Let's Talk About Books Baby!


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Books Read

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Literary Paris: A Photographic Tour by Nichole Robertson

I can’t sleep tonight. Hell, I can barely catch my breath I have so much anxiety. So, I may as well catch up on my book blog posts!

Let’s just get Literary Paris out of the way, not because it isn’t a beautiful book, because it is! But, just because it isn’t life changing like the second book I want to discuss is.

So… Literary Paris, this is I believe, the fourth photo collection put out by Nichole Robertson, and it is just as lovely as the first few… if you are obsessed with photos of Paris, like I am. This book is different than the others in that it focuses on all of the literary elements of Paris… the great writers who were born there, the great writers who fled to there and found sanctuary and lives there. Where they lived. Where they are buried. Where they ate. Where they drank and were merry. It’s all here, it’s almost a guidebook if you are nerdy like me and would rather spend your time in Paris walking in the footsteps of your favorite authors instead of shopping on the Champs Elysses.

This book is totally for the Francophiles and the book nerds… all others… keep browsing.


Next… how to review a book that broke you open? And ever since the day I read THE paragraph… “stuff” hasn’t stopped spilling out of me since then.

Where the Crawdads Sing is hands down THE book of the past couple of years. It is bone achingly beautiful. The book is about a girl, abandoned by everyone and left alone to fend for herself in a marsh. It’s a book about the stories of who we are that come down through our lineage. It’s a story of womanhood. Of belonging. It’s a love story. It’s basically everything… in 368 pages.

Here are some parts that broke me open:

”She didn’t note the time of the moonrise or when a great horned owl took a diurnal dive at a blue jay. From bed, she heard the marsh beyond in the lifting of blackbird wings, but didn’t go to it. She hurt from the crying songs of the gulls above the beach, calling to her. But for the first time in her life, did not go to them. She hoped the pain from ignoring them would displace the tear in her heart. It did not.”

As someone who battles with depression, this paragraph really spoke to me. When you feel so low that you can’t even get out of bed for the things you love most in the world.

”There is no one on Earth you can count on. From somewhere very deep, she made herself a promise never to trust or love anyone again.”

I loved this sentence because it made me wonder how many people have made this promise to themselves? And did they do it consciously or subconsciously? Do they even know that this is what they’ve signed themselves up for?

”Suddenly, the sun- full, bright and glaring- struck her face. Never in her life had she slept until midday. She heard a soft rustling sound and, raising herself onto her elbows, saw a raven-sized Cooper’s hawk standing on the other side of the screen door, peering in. For the first time in days, an interest stirred in her. She roused herself as the hawk took wing. Finally, she made a mush of hot water and grits and headed to the beach to feed the gulls. When she broke onto the beach, all of them swirled and dived in flurries, and she dropped to her knees and tossed the food on the sand. As they crowded around her, she felt their feathers brushing her arms and thighs, and threw her head back, smiling with them. Even as tears streamed her cheeks.”

When I read this… all I could remember was this time a couple of summers ago when it was nearing the end of summer and I took the long pretty way home, and for the first time I really gave in to my heartache, man I walked around a lake tears just streaming down… you could feel the shift in the seasons happening and all I could think was, “Soon this year will be over. Another year. And I am still the same. Love has not found me. Will I die alone?” And yet, even in the midst of my despair, I was in awe at the beauty all around me… the leaves rustling in the trees, the ripples the wind made on the water, the flatirons, the farm houses. I felt everything amplified. My loneliness. And all the beauty in the world. Hello, solitude.

”But just as her collection grew, so did the loneliness. A pain as large as her heart lived in her chest. Nothing eased it. Not the gulls, not a splendid sunset, not the rarest of shells. Months turned into a year. The lonely became larger than she could hold. She wished for someone’s voice, presence, touch, but wished more to protect her heart. Months passed into another year. Then another.”

This was the first paragraph that made me weep in this book, and reading it and typing it out here it causes the same emotions. The lonely became larger than she could hold. Can you imagine feeling this way? And the conflict in knowing that you also promised yourself that no one would ever get close enough again to hurt you? But the loneliness is more than you can hold now? What is one to do when they find themselves at this crossroads?

And then this next bit put a nail in my coffin… I was done for.

