Last of the Summer Reads + The Only Way to Eat Curry

Hey guys, thanks for all your tips on preventing blisters! I’m planning to try a bunch of them out and I’ll keep you posted if I find the magic formula.

I can’t tell you how excited I am that fall is nearly here! Fall is my favorite season – I love the nip in the air that makes me feel so awake and alive, and I love coming inside to a warm apartment and snuggling with the cats.  And all my favorite TV shows are coming back! I loved the Bones premiere this week; my eyes definitely welled up a little at Bones’s speech at the end.  Also, I’m in the mood for soups and stews!! Speaking of which, here’s my secret to curry:

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A fried egg on top.  Boom.  You’re welcome.  Mike and I put fried eggs on just about everything, and it’s phenomenal on Japanese curry, which is the kind Mike makes.  I’ll post a recipe sometime, b/c it’s super easy and sooooo good.  Even if it isn’t as cute as invading baby pandas curry.

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Or alpaca curry.

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I need to step up my cute curry game by like 1000.  Okay, back to the original topic…fall.  Soups, cozy house, brisk air – love the season.  I am, however, going to miss my summer weekends sitting by the pool with a good book in hand…oh wait, I did that exactly once. LoL.  I always think I’m going to spend way more time by the pool in the summertime than I actually do.  I did read quite a few books this summer though, and I wanted to share my quick thoughts on a few! I post these because I love seeing book reviews on other people’s blogs and finding new books to add to my reading list – I’m always perusing Julie’s book page for new recommendations.

Happy Accidents

Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch (autobiography)

While I normally find memoirs by comedians/ comediennes to be fun and light reading (Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Ellen DeGeneres’s Seriously, I’m Kidding are among my favorites), Jane Lynch’s autobiography was very different; while there are jokes and plenty of self-deprecation sprinkled through the book, she talks very seriously about her personal journey to grow in the context of her struggles with her identity, alcoholism, career, and insecurities.  It was a lot deeper than I was expecting, but still a very quick and easy read.  This lady worked hard to get to where she is today, and I respected her even more after I finished the book.

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Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (fiction)

Kimberly Chang is a young Chinese-American immigrant trying to adjust to life in America and make her mother’s sacrifice (of moving to America and giving up her old life) worth it.  She’s fiesty, smart and loyal.  I absolutely LOVED this book and the characters…until the ending!  I won’t reveal what happens, but I feel like it changes the interesting central relationship of the book, which (to me) was Kimberly and her mom.  I did relate to some of the themes, like the difficulties of being poorer than your classmates (I came from a middle class family in an upper middle class neighborhood) and feeling the responsibility to do well in school to make my parents’ sacrifice “worth it”.

six frigates

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Six Frigates by Ian W. Toll (non-fiction, history)

Okay, so most of you won’t feel the burning need to read this as I did, but having worked for the Navy for the past several years, this was practically required reading for me.  In fact, one of my clients gave me this book a few years ago, but I didn’t think it looked that interesting at the time.  FALSE – the history of the U.S. Navy is completely fascinating! It’s the story of America’s fledgling navy trying to compete with the world-class navies in Europe through fiscal crises and times of war.  The characters are well developed, and the battles were so interestingly written that I found myself staying up late to find out whether the American frigates survived.  I think that might be the first time I stayed up late to read a history book, so that pole-vaults this book to the top of my favorite non-fiction books list!

the-secret-keeper

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The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (historical fiction)

I don’t really love historical fiction that much – I’d rather read about actual people and the interesting lives they led vs. made-up characters – and I really don’t enjoy romances veiled in historical fiction.  The Secret Keeper is set in England in both modern times and during World War II (it keeps flip-flopping back and forth between the main character in the 1940s and her daughter in the present).  The story was interesting enough, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot of character development.  That said, I did enjoy the twist at the end of this book.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (mystery/thriller)

I’m probably the last person on the planet to read this book, because every other blog has posted a review on it.  Which is why I decided to read it, even though for some reason I thought it was chick-lit (which I read occasionally anyway).  It is NOT chick-lit, it is a fascinating thriller with plot twists that I could never have predicted.  And the character development is phenomenal – it’s unlike any other book I’ve read.  It’s a completely fascinating and dark tale.  From the moment I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down – I think I finished it in an afternoon.  I’ve since added the rest of Gillian Flynn’s books to my reading list!

the-handmaids-tale

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (fiction – dystopia)

I’m a sucker for a good dystopian novel; I find them cathartic and interesting to think about – Hunger Games or The Giver, anyone? Margaret Atwood’s dystopia explored religious themes, relationships between men and women, female communities, and reproduction,  There are elements that seem similar to cultures and groups that exist today, which made the book really thought-provoking – i.e. when men try to take away women’s power and subjugate them completely, how does that affect men in addition to women? I found myself putting this book down frequently to have a discussion with Mike about one topic or another.

racing in the rain

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (fiction)

Despite its strong reviews, I was really reluctant to read this book, because it’s about a dog who’s dying, and I thought it would be too sad.  But Enzo, the canine narrator, is interesting and insightful as he tells the story of his life and human family through his eyes.  He’s obsessed with race cars (his owner is a race car driver) and someday becoming human, and he made me see our (human) behavior in a new light.

On the Nightstand Now

Phew, so that’s what I read this summer! Next up:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (non-fiction)

How to Read the Bible for all its worth by Gordan D. Fee and Douglas Stuart (non-fiction)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (fiction – dystopian)

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (historical fiction, I think…we’ll see how it goes)

Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins (non-fiction, running)

What’s the best book you read this summer? My vote goes to Gone Girl, I loved it that much.  I wish they’d make a movie, but I’d probably be too creeped out to actually watch it.

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