Autumn and Coffee and Books

When I woke up early this morning, there was something different in the air. Maybe it was the fact that over the past week the temperature has dropped several degrees outside and the crips nature of autumn is starting to caress my windows, or maybe it is the strong pumpkin rum candle, the one that I can smell the heavenly scent of throughout the house, even if it’s not lit. 

No matter what it is, I can definitely tell that summer is coming to a close and fall is slipping around the corner.

The other day when I was heading out to my car, I looked down and there were a few leaves, dried and a brittle yellow. Although the majority of the leaves are still clinging to the branches, a vibrant green, within the next month they will be fading as they shout their last hoorah for the end of this decade.

The tree that is out in my front yard is huge and every year I get excited for its change from green to gold. The first year we spent fall here, I had my mom’s orignial Polaroid Spirit 600 that we found film for. I took it everywhere, including down the street where I catpured a picture of the tree in it’s radiant bloom. This little memory is kept forever in the squared-off corners of a piece of film. Although the same phenomenon is bound to return year after year, I have the picture to look at whenever I want to be reminded of it.

Even though fall is almost here, I’ve been trying to pay respects to the last of summer that’s not quite done yet. I picked seven tomatoes off my overly large tomato plant yesterday. I’m excited to get to try out a recipe where I’ll get to use them. Most of the time I just throw whatever I have in the pantry together–pasta, spinach, the garden tomatoes, cheese, and maybe a tad of salt and paper– and eat it like a smorgasbord of whatever sounds good at the time.

Lately, I’ve been working on an article for a magazine I’m freelancing for about specialty fall coffee in my neighborhood. Just on the Southside of Indianapolis alone, there are over ten local coffee shops. Tuesday, I went to six coffee shops in the Greenwood area. Each had it’s own aesthetic, distinguishing itself with key features, even though they all serve a similar purpose: to proved caffeine, drinks, and a place to cultivate community, even if it’s only a handful of strangers.

I love the spirit of coffee shops for this reason, not because they’re hip and cool nowadays, but because they’re spaces for communal existence, work, and to get to know people you otherwise wouldn’t have met.

I’ve met so many of the people in my life, that I wouldn’t have met in any other way, through coffee shops. Bookstores, too. I’ll have to write a whole essay about that sometime. Neadless to say, I’ve been enjoying my work lately, finding real fulfillment in it.

Another new thing: It’s the first of September and I’m taking a detox from social media. Namely, Instagram. September is the start of fall, my favorite season. And in honor of new seasons, I thought that taking a break from the scrolling and liking and constant connection would give me a nice breather. Instead, I’ll take stock of the what this year has so far gifted me. What the rest of this chapter, and the next, will hold. This year is the end of a decade, and next year is the start of a new one.

I deleted the app this morning, and so far I have picked up my phone about ten times and slid past pages of apps until I reached where Instagram used to be. When I don’t find it, it feels refreshing. I can regain control and focus on what I’m dedicating this month too.

While I’m taking this next month off of social media. I hope it’ll give me more time to finish a few books I’ve been flipping through but haven’t finished yet. The first one is When in French, by Lauren Collins and the second one is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. Fiction is definietly a love of mine, but I’ve been attracted to narrative non-fiction lately, it’s what I’ve been craving to write, too.

How about you? What are you planning for the start of fall? Are you reading anything interesting?

P.S. more thoughts about redefining my relationship with social media.

The Days Mashed Between

A three-day summer break. That’s what I’ve got. Mashed between Spring and Summer terms.

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My summer classes start on Tuesday and being thrown back into the midst of projects and deadlines will consume most of my time once more.

However, since most of my classes will be online, I’ll have a few more spare moments than what I normally have. That’s the beauty of online classes, you don’t have to commute to the classroom. You can stay in your PJs, wrapped up in your blankets, and still get work done.

I’ve been trying to enjoy these three days that I have off, though. Yesterday I went to see an Indy Eleven soccer game with my friends. The roof to the stadium was off and there was a slight May breeze that floated through the bleachers. It was refreshing. We won, but only because of the other team touched the ball with their hands and we got a free kick into the goal. Superb, way to win against the top team in the league, I think (they were so mad at themselves it was almost funny). I got the most delicious hot dog, though. Covered in salt and layered with cheese I think I hit the jackpot in the concession snacks section.

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Right now I’m just sitting on my bed, listening to rain sprinkles shuttering on the roof and the train + dark thundering clouds shuffle by my open windows. I want to go to Lowes and buy some plants, nice big green ones that I can hopefully keep alive throughout the summer months. You see, I have this nack of buying lots of green plants with the intention of taking care of and tending to them, but the truth is, I forget about them half the time, leaving them to starve in their dried up soil. I think I need to pick a day, say every Friday, and label it bath-day for my baby plants so I can have the accomplished goal of keeping them alive.

