03/23/2012 6:12 PM - Hey everyone! Welcome to “Everything Julia”, a place where you can find out more about me as a person, outside of the pool. If you are more interested in reading my thoughts on training and recent competitions, please visit my blog on the CBC sports website at www.cbcsports.ca. This corner of my website is reserved for my lighter side! I hope you enjoy it.
Whenever I am asked to list my “interests” or “hobbies” outside of swimming, I often feel stuck. So much of my life revolves around swimming, that there is little time left for much else. Obviously, I enjoy a good nap in between workouts, but that is hardly an acceptable “hobby”. I do, however, enjoy reading. My mom teaches grade eight English, and she always read to me when I was little, instilling in me the importance of literature at a young age. Interestingly enough, I was one of the last kids to read in my class in elementary school. I really struggled, and my mom worried that I would have to be held back in school. As it turns out, I was just a late bloomer. Now I always have at least one book on the go and strongly believe that the Kindle might be the best invention ever (and yes, I am including the IPod!)
Since graduating from University in 2010, I have found a lot more time to read for pleasure. I majored in Communication and English at Texas A&M, and since I had to read so much for school, I wouldn’t often pick up a book as means to relax. Now that I am spending all my time training and travelling for swim meets, books are always my first choice of escape. I’ve been able to delve into more “adult” literature (read: harder) since I have more time to appreciate it. I do, however, still enjoy my guilty pleasure: Chick Lit. Especially as Olympic Trials approached, I knew that I needed something funny, entertaining, and low-key. That is why I chose Sophie Kinsella’s newest novel, I’ve Got Your Number.
I was introduced to Kinsella’s books in high school, when I read Confessions of a Shop-A-Holic (which, by the way, is way better than the movie version) mostly because I, too, enjoy shopping. I fell in love with her dry sense of humor and characters, who manage to find themselves “white-lying” their way down a road to disaster. The stories always end up with our heroines being forgiven by the ones they love, and vowing never to make the same mistakes again… at least, until the sequel.
After the first few Shop-A-Holic novels, Kinsella branched out and began writing about other characters, who were essentially the same as her original heroine Becky Bloomwood, but with different vices. The novels were still entertaining, albeit a tad predictable. However, I thoroughly enjoyed I’ve Got Your Number and believe that it may be one of Kinsella’s best, and at least her most original since Confessions of a Shop-A-Holic.
The novel begins with what is perceived by our heroine, Poppy Wyatt, to be an earth-shattering disaster, and she attempts to scheme her way out of it, making only a bigger mess for herself. My first thought was, “Well, here’s a story I have read before,” but from here, it actually takes a different turn from the rest of Kinsella’s novels. Halfway through, it felt like the end and I had no idea what was yet to come. The second half was funny, suspenseful, and yes, even surprising. The book took a few twists that I did not expect, which I believe has less to do with my ability to sense foreshadow and more to do with Kinsella’s original writing.
Overall, I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was entertaining and a very easy read, perfect for my pre-Olympic trials training camp. In fact, I was a little bit sad when it was over, because I was enjoying the characters so much. The ending was a bit cheesy, like most Chick Lit, but I have found that I am more looking forward to Kinsella’s next book than I was before I read this one. I hope she can continue down this road of originality and not revert back to stock characters and plotlines.
Reading is just one of my escapes from the stress of training for the Olympics. On my site, I am going to try to touch on all the aspects of my personality that make me who I am, both in and out of the water. I guess what I'm trying to say is: swimming is life, but there is more to life than swimming.