Archive for the 'Book club' Category

Random smatterings

I haven’t been so good about blogging lately.  Part of that is because I haven’t had much time.  I’ve been working and traveling…A TON.  And work is really boring to blog about.  In fact, I’m writing this post now as I’m up in the air on my flight back to Seattle.

With the holiday season approaching, I’m hoping that means lazy days.  HA!  At the least, I’m hoping for some time spent on the couch…catching up on the new season of Top Chef that I haven’t even watched one minute of.

And a quick update on my November 31 day challenge (reading at least 10 minutes a day).  I missed a day.  😦  I blame it on jet lag, sickness, exhaustion, time zone change…and just totally forgetting.  But it is what it is – so I move on!  I have been very good since.

I finished The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America.  It started boring…and ended boring.  A definite…do not read.  Perhaps, those considering admission to the CIA would find this more palatable (pun, intended!).

I’m on to Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story by Wally Lamb.  I’m nearly done – a very funny, light-hearted, easy read.

Since I’ve received only one suggestion of other books to consider reading (thank you Naomi), I may decide to tackle the MASSIVE Game of Thrones series.  Or I might just go and reread all the Harry Potter books again.  And yes, we of course purchased and watched (that same day) the last Harry Potter movie.  Tear.

My last update – because it’s something I can quickly type and I have no pictures to accompany it – is about flag football.  After a strong start of three consecutive wins, we apparently felt lop-sided – and went for three consecutive losses.  But…good enough to get us to the first round of playoffs – which, we tore that team up.  So, we now play in the second round – and if we win, the championship round.  All this hard-hitting flag-pulling action happens this Sunday.

 

 

A trilogy for the voracious reader

During my busy summer, oh how I love to kill two birds with one stone.  As much as I love reading…summer reading just isn’t the same when you aren’t lounging on a beach or by the pool (neither of which I happen to have done or will be doing in the coming weeks).  I just don’t have the time to sip fruity cocktails, liberally apply sunscreen, and let the day drift by slowly while fully engrossed in a great summer read.  How jealous I am of this picture I’ve painted!!

Anyways, my girl’s book club selection for the summer is actually a trilogy called The Hunger Games.  It’s easy fiction reading, straddling the line between being for a young adult audience and adult (similar to later Harry Potter books).  It actually contains many adult themes – a book you could go really deep on if you are one of those deep kind of people.  Or, just enjoy it for the pure entertainment and suspense it delivers, albeit quite dark (the book is all about a ‘dystopian’ society.  Thanks Courtney for teaching me that word – which FYI -  means the opposite of ‘utopia’).

The_Hunger_Games_Series

After only a few chapters of the first book aptly called The Hunger Games, I was HOOKED!! I knew it would be a perfect read for the book club Micah and I have.  I promptly ordered it on Amazon and had the set of books delivered to the house.  Micah was instantly hooked as well (which I like to claim is quite a feat considering he’s not someone who reads for fun all that often)

We both breezed through the first book and Micah’s already finished with the second book Catching Fire

And since I’m reading the same thing for both my book clubs – voila’ two clubs, one book.  No applause necessary.

This post isn’t meant to be a review of the book…but seriously, so far, it’s been a deliciously awesome read!  Bad pun, I know. But it’s a whole lot better than if I said “the books will leave you hungry for more.”  (Insert jeers!!!) Smile

I tried, but I quit!

No…this isn’t about my job (so please rewind and take back that mini-OMG you said/thought just now)Smile

Sorry for the teaser – but this post is about my book club pick.  It’s a doozy.  Long, jumpy, hard to follow, and not much of a hook to keep me reading.

The book:

The Lacuna

Sorry if you love this author and/or book.

Rarely do I quit on books, especially if it’s a book club selection – but I put in a valiant effort (I’d say about 100 pages) and I’m getting no closer to liking it and it certainly feels like, no closer to the end.

I feel a bit bad about throwing in the towel – I mean, I did pay $10 for this on my Kindle. But a quick check with a couple of my book club friends – and I found I wasn’t alone.  They had quit on it long ago. 

So time to move on! 

Current reads:

Micah and my couple’s book club selection:

making marriage work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No time like the present to get started on some good healthy marriage habits. Smile  We’ve both started the book – and for me, I find it really fascinating and useful.

My personal reading:

girl who played with fire 

This is the second in a trilogy. I read the first and liked it mostly. I’m willing to give the second book a go.

Since I’m not wasting spending anymore time on my book club book reading…I can do a bit of for fun reading.

Are you a Lacuna lover?  Am I missing something?  I’d love to know!

A new country…a new book club

My Korean co-teachers, Seunghui and Minju, plus my school’s music teacher, Hanna – they all speak a fair amount of English (enough to be able to converse with them daily).  They also want to improve their conversational English skills and have asked for my help.  Aside from the daily chit-chat, every Friday afternoon, the four of us are going to sit down and just talk.  I will be there to correct their English if necessary, help them understand the meaning of different English words/phrases, and to keep the conversation alive. 

One suggestion they seemed to love was the idea of a book club.   Back home in Seattle, I’ve been part of my book club for 5 years.  It’s one of my favorite things.  So, why not here in Korea?

I talked it over with them to see what types of books they’d be interested in reading: chick-lit and dramas.  I, of course, had to define the term “chick-lit.” 

So, my mission began.  First, I had to find books that I can read in English AND are also printed in Korean.   The number of books that I can easily find in the stores here are fairly limited.  And from those limited titles…I had to find something I thought they all would enjoy. 

I eventually decided on The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.  I’ve actually read this book before (and seen the movie – loved it), so I thought it was a good selection.  I picked up 3 copies of this book in Korean, downloaded the English copy to my Kindle, and away we go! 

My teachers were all excited about the book.  They’ve all seen the movie and loved it too.  We’ll only read a couple chapters a week to keep it all manageable.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

Reading insanity

twilight.png twilight saga image by vitamin-girl-haha

I’m not sure why, but I decided to keep reading the rest of the books in the Twilight series.  Now, the first book I really didn’t like much.  The majority of my book club loved it though.  They continued on to the other books way long ago…while I resisted.

However, a few of my friends just recently got into the series and are hooked.  I think more out of curiosity, I decided I would at least read the 2nd book, New Moon. 

Again, not really that good – but a quick read. 

For the third book, Eclipse, my friend lent me her copy.  It’s well over 600 pages (big print though).  I was about half way through and realized we’d be leaving for Boston the next day.  I thought I was close enough where I’d finish reading it on the plane (but be left without another book – which I wanted to avoid). And I didn’t want to pack two huge hardcover books. 

So…I decided to stay up for however long it would take, and read the rest of Eclipse.  That way, I could read the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, on the Boston trip.  Well, I underestimated how long it would take to finish it.  I was SO tired but I kept getting closer and closer to the finish – I couldn’t stop now. 

I did eventually finish the book (3 hours of straight reading), and in enough time to get exactly 2 hours of sleep before having to get up and catch our flight.  Of course, I was SO exhausted that I barely touched the fourth book.

The really weird thing is: I still don’t like the series all that much.  However, I’ve invested so much time, that I’m willing to keep reading to see what happens.  But really, I think the plots are really cheesy (acknowledging they are written for tweens), and the writing is just ok.  Hard to believe, I know.

Ok – enough blogging…gotta get back to reading.  🙂

Reading therapy

I am sick…again!  I’m going on Day 4 of the flu.  As a reminder, I was sick two weeks ago.  I managed to work a full day Monday, but have been literally in bed for the last three days.  And I hardly feel any better.  This sucks. 

So between the sleeping, coughing, aches and pains…I have managed to spend much of my recovery time catching up on my reading.  Even when I’m sick, I need to feel productive – a different type of illness I constantly suffer from :-).  In the past 4 days, I have finished reading 4 books (two of them I was already a third or so into, and the other two I read start to finish). 

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

My dear friend Deborah gave this book to me, and to our friend Katie…creating a book club if you will.  This happens to be the same book that Tera and I gave our grandma for Christmas.  Before my visit to my grandma’s house a couple weeks ago, I started reading it, so that I might be able to discuss it a bit with my her.

It really is an amazing book and tells an amazing, inspirational story.  I did find it a little difficult to follow because of all the names: geography, people, places, etc.  Just hard to keep it all straight when you are unfamiliar with Afghan, Pakistan, and Indian language.  Overall, I highly recommend it because the story is so good.

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (the same author as Fight Club).  This is the current selection for the book club with my girlfriends.  Hmm…a very interesting book.  If you are easily offended or easily disturbed, then it’s probably not the book for you.  It’s not a “happy” book and it’s quite disgusting on many levels – but that’s probably the point of the book too.  It’ll make for an interesting book club discussion. 

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

By far, one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.  This is Micah and my current book club pick (surprisingly, Micah’s pick).  It’s cute, charming and cleverly-written.  (the entire story is told through letters).  It’s a very quick read and just so good – that I read it from cover to cover in about a half day.  I plan to send my copy to my grandma to read – I think she’ll love it. 

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

I started this book a month or so ago, but got sidetracked with other things that I had to set it aside.  I read Outliers a few months ago, also written by Gladwell.  He likes to find unconventional ways of explaining events and occurrences in the word.  This book has been out for a long time, and is well-known as a “business book.”  I like to think that if you liked Freakonomics, then you’ll appreciate this book.  He brings a new perspective to explaining events that happen in society. 

While I have managed to do a considerable amount of reading, by no means have I neglected other forms of entertainment.  I have watched Oprah each day, countless HGTV and Food Network shows, and watched two movies I got on Netflix – Children of Men and Get Smart (really funny by the way).

I’m allowing myself only one more day to be sick!

Latest updates…

Update #1:  I am seriously bored at work – some days there’s a lot to do (which is actually kind of nice) – and then the next day there may be nothing to do.  But thus far, I keep coming in…just waiting for when a project comes my way.  And b/c I am still waiting with no work to do at the present moment…I post random updates on my blog.  Nice.

Update #2:  I just got back from meeting up with Micah for lunch.  He works about 9 blocks away from me. We try and meet up at least once a week for lunch – we like to call it “heat and meet” – since the majority of the time, we just bring leftovers from home (rather than eating out).  We take turns of who has to walk to the other person’s building, but again (see update #1) I’ve been doing more walking recently.

Sorry – back to the update.  I can cross off 2 more “best desserts” off my list.  I took a detour to Dahlia Bakery on my way to Micah’s building.  I picked up a Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie and a Coconut Cream Pie (relax…it was just a small two-biter…not the exact one described in the magazine, but it will suffice).  I, of course, shared with Micah.  Both were delicious.  The PB cookie was like a Nutter Butter on crack (I say that in a good way)…and the coconut cream pie was light and delish.  Thumbs up.   Sorry, no pics of the desserts – they were gobbled up too quickly.

Update #3:  I played basketball last night…1.5 hours of basketball.  Each Thursday night there is a women’s open gym.  It’s nice, fun, and it’s exercise!  A relaxed, non-competitive environment where we can just play ball with other ladies (sorry – not that fun playing with guys who are most of the time, just ball hogs!)  Anyways, I was exhuasted!  I am SO glad I did some playing yesterday, since the winter basketball season starts in about 2 weeks.  I need the practice! 

Update #4:  I haven’t been so good with book club lately.  I did not read the current pick for my girl’s book club The Road.  Honestly, I heard it was really boring – yet it was named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the top 100 books of the last 20 years.  I probably should read it…but I won’t even be around for book club in January b/c of the Sister’s Getaway trip (i.e. probably won’t read it). But I am almost done with the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  I have found it to be quite interesting and fascinating.  If you read Freakonomics and liked the concept of taking an idea or a statistic and finding alternative ways of explaining it through research – then you would like Outliers.  One idea talked about in the book is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of something.  And this idea holds true for sports, musicians, businesspeople, chess players, etc. etc.  If that little tidbit has intrigued you…then read the book!

Update #5:  This isn’t really an update, more just news to share.  My friend Martha (who I’ve been friends with since my first day of setting foot on the WSU campus) is getting married!  And she not only asked me to be a bridesmaid, but her maid of honor!  I was really surprised and very touched by her request.  I, of course, said yes!  I did tell her I was a little worried about being able to fulfill all the MOH duties because of Micah and I potentially living abroad when she gets married.  But no worries, one of the other bridesmaids will help out, and has such, been promoted to Matron of Honor (sunce she’s married already)!

A few updates

Update 1: Eye twitch – was a problem a little while back…went away…and now it’s back.  Grrr.
Update 2: Book club – I have since finished all three book club books.  Had a fun book club meeting with Micah discussing Water for Elephants, a fun book club meeting discussing Twilight among other things, and another fun book club discussing Predictably Irrational.  Some of my book club girls are going to watch the movie Twilight.  Hope it’s better than the book.  Our next book is Wuthering Heights.  Going classic this time.  Already started…and already thinking I won’t finish.  It’s a hard book to read.  Instead, I’m reading The Shack.  It’s a book my grandma sent me – so far it’s pretty interesting.  I figure I’ll have a little book club discussion with her via phone once I’m finished.
Update 3: Micah got the Wii Fit.  It’s SOO fun.  And I actually am quite impressed with how decent of a workout you can get on it.  There’s yoga poses, strength exercises, aerobics and balance exercises.  It’s fun seeing just how balanced, flexible, or strong you are.  I highly recommend.

Devilish times

Had another fun-filled busy weekend.  Decided to forgo Friday’s work happy hour – and instead went to the gym (to counterbalance the coming weekend festivities). 

