Thursday, November 19

12x12: The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy
by J.K. Rowling

J bought me this book right when it came out... about three years ago, when we were still living in Iowa City. I'm terrible, I know. I think I didn't read it right away at the time because I was already in the middle of another book and I am NOT the kind of reader who can go back and forth between them. I must have started this at some point back then, because I found pressed flowers in the book when I opened it up this time, and the first chapter seemed familiar.

What I Loved:

  • I really love the way J.K. Rowling writes. I think she does a great job conveying emotions and developing characters, and this book really showed those skills. There's a TON of characters and character development throughout the book, and they do seem like real people. They're flawed, they're emotional, and I thought the writing was great throughout the entire book.
  • Once I got into it, I really couldn't put it down. I don't know if that was entirely due to the book and not a tiny bit because I could read another Harry Potter book after, but there you have it. Probably the last third of it, I was dying to keep reading and things started moving a lot faster.
  • It gave me some insight to life in England in a distinctly non-wizarding way. It made me think about how people live in small towns, as well as our biases and bigotries. It was definitely the most "adult" book I've read in a long time, and in a way, I think that in and of itself was good for me. People in the book deal with a lot of complex, mature issues, and it was a lot darker than I expected - but in a good way.

What I Wasn't Crazy About:

  • Boy, this book was hard to get into. For example, I'm currently reading the 5th Harry Potter book right now. I started it on Friday. Today's Thursday, and I'm almost done with it. I started The Casual Vacancy in AUGUST. It's now NOVEMBER. There was a long period of time where I was stressed because of school, but my theory is we find time to read when we want to read. And to be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book. It's very adult-y and has the feel of a murder mystery, which is not my genre of choice. 
  • More than anything, the chapters switch viewpoints between characters. Is this normally a problem for me? No, not at all. But there are about 10-15 characters to switch in between, and J.K. Rowling doesn't explain how they're connected right away. You'll hear about "Simon" and have a whole chapter from his point of view. Then three chapters later, "Andrew" is the narrator and it takes you a page and a half to realize that he's Simon's son. The characters don't look at the same events from different perspectives - time keeps moving, so you're getting bits and pieces as you go along. It's a complex way of writing a book, and while part of me loves it for that reason, it also made it really hard to get into the book because you're not allowed to be attached to any characters. About halfway through the book, you get used to the characters and format and it gets a ton easier to read, but that first half is difficult to plow through.
  • This is probably stupid to think, but I was a little shocked by some of the descriptions in the book. Some of the characters are teenage boys, and they're thinking about sex and talking about  getting "pants-feels" as I will call them, and ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT IS HARRY POTTER. I literally just kept thinking, "Did Harry Potter have pants feels like this? What if J.K. Rowling had written the Harry Potter series and talked about boners and stuff? That would  have been strange!" Reading J.K. Rowling write about sex felt kind of like listening to your parents discuss sex. Unfair of me to feel weird about it? Totally, but there you go.

Would I Recommend This Book?

  • It depends - if you like mystery or detective books, you may like this a lot! Personally, the genre just wasn't for me, but I did find it really enjoyable as the book went on. It was definitely different than what I'm used to reading, but again, it was really well-written and I applaud J.K. Rowling for doing something different after the Harry Potter books! This has been made into a series on HBO and I'm actually really excited to watch it now that I'm done with the book.

Have you ever read this book? What did you think about it? Would you recommend it?

Friday, November 6

Life Lately {vol. 52}

I got these dried apples at the Co-Op near our apartment and they were AMAZING! So tart, delicious, and crisp! J and I went on a trip to Salem, MA a few days after I bought these, and I brought them with as a snack. I really didn't think (a) he'd like them that much and (b) we'd eat them, but it felt smart to bring a snack just in case. Well, we ate them all while walking around Salem, and it was the perfect treat for a day of walking.

I went to Boston to meet with another attorney! I took the T again from an outer station and it ended up being so much easier now that I've figured out how to add money to my Charlie Pass! :P

As I said, J and I went to Salem a few weeks ago on a Saturday. We had lunch at O'Neil's, which is the pub chain my friends and I spent most of our time in London at since it was just down the street. Being there brought back so many memories, even if it was in New England and not actually England. :)

Obviously I had a Magners to celebrate!

