Make some decisions for me! Also: books & bookish events

September 25, 2017

1. I already posted this on Twitter and Facebook, so I’m also posting here. But a few years ago, I did a 32 things to do before I turn 33 project, and I’m looking to do something similar for my 40th birthday. I am looking for suggestions of cool things to do by my 40th birthday or before my 40th year is up (this is still very much in the conception stage, obvs.)

I did wind up completing quite a few things on my 32 list, so I need to rebuild. Here are some things I’m already planning to do/considering doing:

  • Go see Hamilton
  • Go to Harry Potter world
  • Do one of those paint class things
  • Take a knife skills class
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • go to a taping of Price Is Right
  • surfing lessons
  • go to Hawaii
  • finish reading the Bible
  • post a YouTube video
  • indoor skydiving

NOTE: I am not jumping off a bridge or out of a plane, so please do not suggest bungee jumping or skydiving. They are both an automatic no. Anything else will be seriously considered! So please post some suggestions in the comments.

I live in the L.A. area if that has any impact on what you might suggest.

2. Oh, so I forgot to post about this last week! In October, I am going to be participating in Booked Up and Bossy’s Clear a Shelf Challenge.


I was already planning to read my own books (and have been!) before doing a deep dive into my new public library. This is mostly because I am still trying to figure out how the library works, but also because I lugged a bunch of books across the country that I hadn’t actually read yet, so I want that to not have been in vain.

I think I’m pretty much done with those books (maybe one or two are left) and then I’m moving on to the books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle. I am going to aim for a Ruler, but let’s be real. We all know I want to be a Warrior. That will depend on if my hold for Warcross comes in, tbh.

3. Speaking of Warcross, the local bookstore hosted a book event for Marie Lu, and the moderator of the event was Tahereh Mafi. The first few minutes was literally the two of them telling each other how amazing they thought the other was followed by them thanking each other profusely. It was adorable.

Marie Lu's shoes

Also, Marie Lu wore these shoes.

And there were so many moms and daughters there! 😍

4. It’s Banned Books Week! I’ll be rereading Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi because I assigned it to my ENGL 1A classes so I need a refresher. My ENGL 400 classes are reading and reviewing a book of their choice off the list of banned books I cobbled together.

5. So, I guess that’s a natural segue into what else I’m currently reading.

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

I am thisclose to done with Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram. I am (unexpectedly) digging it. It is, as you probably guessed, a Cinderella retelling. I may actually blog a review about it because it has given me a lot of feelings.

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

I just checked out A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev to listen to during my commute to work. I haven’t started it yet but I am counting on it delighting me. DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME, BOOK.

6. Also I finished some books.

Hamilton: The RevolutionHamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was absolutely delightful. I loved the look at the creative process from all the people involved with the show (including lighting and costuming!). I also loved the little tidbits about choreography choices (Burr moves in straight lines! Hamilton is all over the place!) and the highlights of all the cast members, including a shout-out to my boy Neil Haskell who I was just waiting to see mentioned.

And, of course, all the literary references (yes, I am the one in a thousand who got the Lady Macbeth reference) plus the libretto in general was all A++. Highly recommend if you are a fan of the show (obvs) or just want to know more about the creative process (in general)/behind the scenes working of a show from conception to performance.

View all my reviews

Best Friend Next DoorBest Friend Next Door by Carolyn Mackler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Listened to the audio. I am not particularly a fan of Tara Strong’s voice work here. She does this weird nasally thing that’s especially jarring because the other narrator doesn’t do it at all. (Tara Strong is the voice actress for Raven from Teen Titans, so just imagine a book being narrated that way. It’s also annoying because, as you can see by her extensive resume, that’s a choice she made for this particular character.)

So yeah, that’s my least favorite part of the book.

My favorite part is probably Hannah saying she wants to be referred to as a “former only child” instead of a big sister because that is the kind of pettiness I can get behind.

