Tag Archives: books

City Lights Bookstore

City Lights is an independent bookstore in San Francisco. There’s a certain appreciation that someone can have for a place like this. We were visiting from LA and walked past by chance while exploring, so we returned later that day to see if they had some more obscure books that were on our reading list and… they did. Both of us went in with a certain edition of a certain book, which they had, at reasonable prices. After browsing through the relatively clearly labeled and organized store, we ended up with a few new books that we never knew existed.

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24 Books a Year: Goal Completed

Last year, I set a goal for myself: to read 24 books in 2016 (two books a month). Why did I set this goal? Well, for a few reasons, really…

  1. I love to read and want to consume more unread books in our library.
  2. Reading is one of the best ways to learn how to write better.
  3. Reading is great for inspiration.
  4. I love a good challenge.

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Keep It Moving: A Must-Read Book

Just the other day, we were reflecting on how often the solution to a major problem is so painfully simple. Sometimes, it could just be the flip of a switch to give power to a whole building when a surge turns off everyone’s lights all of a sudden. Someone knows where that switch is, but if that someone isn’t around or hasn’t shared that knowledge, how does that help us as a community?

Carl Bresk has over thirty years of experience in the field of health and wellness. For those three decades, Carl has taken a formal education (and degree) in kinesiology (anatomy, exercise science, etc.), the experiences of an elite athlete (as a competitive rower), and specialized training from working at a fitness facility where he teaches classes and clients, in order to find some part of the fountain of youth. Carl shares his secrets in his book “Keep It Moving” because he sincerely wants everyone to achieve a greater level of health and wellness. 

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Our Week(end) in Pictures

Did a mini road trip (60 miles) to run up the miles in order to get our car fixed

Did a mini road trip (60 miles) to run up the miles in order to get our car fixed

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A Book to Inspire You: Big Magic

I forget where I first heard of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, but I’m very grateful to that unknown source. I’ve been writing my whole life–I’m no master, but I have always enjoyed creating stories. It’s a hobby of mine I hope to focus on now that the big wedding is done and that I have a little bit more time on my hands. But writing, or being creative in general, isn’t as easy as putting pen to paper (or brush to canvas or hands to flowers)–though, technically that’s what you need. Sometimes, you need a little bit of inspiration. This book more than does that. 

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What Game of Thrones is Missing

The Greyjoys.

Recently, as I was driving through LA, I saw this apple TV banner. While I haven’t watched Game of Thrones since the end of the first season came out live, I’ve heard a lot about it from others. Since we read the books before the TV series was out, we were shocked to find out they were making a series in the first place. No one else knew what A Song of Ice and Fire  was since it came out in the early 90s. I can’t imagine there were too many people out there that were more excited about this show than us.

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Read For an Hour Once a Week

AT LEAST. I feel like there’s a reading crisis out there, and I want to help it! People are choosing Facebook over a page of a nice book and it makes me sad. There’s nothing wrong with social media, we obviously use it all the time. However, we will never stop preaching moderation. Balance! Weigh one hand with a phone and another with a book! I’m not telling you what to read whether it be nonfiction, fantasy, romance, or another type of fiction! I’m just telling you to stop, drop, and read! 

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Book Review: The Way of Kings

Part of being fit is having a healthy mind. I believe that’s done well by reading. They say the best way to learn how to write better is to read. This book could be one of the best cases for that. The Way of Kings, written by Brian Sanderson, is a wonderful, inspiring read. It’s a book in the fantasy genre, set in its own made-up world. The plot and setting are complex and gets more and more so as the story continues. Sanderson is impressive in the way he completely constructs this world, as if it truly did exist at one point in time. My favorite thing is when a fantasy book seems real. I hate spoilers so this won’t really give much at all. 

