The Unpretentious Reader

Monthly Archive: August 2016

Weekend things


I have a confession.

I’m having a REALLY HARD TIME adjusting to being back in the real world, AKA not Kauai. Whomp, whomp. I know you’re all sick of me. But I am back, and all week I’ve been fighting what feels like a cold. It’s probably not helping that I’ve been staying up late every night, either watching Bates Motel (new obsession) or playing No Man’s Sky (even bigger new obsession). So I guess the lack of sleep is my own fault, but hey. Whatcha gonna do.

In other news, here’s what I read over the past few weeks:

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this podcast interview with Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show. A much more serious, less jokey Noah talks race, politics, and the current election. The below quote in particular was fantastic, but the entire interview is worth a listen.

Regarding presidential candidates: “Yet in America, there’s, would you have a beer with this person, can they eat my food, can they make me like them. I care less about what they are planning to do, I care more about how they feel and how they make me feel about them. And that is a very dangerous place to be in, because essentially, America is electing a mascot and not a president.

This keeps happening and we keep being surprised, somehow: “The Justice Department’s incredibly damning report on Baltimore police, explained

Dying. This is how I always feel at yoga class. So good: “What the women from my beginners’ dance class definitely said about me after I left

A long but incredibly worthwhile read: My four months as a private prison guard. I’m glad to hear the Justice Department has decided to end the use of private prisons. When your priority as a company is to make a profit, and your products are human beings, guess who suffers?

How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet. “…the Internet’s personality has changed. Once it was a geek with lofty ideals about the free flow of information. Now, if you need help improving your upload speeds the web is eager to help with technical details, but if you tell it you’re struggling with depression it will try to goad you into killing yourself.”

What I read on vacation

I managed to read three books while we were in Kauai – and surprisingly, I didn’t read any of the books I brought with me! At the last minute I downloaded a bunch of books to my Kindle (my love for public libraries knows no bounds) and those are the ones that ended up capturing my attention over the ones I brought. Go figure.

Here’s what I read:

Fear Nothing

Fear Nothing, by Lisa Gardner

This is the second book I’ve read in Gardner’s Detective D. D. Warren series, about a 30-year-old murder case and its possible link to a present-day serial killer on the loose. It was a quick and entertaining read, but unfortunately I was able to guess who the killer was early on. I hate when I’m able to do that! As far as mystery/crime thrillers go, though, I like Gardner’s work when I need something that quickly hooks me.


Wizard at Large

Wizard at Large, by Terry Brooks

I started reading Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom of Landover series years ago but only read the first two books (out of six), so I’ve been meaning to finish the series for a while now. I love Brooks’ Shannara series and grew up reading them – between Brooks and Madeleine L’Engle, I was hooked on reading at a very early age. I have to say that I don’t love the Landover series nearly as much. It’s kind of a “take it for what it is” fantasy series – short and sweet, entertaining, but not exactly challenging for the mind. Regardless, I know I’ll finish the series because I’m just interested enough in the story to keep reading.



Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff

This book has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I usually love stories that span over several decades, and that’s exactly what Fates and Furies does here, but with a twist – the story is told from two different viewpoints, almost as two separate books sandwiched together. It’s a book about marriage, flaws, the lies we tell ourselves and to each other, the things people will do for love, and how two people can live the same marriage but have vastly different experiences. The writing was beautiful, engaging, and the voice was unique. I really enjoyed this one and finished it in about 48 hours!

Weekend things

Kalalau Trail, 2014

Kalalau Trail, Kauai, 2014

Hey hey! I’m in total vacation mode even though I’ve got three days of work left before leaving for Hawaii. Since Danny’s been in school, we try to take a vacation every August (his longest break between semesters) and I’m so looking forward to a week of relaxing and exploring the beautiful island of Kauai. Ok, FINE, I’ll stop talking about it. Posting might be sporadic for 1-2 weeks since, you know, I’ll probably be too busy lounging on the beach to blog! Ok I’m done this time, for real. 😉

It’s becoming a little more real as each day passes by that we’re on the final stretch of this school journey, and I couldn’t be more ready. Going back to college for a STEM degree when you’re in your 30s and married looks a lot different than when you’re 18 and living at home, and by different I mean substantially harder. It’s crazy to imagine that a year from now, I don’t know what we’ll be doing, but school won’t be part of the equation (at least for now – who knows what the future holds). I’m excited for what’s to come – whatever that may be!

And now, the many things I read this week…

This piece on self-judgment and inability to take a compliment really hit home.

Op-ed: Trump reflects white male fragility. Agreed.

I’ve got about six hours left to listen to of The Wise Man’s Fear (a 42+ hour book!), so I enjoyed reading this interview with the author, Patrick Rothfuss.

After finishing this book last week, I stumbled across this essay and immediately felt compelled to share. “‘She’s not even that fat!’ But I am.

Ever since discovering Donald and Hobbes, I can’t stop laughing/crying on the inside. So good.

President Obama on feminism. Loved this!

Happy weekend!

Beach reads

I haven’t talked about this on the blog yet, but in seven days, Danny and I will be headed off to Kauai, Hawaii for an entire week!


We visited Kauai for the first time in 2014 and fell in love with the island – so it’s no surprise we’ve managed to find our way back there again. We plan on spending this trip doing much of the same as the last one: snorkeling, hiking, eating fresh and delicious food, and last but not least, my favorite thing to do on vacation: reading on the beach!

Though the term “beach read” can mean “chick lit” to many people, that’s not really how I gauge what I bring to the beach. (Although there’s NOTHING wrong with the latter. And, side note, why isn’t there a genre called “dude lit”? Inquiring minds need to know.) When going on vacation, I will typically bring at minimum three books, plus some extras on my Kindle and at least one good audiobook on my phone. My worst nightmare is running out of books to read on vacation. If I get a lot of relaxation time, it’s not uncommon for me to finish 2-3 books on a single, week-long vacation. I have to come prepared!

I also like to have variety, because my mood determines what I feel like reading at any given moment, and there’s nothing worse than being bored with the books you brought and having nothing to switch to. So after several reminder emails that I had books waiting to be picked up at the library, here’s what I’m looking at:

Beach reads!

OBVIOUSLY it would be impractical to try to travel with this many books (but WOULD IT? whispers the oversized backpack in my closet). The ones I’m leaning towards bringing are The Year of the Flood (I’ve already started reading this one off and on), The Book of Unknown Americans (this is the pick for my book club this month), and The Love that Split the World. Oh and obviously Harry Potter, assuming I don’t finish it before we leave next week (that copy is mine, preordered from Amazon like the HP-loving nerd I am).


I’m also listening to The Wise Man’s Fear (book two in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss) but, considering the 9+ hours of traveling we’ll be doing both ways, I suspect I’ll finish it before the trip is over. Just to be safe, I plan on downloading Truly, Madly, Guilty, Liane Moriarty’s latest book, as well. I have high hopes for that one!

Finally, I’ll grab a a couple of titles for my Kindle from the library – not sure which ones, yet. It usually depends on whatever the library has available. 🙂

What do you like to read on vacation??