June Reads

Delicate Arch

Me looking tiny under Delicate Arch

Good gravy, June flew by! For the first half of the month, I was out West on a road trip with my family. Since getting home, I’ve been getting back into the swing of working, blogging, searching for a full-time degree-validating job, and having a few visits with the boyfriend.

Despite spending so much time traveling and hiking and doing things besides sitting around my house, I got a lot of reading done this month! I got to read some really great books and even re-read an older book for the Beats of Summer event held by Roof Beam Reader!

Continue reading


Quotable Friday: from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

“Perhaps our deepest love is already inscribed within us, so its object doesn’t create a new word, but instead allows us to read the one written.”

– A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

It’s a Love/Hate Thing

Last week Book Riot posted a companion piece to its November 2012 list of readers’ top 50 favorite novels. The new article lists the 50 most hated books, compiled from reader submissions.

As a lover of lists, I was intrigued by these posts. In particular, I was interested in the overlap; according to a Book Riot post analyzing these lists, there are eight books that were featured on both lists:

  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Wuthering Heights
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • Moby Dick
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Ulysses

What is it about these books that make them both so loved and so hated? I have read five of these books; of the ones I’ve read, I loved three and disliked two. I think “hate” is too strong a word to describe my feelings toward any book, but I think I might have actually hated one at the time I read it. Which brings me to my theory: Continue reading

Interview with Tanya J. Peterson, Author of Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence Tanya J. PetersonA few weeks ago, I reviewed Leave of Absence, a novel about two patients in a behavioral health center, by Tanya J. Peterson. As part of the blog tour for her book, Tanya kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her work as a counselor, her drive to combat stigmas against mental illness, and the lives of her characters beyond the novel’s pages. Continue reading

Book Review: Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace

Book Review: Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
by David Foster Wallace

Non-Fiction: Essays
Back Bay Books, 2006
Paperback, 343 pages
Source: Purchased

While reading A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again last summer, I was alternately blown away by David Foster Wallace’s intelligence, chuckling at his sense of humor, frantically looking up words in my phone’s dictionary app, and baffled as to why I was reading a 70-page essay about a director whose films I’ve never seen (David Lynch). Mostly, though, I loved it. I was crazy about the way Wallace can make any topic interesting and just how ridiculously smart he is. I don’t know how it took me a year to read another of his books, but I finally read Consider the Lobster! Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

“What I fear and desire most in this world is passion. I fear it because it promises to be spontaneous, out of my control, unnamed, beyond my reasonable self. I desire it because passion has color, like the landscape before me. It is not pale. It is not neutral. It reveals the backside of the heart.”

– Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams

Book Review: Red by Terry Tempest Williams

Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest WilliamsRED
by Terry Tempest Williams

Non-fiction: Essays and Stories
Vintage, 2001
Paperback, 288 pages
Source: Purchased

I recently spent three weeks traveling around the American West and spent much of that time in southern Utah, a vast, wild land of stunning red cliffs and winding canyons, natural bridges and arches, views of distant mountains, the meanderings of the Colorado River, and an astonishing variety of plant and animal life.

I picked up Red at the visitors center in Moab and read a good portion of it while sitting on a sun-warmed boulder under a massive red butte next to the Colorado River. Reading this book about the beauty of the desert and the importance of conserving it while being able to look up and contemplate the multi-hued, ever-changing colors in the rock around me made for the perfect reading experience. Continue reading

May Reads


The family farm in Iowa

This post is super late, but writing a Monthly Reads post on my phone while on the road was not a viable option!

I went on a road trip from mid-May to mid-June, spending a total of 22 days driving around the Four Corners region with my family. It was a great trip, and you can read about it here. I managed to read quite a bit during the driving portions of the vacation; most notably, I started reading Les Mis again! I still don’t love it, but I’m GOING to finish it.

I didn’t get to do much [read: any] blogging because of the trip, but I posted a few pre-scheduled reviews for book tours I had agreed to do before I decided to join my family on the road trip. Sorry it’s been mostly review books lately — blame it on the vacation — but I’ll be back to reviewing my own books soon! Continue reading

Road Trip Recap

Hello lovelies!

As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I recently spent three weeks on the road with my family. I got home safe and sound last Tuesday evening, had one full day to relax, and then jumped in the car again to spend a long weekend with the long-distance boyfriend. After having a really wonderful time with him, I’m finally home for a significant period of time. Since I now have some time on my hands, I thought I’d do a post with a few highlights of my trip! I’m putting a few photos in the body of the post, but there’s also a larger gallery at the bottom – I can’t resist sharing a few photos!

On Tues, May 21, my parents, younger sister, and I hitched up the pop-up camper and hit the roads for parts unknown. Also known as the Four Corners region of the U.S. This was my second road trip out West (my sister and I drove to California and back two years ago), and although a few sights were familiar, most of the trip was spent taking in stunning new vistas.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Travels with Herodotus

“A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our door step once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable.”

– Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski