Books | 2013 So Far! #1

So as the clock turned from December 31, 2012 to January 1, 2013, I started a new resolution for myself: to read more books. I’ve gotten better at taking time to pleasure-read since quitting my state job, but this time I actually put a numerical goal: 50 books in 2013. It’s actually not too daunting — 50 books in 52 weeks means just 1 book a week, with wiggle room for times it takes for me to read longer novels, or if I’m too busy to make headway in any given novel at any given time.

Right now I’m ahead of my goal, which is great! But I realized that I hadn’t written a book post in all of 2013 yet, which is bad! I’m already behind.

So here’s a quick summary of a handful of books I’ve read so far this year. What have you been reading? Anything good?

books so far

How to Be a Woman  by Caitlin Moran – This was actually the A Practical Wedding book club selection in the summer, but I didn’t read it with everyone else because I was so busy. I’d never heard of Caitlin Moran before that, but apparently she is one of My People, because the majority of the APW community loved her book, and my awesome mother-in-law actually got me this book for Christmas. I love how Moran takes us kind of on an autobiography and introduces examples of feminism through her hilarious anecdotes. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend to all my girl friends. She’s so real.

The Time Traveler’s Wife  by Audrey Niffenegger – I got this at Half-Price books in the $1 bin and only picked it up because I’d heard it was good. I could NOT put this book down. I had zero expectations and emerged just loving it, loving it, loving it. It’s the story of a man named Henry, who can travel through time but can’t control when and where he goes, and Clare, his worrying wife. It’s such a beautiful love story, though I don’t think I’d characterize it just as a love story. A little bit of sci-fi, a touch of mystery, and interconnecting pieces of the story that are told at random… Apparently there’s a terrible movie based on this novel starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, but in my mind I imagined David Tennant (with American accent) as Henry and it works much better!

Hopeless  by Colleen Hoover – One of my friends couldn’t stop talking about this book, so I gave it a try. It’s definitely YA fiction and I have mixed feelings about it. The story was pretty compelling (I read this in a few hours), but there were so many twists and turns, believable parts and horrible-writing parts, that I don’t know if I’d recommend it to people. The book starts off as a typical teen romance — full of high school thoughts and feelings, many of which I don’t really want to remember. The main character, a girl named Sky, meets a guy named Holder and they sort of start to date. A dramatic plot twist made the middle of the book way more interesting, and I really enjoyed all the twists. But the ending was a little disappointing. This book mixed a few genres (romance, drama, mystery, psychology?) so it’s hard to place.

The Handmaid’s Tale  by Margaret Atwood – I finally read it! This book chilled me to the core. Atwood has the gift of making you feel really unsettled by the idea of possibility; the trajectory that she can visualize if humans are as terrible and gullible as they can be. The book follows the life of Offred (Of-Fred), the handmaiden of a high-ranking official. Her sole purpose, in this increasingly infertile age, is to get pregnant with his child. Offred can remember her life before the fundamentalists took over the government and began ruling women’s bodies, and it’s haunting reading the “norm” of then (set in the 1980s, I think) vs. the norm of the current year. This book is crazy. Atwood has a habit of making it hard for me to fall asleep after I finish one of her books.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower  by Stephen Chbosky – I fear I missed out on this book when I was growing up, which is apparently the best time to read it. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age novel, but I believe I was too old to read it for the first time (at 28) and have it affect me as much as it affects most young people. However, I did watch the movie adaptation starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller and thought it was fantastic — one of the few movies I think surpasses the book. So all was not lost.

Tell me about the books you’re reading! Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m up to :)

FYI: All links are Amazon affiliate links.

Hannah & Brent | Three

I realized I don’t do enough previews these days. And really, this wedding needs a preview, because it was so epic that I know I’m going to tweak a nerve trying to get these photos done fast enough to share them all.

Hannah and Brent were the first couple to take a chance on me being in business in 2013. They hired me waaaay back in 2011, and had faith that I’d turn out to be a decent enough photographer. I really hope I proved them right.

Three from their wedding in the Woodlands last weekend…

woodlands resort ceremony bride and groom tiny in cornerbrenizer method pano

Happy Friday!

Jenn & Andy | Austin Brunch Wedding

When I met with Jenn and Andy and they mentioned that they were planning on a brunch reception — “think of a rose-garden, English-tea kind of feel,” said Jenn — my heart did a little flutter. Brunch! Brunch is my favorite meal. Breakfast foods are the best. Their menu, catered by Whole Foods, included truffled deviled eggs and creme-brulée French toast. After their wonderful morning ceremony at St. Albert the Great church, we made our way in the rain to Mercury Hall for their reception.

Jenn and Andy’s wedding was so intimate and beautiful. I loved being a part of their day. Here are a few of my favorite moments…

mercury hall wedding lace wedding dress before ceremony photos with family groom in church lobby funny ring bearer grooms reaction face to bride walking up the aisle funny ring bearer 2 austin wedding ceremony picture holy water during wedding ceremony austin wedding creative wedding ring shots rose garden wedding kissing bride and groomclassy rose wedding bouquet kiss in the rain mercury hall first dance wedding toasts glasses raised

A few more vendor thank-yous… Visual Lyrics for the gorgeous flowers, Sweet Stirrings for the cakes (including edible dog).