20140127

2013 in Books

Another slow reading year.. with travelling, moving and the baby I was usually too tired at the end of the day to read more than a few pages. Rarely do I go to sleep without reading even a few pages of flip through a magazine.. 

I used to have this thing about never leaving a book unfinished. I thought it rude to the author to not finish. There was always a slight chance that things would turn around and with a little clever twist I would end up liking it rather than not. I can no longer afford to do that. I am mom to a toddler, I am exhausted, I barely get the time to read. I make the time because I love to read. If in the first few chapters I am not even mildly engaged then I just stop reading and move on.



I started off the year with The Solitary Tales.. a series of four books. I won the first three in a giveaway and am now waiting for the fourth.

1. Solitary - Travis Thrasher - On an average day I would have never picked up these books. They are about a teenage boy new in a small middle of nowhere town with a dark history and many secrets. He falls in love with a girl and then all hell breaks loose. Plus there were very heavy religious overtones.


2. Gravestone - Travis Thrasher - The second book of the series was my favorite of the series. It was fast paced, less mushy teenage love crap and a little darker too.


3. Temptation - Travis Thrasher - The third book was better than the first but not as good as the third. Good enough to make me want to read the last book in the series Hurt.


4. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese - It is about twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone  born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. I didn't start out liking this book. I considered stopping numerous times.. That only reason I pushed on was because so many people seemed to like it.. So I gave it a chance.. It took me a few months to finish but I am so glad I did.. I got to a point where I couldn't put it down. So beautifully written my nitpicks hardly matter, it deals with just about everything.. love, hate, relationships, war, medicine, poverty. So epic even in its simplicity. 


5. The Glass of Time - Micheal Cox - Set in 1876. It is about nineteen-year-old orphan Esperanza Gorst arrives at the great country house of Evenwood in Northamptonshire. There she will serve as the new lady's maid to the former Emily Carteret, now Lady Tansor. But Esperanza is no ordinary servant. She has been sent by her guardian, the mysterious Madame de l'Orme, to uncover the secrets that her new mistress has sought to conceal - and to set right a past injustice in which her own life is intertwined. I picked this one up mid travel and it was the perfect travel read. Nothing mind blowing but enough surprises to keep you reading.


6. Gone Girl - Gillian Flyn - I know I am a year too late. But better late then never right? All I can say is mind blowingly awesome. If you still haven't read it.. read it. Waiting on M's schedule to lighten up a bit so he can start.


7. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini - It is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years, from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding. Another book I am a few years late on.. but then again I still haven't read the Kite Runner either. And even though I absolutely loved this book I don't think I will read The Kite Runner. I don't think this book was written for me. I came from a country similar to this.. though I thank God a thousand times that not as bad as this. Pakistan may be a third world country and this may be the lives of many women living there.. but not all and not as bad as what is depicted here. While I was saddened by so much of what happened in the book I was not shocked by it. This book was written for the people of the first world countries and there first world problems as a reality check and hopefully as eye opener. If you haven't already then I'd still recommend reading it.. just be prepared to cry.. a lot!


8. Arcadia: A Play - Tom Stoppard - I don't know why I even bothered. And what all those people who gave it 5 star reviews were on. takes us back and forth between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, ranging over the nature of truth and time, the difference between the Classical and the Romantic temperament, and the disruptive influence of sex on our orbits in life. Focusing on the mysteries romantic, scientific, literary that engage the minds and hearts of characters whose passions and lives intersect across scientific planes and centuries Blah blah blah. I was thankful that it was a quick read. And while it may not have been a complete waste of time.. leaving it like that.. open ended made it just that.. a waste of my time.


9. Still Alice - Lisa Genova - Alice Howland, Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer's. This was a beautifully written book. It was not overly sentimental, it was written from the point of view of Alice, a smart woman, and she dealt with her disease with logic. The emotion was there, it made you feel sad, cry here and there.. but the book was not about just that.. emotion and tears..it did not drip with melodrama. It was about the disease, it was informative and respectful. A book to be read.


10. All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot - Tells his journey as veterinarian through the English countryside and into the homes of its inhabitants, four-legged and otherwise. This was, as claimed a charming tale.. but unfortunately I could not finish it.. I have been very busy as most of you observed.. and it took me months to get half way through it. Not because it wasn't good.. it was but it lacked the need to read more. An 'oh my god what is going to happen now' was missing. It was just page after page of animals getting sick and a small county vet healing them, over coming obstacles and surprises along the way.. And after a tiring day I need a book that makes me want to.. need to pick it up. 


Currently reading: Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert - the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction, into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. I am only 100 or so pages into the book and so far so good. 

So I guess that makes it 9 books read and finished and 1 left unfinished. 
Here's a look at what I read in 2011 and 2012

What was your favorite read of 2013? Something to add to my never ending list of reads.. :)

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20140120

Looking back at Twenty Thirteen

This was really one hell of a year.. eventful is an understatement.
D and I spent two months in Karachi joined my M in the last two weeks.


We spent three amazing days in Istanbul 1 2 3


And Labor Day weekend was spent with family in Houston


My little brother got married.. it was one long wedding but so much fun 1 2 3 4 5


We got pregnant!


Moved!


I made my 117th sale!


Finished editing photographs taken in Egypt and Iran


Dressed up for our first Halloween!


We hired a Contractor and started to remodel.. check out all we've done so far here

The birth of little H just missed the list..

This has.. had been quite a year.. can't wait to see what the next year.. this year has in store for us!

How was your 2013? Any plans already in motion for 2014? Trips waiting to be taken? Milestones on the brink of being accomplished?
Here's to them all being achieved!
Here's to your health and happiness!
Here's to our families and friends!
Here's to a fanfreakingtastic 2014!

Want to take a look back at our 2012 2011

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20140113

Introducing Hasan


On 2nd January we welcomed our second son. He was a tiny little thing.. but that didn't mean he made coming into this world any easier. He started making the move in the last few hours of 2013 and took the long scenic route out. Lets just say 'ouch!' 

D started with just plain ignoring him.. and has now slowly progressed to acknowledging him at times.. I'm not complaining. I'll take ignoring over jealousy any day. 

We named the little one who will from now on be referred to as 'H' Hasan. Pronounced like Hudson minus the 'd'. It was the name of the first grandson of our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). It means 'to be beautiful and to be good' 

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