Monday, January 30, 2017

A Month In The Life: January 2017

And the first month of 2017 is already ending! It feels like it went really fast...maybe because it did, maybe because my busy season at work starts in just about a week and I'm not feeling quite ready for the long days it'll bring (expect diminished reading around these parts for the next four months). Let's look back at the last 31 days, shall we?

In Books...
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette: This book was a big sleeper hit a few years ago, but it did nothing for me. When I found out Maria Semple had been a writer for Arrested Development, it made more sense: this kind of absurdist humor would be a lot more palatable on-screen, but on the page it made me hate nearly everyone involved. 
  • The King Must Die: Mary Renault's novel takes the mythological story of Theseus and tries to create a real-world story (read: no Olympian gods, for the most part) that might have given rise to the myth. It's good, but it's not especially compelling.
  • American Heiress (ARC): I'm a big fan of Toobin, but I didn't find this to be his best work. I definitely learned a lot about the Patty Hearst/SLA situation that I didn't know before, but the bulk of the book was about her life with the SLA and not about the trial, which is what I was more interested in. 
  • Americanah: This book has gotten a lot of buzz, and I was worried it was going to be one of those situations where my expectations were so high I'd inevitably be disappointed. But I completely loved this, the prose and the story, and it's something I'd already consider a favorite.
  • The Wars of the Roses: Since I've been reading Philippa Gregory's The Cousins' War series, I wanted a primer on the actual history of the dispute and the players. As always with Alison Weir, this was well-researched and very readable. 
  • Snow: My book club book for the month, I admired Orhan Pamuk's novel more than I actually enjoyed it. Its central plot points circle around some of the underlying tensions that make up the conflicts between the East and the West, and reading about them from the perspective of a writer from Turkey (a nation that straddles both worlds) provided interesting insights.
  • Helter Skelter: This true-crime classic about the Manson murders was written by the lead prosecutor, so it would be hard to imagine a more informed source. And while his writing is engaging and it's an interesting story, it gets a little eye-rolling at points when he makes sure you know how much work he did and how great he was. Not that he didn't both work really hard and do really well, but still. If you're at all interested in the Family, it's a great read.

In Life...
  •  Rang in the New Year: This year it was just me, my husband, and our pug at home. I've never been super into the whole going-out-for-New-Years bit, so hanging out with my two favorite guys and and being able to walk just outside the door to see the downtown fireworks (we live just a handful of blocks away) was perfect
  • Made it through #nvflood17: Northern Nevada is fortunately not burdened with much in the way of severe weather (we don't even have a tornado siren), but one thing we do get are floods. A heavy storm front moved through the weekend after the New Year and there was significant flooding all over the area, and even avalanches (more than one!) up in the mountains. We were in a safe area, though, so we just chilled out and watched the rain come down. 
  • State of the State: The first real event of the political season that's about to kick off, this sets the tone for the upcoming legislative session and a lot of the lobbyists come up for it, so we all get to see our other-side-of-the-state friends for the first time in a while!
  • Work holiday trip: My work does a holiday long weekend trip every year, and this year we went to Phoenix! I'd never been before and Drew and I had a fantastic time. Since we've got offices there, Las Vegas, and Reno, it's often the only time of year the entire company gets together and it's good to catch up with what's going on work-wise everywhere else and reinforce our social bonds.

One Thing
  •  Being in my 30s, especially living in a dry climate, I've gotten much more aware of skincare lately. And no one does skincare like Koreans, who have a whole ten-step process to take care of your largest organ. A good place to start with K-beauty, if you're interested, are sheet masks, which are serum/essence soaked cotton masks you lay on your clean skin for about 15-30 minutes. The Soko Glam 7-Day Sheet Mask Challenge Set gives you a variety pack to experiment with and find favorites! This isn't an affiliate link or an advertisement of any sort, I just bought it and liked it and thought I'd share.

Gratuitous Pug Picture


  1. Haha - we differed on a lot of your January books. I loved Bernadette and liked American Heiress...but I see your point about the would have been interesting to get more background on that. And I've had Helter Skelter on my TBR for awhile...maybe I'll take it off b/c it has to be really great for me to read a 600 page backlist book at this point.

    1. I'm definitely an outlier on Bernadette, because everyone I know that likes to read told me how funny it was and how much I liked it, but I really just didn't care for it at all. And Helter Skelter is definitely interesting and a worthwhile read, but it's not extraordinary or unmissable.