Weekend in Pictures

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Shadow of the Wind

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set in Barcelona just after the second world war, the novel begins in the cemetery of forgotten books, where Daniel, the young protagonist, eyes the spines of thousands of books in an effort to restore one abandoned title to its rightful reader. He selects Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax. Instantly, Daniel is thrust into a mysterious plot spiral, where he is pursued by a mirage-like, disfigured individual who is after the book he refuses to let go of.

Complete with unrequited adolescent love; floundering fisticuffs and outright violence; mansions in disrepair; an array of complex characters (the most endearing of which is, Fermín Romero de Torres, a tawdry transient whom Daniel befriends and who then comes to work in his father's bookshop); familial relationships and the never too trifle theme of enduring love.

I loved this book because it was really a novel for bibliophiles. (We'll be discussing it tonight at book club.*) In addition, there's something immensely rewarding with a book coming full circle as it wraps up the story line. It's a wonder that such a gem escaped me all these years. But now that I've read it...I can't recommend it enough.

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

*Especially interested to discuss Zafon's schizophrenic depiction of women characters throughout his novel.

Six bajillion times more effective.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remember waaay back when I assembled a list of 30 things to do while I was 30? Well, I kind of fizzled on my list around Snowpocalypse. Just ran outta oomph. However, I didn't want to abandon my list altogether, which is why I gave myself permission to make changes. Which is just what I did. Looking back, I have enjoyed many memorable moments over the past year.

So, without further adieu, here it is: my modified and nearly completed list.

* Climb the National Cathedral steps
* Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at night
* Maryland Renaissance Festival
* George Washington's Old Grist Mill
* Free summer Saturday @ Corcoran Gallery
* Read Atlas Shrugged ✓
* Soar to the top of the Empire State Building
* Visit dear friends and Yosemite in California

* Pay off credit card debt (closer)
* Experience a traditional Sedar
* Day trip to Fallingwater (July 31...anyone in?)

* Abandon DC winter for the Bahamas
* Hike Old Rag
* Bike to work
* Spend a Saturday biking Martha's Vineyard
* Washington Printmakers' Gallery
* Monthly visits to Miriam's Kitchen
* Nationals game
* Transcribe Dad's journal (in process)
* DC Roller Girls
* Watch Meryl Streep bake croissants
* Tangier Island
* Visit the Lake District in England 
* Stargazing
* Start the New Testament
* Phillips Collection
* Join a CSA
* Outrun the changing of the Guard on Britain's Mall (pronounced Maw)
* Day trip to Longwood Gardens

* Fall in love...WITH MY LIFE

How about you? Have you set and accomplished any meaningful goals over the past year? 

What's on your list NOW? Let me know if you've borrowed from my list, started your own list, or been inspired by someone else' s list.

Lessons Learned

Friday, July 9, 2010

In the past month...

1. Always, always, ALWAYS spend that extra $40 bucks on travel insurance. Trust me.

2. When buying electronics, ALWAYS keep your receipt. Seriously.

(Alternatively, not that I'm condoning purchases at Big Box stores, just make your small/large electronic purchase at Best Buy. They found my three-year-old receipt in about three seconds.)

3 Reasons I'll Never be a Vegan

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1. Ice cream

2. Yogurt

3. Cheese

Golden Valley

Thursday, July 1, 2010

There is a scene from one of my favorite films that has been replaying in my head
for the past month.

I use to watch this film on an annual basis. It was my emotional catharsis. 
You see, I needed this film. It both shook and shaped me.
I internalized and identified with the characters.

On two occasions I even played portions of the film for different academic audiences.
It wasn't a box office sensation. In fact, few people had actually see,
much less heard of it. (Which was, after all, fine by me.)
Because in a strange way I felt I owned this cinematic experience.

While I can't recall the last time I watched (read: wept) through this film,
I've been experiencing the visceral reality of this moment.
Again. And again.

-You happy?
-What kind of happy?
  Just happy.
-You know my kind of happy? 
  How stupid. I forget. When you ask a question, it means you have the answer waiting.
  So go ahead, tell me.
  Come on.
-I'm not telling you now.


-You know, I don't want to be somewhere else anymore.
              I'm not waiting for anything new to happen...
              not looking around the next corner and over the next hill.
              I'm here now. That's enough.
 That's your kind of happy, isn't it?
- Yes. Yes, it is.

Perhaps I'm beginning to understand the significance of that moment.
This moment.
Living in the NOW part of things.
Not waiting.
Not looking.

It's a process.
A process that, for me, is beginning to unfurl in an unexpectedly beautiful way. 

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