J doesn't like raisins but he does like cranberries... So I made ants-on-a-log with cranberries! Honestly, it's a small change but it's a revelation - sooo yummy!

I don't know if I've mentioned before on the blog, but I joined a choir in town with my friend Jay! I've also discovered how useful beanies are in covering up hair that isn't cooperating, which means I wear a beanie literally as soon as I can once I'm off work, haha!

I bought two dresses from Modcloth recently and got a fall surprise package because of it! In the package was a bag, a dark blue beanie, and a really beautiful thermos. I've really never owned a thermos before, but now I'm using it non-stop - it just feels so very, "Fall in New England," especially when I wear plaid. :)

My friend Jay got married last month, so J and I got to dress up and drive to Portsmouth with our friends Abby and Andrew! This is one of the dresses I got from Modcloth, and I'm completely in love with it. I got so many compliments that night, and I think it's because the dress just fit me and my personality so well! More importantly, the wedding was gorgeous and everyone had SUCH a fun time celebrating the newly married couple!

The Sunday after the wedding, I walked over six miles for breast cancer awareness, along with a bunch of people from the law firm I'm working for right now! It was really fun to get to know some of the staff better, and it was the first day I can remember where I easily hit my Fitbit step goal - I actually broke a new record for myself of over 15,000 steps in one day! I also raised $175 for the American Cancer Society thanks to my friends and family who donated!

I've been avoiding adding stickers to my computer, but I've had this one since May and I decided to just take the plunge!

One of the topics discussed for my legal residency was confidence, and in honor of that, I added a Kanye West quote to my desk area. I have not regretted it yet.

I ordered another 7-pack of Tapatio Doritos from Amazon and it was such a good decision. This happened a couple weeks ago, and I'm proud to say we still have one bag left!

My choir had a Saturday rehearsal at this small church in this small town near Concord! They provided coffee, too, which was much-needed and much-appreciate.

These church rafters though! *heart eyes*

I made a new friend near my apartment! He was super friendly but looked a little dirty and I didn't want to get my cats infected with fleas or anything, so I didn't pet him. :(

I went for a long walk by myself the other evening in Concord. The trees and leaves around here are to-die-for beautiful!

How cute are my guys?!

I made fresh, homemade salsa the other day and it turned out to be sooo amazing! J - the kid who grew up in Arizona - told me it was amazing and that I should enter it in a contest, which obviously meant a lot to me. Plus, it was cheaper to make than buying it!

How is he real though?!

J and I went to the law school Halloween party on Saturday! I went as Margot Tennanbaum and J went as Shaun of the Dead. I also had a (fake) fur coat, but it got really hot when I danced.

I bought my first red cup Starbucks drink of the season on Wednesday! Gingerbread Lattes are back, and they are to me what Pumpkin Spice Lattes are to other people. I wait 10 months of the year to have these, and I am SO glad they're back already, even if it does seem a little early.

Hey friends - it's obviously been a while since I've posted. I've been struggling with what my blog is and what it should be. I was at a law event a few weeks ago that discussed looking for jobs, interviewing, and hiring, and one of the things that was talked about was our internet presence.  It's not like I think this blog is a "negative" presence for me online, but it is a way that a potential employer could find things about me that he or she doesn't like. Maybe it's best that they figure it out early, but still, I don't want to hurt my chances. I also worry that a juror on a trial could find my blog and it would completely mess up the trial, no matter how they feel about it. In a lot of professions, an internet presence doesn't really hurt, but in law, it's a little riskier.

Anyway, it's just made me think a lot about the kinds of things I want to post. What I love about blogging is that (a) it's an opportunity for me to share and connect with people, (b) it's an outlet for me to express myself, and (c) people seem to like it alright, haha. I want to continue to share and post things that I like, but I also don't want to be a liability, either for myself or for a potential employer. I haven't quite figured out a balance yet, which is why I haven't been posting.

In other news, I've started a new fitness routine: BBG! I've done two weeks of it so far, but I've been pretty terrible about doing it this week. I may re-do this week next week, just to make sure I'm getting out of it what I need. I really like it so far, and I've been super sore, which I think is a good sign! :)