Friday, August 29, 2014

Vacation Post and Mini-Reviews of Vacation Reads...and Manatees!

As mentioned, I just got back from a lovely vacation. My friend Corrie, my sister Quinn and I stayed at Moon Palace in Cancun. Just a short little 3.5 hour plane ride to get us from cornfields and beer to palm trees and margs. We sat on the beach, we ate, we drank, I scratched something huge off my bucket list, I embarrassed myself with my terrible high school Spanish skills, and a great time was had by all. The hotel was big, and almost at full capacity but it didn't diminish our experience at all. Service was always friendly and polite and full of smiles. 

I'm not always good about remembering to take pictures on vacation but here's a few:
Infinity pool

Happy Birthday!

So with all this time sitting on the beach (or in the airport, womp womp) what does one do? One reads. Or if you are Quinn, the nonreader in the group, you play on your phone.

Here's the books that I read:

"Divergent": I liked it. I had pretty tempered expectations of it so I wasn't super bought into the hype but I thought it was an entertaining read. A note for the people who have seen the book and read the movie: I like movie Four better than book Four. He's more of a badass in the movie and I like that (grrrr, haha). Due to pure coincidence, friend Corrie also brought Divergent to read, so we were having a little beach book club. 

Then, one morning Corrie looked in her suitcase and started laughing because she found the next book in the series "Insurgent" in her suitcase (she had forgotten that she has bought, and then packed it). And because Corrie is the sweetest she let me read it, even though it was brand new and a hardcover, while she was finishing up "Divergent". She started it on the plane ride home so we will have to do an over the phone beach book club when she is done, haha. I liked the second book a lot, I know some people were angry that it was more emotional than action packed but I think that's fine. The third one is waiting for me at the library, and I'm excited to finish it up! (Even though a few months ago when I had no intention of reading the series I looked at the spoilers so I know how it ends, still reading it).

Update: Finished.I feel like I want to talk these books some, so look for a stream of consciousness/discussion post about these coming up.

"The Long Walk": Read this on the airplane on the way down. Interesting, not as gory or violent as some of King's works. The concept is just so unusual I kept thinking "how did he even think this up in the first place?" (But I think that a lot with King). I liked that there was nothing supernaturally weird about it, which isn't to say it wasn't completely messed up.

"The Master and Margarita": Truth be told I hadn't finished it by the time I came back but have finished it since. It was funny, and kind of weird, and absurd and strange. Like, it's over and I still don't know what for sure I read and what it was entirely about. But it made me feel/look smart reading it, so that's nice!

"How to be a Heroine": The best thing about this book, is that the author mentions a bunch of books that sounded really interesting, so it made my feminist/women centered TBR list grow exponentially.

"Beyond the Pasta": I would never attempt the recipes in this book, but I loved the story about this Italian family who took him in so wholeheartedly.

"Without You There is No Us": A super fascinating look inside North Korea. If you have any inclination to learn about that part of the world at all I highly recommend it.

So 7 in book in 8 days! Which I think is a record for me, but I had to do something to fill the space between sipping drinks and eating tons of chips and guac :)

My "bucket list" item that I was able to accomplish was swimming with manatees. They are my favorite animal, and they are just the sweetest things ever. Except they are kind of huge. When you are in the water with them you kind of realize how big they are, and it's big. But they were sweetie pies and I enjoyed feeding them lettuce and giving them back scritches and fake kisses. Because even if you're very sweet and have no teeth I'm not putting my face that close to something that is essentially still a wild animal.

So I have to survive the harsh Wisconsin winter on these memories. It hopefully will be enough to get me through :)


  1. Oh my word - I want to be friends with a manatee! Happy to hear your vacation was fabulous!

    1. Just bring them some lettuce and they will love you forever!

  2. Aw, how much fun to be able to swim with a manatee AND finish so many books!

    1. It was a very relaxing vacation, but very productive book wise too!

  3. Aww the manatees are so cute! What a great experience! I'm amazed you read so much during your vacation too - I feel like I hardly ever get to read, even though I deliberately bring books 'just in case'. The Master and Margarita was an odd read for me, I don't think I really understood everything about it, but it is pretty interesting.

    1. I'm a nervous flier so I bury myself in a book from the second I get through security to when my wheels land at my destination. When I'm occupied I'm less nervous! M&M was definitely odd, what I comprehended I enjoyed but I felt like I probably missed a lot just because I didn't get the deep Russian political/culture satire end of it.

  4. That looks awesome!!! Swimming with manatees would be amazing, they are so adorable. I'm interested in more of your thoughts on Divergent. There's so much hype around it that I've been a little put off from reading it. Is it worth the time?

    1. I loved it, we just floated and ate lettuce, it was all very chill. So, Divergent. I would read the first book just because I think the faction idea is interesting, and it's set in Chicago, so I kept getting excited when they mentioned streets I knew and whatnot. Also the author is like, 27 so it's kind of great to see someone our age having insane amount of success. I was put off by the hype too, but I think it was because everyone got all insane about the movie.

      If you're lukewarm about it after the first one then just wait for the movies. Even if I hated the first book I would have read the whole trilogy because I hate not knowing what happens in things!


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!