January #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge and my favorite books from 2021

I decided for this year, I won’t be borrowing any books from the library or buying any books until I finish reading the books from my bookshelf. I bought these books because they caught my eye or because I added it to my order to qualify for free shipping. I also was on a waitlist for books from the library. When it arrived, I kept extending the hold because I already had other books I was reading. Based on the books on my shelf and on my waitlist, I think I already have my to-read pile for 2022. Not borrowing anything new or buying any books will be a challenge. Since last year I read 31 books, my new goal for this year would be to read 34 books making it about a 10% increase from last year.

Continue reading January #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge and my favorite books from 2021

Five things Friday: It’s a no meat week!

Five things Friday is a post where I share five things that either made my week, what I am thinking about, or would like to share with all of you!

1. No meat week — though not on purpose. We had a large produce box and I am determined to make sure nothing goes to waste! I asked my husband if he’s missed having meat at home and he does not surprisingly. I’ll continue this experiment at home. It’s likely meat dishes will be reserved for eating out or when we feel indulgent at home.

2. Speaking of no meat, check out this grilled cheese sandwich!

3. This post

I kind of agree with it but I also think of the people who just can’t make these adjustments if they’re already tight on money. I remembered when I bought a car in my early 20s, I knew I needed to spend less on fancy coffees, restaurants, and clothes for a while. I needed a car because I went from urban and walkable West LA to sprawling San Diego. Having a car in San Diego was a necessity. A drastic measure was reducing my grocery budget to $20 a week. It was doable because it was just me and I mostly eat vegetables and almost no meat. Also at the time I was carrying student loan debt. I guess what I am saying is that in my position at the time it was easy to cut back. For others not so much. Some have families and enjoy the comforts of their current lifestyle. Just telling them to adjust and sacrifice their current comforts is painful.

4. Aaron and Claire YouTube channel

I’ve been on a kick watching their YouTube Channel lately. Many of their recipes seem really quick. I’m entertaining the idea of having a blog post of their dishes.

5. Girl, Woman, Other: A Novel by Bernardine Evaristo

This is one of my current reads. I previously tried reading on the e-reader a couple of months ago, but I found it a difficult read due to the writing style. It looked liked poetry and there was no punctuation. It was a frustrating read, but I found the language beautiful and that’s why I was willing to give it a second chance in the form of an audiobook. I am glad I did because I can definitely get lost in their stories. The twelve women in the novel all have different lives — it’s compartmentalized, but yet they weave in and out of each others’ lives as friends, students, children, parent, and even acquaintances.

Five Things Friday: Get some rest

What a week.

If I wasn’t pregnant, a beer would sound good. But instead sparkling water is fine.

We’ve had lots of donations this week at the hospital. I anticipate next week will be the same.

What have I been up to? What have I been enjoying?

  1. Some Good News – I’ve been following Some Good News with John Krasinski. It’s a good spin. So far my favorite is when they featured the Hamilton cast.
  2. Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone – Do you spend a lot of time sitting on the couch, sitting in front of a computer, or laying bed? This YouTube channel will re-invigorate you to move more.
  3. Ordering take out – So a new ritual I’ve been doing on Fridays is ordering takeout at a restaurant in downtown LA. I am taking advantage of no traffic. Also, I don’t have to drive and meet my husband at home and go drive elsewhere for a night out. Instead I pick up takeout and bring it home. I guess I can count it towards my new restaurant count even though we are not dining in.
  4. Re-reading Ready Player One. I was compelled to re-read it because I wonder if COVID-19 created the setting for Ready Player One. It takes place in the 2040s — not too far from now. The world escapes the real world for the virtual world.
  5. New FitBit! After having a busted FitBit Charge HR for a year, I finally bought a new FitBit!

Living the High Life at “The Thousandth Floor”

“Up here on the roof, so close to the stars, she felt young and alive and hateful.”

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee is a quick, guilty-pleasure read. It takes place 100 years into the future in Manhattan and it’s is no longer an island, but a lone tower stretching into the sky at a thousand floors.

I wonder, how many meters would 1,000 floors be? The Burj Khalifa in Dubai is at 154 floors at 584.5 m (1,918 ft) and this does not include the tip. For 1,000 floors, you are looking at a little more than 6 Burj Khalifa’s — about 6.5. At 1,000 floors, it’s still within the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Maybe that’s all that praying was, she thought, just wishing good outcomes on other people.”

