A Book Review: The Paying Guests

“My wife, the rare library card holder.”  This is how Joey described me as we drove to the Denver Public Library a few weeks ago.  That’s right, I DO go to the library still and I kind of LOVE it.  As soon as I walk in, I feel such a sense of inner peace.  This is my place and these are my people.  But being a library goer also means waiting for the books you want to read, having to return books when you haven’t finished them yet, and the worst… waiting weeks then getting slammed with three books at the same time.  Book time management is the name of the game.

I was lucky enough to be able to check The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters out with plenty of time to spare before January Book Club and actually finished it weeks ahead of time.  Gold star for me!  I also made it through this one pretty quickly, though that doesn’t necessarily mean I liked it.

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I’ll spare you the recap and just say that my biggest issue with this book was that it seemed to have a split-personality plot disorder.  Meaning, it was headed one direction for the first half of the book, then BAM! took a turn in the middle and went a different path entirely.  Our meeting was really interesting because it was pretty divided between those who were really into the first half of the book and not so into the second half and those who felt the exact opposite.  (Or those who just straight hated the whole thing, start to finish…).

As for me, I’m choosing to focus on the redeeming factors.  The historical fiction aspect — it takes place in post-WWII England — and the actual writing, which I thought was well done and especially descriptive.  Sarah Waters was such an expert in the way she described the house that most of the plot took place in.  You could just picture it so clearly and it wasn’t until after our meeting that I realized how big of a roll that house played.  If only the plot had been a little more focused and the ending hadn’t wrapped up a little too cleanly to be realistic.

Have you read The Paying Guests?

What are you reading right now?

Do you have a library card?

Weekend Things

If someone were to ask “how was your weekend?” I’m positive, I would gush “WONDERFUL!”  And then rattle off a list of small things, that on their own don’t amount to much, but all together made the weekend so perfect.  And that’s what life is really all about, right?  A compilation of small occurrences that add up to something big and beautiful.  Life is so so good.

Warning: I watched a lot of things and ate a lot of things this weekend.  Proceed with caution.IMG_1242It was a toss up between Friday night dinner and a movie, or living the homebody life and doing that leftovers and Netflix thing.  Guess which one won!  We found two of the Oscar-nominated documentaries to watch, shared a maple walnut cookie in our pajamas and everything was just as it should be.  We liked What Happened, Miss Simone? much better than Cartel Land but let’s be real, neither of them were Making a Murderer :P

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This is why I don’t make waffles.  The batter was SO runny and I knew better, but I poured it in anyway.  I think half of it leaked out as soon as I closed the lid and the rest completely stuck to the top and bottom of the waffle maker.  For the record, this did not stop Joey and I from picking pieces of the massacred waffle out and eating it with our fingers.  Flavor (sesame-honey!) was spot on.  I used the leftover batter to make the world’s flattest pancakes.  It was sad, but also delicious.

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60° in January?  Yes please!  We took ourselves out for a run — the first outdoor run of the year, to be exact — and the weather could not have been more perfect.  The way we were talking and taking it slow, you would have thought it was our first run in years.  Now I’m just longing for spring weather and lots more outdoor running opportunities.  Too bad it’s supposed to snow ALL DAY today…Read More »

Our Trip to Hawaii: Oahu

Wait, you didn’t think I was going to leave it at that, did you?  I actually plan on dragging out our trip to Hawaii for as long as possible by recapping it island by island then posting a big old travel guide (with hotel, tour group and restaurant recommendations!) at the end.  Partly because I wanna keep reliving this vacation and partly because when I’M travel planning, reading recommendations from other people is so so helpful.  And without further adieu, Oahu!

We flew (direct!) from Denver to Honolulu and were transported to Waikiki and serious story, I returned from the airport bathroom to find Joey, Lori and Adam all laughing because the woman ushering us to our bus had apparently called me a teenager.  This is my real life.

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We stayed near Waikiki Beach and I’ll be honest, it is crowded and touristy.  I’ve seen worse though and when you can walk to the beach and have your wedges toes in the sand in five minutes, you forget about all of that.  Also, it took all of 30 seconds for me to fall in love with Hawaiian sunsets.  We walked down the beach and grabbed dinner at Duke’s.  Plus umbrella (or backscratcher?!) drinks for all!  On the walk back to our hotel, we found some shave ice because: when in Hawaii!

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The next day we were up and at ’em for a full day at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Our bus driver was… quite the character.  I don’t even think I can go there because it would take too long but I don’t think any of us will forget “Cousin Ken” any time soon.  As for the cultural center, it’s more or less a theme park, divided into areas for each Polynesian island/culture, where they do scheduled performances throughout the day.  Though we all had fun, we agreed that we could have skipped the all day activities and just came for the luau and post-dinner show (front row seats, hi-ya!).  I drank from an actual coconut and later on from a full pineapple, so I was happy.Read More »

5 Things I Brought Home with Me from Hawaii

  1. A $15 (?!?!) jar of coconut peanut butter.  Let this be a lesson to us all to check prices before making spontaneous purchases at the airport.  Though I did try some this morning, and it may be worth the price.  Maybe.
  2. A renewed sense of adventure.  Sometimes I think I know myself pretty well, but then I’m pleasantly surprised to discover I’m not as shy or indecisive or scared as I think I am.  I was kind of nervous to bike down a volcano, fly in a helicopter and sit through two seven hour plane rides, but you know what?  None of that ended up being scary and those first two were actually really fun!
  3. A billion pictures.  Of gross things like beach sunsets, colorful plates of food and humpback whales :)  Seriously going to have so many memories of this trip and all the wonderful things I did with some of my favorite people.
  4. Some coffee INdependency.  Traveling makes me anxious.  Coffee makes me extra anxious.  I decided not to combine those two things and GET THIS I felt calm as could be, slept better and was actually in control of my emotions.  I mean I still brought home some Hawaiian coffee beans, but whatever.
  5. So much love and appreciation for a different state/culture.  And a Pacific island could not be more different from my landlocked snowy mountainous home state.  From the food, to the traditions, to the history, to the wildlife, I learned SO much about Hawaii and it was all so interesting.  I think I was much more receptive to all that learning than I was last time I was in Hawaii, at the god-awful ungrateful age of 16.
  6. A tan.  HA HA, okay I can’t even go any further with that joke.

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