Books

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

On the surface, Life of Pi seems like a fairly straight forward survival and adventure story. A teenage boy from India, nicknamed Pi, is stranded on a life boat after the ship that was carrying him and his family to Canada sinks. Pi is not entirely alone though. Throughout most of the story, he is trying to navigate how to share the lifeboat with a tiger who is oddly named Richard Parker.

When you finish this book, you realize that it is so much deeper than what was on the surface. There’s an underlying layer with a lot to unpack on religion and spirituality. My lasting impression has to do with what we choose to believe. Our beliefs may be based on what’s right in front of us and can be understood easily. In contrast, our beliefs may be based on what we want to believe is real and true, even though we may not understand how it could be true. It seems like a simple choice, but it can actually be very complex and not quite black and white. Also, everything may even have a shade of the truth in it.

One of my favorite parts of this novel was the beginning. I really enjoyed learning about Pi’s life growing up as the son of a zookeeper in Pondicherry. Following the theme of religion and spirituality that underlies this book, we also learn about Pi’s relationship with religion and that he believes in more than one religion. Specifically, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.

I’m not usually a huge fan of survival stories if they become an endless list of MacGyver-like actions. Life of Pi had balance and generally carried off the survival aspect well enough, so I stayed interested and wanted to know what would happen. At times I even found Pi and his courage and refusal to give up to be pretty inspirational. One quote that stuck with me is: “For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself up to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”

I know I’m about 19 years late reading this book, since it was published in 2001. But, better late than never, right? I’m happy that I finally read it, and it’s actually one I wanted to read again after I finished.

Books

My Favorite Children’s Books

I decided to share some of my favorite children’s books for something a bit different. Just a disclaimer, these are my favorites to read as a parent right now and do not reflect my favorites as a Green-Eggs-and-Ham-obsessed child. My son is almost three, so these are strictly books for around that age group and all are picture books. This list will be a bit of a mix between older classics and some modern books.

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: I bought this book from a book store in the fall a couple years ago. It’s one of the few books I have purchased for my son, because we’ve been very lucky to get a lot of hand-me-downs and some gifted books. I thought this would just be a nice book for having out around Halloween for him, since it had a witch. Now we keep it with his books year round, because it’s so good and the story is not very Halloweenish after all.

A witch and her cat come across various animals who assist her in finding items that blew off her while she was riding her broom. Each animal takes a turn finding an item and asking the witch if there’s room on the broom for them to which she always enthusiastically says yes, until we have a dog, a green bird and a frog on the broom, in addition to the witch and cat. The weight of them all on the broom causes it to break and then they need to face a dragon and find a way to still ride together.

There are great themes here of inclusiveness and coming together as a group to solve a problem. A short movie adaptation of this book exists which I recommend too, and, as of now, I think it’s streaming on places like Amazon Prime and Netflix. We also really enjoy The Gruffalo by the same author.

The Land of Colors Retold by Margaretta Lundell: This book my son actually picked out himself in a library sale. It was published in the ‘80s by Grosset and Dunlap and is based on the Italian text by Tiziano Sclavi. Illustrations are by Nadia Pazzaglia and graphics by Giorgio Vanetti. Land of Colors is simply a fun book to read with a child. It has a poke hole to represent the sun and each page tells and illustrates about places that are all the same color or color scheme except for one item. It’s a good book for learning about colors as you travel through a a cat sunning on a rooftop, a puppet show in the park, the ocean, the circus, a castle in shadows, a girl with her kite, and more.

Corduroy by Don Freeman: A lot of us are familiar with this simple, classic story of a bear named Corduroy. He lives in a department store with other toys, and one night he goes on an adventure to find the missing button from his overall strap. You get such happy feelings when Corduroy finds a home and a friend with a little girl named Lisa who likes him just the way he is. This is a soothing, pleasant book to read.

McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers: We got this book as a hand-me-down, and I just love this quirky story about a dog named McDuff who goes on a picnic with his human family for 4th of July. All hope for a picnic seems to be lost when ants invade and take all their food, but McDuff finds a gentleman named Mr. Dimaggio just casually having a picnic in his tux. Mr. DiMaggio has plenty to share with McDuff, Lucy, Fred and “the baby,” and they all become friends.

I like the somewhat odd details of this book from the ridiculous amount of stuff Lucy and Fred haul in and out of their car for the baby to the musical chairs they all play trying to keep the baby and McDuff calm and happy. I believe there are other McDuff books we can check out too!

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Illustrated by Clement Hurd: Another classic that never seems to get old. This is the story of a little bunny who thinks he wants to run away. In every idea the little bunny comes up with for escaping his bunny life, his mom comes up with a way to be right by his side. In the end, the bunny decides he might as well stay with his mom and be her little bunny. It sounds a bit smothering, but it’s light hearted, and the bunny is little.

What I like about this book is the imagination of the bunny and his mom as they go through the various scenarios, like when the bunny wants to be a sail boat to sail away and the mom says she will be the wind. The pictures that go along with it are also fun, and it’s great to ask a kid if they can spot the bunnies in disguise.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld: This is a great bedtime book! It goes through all of the equipment on a construction team, a bulldozer, excavator, dump truck, etc., as they get ready to go to sleep for the night. It is a cute book with great pictures, and I find it fun to read. It has lines that inspire sleep like, “turn off your engines, stop your tracks, relax your wheels, your stacks and backs…”

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and Illustrations by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak: The Kissing Hand is a heart warming book that may be helpful to kids who are nervous about going to a new school. Chester is a raccoon who is nervous to attend school for the first time until his mother shares a secret with him. It’s a secret that helps him feel her love no matter where he is. I think it’s a fun touch that Chester goes to school at night and the illustrations are lovely.

