Stacey Loscalzo

Latest Posts

Nov 06

Today’s the Day

by Stacey

I have been waiting a long time for today to come. I woke up the day after the 2016 election and started counting down the days until the midterms. Rob read a funny tweet today that pretty much summed up how I am feeling. The tweet read- “I am as nervous as a balloon in a group of porcupines.”  Yup. That feels just about right.

This election feels like so much more than an election. It feels like a statement on who we are going to be as a country. As a state. And as a Village. I am a bundle of nerves because I have very strong beliefs and I worry that we are headed in the wrong direction. I want to stay positive. I do. But right now, my heart is heavy and worried.

I can still see though the good that has come out of all of this. The good is engagement at all levels of government. I know I have gotten far more engaged this time around than I did in 2016. Out of frustration and anger and guilt. I sat by in 2016 assuming that the most qualified candidate would win. I brought the girls with me to our polling place so they could be in the place where I voted for the first female president. I really had no doubts until I did.

I know I am not alone this time around. People are involved. They have gotten educated on the issues and they are ready.

If you have sat by until now, you still have time. Please VOTE. If you have any questions, please reach out to someone who can answer your questions. I can be that person or feel free to find others.

Fingers and toes crossed friends.

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Nov 01

Be A Bookworm Launches Today

by Stacey

Be a Bookworm launches today! After years of answering the question, “How do you read so much?!” I finally realized that the answer is simple. I read a little bit throughout every day. Reading, for me, is a habit. Like brushing my teeth, drinking coffee and walking the dog in the middle of the afternoon if it’s not rainy or cold. I always have a book that I am reading and I bring it with me everywhere.

So today I kicking off a month-long challenge to help you make reading a habit.

The challenge is simple. Details and prompts are below. Please join me here or on Instagram (@staceyloscalzo) to Be a Bookworm. I can’t wait to read along with you this month!

Here we go!

  1. Choose a book. Any book. If you need a suggestion, I am here! Stay tuned for some recommendations. Make this ‘your book’. Bring it with you everywhere.
  2. Look at the Be a Bookworm Checklist and start snapping pictures. You can download the PDF and print it as a reference!
  3. Check my Instagram feed (@staceyloscalzo) each day in November to see which prompt I chose for the day. Feel free to follow the same prompt or choose your own.
  4. Post a picture each day with the hashtag #beabookworm2018.
  5. It would be great if we made bookish friends along the way so definitely search #beabookworm2018 and start chatting books with fellow bookworms-to-be.

 

 

 

 

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Oct 29

Be a Bookworm: Great Short Books

by Stacey

 

Three days and counting until Be A Bookworm: 30 Days to a Reading Habit begins and I can’t wait! Over the weekend, I shared a few favorite fiction titles but today is all about short books.

My goal for Become a Bookworm is to show people that being a reader is all about getting into the habit of having a book with you and reading a little bit here and a little bit there. I consider myself a bookworm for sure but sometimes I get in a slump. And the fastest way I have found out of a slump is simple- pick up a short book. I figure if you are not in a reading habit right now, it is similar to being in a slump. My reading slumps last a few days typically but the concept is the same if your slump has been going on for years or even decades. You just need a compelling book to get reading again.

For me, short books are the way to go. You can get into the story quickly and feel an immediate sense of accomplishment when you read a pretty big chunk of the book in a short amount of time.

So… here are a few of my favorites short(er) books!

  • Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
  • Foe by Iain Reid (and I have just started Reid’s first novel which is also short- I’m Thinking of Ending Things- I don’t like to recommend before I finish a title but so far, so good!)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  • The Mothers by Britt Bennett
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Exit West by Moshin Hamid
  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

And in case you need a few more short titles…

Anne Bogel is one of my all time favorite book bloggers. If you haven’t visited Modern Mrs. Darcy yet, you should definitely pop over to her site. Anne’s post, 20 Short Novels You Can Read in a Day, is full of lots of great titles.

Sarah’s Bookshelves is a new-to-me site. Check out her post, Great Books Under 300 Pages, for more great ideas.

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Oct 27

Be a Bookworm: Fiction Recommendations

by Stacey

 

Earlier this week, I announced a fun new challenge- Be a Bookworm: 30 Days to a Reading Habit. Pop on over to that post if you haven’t had a chance to learn about this challenge yet.