It is slow-going at first. I must mention that I am listening to the audiobook, not reading the print. This helps me on my runs and is thoroughly enjoyable to listen to on my way to work. Once you continue reading, however, the pace certainly picks up. There are times where I simply couldn’t stop listening. Sanderson is obviously very smart. This is not something he’s written on a whim. Everything slowly starts become interwoven and people who seemed unconnected find themselves on the same path. This makes the story so very exciting

The fantasy world is set in the age of sword and shield, in the world of Roshar. Knights, wars, and magic, too.  There are a few unique parts to this world which I especially enjoy that I will mention. One part are the spren. Characters and history in the book have trouble defining what they exactly are (though it continues to be researched). Spren are little beings or spirits that represent emotions and nature. If someone is in pain, pain spren will wiggle up from the ground. Flame spren will dance as little red figures upon a fire. Creation spren will spark up if someone is deep in creating something (like art). And so on and so forth. This concept is so fascinating because each and every spren (and there are tons–think of every emotion and element) is shaped, colored, and behaves differently. Absolutely love it. 

The story doesn’t just follow the path of one main character. You get to see all parts of this very complex world from many different perspectives. One from an inspiring slave, one from an honorable High Prince, and one from a girl trying to save her family’s fortune. Eventually, everything comes together.  And even though the viewpoint is spread out, you actually care about each and every main character who gets the spotlight. Characters are far from perfect and like to meddle in gray areas, but they generate great loyalty from you and also from other characters in the book. 

When you are reading this book, it feels like you are straying into a world in a constant war with very little passion left. The drawn-out feeling from the war gives you the sense everyone is tired of it, and that something big must be coming up to break the boredom. A tide starts to rise and bursts at the end. All the connections are revealed and you find the time you invest in this story is worth it. It is certainly a long book but, once again, it is worth the read. 

If you want to get lost in a different world full of intricacies carefully planned out by the author, give The Way of Kings a try. It’s a fantastic read that promises to suck you in and hold you there. In fact, I’m reading the sequel right now! Can’t get enough of it. I love books that play out in a way that makes you respect the heck out of the author. The things that are planned out that you never expected. How it makes you appreciate the time and dedication to his craft to weave such a captivating story. I give this book a big thumbs up! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Movie Monday: Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I can read over and over again. I think the first time I read it I was either in middle school or high school. The last time I read it was about four years ago, so it wasn’t too fresh in my head but also I still remembered all the main plot points. I was very excited for this movie to come out, and it seemed to take forever for it to actually release! But that’s my anticipation talking. Let’s get to the review.

This movie had a solid amount of great actors: Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield (boy from Hugo, who was brilliant in that as well), and a grown-up Abigail Breslin. If a movie has Harrison Ford in it, I’m going to get excited. Leave me alone, I’m a Star Wars nerd. However, I was slightly anxious that they would botch it up when it is such a great and captivating book. It also made me nervous that by the time we saw it, it had only 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. Still Fresh, but not as high as I would’ve hoped. However, I was not disappointed. 

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I really thought I would be, honestly. However, the movie kept me engaged the entire time. The acting was superb by all involved and they were able to show the depth of Ender’s emotions. That’s what I was worried about. A lot of the book is in Ender’s head. Of course, the same complexity isn’t there, but I wasn’t expecting it to that degree. However, it surprised me with showing all the steps that led him to the end. I think it helped that Orson Scott Card (the author) was one of the producers. 

For those who haven’t read the book, the basic premise is that the International Military is recruiting children to become the next great commander to defeat the alien race that previously invaded Earth. The story centers around one boy, Ender, a “third” (third-born), who has been chosen and pushed towards what the military wants from him. However, like many action flicks, it isn’t a straight-shooter. Ender is deeply conflicted at many levels, and the movie actually depicted that. Perhaps not as well as in the book, but it certainly came across. Ender is the world’s hope.

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Surprisingly enough, they hit all the major plot points I hoped for. Sure they skipped a few too many battle room scenes, but I understand. They kept it under two hours, impressively. The movie built up properly, from the beginning, until the very end. I am not one for giving spoilers, but the one of the most powerful scenes (the end battle), I feel, really captured the intensity and emotion from the book. That was what I was most concerned with.

Overall, I suggest to Ender’s Game fans to see this movie. It’s not going to be exactly as you imagined. It never is with book to movie adaptations, but this production gets close, at least for me. It gets a hearty thumbs up from me and I will most likely get it on DVD/Blu-Ray. The plot is captivating, the acting is believable, and you feel for Ender the whole way through. Use impending-doom-movies to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Belly out!

Belly out!