Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Month In The Life: January 2019

One month of 2019 down, eleven to go! I'm still writing 2018 on feels like it takes about six weeks to really get it down, doesn't it? Like most Januarys in odd-numbered years, this one was actually pretty busy! Legislative session starts on Monday, though, so I'm about to look back at this as a chill month.

In Books...

  • Margaret Beaufort: I've been interested in her since I read Philippa Gregory's The Red Queen, and this biography reiterated that Gregory does not unduly trouble herself with fact. The real Margaret Beaufort was a bold and fascinating woman, and Elizabeth Norton manages to bring her to life without engaging in unsupported speculation, which is a tricky feat. 
  • The Cuckoo's Calling: Unlike a lot of people, I enjoyed J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter follow-up The Casual Vacancy, but given the reception it got, I can understand why she went under a pseudonym to write her mystery series. I found this good, but not seemed like she had difficulty balancing the character development she was clearly trying to do with the development of the mystery itself. I'll definitely read more from this series, I'm curious to see where she goes with it!
  • The Winter of the Witch: I'll be honest, my expectations for this book were super high. It's the end of a trilogy I've loved and I've been waiting for it eagerly for over a year! Luckily, it did not disappoint. It was wonderful! I had a couple teeny quibbles, but thought Katherine Arden did a masterful job of bringing her story to a close. 
  • Astonish Me: I am very basic and love a good ballet book. But I really didn't care for Maggie Shipstead's debut, so I was torn, but I always believe in giving an author at least two shots...and I'm glad I did! For the most part, I really enjoyed this! She builds interesting characters and puts them in thematically rich situations. But after lots of delicately built drama, the end felt rushed and not quite earned. On the whole, though, this was a very good book.
  • Say Nothing: I did sometimes struggle with this book, which explores The Troubles through the lens of mother-of-ten Jean McConville being disappeared by the IRA, but I think that was mostly due to the digital format in which I read's hard to flip back and forth on the Kindle! I also just had so little context to work from (everything I knew about the subject before I read this was either from The Cranberries or U2) that I found myself turning to Wikipedia for more information. But it's a compelling story and draws vivid, intriguing portraits of some of the major figures of the era and once I got situated, I found it hard to put down!
  • A Tale for the Time Being: This is an odd but enjoyable take on an epistolary novel. In it, a Japanese-American writer named Ruth (sharing many of her key character traits with author Ruth Ozeki) finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of the small island in the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband. Inside is the diary of a Japanese teenager Naoko, chronicling her increasingly sad life, which Ruth becomes increasingly obsessed with. I found myself getting just as drawn into it, though it did get dangerously close to losing control of its own narrative near the end. I want to read this again someday, it feels like the type of book that takes multiple reads to really sink in. 
  • Bad Blood: Remember that blonde chick with the deep voice that was telling us all we'd be able to do all of one blood tests with just a finger prick, that had the company with the board of directors like Henry Kissinger and Jim Mattis? The journalist who revealed that she (Elizabeth Holmes) and the company (Theranos) was all a scam does a book-length treatment of what actually happened and if you think Fyre Festival was bad, just wait until you read it. Very solid page-turner true (corporate) crime. 

In Life...

  • Company trip to Las Vegas: This year, for our company retreat, we spent a couple days on the other end of the state in Las Vegas. I'm never going to complain much about getting out of winter weather in Reno, and it was nice to have a weekend away before things kick off crazy at work next month! Also we got new website headshots taken, so I got to have someone make me glamorous and couldn't resist a selfie!

One Thing:

I've switched to a backpack to carry my things back and forth to work after getting some soreness in my shoulder from my always-full tote bag (which I will have to go back to for session so I look like a professional adult), and really like the Lo and Sons Hanover that I picked for myself! It has plenty of room for the things that I need to schlep around and because it's designed for women, it doesn't feel heavy or uncomfortable on my back. It looks neat and seems easy to clean, though I haven't needed to do that yet and in the best part, it has a panel on the back that you can zip open to slide over the handle of a suitcase so you don't have to worry about lugging it around the airport!

Gratuitous Pug Picture:


  1. Haha, I also keep writing 2018. It really messes up my reading spreadsheets. I love the selfie. Have a great February!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! I put makeup on my face approximately never, so whenever I have someone else do I feel like I need to preserve the moment!

  2. Bad Blood is so, so good. One would be hard pressed to make up a fictional story as wild as the real thing was. (I was particularly shocked by what their lawyers were willing to do, it's just not the way any of the attorneys I've worked with would operate, and it's not like the attorneys I've worked with aren't aggressive when there's a basis for it...) I've been listening to The Dropout podcast but so far, it doesn't add that much more insight than what was already in the book, maybe only one or two new insights per episode so far. It is interesting to listen to clips from Elizabeth Holmes's deposition though.

    1. My husband has been listening to The Dropout, but thanks for confirming that it's not all that different than the book which was TRULY wild. Just astonishing. If it was made up it would seem too over-the-top to be believed. I do think I'll watch the HBO documentary coming up, it looks really good!