I can’t wait to spend November reading a little bit each day with current bookworms and lots of new bookworms-to-be. The challenge is simple- have a book with you everywhere you go and sneak just a few pages in here and there throughout the day.

While it is awesome that there are millions of books to choose from, I sometimes find the sheer volume of choices to be completely overwhelming. So… I thought, in the days leading up to our challenge, I would share some recommendations.

And if none of these options strike your fancy, comment below, email me (see the contact tab above) or come on over to Instagram (@staceyloscalzo)- I’d be more than happy to help you choose your next book.

I’ll be sharing some non-fiction titles next week but for now… a few of my favorite fiction titles. And of course, for me, choosing a favorite book is a lot like choosing a favorite child. It’s super hard so know that these are my favorites today. If you ask me tomorrow, my answer will be different. Hmmm. I guess it is just like choosing a favorite child- lol! To make it a littler easier to choose, I went back in time a little and chose some older favorites.

If you want to read a book about families… Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

If you want to read a book that will scare you… Bird Box by Josh Malerman

If you want to read a book that will make you cry… When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanathi

If you want to read a book set in the past… Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

If you want to read a book about about the apocalypse… Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

If you want to read a book about nature… State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

If you want to read a coming of age story… A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

If you want to read a middle grade story… Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

If you want to read a young adult story… We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

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Oct 24

Be a Bookworm: 30 Days to a Reading Habit

by Stacey

 

Drumroll please….

Introducing ‘Be a Bookworm: 30 Days to a Reading Habit’. We will launch on November 1st but read so you are ready to join us!

I oversleep sometimes. I forget to drink enough water. And journaling my daily gratitudes? Forget about it. But I DO read. Every. Single. Day. And you can too. I am not a lady of leisure, sipping tea while curled up by the fire reading a book. Nope, my days are super busy but I’ve learned that I can read a page here and a page there and by doing this, I read a ton of books. Reading, for me, is a habit. I don’t think about it much or schedule it I just do it.

Like all good habits, I believe being a reader helps me to be a stronger and happier person. Through reading, I gain empathy, I learn about people, cultures and places, I feel joy and sadness, I model a reading life style for my girls and I take a few minutes to do something just for me.

During the month of November, I invite you you to make reading a habit too. I can’t wait to show you how much reading you can get done in tiny chunks of time. Join me on Instagram as we share ideas and Become Bookworms Together!

Each day, I will post a prompt and a picture. The prompts will be simple invitations to encourage you to have a book, any book, with you throughout the day. During the small snippets of time that we all have, I will remind you to read. Even if it’s one page. One page a few times a day for a month. I can’t wait to see what we can read together this month. You are free to choose any book you want. Of course, I will post recommendations and you can come to me with specific requests. Helping people choose a book is my favorite thing to do!

The challenge is simple. Here we go!

  1. Choose a book. Any book. If you need a suggestion, I am here! Stay tuned for some recommendations. Make this ‘your book’. Bring it with you everywhere.
  2. Look at the Be a Bookworm Checklist and start snapping pictures.
  3. Check my instagram feed (@staceyloscalzo) each day in November to see which prompt I chose for the day. Feel free to follow the same prompt or choose your own.
  4. Post a picture each day with the hashtag #beabookworm2018.
  5. It would be great if we made bookish friends along the way so definitely search #beabookworm2018 and start chatting books with fellow bookworms-to-be.

Happy Reading Friends!

 

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Oct 17

Permission to Be a Mediocre Reader

by Stacey

I read Tim Wu’s In Praise of Mediocrity a few weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. The entire article is worth a read but this paragraph is what has stuck with me.

“If you’re a jogger, it is no longer enough to cruise around the block; you’re training for the next marathon. If you’re a painter, you are no longer passing a pleasant afternoon, just you, your watercolors and your water lilies; you are trying to land a gallery show or at least garner a respectable social media following. When your identity is linked to your hobby — you’re a yogi, a surfer, a rock climber — you’d better be good at it, or else who are you?”

Of course I have thought about this idea as it relates to the girls and their extra-curricular activities but the fear of mediocrity extends to me as a reader as well.

Sometimes it is easy to think, “Gone are the days when you read a book and maybe talk about it with a few friends over coffee. If you are a reader, you are certainly in a book club. And often you are in a real life book club and a hand full of virtual groups as well.” Or, “As a reader, when you finish a book, it’s not enough to sit back and think about how you felt about the ending. For many, the end of the book means that it’s time to post an image on Instagram and a review on Facebook.”

