Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

  • Dystopia, Music, Werewolves and the Apocalypse, oh my!

    Date: 2012.11.20 | Category: Books | Response: 4

    Time for another book, er, books review. I’m breaking these up into two parts because it was overwhelmingly long as one post.

    The Scorch Trials/ The Death Cure by James Dashner

    These are books two and three in the Maze Runner trilogy. I posted the first book in my last book review.

    The Scorch Trials was an amazing follow up to The Maze Runner. The mystery intensified, the characters endured more weirdness and hardship, all the while more clues to the overall picture were dropped. Two new dynamic characters were introduced, and there was a shocking betrayal and  grand finale that had me staying up late to finish.

    Which is why I was so disappointed when The Death Cure fell flat. The final installment lacked the mystery and charisma of the first two, and was plagued with repetitive, stretched out passages with some unnecessary scenes. To cap it off, the ending was rushed and the surprise part of the ending was done without much ceremony and seemed kind of pointless. And the worst part? Most of the questions that were posed over the first two books were never answered leaving me frustrated and unhappy with the conclusion. The fun in the first two books was replaced with a badly written zombie apocalypse that seemed out of place.

    Bottom Line: The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials are crazy good and worth your time, but the final installment is a big disappointment without any real answers and almost not worth the energy to plow through.

    The Kill Order by James Dashner

    This was the prequel to the Maze Runner series. I turned to it in hopes it would answer all my burning questions from the trilogy. What I found instead was a completely different and almost entirely unrelated story. And while it had a few good characters, the story ended up being so repetitive and sad that I couldn’t enjoy this book at all.

    Bottom Line: If you’re looking for answers from The Maze Runner trilogy, don’t bother. In fact, this book is so repetitive and sad that if you’re looking for a good YA dystopian book, ask me and I’ll give you a list of better books.

    A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    I had heard so much about this book and its many awards, so when I saw it on sale, I picked it up. The novel reads more like a collection of stories that are vaguely connected and all lead back to the music industry from it’s glory days to it’s evolving production of cookie cutter pop songs. But it’s weird. For example, amidst the story of the rise and downfall of a book music professional’s personal and professional life, there is a story about a washed up PR professional trying to make good press for an accused terrorist, the story of a girl who is a clepto and a story about a kid who counts pauses in songs. Some of the stories were really good, and some were just really bad. If each of the stories could have sustained the weird and interesting plot lines like the first two chapters had, it would have been a good book, but unfortunately almost all the stories after those were disappointing.

    Bottom Line: I don’t get what all the hype and awards are about. Maybe I’m missing something. At least the author builds weird and interesting characters.

    Mercy Thompson Series (all six of them) by Patricia Briggs

    I’ve seen Roxie say before that she judges books by their cover, despite the fact that many of them are misrepresented. I feel the same about the Mercy Thompson series. The covers are provocative with a tattooed, half dressed woman on the cover. When I saw it, I rolled my eyes and moved on. But then I kept seeing the books get 4-5 star reviews consistently and realized it was written by a female author, which gave me hope that it wasn’t some overly sexualized male fantasy. So I gave the first one a chance, and I’m so glad I did. This series reminds me of the Sookie Stackhouse books (in their good days), except that they are better written with more serious plot lines. The story is told from the perspective of Mercy Thompson, who is an auto mechanic and a “walker” who can shift to coyote form and see ghosts. She gets entangled with a mystery surrounding the local werewolf pack, and the story evolves from there. All six books follow supernatural and compelling mysteries, and the characters are interesting. As Susan said after I introduced her to them, “I had to make myself stop after reading three of them because I wasn’t getting anything else done.” Of course, the writing isn’t exactly sophisticated, but all six of the books in these series are addictive and fun.

    Bottom line: If you liked the Sookie books but want something better in the wake of their recent decline, pick these up for a fun, supernatural read.

    Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

    I love Neil Gaiman so much and I like almost all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books I’ve read, so this one was a no brainer for me. It’s the story of the Apocalypse gone wrong from the perspective of an incompetent angel and demon who have become friends over the thousands of years they’ve been on earth together. In true Pratchett style, most of it is funny and I found myself actually laughing out loud on some parts. That being said, it didn’t live up to what I had hoped in my mind. Gaiman’s imaginative storytelling just isn’t there in its usual dark, beautiful form, and it helps to be familiar with Britishisms when reading. And while I don’t think it’s the best of either author, it made me laugh and I can’t in good conscience say bad things about the two authors I love so much. That being said, please don’t read this first and assume this is like either authors’ other works.

