5 on a Friday: Late August Things

August 25, 2023

1- 2024 Hobonichi Lineup is UP!

It’s so weird seeing the prices in USD on their site!!!! I can’t decide between these two. Maybe that means I will need an A6 . . .

Blue Blue Indigo Book (Sashiko)

2- Our first soccer tournament is this weekend. 3 (possibly 4) games – wow. Two are at 1 pm which is going to be HOTTTTTTT. Wish us luck.

3- METATHON. Has anyone tried this? It’s a strava-linked marathon time predictor. Mine says I could run a 3:40 which is like — the time of my wildest dreams (BQ). I almost wish I hadn’t found it because I didn’t think this was realistic, but now I feel like . . . maybe? It’s like a tease. Please share if this prediction tool has been accurate (or not) for you!

(I have a 16 mile run tomorrow with 8 @ marathon pace. Seeing how that many MP miles feel will be interesting, if nothing else.)

4- First week back at school was okay, even if I had my own personal meltdown. I can’t entirely tell what the kids think of their new classes yet. I also don’t know what the homework load will look like. Next week will be the first real week in that all activities will be in full swing (dance / gymnastics / soccer / piano).

5- READING SLUMP. WELL. After a very steady year of great reading, I have stalled out. This always happens when I am struggling moodwise, and I don’t understand it because — books make me happy. I am reading The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane and I do not dislike it! But I can’t seem to gain momentum. I am going to give it one more shot this weekend but if I don’t feel immersed I will move it to a ‘read later’ list when I’m in a different headspace. What should I read that would be super immersive but not upsetting?


  • Reply Helena Murphy August 25, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    You made it through the week, one way or another. Now you can work on making adjustments, as needed and as possible.
    I am here to suggest a book I found on your TBR: “Fellowship Point”, by Alice Elliott Dark. “Immersive” is a great way to describe it. I have loved the characters and the plot from the very beginning. I hate knowing that the main character – 81-year-old writer Agnes Lee – is NOT real! Coincidentally, I am two thirds of the way into it and happened to be called for a conference in Philadelphia, a mere 4 blocks from Rittenhouse Square, where Agnes has an apartment where she spends her winters. I feel like I have been walking around her town! Though Fellowship Point is in Maine and I am ready to move there, into this fictional world. Give it a shot!
    Hope you have a good weekend.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 25, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    When I was in a running club, they used something called “the oregon pace calculator” using a 2 mile time trial. I was HORRIBLE at running 2 miles FAST, even with a warm-up. So for me, the calculator was very inaccurate as it predicted times that were slower than I ran. I tried using it for a half and 2 full marathons. I think estimating a long distance race time off a 2 mile time trial is kind of whacky but it seemed to work for some people.

    I didn’t love The Half Moon. I think it would be interesting to read for someone who has gone through fertility challenges as they probably see their story reflected in the pages. But it wasn’t as good as her last book. I was still glad I stuck with it but I think I probably gave it 3 stars.

    I’ve been hemming and hawing over planners but decided I will just stick with the W222. If I wasn’t so particular about wanting a bound book I think there would be a lot of appealing options.

  • Reply Elizabeth August 25, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    Lady Tan’s Circle of Women was fantastic. I liked, not loved, The Half Moon.

  • Reply Brooke August 25, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Have you already read _I Could Live Here Forever_ by Hanna Halerpin? It is one of the most page turn-y books I have read so far this year.

    • Reply Brooke August 25, 2023 at 5:19 pm

      (I didn’t find it upsetting, but maybe it would be for some people.)

  • Reply Ry August 25, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    I don’t know if you have Goodreads but I like to sort my To Read list by page count and pick the reads with the lowest page count. When I’m in a reading slump I need short reads. Claire Keegan’s 2 short novels are great. Hurricane Girl by Marcy Demansky was weird but suspenseful.

