My goal was to publish 20 stories. How did I do?

April has been a challenging month for me personally, for a number of reasons which I’m sure I’ll end up writing about at some point.

Yet I’m very proud to say I met the goal I set at the start of the month of publishing at least 20 stories here on Medium! Through this process, I had the pleasure of joining several new publications this month, and connecting with a ton of fabulous editors and writers along the way.

With so much work hitting the internet, I’m excited to whittle it down to some of my favorite articles from the…

On Twitter, where brevity reigns supreme, I sum myself up as: Writer, educator, yogi, runner, general nerd & wearer of many metaphorical hats.

While that’s great place to start, a list of labels only gets you so far in learning about someone. In addition to the above, I…

  1. Work a day job in Student Affairs and teach two 100-level courses
  2. Fill my phone with pictures of Azula, my Blue Heeler puppy with a personality fitting her Avatar: The Last Airbender namesake a little too well
  3. Am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but currently live in Pittsburgh
  4. Love a good buffalo chicken…

My love story is quite the opposite

In my early to mid 20s, I spent a lot of time writing about the pleasures and independence of singlehood. For all that, I was generally not a particularly cheerful single person. I longed for my big love story and ached whenever the promise of a new relationship fizzled out.

Time and again, I heard the common advice given to the lonely and longing: love will find you when you least expect it.

As someone who has spent a life imagining love stories into the smallest of hints and suggestions, this advice always seemed dubious. When would I ever not…

This book didn’t do anything I expected it to (well, except that one thing)

One of my day jobs is teaching a first-year writing course to college students. A perk of this gig is that I’m able to choose the theme for my section, and for the past three years, I’ve taught some version of “Great Power, Great Responsibility: Identity and Representation in the MCU”.

You read that correctly. We talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe in my first-year writing class. Yeah, you could say I’m not a regular professor, I’m a cool professor.

All joking aside, I picked this lens for our discussions and writing assignments because I’m a massive Marvel geek. That…

A review of Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyne

Recently, I reviewed the first dystopia I had read in ages, A Touch of Death for Coffee Time Reviews.

While reflecting back on my bookish history with the dystopian genre, I suddenly remembered how very much I enjoyed reading Vivian Apple at the End of the World. So, I’m dusting off my review and bringing it here to Your Book Friend.

I think I want to revisit this one, as so much of what entertained me belongs to a very different imagining of what America is…

Mini-reviews & recommendations to add to your TBR

I am told it’s May, which means it’s time to look back at April’s reading in review.

T.S. Eliot says April is the cruelest month, and I don’t tend to agree… except for this year. It snowed where I live and the semester seemed to just. drag. on. I’m pretty excited to welcome in the month of May and its promise of summer reading.

But first, let’s bid April adieu with a reading recap!

(Full disclosure: Book links appearing below are affiliate links, which means Your Book Friend will earn a small commission if you choose to purchase.)

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Here’s what I learned (hint: it’s not just about cake)

At the tail end of 2020, I set off on a dubious self-made quest to bake every recipe in the 2016 Great British Bake Off tie-in cookbook.

It was a mission born of too much time lying around on the couch watching Great British Bake Off, steeped in years of daydreaming about my very own Julie & Julia-esque project. At last, the whim became more than an idea and turned into an actual project. I wrote about it on my blog, and everything.

So far, it’s been nearly four months of one bake every single weekend (with a few exceptions)…

The ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘Vampire Diaries’ with a touch of ‘I Am Legend’

(Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Book links below are affiliate links.)

During college, I devoured the Hunger Games books in a few short days. This sparked what I now remember fondly as my “dystopia phase,” wherein I became absolutely enamored with the genre.

My first experience with dystopian fiction had actually been years prior when my AP English class read Brave New World, but I don’t think I knew there was a name for this kind of story until Hunger Games made it popular years later.

I only remember a…

You can trust me — I was born there

We all have particular book genres and niche topics that we’re drawn to. For some, it’s fantasy, for others romance, and some readers love working their way through the classics.

My own bookish superpower seems to be an innate sense of when a book is somehow related to my beloved home state of Ohio. Never mind that I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for, oh, five years. My Ohioan spidey-senses still operate at full capacity, thank you very much.

In my experience, people who are from Ohio have one of two relationships to the state — they love it and have many…

Often, women get weight loss tips and anti-diet proclamations in the same spaces

(Content warning: The below discusses weight, dieting, and body image. If these topics may be triggering for you, you may want to avoid this article.)

Like many people, I’ve put on a few pounds during the past year. With the stress, reduced scope of movement, and generally trying to fill more time, many of us are re-entering the world in bodies that are different from the ones we inhabited pre-pandemic.

As I tuck myself into tighter pants and wonder how to feel about this body, I find myself bombarded by contradictory messaging on all sides. …

Amanda Kay Oaks

Pittsburgh-based writer & wearer of many metaphorical hats. Making words about self, health, books, travel, and more! She/her.

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