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.


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Go Erin! (And congratulations on being in tech and loving it!) Thanks for another great FFW many things to consider! Have a great weekend! xoxo


So much fun and good stuff in this post! I've been using Unroll Me for a while. It's good but you've got to watch it because sometimes things wind up in the Unroll Me folder that aren't meant to be there. That's wonderful news about Erin - you go on and brag, Mama! The penguins are adorable, I have my word for 2019, and happy weekend to all!


Congratulations to Erin! The little penguins are sooo cute. It takes some perseverance to make them—good for you! Have a terrific weekend!


Fabulous, Kym - thank you! (nothing like a "few" minutes down a couple of links to turn Friday afternoon .. into Friday evening!) and YAY Erin. and yay us ... I think I'm going to choose a word for 2019, too!!


Fabulous about Erin, Kym. Her comment about all the work shaping her into a better professional is a great modern and specific version of "it's all grist for the mill." Our kids can really surprise us. And I've passed the NPR link to an ardent Book Club friend. Chloe


Congratulations to Erin! I'm not completely sure what she does, but it sounds interesting and useful, and she sounds excited and happy. All good things! And Bacon-Fat Gingersnaps! We're having a family cookie day next Saturday, and while I'm doing the usual chocolate chip and snickerdoodles, I'm also making a batch of these gingersnaps. I can't wait to see how they taste!


Oh my, many topics you talk about are on my mind too:
‘Inbox-zero’ is like “unsubscribe” which I have been doing for ages, it’s like all those garbage holiday catalogues that come in the mail. (And yes, we have NO idea what happens in that cloud of the internet to our info, and it is worrisome.)
Book lists - galore, everywhere- I love them.
Cookies - already this morning I have copied 3 new recipes. (think “bettyanne’s florentines”)
Jigsaws are my huuby’s favorite, I can’t wait to show him your link.
Penguins - very workable.
Mom pride - it is so nice to see our children grow up to be adults, respected and valued.


I love your little tin houses. My solution has been to put unwanted emails into the spam folder which keeps them in check. My email once was cleaned up daily. Now that it's on my phone I usually glance at it and forget about it. Sadly, that means I rarely answer or delete anything. What.a.mess. Anyway, I'm a jigsaw fan and the mashup is so creative. I come across pieces that fit perfect but later throw off a whole section of the puzzle. One must be willing to take out and reorder, much like fixing your knitting. It's the process. You have every right to brag about your kids. I remember when you were worried Erin would never find her place as a professional. Well, look at her go!!

kim in oregon

I'm trying to figure out how to rejigger the penguins so they are sweet. Marshmellows, choocolate, cherries maybe?


I tried unroll me for a while, but it kept having issues. What I do now for those obnoxious newsletters that begin to resend after you have unsubbed... I mark them as spam. Fast. Quick. And, super easy.

Way to go Erin!! That is a wonderful write up!

And, I did not do a word last year, but perhaps that would be a good idea to do one next year! Food for thought...

Happy weekend, my friend!


Woo-Hoo for Erin (and she is just too cute for words!!). I love these Friday Fish Wraps of yours Kym - so full of good things. I need (ha!) to look over the NPR concierge list and (of course) I already looked at the list of cookie recipes and found a couple to try. Thank you! I've been thinking about a word for 2019 and I think I have it...I was also amazed to find out that I couldn't remember what my word for 2018 was - lol (I did find it/figure it out and it worked for 2018!).


I've been using for years! My in-box is still a bit of a mess, but it is not the catastrophic disaster that it would be without!!

Yay ERIN!!!

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