As I think about what is next for me as the girls get older, I always consider how to extend my love of books and reading into something more professional. Ironically, as I consider the power of being a mediocre hobbyist, I plan to write and share more about books in an organized and thoughtful way. Where is the balance I wonder between doing something purely for enjoyment and then extending the love of that thing to others in a professional way?

I will be playing with these ideas in this space over the next few weeks. I believe it is still possible to be a reader simply for the fun of it and I can’t wait to find some new readers to bring on this journey with me. Stay tuned for more details….

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Oct 15

Quick Lit: October 2018

by Stacey

I have not joined Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit in ages so I thought I would jump in today. I have been doing a decent job of tracking my reading this year on Instagram. At the start of the year, I set a goal to collect all my books from the year in one spot so that at year end, I could see what I had read and loved and easily share these titles with friends and family. Somehow, as I’ve done that, I have forgotten how much I love connecting with Modern Mrs. Darcy readers during Quick Lit days so here I am.

My picks for Quick Reads: October are…

Foe by Iain Reid- Foe was my September pick from my favorite book subscription, the Shelf Subscription from Bookshelf Thomasville. This book is exactly why I love having other people choose books for me every so often. Foe is way more ‘out there’ than the types of books I usually read but I loved it. As frequent readers know, I do not like to reveal plot very often and this is no exception. I didn’t know much about this one going in and that was the best way to read it.

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott- I have read Megan Abbott in the past and have always considered her a young adult author. She writes perfectly about relationships between teenage girls. Give Me Your Hand is written for adults but Abbott’s facility to write about human relationships is again at the forefront. I also learned a lot about science reading this book which is not a topic I ever spend much time with but it was a completely enjoyable way to spend a few days.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult- I have so many words to say about this one that I’m considering a separate blog post. In case I don’t end up doing that though, let me just say that A Spark of Light should be required reading. As she seems prone to do these days, Jodi Picoult tackles a polarizing and complex topic and puts it into a compelling and super readable format. A Spark of Light is set in an abortion clinic during a shooting and hostage situation. Picoult does not shy away from presenting all side of the abortion debate. I closed the book with more questions that I opened it with which I believe is exactly what Picoult hoped to accomplish when she sat down to tell this story.

 

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Oct 12

Reading in the Age of Anxiety

by Stacey

Anyone who has been around here for a bit knows that my anxiety has been pretty high since November of 2016. I have tackled this problem in various ways from eating lots of cookies to watching every single episode of Criminal Minds (in every show they present a problem and solve it in 43 minutes- how great is that?!) to turning off all sources of news. Of course, books are my favorite anxiety beater but I have found that only certain types of titles calm my nerves.

My most surprising fails were the slew of political memoirs written by staffers who worked for President Obama or journalists who covered the election. I tried so many of these books only to find they did nothing to relieve my stress. That said, I know tons of people, including Rob and Caroline, who found that these books were just what they needed. A few of my family’s favorites include Thanks Obama by David Lit, Unbelievable by Katy Tur and Who Thought This Was a Good Idea by Alyssa Mastromonaco.

I’ve tried Caroline’s best anxiety beating book strategy- re-reading- to no avail. Ever since Caroline was teeny tiny, she goes back to old favorites for comfort. She has read every book in the Babysitters Club series over and over again. There were years where I pretty sure she read nothing but these titles. Other common re-reads for Caroline include The Running Dream, The Mother Daughter Book Club series, Forward by Abby Wambach and most recently Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.

Typically when I need a book to break a reading rut or just when I am looking for straight fun, I go to thrillers along the lines of the Alex Cross or Patricia Cornwell series. Lately though, as I worry over the state of our country or how to raise girls in today’s climate, these books aren’t really doing the trick.

You know what is? Phillipa Gregory. Gregory’s books are historical fiction set mostly during the Tudor period. It took me a little bit to realize why these books were soothing. I read a lot of them years ago and just thought of them as fun reads. They still are but you know what else they are? They are a good reminder of an important fact. The world has always been nuts. Power has always corrupted. Crazy things have always happened behind the scenes and when there are big shifts in leadership. And the world has continued to spin.

