Tag: books

March 2024 Project Goals

March 2024 Project Goals

March is upon us and it is time for new monthly goals. This year my focus is on finishing up projects that I have so it should come as no surprise that my main goal for March is to work through my project backlog. I […]

Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

The fourth book in my first Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Series was “We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark. As usual I am writing a brief review of the book with my decision to either keep the book or give it away. […]

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

I reread The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge as part of my Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1 early in my stack of 10 books. As with my other books, I wanted to do a brief review of the book and let you know whether I decided to keep it or give it away.

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I did not remember what this book was about before I picked it up again but it is a mystery about the death of a valet named Peter working at a fancy party in The Hamptons. The brother of the murder victim, Jack, is the main character in this story as he solves the mystery of who killed his party boy brother and why amongst a city wide cover up. There are lots of twists and turns and the scandal around the death a good one. The main conflict in the book is between the townies that live year round and the wealthy billionaires that summer in the The Hamptons.

drawing of a man alone on a beach surrounded by unseen enemies
My drawing to match this book.

Peter works for a particularly wealthy couple doing odd jobs and as a valet while his brother Jack is a lawyer. There is a lot of investigating and clues to unravel surrounding Peter’s death which Jack works through as he uncovers a seedier side of town that he did not see growing up there. This book was pretty fast paced and there were a lot of twists and turns. I don’t want to give too much away so I will keep this review brief.

Back of The Beach House

The first chapter was very well written and drew me in. Unfortunately this is where our victim meets his end and I was less engaged in the story past the first chapter. I usually like reading James Patterson as a quick read but for some reason this book did not spark interest like it had in the past. I am not sure if it was because I read too many books that week or if I have just changed my tastes but I wasn’t really into this book when I read it. It was a good book the first few times I read it so I do recommend reading it if you love mystery, action and adventure.

 

I ended up giving this book to my oldest daughter to read since she was looking for a good mystery. She will either pass it on to a friend or sell it at Half Price Books for someone else to love.

 

VERDICT: GIVE AWAY

 

My next review will be of “We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark so stay tuned!

 

Links:

The Beach House by James Patterson

“We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark

 

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

At the end of September, faced with a mountain of books I had not read in almost a decade, I decided to start sorting through my books and reread any of those that I was unsure of keeping. I originally created this list of ten […]

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

When I created my post about rereading books kept in storage for too many years I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have time to read the books on my list. My post “Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1” was an attempt […]

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

When I was in early high school I read this book called “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach. It had been recommended to me by my dad during a period of time when my family was headed towards chaos. At the time the book was eye-opening for me bringing up all kinds of questions about environmentalism and how poorly people were treating the planet. It also contains some scenes where the main characters are making love and honestly I don’t think my mom would have let me read it if she had known. The scenes are not explicit but as a young, innocent high schooler it shaped the way I thought of relationships in a way that looking back as a parent myself now was not ideal.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The book sets the scene of a post split of the United States where the Pacific Northwest has parted ways with the rest of the United States in a war that happened many years prior to the time period of the book. The premise is that the Eco-Friendly Pacific Northwest was not excited about the direction the rest of the country was going with their chemical use, plastics and general lack of connection with the natural environment. The main character is a reporter named Will from the United States venturing into Ecotopia as the first American to be invited since the split to write a story on how the new country is doing and to report back. He is also encouraged to spy on the Ecotopian government and report back to the U. S. Embassy since the United States was upset about losing a large chunk of their country.  Throughout the book Will delves into various aspects of Ecotopian life and finds a native woman named Marissa to be his lover. I will not give away the ending but William’s view of the people of Ecotopia changes over the course of his stay there.

Every time I read this book it gives me very seventies, male centered, Sci-Fi vibes along the authors such as Heinlein where the female characters are hard for the main character to understand, sexualized and secondary. Marissa’s character is better written but she is also seen as secondary for a long time by Will which is very much in line with the way the attitude of the United States is portrayed in this book so it works pretty well. It is a book of self-discovery for Will but I also did not feel like the ickiness of the seventies Sci-Fi vibe was resolved in the book so I am not sure if it was a clever writing style or an unintentional leaking of the author’s attitude towards women through.

 

The first time I read Ecotopia I was in awe of how they were able to change as a country to be more in touch with the land. Cars became a novelty and most people in Ecotopia take public transport with electric vehicles or walk everywhere. Of course, when the book came out, electric cars were not mainstream and were thought of as unsafe or not ideal. Now many people drive electric cars and that part of the book seems like it could be more of a reality than when I read this book for the first time.

I love the eco-centered life-style portrayed in the book and how much science to better people as a whole was emphasized. For instance, plastics in Ecotopia break down over a period of time and are made mostly out of corn. There is also a huge emphasis on fixing things rather than replacing them and the work week is vastly reduced. Leisure time is encouraged as well as more talking out of problems rather than ignoring them. I love these aspects of the book. People are treated as a whole and communities really look out for one another.

