Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

The question of "what to read?" has been on my mind lately. I was asked this question twice today so perhaps I'm not alone here.

Alas. As of yet, I do not have a strong answer on what I personally should be reading. I'm going to the beach in just over a week and I have not yet found THE SUMMER BEACH READ. But I think I'm getting closer with every step.

Selections from the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. And a man studying in the corner. Hottie. 

I do have some good recommendations though, should you find yourself in this same particular quandary. Some of this is repeat from my previous ramblings about good reads. Take it or leave it, here is what I've got:

  • MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend. I haven't read this but it was recommended from a trusted source. A married white female moves to Chicago with her husband and suddenly finds herself friendless,  so she decides to go on a ton of girl dates as she looks for her new best friend forever. I feel like so many of us women, whether married or single, could relate to this book -- especially living in cities far from where we grew up. Judging from the cover (always a good test of a book's character, naturally) it seems witty and fun.    
  • The Pillars of the Earth. A classic! It's a historical fiction read complete with romance and history and suspense and the building of a cathedral in the 1400s or thereabouts. I read it while in the Caribbean a few years ago so I can totally vouch that it's a good beach read. I want to read it again. Loved this book. 
  • Cutting for Stone. I definitely have mentioned this one before. It's an epic coming of age story about twin brothers in Ethiopia. If you are at all medically inclined, you will love this book. Or even if you aren't (I'm not), you will love this book. 
  • Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. I know what you're thinking. This is definitely not a beach read. But I think it could be! I haven't read this book but my friend Jenn recently read it and has talked so much about it. Yes, this is not sunshine and flowers, but real life isn't either. This book is real life and we need to know about it. 
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The true story of a woman's cells being used and replicated to radically advance science and medicine -- but without her knowledge. I haven't read this book but it's been recommended from several sources. Ethical debates abound!
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog. This is a merry read about the intertwining lives of one apartment building's many dwellers. I read it a few years ago and remember chuckling and smiling the whole time. It's set in Paris. Need I say more? And you need a dictionary for every third word. 
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The true story of Louie Zamperini surviving a Japanese POW camp during WWII. Two words: read it. I read it last Christmas at the beach and it's worth reading while looking out at the ocean since much of the book takes place at sea. Just amazing. It's being made into a movie. 
  • The Paris Wife. Again, this is on my to-read list. It's the story of the love affair between Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. A real heartbreaker. If you saw Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and didn't know who the characters were, this book probably isn't for you. Just saying...
  • The Liar's Club. Mary Karr's memoir about growing up in East Texas with a crazy family. Who can't relate to that? At least the crazy family part. 
  • Lit. Mary Karr's follow-up memoir about her adult years. I haven't read either of her memoirs, but my mom says they are excellent and humorous. What's not to love about those two glowing adjectives. Why, nothing. Nothing at all. 
  • The Jane Austen Book Club. I saw the movie a few months ago and practically fell in love with these women (and man... played by Hugh Dancy... so precious.) Just a simply sweet and wonderful girly read about the intertwining lives of the women who love Jane Austen. Simply the best! 
So, that's what I've got. Do with it what you will. And let me know if you have some favorites to recommend! Please tellll meeeee. I beg you. For all things beautiful like kisses and sunny days, share the wealth. The literary world is a beautiful world. 

To close, I give you a snapshot from my first year of marriage to my future doctor:

Life is sweet. Books make it sweeter. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hammered Silvery Surf

I've just returned from six days in Chicago on a work trip.  Yesterday, I began to go a bit stir-crazy in the convention center sooooo I started looking up info on where Michael and I are going for a our second anniversary/celebration-for-completing-the-board-exam trip in 23 days (whose counting???)

I came across this gem of a write-up:

"Once the less prudent tourists have staggered off the beach in search of lotions to soothe their red roasted hides and darkened rooms to ease their pounding headaches, the locals perkily appear with picnic baskets, oversized sheets (so much better than towels), coolers and a barbecue to busily set up for dinner  with family on the shore. The sunset is almost immediate: the sky turns from brilliant hues to dark blue velvet, and the stars have that 3 dimensional effect of being layered and almost within reach. If you have moonlight, so much the better, especially if you have thoughtfully brought someone with you to enjoy that hammered silvery surf extending from the shore to the horizon. The air is so soft and warm, parties tend to commence later in the evening when it cools off a bit. Have a nap before dinner. The night air is heavy with the fragrance of flowers, rich earth, greenery and chirping tree frogs. If you can drag yourself out of bed at dawn, you will hear unusual birdsong and see the sun rise over the ocean, always a breathtaking sight. I like it best when the sky and the sea are the same rosy golden colour. If you can get over to the beach you love best, there will be no footsteps upon it but your own: that’s always a special thrill."

Umm hello. Take. me. here. This is amazing! Why don't more people write like this?? Red roasted hides. Brilliant hues to dark blue velvet. Hammered silvery surf. Fragrance of flowers, rich earth, greenery and chirping tree frogs.

Wait -- there is more:

"The coral and limestone stately headlands are perforated with rock pools and filled with wildlife (no snakes or anything scary, I hasten to add) with seabirds hovering and swooping over the ocean."

Good. No snakes. Double check plus. Wait -- even more:

"Bring your most comfortable shoes, no matter how ugly. We want you to see it all, with no blisters- just big smiles."

Who says comfortable shoes have to be ugly? Ok last bit:

"Another recommendation is to be sure to take some nice soft earplugs because the “night life”  includes a million tiny singing frogs and crickets that come out after sundown to regale you with an account of their day. Some people find it so unusual it takes a while to get used to it. The sound of the waves sighing on the shore is never a problem."

"To regale you with an account of their day." This is magic.

If you can guess where we are going (and if you don't already know... which will exclude a lot of people... SORRY! I'm a yapper...), then you will get a prize in the form of a souvenir from this tropical destination. Just comment on this post or email me at careybeth (dot) catalino at gmail (dot) com. (First correct guess wins. It will be a good prize, I promise.)


I just realized that you can totally Google any phrase from these above excerpts and find out where we are going. Oh baaaaah, I'm so lame. Ok fine. My first official giveaway is....non existent. I will have to come up with something more lucrative and workable.... stay tuned.

Since that flopped, I may as well spill the beans. Bermuda! Bahamas...common pretty mama. We are going to Bermuda. Not that this is the most exciting place on earth (or is it?) but man oh man, I am thrilled.

For the time being, I am thrilled just to be home with my man. We had a celebratory cake last night... celebrating the fact that I survived the Annual Meeting, and celebrating the fact that Michael didn't go to the ER like he did the last time I was away. True story.

I'll have to tell it sometime.

While driving home from the airport last night, I was struck with how much I love DC. I mean...... it was 8pm and sunsetty and just gorgeous and not humid (a rarity), so perhaps my affections were under the influence of these affectations. Surely, if it was rainy and cold I wouldn't feel this way? No, I would still love DC. It is my home. It is where I've been since February 2009 as a single girl in the big city, and where Michael and I have lived together since July 2011 as newlyweds. We love our neighborhood, our city, our church, our friends, taking walks at night, playing tennis on the local courts no matter how cracked up they are, eating $5 ice cream cones at Tsweets (worth it, I swear), not needing a car (unless I go to work), and talking with our neighbors on their front porches. Washington has become a perfect little home for this Texas girl and her Yankee boy.

Who I love.

And who loves me too.

Will wonders never cease.