate successor,’ she finds herself in a labyrinthine world where her father’s secret past and her mother’s mysterious disappearance intersect with a centuries-old quest to discover the truth about Vlad the Impaler. Joining her father on a hunt for the source of Dracula’s preternatural origin, our narrator (whose name is never given) takes us from Istanbul to Budapest to remote villages in Eastern Europe. Unlocking codes and facing adversaries who will stop at nothing to protect the Impaler’s secret, she discovers the horrifying truth of her own past and her mother’s disappearance. While Kostova’s Historian is an homage to Stoker’s Dracula, it blends his epistolary style with utterly modern suspense. A must-read for anyone interested in the real-life inspiration for Dracula.

keep the creepy vibe alive

5.) It by Stephen King: Twenty-eight years ago, the Losers’ Club, a group of gangly teenagers in Derry, Maine survived an encounter with a nameless entity known only as It. Twenty-eight years later, they have all moved on, repressing their memories of the terrifying ordeal. But the killings have begun again, and their pledge to put a stop to It once and for all draws them home to Derry for a final battle against unspeakable evil. Undoubtedly King’s most imaginative and terrifying novel, It is not something to read after dark.

6.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Written for a friendly challenge to see who could create the most frightening story, Shelley’s blend of Gothic horror and Romanticism is considered by many the first true science fiction novel. Eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein vows to create life from death, and while he succeeds using unorthodox methods, the results leave him horrified. Shunned by his creator, who believes he is evil, the monster offers to disappear if Frankenstein will create a mate for him. When Frankenstein denies him, the creature makes good on his threat: “I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.” A heart-breaking read that will leave you pondering if what makes a man is really so different from what makes a monster.

7.) Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice: This is the story of Louis and his life, both mortal and immortal, in his own words. Serving as our maudlin narrator, Louis tells an intrepid reporter of the events that led him to unwillingly becoming a vampire and recounts his tumultuous relationship with the playful yet vicious Lestat and their child-vampire companion, Claudia. Consumed by their hatred for Lestat, Louis and Claudia flee to Europe and find themselves in Paris. There they encounter the mysterious Armand and his coven of vampires, and painful truths are revealed. Rice’s lyrical prose weaves a world so vivid you can smell the iris-perfumed streets of New Orleans, even hear the wind in the cypress trees.

8.) The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell: Life seems picturesque for Elsie when she marries the wealthy Rupert Bainbridge. It all falls apart when she is left pregnant and widowed mere weeks after the wedding. Left surrounded by hostile servants and angry local villagers, Elsie’s only companion is her late husband’s hopelessly awkward cousin, Sarah. When Elsie discovers a locked room in the estate, curiosity bids her to unlock it. Inside is a painted wooden figure (known in folk art as a ‘silent companion’) that resembles Elsie herself. While the figure terrifies the residents of the estate, Elsie attempts to shrug it off. Until more figures start to appear. Genuinely creepy and atmospheric, Purcell has a knack for keeping you up all night — mostly to see how the story ends but also wondering about the source of that sound you just heard.

9.) Penpal by Dathan Auerbach: Originally published in the form of short, interconnected stories on a horror forum, Penpal follows a man investigating the series of seemingly unrelated, tragic circumstances that have plagued his life and the lives of those closest to him. Auerbach has a visceral way with words that easily puts him on par with horror genre giant Stephen King. His words carry a strange sense of nostalgic foreboding that calls to mind the scent of decaying leaves in a deep, dark forest you should have left hours ago. As unforgettable as it is difficult to describe, Penpal is not for the faint of heart. (Seriously, do not read this book if harm to animals is especially traumatic for you; I had a difficult time with it for this reason).

10.) House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski: “This is not for you.” So begins a sprawling, seven-hundred plus page epic, and if you like to skim-read or skip ahead, the warning is true. For those with the endurance to follow along, House of Leaves is two novels in one, interconnected by our unreliable narrator’s footnotes. Johnny Truant describes finding the body of a blind recluse named Zampano and his manuscript of a film called The Navidson Report, which Johnny takes to read. The Navidson Report is a horrifying account of a young couple who moved into a house that is, much like the Doctor’s TARDIS, bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Unlike the TARDIS, this is a house of unspeakable horror that has driven men to madness. A cult classic, House of Leaves is not to be missed if you love subtle, pervasive horror that stays with you long after you’ve put the book down.

every day is halloween

There are so many truly brilliant horror novels out there, but I thought I’d make it easy for everyone and start with my (current) top ten. What’s your favorite scary book?

The Most Exciting New Books of Fall 2018

Okay, so… I vanished for two months. Hi, I’m not dead!