    Bottom line: Think the end of the world is nigh and need a good laugh about it all? This is your book. Also good for people who love British culture and think American fast food is killing the world.

    To be continued tomorrow…

  • Bookish

    Date: 2012.09.18 | Category: Books | Response: 9

    Despite my reading buddy Noel temporarily hanging up her fiction reading shoes for books she has to read for learning and teaching, I’ve managed to plow on with my book reading obsession. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

    The Maze Runner by James Dashner

    This story begins with a boy who appears in a world with bits and pieces of his memory intact. For the most part he can’t remember his past at all. He arrives in a world of teenage boys who have created a society to function in, all the while trying to figure out a giant maze full of machine-animal hybrids that attempt to kill them during the evening. What ensues reminds me of The Matrix meets Lord of the Flies.

    The bottom line: The story was good, different and interesting and spoke to my Matrix love enough that I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey NIffenegger

    I saw that a number of my Shelfari friends had read this book and given it great reviews, so I decided to give it a read. The premise is that when a woman passes away, she gives her London flat to her twin sister’s twin daughters under the condition that they live in the flat for a year and don’t allow their parents to visit the flat. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the separation of the twin who died and her sister who relocated to the U.S. This is a great, creepy, beautiful ghost story about the lengths people will go to get what they think they desire. There is a London cemetery and two sets of twins involved, as well as a little kitten of death. The background of the cemetery and the history of the departed buried there fills in the seams of this story and places it’s own grip on each of the characters. And when the story winds up to the-very-crazy-part-that-changes-everything, I found myself  flying through the book at a frenzied pace, gawking in horror and unable to put it down.

    The bottom line: Great book, especially for October. Be prepared to be a little creeped out, but intrigued.

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    This book is a love letter to video gaming and the 1980’s and I absolutely loved it. The premise is that technology has evolved to the point that there is a virtual reality world called the OASIS that almost everyone spends all day inhabiting, escaping the slums of the outside world. When the guy who created OASIS dies without an heir to his billions, a video goes out announcing that he has hidden an “Easter egg” in the gaming world of the OASIS and the first to find it inherits his fortune. There are three gates and three keys that must be found first in pursuit of the egg, and the trick to deciphering the locations of each lie with the creator’s obsession with the 80’s.

    The bottom line: I loved this book and couldn’t wait to share it with some of my friends. If you like 80’s pop culture and have ever loved an Atari game, go get this book, sit down and relish it.

    Delirium / Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
    These are two separate books in a trilogy (the third isn’t out yet). I’ve been hooked on YA dystopian fiction this year, and these two books fall into that category. The premise in this particular society is that love is a “disease” and once teenagers turn 18, they have a surgery that “cures” them. The story follows 17-year-old Lena and her journey from being terrified of contracting the disease to slowly realizing that maybe love isn’t a disease and all the dangers that line of thought imposes.

    I was a little disappointed with Delirium. I think comparing it to others I’ve read this year, it came across as whiny and I didn’t feel invested in the characters. The ending was a doozy though, and when the second one became available at the library, I decided to read the opening to see how it would transition and I am so glad I did. The second book, Pandemonium, completely redeems the first book. The story is much more interesting, the relationships more tenuous and the main character is so much stronger.

    Bottom Line: The first one is an easy read, and while it teeters on whiny, it’s almost worth it to get to the second one in the trilogy. I’m looking forward to reading the final installment.

    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    I was recently talking to a friend of mine about the next book she should pick for her book club, and this immediately came to mind. It’s been sitting at number one on the top 10 fiction book lists for weeks, and with good reason. The writing and descriptions in this book are divine, and the plot twists knocked me off my feet. The premise is that a girl disappears and her husband is blamed for her disappearance and the chaos that follows. While you may have seen the plot point before, trust me when I tell you that you probably haven’t seen all that follows in a story before.

    Bottom line: The writing in this book is delicious, and how the story unfolds is jaw dropping. If you love good writing and mysteries, this is your book.

    So tell me, what should I pick up next?

  • What I’ve Been Reading

    Date: 2012.07.26 | Category: Books | Response: 10

    Yesterday during lunch, after a lively discussion about J.R.R. Tolkien, a co-worker asked me if I’ve noticed that I read less now that I have a child. “No,” I replied, “In fact, I think I read more.” This is due in large part to owning a Kindle, having any book imaginable at my fingertips and getting on the audio book bandwagon so I can listen while I design. Plus, thanks to my mini book club with Noel, I’m reading and talking about books with someone, which makes it a whole lot more fun.