”Kya walks from her shack and lies back on a sliver of beach, slick from the last wave. She stretches her arms over her head, brushing them against the wet sand, and extends her legs, toes pointed. Eyes closed, she rolls slowly towards the sea. Her hips and arms leave slight indentations in the glistening sand, brightening and then dimming as she moves. Rolling nearer the waves, she senses the ocean’s roar through the length of her body and feels the question: When will the sea touch me? Where will it touch me first? The foamy surge rushes the shore, reaching toward her. Tingling with expectancy, she breathes deep. Turns more and more slowly. With each revolution, just before her face sweeps the sand, she lifts her head gently and takes in the sun-salt smell. I am close, very close. It is coming. When will I feel it? A fever builds. The sand wetter beneath her, the rumble of surf louder. Even slower, by inches she moves, waiting for the touch. Soon, soon. Almost feeling it before it comes. She wants to open her eyes to peek, to see how much longer. But she resists, squinting her lids even tighter, the sky bright behind them, giving no hints. Suddenly she shrieks as the power rushes beneath her, fondles her thighs, between her legs, flows along her back, swirling under her head, pulling her hair in inky strands. She rolls faster into the deepening wave, against streaming shells and ocean bits., the water embracing her. Pushing against the sea’s strong body, she is grasped, held. Not alone.”

Oh. My. God. I cried so hard when I read that, I thought I might never stop. Then I took it to therapy and read it to her, and cried all over again.

There is so much more to this story- Kya’s and my own. But mine, is for another time. And for Kya’s- if she’s ever held by more than just the sea, well, you will have to read this beauty of a book to find out! And when you do, call me up or text me a date and let’s meet for coffee to talk about it. I hope you love it as much as I did. <3

Let's Talk About Books Baby!


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Books Read

Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game by Abby Wambach (Audible)

Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco (Audible)

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan

May saw more of the same vibes as April for me mood wise. One thing is for sure is I need to do these book recaps way faster than I have been because I’m not remembering as much at this time, but the name of my game lately is procrastination and lack of motivation…. so, what can I do?

Let’s delve in… shall we?

Can I first say that I dream of being the Glennon someday to an Abby?! I LOVE them. One a formerly straight writer, and the other the woman that showed her a new way to love and together they are this awesome force- activists, and real life LOVE WARRIORS! This is my dream. They have a motto in their house- “Coffee & Revolution”. And they make real change. A girl can dream.

So… some of you may know that I’ve had this weird obsession with wolves for the past few years- maybe it was Game of Thrones, maybe it’s because I’ve been trying to get in touch with that nature loving wild woman that I believe probably resides in most of us. The one that was alive before they called us witches and the woman in my lineage who howled at the mother fucking moon, and used herbs to heal all things, the wombyn before all the sacred wounds- before the ovary issues, before the sexual harassment at work, before the abandonment.. (And I don’t say wombyn to be exclusive of transgender women, that is not my intent). I say it as in the creator, the mother of all things… Women who run with…


So yeah, Abby’s new book was calling to me: Wolfpack.

And it’s a quick read, but it is sooooooo good! I listened to the bulk of it on a long rainy drive (my favorite kind)- when you intentionally slow down, the sky is dark, and you can just wear your favorite hoodie and be cozy AF not in a hurry to get anywhere). Abby’s premise is, “You were never Little Red Riding Hood, you were always the wolf.” And she has 8 rules for all of us ladies to change the game of life FOREVER:

  1. Create Your Own Path

  2. Be Grateful for what you have AND Demand what you Deserve

  3. Lead now- from wherever you are.

  4. Failure means you’re finally IN the game.

  5. Be FOR each other.

  6. Believe in yourself. Demand the ball.

  7. Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders.

  8. You’re Not Alone. You’ve Got Your Pack.

For each one of her rules she gave a personal story from her life. For instance I really liked the story that went along with rule #2. The year Abby retired from Soccer, two other professional athletes retired from their respective games: Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant. The three of them were honored at the ESPY’s, and Abby spent the night basking in her gratitude. She just felt SO grateful to be honored with these two guys, and suddenly a thought struck her as they left the stage. She realized they were each heading into VERY different retirements… and it was all because Peyton and Kobe had been paid what they deserve whereas Abby (like most females, even high achieving ones) was not. And she realized how messed up that was, and now she’s an activist for women and their right to equal pay.

The whole book is stories like that and I’m grateful that it is a quick enough listen/read that I can revisit many times for inspiration! <3

The last book that I read for May started with a lovely date with myself. Every Wednesday this year I am using vacation time and leaving work early so that I can participate in my Ayurveda class. Well, this one particular Wednesday in May I took myself to a local Mexican Restaurant ordered a margarita, a smothered burrito and set my phone up against the basket of chips and plugged in my headphones and watched my class. It felt so nice to unwind and to take my time and to do it all alone. Well after that was done I headed down to a church in Denver where Tattered Cover was hosting a night with Ian McEwan. He was being interviewed by Helen Thorpe (a local author and former first lady of Colorado) about his new book, Machines Like Me. Every attendee also received a signed copy of the new book. I pretty much have read every book McEwan has written since I read Atonement in preparation of the movie in 2007. I’ve missed a couple, perhaps on years that I decided to read one of his oldies instead (I mean he practically comes out with a book every other year), and I try to read one every year (not always, but it’s a goal- I’d like to read all of his works before I die- so there you have it- something to live for in case you were wondering what the point of my life is like I have been).

