Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Travel Diary: The Hoover Dam

On our road trip in the west, our first stop was the Hoover Dam which is situated perfectly on the way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. (Actually, I'm lying, because our first stop was the Las Vegas outlet, from where I scored Tory Burch sporty sandals. But since I don't have any pictorial evidence of that quick shopping stop, let's not dwell on it.) The Hoover Dam, however, I have lots of pictorial evidence. It is an impressive place. Especially when you think that it was built before the computer era. The sad thing is that many people died building it. But the dam was (and is) extremely important to the economy and livelihood of the west, from Arizona, Nevada and California, all the way to Los Angeles and the coastal area; to this day it provides a major amount of electricity of the west.

After stopping at the Hoover Dam, it's about three hour drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You drive through a mountain area first, and then desert, and it's a beautiful drive in a very strangely shaped land. The lack of trees is a little disconcerting, and reminded me a little of Iceland, although Iceland is much greener. I think it would be hard to live on the dry desert climate. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Books: Little Fires Everywhere

I finished this book in the plane coming back from Nevada, so I guess it's ok to sandwich the review in between my travel diary entries (yes there is till more to come of our little winter break trip - a whole lot of pictures that all look alike from the great and grand Grand Canyon).

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was one of those books that I picked up because it got so much praise everywhere. It was named the best book of the year (2017) by Goodreads, and a number of magazines and newspapers, among them The Washington Post, so I figured that this must be a good book. Despite the hype I didn't know much of the story, plot or the characters before I began to read so I started from a clean slate in that regard. This was the first book I read by Celeste Ng. Maybe because of the praise I felt it was slightly a let down. Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderfully written book. The language is crisp and beautiful and the characters really come to life. However, I had an issue with the major set-up, or the question of who set up the fire, and it just didn't somehow catch my interest fully, or in the end seem that plausible or even important. One of the major themes of the book is motherhood, and I found agreeing and also disagreeing with the book's premises relating to motherhood. I think the worst thing for me was that I didn't fully like either of the main characters. However, the book did make me think and got under my skin, so I guess that's a good thing. Also the way the book described the town and the environment's impact on the residents was great. All in all, I'd give this a solid four stars.