    Here is what I’ve read lately:

    Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

    This is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, and I think it’s actually better than the first installment. Yes I know you’re probably tired of vampires and several feature predominantly in this story, but there’s also a time walking witch that takes you back to the late 1500’s to Elizabethan England, France and Prague. The School of Night features predominantly in this story, including Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Mary Sidney also plays an important role, and the vampire turns out to be an important member of the heretical group. I love the story in this book, and the star struck awe of the historian witch as she learns to embrace Elizabethan England and those around her whose fates she already knows. Plus the love story is volatile and beautiful. This book was a win for me.

    Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie

    These are the first two books of a trilogy. After reading Divergent and Insurgent (below), I wanted something else to read in the dystopian YA vain.  And while I was skeptical of this series it ended up being good! Is it completely original? No. I could tell the author was very familiar with The Giver, but I love how the books emphasize the importance of creating and art and its impact on culture. The main characters are a bit confusing, but the story is a good and a quick read. I’m looking forward to the final installment this November.

    The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

    This story takes place in Old Testament times and centers around Masada, a refuge for Jews fleeing the Roman empire. The four different women who tell the story in this book all work together at a dovecote attending to the doves. This one started slow for me because there was just so much desert wandering. Once they got to the camp though, the story improves drastically. There are many things I love about this book. For one, there is a definite exploration of all the aspects of “female,” for another, I learned so much about the Jewish culture of the time and I felt like it gave me a fresh perspective on OT scripture. And finally, the author researched Masada for years prior to writing the book and it shows. There is a lot of fact incorporated into the story. It’s an intriguing read.

    Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

    I’ve been a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books since the first season of True Blood aired. However, they’ve been going down a slow decline and are just sort of boring now. Love interests are all pittered out. Vampire drama is off in a far away state. The north Louisiana backdrop has all but faded away and we’re left with a grade school style murder mystery in this installment. I love the characters, but this was so disappointing.

    Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth

    Get ready for a gushing review, because I can’t say enough good things about these two books. Again, these are the first two books of a trilogy. The premise is that there are five factions that represent good qualities in the human race: erudite (knowledge), dauntless (courage), amity (peace), abnegation (selflessness) and candor (honesty). Each person in the society goes through a simulation at a certain age and gets labeled with a faction. However, there are a few people who are “divergent” and match multiple categories. The main character, Tris, is a great lead female, and her story of the faction she chooses and the initiation process to enter that faction is a page turner. When the dystopian elements really come into play at the end, the story escalates and I couldn’t put it down. The sequel, Insurgent, is equally intriguing. And to top it off a 22-year-old wrote these books in between homework assignments. I really can’t recommend these two books enough. The final installment will be one I stalk on the Kindle store.

    Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James

    Who hasn’t heard of this racy book? Practically every woman in the U.S. is reading it. But you know what? I didn’t like it. Not even a little. I cringe at bad writing and I cringe at bad stories, but sometimes I can get over one if the other is good. But this book is bad writing with absolutely no plot. The writer needed an editor. BAD. Plus, it’s Twilight fan fiction, so it’s hardly original. I’ve heard the sequels are better, like they actually have a story line, but I don’t think I can get past the terrible writing to read any more.

    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    Disclaimer: I’m a huge Murakami fan. I listened to the audio book of this one. Per the writer’s usual style, it was weird and probably a little too long, but it was so good. I’m trying to think of how to even explain it. It’s about a girl who writes a book about something supernatural and it turns out to be true. The guy who ghost writes her story to improve its style also gets involved. And then there is another story about a girl who kills men who have done bad things and a cult that centers around that supernatural event and somehow it all gets tied together. Weird? Absolutely. Beautiful? Without a doubt.

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

    If you haven’t’ figured it out by now, I love YA. This was YA fantasy, but not in the traditional sense. It involves trading teeth for wishes and a battle of chimera against angels. There’s a great tragic love story interwoven, and another world like I’ve never read before. It’s a fun, easy read and I’ll take the time to pick up the next one.

    There you have it! Now, I’m on to the other book everyone is raving about Gone Girl.

  • Dancing Through Life

    Date: 2012.07.10 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Books, Dogs, Family, Mark, Pets, Sarah | Response: 7

    Life has been kind of rough lately for a number of reasons, partly because my dog had explosive diarrhea all over my house while Susan was borrowing my steam cleaner, partly because the hubster has been frustrated a lot lately, partly because Sarah nearly ran in front of a car into the street two days ago leaving me with a lingering sense of guilt and fear, and partly for reasons that I may bring up another day.

