Saturday, January 26, 2008

Week 4 Book

For my fourth week I decided to read Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry by Elizabeth McCracken (another collection of short stories). She's very creative, but her stories were hit and miss for me--some I enjoyed, some were a bit sluggish, and they were all slightly wierd. So I gave up about 2/3 of the way through the book. It felt a little odd to not actually finish the book, but I couldn't really be bothered. Plua Jessica gave me permission to stop. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book a Week Challenge: Weeks 1-3

My guess is that many of you will recognize that Jeremy and Britnie's website is where I got my inspiration for this posting. It is, in fact, the homepage on Jessica's compuer. I have decided to take the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge, so here's my report of the first three books:

Book 1:: This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers by Elizabeth Merrick
I originally thought this book might just be angry responses to the modern Harlequin-type smut in their cotton-candy covers that adorn bookstore shelves these days, but when I picked it up in the bookstore and really enjoyed the first story, I decided to buy it and check out the rest of the contents. For me, this was a very entertaining read, and the stories were varied, interesting, and mostly smut-free. I don't know about "America's Best Women Writers," though. Talented, to be sure, but "best..." I'm not quite convinced.

Book 2:: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (writer of The Namesake)
I actually loved this book. I didn't realize when I first bought it that it is a collection of short stories, but it was fascinating. Indian culture is not something I am extremely familiar with, so there were some references that I didn't fully understand, but this is a book I would easily recommend regardless of that fact. Lahiri's style was very familiar and engaging, and it made the cultures of her characters very accessible.

Book 3:: Train Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World by Leah Hager Cohen
This book was sort of a mix between memoirs and relaying the personal accounts of others. The author is a woman who grew up as a part of--or surrounded by--the deaf community because her granparents were deaf and her father was the superintendent of a school for the deaf in New York City. She (and her father) are both hearing individuals, but she gives very personal and detailed insight into the culture of the school and the politics of the larger community that her family was so involved in. She shows in detail how individuals were/are affected by legislation, stereotyping, and conflict between hearing people and deaf people.

Snowshoeing: My (only) winter sport

Having grown up in Utah, people have certain expectations of me--one of them being that I "naturally" love to ski or snowboard. Not so, my friends.

There was a time when I loved downhill skiing, and my dad would always take us on the KSL free ski nights. I loved it--the crisp air, the bright lights on the slopes, the freezing ride up to the top of the run, the sound of the skis in the snow... all that jazz.
But free ski nights only happened every so often, and eventually they either stopped happening or we just stopped going. Several years later I tried downhill skiing again with my Knight cousins, and I ended up losing control, heading straight down a slope--my eyes watering because I was going so fast (and goggle-less)-- and colliding with some poor girl who was just learning to snowboard.

So last year a friend e-mailed me an online ad for some snowshoes, and the rest is history. The great thing about snowshoeing is that you can do it anywhere (no season pass required), anyone who is reasonably un-klutsy can do it, and it's a great workout without consciously having to think about exercise (yesterday, according to my heart rate monitor, I burned 1350 calories in 2.5 hours). In fact, another great thing about snowshoeing is that you are working hard enough tramping through the snow that coats are more of a formality (just in case the wind should pick up). So for those of you who are anti-cold, this is a winter sport that might help you get out and enjoy the beauty of nature in all of its pure white loveliness.

Do you really need an excuse to have a pary? No, just a good theme!

In early December, my roomies and I hosted a Hairspray party. Everyone was encouraged to do their hair like a character in the movie. We had treats, we watched the movie, we sang along... we basically had an all-around good time. You can see in the picture that my hair "deflated" during the course of the night, but Hap and Jessica pulled offAmber von Tussle and Penny Pingleton's do's rather well.

The week after Christmas was full of fun. Our stake YSA group went ice skating at Seven Peaks Ice Arena on Thursday, which was really fun. I hadn't been ice skating in YEARS, so it was a little bit awkward at first, but we all got the hang of it sooner or later.

That Saturday night we hosted a crepe party at our place and christened the crepe pan that my sister Amy gave me for Christmas. I tried a new crepe recipe that uses sparkling water(who knew?), and it was fantastic. Everyone brought their favorite crepe filling, and we all had a good time talking and laughing.

Next up? Tubing at Soldier's Hollow, my birthday... and a curry party sometime in the next month.