Category Archives: Things I like

When Breath Becomes Air


Admittedly, I have had a reading dry spell.  I have gone to bed earlier and napped when I would typically be reading.  But I have recently managed to work When Breath Becomes Air into my rigorous sleeping schedule and am so glad I did.  I finished it about a week ago and still find myself thinking about it.

First, I don’t read much non-fiction.  I prefer to escape in stories that are not real.  So a non-fiction book has to be highly praised and really grab my attention before I consider it.  This one came onto my radar through the Cup of Jo Blog.  Joanna Goddard, who writes Cup of Jo, is the sister of Lucy Kalanithi, who is the wife of Paul Kalanithi, the author of When Breath Becomes Air.  Once Joanna started talking about the book, it seemed like I saw it everywhere.  And now it is a New York Times best seller.

The book tells the story of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon diagnosed with late stage cancer in his last year of medical training.  Dr. Kalanithi writes about his life, his training, and the transition from doctor to patient.  He dies in the end; you should know that from the beginning.  But the beauty of the book is in his approach to death and his insights along the way.  Most of the book is not about death.  It is not depressing to read.  It is beautiful, smart, fulfilling and very enjoyable.  Read it and give it to all your friends.


What happened to August?

The older I get, the faster time passes.  Perhaps that is normal, but I feel like I missed all of August!  We did some fun things.  I followed Scott to Park City, Utah for a weekend of riding bikes–he rode with his friend, Drew and I hiked, read, and caught up on “me” time.  It was lovely.  Then we both got sick and recovered.  That was August.

I have lots to update.  We finally ended our relationship with the City of Austin with our final remodel inspection.  I do not miss them.

To accomplish the final inspection, we built a railing on our front steps and porch.  We have some stone work left to do and then I will show off the final results.

We also have a huge punch list to complete the remodel.  We need to finish painting, hang some interior doors, build a few barn doors, redo a screened door, build a deck, do landscaping, hang curtains, and a few other fun projects that we are having a hard time starting.

In the meantime, I am one book shy of my 10-book reading goal for the summer. Jane, my niece, decided she would make it a competition.  I think she read 13 or 14 books, so she kicked my tail.  She is eight and fierce.  But I do have a few reviews to share.

In the Unlikely Event61LGf0TJ-FL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_ is a Judy Blume book written for grownups.  But it still felt a little elementary.  It was an interesting read about a town in New Jersey close to the Newark airport where 3 plane crashes occurred within a few months.  The characters and story line are a bit predictable, but it was a nice, easy read.

Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home4177MUapjLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ is a charming book about a 28-year-old woman who had a brain aneurysm while running on a treadmill.  She was working towards her PhD  in Yiddish Literature and is a lover of food.  The book chronicles her recovery and the part food played in it.  She is a lovely person with a precious husband.  I appreciated her ability to share her own life stories in a way that made me reflect on my own.  And her recipes are inspiring!  She uses some ingredients that I rarely use.  Her plum tart and almond cake are amazing!  I am not a huge fan of most memoir/recipe books but this one was worth reading. The only thing missing for me in the book was God’s provision through her recovery, but I don’t think the author is overly spiritual–at least she did not talk about it in the book.  She also blogs here.

51lPLBb4nyL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_And lastly, I listened to Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee.  Reese Witherspoon reads it and did a beautiful job.  I loved the story.  I found myself grinning as I listened.  I am still trying to figure out the take away from the book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is nostalgic and more of the same from Mockingbird.  I hiked the mountains of Park City while I listened, which was quite a treat.

Since then, I have started a few books–Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love.  It is great so far.  And I am reading some adoption exploration books.  More on that in future posts.


Summer reading.

After reading on vacation, my urge to read continues.  I go in phases.  I won’t read for months, and then I can’t stop.  I heard someone say recently that they were trying to read 10 novels over the summer.  And when I thought about it, it seemed totally doable and enjoyable.  Scott watched the Tour de France this month and I basically have been reading by his side.  I have several books under my belt already.  Why not?  Vacation reading marked three.  And I just knocked out a few more.

51Y0eAmT1xL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The Rosie Project was one of the most enjoyable books I have read in awhile.  I laughed.  I was intrigued.  I didn’t know how it would end.  Don, the main character, is a genetics professor at a university in Australia and though he doesn’t acknowledge or even seem to know so, he appears to be somewhere on the autism spectrum.  And he engages in a project to find a wife.  It is delightful.  And I am glad to know that there are talks of it becoming a movie AND there is a sequel that just came out.  Put this on your list.  You will love it.

51grMGCKivL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_Next up for me was a second reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, perhaps with the rest of the world anticipating the Go Set The Watchman release.  I will admit, I did not remember the story, but enjoyed the reread immensely.  In reading the book, it was easy for me to see why it won a Pulitzer Prize and is such a classic.  Not only is the story so compelling and excruciating, but Scout tells the story is such a perfect child perspective.  It is one of the few books I have read that compelled me to write down a few lines for remembering later.  Its high acclaim is deserved.

515p3OrN1KL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_My sixth book of the summer was one that caused me the most angst.  The Nightingale is the beautiful story of two sisters living in France during World War II.  While reading it, I kept making the obvious statement to Scott that, “the Nazis were really awful.”  He looked at me like, “are you just now deciding this?”  Anyway, the story starts in present day, with a woman remembering back to her days living in France during the war.  Then the book bounces to the story of the sisters, who each act as war heroes in their own unique ways.  It is not until the end of the book that you understand who the present day storyteller is.  I cried, but was so pleased with its ending.  I had a hard time putting the book down, but when I was not reading, I found myself worrying about the sisters.  The characters are lovable and the story is incredible

I want to read Go Set The WatchmanJudy Blume’s new grown-up bookOrphan Train (though it sounds sad), and Stir.  That will get me to 10.  Let’s see how long that takes.

Just a few things.

I am almost ready to show “after” pictures of our master bathroom.  We need to add a few cabinet pulls and we still need to remove some paint tape.  Maybe next week?

In the meantime, I wanted to share just a few random things….

I recently read about Harper Lee’s new book and it made me want to reread To Kill A Mockingbird.  I read it in school but couldn’t remember the exact story.  I am loving it.

My favorite moisturizer of the moment.  I keep it in my bathroom with this.

The best waterproof sunscreen.

This is on Scott’s short list of places he wants to visit this summer.  Who knew Waco could be such a destination?

I read about this shirt on a blog and bought one.  It lives up to my high expectations.  I want it in every color.

I have never taken a good fireworks photo.  Maybe now I can?

We love the movie Chef, and the Chef Pasta (with a few modifications: reserve some pasta water to add to the mix, cut the pepper a bit, and DON’T let the garlic burn).  The movie makes me hungry!