30 Before 30 List: Checking In

The panic is beginning to set in a bit. Last Saturday, my mom’s birthday, was also my half birthday. Which means I have 2.5 years until I turn 30 (scary!) and 2.5 years until my 30 Before 30 list needs to be completed. If you’ve been following along, you can see I haven’t made very much progress.

I do have a few things in the works to check off, which I am very excited about, but I’m beginning to worry about how I’m going to fit in four big international trips in 2.5 years. Especially when the places I want to go are a little bit off the beaten path, but I have faith I will be able to find friends to accompany me on some of these adventures. (Megan, I’m looking at you!)

In related news, I’m happy to report that I have inspired three other people to create their own lists. My friend Kristin created her list this summer and has made progress on reaching her goals, and Megan and Katherine created theirs in January. Another blogger liked the idea, and you can find her list here. They all have lots of fun things on theirs, so I’m hoping we’ll work on our lists together and get things checked off and make fun memories.

On March 15th I will be running my first 5k and I am so excited! I’ve never been a runner, so it’s very exciting to see the distance and time go by when I’m on the treadmill. The next two weeks will be very intense trying to prepare, but I’m confident I’ll be able to fully run the race and enjoy it. After the race, I will have to elaborate on why running any amount of distance is a pretty big deal for me.

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In the meantime, I will continue reading this monstrosity. I wish I could count it’s 700+ pages as more than one classic, but that would be cheating.

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Book Review: The Distant Hours

Last summer, when Border’s was going out of business, I visited my local store a number of times to pick up books at huge discounts. I spent a few afternoons browsing the shelves and picking up everything from classics, to books by my favorite authors, to titles I thought would make great gifts and books I’d never heard of that looked interesting.

There was one book that stood out to me each time I was browsing the fiction section, Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours.  As you can see, the cover is gorgeous, if not a bit spooky, and after my second browsing trip, I decided that if the book was still there the next time, I would buy it.

It sat on my bookshelf looking pretty for a few months while I read other books, but I finally started it in March after returning from our cruise. It took me a while to finish, but I loved it. It had many elements that are very interesting to me, including the setting, the English countryside, the time period, weaving between the 1990’s and the 1940’s (I am a history buff), and the plot, lots of mystery and intrigue.

The book is very bittersweet, and I found myself instantly attached to most of the characters. The plot flowed very well and there wasn’t a lot of unnecessary fluff, which is rare to find in a book of 550+ pages. I would recommend the book to readers who enjoy a history lesson with their fiction and have an interest in World War II, England or family relationships and dynamics.

I’ve since read other reviews, and a lot of people have said it was their least favorite work by Morton. If this is true, then I’m very excited to read her other books because they must be excellent.

(image via Goodreads.com)

Book Review: Prep

I’m not sure how often I will do book reviews on {d&w}, but I will start posting them periodically because I’ve been trying to read  more lately. To start… a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while and finally got around to.

After hearing people discuss Prep for years, I decided to buy it earlier this spring. Despite having about 10 books sitting on my bookshelf to read, I selected this one to be the first book I would read on our cruise.

One thing I like about the book is that it’s an easy read: I could start and stop reading throughout the week without feeling lost or like I needed to re-read to jump start my memory. The book’s set up was interesting in that, instead of going year by year with lots of details, it’s set up with anecdotes from each year that illustrate the mood, maturity and life stage of the main character.

And that is where the positive ended, at least in my opinion. While the book was interesting to read, I have to say that I really didn’t like it. I found the writing to be quite annoying. Perhaps the author really took the role of writing as a highschooler seriously as every point was beaten to death, examined from every possible angle, with no real solution reached. It made it frustrating to read.

I also didn’t really like the main character. I felt like she was weak, too prone to peer pressure, a little pathetic and mostly very forgettable. Harsh, I know, but if you’re not either cheering for the main character, or hoping for their demise, I think reading loses a lot of it’s pleasure.

With so many great books out there, and so little time, I have to say that I recoommend skipping this one, unless teenage angst is your thing.

(image via Amazon)

Summer Goals

Despite the fact that it is the middle of July, it is just beginning to feel like summer here in LA. The “June Gloom” lasted well into July this year, and the sun has finally emerged and seems to be here to stay. Therefore, it seems quite fitting that I have just now assembled my yearly list of summer goals. While I have considerably less time to complete them, that just means I will have to be extra productive. To keep me honest, I’m going to list them here in the opes that some of my loyal blog readers will check up on my progress.

My goals for summer 2010 are:

– To blog twice a week;

– Visit one new place in Los Angeles per week;

– Hang out with friends more often;

– Read “A Patriot’s History of the United States;” (It’s 829 pages and I’m on page 0.)

– Complete an Ironman Triathalon before the month of July is over: that means run 26.2 miles, bike 112 miles and swim 2.4 miles. So far I’ve fun 5 miles, biked 18 and swam 0. Going to be a busy — and sore — 12 days;

– Update my black & white picture wall with recent shots;

– Spend more time volunteering at the 2 charities I’m working with now;

– Make more media placements at work.

Looks to be a crazy month and a half before Labor Day, but I say Bring It On!!

A great airplane read

If you are a history nerd like I am, you should read this book! It has lots of little-known facts about US History, most of which are very surprising.  

A few of my favorites are:

– J. Edgar Hoover refused to allow people to walk on his shadow

– In 1924 the Sears catalogue carried for the last time an advertisement for “White Duck Emigrant Wagon Covers” (people still used covered wagons for transportation in the 1920’s?!)

– President U.S. Grant was arrested for speeding in his horse carriage.

-The first bible was printed in America in 1661- in the Algonquin language, a language that no one today can read

Most of the stories are less than a page long, so it makes for a quick read. Available at Barnes & Noble.