Books, Books, Books – February Edition

Well, it is a month later, and I am happy to report that I am still doggedly recording every book I read. This month, I found an interesting side effect of this project. I came across two books on my list that I started and didn’t care for. Normally, I would just stop reading them. However, in this case, I didn’t want the hours I spent reading the first half to be wasted time. I wouldn’t have counted them unless I finished them, so I had to finish them so I could count them. Weird, right?

I know, but I did finish them. One, I’m glad I finished. The other, I-well, let’s just say it was a disappointment. Here’s the list.

February (13 books)

1. Witch & Wizard – James Patterson

2. Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E. Smith

3. The Real Real – Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

4. Legend – Marie Lu

5. Someone to Watch Over Me – Judith McNaught* (denotes a previously read title)

6. Whitney, My Love – Judith McNaught*

7. Goddess Interrupted – Aimee Carter

8. Awaken – Katie Kacvinsky

9. Middle Ground – Katie Kacvinsky

10. Crossed – Ally Condie

11. Warm Bodies – Isaac Marion

12. Perfect Scoundrels – Ally Carter

13. Reached – Ally Condie

Best book I read in February was #8(Awaken – Kacvinsky) followed closely by #9 (Middle Ground – Kacvinsky) which are part of a series. Amazing dystopian fiction, but the closest thing I’ve seen to where our society might actually be headed. It was eye-opening and chilling and very compelling all at once. I devoured those books. Both done in two days, back to back. Thank goodness it was a weekend.

Worst thing I read in February was #11 (Warm Bodies – Marion). This is actually a movie right now and was a recommendation from my friend Lisa, who has never steered me wrong, until this time. This book was terrible. That’s it. Just terrible.

The other book I struggled with was #10 (Crossed – Condie) This was the second in the Matched trilogy. I really enjoyed Matched, I thought it was well written and the story was gripping. The second, Crossed, was such an utter disappointment. It took such a strange turn from the first book that you wouldn’t have guessed they were in the same series. My biggest complaint is that the entire second book felt like a setup for the third book. Like this whole story could have been a duo. The third was ok, better than the second, but still not great. It was also about 150 pages too long. Way too much medical jargon and focus on the illness. Get to the people. the point of the story. Then, the whole thing wraps up in about 10 pages, of a 520 page book. It was a let down to be sure. However, regardless, I would still recommend that you read the first. Even the third if you want to know how it ends. Skip the second, I can’t think of one reason you’d need to read that book.

Okay, so I’m up to 23 total books on the year, with 10 months to go. I’ll be back at the end of March, which is my birthday month and I would assume I read less during this month because I’m busy. We shall see…

Lent Letter #13

Dear Simon,

Hey buddy. It’s hard to believe that you’re almost six years old. You are the first born of my nieces and nephews. That makes you very special. You and I, we get along great, but we have our challenges. We’re both pretty strong willed, and a little stubborn. I think we get that from Pa.

I wanted to tell you that when you come visit us and I get to spend time with you, it is always so special. Even if we do nothing but sit at Gram’s house and watch movies, we have a good time. Because you are such a fun little boy. And, let’s face it, I’m pretty fun, too. One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is make you laugh. You’re pretty happy, but you don’t let loose your laughter very often. When I can ring an honest-to-goodness belly laugh out of you, it feels like a victory. Like I’ve won a special prize.

Also, I appreciate that you are pretty good natured about me always taking so many pictures. I know you don’t like it, but someday, I really hope that you will. So much of childhood is forgotten amid the excitement of growing older; my hope is to capture as much as I can for you so that you’ll always remember that we love you like crazy, you were wacky and silly and fun, you make crazy faces, and we truly did have some great times.

I’ll tell you the stories, someday, I plan on being one of those “I remember when…” kind of people, but I’ll have the photographic proof to back me up.

I’m so very glad that you’re my nephew. I love your big heart and your fierce belief in what you know. I love that you challenge me and don’t settle for what’s easy. These are the things that make you special to the world. But to me, you’re special just because you’re you. I love you, dude.

Thank you for being part of my life,

Auntie Livia

(to see why I am doing this, read here)

Lent Letter #12

Dear J3,

My friend. Truth be told, I would never have pegged us for friends. We really could not be more different. And yet, we just work. I feel comfortable with you and have from the beginning. It’s not just that you’re kind and welcoming, it’s that secret crazy you hide from most people. I think I felt it right away.

I have it, too, you know. Most of the time I’m absolutely bonkers, and I’ve learned to be very proud of that. I love that you’ve lived such a full and juicy life. Yes, I used juicy, but that’s mostly because of the story. You make me laugh like no other, especially when we’re at work. I still don’t know, to this day, why Kelli let us get away with that, but maybe she thought that the library was enhanced by joy and laughter. I know I do.

