Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Great Friends and Good Reads

Hello! Hope everyone is having a great start to their week. This past Friday I got off work a little early and booked it to Greenville to spend a weekend with some good friends. I've never actually been to Greenville, aside from driving through it on my way to Clemson, and I wasn't let down. I didn't have a single bad meal, all the bars that I remember going to were fun, and of course I was amongst great company.

Out celebrating Katherine's birthday! Katherine, Liz, Alex, and me.
On Saturday we went to the Upstate International Festival of Beers, and it was truly life-changing. Carl was a little bummed that he missed out, especially since my brother, Nick, made the trip down to crash our girls weekend (he had no idea what he was getting into!) and enjoy the beer fest. Basically you just pay to get into the festival and are given a little sampling mug to take to the various brewery tables and pick which one of their beers you'd like to try. It went something like this: stand in line, sip, stand in line, sip, dance, eat pretzels, stand in line, sip, sip, sip. I was a little shocked to see multiple people with babies in attendance- what the heck, get a babysitter! Between the loud music and a huge crowd of drunk people, those poor babies will probably scarred for life. There were also a few pregnant ladies, but Nick pointed out that they were probably DD's for the day. Still, that seems like torture. Let it be known that when I am pregnant, any person who dares drink beer in my midst will feel my wrath.

Here's us, towards the end of the festival if you can't tell.

See my little sampling mug?
I definitely plan on making another trip to Greenville soon. What a fun weekend!

Aside from visiting new places, I've also been a busy book reader lately. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I finished The Book Thief, which was amazing. Maybe it's because I  felt gipped in the World War II history department all throughout school, but I've always had an interest in any and all World War II fiction. The Book Thief is about a little German girl and the impact that Nazi Germany had on her childhood, as narrated by death, or a grim reaper-esque character. Sounds really uplifting, right? It actually had a surprisingly perfect mix of sad moments and laughable scenes, especially given such a heavy subject matter. Two thumbs up.

I also read The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory, the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. I'm sure there's a lot of criticism about her interpretations of history, but I really enjoyed this book. For all of the Shakespeare and accompanying history that I was force-fed as an English major I somehow couldn't remember learning about Mary, the queen of Scotland (aka the other queen), who was held captive in England throughout the middle years of Queen Elizabeth's reign, when it was up in the air as to whether she would ever get married and have a son to be heir to the throne. Whenever I read books about royalty I can't help but think how lame it would have been to be pretty much everyone else back then. If you weren't some sort of nobility you had to slave away your entire life for someone else, only to get beheaded or hanged or die at the hands of some disgusting disease. I guess we've got it pretty good now!

Last night I finished Jodi Picoult's Lone Wolf, also a great read. I've always been a big Jodi Picoult fan, although the last few books of hers that I've read have been somewhat similar in terms of the story being told from multiple perspectives and hinting at some plot-twisting secret that doesn't come out until the very end. I will say, the ending is never what I expected so she's got me there, and her subject matters are always different. She also does a thorough job researching her book topics and shedding light on flaws in the legal system as well as sticky moral dilemmas. In this book two children are forced to decide whether or not their father, who suffered severe brain trauma in a car wreck, should be taken off of life support or kept alive in a vegetable state. He had dedicated his life to the research of wolves, hence the title, which meant that I learned a lot of cool wolf facts along the way. Definitely a tear jerker- don't read it in public.

Whew! I feel like I just wrote three very incomplete book reports. I didn't want to give too much away, though- there's nothing worse than starting a book and knowing how it ends. If you have any good book suggestions, let me know... unless it's Twilight. I refuse to read those books.


  1. Looks like a fun trip!! Wish I could have been there. I'm super jealous of all of your fun reading! Can't wait to see you!

    1. Can't wait to see you either!! Maybe one day when you retire you'll be able to do fun reading again!