Photo of the Day: Cheeseballin’

Last weekend we went to the Albergo di Poveri to check out the Days of the Dinosaur exhibit. It was pretty cool to see a dozen or so animatronic dinosaurs all in one place. Definitely exciting for the kiddies but even the adults were impressed.


Photo of the Day: Using a “real” camera

Since my iPhone is out of commission I’m forced to use a camera that is just a camera to take pictures. How old fashioned. ūüėČ

Also please ignore the one dead pixel. I don’t have photo editing software anymore (GIMP no longer works) so I can only do so much.

Photo of the Day: Scootin’

The best way to get around town is on a scooter. It wouldn’t be my preferred way to get anywhere by highway however. Notice the heels. No self-respecting Italian woman would even think of wearing tennis shoes.

Summer reading list

It’s quite possible that I have read more books so far in 2012 than I have read in any one year ever before. I blame my Kindle. It just makes it too damn easy to read. A lot of people read many, MANY more books than me (*cough*Greg*cough*) and of that I am envious. I’m working on upping my game. I’ve half-joked that we’ll need to buy a house with a library to store all the books he owns. On occasion I’ve suggested that he donate some books to the library on base but I inwardly shrink at the idea as I’ve always had a secret dream of owning a personal library where I can go and browse through the many works that have accumulated over the years. Of course my library would include mostly hardcover books because they’ve always suggested a sophistication and elegance that I don’t possess as of yet. Greg, on the other hand, greatly dislikes hardcovers, preferring instead the flexible portability of the paperback. But lest you think he just tosses them about like they’re worth no more than the paper they’re printed on be¬†forewarned¬†that if he catches you breaking or bending the binding in any way he will immediately cringe and think less of you. As a former spine breaker I have come to see the light and agree that this is a most horrible way to treat a book. Greg will tell you about my maimed copy of Pride and Prejudice and how I had no regard for my favorite book but I must say that, while the book is not so pretty to look at, it wears those cracks and creases like badges of honor, proof that it has been read and reread so many times by one who loves its story more than any other.

My collection of books is infinitely smaller than Greg’s and now, it seems, is becoming almost entirely digital.¬†When I received my Kindle for Christmas I did not realize how much of my reading would be done on it. I figured I would maybe read one or two books but would never be able to give up that tactile feel of the paper and the smell of freshly printed ink. Those are still two things I love but the ease with which I am able to read a book on the device seems to overcome the lack of the physical experience. I can turn the pages with just a touch of my thumb, I can carry ten books or two books and not feel even an ounce of difference, I can dog ear a page without causing permanent damage. When I have finished with a book I only need go to the Kindle Store, browse through the selections, make my purchase, and I will be reading a new book in minutes all without leaving the couch, or the train, or the park bench.

There are downsides to reading electronically including relying on a battery and thus needing to charge it periodically, worrying about temperature changes (you can’t leave it in a hot car for fear of device failure), and the fact that you don’t actually own any of the books you purchase. I sometimes think that I would like to buy physical copies of all the electronic books I read so I have visual and tangible proof that I have actually read them. Part of me also wonders if somehow the physical book may have more of the story in it, or a slightly different version that will just as enjoyable to read. I’m almost 100% sure that’s not the case but it’s still something I think about.

What follows is a list of all the books I have read so far this year. Those marked with * are e-books:

  1. Maisie Dobbs* by Jacqueline Winspear
  2. Birds of a Feather* by Jacqueline Winspear
  3. Pardonable Lies* by Jacqueline Winspear
  4. Messenger of Truth* by Jacqueline Winspear
  5. An Incomplete Revenge* by Jacqueline Winspear
  6. Among the Mad* by Jacqueline Winspear
  7. The Mapping of Love and Death* by Jacqueline Winspear
  8. A Lesson in Secrets* by Jacqueline Winspear
  9. Elegy for Eddie* by Jacqueline Winspear
  10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  11. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  12. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  13. The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin*¬†by Erik Larson
  14. That Boy* by Jillian Dodd
  15. That Wedding* by Jillian Dodd
  16. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  17. George Washington’s Mount Vernon: At Home in Revolutionary America* by Robert F. and Lee Baldwin Dalzell
  18. Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring*¬†by Alexander Rose
  19. Player One by Douglas Coupland

Books I’m currently reading:

  1. The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America* by Erik Larson
  2. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

Books to be read:

  1. Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges that Face America: Climate Change, the Rise of China, and Global Terrorism* by Harm de Blij
  2. The Lost Cyclist by David V. Herlihy
  3. Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin
  4. This is How by Augusten Burroughs 

If you watch¬†Downton Abbey¬†I highly recommend the¬†Maisie Dobbs series because it’s set in the same time frame and she actually worked as a maid for a wealthy British family. There are some books in the series that I like better than others but they’re all worth reading. Two books that are great beach reads, and I believe are e-books only, are¬†That Boy and¬†That Wedding by Jillian Dodd. They’re fun and easy to read, they don’t require a lot of thought, but will suck you into the story. Some of the situations might be a little ridiculous but I actually really liked that. Sometimes you don’t want reality. I’ve enjoyed all of these books with the exception of¬†Washington’s Spies¬†which I found tedious and often very confusing. It jumps around too much from the past to present and introduces individuals briefly and with little to no explanation of how they relate to anything. It was being offered for $3.99 which is why I bought it, I wouldn’t waste your money otherwise.

There are some people who create a goal for the number of books they’d like to read, I prefer to read and see how many I end up with. If you have any book recommendations please let me know in the comments.