Other parts of the book however, seem very unrealistic now that I have the perspective of age. The one that stands out the most is the country of Ecotopia’s ability to completely switch their government and way of life in such a short period of time. Only 20 years have passed since the split and in the book, most of the Ecotopians are happy with this anti-consumption, hyper local, community based life. As a teenager I totally bought this but as an adult I thought about the mechanics of switching over everyone to a more commune like frame of mind where there isn’t any plastic of any kind and most items are hand made.  I think about places like Eastern Washington where farming is the main source of income for a lot of people and how they heavily rely on chemical fertilizers to grow large quantities of crops. Many of the farms in Eastern Washington, Oregon and California have been in families for generations. Their roots are deep and although I am sure change could happen, 20 years is not that long for such a rapid shift in society to have occurred so seamlessly.

 

Another big issue I have with this book is the lack of perspective from people of color. Most of the characters are white in this book and although there is a brief mention that native people were given back their land and that some races chose to live in separate enclaves, largely the book is written from a white perspective with many of the changes they made such as the war rituals lean towards cultural appropriation. Whenever I read books I try to think about the time period in which they are written to keep some perspective about any prejudices that may crop up but with this book it was hard to not notice the discrimination. I had a huge issue with the author’s section on how each race had formed it’s own cities and this fit in with the utopian lifestyle of Ecotopia and with the fact that Native Americans were largely ignored, especially since many of the ideas about community and living as one with the land were taken from native teachings.

Cliffside View
Granite Falls Fish Ladder Hike

Overall I still like the concept of this book and it’s push towards a more ecofriendly, anti-consumption lifestyle. I would recommend it for adults to read with the lens of knowing that there are some issues with it but also taking from the good parts of the book. I will link the book below but I would however, try to find a copy at your library or to borrow from a friend. I will also link the book I am currently reading, A Brave New World, both here and down below. I will review that one next. Also check out my blog post below listing out the books I am reading through the end of 2023!

 

 

Links:

Ecotopia the boook

 

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

 

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Eight years ago when we moved into our house I pared down my book collection by about 25% and put the rest into boxes. Until a few months ago those boxes largely remained untouched as we navigated life and I stopped reading all together while […]

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

I thought I would make a list of books my kids are reading during summer of 2023 as a fun way of tracking where my kids are at and to share book ideas with other book loving families. Last year I posted a couple of […]

2023 Goals

2023 Goals

My goals for 2023 revolve quite a bit around self-care and doing things that make me happy such as cross-stitching, gardening, puzzles, hanging out with my family and reading. I am also trying to make them pretty open ended so I don’t feel to rigid about them.

Commit30 Planner

2023 Goals

  1. Practice Self-Care every day. – My main goal is to practice self-care every day. I have found that I am not good at resting and my focus this year will be in practicing this.
  2. Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles! – As part of my self-care I set myself a goal of doing puzzles every week. I outlined it here in a recent blog post. I do want to try and sign up for a puzzle competition next fall but I am not sure if the timing will work out with my school and my kids’ school.
  3. Cross-stitch to finish projects. – I really want to finish my Zoo Alphabet project and start the Autumn Love project I bought last fall. I also want to make headway on both of the HAEDs that I have started and work through some of my smaller projects. I will be talking more about this on my YouTube channel but for now I want to finish some WIPS.
  4. Maintain my Commit30 planner. – My fourth goal is to keep up with my planner every month this year. I have found that writing things down really helps me remember what I need to do. I love my Commit30 planners and how every month you set a goal for yourself. You can find them here.
  5. Read some books. – I don’t have a concrete number of books to read this year but I do have a few that I want to get through. Some are favorites like this series by Dorothy Dunnett and others are new to me. I may post something later this year for one of my monthly goals but for now I just want to read a few books and rediscover my love of reading.
  6. Maintain the status quo with finances. – I am not working but I am taking classes all year for 2023 and this has made our budget very tight so my goal is for us to stick to it and maintain the status quo. I don’t want to take on any new debt and I also am hoping we can see an increase in our emergency fund this year. I don’t have any investment goals besides continuing to contribute to our account every month. The stock market has been down and I am just going to keep trucking along with our set amounts and not worry about it.
  7. Continue to grow my YouTube channel. – I have really enjoyed filming for my YouTube channel Oscoey which can be found here. This year I am expanding beyond groceries into cross-stich and my puzzle content.
  8. Keep working on my health. – I am still recovering from the major burnout I experienced last year and I am going to continue with recovering for 2023. I have been doing more gentle exercise, focusing on my eating and practicing self-care and it is slowly turning things around. I have signed up for one 5k so far (walking) and I am thinking of doing a 10k next fall.

 

Thank you for reading my 2023 goals! I am keeping this post short and sweet so the important parts stand out. I hope your 2023 goes well and you get enough time to relax and enjoy the things you love!

 

 

Links:

Oscoey YouTube Channel

 

Commit30 Planner

 

The World of Cross Stitching Magazine Subscription

 

Zoo Alphabet Cross-stitch

 

If Fish Could Walk

 

2023 Goals: Puzzles

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career […]


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