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Reading List: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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I picked up Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I'm not sure exactly why I picked it up. Maybe to better understand some friends who have done, or want to do thru-hiking. I understand grief. I've gone through it. I know it changes you as a person. There are moments when I kinda of consider doing what Strayed did. Heck, after reading that she did it, I realized that I could do it. But I shouldn't. And I'd be slightly more moderate. And prepared.

Strayed makes poor decisions. She overpacks her pack. Doesn't train.

She just gets her stuff and goes on a potentially deadly journey. A journey that's deadly to even the prepared. She was extremely lucky and fortunate on the trail when if she hadn't had good fortune, she wouldn't have made it.

I'd heard that the book is polarizing but I don't entirely see how you could love it. In some ways I can see how it's empowering. But I don't think that one should be empowered to go on a journey like that with so little preparation. It'd be an entirely different story if she'd prepared and trained through her grief to do it instead of choosing it and being lucky. I'd be a lot more impressed with her if that's what had happened.

To be slightly fair, a coworker of mine attended a talk by Strayed and wasn't expecting much based on the book. She was very pleasantly surprised by Strayed which encouraged me.

Even though I finished it, it's not a book I'd recommend. She annoyed me as a character/person and made unwise decisions that exasperated me.

What are your opinions of the book?

Reading List: Ender's Game

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A friend of mine suggested I read Ender's Game, his favorite book. It's a military science fiction book by Orson Scott Card about Ender Wiggins, a genius little boy, and his two siblings, Valentine and Peter. Ender, and many other children, are being trained by the military to prepare for a third invasion of the "buggers" which are insect-like aliens while his two siblings are back on Earth doing their best to survive. The book really makes you think about empathy, morals, and strategy. Some of the bullying instances are very disturbing, especially considering the age of the children, but they do make you consider what defense is too far or not far enough. (Not for children, but for anyone.) These children aren't exactly normal children though. While I think that most children aren't given enough credit for their intelligence, the children featured in the book are far more intelligent than most children. The military does their best to mold these chosen children into what the military needs to defeat the buggers.They're treated, for better or worse, like adults.

I also think it speaks well to the pressures that probably face those in the military today. Making not just life or death decisions, but deciding what casualties are worth it take a toll on these characters and on those of us in the real world. While those decisions must be made, I can't imagine being one who makes them.

After reading it, I can see how many of my military friends have read it and why it's on the suggested reading list for the Marines. I'm waiting for the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, to become available from the library, so I can read it next.

Have you read it? What do you think?

Reading List: North of Here

Northwest Pearls: Reading List I just finished North of Here by Laurel Saville.

I loved it. I really couldn't put it down. There was one point where I was so frustrated with one of the characters that I put it down to go do something else; I promptly picked it right back up because I needed to know what was going to happen.

The story is very real. There's not much romanticizing of the characters or their traits. I don't want to spoil the book for you by giving too much away though!

Have you read it? What did you think?

Do you have any books to recommend?

Reading List: The Silo Series

The Silo series by Hugh Howey starts out with Wool. I first read Wool (the Omnibus edition) because a friend at college had talked it up. I borrowed his copy and was completely engrossed. I loved it. It tells the tale of a group of people living in a silo underground. The outside world is uninhabitable and they are the last of mankind. The top floor of the silo has a window to the outside, so the inhabitants can see what the outside world looks like.

I'd highly recommend the book. I first read it about three years ago and just started to re-read it.

There are two more great books in the series, Shift (Book 2), and Dust (Book 3). Shift is a prequel and gives you a look at how the world came to be in Wool. And Dust finishes up the series. I'd recommend at least starting Wool to see what you think.

What have you been reading lately?

Reading List: The Martian

I just finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir. It's a book about an astronaut, Mark Watney, who gets stranded on Mars after a storm forces the rest of his team to evacuate. They, and everyone on Earth, believes he died in the storm. But he didn't. Watney goes through enormous trials to survive and to contact NASA; we're shown his ingenuity and creativity in his fight for survival. He's a botanist and a mechanical engineer, so his skills are fairly well suited to his predicament.

The book is heavy on science, but it's not a hard read. And Watney has a sense of humor that helps him stay sane through his ordeal, so the reader is entertained by little comments Warney has about his situation and how he reacts to things. I loved reading about Watney, and I wish that there was more to the book. I didn't want it to end!

The book has been made into a movie, currently in theaters. I've heard good things about the movie, though I have not been to see it yet.

