April 29, 2016

Reading Lately- April

I mentioned yesterday that I'm 5 books behind my book challenge on Goodreads. While I don't really care about the number of books I read, this upsets me because I hate that I've become that person who doesn't have time to read. I'll write my April recap and May goals this weekend and I can promise you that reading more will definitely be on that list!

This month, I read one book. I'm almost finished with "Animal Dreams" so it will actually end up being two, but not in time for this post! That means that I get to spend a lot of time talking to you about this month's book club pick, "It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War" by Lynsey Addario. If you're new around here, my good friend, Carolann, and I host a book club through Goodreads. Each month, we take suggestions for books and everyone votes on what they want to read and has the option to discuss on their blogs each month!

I have really mixed feelings about this book. It's been on my reading list for several months now. I even listed it as one of the 5 Books to Read Before They Become Movies (starring Jennifer Lawrence) before I even read the book!

I'll start with this. I think this is a book that should be read. I think that it's an important story to tell - the risks that journalists take to let us know what's going on around the world. That being said, I think that some of the risks that Lynsey Addario took were unnecessary. I think that she put a lot of people in danger, including US military, and I think that her need to get the perfect shot no matter the situation was desperate.

Full disclosure: I went to college for Journalism. Midway through my 3rd year of school, I realized that my professors' lectures about the need to get the perfect story or perfect shot AT ALL COSTS wasn't for me. I didn't want to be the person sticking a microphone in someone's face minutes after a tragedy. I think that doing that with a camera is even worse. It's important to tell stories, but I don't believe it's important to exploit people's pain.

In one example, while in Iraq, she says, "We parked our cars along the road near a checkpoint as we tried to get information about the situation in Khurmal and to photograph their fear." The next page shows a pretty graphic photo of a severely wounded Kurdish soldier with his brain showing through his hair. That sentence, 'photograph their fear,' really bothered me.

At one point, Lynsey goes on a mission with American troops. The troops are basically on patrol and there isn't a lot of excitement. She says, "A part of me always quietly hoped for a brief gun battle; there were only so many pictures I could take of troops standing guard with their guns and talking with villagers." Later, a gun battle does ensue and one US soldier is killed.

Later, in another example, while she's following US troops around, a soldier breaks down. He falls apart and says that he can't do it anymore. The scene is very powerful. This soldier is in the middle of the dessert. He's at war. He's away from his family and friends. He's seen his friends die. He knows that he can be next, and when he falls apart, she says that she was relieved that it was one of the soldiers who broke down and not her. She didn't feel sympathy or compassion, she was just happy that it wasn't her. There is so much of this book that didn't sit well with me but what bothered me the most was this particular passage about her work in Sudan,

"It seemed paradoxical to try to create beautiful images out of conflict, but I found that my more abstract images of Darfur provoked an unusual response from readers.Suddenly I was getting requests for fine art prints of rebels in a sandstorm or blurred refugees walking through the desert for several thousand dollars. I was conflicted about making money from images of people who were so desperate, but I thought of all the years I had struggled to make ends meet as a photographer,and I knew that any money I made from these photos would be invested right back into my work."
Wow. She's justifying making thousands of dollars off of people's pain and struggle with the fact that she struggled financially. She's talking about shooting in one of the worst countries in the world, in an area that hosts one of the worst humanitarian disasters in global history.

I don't have a problem with the fact that she made money off of her images. I really don't. I do have a problem with her justification of it. If she had said that she felt conflicted but that ultimately, her photographs led to widespread media attention that demanded intervention in Darfur, I could accept that, but I don't think it's right to say, "Hey I struggled so I can take pictures of people's struggle and make money of of it."

I think that her goal is that her images will be used to affect change, that by showing images of civilians in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Lybia, wherever, that people might be compelled to change things. I do think that Lynsey wants to make the world a better place, just in a different way that I do, but I also question a lot of her thinking.

That being said, I appreciate her candor and I'm glad she wrote the book she wanted to, without fearing repercussion.

Have you read "It's What I Do?"
Do you think you'll read it or see the movie? 
What have you read this month? Link up with us and let us know!

April 28, 2016


Feeling... happy.

Reading... "Animal Dreams" by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm 5 books behind my Goodreads Challenge and it makes me sad! I did manage to read this month's Beyond Words book club book, and tomorrow is the link-up!

Watching... Gilmore Girls, Scandal, and Mindy Project. I'm obsessed with Gilmore Girls. Scandal has gotten weird, and I'm glad Mindy is finally back!

Listening to... "America's Sweetheart" by Elle King. This song might be 6 months old by now since I never listen to the radio, but I can't get enough of it! This, and her other song, "Exes and Ohs," I love them both! Did you know that she's Rob Schneider's daughter?

Thinking about... finances, real estate,

Working on... May meal planning (and posts related to it!).

Needing... to get my running groove back. I haven't run since I was in San Francisco. Ever since I came back from injury, my heart just hasn't been in it. I have no intention of giving up running, but I don't know how to get that back.

Wanting... to go for a hike but it's supposed to rain all weekend.

Annoyed... at the 2016 election. I'm so sick of it. I'm tired of the debates and town halls, the constant media attention paid to certain controversial candidates, all of it. I just want it to be November so we can all move on with our lives.

Excited... to start at a new office next week! My company is moving right up the street to a gorgeous office space  and I can't wait!

Hoping... that things will slow down at work next month so that I can reset!

Loving... life!

Hoping to get back to link ups next week with this post!
Until then, what's on your list?

April 25, 2016

Morning Coffee

Good Morning friends! Happy Monday!

It's been awhile since I've written one of these posts and since my posts have been less frequent than normal, I thought I'd update you all on what's been going on over a little coffee date!

So, if we were having coffee, I would tell you that:

I think I'm still jetlagged from my trip to San Francisco. A few really late nights at work this week didn't help. but I'm exhausted. I had the day off on Friday and I slept until 11. Saturday wasn't much different. I spent the day binge watching Gilmore Girls while doing laundry and a little bit of cleaning, but I really needed the weekend to just veg out.

I didn't run once last week...or any other form of exercise. I came back from San Francisco with a really strange soreness in my hip and I was exhausted, so I took the week off. I already feel better.

I still hate my haircut. Yup, the one I got 2 months ago? My bangs are growing out in the weirdest way possible and pinning them back isn't an option because of the way they were cut and I'm agonizing over the day that they fully grow back.

Monthly meal planning is working out wonderfully. I wrote this post at the beginning of the month about my meal planning epiphany to meal plan once at the beginning of the month and recycle all meals. On top of being wildly easy, I'm saving so much money by not having food go to waste and knowing exactly what to do with what's in my fridge. I wanted to test this out before I went into detail about it, but since it's working so well, I plan to share next month's meal plan with menus and walk you through the process week by week!

I need a serious reset on my work-life balance. I love my job but I have never been so busy in my life. Things will hopefully slow down a little bit in May before picking back up again in June, but I need to start making more time for myself - morning workouts, planned lunch breaks, scheduled time-outs in the evening, more time for reading, more time outside (if it ever gets warm enough to actually just be able to lay in the grass and enjoy the sun), etc.

My first year in Junior League is almost over. I'll finish the last of my requirements this week and then I'll be done! I liked my first year in the League but I'm excited for next year when I won't have as many requirements.

I'm on Season 3 of Gilmore Girls and I'm totally hooked. I don't know why I never watched this show when it was on, but I love it!

That's all I've got! I'm hoping to back to posting regularly soon!
What would you talk about over coffee this morning?

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