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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Reads

I usually read books that are a little lighter during the summer.  Usually most of my reading is done on vacation.  This summer I haven't had quite as much time and have done most of my reading at night before bed.  So far, the books I've read haven't been worth the missed sleep.

"In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.  Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered."

I've read Dan brown's other books and have found them all reasonably interesting,not great literature, but usually a pretty fun read.  This was probably my least favorite.   I thought this review from Publisher's Weekly was a pretty accurate outline of some of the reason's I didn't really enjoy the book: 

"The threat of world overpopulation is the latest assignment for Brown's art historian and accidental sleuth Robert Langdon. Awakening in a Florence hospital with no memory of the preceding 36 hours, Langdon and an attractive attending physician with an oversized intellect are immediately pursued by an ominous underground organization and the Italian police. Detailed tours of Florence, Venice, and Istanbul mean to establish setting, but instead bog down the story and border on showoffmanship. Relying on a deceased villain's trail of clues threaded through the text of Dante's The Divine Comedy, the duo attempt to unravel the events leading up to Langdon's amnesia and thwart a global genocide scheme. Suspension of disbelief is required as miraculous coincidences pile upon pure luck. Near the three-quarters point everything established gets upended and Brown, hoping to draw us in deeper, nearly drives us out. Though the prose is fast-paced and sharp, the burdensome dialogue only serves plot and back story, and is interspersed with unfortunate attempts at folksy humor. It's hard not to appreciate a present day mega-selling thriller that attempts a refresher course in Italian literature and European history. But the real mystery is in the book's denouement and how Brown can possibly bring his hero back for more."


Amina Mazid is twenty-four when she moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is the twenty-first century: she is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online. For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life for her and her parents, as well as a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn't play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when Amina returns to Bangladesh that she an'd George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together."

I picked this book up at Costco and have had it on my shelf for awhile.  It could have stayed there a lot longer and I wouldn't have missed much.  The premise sounded interesting and there were some decent parts.  But overall, it was pretty boring.  The big secrets were kind of strange and not all that shocking.   I would have loved more information about the Bangladesh culture to give the book some depth.  I mostly had a hard time caring.


June Wrap Up

I have done some updating during the month but since this is my only version of a scrap book, I thought I would do a little picture summary of the month:

Signed up for but didn't get to ride in
Little Red Riding Hood
Went along for the girls trip and had a
Beautiful run while they were out riding.

First trip of the season to Bridal Veil Falls

Tim took Luke to the splash pad and
We discovered that he is a water baby.

Luke and I went to Dallas for Jessica's graduation.

Tim and I went to the Tim McGraw concert and
Stayed in Salt Lake to celebrate our anniversary.

Sean came to town and four of the five siblings
Strolled down memory lane at a concert,
Bare Naked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster.

Plenty of pool time for this boy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars

At 16, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a three-year stage IV–cancer survivor, is clinically depressed. To help her deal with this, her doctor sends her to a weekly support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor, and the two fall in love. Both kids are preternaturally intelligent, and Hazel is fascinated with a novel about cancer called An Imperial Affliction. Most particularly, she longs to know what happened to its characters after an ambiguous ending. To find out, the enterprising Augustus makes it possible for them to travel to Amsterdam, where Imperial’s author, an expatriate American, lives. What happens when they meet him must be left to readers to discover. Suffice it to say, it is significant. Writing about kids with cancer is an invitation to sentimentality and pathos—or worse, in unskilled hands, bathos. Happily, Green is able to transcend such pitfalls in his best and most ambitious novel to date. Beautifully conceived and executed, this story artfully examines the largest possible considerations—life, love, and death—with sensitivity, intelligence, honesty, and integrity. In the process, Green shows his readers what it is like to live with cancer, sometimes no more than a breath or a heartbeat away from death. But it is life that Green spiritedly celebrates here, even while acknowledging its pain. (From Booklist)

I had read several reviews of this book, mostly good, a few negative, and was excited to have a chance to read it for myself.  The short answer is that I loved it.  There are plenty of books out there about people dying of cancer but what I loved about this one was the relationships, primarily between Hazel and Gus, but also their mutual friend Isaac.  I loved the sarcastic conversations balanced with tender emotions between people who were really struggling.   One of the recurring conversations is about An Imperial Affliction and how many times Hazel has re-read it.  I found it somewhat ironic that as soon as I finished reading, I wanted to read it again.  In fact, just talking about it has put it back on my shelf of books to be read.  
Solid A

 A few of my favorite quotes:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dallas June 2013

Thirteen years ago I graduated from BYU.  Jessica was there and we took a picture of her wearing my cap, she has displayed the picture it in her room ever since.  Last week I was lucky enough to be on the opposite side of that tradition and be there to see her graduate from high school.  As the single aunt for so long, I never felt completely childless thanks to my nephews and nieces.  I was lucky that Sean and Julie always invited me to be such a part of their family and I love my "Texas babies" as if they were my own.  Over the years we have been asked numerous times if Jess was my daughter, a question that  has always made us both smile.  Now that I will be having my own daughter, I can only hope that she will grow up to be a great of a girl as Jessica has.

As excited as we were to go,
It was a little traumatic to separate my two boys at the airport

I was a little nervous to travel on my own
But thanks to some great packing
I was happy to be able to handle 
Everything on my own.
Luke didn't sleep at all on either flight
But...he was super happy and kept everyone entertained.

One of the best parts about being together 
Is of course, the chance for a family run.
Everyone was very gracious and ran very slowly for me.

Nothing like a summer night at a baseball game
Luke brought his own ball, just wanted to fit in.

 New fridges to explore

The best part of the trip, really any trip to Dallas
Was just spending time with family.
Luke especially like hanging with everyone,
And loved the non stop attention.

So proud of this girl,
Can't wait for her to start college at BYU

Happy Anniversary

Four years ago I made the best decision of my life and married Tim.  At the time we got married we had been dating for a little over a year, so we have actually been together for over five years.  Last night we were talking about how many great experiences we have had since then.  Life hasn't been perfect, but it has all definitely been better as a team.  Looking forward to rest of eternity with you babe.  

The Big Day

First Anniversary
June 15, 2010
Tim surprised me by taking me to The Chef's Table

Not sure what happened to the pictures from our second anniversary.
I do know that it involved PF Chang

Third Anniversary
June 15, 2012
So much fun to be a family of 3.

June 14, 2013
We got started a day early with the Tim McGraw concert
We knew it would a long night so we decided to stay in Salt Lake
What better place to stay than the Hyatt House,
Same place we spent our first night married

Thanks mom and dad for letting Luke have a sleep over
And of course, to Gavin and Miles for
Helping take such good care of our boy

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Class of 2013

Taylor graduated from Skyview High School last week.  He is such a dedicated student and crazy smart.  I remember when I first met him he was about 13, half the time I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about because he was already so advanced in so many subjects.  Thanks to his good grades, he has been awarded a four year, full tuition scholarship to Utah Valley University.  We are so proud of all of his accomplishments.
My favorite quotes from the speeches:
"Too often we judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions"  Steven R. Covey
"I have prepared for death all my life by the life I have lived"  Socrates