    But today was suddenly brighter when a few things happened:

    1. The hubster surprised me with a  lunch date and fro-yo.

    2. The book I’ve been anticipating forever came out today and I downloaded the audiobook of it so I can listen while I design.

    3. I watched this video I took this past weekend of my beautiful grandparents, their dog and Sarah all dancing to some fantastic old piano music. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.

    It’s already a better Tuesday.

  • Book Baby Shower

    Date: 2012.06.08 | Category: Baby, Books, Food, Friends, Pregnancy, Style | Response: 11

    I love a good baby shower, and I love it even more when I’m helping throw it for my best friend and former roommate.

    My friend Susan is due with her first baby – a little girl – in July. Together with five of her friends, we threw a children’s book themed baby shower.

    However, I got so caught up in writing down gifts and Sarah clinging to my legs that I just got a few detail photos and one group shot. But that’s ok, because the details were amazing.

    Guest sign in! That’s her framed invitation, an adorable embroidery by hostess Kristen and the book Olivia (which is the baby-to-be’s name) that people signed.

    Guess how many swedish fish and win a prize!

    Yes, those are owl cupcakes.

    See!

    Baby’s own personal Giving Tree courtesy of hostess Marie.

    Books and food!

    More food.

    Awesome pineapple punch I put together.

    Oh look, there we are. That’s me on the left, and the tiny mom-to-be third from left. Marie, (4th) made the awesome caterpillar.

    So excited for you Sus!

  • Literary Crush

    Date: 2012.05.21 | Category: Books, Life, Love, Me | Response: 16

    As Kelly and I have often spoke of, we have severe literary crushes on Neil Gaiman.

    My fascination with Neil’s books started out with Stardust. Not my favorite, but it was good. Good enough that I wanted to read more of his work. I picked up Coraline, and fell in love with the absolute creepiness of it. I then, at Kelly’s recommendation, picked up American Gods. That book blew me away. It was so inventive and thought provoking and bizarre. My literary crush on Neil had firmly taken root.

    And then I heard one of his audiobooks – his own reading of his Newberry Award winning The Graveyard Book. I was floored that a writer could perform his work as well as the professional actors who read for the likes of Audible.com. And when I heard him read Neverwhere, I was reassured that Neil simply has a gift for storytelling in all forms.

    I also read his blog where he tells stories of everyday life. He manages to bee keep at his home in America and roam through the snow with his two white German Shepherds, and then go off  globe trotting with his rock star wife Amanda Palmer and rub elbows with literary greats.

    He also has a special love for New Orleans and a relationship with The Green Goddess restaurant there. He has a “password” for the restaurant, so when you go and tell your server the password you get a little something free in honor of Neil. After we had done that very thing a few years ago, I tweeted Neil to tell him how great it was and he replied back to me. I died a little.

    I think the reason I’ve developed such a fascination with him is because he represents everything I would be in dream world. He’s a confident, imaginative, successful writer who is passionate about the arts in all forms.

    Neil posted a video of the commencement speech he gave at University of the Arts in Philadelphia and, after listening to it, I was in love with him even more. I love that he started work as a journalist and evolved into a fiction writer, and I love that he talks about where he was and how to get to where you want to be and the importance of making mistakes.

    It’s a 20 minute speech, but worth listening to. Here are a few of my favorite parts:

    “If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do. And because nobody’s done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone from doing that particular thing again.”

    “If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that.”

    “The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakeable conviction that  you’re getting away with something and at any moment now they will discover you.”

    “Someone asked me recently how to do something she thought was going to be difficult… and I suggested she pretend that she was someone who could do it.”

    A year after having a baby and after a little over a month of weaning, I feel like my creative side is really getting back to where it used to be. It was never gone, but hibernating for a while. I make the time to read. I think more creatively, and I’m finally motivated to do some personal creative writing again. I don’t know where that will take me, if anywhere, but I’m thankful it’s back.

    I’m finally getting past being scared of writing on an idea, and just writing.

    Thanks for the inspiration Neil.

  • Baby Book Worm

    Date: 2012.02.27 | Category: Baby, Books, Home, Sarah, Style | Response: 8

    My girl loves books. And I’m not just saying that to prove how intelligent I think my little monkey is. She really and truly loves to flip through their pages and point to things and push buttons. While I would love to attribute this to how she watches me read, I know that’s not true either. I rarely read a bound book these days, instead relying on my Kindle, and even then after she’s gone to bed.

    Sarah has developed “favorite books,” ones that she goes to over and over. And while I’d love to tell you it’s a list of classics like Goodnight Moon, in reality she prefers books that make noises or have textures.

    Here are her current favorites:

    1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Ok, so this one is a classic, but the board book has all the little panels with the holes punched through the food items the caterpillar eats through. This means Sarah can flip through the different sized panels and shove her finger tips in the holes. It’s great fun.

    2. Touch and Feel Books. All of them. Every animal has a different texture from fuzzy chicks to spongy pig noses. After she studied me rubbing my fingers over all the textures, she finally grasped the idea and does the same, squealing especially over the border collie page. If we find one with orange tabby cats in it, the squealing will have no end.

    3. My First Colors. This book has no weird textures, but it has tons of bright colors and each of those little squares around the edge is cut out and easy to turn. She will flip through the pages of this one from beginning to end and back again. Over and over and over.

    4. God Made You Special. This book has a button that plays a silly song that she can push over and over AND a mirror. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “God Made You Special” as sung by Larry the Cucumber. At least 137 times. Would you like me to sing it to you? The mirror totally makes up for the repetitive song though because Sarah will stare at herself in it, giggle and give herself kisses. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

    5. Santa Claus is Coming to Town. This is one of those Hallmark Recordable storybooks. My grandmother got it for her for Christmas. So naturally I recorded my voice reading the story. The book conveniently adds music with my voice. Sarah thinks it’s the best thing ever while I get to hear my Southern twang echo across the house any time she wanders over to the book and opens it up. Note, if you get this, lock it after you do the recording, otherwise your immature husband may or may not record lewd things when your back is turned, only for you to hear it as your infant daughter opens up the book and dies out laughing. Not that that happened to us or anything.

    *Not a sponsored post.

  • 10 Months

    Date: 2012.02.11 | Category: Baby, Books, Dogs, Home, Photography, Sarah | Response: 12

    Here we are again. 10 months old. And what a busy month it’s been.

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    Early on this past month, Sarah learned how to wave her entire arm to say hello and bye bye. She especially loves to wave that arm while she’s sitting in her high chair. She’s also started saying “ma ma” all the time. Ma ma is eating it up!

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    She has gotten proficient at using her four teeth to chew. She loves Happy Baby organic puffs. If she sees us getting the container out, she’ll hop up and down until we give her some. Her teeth have also served her in eating table food. So every night for dinner, she gets a little of what mommy and daddy are having, which always includes a protein and a veggie. Daddy’s spaghetti is her favorite!

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    Our little girl never stays still for very long. She’s figured out how to escape the baby gates in the living room, shoving one aside and shaking the other so violently that it comes loose and she can escape.

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    She’s also developed an attachment to her blankie. She’s always loved to rub her face on soft things, but now blankie can soothe her when she’s fussy. This is especially important as separation anxiety has kicked in full force. Any time we’re around people she doesn’t know, Sarah clings to me with every fiber of her being. School drop offs have become especially difficult. She has moved up to the bigger babies class though, and her teachers there have been wonderful. She cries now when I start to leave, but handing her blankie seems to make it much easier.

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    Separation anxiety has also made her more snuggly. I’m so used to my baby who wants to go nonstop, so to have her want to cuddle with me is wonderful.

    We also had another month of illness. This past month saw a light case of pneumonia, upper respiratory infection, pink eye, ear fluid and more snot that I want to remember. This also meant lots of trips to the pediatrician’s office with all the finger sticks, chest x-rays and nose swabs that come with it. We’re holding out for the end of March when all this is supposed to get better.

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    She continues to love books, especially ones that makes noises or have textures. We’ve taken to packing them in her diaper bag as an easy source of entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, one of her favorite things each morning is to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Veggie Tales on daddy’s phone with him while mommy gets ready for work. As soon as I put her in our bed, she crawls over to daddy, perches on his shoulder and eagerly awaits her show.

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    And to cap off this amazing month, Sarah took her first steps last night. Four unassisted steps to get around mommy and daddy who were standing between her and her toy. Despite attempts on our parts to get her to repeat it, she has stubbornly stuck to crawling. It’s obviously much faster and easier. I should probably be thankful, more mobility means more trouble.

