In case you missed it, I went back to the UK this month. It was the first time I’ve been back since I left after finishing school over there in 2009. It was a wonderful trip and I got to see so many people who I haven’t seen in SO long! We attended a wonderful wedding in London for my friend Emily and then afterward were joined by my childhood best friend Alie in London.
Not only did I see a bunch of friends from Leeds, but I also got to see a few friends from summer camp which was even better! I won’t spend the whole post talking about it, but suffice to say there are a lot of photos that I want to share but won’t because I either can’t be bothered to edit them or don’t want to overwhelm everyone. Highlights of the trip, specifically book related include: Jane Austen’s House (photos after the jump (left), Warner Brothers: The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour, British Library and National Portrait Gallery. I didn’t have NEARLY enough time at Jane Austen’s, but I will go back eventually. That’s a photo of me and I was so excited and I was smiling so much that my eyes are closed in all of the photos.
It has been a very long 2017. I’m not 100% sure where it’s gone because I know I’ve been very busy. I mean this is my first recap of the year and it’s APRIL!! The good part is we took a trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this month and it was a much-needed vacation from the craziness that is work and life.
I read five books while I was there and that’s 1/3 of what I’ve read this entire year! We were in one of those all-inclusive resorts and it was EXACTLY what we needed. We went to a couple of the restaurants but didn’t do any excursions and spent two days in a beach hut (bottom middle photo) reading even in the rain we didn’t have to leave to go be dry.
I don’t even have that much to add really, it’s just been a long year. I’m going to stay away from politics, celebrity deaths and break-ups, and just down topics in general. (I won’t even complain about work!) This is a book blog after all right?
I’m sort of viewing these last few months as the last 30-45 minutes of a huge holiday meal. You’re so full you’re uncomfortable, your friends and family are starting to get on your nerves, and all you want to do is take your pants off and lounge around doing nothing for the foreseeable future right? I know I do, so I won’t keep you long.
When Dutton reached out to me about a copy* of this book for its new paperback release I jumped at it because of my trip to China this summer! What I didn’t realize was that it was predominantly set in two of the cities I visited: Suzhou and Beijing! It was really neat to read through the fictionalized life of Sai Jinhua and actually feel like I know what and where she was talking about for the post part!
This is a debut novel that I probably would not have read just because I don’t read too many, but with my trip to China, the cover and having someone reach out to me about it, I figured I would give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Add in that the book also featured a subplot line about the one non-English classic from Asia I chose for my Classics Club list: Dream of the Red Chamber and it was well worth the read.
The first and only book I didn’t finish in time for this year’s autobiography book group. I did finish it, but only about a week late. I wasn’t the one that picked it, and honestly was probably the one who enjoyed this most out of the group.
I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffett thanks to an aunt who has been to many of his concerts. I’m not going to lie though, when I re-listened to Songs You Know by Heart (Amazon link) right after finishing the book I did have to question why I was given that album couldn’t have Jagged Little Pill (Amazon link) until another aunt bought me a copy and said don’t tell your mother. Some of the lyrics are down right questionable! Without reading the book I never would’ve connected Cheeseburgers in Paradise with Buffett’s party days and he ACTUALLY talks about staying skinny doing speed. If you’ve never listened, I’ve dropped the video in at the end of this post.
If you want a hilarious read that will have people looking at you funny on public transportation, then this should definitely be on your list. I was having a bad week when I started this and within the first 10 pages I was smiling and noticing small things around me that made my week 100 times better.
I first heard of this book in one of the final Books on the Nightstand episodes (Podcast link) and thought it sounded intriguing. So when someone from Dutton reached out to me about a review copy I jumped at the opportunity.* But first a brief aside.
I must say Dutton is hitting it out of the park with books I enjoy! I have at least one, but probably two more upcoming books that I’m planning to read from them on my shelf. This doesn’t count for the numerous I’ve already responded to including Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes from late 2015 and Fool Me Once and The Stranger from earlier this year. And I haven’t even said yes to all of them, some of the others didn’t fit what I wanted to read at the time, but overall I’ve enjoyed them! Now on to my response.
Let’s start my July recap off with a beautiful photo, to the right of Castle Island in Boston. This was a busy month with lots of family, a lot of busy weekends and a lot to do at work. Thankfully (mostly because of Pokémon Go) I’ve had time to just wander around the city and relax.
If you’re not playing, you probably should be. It’s made me go out when I’ve felt like being lazy and I ended up walking six or seven miles! Not to mention it’s made my morning walks a bit more interactive 😀 There are only two downsides: 1) I’ve spent a lot of time doing it that I would generally be reading; and 2) when you go out for an hour walk and then don’t come home for four or five hours, um yeah. Thankfully my morning walks are very structured so it hasn’t made me late for work or anything like that. Continue reading →