Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: The Expats

I gotta say that I was not overly disappointed by this book but I was not overly impressed either. I had read some wonderful reviews about this book, which is why I had gotten it in the first place and these reviews went entirely wrong.  The book was fast paced and compelling, albeit mildly at times.  I can't decide whether I enjoyed the beginning of this book so much because I had just finished a book which could not have moved slower, making this book seem like a roller coaster, or because it was indeed fast paced and compelling at the beginning. Needless to say, I enjoyed the beginning and very end of the book much more than the middle chapters.  I felt like the author was trying just a little too hard to make certain plot twists unknown and mysterious.   LIving in DC and being a little addicted to crime and spy TV shows, some of the plot twists were really obvious or just downright ridiculous.  I would recommend this book if you are looking for a short, relatively mindless book.  I think that it is definitely a decent book and I don't think that the you will read it and say it was horrible.  Is it worth it? Depends on what you're in the mood for, but for me, it satisfied my need for a relatively fast paced book.  I just don't think it's one that I will waste my time rereading.

Recommendation: Three Stars

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Destruction of Rome

I'm not one to rate a book only one star, especially one that as highly lauded as this book but I gotta say that I absolutely did not enjoy any part of this book. This is particularly surprising due to the fact that I am a history major with an intense interest in architecture and art history, but its true, I absolutely could not get into this book. From the very beginning I should have realized that I was not going to enjoy it due to the author's lack of structural and historical organization. Mr Hughes would jump from speaking about a painter, to the picture, to a second painter, and then would speak about the early life of the first painter. Also, did I mention an extremely insufficient number of pictures within this book? Ok, don't judge but this is an art history and architectural history book and Mr Hughes' descriptions of the buildings and paintings were so inadequate that I was having a hard time picturing buildings, paintings, and sculptures that I had just seen in Rome three years ago. I think a lot would have been added if the publisher had included some photos of the buildings or paintings that the Mr Hughes discussed at length in the chapters in which he was describing it. But perhaps the publisher could not do that because there was absolutely no organization in any of the chapters. The book was exhaustively researched but there was so much information that the point of the book got lost in the author's musing on different artistic theories and methods. This book had great potential but it fell really flat for me. I'm sorry Mr Hughes but this was just not for me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Never Delta

I'm just coming off of a four hour flight from Phoenix to Atlanta on Delta Airlines and to be honest, I've been doing a lot of traveling the last couple of months.  A lot.  The trip between Phoenix and DC is becoming quite normal for me so needless to say it means that I have become quite judgmental when it comes to airline carrier. And flying Delta Airlines Economy Class has been absolutely abysmal.  For those of you who have never seen me, I am not a tall person nor am I a large person and I don't  like to take up a lot of space on a plane.  I like to take up my designated area and thats it and I truly appreciate it when others do the same, but as you all well know, that rarely happens for me and instead I end up next to 15 month old babies that are being breastfed by the mothers and then switching sits to sit next to the jittery 4 year old who can't stop kicking.  Oh yeah, that just happened, but to be honest, the 4 year old was relatively well-behaved and the baby was adorable.  Ok, so why am I complaining?  ANYWAYS, like I said before, I'm not a tall or large person but I can honestly say that I had a very difficult time fitting into the Delta seats.  Delta Airlines, this is the part that I am honestly embarressed of for you.  The seats are so cramped inside the plane that you almost have to climb over the seats like a little kid to get to yours because there is not enough room between your seat and the seat in front of you to walk between or even do the seat shuffle.  You know what I'm talking about.  That awkward side shuffle that people do to get into their seat.  Yeah, you know, but then, once you have packed yourself into your seat, the flight attendants ask people to place their purses or backpacks under the seat.  Easier said then done missies.  There is literally not enough room under the seat to place even a modest sized backpack completely under the seat. *picture*  Say bye bye to that bag that is only partially under the seat because you are never gonna see it again unless you want to go into a seated Down-Dog position. And one is absolutely doomed if the person in front of you moves their seat back even an inch.  That inch means that the seemingly improbable task of retrieving your bag becomes absolutely impossible.  And once one person moves their seat back, it creates a Domino effect in the column because no one who has any sense of space can stand to basically have the person in front of them in their laps, forcing them to push their seat back as well and you get the picture.  Oh, and please note that I have never mentioned any space for your legs.  I don't believe that Delta considered having bipedal creatures on their aircraft.  I truly believe that the plane was meant for children and double amputees.  I had more room the airplane bathroom then I did at my seat.  Really?  Really?!?  I mean, when was the last time the claustophic plane bathroom was more spacious than the actual seats.  Completely screwed up.  Delta, please remember that the majority of your paying customers are not Hobbits or Dwarves or babies.  CEO of Delta, I recommend that you sit for four hours in Economy on one of your flights and you let us know if you too feel like you've been relegated to the cattle car.  Delta, the spacing in your cabin is completely unacceptable and I will most assuradly not be flying you again anytime soon unless I am in First Class.  Also, for those of you who are flying on Delta, please remember to be considerate to the people sitting around you.  They're cramped too so when you decide to push your chair all the way back, you're forcing the entire row to do the same thing.  Its very rude.  Delta, how incredibly disappointing.