1. Listening to recently…
Ben Rector and Tyrone Wells
I’m going Stubb’s on Thursday to see Ben Rector (headliner) and Tyrone Wells (opener) in concert. It will be my 2nd time seeing them both. It’s guaranteed to be a good show, just hoping the weather outside is nice.
2. Reading currently…
Allegiant is the 3rd book in the Divergent trilogy. I loved the first two books in the trilogy.
I made the mistake of reading the reviews on Amazon before I started the book. They are not kind. So, it hasn’t motivated me to binge read through this book. And coupled with the fact that I read the first two books over a year ago, I’ve forgotten so much and made it confusing at first. But I’m still hopeful and will finish the book.
3. Watching on HBO Go…
I finally finished watching The West Wing. I had to move on to a new-to-me series. I’d always heard great things about The Wire and wanted something different than The West Wing.
It’s a good show. It’s not my normal cup of tea, which is why I never watched it when it was on. But the story lines and writing are great. (If Bubbles ends up dying, I’m going to be so upset!!!)
One fun thing about watching an older show, I keep seeing the cast members on current shows! Bunk is on The Michael J Fox show. Kima was on The Good Wife two weeks ago. Prez was just on Hostages this week. And 2 guys from the show are currently on The Walking Dead.
Annnnnnd I’m fully aware that I watch too much TV!!!!
What are you currently listening to, reading, and/or watching???
Do you have a book recommendation for me to read next?
What should I watch after The Wire? I’m thinking Six Feet Under.
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Two weeks ago, I binge watched season 1 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. And then I needed more, so I read the book!
Orange is the New Black is Kerman’s story of her 13 months in prison. In her younger days, she got mixed up with some shady business with drug trafficking. She came to her sense fairly quickly and turned her life around. Cut to 10 years later, her past caught up with her.
Kerman had to come clean to her family, friends, and new fiancée about her former life. She also had to come to terms with going to prison.
Orange is the New Black focuses on how Kerman adapted, the social order/groups in prison, and the women she met. She does touch on the failures of the prison system and the inefficiencies. I was drawn more to the stories of how she just gained some normalcy in day-to-day life.
One thing Kerman talks about a few times in the book was how the women kept wondering if Martha Stewart would be in their prison. Kerman was imprisoned during the Stewart trial. And it seems that Stewart wanted to go to her prison in Danbury to be close to her Mom. But no prison wanted Stewart for fear of the extra attention/scrutiny that may come to the prison. So Danbury was “full” until Stewart was sentenced elsewhere.
Another part of the book that I found interesting was how creative the women would get. Since they are without many things, they’d think outside of the box. Think microwave for gourmet cooking. Or think mixing lead shaving with vaseline to create eyebrow liner.
It made me wonder how I would cope if I was locked up. Would I use my time to read and do yoga like Kerman? Would I learn to make prison cheesecake? Would I just sleep most of the time? My bet would be on the sleep.
4.5 out of 5 stars
If you’ve already watched the show, I still highly recommend the book. But do not think that it will be completely similar. Although there is a Russian cook character, a transvestite, and a Pennsatucky in the book…many of the names are different in the book or stories different. Which did not bother me at all, just be prepared.
Today at work, I started writing out that today was Friday. Wow, I’m really getting ahead of myself. What a bummer to think that a Monday is a Friday!
I didn’t do much this past weekend. I had to finally take advantage of the quiet in my apartment building.
So I’ll recap last weekend instead!
2. I went to Linda’s 30th birthday party. (Linda’s in the middle.) Linda is always so happy and her spirit is infectious. Her party theme was BALLS. Kind of like….oh balls, I’m turning 30. It was so fun. All the food was ball themed. I went the easy route & just brought cherries & grapes…and also peanut M&M’s and lemon drops.
My fellow Julie, me, and Amy
3. On Sunday night, I went over to Mary Helen’s for burger party. Her nephew is in town, so she invited everyone over. This picture was an afterthought. I was too busy chowing down…nom nom nom.
4. I binged watched Orange is the New Black last weekend on Netflix. After 4 people on my Twitter feed were raving about it, I knew that I had to watch. I immediately started reading the book once I finished season 1. I’d actually bought the book a few years ago and hadn’t read it. I’m almost done already!
5. A few weeks ago, I bought these notebooks (Target impulse buy). I wanted to start a personal journal. I remember after my grandma passed away finding some notebooks of hers. It wasn’t deep thoughts…it was more like, went for a walk today. But I was still fascinated. Although mundane details, it was compelling to me. So, I’ve started my own journaling. Maybe I’ll stick with it for years (hopefully) and maybe not. But in the hopes that I will…I returned to Target to buy out the remaining notebooks. My journals have to match!
Okay, I’m off to
watch the season finale of RHOC….er I mean to write in my journal.