Anyway, this is very slice of life and the focus is on female friendships and what it means to build a best friendship and also what it means to have a best friendship change. You know, plus the chaos of adolescence, which for these two include moving to a new city (Emme) and awaiting a new sibling (Hannah). The dual narrative works well here, especially before they become friends and after they have their big fight.

Oh and, as always, I am here for kids realizing they’re in over their heads and going to adults for help.

View all my reviews

7. TV has given me a lot of feelings this past week, so I will probably have to write a separate post about that. Also, I never posted about Insecure! So yeah. There’s a lot to discuss.

8. I am also trying to decide if I want to blog along with my ENGL 400 students as they do a version of the Slice of Life Challenge that I’m adapting for my class. They’ll be doing theirs during the month of October. So I have a little time to decide.

I don’t know why my students always get amnesia. I told them on the first day of class and when I introduced their first blog assignment that they would be posting to their blogs every day during October. I guess they blocked it out because they were all stunned when I reminded them of it last week. Sigh. Oh well. They won’t forget now.

9. Oh! I also signed up for a screenwriting class! The first class was this past Saturday. It was a lot of fun but also hard. It is also, of course, reminding me what it’s like to take a writing class and that writing is hard. At one point I had to say to myself, “Don’t think: just write,” which is something I tell my students all the time. So, you know, it’s always a good thing when I do something that gives me more compassion for my students.

10. Ugh, nine is such a weird number to end on. So here’s a #10 just for balance.


Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Have a great week, everyone! Please post your suggestions for my 40th birthday project in the comments!


You May Also Like…


  1. Karen Yingling

    Hmmm. Run a 5k? Or just two miles? That’s the only thing I remember wanting to do by my 40th birthday. Harry Potter world was okay. Knit something? You can tell the things I already do. I’ve never been big on bucket lists, although I would like to go on a cruise. It just sounds very restful at this point– my “vacations” usually involve a lot of walking and carrying my own food!

    • Akilah

      I’ve been on a cruise before but I really want to go on a Disney cruise. Thanks for the reminder to add it to my list.

      I don’t run, but maybe I can walk a 5k.

  2. cweichel

    I adore those shoes!
    Have you gone rock climbing? I used to take my class indoor rock climbing every September. It was the best experience ever!
    So far I’ve only read the first two in the Persepolis series, but I hope to read more. There are so many fabulous graphic memoirs available these days!

    • Akilah

      I have not gone rock climbing!

  3. crbrunelle

    You have intrigued me with Cinder & Ella. I love re-tellings. Also, A Bollylwood Affair looks fun. How long do you have to accomplish all of the things? I really would want to try the rock climbing. I have two years to 50. I would like to make a list now. 🙂 Waterski? Downhill ski? Ride a jet-ski? I like to go fast. Do NaNoWriMo? Go to 40 independent bookstores? That’s it for me.

    • Akilah

      I have a little over 18 months! I do think I want to try NaNoWriMo. November is always my busiest month, though, so I should look into Camp NaNo again.

      You do like to go fast! And on skis! I’m sensing a theme is what I’m saying.

  4. Ally Bean

    For your list… drink champagne on a yacht or sailboat in calm seas, buy yourself 2 thick 100% cotton bath towels that are yours alone to use, grow tulips or amaryllis from bulbs inside the house during the winter, walk on an active volcano, have a breakfast picnic at a sculpture park. That’s all I’ve got, and am looking forward to reading your final list.

  5. K E Garland

    I didn’t know you watched Insecure. I’ll be waiting for that post. How about saying, “yes” to anything you’re asked to do for 40 days? Reading 40 books by the time you’re 40? I really don’t think I’m very good at this lol but I’m looking forward to the outcome.

    • Akilah

      I read over 40 books a year (usually) so that one would be too easy! Saying yes could be fun as long as I can also say yes to saying no. Can you tell I’ve read Shonda’s book?

  6. Cecilia

    Dancing on every island in the world! Well, a dream ….


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *