Book 10 :: Paris Letters by Janine MacLeod
I loooooooooved this book. I started it on Tuesday morning and finished it on Thursday evening.
It helped that I had arrived back from Paris just a few days before I started the book and recognized every last thing she was referring to. I mean, the “butcher boyfriend” worked on Rue Mouffetard which is the same street I bought my new gray jeans and black pants. She eats a meal in the same restaurant that Jen and I had that fateful extra glass of wine on our last night. It’s because of this book that I went to Laduree today.
But even without all these Parisian references I would have loved it.
Exhausted and on the verge of burnout, Janice poses this questions to herself as she doodles on a notepad at her desk. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t as daunting as she expected. With a little math and a lot of determination, Janice cuts back, saves up, and buys herself two years of freedom in Europe.
A few days into her stop in Paris, Janice meets Christophe, the cute butcher down the street—who doesn’t speak English. Through a combination of sign language and franglais, they embark on a whirlwind Paris romance. She soon realizes that she can never return to the world of twelve-hour workdays and greasy corporate lingo. But her dwindling savings force her to find a way to fund her dreams again. So Janice turns to her three loves—words, art, and Christophe—to figure out a way to make her happily-ever-after in Paris last forever.
I know it sounds a bit twee but seriously it’s good.
Should you read it? Hell. Yes.
Book 9 :: Night Road by Kristin Hannah
I really enjoyed quite a few of Kristin Hannah’s books. Night Road was ok. The story line was completely unoriginal and all the language about how much two of the characters love each other was eye rolling-ly annoying. But I read 90% in one sitting (on the plane back from Iceland) so I guess it couldn’t be that bad.
Should you read it? Nah, there are way better books out there.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
Book 8 :: Flash Boys by Michael Lewis
This book got a lot of press when it was released a few weeks ago. It’s prominently displayed in every book store I’ve walked into recently. It has great reviews on Amazon. And it claims the stock market is rigged. Color me intrigued.
I found the whole thing verrrry interesting (although it did drag a bit towards the end).
I did some googling after I finished the book. Before completely forming my opinion I wanted to do some additional research. At the end of the day this is one author’s opinion on the topic so perhaps it isn’t entirely true. The book has certainly ruffled some feathers across Wall Street. I loved watching this on air argument between the President of BATS Exchange (I personally thought he came across as a total wanker), Brad Katsuyama (who is the hero of the book) and the author Michael Lewis. I love a bit of on-air mud slinging.
Where do I fall on the topic? Those high frequency traders are smart as hell for figuring out how to cheat investors out of $$ in a completely legal fashion but frankly they are common thieves and I’d very much like to see it made impossible for them to continue what they are doing (and no I’m sorry but the argument that they provide liquidity to the market is a bunch of crap).
Should you read it? If you work in finance - definitely read it. If you have an interest in the stock market - definitely read it. If you have zero interest in either - don’t read it.
My rating - 4/5.
Book 7 :: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I kept hearing about this book. I had it on my amazon wish list where I keep track of all the books I want to read. But I had never pulled the trigger because it sounded a bit too……chick lit-ish.
It’s set in Australia but you’d barely know it. There was nothing particularly Australian about it other than a handful of references to Australian towns. The language was completely American in my opinion.
MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
You see what I mean? The description above did not entice me to read it. However I wanted something light to read on the flight to Paris and this fit the bill perfectly. I read almost the entire thing by the time I arrived.
It’s definitely chick lit. But I really liked it.
Should you read it? Yep. Rating: 4/5
Last night I was reading about Laduree - the famous macaron shop in Paris. I was kicking myself for not visiting while I was in Paris last week. But then I got thinking. NYC has everything. Literally, everything. One google search later and here I am eating a Laduree macaron from their store in Soho the very next day. I ❤️NYC.
Also, wow!! I never liked macarons. I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. I almost wish I never had one from Laduree because oh.my.god it was so delicious. Apparently they ship them in directly from Paris. Tres fancy!
And I will undoubtedly skip down here after every meeting I have in Soho because I can always justify a little treat on a week day.
On our second day in Iceland I was woken at 5.30am by what sounded like a tornado outside. The high winds were driving the rain really hard into the side of the house. I love the sound of rain but this was so loud that I never got back to sleep.
The plan was to go to the Blue Lagoon and we couldn’t really change our plans regardless of the weather. So we wrapped ourselves up and headed out to the car. I stood outside locking the front door thinking this isn’t so bad after all. I took one step off the semi-covered patio and the wind almost blew me back to New York. Jen could barely get the car door open.
We had to drive through some treacherous snowy conditions. It was so bad that I pulled over and switched with Jen. We figured it was better for the person who had grown up with lake effect snow driving rather than the Australian.
We fiiiinally made it to the Blue Lagoon where we very dubiously entered the place. Every man and his dog had said the same thing to me before going to Iceland: YOU MUST GO TO THE BLUE LAGOON.
I guess none of those people went during bad weather.
So here’s what I would say: yep, you should probably go to the Blue Lagoon because otherwise it’s like going to Orlando and not going to Disneyworld but DO NOT GO if the wind is pushing tiny pellets of ice so hard into your face that it actually hurts and you can’t see properly, the water is only lukewarm, you have a genuine fear that your ears will get frostbite, and the normally calm water has basically turned into 5 foot swells.
It was also way smaller than I expected.
But wait, there’s more. We had both scheduled massages. Outdoor massages. We fully expected it to be awful given the weather conditions but it wasn’t that bad. Was it good? Um, I wouldn’t go that far. It certainly improved after I asked for a towel to protect my face from the constant barrage of ice pellets.
The whole thing was so bad that it was actually hilarious and I found myself laughing constantly.
Would I go again to the Blue Lagoon? Nope.
Icelandic Dream House :: At Night
Last night Jen went out to take photos at night. This place is pretty remote and I am a big scaredy cat so the whole time she was gone I was at least 70% certain that she would be eaten by a wild animal and that I would be murdered by an axe-wielding Icelandic person.
We both survived.
And here are some photos from Jen’s midnight stroll.
You always read about Gulfoss which is the big waterfall along the Golden Circle route. It was the first thing we saw yesterday (and I will hopefully blog about it at some point) but there is actually a waterfall around the corner from our Icelandic Dream House that is (in my opinion) way prettier. It’s called Seljalandsfoss. I’ll let you figure out how to pronounce that guy.
There is a path that takes you around the back of the waterfall. We’ve side seen some photos on a blog taken from behind the waterfall that look amazing. At the time we didn’t realize how pretty it would be but still wanted the adventure of going back there. However, once we spotted and chatted with a couple of other tourists who were literally drenched we thought better of it and just admired it from every other angle instead.
We just can’t get enough of the gorgeous Icelandic horses. We pulled over to the side of the road as often as we could to get up close and personal.
They are quite short and stocky horses. They look like a hardy breed. I imagine they need to be hardy in order to survive on the Icelandic terrain and handle the weather conditions.
And they are so friendly. I can only assume other tourist bring carrots because they would come straight over to the fence and nuzzle up against our hands.
I’ll tell you what I’m tired of hearing? That somehow or other we’re too emotional when we talk. You know, when we raise an issue, we’re too emotional. Well, I am emotional… It brings tears to my eyes to know how women every, single day are working so hard and are getting paid less. It makes me emotional to hear that. Then, when I hear all of these phony reasons — some are mean and some are meaningless — I do get emotional. I get angry, I get outraged, I get volcanic.