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    I am so impressed by our growing girl. She’s constantly observing and learning. I know this next month will show us even more amazing things as she continues to develop. Happy 10 months Sarah!

  • Murakami

    Date: 2012.01.14 | Category: Books | Response: 11

    Part of my New Years resolution to do more things that make me, “me” includes an intense consumption of books.

    One of my favorite authors is the super weird and talented Haruki Murakami.(I promise I liked him even before 1Q84 made the top 20 must read list of 2011). At any rate while I was researching some of his books to read, I stumbled upon this Haruki Murakami Book Reading Challenge and decided to take it up. My goal is to read three of his books this year. I feel the need to space them out because they are mind bendingly weird and my brain needs a break between volumes.

    For some reason every Murakami I’ve “read” thus far has been an audiobook. Something about listening to his stories with various voices tends to draw me in. So when I learned I would be on the road for work quite a bit last week, I downloaded one of his shorter titles, After Dark.

    This morning I was trying to think of how to explain the plot and in my head it went something like this:

    Boy recognizes girl at Denny’s from a double date he went on with her and her gorgeous sister several years ago. Somehow boy gets girl involved with translating for a beat up Chinese prostitute at a love hotel managed by a giant woman who used to be a wrestler. Man who beat girl up works nights at a computer company that somehow is connected to the girl’s beautiful sister who goes to sleep for many weeks and gets sucked into a room inside a television screen. Also, there are cats, but there are always cats in Murakami’s books.

    See what I mean about weird?

    Overall, the story was interesting, though compared to some of his other epic novels, the ending was a bit disappointing. One of my favorite aspects about his books is this constant sense of mystery. Something weird is going on, something otherworldly and you wonder about it the whole book. This time it was the sleeping sister’s story and the t.v., but that plot line was never really resolved.

    As per his other volumes, there were great characters in this story. I particularly liked the love hotel manager and the main character, Mari. There are also several interesting sinister characters who have something disturbingly wrong with them. Despite the unsatisfying ending, the story kept me interested until the end.

    Over all, 3 stars out of 5.

    I’ve heard this book is kind of a precursor to 1Q84, so I’m glad that I read it. I will most likely listen to that book next for this particular challenge.

    Are you familiar with Murakami? What have you read and what would you recommend?

  • Embracing Me

    Date: 2012.01.03 | Category: Books, Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Sarah, Travel | Response: 23

    I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. I have enough to worry about without that added pressure. But I was participating in this marketing project a few weeks ago and had to name some resolutions. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided on one very important one: Make more time for myself.

    It’s so easy to fall into the permanent role of “mom.” And being a mom is a wonderful, beautiful thing. But it’s a part of who I am, not all of who I am.

    I’ve had a very difficult time figuring that out and what it means since having Sarah. She needs so much from me and I willingly give it, but what about the other things I’ve put on the backburner?

    Now that I no longer have a newborn, I’m going to make time for those things. After all, reading is one of the few things that pulled me through the baby blues.

    So this year I resolve to:

    1. Keep up my reading pace. Books have always been good for my mind and my spirit and help me relax and escape.

    2. Do “grown up” things. Yesterday my mom watched Sarah while my sister in law and I went and saw an R-rated movie. It was fantastic.

    3. Travel. I really miss going places and now that Sarah is older, she can go with us. We can share that experience with her and how much fun it can be. We already have two trips planned for this year. I’m excited about hitting the road and taking to the air again.

    4. Take care of myself. I haven’t had my hair cut since before I had Sarah nearly a year ago. And while my husband loves my long hair, it at least needs a trim. I haven’t bothered to paint my nails and don’t wear my hair down enough either (at least to work, no way I’m wearing it down with baby hair yanker around).

    5. Get back on beautifying our home. It still needs work and we have re-organization and decorating plans. We’re excited about setting up my office space at home. Having a separate office space on my iMac for work instead of bringing my laptop into the family space has been good for my work and personal psyche.

    6. Spend time with my husband. The baby is sleeping through the night now, it’s ok to stay up later and hang out with my spouse and I look forward to it.

    7. Return to my exercise regimen. I have an awesome jogging stroller and it’s relatively mild outside (thank you Louisiana!) Now that the days are starting to get longer again, we can hit the pavement and feel better. We’ve already started, and while I’m a bit footsore, I feel so much better.

    I know I can’t do all of these things all of the time, but as long as I regularly take time to do things I love and take care of my family, I know I’ll be happier and healthier.

    What helps you feel more like “you”?