The floors are separated by class — if you live in the lower floors, you are in the lower, working class supporting the upper-floor residents. The higher you go in the tower, the higher your social economic standing. Then you have the super-elite families in the top floors living the glamorous life where it seems no one worries about money. These people have the latest clothes, technologies, and club memberships.

Five characters across different social classes tell their story in the book. Avery is the richest girl who lives in the penthouse and you have her rich friends, Leda and Eris. Then you have Watt who lives the middle class life and Rylin who lives in the lower floors of the tower working low-wage jobs to support her family. Out of all these characters, I was rooting for Eris and Rylin. Rylin got a chance for a better life and Eris was turning herself around. I’ll just leave it at that.

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

I was intrigued with the idea of a whole city living in a tower — and we might well be on our way — which is why I wanted to read the book. The technologies featured in the book were pretty cool. In the year 2118, you can send text messages via your eyes (instead of smartphones), you take a train from Manhattan to Paris in minutes, instead of laser tag there’s AR tag.

This book is part of the Thousandth Floor trilogy and I look forward to reading the next book, Dazzling Heights.

Recommendation: Gossip Girl meets the “Jetson’s”. If you don’t like hearing about rich people’s problems, then this book is not for you.

Have you read The Thousandth Floor?

Wild Eclectic Book Club (Name in Progress): I am trying a blog series where every other Wednesday I review a book from my ever-changing Current Reads page. My goal is I write a review without giving too much away!

A study in relationships with “Gone Girl”

“There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.”

gone-girl-book-cover

I finally got around to reading Gone Girl this year. I know…if you’ve seen the movie, I am 3 years too late and if you read the book, I am five years too late. Most of the time, I don’t read the latest book because I already have a high to-read stack as well as a high current reads stack. Yes, I do read multiple books. There’s always a book in my bag. I have a kindle in my purse which handy in bus commutes, a book in my backpack which is handy in train rides and business flights, an audiobook on my phone which keeps me entertained when doing chores, and 2 books on my night stand to read a few pages before bed.

Also, I am glad I took my time to wait for Gone Girl — both the movie and book hype to die down. I wanted to rid the opinions my friends planted me whether it was the book or movie. It was long enough for me to have my own thoughts and no confirmation bias.

“We weren’t ourselves when we fell in love, and when we became ourselves – surprise! – we were poison. We complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way.”

As always, I want to share my thoughts without giving too much away. To me, it is more than two stories shared by two perspectives: one is unreliable and unlikeable, the other is intelligent…and unhinged and drags us for the ride. I felt this was a wild study (I mean it in the most extreme cases) of marriage. A book about he said, she said. A book about knowing the real person you’re marrying. It reminded me of the many situations where long-time couples finally moved in together to then break up a few months after. I don’t think the act of moving in changed the person, I think you saw the person you did not see all this time.

“Friends see most of each other’s flaws. Spouses see every awful last bit.”

I listened to the audiobook version and it kept me entertained when I was cleaning up our yard on the weekends. You may not get Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike to voice Nick and Amy but that is fine. I thought the person who narrated Amy sounded like one would imagine a spoiled, sheltered rich girl.

Also, the Overdrive application on my phone has been fantastic! I get access to loads and loads of audiobooks for free. It has certainly made my chores more enjoyable.

Recommendation: I recommend this book to the people who like to read what everyone is reading. Also if you are interested in the unconventional female tropes. There is certainly no pixie manic quirky dream girl here.

Have you read Gone Girl? What are your thoughts?

Wild Eclectic Book Club (Name in Progress): I am trying a blog series where every other Wednesday I review a book from my ever-changing Current Reads page. The hard part about writing these reviews is as much as I want to share what’s in the book, I don’t want to give anything away.

Read: “A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back” by Kevin Hazzard

“…lessons are drawn from mistakes, not victories.”

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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Thoughts:

Working as a paramedic is one of the least appreciated professionals and these people have seen a lot of crazy stuff. I don’t know why they’re not seen on the same level as a firefighter, police officer, an active duty member, or a veteran. The author worked in media and journalism prior to his career change to a paramedic because he wanted some excitment in his life. He wanted to have that same feeling as the friends who were in the military deployed overseas. Some of us can relate to finding excitment in our lives. This career change became a decade long journey of high stress and high moments where he finds his job meaningful. There are some of moments where I laughed out loud and valuable lessons learned one can carry over.