It’s kind of a funny story… except for the part where it’s not funny at all. Long story short, my mom and I were in a car accident in early August, and we both got pretty banged up. I’m going to be in physical therapy for quite some time (at least another two months according to my therapist) and will probably still need to have surgery on my knee, which sucks. But we’re both alive and didn’t sustain any life-threatening injuries, which is the important thing.

most anticipated books 2018 fall

So, yeah, that’s why I’ve been ignoring the blog. It’s incredibly difficult to sit down and write anything more substantial than “knee hurts; do not like” when pain keeps you up all night. Does anybody have tips for getting comfortable with a bad knee? Because nothing I’ve tried has helped so far.

Anyway, I’m back now, but I’m still getting around at a snail’s pace, so a lot of my previously planned posts are going to have to take a backseat to my current full-time job: physical therapy. Today we’ll be talking about one of my favorite things (not to mention one of the few things I’m able to enjoy right now with my less-than-stellar mobility).

Books!

While I admit I have a penchant for darkly inclined literature — Gothic horror, true crime, and anything Neil Gaiman writes always top my favorites list — I’m sure there will be something for absolutely everybody in my recommendations.

exciting new book releases 2018

1.) Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking: Does God exist? Will humanity survive on Earth? Are we all alone in the universe? The final book from famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking tackles with his characteristic humor and passion the important questions that keep us awake at night. (Release date: October 16, 2018).

Personal note: Reading this is going to be difficult for me because I know it’s his last book. Stephen Hawking has always been one of my biggest inspirations. I read A Brief History of Time in school and became enamored of the world of physics. One of the blurbs on the back of the book claimed Hawking married the wonder of a child with the intellect of a genius, and that remains true of all of his books. You feel like he’s in the room with you explaining it in terms you don’t have to be a genius to understand. I’m really going to miss that.

2.) The World of Lore: Dreadful Places by Aaron Mahnke: A collection that includes some of the most popular stories featured on the popular podcast Lore, Mahnke takes us on a journey through places touched by evil. From my home base of New Orleans to the ancient castles of the English countryside, readers travel from one unsettling destination to the next… if they’re brave enough. (Release date: October 9, 2018).

3.) The Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: Written in the form of a letter from a father to his son, The Sea Prayer is Hosseini’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. As the boy sleeps, his father paints a vivid portrait of their life in Syria before the war and documents just how quickly a city can be transformed from a home into a treacherous war zone. (Release date: September 18, 2018).

Personal note: I have to admit the first time I ever experienced a true “book coma” was after reading Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It so felt sacrilegious to leave behind the world he created and the characters I loved so much that I wasn’t able to read anything for close to a month. Anyone who knows me knows that’s completely unheard of because I’m usually reading two or three books at any given time. I look forward to reading The Sea Prayer, but I know it’s going to be a tear-jerker.

4.) The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King: Hailed as the definitive work on one of televisions most influential icons, The Good Neighbor is the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers. King draws on decades of archival footage, interviews, and oral histories to learn more about the man who used Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a platform to promote compassion and equality while addressing the fears of children in a serious manner. (Release date: September 4, 2018).

Personal note: I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Fred Rogers in 1996. I helped out at a little deli my grandmother took my brother and me to after school by shuttling orders from the counter to the table. I brought Mister Rogers a bottled water and growled at a couple of younger kids who thought they were being cool by yelling “Mister Gaywad!” as they ran by him.

With his trademark calm, Mister Rogers told me that children often act out when they’re really afraid, and we should be patient with people who are afraid because we all know how it feels to be scared. I won’t lie and say I always adhere to his advice — hey, I’m human — but every single time I falter, the first thing that pops into my head is, “You are not being the person Mister Rogers thought you could be.” I’m in my thirties now, and the thought of disappointing Mister Rogers is still enough to deliver a healthy dose of Act Right.

5.) The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman: Much loved by some and much loathed by others, Nabokov’s Lolita drew inspiration from the real-life abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner in 1948. After an exhausting investigation of legal documents, public records, and interviews with Horner’s remaining family members, Weinman reveals just how much Nabokov knew about the Horner case — as well as the lengths he went to in order to conceal that knowledge — without losing sight of Sally Horner and countless other girls who endured the same fate. (Release date: September 11, 2018).

new fall books 2018

Well, those are the books I plan on snapping up soon. I’m very excited to read all of them, but… this may sound weird, I am a little more hesitant to read The Good Neighbor because it feels like I’m being intrusive. Has anyone else felt that way about reading a biography of someone they’ve always respected?

What are you guys currently reading?