All posts by Becca

September 2016 Reading Recap

During the month of September, I read 3 books, bringing my total of books read for this year to 36! So I am 69% done with my goal of reading 52 books this year, which puts me four books behind schedule. I need to catch up in October!

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells – 3/5 stars

652083The novel follows one man during an invasion from Mars, an invasion where the Martians come in with deadly heat rays and attempt to make the humans their slaves.

It took me the entire month of September to finish this book. The plot moved at a snail’s pace, and the book altogether was a bit underwhelming. That being said, I did like it. While we’ve all read stories of aliens taking over the earth, this was a bit refreshing. The book focused more on the humans and their reactions,feelings, and behavior rather than the action of things being blown up or people dying that you would imagine seeing in a movie. So while the plot moved a bit slowly because of this, I liked this different perspective

The ending, while rather anticlimactic, but it made sense. The book didn’t go out with a bang, if you will, but I think the simple ending made sense for this classic.

Ender’s Game by  Orson Scott Card – 4/5 stars

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender Wiggins is the hope for all of mankind. The result of genetic experimentation, he is hoped to be the military genius Earth needs to defeat the Buggers, an alien race seeking to destroy the human species. At six years old, Ender is sent off to battle school and thrown into a game that teaches him the skills and strategy needed to command an army.

I unintentionally went on a sci-fi kick this month. :P

This wasn’t a page-turner for me, but it was an easy and exciting read. The plot was well thought out and were well-weaved together throughout the entire novel. Little tidbits that appeared early on in the novel resurfaced later with a deeper significance. And it’s amazing how much happened in the novel – Ender was six years old at the beginning of the book, but it follows almost fifteen years of his life through the Bugger Wars.

Orson Scott Card did an excellent job with making you feel each character’s emotions. You loved characters and your heart broke with the trials and circumstances they went through. You hated characters and despised their every action and motive. To me, being able to convey such feeling to your reader is the mark of an excellent writer.

Where most books don’t provide a very clear ending, I was really surprised with how much detail the author provided. It still left just enough open for future books, but it was so satisfying to have such a well-wrapped up ending. I’m never a fan when authors leave endings wide open for interpretation and so the reader can imagine whichever ending they want. But I need closure, and this ending left me feeling completely satisfied.

I intend to read the rest of the books in the original quartet, but I know later the author wrote like ten books in total, and ain’t nobody got time for that. :P

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng–  4/5 stars

18693763Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

Everything I Never Told You takes place in the 1970s and tells the story of a Chinese-American family living in small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite middle child of the family, but when her dead body is found in the local lake, the delicate bonds that are holding the Lee family together are destroyed.

I read this over a weekend despite the fact that books that focus on character development tend to move slower and don’t pique my interest as much. But there’s something so intriguing about starting from a point in time, and then backtracking to see all of the events that led to that moment, all the words that had to have been spoke and all of the actions that were made to reach that specific moment. It’s fascinating how specific people can have such an influence on a person’s life, and how it shapes that life and that person’s actions.

That’s what this novel does. It goes through defining moments of each family member’s life and how that shaped who they are, and consequently, how they shaped and affected Lydia. It tackles issues such as sexism and racism and feminism, but yet doesn’t revolve around those issues. Lee takes the simple moments of every day life and makes them powerful and complex.

I probably won’t remember the little details and intricacies of this book in a few months or even a few weeks, which brings me to really my only complaint about this book: it’s kind of forgettable. It’s very intricate and complex in the little details, but it’s not something that is going to stay in my mind for a long time. I think if I could relate more to the story then I might have more to takeaway.

Aaaan that’s it for last month. Happy reading!

I Raced for Kali

A few weekends ago, I ran my first 5k for a girl named Kali.

race-for-refuge

I’m a little late on this post since I started my new job the weekend after, but I really wanted to share my experience and I was really proud of how I did.

My sister asked me back in May if I would want to run a 5K with her, specifically one called Race for Refuge. I’ve been wanting to run one for a while now, knowing that it would motivate me to be more consistent with my running and just for the overall experience. So we signed up. Race for Refuge is sponsored by the Covering House, an organization that provide physical and emotional relief from sexual abuse and exploitation. So all money fundraised goes directly to them.

While I’ve never been directly connected to sex-trafficking or human-trafficking, it has always been an issue near to my heart.  So as I talked about the race to my parents and friends, they wanted to sign up, too! They signed up for the walk instead, but it was encouraging knowing that they were doing it with me and that so many people also wanted to give their time and money to such a great cause.

We picked up the race packets the day before the race. Inside were some fliers for some of the sponsors, a reusable grocery tote, a couple pens, and then the story of a girl that the Covering House helped. Each runner received the name and story of a different girl.

I raced for Kali, a girl who had experienced sexual abuse since a mere six-years-old. At seventeen, her so-called boyfriend forced her into prostitution for three years until she escaped. While I don’t know the rest of Kali’s story, and I don’t know her personally, I was so honored to be able to race for her.

 It was a beautiful morning for a race. It stayed right around 70 degree Fahrenheit so it wasn’t too warm. I wasn’t as prepared for the race as I would have like to have been, but since it was my first one, I just wanted to finish. I didn’t have a specific time I wanted to beat; just finish.

The race began at 8:00 A.M and there were more people participating than I was expecting. I had forgotten my headphones so I wouldn’t be able to listen to music, but it wasn’t a huge deal. The first mile was pretty easy and I felt good. But after about a mile and a fourth, my left leg started to hurt. I’ve been dealing with some leg pain while running since last summer so I was really peeved that it was starting to bother me again. That made the rest of the run really, really difficult.

At about mile two, my right leg started to hurt. This was new, because only my left leg ever bothered me before. That last mile was the worst I have ever felt while running. But I kept thinking about how much I wanted to finish and I thought about who I was running for, and after what felt like a marathon, I finally finished.

I finished in 36:20, which may not seem particularly remarkable, but it is now my new personal best! I’m an extremely slow runner, so I was just proud that I finished and that I wasn’t the last to finish, haha! I actually finished about right in the middle of all the runners, so that was quite an accomplishment for me! :P

I’d like to another 5k eventually, but I feel like I need to get my leg pain sorted out first. Hopefully I will be able to run more 5Ks in the future!