Had I not attended this evening with one of my favorite authors I might have skipped this book just based on the sounds of it. A guy gets an opportunity to buy one of the first limited editions of Adam & Eve’s (lifelike robots). He gets an Adam- and this is the story of how that goes. Watching a robot assimilate to the real world and some of the ramifications that come from that. If something is so life like that some people can’t even tell the difference- does it have rights? Does it count as cheating if it sleeps with your girlfriend?

Anyway, the conversation was brilliant and sophisticated. And the book was better than I had hoped for it to be.

Nights like that one- those are what are fueling me these days. I have to tell you by the end of May I found myself longing more and more to return to the Karstee of yesteryears. The girl who would get lost in books and stories, and they were all she needed to live and be happy.

I’m sure the real way to be in this world is a little bit of that Karstee, the bookworm- but a little bit of that Karstee that had just found yoga, and was just beginning to toy with the idea of writing. The Karstee who had hope and was grateful that she was waking up from the long coma. The Karstee before she saw herself as a massive “to do” list, a bunch of qualities that need to be changed before she could be worthy.

I’m trying to find the sweet spot. My happiness depends on it.

Let’s Talk About Books Baby!



Books Read

Life Will Be the Death of Me… And You Too! by Chelsea Handler (audible)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (audible)

Counting Descent by Clint Smith III

As the weather took a turn towards a bit more warmth I found myself getting more audible reading done than anything else. I’ve been trying to incorporate a nightly walk and it was going pretty successful in April, May has been another story so far. But let’s dive in….

I love Chelsea Handler. I was excited for this book because I was curious what she has been up to since her Netflix show ended. This book just might be my favorite of all of hers, not because it is the funniest but because it is just so damn real. Turns out since her show ended Chelsea has been spending a lot of time on her therapist’s couch, a thing I can relate to. Chelsea was trying to figure out how to heal herself, she was processing her traumas. She also eats a lot of oranges, proving even more that she is my kind of person.

My favorite chapter is the one called Moving Hillsides- it’s a particularly interesting conversation with her therapist about things like, her irritability, her ability to sleep for 24+hours, and her need to always input her opinion- basically why she just can’t shut the fuck up. He points out things to her about like how she’s been staying so busy so as to avoid having to actually sit with feelings and FEEL them- and they even get into how she is perpetually single and never gets serious with anyone because she can’t take experiencing loss again.

The chapter rang home. I think this year (2019) hasn’t been anything like what I expected it to be because on so many levels I’m finally being forced to just be alone. Everyone has had kids, or found their person and on most days in Boulder my life is just me. I eat lunch alone, I go home alone, I go on walks alone, I cook and eat dinner alone. One thing I had gotten really good at before was filling my calendar to the brim with people to go to dinner with or go to yoga with- and all those people have moved into new phases of life. And so here I am. Alone, and feeling the shit out of my feelings. And it’s depressing.

So yeah, Chelsea’s book resonated. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever been through a season of profound sadness. And maybe buy a bag of oranges to go along with it, they will make you feel better.

Next up was David Sedaris- I went really big on audible books in April because I was really trying to make going on evening walks a priority. All I really remember about this one was that it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. This is supposed to be classic, vintage Sedaris, right? Perhaps I need to give it a listen again sometime when my brain doesn’t feel like it was in a thick fog. This was the month that I decided to take myself off of anti-depressants. I can readily admit that I was not the most focused human in April, I was mostly only focused on how shitty I felt. It’s decided- someday I will re-listen to this book.

And lastly, Clint Smith III. I LOVE Clint Smith III on the Pod Save the People podcast. His deep voice, his intellect, his awareness about all things regarding human rights. And then you add into the mix that he writes for The New Yorker Magazine and writes poetry. Is this guy for real? So, April is National Poetry Month and coincidentally Write Bloody Publishing was holding a contest. Send proof of purchase of a book from one of their poets (à la Clint Smith III) and send in 10 poems that you wrote and you could be chosen to have your own book of poetry published and go on tour performing your poems. Such was my state of mania that I literally spent like my last 15 dollars in April on Clint Smith III’s book thinking that if I just submitted these 10 poems (that I hadn’t even written yet) that surely I would be picked and then my whole life would change. I could leave behind my thankless job, I could leave behind the woman I still carry a torch for, I could leave behind all these people that make me feel less than I am. I would show everyone. I would be on tour promoting my book. So like Carrie Bradshaw I bought poetry instead of food, I just felt this would sustain me more.

Well…. Clint Smith III’s poetry is beautiful and profound, and after reading it I realized how little I know about poetry or suffering. How little I have to say. And sadly, the message that my work beats into me everyday, that I’m not enough… began to play on overdrive. And all I could picture was me having one of my hard days, one of the days when I can’t even get up. When I just want to cry.

Could you see me performing a poem on a day like that? I couldn’t either.