…but that’s not me. by Erika Shalene Hull & Dr. Cheryl LeJewell Jackson

In recent years, non-fiction has been something I’ve found I enjoy reading. I used to believe it was a sign of old age, if one read non-fiction as much or even more than fiction. I know now that is unrealistic, and non-fiction is one of the best ways to be a lifelong learner. Different genres of fiction interest me, so it is no surprise that different topics of non-fiction make up my TBR list.

This book, …but that’s not me. Fitting the pieces together. The pieces of us all. by Erika Shalene Hull & Dr. Cheryl LeJewell Jackson, was brought to my attention by a longtime bookish friend, Natalie @ Coffee and a Book Chick. Though I’ve not read any non-fiction on the topic of domestic abuse in the past, this book description caught my interest.

Detailing the journeys of multiple women as they entered, endured, and escaped a wide range of domestic abuse, …but that’s not me. is a bold and powerful homage to strength, courage, and resilience. Stories are intertwined with hard-hitting truths about what domestic abuse is, how we find ourselves in abusive situations, the perpetuation of abuse, and the path to recovery.

The problem is not the amount or availability of information but the ability to recognize what is happening in the moments of the abuse. By telling the stories of average, hard-working women in middle-America, Hull and Jackson invite you into an awareness traditionally silenced, bringing attention to painful realities of abuse that will linger, etched on your heart, long after the book is closed.

Hull and Jackson write: “We aren’t out to hurt anyone, and it would be a lot safer and more comfortable to not tell these stories at all. But when we look at the faces of our children, our friends, and those suffering in silence, we can’t quietly sit back any longer. By having these uncomfortable conversations, we hope to encourage you to believe in yourself, learn to set better boundaries, and know that you are worthy and deserving of so much more.”

I have a feeling this book will be appeal to multiple audiences–those, like me, who want to learn & educate ourselves; some, who have lived it; others, who may one day find themselves in this position. A topic that has a stigma attached, such as domestic abuse, could do with being discussed more openly. By normalizing the discussion, it may help those in the future to recognize the signs and ask for the help they need to escape a situation. It seems this also focuses on the fact that, having gone through domestic abuse doesn’t define you. Survivors are individuals going through life’s journey, and they aren’t only abuse victims or survivors–they are multi-faceted human beings before, during, and after that part of their journey.

Co-authors Erika Shalene Hull & Dr. Cheryl LeJewell Jackson’s website, The CornHer Office, has a page dedicated to this book here (it includes a link to pre-order …but that’s not me. on co-author Erika Shalene Hull’s website, Better over Perfect)
Below are (non-affiliate) links to pre-order …but that’s not me., which will be released on December 4, 2020:
…but that’s not me. on Amazon
…but that’s not me. at Barnes & Noble
…but that’s not me. will be available at Target in January 2021

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

TITLE: Ayesha at Last
AUTHOR: Uzma Jalaluddin
LENGTH: 346 pages
PUBLISHED IN: 2018 (Canada; 2019 US)
GENRE: fiction/romance (Pride & Prejudice reboot)
ISBN: 9781984802798
REASON FOR READING: the cover caught my eye at the book store & the summary sounded great–months later, it caught my eye again at the library and I found it’d been on my TBR list for a few months; a Pride & Prejudice retelling always interests me

SUMMARY (book jacket):

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved this so much. I read it in practically two sittings, because I just didn’t want to put it down. I know Pride & Prejudice like the back of my hand, but this reboot was different and piqued my interest. By “different”, I mean the setting and characters aren’t similar to much I’ve read before. True, Toronto probably isn’t too different than any major city in the US, but still. The cover of this book is what first caught my eye. The woman in hijab attracted my gaze, so I knew it would be different than much of what I’ve read. But after reading it, I can say there was a lot of familiarity in there too, and not just the P&P storyline.

A “modern-day Muslim Pride & Prejudice” is the perfect description for this book. Add in a dash of Bollywood, and there you have it. Because the storyline is familiar to me, I couldn’t help but keep reading because I just wanted to see how this author would put in her own details to make it all work. The tension was there and I just wanted to see how it would resolve itself. I was especially interested in seeing what the villains were going to do to make them so…villainous. I think that the themes of pride and prejudice will never go out of style–these are traits people will always have, and it’s a classic you-know-what-happens-when-you-assume situation that spirals out of control.

