Thursday, May 13, 2010

Top 3 Thursday: Let's BOOK IT!!

Look it: it's Thursday, and I'm posting my Top 3 Thursday topic on time! YAY for me!! And I mean really...this week will be my most difficult topic yet. Books? Only 3? Pleeeaaaasseee...that's nigh impossible for me. Let me break it down for ya-my grandma was a librarian...a few of her sisters were parents both read a lot...I LOVE reading...basically, it's impossible to only pick three books. So I've picked a few categories, and will go from there. Ready, set, READ!


This is the direction we were supposed to go in this week. But well, see here's the thing with reading regular books while I'm in school...I don't do it. Not because I don't want to, but because if I read regular books while I have reading to do for class, I will never get the reading done for class. Hence: I don't read for fun when class is in session. I have managed to read three books since January though, and how perfect is this: I've only read three! So here they are:

This was a PHE-NOMENAL book!! If ever you wanted to know what it's like as a touring professional for a sport, and I mean the bare bones of everything it's like: read this book. I found that I could draw a few parallels between Andre as pro tennis player and myself as a pro racquetball player, but the most striking was this: we both love/hate our sports. Did you know that, that Andre hated tennis?! Me neither! But I "hate" racquetball, too: I hate that it takes up so much time and effort to try and be at the top of the sport (especially when I make next to no money at it); I hate that it puts such a strain on my relationships, be them friendships, dating, or with family, very few of whom truly get what being so dedicated to something is really all about; but most of all I hate the fact that I can't walk away from it. Playing racquetball is such a huge part of who I am and what I do, that there is absolutely no way I will willingly walk away from playing. Believe me, I've tried. More than once. Can't do it. So whoever ends up stuck with me ends up stuck with racquetball, too.

This book was also fantastic. I read it in two days, which is pretty swift for a book of over 500 pages, even for me. In fact, ALL of Dan Brown's books are fantastic...all 5 of them. Yes, he has written more than just "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" fact, his best book (IMO) is called "Deception Point". Robert Langdon is one of my favorite literary characters, but "Deception Point" is where it's at-READ IT!!
I honestly didn't know what to think about this book...I watched this match live on TV-all 8 long hours of it. At that point, I was working the third shift at the hotel, and I woke up/stayed up just to watch this match because I knew it would be amazing. And I was pooped at work that night, but it was SO worth it. I didn't know what to think of the book because I thought, "There's no way a BOOK could live up to how amazing the actual match was"...but I was wrong. The book dives more into the background of the match, things that not even avid tennis followers like myself knew, and put them in context with the match. Needless to say, this is a fantastic book-and I wholeheartedly believe that the sequel should be written about the Federer/Roddick final match that took place in last year's Wimbledon final.

CATEGORY 2: THE THREE BEST BOOK SERIES a tough one. And if you know me at all, you may be surprised by my picks.

#1: The Inheritance Trilogy, by Christopher Paolini. Chances are, you have NO idea what this trilogy is about. You may not even have seen the movie that is loosely (and I use that term sarcastically-don't even get me started on all the inconsistencies) based on the first book in the series...Eragon? Ring a bell? If not, don't worry-the movie was...well, horrible would be an understatement. As a movie, supposedly it was fine (says my mom, who again is so awesome that she went with me to see the movie on her birthday because I wanted to see it), but as a reader of the book, the movie sucked. The books, however, are WONDERFUL! So detailed, kinda long, but soooo good! The books in the series are: Eragon, Eldest, and then Brisingr. There is a fourth one coming out, but I have no idea what it will be called or when it is due. Check these books out though, they're awesome.

#2: The Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling. I mean honestly, how could I leave these books off of my list?! They. Are. BRILLIANT. And I don't mean that in a British way-I mean J.K. Rowling is a genius. I'm not going to say too much about these books-they are too much of a cultural phenomenon for you not to know what's going on, but let me say this: don't knock them just because they're "children's books". Good books are good books, regardless of who they are written for, so enjoy.

#3: The His Dark Materials series, by Philip Pullman. Again, chances are that you have no idea that this trilogy even existed. But (unfortunately), you may be dimly aware of the movie that was made based on the first book in the series; and again, don't even get me started on the inconsistencies between the book and the movie that make it nearly impossible to make the second movie and have it even remotely stay true to the books. There is too much going on in the series to explain what it's about, but all you need to know is that the books are extremely entertaining, and are excellent reads. The books in this series are as follows: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass.