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Although I do have 12+ credit hours I’m taking over the summer, I hope to do some reading for enjoyment, too. What’s on my list, you ask? Well, I’ll be happy to tell you.

  1. The Nix – Nathan Hill
  2. Commonweath – Ann Patchett
  3. Tornado Weather – Deborah E. Kennedy
  4. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (a book I bought a year and a half ago and have yet to pick it up and finish it.)
  5. Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth

There are probably more that I just can’t think of now but this is my starting list (if you have any suggestions, please, I’d be more than happy to receive them).

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, maybe start in on the short story I’ve been working on, tidy up my room, or spend some time laying in my hammock with my feet up and a glass of ice coffee by my side (it would be the last day of summer break anyway).

All that I really know is this. I’m thankful, truly thankful for every single day that I’m living. I could write another whole blog post about this but, this time, I’ll keep it short: Every day we spend wishing on the things that are going to come in the someday future, we’re missing out on the future that we’re living now. This is the future we’re living — these little spare moments make up the life that, one day, will be gone. So, even during the days smashed in between, I’m thankful, and I’m living it to the fullest.

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Current Reads

I’m that person who has a dozen+ books piled up on their bedside table or placed in a precarious stack that’s on the verge of falling over. These stacks of books are ones that I’ve read and am re-reading however, most of them are on my currently reading list. Even more of them are on my to-read list (and that’s the list that is constantly growing larger and larger). Although I might not be one that doesn’t start a book after she’s finished with the one she’s currently reading, I have finished a few good books lately that I’d love to share. I’ll also share the two books I currently have bookmarks in as well as some that are on the top of my to-read list.

Current Reads:

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The Immortalist – Chloe Benjamin

This book is a page-turner, no doubt. It’s a book with slightly unexpected character dynamics and a vast timeline, taking place over 40 years. Chloe does an excellent job of writing the bare bones of information needed while still using literary craft elements to create a colorful, lively plot that keeps the reader wondering what is going to happen next. I’m reading this book for a Book Club that is meeting in April, however, time allowing, I think I’ll be able to finish it in a matter of days.

 

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The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

After reading the captivating whirlwind of The Muse (listed below) I decided to pick up Jessies first novel The Miniaturist. This was a very good decision. While it is a historical novel is set back in 1686, it does not have one inkling of dullness or nonrelatives to it. Jessie was able to bring the time period alive with a fascinating plot and complex characters that hide information from one another. Although I’m not finished with the story, I’m looking forward to seeing out it all turns out in the end.

Just Finished:

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The Muse – Jessie Burton

The Muse was the loveliest, book that concentrated on the world of art in 1930’s Spain and 1960’s London. When a long-lost art piece is reviled to the Skelton, a prestigious art gallery in London, the two female protagonists find themselves being intertwined with one another in the midst of love, war, and burning desire.

This book was a shocker more than anything to me. With its vivid images and colorful, eloquent language, I was in a trance. Heavily researched, Jessie brings alive London and Spain during a time of war and conflict while not expressing it a journalistic or information format. I kept this book close to my side while I was diving through its pages. I definitely recommended it to anyone who’s looking for a captivating read while craving for a literary edge.

 

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Trip Through Your Wires – Sarah Layden

This novel was actually written by one of my professors at IUPUI. I thought I’d pick it up and give it a read because how often does a professor have a book published? The novel takes place is G, Mexico and Indianapolis, Indiana. The narrative follows a woman C, who is struggling with grief and memory as she discovered how her boyfriend died in the streets of Mexico.

The prose in this novel are refined; the way Sarah depicts G Mexico with her prose makes it come alive, even if you’ve never visited the city yourself. If you’re looking for a love story coupled with a page-turner mystery, I’d definably recommend this book.

Next Up On The List:

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Commonwealth – Ann Patchett

People say don’t judge a book by its cover, however, I’m guilty as charged. I purely pick this book up because of the lovely oranges and green leaves that grace the soft, textured cover. Ann Patchett is an author whose work I truly admire, however, his book of her was just too pretty not to resist. I’ve actually already read the first chapter of the novel and I’m intrigued. I can’t wait to finish my current reads to be able to pick this one up and devour whole.

 

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Tornado Weather – Deborah E. Kennedy

I picked this book up yesterday at Half Price Book (see, I buy books without finishing the ones I already have). What intrigued me about this book was first off the author and second of all the cover. Deborah Kennedy is a Hoosier who resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Indiana is my home state and with just this tidbit of information from the back of the book, I felt an instant connection to the author. She also graduated from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, which is one of the oldest and most reputable Writer’s Workshops in the country. These few facts, plus the gorgeous cover that displays a large green feather that sprawls itself out over the hardback, made me want to give the novel a try. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

 

What books are you currently reading? Do you have a stack of to-read books that are on the verge of tumbling over? I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these books as well as books you’re currently reading!