Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Light Between Oceans

I’m joining a new book club and was supposed to start going in February, but had not gotten far at all in the book before meeting time. So I was on it this time and finished the book 2 weeks before the meeting. It helped that The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was a great and easy read. It was difficult to put down! It takes place in Australia and features a man who is a lighthouse keeper on a very remote island. He marries a girl from the nearby town and their life on the island takes more turns than you would expect for two people living a very secluded life. The story has elements that are relatable for many people and elements that will tear at your heartstrings. The movie came out last year but a friend recommended not seeing, which I wouldn’t do right after reading it anyway, but it does have a great cast. I highly recommend the book and I’m looking forward to the discussion with my new book club!

 


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A Discovery of Witches

Wow, it’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything! I guess after almost 8 years of posts (my first post was in May 2009), it’s not as much of a priority or as fulfilling anymore. Which is not a bad thing. Priorities change! I still like keeping my reads here though. And who knows, there may come a time when I’m ready to post up a storm again! But for now, I hope you keep enjoying my book list and recommendations!

I’m not sure why it took me so long (a month) to get through A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, but it put me behind for my 2017 reading challenge. I’ll have to find some quick reads to play catch up!

The first half of the story was definitely slow. I know you need to get to know the characters and provide sufficient background information and set-up for the greater storyline, but there was a little too much of that for my liking. A lot of the details in the first half of the book felt unnecessary. But once the story got going it was great, though the lead character is a little annoying at times. She’s a strong female lead, which is great, but she’s a little whiny and unnecessarily defiant at times. The story’s not just about witches, but also other creatures that live among humans and how they all interact, while working to keep attention away. It felt a little like a more adult Twilight. But better. I’m adding the next 2 in the series to my list to read after I get through the few I already have on my Kindle to read next.


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The Singles Game

Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t a revival of my intriguing dating posts. The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger was a fun, entertaining read. Charlie is an up-and-coming star on the professional tennis tour and she finds out what it takes to make it to the top as well as what can bring you down. I enjoyed it because I love tennis and have played most of my life, but it’s more about the off-court action than playing, so even if you know nothing about tennis you would enjoy it. And although the main characters of the story are fictional, Weisberger worked in the names of real top players who are on the circuit currently. This would be a, especially great summer beach read! Enjoy!

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How We Do Harm

This book was required for class (my last class!!), but it was an interesting and timely read. Although it was published in 2012, it is still relevant with how healthcare functions in America today. How We Do Harm by Otis Webb Brawley, MD is an insider look at various aspects of healthcare from a doctor’s perspective. Brawley is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society and spent years working at Emory and Grady Memorial Hospital here in Atlanta. He goes through various case studies and examples of how the healthcare system fails patients in all aspects – medically, in research, financially, and through insurance. And unfortunately not much has changed since he wrote this book. It was eye opening. Anyone who has to see a doctor, especially for something serious, likes to think that doctor is giving good advice that will benefit you best as a patient, but Brawley shows that is not always the case. Luckily, looking back, my many doctors have always ranked on the “good guy” side, but it would be easy to not realize that you are being given bad advice, or worse, actual treatment. And that’s scary.

I highly recommend this book. I did skim through a lot of the specific medical talk, but you can do that and still get the bigger picture. We all have some claim in the healthcare system – you have insurance, you see a doctor occasionally, or you need regular treatment from a physician. And we can all learn something from this book to make us better consumers of the medical practice.

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2017 Book Challenge

I love the book challenge through Goodreads – you just set your goal for the year and update what books you’ve read. The site keeps track of your progress! I read 30 books last year (after setting a random goal of 20), so I thought I’d challenge myself just slightly this year to read 35. Of course I set this before realizing I have one more class to take this semester which will take up a lot of my reading time, but we’ll see how it goes. I may have to throw in some short books. 😉

My first book of this year was The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. I enjoyed it overall, but I thought it was a little dragged out at times and had more detail than I really cared about. The story chronicles the lives of a group of society’s elite women in 1950s New York City and their relationship with a writer, Truman Capote, who infiltrates their circle. From what I can gather, the characters are real people and some of the events are actual events, but I had to do some research to figure this out and it’s still not completely clear. I think I may have enjoyed it more had I know those details before reading the book. It was good – a little like Gossip Girl but more sophisticated – but be prepared to maybe skim some parts that just get too bogged down in detail.

