Half Marathons and what-not

So I managed, through happenstance, to sign up for two half-marathons taking place less than one month apart. I am happy to say that, while I enjoyed both, this last one was a solid improvement pace-wise. The weather was much more amenable (60s and overcast) and the much-dreaded hilly spots were not as hilly as they were made out to be. I shaved sixteen minutes off my overall time!
All this in the midst of a 3-week visit to see my eldest sister and her family. In order to have that visit, I had to pack the two kids and the dog into the car and do a 10-12 hour drive (the 12 is because even a restroom stop takes 30 minutes when you are traveling with two kids and no other adults). At my sister’s house there was happy chaos aplenty: she and her husband and their five kids, plus my parents (also visiting), and my sister’s father-in-law, not to mention the grand total of animals present as a result of all these visitors (2 Great Danes, 1 Collie, 1 Terrier-mix-something-or-other, 1 Wolf, and 1 um…ridgeback mix? Plus 2 cats, 3 very unexpected kittens, and some fish).
In any case, I’m glad to be home, glad for my husband to be back in town, and glad to have managed both half-marathons without undue complications.
In celebration of our anniversary, my husband and I went to an indie bookstore yesterday and I did actually buy some new books. Since it was a special day, you see. The cashier commented on my varied (read: random) picks, and seemed genuinely pleased with my selection…just as I myself was : ) I love it when the people who work at the bookstore have opinions on what you buy, or make suggestions. Either way, it’s nice when the experts think you made a good call.
Anyhow, I got the following books:
The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
So I actually know precious little about this book beyond it being sci-fi, but have heard that it is excellent from multiple and varied sources. Aside from that, the translator is Ken Liu who is an author in his own right and whose fantasy novel, Grace of Kings, I read and enjoyed. Quality of translation desperately matters, and since I appreciated Ken Liu’s writing it gave that added incentive to check out Cixin Liu’s much-lauded work.
All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
I also know very little about this book (I find that is best these days) except that it is WWII historical fiction…right? I think so. I am determined to go into it cold and see what all the acclaim is about.
Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
I kept seeing this pop up in recommendations here, there, and everywhere. I know nothing other than the jacket description which mentions internment of the main characters by Soviet secret police. But when I see a book that just keeps showing up, keeps being referenced, long after the initial hype of release, I’m interested.
On Stories, by C.S. Lewis
I will never pass up anything of Lewis’ and I’ve never read this one. It is an essay collection about literature, which includes his reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and–as I understand it–shows his perspective on why fairytales and other forms of “easily dismissed” literature are so important.
So, while I am falling behind on my reading for this year, now that this crazy month is over I will hopefully catch up and maybe throw these new books in the mix!

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