  • Reply Sophie August 25, 2023 at 5:25 pm

    I’m the same with mood and books- I can’t get into them if I’m struggling with my mood. It’s like my brain is so busy ruminating over my own life that there’s no mental space to dive into another world. I find once my mood is improving, that easing back in with a light, short fun read helps. Hope you get back into your reading groove soon 🙂

  • Reply Amy August 25, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    I hate a book slump! I don’t know how you feel about romance, but I never really read it until the past few months. I just finished “Things we never got over” and “Things we hide from the light” by Lucy Score. Both were such a great escape. It felt like a cross between Virgin River and Gilmore Girls. Small town, quirky characters, etc. It also had a little bit of mystery to the story, so it wasn’t one-dimensional. I’d recommend if you just want a brief escape (although, they are over 500 pages… but they went by fast!).

    I also just read and enjoyed Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Happy Place by Emily Henry. They were really enjoyable as well.

  • Reply Emily August 25, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    From your TBR list I will say Demon Copperhead and A Little Life are both *super* immersive. But also both are kind of heavy and A Little Life is also 800 pp so maybe not the best to get you out of a slump. I will say that A Little Life got me out of a slump recently though! Hello Beautiful would also be a great immersive choice.

  • Reply Chelsea August 25, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    I just used Metathon, and it predicted 3:41:30 for me so I’d say you should be feeling pretty good about your fitness right now! That seems almost spot on to me because I’ve been targeting 8:25 for my marathon pace miles.

    Seriously… I don’t think 3:40 is out of the question for you at all. It’s just so hard to get a real sense of where you are when it’s so hot and actually hitting goal paces would mean overtraining.

  • Reply Elizabeth August 25, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Read Tom Lake by Ann Patchett! So

    • Reply Coree August 26, 2023 at 3:02 am

      Came here to say the same. Gentle, reflective, nice bonds between siblings.

      But I’d not overthink it, just go to barnes and noble and buy something that jumps out at you and start reading straight away.

  • Reply coco August 25, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    mine came out 3:50, which is faster than I think I can do. I’m not sure the calculation factors in weather condition which to me is a big factor. I ran 1 min/mile faster for my Melbourne marathon when I trained in manila. so it’s a wild card for me for Chicago. I’ll target sub-4. I guess will test the prediction in few weeks.

  • Reply Omdg August 25, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    Does it have to be a newer read? You might like Prodigal Summer or Goldfinch. I didn’t find either upsetting and both were fully engrossing. I recently read The School for Good Mothers which I loved, but was depressing af. I just started Remains of the Day but it’s still too early to tell if I like it.

  • Reply DVResident August 25, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    omg 2024 Hobonichi-I’ve optimized my life around the Weeks (sadly, being a resident means I don’t have much to write about and protect patient privacy…how many times can you write “call” “post call”??). The drawer pouch looks really useful, and I do love the pencil board…

    But, but, BUT: I plan to decorate all over JUNE 30, 2024. I WILL BE DONE WITH RESIDENCY IT CAN’T HURT ME ANYMORE.

    Books I’m reading: The Bee Sting-it’s new from an Irish author I like, and a bit let fanciful than Normal People. I also loved The Idiot, but Elif Batuman, if you want something that makes you think, but not so immersive and a chore. Demon Copperhead is really immersive and dark, I had to step away a few times.

  • Reply Canuck August 25, 2023 at 7:59 pm

    The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi! It’s about a bad ass lady pirate and I was totally sucked in. I don’t even usually like fantasy at all, same with several friends I’ve recommended it to who loved it.
    The perfect escape since I have zero pirate/boat related problems in my life.

  • Reply Sara August 25, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    I know her books are really popular (and “light” reads), but I finally got on the Elin Hilderbrand bandwagon and read The Hotel Nantucket over vacation. It was a great way to get out of my reading slump!