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So Long, 2016

2016 is coming to a close and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind year. Like most years, it had some high and lows, but overall I’d say that for me, 2016 has been great. Here are the highlights, in no particular order.

Weddings, babies and graduations, oh my!

I was lucky enough to celebrate a cousin and 4 different friends getting married, 2 of which I was honored to stand along side. Well, that ended  up being standing beside just one, but more on that later. I also had one dear friend have her first baby and one complete her PhD. It brought me such joy to celebrate these people with showers, bachelorettes, parties, and gifts. I wish them all the best of marriages, new families, and new jobs. All of this alone was enough to make 2016 a great one!

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Moving Friends

A good friend moving away is not a good thing for anyone. It’s sad and difficult to come to terms with. But if it has to happen, you might as well make the best of it with a 7 state road trip in a car packed to the ceiling, complete with an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast. Definitely a highlight of the year, albeit a sad long term outcome.

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Disney & Universal

My nephew is 2 ½ and you have to pay for children to get into Disney at age 3, so of course my Disney-loving sister-in-law had to plan a big family trip this year. Best. idea. ever. I didn’t get around to doing a whole post on this trip as the end of the year got away from me, but I feel like a Disney expert now. Although I’m sure I still know nothing compared to people who go all the time. This was my first time there since I was 8. And it was magical. The week after Thanksgiving is a great time to go if you can take time off. And I was really surprised at how much stuff there was for my nephew to do! It was an awesome trip and definitely a highlight of the year.

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Travels

2016 was a year of many travels. In addition to the trips already mentioned, I made it to cities, states, and another country! Locations included two trips to Nashville, TN; multiple trips to Daphne, AL; Denver (plus south of Denver for work); State College, PA; Nicaragua; Austin, TX; Chattanooga, TN; Asheville, NC; McCormick, SC; Orlando, FL; Helen, GA; St. Augustine, FL

So many places, so little time!

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Hospital

The downfall of social media is that all you see is the wonderful, happy pieces of everyone’s life. Although a lot of great things happened this year, it wasn’t all sugar and spice. The night before my friend’s wedding – one I was supposed to be in – I landed myself in the ER, which turned into the ICU, with some kind of infection. And yes, that’s the most diagnosis I ever got. Needless to say, I missed my friend’s wedding and was devastated. It was also a miserable two weeks being in the hospital for 3 ½ days then recovering. But it was made tolerable and I made it out stronger because of my incredible family and friends. It was a reminder of how lucky I am to have the people who are in my life.

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This guy

As incredible as everything was this year,  this guy takes the cake. We met in our condo complex with the dogs out on the lawn [cue the AWs]. Adorable, right? We grabbed dinner and drinks for our first date on a nearby patio and we hit it off. But little did I know how amazing this year would be together. He is kind, funny, thoughtful and caring. He made it through a stay, by my side, in the ER and ICU just 6 months in. I can go on and on about how much I love this guy, but I’ll spare you. He is easily THE highlight of this year and I can’t wait for the year to come.

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Books

I completed my book challenge by 10 books and had some great ones of the 30 I read! I think I’m going to up my challenge to beat my 30 next year.

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I know not everyone had a great year. I am ignoring some major events that happened in our country this year to focus on my little insignificant life. If it wasn’t a great year for you, I hope for everything and more for you in 2017. Happy New Year!


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For Women Only

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn has been on my list since we watched a short series based on the book in my church small group. I read it in one day in about 6 hours (yay holiday travel) so there’s really no excuse for anyone to not read it. It’s a quick but deep insight into men’s thoughts and actions. Surveys were given to thousands of men age 21 to 75, along with informal follow up surveys to specific groups of men. 

Many women might read this as rules to pleasing men, but it’s actual facts to know about the men in your life to make your relationship better. And these apply to husbands, boyfriends, friends, and sons. Not everything was surprising to me but I definitely learned some things about men’s brains. And the best part is the suggestions on what to do with the information you learn. 

I definitely recommend this book to women and I’m sure the alternate, For Men Only, is just as great for men to read. Nothing better than a quick, informative read!