Three Things About My Reading in 2018
A Reminder: Focus on the WHY of It

Friday Fish Wrap

It's a busy time of year.  I don't know about you, but my attention span is, like . . . 15 seconds these days. So many little fires burning in my brain.  Year-end stuff.  Holiday stuff.  Social stuff.  To-do list stuff.  My calendar is full -- and I know yours is, too.

So.  Let's have a Friday Fish Wrap to add a little MORE fuel for that fire!



First of all, here's something handy.  

I try really, really hard to adhere to an "inbox-zero" system (for myself -- I do not adhere to the strict inbox-zero concept developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann).  But, like my physical desk and inbox, my email inbox is a bit of a jumble.  (My personal inbox-zero system helps me know what's in there, though!)

Anyway.  Every now and then (usually once or twice a month), I carefully go through my inbox and unsubscribe from all the email newsletters and retail places that I really don't want in my inbox . . . ever.  It's a totally tedious process, but it always makes me feel great when I'm finished.  For about . . . 2 or 3 weeks.  And then . . . back they come!  All those emails from all those places I've already unsubscribed from.


I've decided to try a more nuclear approach to unsubscribing to emails.  I've gotten the Unroll.Me app for my phone.  (It's available for iOS and Android.)  It will scan your emails (Yeah.  I know.  More on that later. . .) and give you a list of everything you're subscribed to.  You then have the option of keeping, deleting, or having Unroll.Me condense them into a weekly Rollup for you (getting a weekly digest of subscription emails in one email, instead of all the individual emails).

It's simple to use and very clean.  Before downloading the app and signing up, I did a lot of checking on how they use the data they collect (because, after all, you're giving them access to your email!!!) and what their privacy policy is.  They're very transparent about what they do and how they use it.  I was impressed, and decided to give it a try.  (Although my heart did skip a beat about the warning I got from Google about allowing Unroll.Me to access my email.)  (And then I remembered . . . that I have NO IDEA how Google is using my email.  Which they have had full access to for years and years.)  (So we're all living dangerously anyway, non?)

Anyway.  I tried Unroll.Me.  It works - easy-peasy.  And I'm happy I don't have to go through my regular unsubscribing clean-up routine.  Again.


Yesterday, I wrote about my personal reading "odyssey" in 2018, including my favorite books of the year.  And a couple of weeks ago, I shared the list of the 100 best books of 2018 from the New York Times.  

Enough on the book lists?  Maybe not!

Because NPR has published their Book Concierge list -- a list of 2018's 300 best reads of 2018!  (As if any of us need any MORE reading ideas for our lists.)

What's especially cool about NPR's list . . . is that it includes handy filters for a bunch of categories.  Want a list of the best historical fiction of 2018?  Push the button on the side panel, and there's your list.  Looking for suggestions for your book group?  There's a book group button!  Long books?  Short books? Poetry?  Cookbooks?  There are so many ways to slice and dice this list your head will spin!

(And if that's not enough, there are also links to their Book Concierge lists going back to 2008.)

So.  Even more books to add to your reading queue.


Speaking of books . . . if you are a fan of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels (or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about), be sure to check out the My Brilliant Friend series on HBO.  It follows the books amazingly closely, and really serves to bring the books to life.  (Plus, you can brush up on your Italian while you're watching -- because it's all in Italian, subtitled in English.)  I'm usually quite wary of books-adapted-to-screen, but I'm really impressed with this one.


Have you started making Christmas cookies yet?  We haven't . . . yet.  But soon.  Very soon.  Although I have a few standbys that I make each year (pepparkakor and spritz, for example), I'm always looking for tasty new treats to try out at the holidays.


I noticed the New York Times put together a collection of their 35 best classic Christmas cookie recipes.  Some are familiar, but some are new and look pretty tempting.  Check out the collection if you're looking to change things up a little this year!


Did you hear that "toxic" is the Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year?  Yep.  According to NPR, Oxford Dictionary "reported a 45% percent increase in look-ups of toxic and it was used in so many situations that "the sheer scope of its application, as found by our research, made toxic the stand-out choice for the Word of the Year title."

(I saw someone somewhere on the internet - although I can't recall exactly where right now - joke that "toxic" is the Word of the Year . . . because "garbage fire hellscape" is three words.)

And all of this reminded me . . . that it's time to think about your One Little Word for 2019!  If you're interested in signing up for Ali Edwards One Little Word class, you can click here and save some $$ by registering before the end of the year.  

I'm not going to sign up for the official "class" this year, but I AM going to choose a One Little Word.  (Actually, I've already chosen it.  I'll tell you about it soon.)  (Hint:  It's not "toxic.")


And now . . . something so awesome it will make you wish you'd thought of doing it yourself!  Have you ever done jigsaw puzzles and noticed how the pieces are, pretty much, all cut the same?  Like . . .  pieces fit together in shape -- but the pictures don't match up and that's the only way you know it's not quite right?


This guy . . . fits two different puzzle (with the same die cuts) together . . . to create amazing jigsaw mash-ups!  Take a look.  It's so cool.  (My favorite is the semi-truck/pharoah mash-up.  How about you?)


Looking for a cute - and edible - treat for your next get-together?  How about this . . . 


These little penguins were the scene-stealers last night at my dad's apartment's Christmas party!  I don't have any directions (although I'm sure they're all over Pinterest) (yep, I was right; they have their own category on Pinterest), but I took a close-up so you could break it down for yourselves.  Mozzarella balls, black olives, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.  A bit futzy, but so adorable!


And, lastly, I thought I'd share a little Mom-pride-thing here.  My daughter, Erin, was the "featured alum"  last month on the Carnegie Mellon University English Department website!  You can click here to read all about her.  (I still have a hard time explaining to people what she DOES, exactly, at LinkedIn . . . so this article will help me explain.)  (Although I'm still not quite sure what she DOES, exactly. . .but I do know that she likes it! )


And . . . that's a WRAP.
Enjoy your weekend, and I'll see you Monday.