I do still think we are in an unprecedented time. I do still think we all need to pay attention. I believe we all must vote on November 6th. But at least when I am reading, I can believe for a minute that civilization has been this topsy turvy before and we have come out on the other side.

So… what do you read when you need a reminder that everything is going to be ok?

 

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Oct 08

Unfinished Books

by Stacey

People ask me all the time, “How do you read so much?” Sometimes I hesitate because the answer seems so obvious to me and I know that responses like “I just do” are pretty unhelpful. I have read all my life so I really have to step back to think about the how and the why of it. This month though, I had a realization. Part of what helps me read so much is to stop reading. Yup. You heard me right. I stop reading books I don’t like. And these past few weeks have been full of books I have put aside. Sometimes I close a book within a few pages, while other times, I will make it half way through before knowing that I just can’t spend another minute with the characters.

As much as I loved my time in school and encourage the girls to feel the same, I know it is years of schooling that have made reading hard for some people. We were taught in school that you finish the books you start. In fact, you don’t just finish them, you write an essay about them and you talk about them for a really long time and maybe you even have to create an awkward (for me at least!) art project about them. Regardless of how you feel about the book, as a student, you finish it.

For many of us, that is a hard message to leave behind when we walk away from the classroom. I spent years after grad school finishing subpar books. I never even consider the fact that finishing a book was optional. Truth be told, I don’t remember the first time that I realized I did not have an assignment to complete but I am so glad I finally came to understand this.

The guilt of abandoning a library book or a Kindle sample is obviously way less than a purchased book but truth be told, I abandon all types of books. I consider this an investment in my reading life and in the case of my purchased books, an investment in bookstores and authors.

I also know that I put down a lot of books that other people love. And books that I might love on another day or in a different season or in a different mood. There have been plenty of books that I have put down only to come back to and love on a different day.

Anything you have abandoned lately? I’d love to know!

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer- I loved The Interestings also by Meg Wolitzer and the cover of The Female Persuasion? I mean come on- just looking at it makes me happy. Even the topic seemed like it would be just right. A college aged girl discovering feminism. But nope. I couldn’t do it. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I think this is probably one of many readers most favorite books. It has been on my shelf for ages and when I had jury duty a few weeks ago, I brought it with me. I was so excited to have uninterrupted time to dive in to this book. And then I didn’t like it. Too much hype? Not so into to WWII books at the moment? Who knows. All I know is that it went back to my shelf unfinished.

Unselfie by Michele Borba- This is the title that our district chose for our One Book. One District initiative. I struggle a bit with non-fiction so I am not surprised that I put this one down. I bet the author has a lot of great things to say though so I will be curious to hear from people who attended her presentation earlier this week.

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld- Sittenfeld’s book, Prep, is one of my all time favorites so I really hoped that she would be the author that would get me to love a book of short stories. I’m not going to give up forever on this one but I did give up for now.

The Middleman by Olen Steinhauer- I think I have finally come to accept the fact that I don’t like spy novels. Many people do but they hurt my brain.

So… are there any titles here that you think I should try again?

 

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Sep 14

Ten Things to Tell You: A Thing That Changed My Worldview…

by Stacey

A thing that changed my worldview is… books. I know this is the most predictable response ever but what’s a reader to do? I don’t travel a ton and I haven’t lived in too many places. I expand my world through reading. Sometimes I do better than others. Sometimes I branch out and read books that introduce me to people and places that I wouldn’t otherwise know. Sometimes, I seek comfort and read about people just like me. Sometimes my comfort comes from genres that I know well- literary fiction, middle grade and thrillers. Sometimes, I dig into a book of essays and ever so occasionally I’ll try out a short story or two. I do struggle with non-fiction. I know these books would open up my worldview even wider but this is a genre that I find to be more work than joy. For this picture, I walked quickly through the house and chose a few books I have loved both in the past and in the present. These are not necessarily all time favorites but I am busy yet determined to stick with this daily challenge so I am embracing ‘done is better than perfect’ for today. #10thingstotellyou

I am joining the amazing Laura Tremain of 10 Things to Tell You in her latest Instagram challenge #10thingstotellyou. Laura will provide the prompts and we provide the conversation. Her goal is to get people to “share the things about yourself that usually get glossed over. They type of things you want friends to know, but for some reason never come up.”

 

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