The conference in VA Beach went smoothly, and may well be the last conference I have to run onsite! I’m super excited about that. Due to long hours at the registration desk, I spent all of 20 minutes on the beach, but I did get to see some glorious sunrises:

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The Hubs was able to come with me for the first time ever, so I enjoyed spending my evenings with him in our swanky hotel room. We also found Yukai Japanese and Sushi Buffet on our last day and desperately wished we had discovered it sooner. REALLY good food!

Book Reviews:

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Whew. I had read The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett and disliked it, but I thought I’d give the author another go (probably due more to my affection for the movie adaptation of The Thin Man than for any charitability towards Hammett). I do believe I loathed The Maltese Falcon even more. How this book became a classic is beyond me. Clumsy, endlessly repetitive description! Uninteresting, trudging plot! Thoroughly irritating characters! I wouldn’t have minded a bit if everyone were killed off in the end, but sadly most of them survived to be amoral, sleazy manipulators into the future.

Ransomed from a one-star review on Goodreads (just barely) by the fact that Sam Spade epitomizes a genre, but heck if I know why, and for the audiobook narrator, who did a grand job with Gutman’s and Spade’s voices.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gabran. Three and a half stars on Goodreads for this book is probably more accurate, but the language was beautiful enough to elevate the score (subject of this post is stolen from this little book). We received the book as a wedding present, and I savored the wisdom in it–while recognizing that much of the beautiful language was lacking in substance. I can see why the book was so popular during the hippie movement; there is a strong undercurrent of “do what feels good” running throughout, and God loves everyone and we’re all God and bro, have another smoke, etc. And yet I feel badly for mocking it because there WAS wisdom in it too. Perhaps younger Stephanie would have been more deeply affected.

In spite of my four stars, I would say that this lovely book had very little impact on me.

Tik-Tok of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Continuing the tradition of reading Oz books aloud with my husband whenever we’re traveling (whoever isn’t driving gets to read). Gotta say, not too impressed with this one. Baum completely disregards continuity, and the title is fairly nonsensical given that Tik-Tok features so little in the book. Still enjoyable because I have such affection for the Oz books, and the scene discussing why Toto doesn’t talk makes the whole book worth reading.

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