Quotes I Liked

“Love sought is good, but given unsought better.” (This is actually a quote from Shakespeare, but I don’t know what work)

“Flowers are so often mistaken as superfluous, yet their purpose is intricate and clever. They attract pollinators, ensuring their survival, and in turn they are consumed for their nutritional value. Never underestimate a flower.” (p277-8)

“Always dream together, Raja. Always leave space in your life to grow and soften.” (p340)


Time Spent Reading: 31 minutes (670)
Current Book: I Want My Epidural Back by Karen Alpert
Pages Read: 36 pages (366)

I’m tapping out. I don’t even know how I only read for just over 11 hours when I actually started an hour early and the readathon is well over 14 hours now. All I know is that I’m literally falling asleep right now, and I’ve got shit to do tomorrow for which I need to function. So I missed my 12 hour goal by 50 minutes. But I’m going to sleep now. Mmm’kay, g’night…


Time Spent Reading: 176 minutes   (639 minutes/10:39 hours)
Current Book: just finished The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Pages Read: 100 pages (330)

I’m going to write a review tomorrow, but will update these posts to contain links to the review. In short, I liked it, but I liked it least off all Brooks’ works I’ve read so far (though I think the fact that I “pressured” myself into reading it in one sitting/day might’ve made me less inclined towards it).

Running Round-Up {9/4/2012}


I just realized I’d forgotten to write up a Running Round-Up post for today 😮 But in running news, I registered for my first half marathon yesterday. The Owens Corning Half Marathon Event is part of the bigger Glass City Marathon, which will take place April 28, 2013 in Toledo, Ohio. (Toledo’s nickname is the Glass City.) I feel the distance of 13 miles is totally attainable–I can easily run six miles now and I have just under eight months to train.

I know I only ran once since last Tuesday–I got 5 miles in on Thursday. It was just too humid this morning. Hopefully I can go tomorrow.

I’ll forego the normal smaller questions and skip right to a big one:

In which sorts of events do you run? 5Ks, marathons, etc? Or do you skip events and just go for your own bests?
I have only done one event so far, a 5K. I loved it, even though I was in last place from the get go. I still finished it with a personal best as far as minutes/mile at that distance go. I imagine I will be one of the last to cross the finish line in April, but I don’t do it for the ribbons or medals. I do it for the t-shirts and bragging rights that I CAN run that far 🙂

Sunday Salon {8/19/2012}


This week Nick and I had our first–and hopefully only–homeowning crisis. I came home from work Wednesday to find a mirror fallen off the bathroom wall, which had turned on the faucet full blast 😦 Needless to say, our basement was wet, the hallway was wet, the two bedrooms across the hall were wet, and (obviously) the bathroom was wet. But, thankfully, our insurance is giving us ample money to repair. However, the housewarming party we planned for next Saturday is postponed.

In other news, this coming week will be my last week working full time at the daycare I’ve been at since April 2011. Starting the last week of August, I will be working for my county educational service center. What that means is that I will be substituting for teachers and paraprofessionals all over the county. It’s not exactly better, financial-wise. But it helps me get my foot in the door in those various school districts, so hopefully it will help get me to a full-time teaching position sooner.

This week I finished Fifty Shades Darker by EL James. I do still need to write up a review, but I loved it 🙂 I am currently reading Fifty Shades Freed. I also decided to stop waiting on that audiobook is waited at least two weeks for and started listening to The Storekeeper’s Daughter by Brunstetter. This is an inspirational for my Inspiration Resolution–another Amish-setting and, oddly enough, it has some ironic similarities to Shunned, which I listened to a couple months ago.

Audrey Hepburn, 1929-1993

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Some of you may recall that I love Audrey Hepburn and consider her one of my role models. Well, on this day eighteen years ago she passed away. A few years ago I read a book called How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life, which is essentially a collection of quotes from Audrey, about many different things in life. So, as a little tribute, I will post some of my favorites quotes.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

This one (above) I actually have printed and framed very nicely and it’s on my makeshift vanity in my bedroom. Such a wonderful way to express what beauty is 🙂

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Another one near my vanity.

The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.

So simple, so true.

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.

I find this to be very true, and I try to keep it in mind when I start talking about other people (especially if I don’t care for them).

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.

I guess my 20-or-so different diaries I kept over the years will help with this 😀

Since the world has existed, there has been injustice. But it is one world, the more so as it becomes smaller, more accessible. There is just no question that there is more obligation that those who have should give to those who have nothing.


new blog feature: WHEN I’ve Been in Books

Over on the sidebar of my blog, I have a couple of linked images to take you to Google Maps that show you WHERE I’ve been in the world, via the books I’ve read.

But then I got to thinking…

I love history and, therefore, historical fiction. While historical fiction isn’t the only genre I read–I consider my taste “eclectic”–I tend to visit different times as well as different places in my books. So, I did a little research and found out how to make a timeline using Microsoft Excel! 🙂 Now, its not exactly a looker as I can’t really figure out how to change much about the way it looks without ruining it–I’m not that computer savvy in the Office 2010 stuff.

Also, it’s not as easy to update as are the Google Maps, because I’d have to upload an actual image file each time I’d add something. So I’m going to update it at the end of every month. Nevertheless, there is now a linked image on my sidebar called “When I’ve Been in Books”. I hope you enjoy it!

And, as a sneak peek, here is what my trial run of the very few books I’ve read so far this year look like on it. Check back at the end of each month to see what has been added! (If you click it, the image gets bigger and easier to read 🙂 )