Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Trip to D.C. (and what I'm reading)

I don't think I mentioned that I traveled to my nation's capitol last week.  Most of the time, I was stuck in a hotel working, but I did manage to get out a bit.  One of my favorite things to do in Washington, D.C. is to visit the monuments at night.  The newest monument honors Martin Luther King, Jr. 
We went after dinner and had to wait a few minutes before we visited because President Obama was there for a private viewing! If my father were telling this story, it would be all about how he visited the monument with the President, but, truthfully, all we saw was his motorcade parked and then eventually driving away.  The monument is stunning. A large carved sculpture with a wall full of quotations leading up to and away from it. I found it very moving, and I made this art journal page, featuring one of the quotes, to remember my visit.
You can read more about the Memorial at this link
The plane ride is about six hours, and I put the time to good use doing some reading. I finished my current book group book, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. It was very good (I gave it four out of five stars). It's written in a lyrical, almost poetic way, in the first person plural. In a mere 130 pages, it manages to convey the experiences of a group of Japanese picture brides coming to America in the early 1900's up until the time of their internment during World War II. I also read The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. It was an interesting but overly ambitious novel about a family of women in Salem who can see the future and may or may not be related to witches. I ended up confused and a little frustrated at the end, but there were many aspects of it that I enjoyed. I gave it 3 out of 5 starts for being flawed but worth reading. I also gave 3 out of 5 stars to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, a nonfiction book about the woman whose cells were the first to be "grown" and used extensively for cell research. It was an important story to tell, but I don't think it was very well told. My biggest complaint was that the author spent too much time talking about herself and had a somewhat condescending view of the subjects. It also could have used an editor. Up next for my book group is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.  Have you read anything good lately?

14 comments:

Amy said...

I've read a few things but nothing worth passing on ... I have read The White Tiger though, I'll be interested to hear what you think.

The memorial looks impressive.

Anonymous said...

I finally read "The Help" which i'm glad i read, but as with all books of that nature, it made me sad and mad and embarrassed at the same time. i need to find your reading list :)

Mariana in CA

Sian said...

I read a few reviews f that Henrietta book here and I think they came to the same conclusion. I'm just about to start a funny memoir about travelling in the 1980's "I Left My tent in San Francisco"

Cheri said...

I read "The Help" during my plane ride to and from Tucson. I found it an extremely compelling read and would love to see the movie.Perfect read to go along with your visit to the MLK memorial.

The unfortunate thing is that my sister who now lives in Mississippi will confirm that much of the separatism that defined that period in our history still exists today in Mississippi. Makes me so glad I don't live there!

Gloria said...

Hi Rinda. What a nice trip you had. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.

Irene said...

Rinda:

Uncle Pete would have everyone in Houston believing him. LOL Sounds like you had a nice busy trip.

Miriam said...

The memorial is beautiful & i just love your art journal page. I so admire your art Rinda.

debs14 said...

I've just finished The Help too. Didn't realise it was now a film until after I had read it. I really enjoyed it, not sure I want to see the film in case it isn't the same as my imagination!

humel said...

That's a stunning page, Rinda :) Great to hear about your trip to Washington to visit the president - or have I maybe misunderstood slightly?! ;)

I just finished A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to :(

Karen said...

Visiting Washington, DC is high on my list. It's been quite a few years since I've been there. Your journal page is beautiful.

I'm reading Unbroken for our book group. It's very well written, but some of the subject matter is hard to read. I'm also reading Just My Type, (another nonfiction book) about fonts. It's actually very interesting and entertaining. I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

Carola Bartz said...

Lucky you to already have seen the new monument!
I just read "Red Glass" by Laura Resau, it's more a young adult book that I found in my daughter's bookshelf, but a really good and worthwhile read about (illegal) immigration and being the "odd" teenager. Highly recommended.

Mary B said...

Love these photos and your art journal entry is perfect I really would love to be able to be as free to do such beautiful arty stuff.

Alison said...

Love your art journal page Rinda...haven't read any of those books...I'm reading 'Mr Rosenblum's List' by Natasha Solomon-recommended by DD- and quite enjoying it...it's about a German-Jew trying to become the quintessential English Gentleman, so am not sure how much it would be enjoyed by non-Brits

Alison xx

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I also felt Immortal Life could do with a good editor. I wasn't able to finish it for that reason.
We need to take a trip up to DC in the evening some time. I haven't seen the monuments in the dark in 10 years or so