2014 Goals: July

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Preaching the truth at the Capitol Hill Block Party

What a month was July!

Books: I was feeling a little sheepish about my number at the end of June. Then BAM. Vacation. Cleared that right up. While in Mexico I finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. All three were great and I inhaled them like a marathoner chugs water. I have also been fully converted to the Kindle while traveling. Big thanks to loyal reader Donna, the super fab mom of my eternally hilarious co-worker Scott, who gifted me her retired Kindle touch as I could join the ranks of electronic device readers.

I went back to work and got right back into my bus commute reading schedule. Finished Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette? in a week. What a delicious skewering of Seattle! Annual total thus far: 15/15

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Stencil in Mexico City

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Summer grocery store flowers

Exercise: Yoga in the studio! Yoga in the out of doors! My co-workers (apparently my office features prominently in this update) and I challenged each other to a All Stairs August, complete with an in office sticker chart because public shaming is real. Want to join in?

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Saturday morning yoga at the Sculpture Park

Shows: Killing it! Enjoyed a showcase at the Crocodile featuring Matt Bishop from Hey Marseilles, Trails and Ways, and PHOX at the beginning of the month. And in true form, I resisted the Capitol Hill Block Party for weeks before breaking down and buying a ticket to Saturday two days beforehand. Oh, what a block party it was! Saw an excellent set by The Dip (who are opening for Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Neumos next week), the end of Katie Kate, and kickass performances by Beat Connection, Star Slinger, and Chromeo. Music festival real talk: rompers are still my least favorite item of clothing.

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Hanging with Siiri at the Block Party

Travel: MEXICO. And done.

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Theater night with my parents

 

Guanajuato

For the first leg of our Mexican adventure, I joined my buddy Jorge for a family visit and his sister’s wedding in the state of Guanajuato. We spent two days wandering the city of Guanajuato, the state capitol and university town. Built into a hill and full of Spanish colonial architecture, the city center is full of winding cobble stone alleys, pocket-sized squares,  street art, and shady trees. After I was allowed to purchase all the silver jewelry the town would sell me (Full disclosure: if we ever vacation together there’s a lot of sidewalk cafe drinking and purchasing of accessories. You’ve been warned.) we headed to San Luis de la Paz for the wedding of Jorge’s sister. Felicitaciones Nadya y Paco!

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Guanajuato

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Guanajuato

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Micheladas

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You can still throw rice in Mexico!

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World Cup day

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Monumento a El Pipila, Guanajuato

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Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato

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Museo y Casa Diego Rivera, Guanajuato

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Teatro Juarez, Guanajuato

Book Review: The Goldfinch

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Reading through a downpour in Mexico City

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

Lizzie Rating: A-

The Goldfinch has been all the buzz in the book world. Stephen King, in his NYT review of the book, compared it to “the best of Dickens”. The staff reviews at my local bookstore were overflowing. Everyone is reading this book. And who am I to turn down being part of the In Crowd?

Theo Decker is a teenager living in New York City with a mother he adores. One morning, en route to a “conference” with the school administration, Theo and his mother are caught in the Metropolitian Museum of Art when it is struck by a terrorist attack. Theo survives. His mother does not. In a haze, Theo escapes with a painting. The novel follows Theo’s next ten years as moves between Fifth Avenue, the forgotten suburbs of Las Vegas, and a weather worn furniture shop in the West Village. He struggles with keeping his mistakes a secret while his mother is never far from his mind.

The scale of the novel is remarkable: ten years, multiple countries, dozens of characters. Tartt does an impressive job of making the characters robust and compelling. Their motivations are real, even the points where you just want to shake them. I found the plot slow in parts. A long novel like this will have ups and downs as the story lines weave, come together, and part again. I found Theo and Pippa’s relationship to suffer acutely from this problem. Other sections, especially the stretch in Las Vegas, were similarly slow. And yet, I would recommend this book. It is a story worth having an opinion about.

I know many of my gentle readers have finished The Goldfinch, tell me what you thought.