I have, as you may have noticed, left the Twilight books off of my list of the best series. That is because...shocker alert...I don't think the books are well-written. Not even a little bit. But I do love the story lines, and the characters are fantastic, and I am obviously invested in the story (although I came a little late to the party), so I would still recommend the books to anyone looking for something fun to read.

*A special note about these books: all four of these series have caused outcries with parents that they are unsuitable reading for children. In the case of all of these series, a large part of that outcry has to with the supernatural nature of the books. But my point is this: they're BOOKS-and FICTION books at that!! Let's not make more of it than necessary; for example, many people objected to The Golden Compass because it talks about killing God...but newsflash, if you had actually read the books, you would know that #1: no it doesn't, not even a little bit, and #2: that particular misunderstood part of the series doesn't even occur until the final book in the series. So what I'm saying is this: these books may not be suitable for your 11 year old child to read-so don't let them read them! But they are fantastic (FICTION!) books, so please don't keep your child from reading them-it's so difficult to get kids to read books these days, that it is my firm belief that they should be allowed to read anything that is age-appropriate for them.


This category took me a very long time to narrow down, but here they are; I've read all of these books multiple times, and would love to discuss them with you at any time.
I know that this is a super long post, but I did warn you at the beginning that it would be a long one. I leave you with this final comment: Don't ever, ever, EVER read Wicked. It's quite possibly the worst book ever written. Haven't seen the musical, but the book is horrid. I have never not finished a book, but that one...almost didn't make it. It's that bad. But don't let that stop you-BOOK IT!!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

What's the name of this thing?? Top 3 whenever-I-get-around-to-it-day?! Ooops.

Yes, yes, I know, I know-for the second week in a row, I have not only failed to do my Top 3 Thursday topic on an actual Thursday, but I have also failed to do it on Friday...So let's get to it, shall we?! Favorite things to do outdoors, ready...GO!

#1: Skiing/playing in the snow. I am not a good skier. And really the only skiing that I've done is at Perfect North in Indiana, which is basically fake skiing (because it's Indiana, duh-it's like the queen of flat country), and I am what my grandparents call a dangerous skier because I don't so much do the turning, I'm more of a go straight down the hill as fast as I can so you should probably just get out of my way type of girl, but hey! I loved skiing. I'd also really love to try snowboarding someday, but I have a feeling I will be falling down a lot on the first run. I also like playing in the snow. Yes, I'm almost 25, but I love big snows, and I love running outside and jumping in the snow, and having snowball fights, and making snow angels, and getting absolutely FREEZING cold, then going inside to warm up with some nice hot chocolate. That's a perfect day right there! That's the one thing I don't like about living in the South now-no snow. Although it is MUCH easier to get a snow day down here...January 7, 2010, anyone?! It was supposed to snow a few inches, so they closed all the schools, and what did it do?? It RAINED. Come on, now! Suck it up.

#2: Swimming/being in some body of water. This is a fairly broad category. I love being in the ocean (although I am getting more and more scared of the ocean these days-I'm like Sara, it's starting to make me really uncomfortable that I can't see my feet). I love being at the beach. I love playing sand volleyball. I also am just as partial to spending the day at the pool. Some of my favorite memories are the days that all of my friends from college and I would meet up at the Bent Tree pool, and just drink all day, and laze around in the floats...those were some good times. Finally, I also love, love, LOVED City Cafe/Cliffs Fridays. Again, just going to City Cafe for lunch and eating as much food as possible, then jumping off the Cliffs and hoping that you didn't sink to the bottom of the river because you ate way too much food at lunch. Jumping off the Cliffs was scary-the water looks REALLY far away-but I loved every minute of it.

#3: Running outside. I love running. I also hate/despise running. So of course, I love to hate running. But let me break it down for ya-I hate running (it's really hard!), but I know that it's good for my racquetball game, plus I get a huge sense of accomplishment coming in from a run, just knowing that I did something that I hate doing. But what do I hate even more than running: running on a track. Even worse: running on a treadmill. YUCK. You don't go anywhere! How boring. So if I HAVE to run, then it must be outside. I don't really even mind running in the rain, sometimes it's nice...but I do secretly love running outside.

So that's it for this edition of Top 3...whatever day. I also love sitting outside on a porch and drinking sweet tea while I'm reading a good book, but that's a whole other topic/post on it's own. Cheers y'all!!