Top Ten Books Set In College


Ten … or maybe eleven (???) years ago, I moved to Northampton, Massachusetts to become a first year (not a freshman …b/c no men) at Smith College. The night before starting my mother held my hair back as I kept throwing up. That’s how nervous I was.  This year, as of yesterday, I’m teaching my first college writing class. My first class is tomorrow. I’m nervous, but hopefully won’t spend tonight throwing up. Here are ten of my favorite novels set at college. Happy back to school everyone!

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme!

Whoa Whoa Whoa

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When you look up “Whoa” in the dictionary it lists the word as something you say to a horse to get it to slow down. Now, I feel like it’s more of an exclamation of excitement. I’m feeling both feelings right now. It’s been a big couple of weeks (and maybe months if I’m being honest with myself). Starting a new job teaching creative writing to kids. Dealing with the transition out of grad school. My grandmother dying – and having to set my writing aside for a few weeks to try and give myself the space to handle that. Going to summer camp for the first time since 1998 (which I’m going to try to write about sometime this week, because it was so funny).

I thought this fall would be a quieter time. And maybe it will be but…on Thursday I was offered a job teaching a writing class at The New School. It’s not creative writing, but more focused on mechanics/style of academic writing. But still…craziness. I accepted the position on Friday and my first class is this week. I’ve been furiously reading a grammar textbook all weekend and trying to throw a syllabus together. Wish me luck, because I’m sure I’ll need it!

I also started back up on my manuscript The Revenge Play yesterday. I wanted SO BADLY to finish my revisions this summer, but life had other plans and I’m adjusting. I’m a little worried that undertaking this new teaching job will slow my writing down…but hopefully I’ll be able to get back into a good writing routine and finish soon.

So that’s me. Excited about all the new things happening and simultaneously wishing the world would slow down and let me catch my breath for a moment. But mostly excited.


Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR Since Before I Started Blogging


Looking at my TBR is never a fun activity to me. I try to read around 100 books a year, but still there are so so so many more that I want to be reading. Where is the time? These are some books that have been on my to read list since before I started blogging, almost five years ago (???am I getting that math right – it sounds too crazy???). What books have you been meaning to read and which of these should I buckle down and read ASAP? Also which ones should I abandon?

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme!

Heading for the Woods


Hi friends. I know I’ve been a little MIA from the blog and, unfortunately, that’s going to continue for at least another week. Because I’m going to summer camp. Last time I went to camp it was 1998 and my mom had to come and pick me up because I got so homesick. But this time, I’m going to be a writing instructor. Sleeping in a cabin with tween girls, swimming in a lake, the whole works. I’m excited, but way way more nervous than I expected. I mean, what if no one wants to sit next to me on the staff bus tomorrow morning?

Before I go, I really want to thank everyone for their kind messages after I wrote about my grandmother’s death last week. It’s by far my most popular blog post of the year, which Nana would have loved and writing it was a very important part of my grieving process.

Okay, time to get back to packing. The real question is how many books do you bring to creative writing camp?

My Nana, Jo Barton


My nana died this week. It wasn’t sudden. It wasn’t unexpected. She was lucid enough to make her own decisions and, as much as possible, die on her own terms. She’d been feeling unwell and experiencing pain for a long time. And I thought that because of these things, and because I’ve spent so much time with her in the last twenty-eight years, that somehow I’d be spared the grief that seems to inevitably come with death. But as with most inevitable parts of life, I was not spared. After a week of acting like nothing unusual was going on, it hit me extra hard Friday night. And so I started writing this…  Continue reading

Ten Books I’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed Me A Fully Loaded Gift Card


Real talk, guys. If someone handed me a fully loaded gift card, I’d probably melt into the ground the decision of what books to buy would be to big for me to handle. At the very least, I’d ask my friend Kristina – who has excellent taste in books – to meet me at the bookstore. But going with the direction of “right this second” these were the first ten books that came to mind. Always so much to read. Hopefully I’ll get my hands on some of these soon.

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme!

Good Can Be Hard, Hard Can Be Good

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I’ve probably blogged about this at some point before, but I was a late reader. Not in the sense that I didn’t pick up reading at age three or four, like some precocious kids. Like I went through five, six, seven, and eight with very little ability to read. I met with specialists and tutors. My mother spent hours upon hours working on exercises, sounding out words, and writing letters in trays of salt. She read to me every night, which engendered a love of books that I can’t imagine having otherwise – especially given our rough start. It’s not that I wasn’t trying. I would have given anything to be able to do it. When teachers asked me to “just try” reading in front of the class, they might as well have asked me to translate the text into Latin or fly. I was trying. And it felt like all day every day I was continually being asked to do something, that I just wasn’t able to do.  Continue reading