67 Books in 2013

IMG_1540-2I love reading and I have been keeping track of my (mostly digital) book collection on goodreads. I recently noticed they have a book challenge feature that allows you select the number of books you would like to read this year and track your progress.

The first week of this year, while we were in Tennessee, I read 6 books. My mom commented that I was just like my dad in that respect. He would read thick mystery novels in less than a day. All of the librarians in the area knew him well because of his frequent visits and insistence that they help him look up books since he was “computer illiterate” (not so much like me there).

My dad passed away last year but we still had carrot cake to celebrate his birthday. This past week would have been his 67th birthday. For that reason, I chose to read 67 books this year.

These are a few books that have stood out to me so far this year. No thick mystery novels on the list but they are definitely page-turners, in my humble opinion.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Have you read any good books lately?

Good Times in Music City

Keeping up with our New Year’s tradition, Drew and I flew to Nashville to spend time with his family in the Middle Tennessee area. After we got back from Nashville, a NYT article titled Nashville’s Latest Big Hit Could Be the City Itself popped up on my Twitter feed. The author summarized my perception of Nashville pretty well with this line: “On a Venn diagram, the place where conservative Christians and hipsters overlap would be today’s Nashville.” I’ve been to Nashville many times but on this trip I was able to visit a few new and interesting places that gave me an even better idea of what Nashville was all about. Below are a few highlights from the trip.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting a little honky tonk bar called The Station Inn. Phil Madeira and his band played along with a singer by the name of Angel Snow.
The Station Inn

You may know about the American Picker’s Antique Archeology shop in Iowa. But did you know they also have a shop in Nashville? It’s located in the Marathon Village area of Nashville in a building that was once a car factory. We spotted quite a few items from the show!
Antique Archaeology Shop

Antique Archaeology Shop

The Loveless Cafe is an interesting restaurant and collection of shops at the end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. I loved how the interior of the restaurant was decorated with signed photographs of various celebrities and country musicians. It used to be both a motel and restaurant but they converted the motel rooms into souvenirs shops. There is also a barn behind the shops that regularly hosts concerts and a radio show.
Loveless Cafe Shop

White House Codeathon

This week I was asked to be a part of the Equal Futures Codeathon at the White House. The codeathon teamed up web professionals with high school girls to brainstorm ideas for apps. The apps were meant to raise awareness about the lack of female representation in the government and inspire more women to run for office.

The codeathon took place down the hall from the Vice President’s office. I got there early and noticed our meeting room was filled with older men in business suits. This was a huge juxtaposition to how the room appeared once our brainstorm began. The room was suddenly filled with girls and women in deep discussion while drawing wireframes on giant pieces of paper with magic markers.

White House Codeathon

High school students and web professionals present their ideas.

But don’t let the use of magic markers fool you. Here we were at the White House, attempting to solve one of the largest problems of the 21st century with one of the largest influences in our society today, technology. And since the event gathered women in the tech industry, it was hard to ignore the fact that the tech industry suffers the same diversity problem as the government does. The web professionals and high school students shared similar stories of gender barriers and we used our shared experiences to suggest potential solutions.