You’re an excellent librarian and I have learned a great deal working with you. As a matter of fact, I’d protest that I never got to work with you often enough. There is more to learn, more we can learn together, and I just know you’ve got more stories to share. One of the things I like best about you is how intently you listen. You can name most all of my friends. You know my family, you can repeat my stories. You invested yourself in me; in this surprising and wonderful friendship we share. I don’t know for what purpose we are meant to be friends, maybe I won’t ever know. But I do know, for certain, that having you for a friend makes me a better friend. It makes me dream bigger. It makes me laugh harder. It makes me listen well. It makes me want to be the kind of friend you are to me.

Also, I like that you call me Liv (and kiddo). That’s pretty apropos of nothing, but I just wanted you to know.

Thank you for being part of my life,

(to see why I am doing this, read here)

Archer City

It’s a little town in big ‘ole Texas. It stands at less than 2,000 people. One of those people is Western author, writer of Lonesome Dove and Terms of Endearment, Larry McMurtry.  I’ve never read anything by Larry McMurtry. However, someday, I will travel to his hometown just to visit his bookstore.

When I was a little girl, I used to believe that Heaven was just beyond the clouds and the streets were paved with gold and angels were everywhere, wearing white robes, with big, fluffy, white wings. As I’ve grown, my belief in Heaven itself hasn’t changed, but my ideas of it have. Now, I believe Heaven is your true happiness. Each person gets their own perfect Heaven. And mine?

Mine looks like the inside of Larry McMurtry’s bookstore in north Texas.

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Yes, that is it exactly. My Heaven. Books, as far as the eye can see. So many that they overflow off the shelves and tables, onto the floor. Stacks of books in a never ending supply. Beautiful, organized, chaos. The only thing missing is the easy chair in the corner.

I just stumbled across this while reading online. It’s somewhat miraculous to find a photo of your Heaven displayed for all the world to see. I never even knew this existed before today, but now, now that I know? I must go there. When I finally take that cross-country road trip, this will definitely be one of the stops.

Even I didn’t know that I’ve always wanted to visit Archer City, TX. The things you can learn without even trying…

Two Weeks Old

My beautiful nephew is two weeks old today. Instead of photos I took, I’m going to share his newborn pictures.

To begin, the big sister and little brother together.

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*heart melting*

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And that’s a weird angle, because he looks WAY chunkier than he actually is.

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I love how he’s smirking at the idea of being forced to pose with this bear that isn’t even his.

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So precious.

They took several family photos and they are all great, but I think this one is my favorite.

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I love this one. My mom made him that hat.

This next one might be my favorite of the day…

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Except for maybe this one…

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He was rapidly losing his patience at this point, and did not care for being naked.
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But, just before the end, she grabbed a couple little extras that Emily didn’t even ask for.

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And I don’t know whether I like them better in black and white or that amazing pink color that you can’t replicate in nature.

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Hard to say, isn’t it?

And those are the photos of Camden from his newborn shoot. Technically he was only 6 days old when those were taken, but they needed to be shared.

Which one is your favorite?

Saturday’s Woes

I was going to write a long story about this, but let’s just brief it out instead.

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That enough? Ok, a bit more. My battery died. I couldn’t find it to jump it. Turns out, that’s because my battery is under the backseat of the car. Yep, sure is.

I even

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text my dad a photo of the engine to see if he could find it. I’m not a stupid girl. When I couldn’t find the battery, something had to be going on.

Unfortunately, I was quite a ways away from my house. It was a long jaunt for my dad to come and get me. He jumped the car, after I figured out where the battery was located – using the manual, thank God for print resources, and it has been fine ever since. FINE. Nothing is wrong with it. The battery tests perfectly. So, here’s to hoping it was a fluke. And furthermore, here’s to hoping if it does break down again, it’s at my day job, instead of one of my far off weekend jobs…

Two Girls in Hats

The day of Arionna and Camden’s pictures was a pretty long day. I was in full-on fun Auntie mode, doing my best to keep the three-year-old entertained. We were wandering through Sears when we came upon a row of hats.

She immediately zeroed in on a pink, sequined hat. I handed it to her and she put it on. I said, “can I take a picture of you and then show you how cute you look in that hat?”

She agreed. She doesn’t always. Not a huge fan of getting her picture taken.

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Really? Why are little kids so cute in hats?

Then, she said to me, “you try it on Auntie Livi and I’ll take a picture of you and you can see.”

It’s pretty hard to refuse an offer like that.

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And that is the first photo she took of me that worked out. Clearly the pink hat is too small for me, but I don’t even care. I’m loving these matching photos of me and my best girl.