The movie trailer is below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8]

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Reading List: The Milliner's Secret: An epic and heart-wrenching love story set in wartime Paris

While browsing Amazon Unlimited, I came across The Milliner's Secret: An epic and heart-wrenching love story set in wartime Paris by Natalie Meg EvansI'm in love with it. I just finished it and I wish I had more to read. The book follows the story of Cora Masson as she builds a name for herself. She starts out as a factory worker but escapes to make her own way around the time of World War II. The war greatly affects the characters in the book and you get to see Cora as she tries to make a life for herself.

I loved seeing what happened with Cora and the other charaters. I might buy The Dress Thief: A gripping novel of fashion, secrets and intrigue in 1930's Paris, also by Natalie Meg Evans. Technically, The Milliner's Secret is a sequel to The Dress Thief, but it worked as a stand-alone book.

What books would you recommend?

Cozy Reading

Northwest Pearls: Cozy Reading Off of our kitchen we have two massive armchairs angled a little towards each other and facing the open area of the kitchen. It used to be our breakfast table, but I love having the armchairs there. They're a great place to hang out on while chatting with whoever is in the kitchen and they're nice to read on too.

Northwest Pearls: Cozy Reading

Northwest Pearls: Cozy Reading

What I read varies a lot. Sometimes it's crime thrillers, sometimes it's historical romance, sometimes it's biographies. I use the Kindle Unlimited service quite a bit to find books. And my local library has books available to download so I'll sometimes find something to read there.

Northwest Pearls: Cozy Reading

Sweater: Costco (old); Similar here

Jeans: Loft (old); Similar modern and curvy

Watch: Anne Klein (old); Similar here

Kindle (But now they have a newer version)

Kindle Skin: Couldn't re-find it, but it was from Decal Girl

Mug: A gift from when I job-shadowed one of the Starbucks executives a few years ago

Downtown Tacoma

For my BFF's birthday, we went to Barnes & Noble, The Minion Movie, and to The Social Bar and Grill. Because she was in desperate need of a corkscrew and some reusable corks, I got her a corkscrew, two reusable corks, and a bottle opener. I think that this was the first time I've bought minor appliances for a friend for a gift. At Barnes & Noble I had to take a picture with the cardboard cutout of Jamie Fraser from Outlander. The book series is really good, I've only seen a couple of the TV episodes. There's a lot of explicit scenes in both, but skipping over those it's great entertainment. The cutout was disappointingly short, he's supposed to be really tall and since I'm under 5'3'', I don't think that they made him tall enough.

Northwest Pearls: Jamie Fraser

After The Minion Movie, which was cute, we parked in downtown Tacoma and walked across Chihuly Bridge of Glass down to the waterfront and over to The Social Bar and Grill. My favorite part of the bridge is where the glass objects are in the ceiling and it feels as though you are underwater. Sadly I didn't take any pictures of this. The bridge is really cool though and if you're in the area, you should check it out.

Northwest Pearls: Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Down the steps and towards the restaurant are clear glass creations. I was told what they're supposed to represent but I can't remember it anymore. Nevertheless, they're very pretty. There's other art down in this area too. Northwest Pearls: Glass Artwork

The Social Bar and Grill was really good. We sat outside, it was a little cold but the atmosphere and surroundings were fantastic. We could see the waterway, some of the glasswork, and everyone walking by. Instead of bread, we were given popcorn, so that was cool. We were there during happy hour, I got the Blackened Rockfish Tacos and a side of Sweet Potato Fries and both were incredibly delicious.

Have you ever been to that area of Tacoma? What did you think?

Reading List: Gathering Blue

Back in middle school I read The Giver and when the movie came out recently I saw it. While trying to figure out what to read I came across Gathering Blue, the sequel to The Giver, on Kindle Unlimited and got it for my trip to California. I didn't want to set the book down. I wanted to know more about life in the village and why everyone treated each other the way they did. I wanted to know more about the monsters and the governance. I love books that make you think; books that make you consider what your world could be like. And there's no shortage of dystopian novels out there.

(Spoilers ahead)

In the book the government controls the population through fear and ignorance. The common people live in huts while others live in grand buildings with private indoor bathrooms and lots of varied food. It's a world where the weak are cast aside; only the strongest survive. But the main character, Kira, survives with a hurt leg because her mother and grandfather wouldn't let her be put out in the field.

But in this world where only the strongest survive and almost no one has kindness or compassion, a world where the strongest survive, you want the people to be kind, to care for others. You want a world where the people aren't just surviving but thriving, living, and loving. There is a lack of love among the villagers, even among families, demonstrated by one woman (probably) killing her toddler for knocking her over and scarring her. (The child's death could have been an accident but that's up for your to decide.)

Kira and a few others have the creativity valued by the village leaders, the creativity to create things and to help them shape their world (for better or for worse.)

I liked the book and I've just downloaded the sequel Messenger to my Kindle.

Have you read any of this series? What did you think?