Since I hadn’t blogged 2 months, I figured that I’d do a recap/what’s Julie been up to lately post.
Let’s take a walk down recent memory lane.
1. I tried ramen for the first time!! I went to Daruma Ramen with some lovely ladies. It was very good, although I have no comparison! I doubt that I’ll try it again anytime soon due to the Austin heat.
2. I met Fabio of Top Chef fame! He came to Book People on his cookbook tour and met with local food bloggers early for a meet & greet. Very personable guy!
3. I’ve been back a few times to my favorite bar, Easy Tiger.
4. I tried fried fish bones at Kenichi. Crispy suckers.
5. I’ve been to Trailer Tuesdays at the Long Center for the past 3 months. Last week, my favorite truck, Llama’s, was there. Love their pork belly sandwich!
Lobster sliders from Dock and Roll
Yeti Frozen Custard
6. I went to the Bon Jovi concert with some friends. How does he still have the energy?!
7. My pupster, Haley, has arthritis. She’s on some pain meds now and seems to be feeling better.
8. I recently finished reading Honeymoon by James Patterson. I’d been in a book slump and hadn’t liked the last 3 books that I started to read. My Dad recommended Honeymoon. Really enjoyed it…a fast read.
9. Did you watch Behind the Candelabra on HBO about Liberace?? Crazy train wreck! I couldn’t stop watching!
11. I went to Kansas City for my friend, Alison’s wedding. The chapel was so beautiful! I loved the design and how the light at sunset came through.
12. I went on the Up & Down Tour at Casa Brasil & South Austin Brewery. An afternoon learning about coffee and beer….what more can you ask for?!
13. I attended the media tasting for Umami Mia Pizzeria in Austin. I wasn’t a fan of the pizza, but I was a big fan of their cocktails. My favorites were the Tuscan Sipper & the Blackberry Caipirinha.
14. I did try some awesome pizza though….at Via 313. Yummmmmmm!
15. I attended my first 2 crawfish boils recently. Such a fun time! I’m more into the corn & potatoes though. But crawfish boils make for good pictures.
16. Brunch at the Clay Pit! It was so good!! Glad that I finally tried it.
17. I binge watched Season 4 of Arrested Development in only 3 days. Has anyone else watched it?? Are they going to make more episodes? Because that last episode…what??
Annnnd I’m done!
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
My parents got me this book for Christmas. They know my style. A chick-lit book about childhood friends that open up a bakery? Sold!
How to Eat a Cupcake is the story of Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair. Julia comes from a life of privilege and wealth. Annie grows up on the outside, yet inside of that life as Annie’s mother is the St. Clair’s housekeeper.
The girls grew up very close until a falling out in high school. The story begins ten years later as the two find themselves back into each others lives. In an attempt to make amends, Julia offers to help Annie open a bakery. Although prideful and suspicious, Annie needs the financial help and agrees.
I found myself comparing this book to Something Borrowed, which isn’t a fair comparison except it’s both about childhood friends. This book is not nearly as good as Something Borrowed. I wasn’t especially drawn to either Annie or Julia. I found Annie a bit whiny and Julia was definitely not my cup of tea.
My favorite character was a farmer, Ogden, that supplied food to the bakery. The book is a quick read though….and it did make me hungry. Mocha cupcakes, Chocolate persimmon spice cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, etc.
3 out of 5 stars
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Brain on Fire was the last book that I read in 2012. I was hoping for an interesting book that kept me turning the pages. This book did not disappoint.
Brain on Fire is a memoir of what Cahalan went through after contracting a very rare brain disease. It follows her from the first on-set of symptoms to the battle of finding what was wrong with her to the even longer battle of recovery.
I didn’t focus too much on the medical terminology in the book. That part was quite over my head. But her personal story and that of her friends/family was very interesting. This disease masked itself with systems of paranoia, hallucinations, and extreme up’s and down’s in mood.
Following her struggle to find normalcy and seeing how different people reacted to her was an interesting case in fight or flight. Her first neurologist was adamant that Cahalan was just drinking too much and was overly stressed. Other doctors simply chalked it up to being schizophrenic.
I couldn’t help but wonder…how would I react if I was suddenly losing my mind while baffling doctors? How would people around me react? How would you react?
4.5 out of 5 stars
In 2012, I upped my reading game by purchasing an iPad. After going to book club once and being the only one without an e-Reader, the peer pressure got to me. Oh yeah, I wanted to read the shameful 50 Shades of Grey books without having to buy the books in-person.
The 50 Shades books were horrid….although I still read all three of them. But my iPad reading and I are two peas in a pod.
In 2011, I read 21 books. Let’s see how 2012 panned out.
Books Read in 2012
1. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
2. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I love this book so much!!! 2012 was definitely the year that I got more into reading memoirs.
4. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Really enjoyed this book too!
5-7. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
8. How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
9. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
10-11. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
12. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
After moving to Austin, this book really helped me in my quest to make friends!
13. How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway
14. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
15. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Haven’t you read this book yet?!?!?! It’s only been on everyone’s top books of 2012 lists, including mine!
16. How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Other people really enjoyed this book. Sadly, I was not a fan.
17-19. 50 Shades of Grey trilogy by E L James
Sorry, lapse of judgement there…
20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
22. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
23. The Affair by Lee Child
Lee Child writes the Jack Reacher books, which is currently a movie out with Tom Cruise. They are solid “guy books”. An easy read, but not my normal choice of book.
24. The Confession by John Grisham
25. The Soldier’s Wife by Margaret Leroy
26. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
This book is being made into a movie too. I enjoyed the book…even without knowing a lick about mythology. If you studied mythology in school, you may enjoy it even more than I did.
27. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
I just finished this book today!! I really enjoyed it and am anxious to see what my book club thinks about it when we meet in January.
What was your favorite book that you read this year??
I haven’t done any book reviews in 2 months.
I picked several so-so books recently that I chose not to review.
The 50 Shades of Grey triology by E L James
–Yes, I read all 3 of them! I only enjoyed the 1st one though. The 2nd two were a constant roller coaster of girl is whiny/man is brooding, they argue, they make up & have great sex. Rinse & repeat for hundreds of pages.
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
–Evanovich has a new series about a pastry chef that has mystical powers. It was super hokey, which is true Evanovich. If you are a Stephanie Plum series fan, you may enjoy them. I did finish the book in one day, but the hokey-ness turned into groaners for me.
The Affair by Lee Child
–My Dad gave me this book when I visited in July. It’s similar to all of those mystery/government conspirary type books that men read. Or at least, that’s what I associate as a “guy’s book”. It started off strong and kept my interest, but I felt dissatisfied with the ending.
Everything Is Going to Be Great by Rachel Shukert
–I usually love snarky female memoirs, but I could only get through about 1/4 of this book before giving up. There’s too many books out there to force yourself to read one that you’re not into!
The Confession by John Grisham
–I’ve read almost all of Grisham’s books. I’m not sure if my tastes have changed or if this book just wasn’t at the same level. I remember being younger and riping through The Firm and The Pelican Brief and loving them so much! With The Confession, there was more despair than hope. Next!
I’ve been on a bit of an upward slope with my most recent two read thoughs!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
–We read this book for book club and met last week. About 70% of us liked the book, but even if you didn’t like the book…it led to a great discussion! I chose not to review the book, because it’s a modern classic and I don’t feel equip to review “real” books. I do recommend it for a book club though. The themes really stand the test of time and we could still correlate to today. Great book!
White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber
–If you read Jenna’s blog: Eat, Live, Run, then you’ll enjoy this book! I read it one evening and couldn’t stop. It’s odd when you feel like you know someone so well, when they are still a stranger!
Next up for my book clubs, I’ll be reading:
How To Be a Woman by Caitline Moran
Nerves of Steel by CJ Lyons
Have you read any of the books mentioned?
What should I read next???
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I just finished reading Gone Girl tonight! Exciting Friday night, eh? But considering I usually wait eons to blog about things, you have to take my word for it….great book!!
Gone Girl is the story of married couple, Nick & Amy. Nick & Amy have been married for 5 years. They were living the high life in NYC, but downsized and moved to Missouri about a year prior. On the day of their 5th anniversary, Amy goes missing. There are signs of a struggle. What happened? Where is Amy? Who took her?
The husband did it! Or did he….????
If you want to read a summer thriller with twists and turns, then read this book. It definitely had some “OMG I didn’t see that coming” twists for me. I both found myself thinking that couldn’t happen and then in the next moment…oh man, what if that sort of thing DOES happen??
And then the ending….ah you’ll have to find out yourself.
5 out of 5 stars
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Description from Amazon:
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.”
I’m finding it hard to describe this book, which is why I referenced the Amazon description above. People seem to either love or hate this book (at my book club, most of the gals were on the hated spectrum). I was one of the in-betweeners. If you love imagery and long descriptions, you’ll love this book. I usually loathe description and crave fast-paced dialogue, which this book is not. But I was intrigued by the story!
Two older magicians (true magic, not illusions) wager that they can both train a superior magician. For the years of their youth, Celia and Marco are the chosen trainees. I really enjoyed the chapters about the young magicans and the training they had to go through. Once they are adults, they find out that the circus is the the stage of their competition.
Interesting concept, right?? Confusing concept too though! The unique premise kept me reading this book. The slow pace and reliance so heavily on imagery left it short for me.
3 out of 5 stars