  • Reply Leslie Stompor August 26, 2023 at 12:51 am

    I would try cheesy romance novels. You can get tons of them for free on a digital reading device — so no money guilt either! Look for the free ones at BookBub, Amazon, Google Play, and your library. Mindless, relaxing, but also interesting enough (if it’s well written) that you care about what happens to the characters. And, just about always an HEA ending. (Happily Ever After)

    • Reply Coree August 26, 2023 at 3:03 am

      Yeah, I’d recommend Book Lovers which would be light and fun.

  • Reply Katie August 26, 2023 at 4:21 am

    I think I have a back to school slump each year, and my theory is that I’ve spent the summer imagining that back to school will be this magical experience of unlimited time, and productivity… and it just isn’t the magic button I always expect it to be.

    Some easy reading books I’ve loved this year… Romantic Comedy, Hello Beautiful, I Have Some Questions For You, The Five Star Weekend, Bad Summer People.

  • Reply Keren August 26, 2023 at 6:17 am

    I recommend Happy Place by Emily Henry , I’ve read it a a couple of months ago and it’s about friendship no less or even more than romantic relationships, I’m currently reading Beach Read and find it compelling even though I’m in a middle of a house move.Another recommendation of a different genre Red Queen by Juan Gómez-Jurado, an immersive detective story, I inhaled it in a weekend and liked the tone of it which managed to include humour despite the gruesome subject matter.

  • Reply Katherine B August 26, 2023 at 8:01 am

    I recommend two British/Irish authors. Graham Norton is a well-known TV chat show host and radio presenter in the UK though from Ireland originally. Also synonymous with Eurovision here. Despite this background not making it seem very likely he has written some really great page turners. Second one, “A Keeper” probably the best. Also Lissa Evans, script writer on Father Ted and Doctor Who, has written some great history feminist type stuff with romance. try “Old Baggage” about a former suffragette, or “Their Finest” about making propaganda films after Dunkirk in the darkest days of WW2. they are funny, clever, thought provoking and easy to read.

  • Reply elisabethfrost7gmailcom August 26, 2023 at 8:17 am

    I always have a reading slump in the summer. I’ve just come to accept it. I think it’s the combo of less flexible time because the kids are off school and how long it stays light. Something about the cold, dark days of winter just make me want to curl up and prioritize reading.

    I struggle with the guilt of it sometimes (why guilt over a leisure activity; SIGH)…but this summer I’ve basically read nothing outside of an online blogger A Tree Grows in Brooklyn book club which is spread out over several months. After reading one of Laura V’s posts, I actually got some magazines out of the library and that was a nice break. I *was* reading, but the stakes are so low and it’s easy to pick up/put down a magazine.

  • Reply Marie August 26, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Remarkably Bright Creatures is the best book I’ve read this year and I think would do the trick for you! There’s a lot to love… strong PNW vibes, great character development and multi-generational weaving of plot lines, chapters narrated by a lovable giant octopus. It’s heartwarming, sweet, funny, and engrossing, and with your recent trip to that part of the world would be particularly enjoyable, I think.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 26, 2023 at 1:20 pm

      I loved that book! And I actually know the author 🙂 (we were friends in NC!)

      • Reply Kelly August 26, 2023 at 3:02 pm

        I just finished it, and loved it!

  • Reply Abigail August 26, 2023 at 5:05 pm

    I have decided to read (or reread in some cases) all the Agatha Christie Miss Marples. Deliciously gentle. I am interspersing them with other things, but deciding to read them all in order got me out of a slump.

  • Reply Abigail August 26, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    And I spent a lovely 30 mins this morning devising a Hobonichi shortlist. And may spend the same amount of time tomorrow changing it. Last year I bought a cover that had not been been on a shortlist 😁

  • Reply San August 26, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    I had not heard of metathon but of course had to go check it out. I am super-intrigued about any kind of race or pace predictors. I have not run a marathon (only halfs) but my “marathon pace” (according to a 20 minute test) is apparently 8:53min/mi – and methathon just spit out the same number, which would put me at a <4 hour marathon… which I highly doubt I could pull off. Haha. Something to aspire to?

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