Saturday:  Started the morning off with some couples yoga…and more specifically, it was me and Micah fighting for living room space as we followed along with a 20 minute yoga video on tv.  But it was invigorating nonetheless.  Afterwards, put the finishing touches on my cake for the bachelorette party.  I then met up with some fellow bachelorette ladies at the Benefit makeup counter at Macy’s to do a little makeover action.  I didn’t love my makeover, but I did like some of the products they have.  We finished getting ready at my friend’s house in Seattle (after making a quick stop to buy a present for the bachelorette – b/c my shall remain nameless friend forgot to get a gift!).  But all was good, and crisis (and potential humiliation) was averted quite nicely.  Now, we were instructed to wear red and/or devil horns, tail, etc. for the night, as the bachelorette would be wearing all white and a halo.  I didn’t have anything red, so I opted for the devil horns, which was fairly easy to obtain considering it’s Halloween next week. 

Later that night…made our way over to the hostess’ house – where the girls were already enjoying food and spirits. 🙂  We did the usual activities for this type of event – enough said.  But it was a great time.  And around 10:30pm, we made our way to The War Room in Capitol Hill area.  Got in for free and had arrangments for the VIP booth (which is crucial if you are in heels all night).  Spent a good amount of time there dancing, hanging out, having a drink or two, and getting the bachelorette to do all sorts of random activities with all sorts of random people.  It was entertaining and people around us seemed to love it.  Here’s a fun pic from a professional photographer taking pics that night: 

Later later that night…as with most bachelorette parties it is customary to at some point in the night, show up at Tia Lou’s in Belltown.  With thirteen girls showing up, many with devil horns on, we got right in and no cover (yay!).  It was packed, of course.  And it was hard to keep track of everyone.  But the music was fun and danceable and most of us managed to stay until the lights came on.  Ended the night with lots of water and a quick stop at Jack-in-the-Box (my personal favorite late night food.  Jumbo jack and curly fries – unbeatable combo).  Oh, didn’t get home til nearly 4am (and in case you are wondering, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve gotten home that late).

Sunday: Got a few hours sleep, and then it was rise and shine time.  I had my girl’s book club meeting to go to – back in Seattle.  Forgoing a shower in the morning gave me at least 10 additional minutes of shut eye, so that was a no brainer.  We had a really fun meeting, talked about our book Twilight and it seems everyone really liked it, and some have read the following books in the series.  Now, I didn’t love it – but perhaps I’ll give book #2 a try and see if I’m just a late bloomer.  Kate, she was the host, made an awesome spread of brunch foods (two different types of quiche, scones, salad, marketspice tea).  Yummy!  We had great conversation and got caught up with everyone.  I love book club.  Next up, a classic, Wuthering Heights and going to watch the movie version of Twilight (out Nov. 21st).  By the time I got home, I was zonked.  But instead of resting, I chose to spend the rest of the beautiful (and unusually sunny) day with Micah.  We went and played basketball in the park, ordered pizza and watched a movie.  I need this week to rest up!

Book club, book club, book club

So I have “book club” in the title three times because I am a part of three book clubs.  Usually I can time it so that not everything is overlapping at once, but I seem to have failed this time around…but no worries – I seem to have more time on my hands (see previous blog postings about job), so I can catch up.  Here’s what I’m reading at the moment.


Book club 1: This is the book club I have with my girlfriends.  We are going on 5 years now!  Our current pick:  Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.  It’s part of a series of books, and I think it’s actually written for tweens/teenage girls, but I’ve gotten countless recommendations from people my age or older.  We thought we’d see what all the hype was about.  I have just started this.  I think it’s about vampires, which I normally am not into…but again, I am willing to read to see why everyone is raving.


Book club 2: Micah and I have our own book club too. We’ve done it for a year or so. We trade picks, so that Micah gets to pick one month, me the next, and so on. We just finished reading Star Wars: Heir to the Empire.  Wonder who’s pick that was?  So, this month’s selection is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  I thought I’d change it up a bit and invite not only my sister (who I constantly am encouraging to read more) to read this boook, but also my grandma.  My Grams recently stumbled upon large print books (easier on the eyes) in the library.  And after hearing about some of the books she’s been reading, I thought she’d enjoy this one too.  So I ordered up four of these books (1 large print) for us all.  Funny thing is, my grandma got her book and read half of it before we even got ours shipped.  But it’ll be fun to discuss it…once I finish…which means I need to start it.  Eeek.


Book club 3: This is newly formed and is with some of my buddies at work: Alison, Katie, and Valerie.  We wanted to read some interesting books that relate to our profession…but not boring “business books” but cool interesting stuff about consumer behavior, psychology, decision-making, etc.  So we kicked it off with Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.  I’m about half way through.  This one is kind of nice because we only read 4 chapters or so, and then meet at lunchtime.  It’s been extremely interesting thus far.  The author is a very creative, unique researcher who turns traditional thinking about consumer-decision making on its head.  (If you liked Freakonomics then you might like this one too).

Ok – enough blogging, I gotta read!!!!


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