February Notes: Books That Celebrate Refugees, Low-Tech Political Activistm, and Getting Your Hygge On

About this blog post: Each month, I send an email newsletter to friends on my list. Below is a condensed version of last month's letter.

Here are some things I'm reading, thinking about, and working on this month:

What I'm Reading

I've been weaning myself off Insta and Facebook with weekly posts and check-ins because it's all too much, lately. I'm loving it. I feel like I have my life back. (Thanks, Donald Trump?) A friend forwarded this the other day (over email, even!): A Low-Tech Guide to Becoming More Politically Active. In-person scheming is the new facebook share, guys. "Stop interrupting me." And: "I just said that." Or, how about: "No explanation needed." There are 10 words every girl should learn, according to Soraya Chemaly. This month, I signed up for the coincidentally diminutive newsletters Small Victories and the Small Batch List. I'm on my second novel of the year and am already surpassing number of novels read in 2016. (I'm more of a non-fiction gal, obv.) Last month was Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and now I'm blissfully dug into Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Hubby just gifted Lincoln in the Bardo for V-day, so clearly I'm on my way to setting a personal record. Speaking of Ms. Patchett, here's her travel guide for bookstore lovers. "With rejection, I always ask myself, Why did this happen? I never ask, Why am I not worthy? Did I aim for the wrong person, the wrong granting agency, the wrong editor? Did I reach for the wrong pitch?" from I asked a psychopath how to stop caring about rejection. You want a social life with friends, huh?

What We're Reading

Teaching diversity to kids is all about acknowledging, normalizing, and celebrating our differences. We keep Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski's Maps of the World by the kitchen table for easy access. For older kids, here's a list of young adult books on refugeesThis stack of books from our library book saleOver and Under the Snow on repeat (although it's summer here in New York). The delightful Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. This week I stopped into the Bank Street Bookstore in the city and picked up a copy of Dear Primo, a story of two cousins, Charlie and Carlitos, who live in America and Mexico, respectively, and share slices of life in their letters back and forth to each other.

What I Wrote

Feeling the hygge vibe lately, and sharing on Dear Handmade Life with our family's recipe for homemade playdough: How to Make Hygge Playdough.

What I Heard + Saw

The trailer to I am not your Negro. The Times called it one of the best films of the year. Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) and Sara Blakely (Spanx founder) on the James Altucher Show. I am loooving the final season of Girls. This season feels particularly awkward in a good way, and stretches the usual boundaries of episodic television. It feels like intimate theater.