Book Review #11: “The Vacationers”

The Vacationers

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β€œFamilies were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best.”
― Emma Straub, The Vacationers

I’m so excited to be reviewing my first book from the 2016 Reading Challenge!

First up:

Our family friend Lucy brought this book to my parents’ house and let me borrow it. It took me absolutely forever, but I finally finished it.

Confession: I had only gotten about 30 pages in when I abandoned it, so I literally started over, from the beginning. It was a good decision.

Once I got started, I wanted to keep reading. I kept getting interrupted, but I felt great satisfaction once I got to the end.

In total, it took me about two months to get from beginning to end.

The main reason I abandoned the book in the first place was other priorities – Our wedding, the holidays, starting school again. As I started the book over, however, I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it. I liked the story, but some of the characters bothered me, Franny in particular, Bobby, and Carmen. I wasn’t so fond of Jim, either.

However, determined not to quit again, I kept chipping away at it.

Then, one night last week, I flew through three whole chapters. I wanted to keep reading, but I knew I needed sleep. I reluctantly set it aside with my glasses, and dreamed of Mallorca.

I finished the book, in triumph, earlier this week. It felt great.

My original issues with the characters sorted themselves out as I kept reading. They all have flaws, just like we do. I admire Straub for writing about a completely different country, and making me feel like I was there, with the Posts, the entire time. I was wrapped up in their world, for the whole thirteen days that they experienced.

It’s definitely one of those books I would recommend when you need an escape – Whether you’re traveling, or need a vacation from your everyday life – Straub’s writing transports you to Mallorca with the Posts, without hopping on a plane.

It’s not necessarily a classic novel, but I enjoyed reading it. I’m curious about her other works as well.

The ending left me as a crossroads, likely how the characters were feeling as well. I wanted to see more of them in another work, but at the same time, I felt content and found myself imagining their journeys afterward.

4 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Commentary #19: “The Amazing Thing That Happened On Flight 4463”

“The spirit of Southwest Airlines is exuberant, it’s caring, it’s dedicated, it’s diligent, it’s fun, it’s rewarding, it’s a joy.”

~Herb Kelleher, Founder

I love Southwest Airlines. Ever since they came to Norfolk International Airport (ORF), my family has been flying with them.

Then, seeing this story from one of my local TV stations last week made me cry.


LouAnn Alexander on the job, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, November 2015. Photo Credit: Rex Ridenoure

In this photo, LouAnn looks so happy, so in her element. Most people that work for Southwest seem that way, at least to me.

I’m so glad that her brother turned this flight into something so positive, so inspiring. This renewed my faith in humanity.

Then, yesterday, whilst browsing the ABC News website, I found this:

I’m glad she’s no longer suffering. Cancer is tough on anyone. I’m glad that she was surrounded by her family, and that she knew about the final flight.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #20: Movie Marathons, and Movies In General

I noticed that Young OFW liked my recent post on Elevation Church. Whenever someone new likes one of my posts or follows my blog (Thank you!), I always click on their name / handle / WordPress ID and check out their site.

Whilst visiting his blog, I found this post:

Reading his post made me realize that I have not done any sort of post about movies! So, thank you for the inspiration!

I would have never thought to put some of these movies together. I’m excited to carve out a few weekends to try some of these!

For me, out of the movies he listed, these are the ones I have seen:

  1. Forrest Gump
  2. The Shawshank Redemption
  3. Pulp Fiction
  4. 50 First Dates
  5. The Proposal
  6. The Wedding Singer
  7. The Prestige
  8. Inception
  9. A Beautiful Mind
  10. Saving Private Ryan
  11. Schindler’s List
  12. The Departed
  13. Dazed and Confused
  14. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  15. The Breakfast Club
  16. Interstellar
  17. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  18. Sleepless in Seattle
  19. Pretty Woman
  20. Inglourious Basterds

I loved his take. Seeing his combinations makes me want to watch these 20 movies again, and try some of the ones I haven’t seen. Some of these listed here, I’ve only seen once.

I’ve always enjoyed watching movies. My parents bought a lot of the classic Disney movies on VHS. Mom and I would go to Blockbuster once or twice a month to rent movies. The now-demolished Movies 10 in Chesapeake was where I saw George of the Jungle, Hercules, Mulan, and others. Then, Harbour View Grande 16 opened in Suffolk. My dad and I would see the newest James Bond movies in the theaters, and watch the classic ones on cable on vacation.

Then, I fell in love with a professed movie-buff, who is now my husband. Movies are one of the biggest things that we have in common. We watch the trailers online and go out at least once a month, if not more than that.

We’re known to see the same movie multiple times – Star Wars: The Force Awakens three times within two weeks, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice in four days.

Plus, he has Netflix and Amazon Prime, so we fill a lot of our time, in general, with movies and documentaries.

I’m currently working on my own version of Movie Marathons, partially inspired by Young OFW’s post. Check back in the next week or so for my picks for the following:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Crime & Gangster
  • Drama
  • Epics / Historical
  • Horror
  • Musicals / Dance
  • Science Fiction
  • War
  • Westerns

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