Just a Little Critter Collection by Mercer Mayer: Last but not least. This is a collection of seven Little Critter stories. It’s another older one and somewhat classic. The stories are simple but the themes resonate with little kids like All By Myself and When I Get Bigger. There’s also something about the illustrations in this collection that’s very detailed and special in certain pages and stories.

 

Thank you for letting me share my favorites with you. Let me know if you have any thoughts on these or recommendations!

Books · Life, etc.

Book Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the creativity of the story. On the other hand, there were some lines or parts of the book that didn’t feel quite right with the setting and took me out of the story for a minute.

Amazon

In an early 20th-century London world magicians bond to materials and can only do magic with the material they are bonded to. The material could be paper, rubber, glass, plastic, metal, etc. But, there is also a dark magic in this world and magicians who practice that bond to human flesh and are called excisioners.

The novel centers around a young girl named Ceony Twill who just finished at a school for the magically inclined, and the next step is to start an apprenticeship. She gets no choice in her assignment to apprentice as a folder, which is what they call a paper magician. There is no choice, because there aren’t enough folders. Ceony is very disappointed, because she had her heart set on bonding with, in her view, a more exciting material like metal.

Ceony’s apprenticeship is with a magician named Emery Thane, and the apprenticeship is where the adventure begins. I really loved the imagery that came with the idea of paper magic. Animated paper birds and a loyal paper dog play a role in the story, for example.

This book is actually the first in a series, and I would like to read more of this world. It looks like this was the author’s debut novel so they may hit their stride a bit more in later books. Overall, it was still an enjoyable read for me, and a pretty quick one too.

Another tidbit I came across is that Disney purchased the film rights to adapt this series. I would love to see an adaptation of this, but I can’t find specific details on it other than it may get released on Disney Plus.

Books

Book Recommendation: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The other day I finished reading the classic novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and I can’t stop thinking about this book! There are many questions I have that are left unanswered, but it was just brilliant and haunting.

This novel is narrated by the young and unnamed second wife of Maxim de Winter, as she starts out her married life at her husband’s estate, Manderly. The real star and center of the book though is the first wife of Maxim as she casts an overpowering shadow on all of the characters and life at Manderly,

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.” And with that first line you’re transported to a time and place. Most definitely the place. The setting of this book is so vivid and described so well. I still want more time at Manderly to figure out all of its secrets. I want to go there in real life somehow and walk its halls, see the happy valley and read papers under the chestnut tree.

I am so happy that I finally picked up this book, and I really want to read more from Daphne du Maurier now and watch movie adaptations. This novel was published in the 30s, and I believe that it was contemporary in its day. But now, it takes the reader into the past when roles and expectations of women and society were much different. Large estates, tea time, English countryside, etc.

If you’re looking for something to read that will suck you in and take your mind somewhere else this is perfect, but it’s definitely not light and breezy. This is a dark drama. I don’t want to reveal too much more, because i think it’s better if you don’t know a lot and let it unfold as you read. I will say that for me the characters and setting flew off the page.

Books

What I Got At The Bookstore

I haven’t bought any books for a long time, but when I stopped by my local bookstore to get a new journal, I decided I was more than due for a splurge. Here’s what I ended up with.

I liked the cover design and size of this journal. I also love the little designs on all the pages that you can color in if you wanted to. However, I didn’t realize it was unlined until I brought it home, and I usually go for lined journals. I think I can make it work though. Let me know if you have any tips for creatively using an unlined journal so it doesn’t look messy.

No one can ever have enough notebooks, right? I thought these tiny moleskines were cute and practical for tracking small things. I plan to use one to write the solid foods my son has tried so far. I am running out of room on the whiteboard I’ve been using for that. The other notebook is for writing down what I’m grateful for every day. A reminder to count my blessings and focus on the positive.

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz:

From the front flap description: Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history. -1777. Albany, New York- As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about, preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters- Angelica , with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck-as an orphan, and a bastard one at that-to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet on that fateful night so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

I absolutely love the the Hamilton soundtrack and hope to see the musical in person some day. I’ve always loved history, and American Revolution era history in particular, so I’m looking forward to reading this. I have wanted to learn more about Alexander Hamilton’s wife Eliza, and while I believe this is a fictional novel, I think it will be an interesting read.

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

From the back cover description: Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle-from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts , especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet- not to mention a possible new romance- the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, she retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away-until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships are rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future gets higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

I bought this simply because it’s by Sophie Kinsella, and it’s one of her books I haven’t read before. There is something about Kinsella’s books that I find so fun and hilarious. The first book I ever read by her was Twenties Girl, and I recall laughing out loud so many times while reading it. It’s pretty rare that a book can have that kind of effect on me, but Kinsella’s books are like a dose of happy sunshine to my reading routine.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Description from back cover: In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven’t seen in years. And because a strange mist has caused amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him.

As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice, slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share.

The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro is one of my favorite books, and I have been wanting to read something else by him for a long time. This seems like it will be a much different book than The Remains of the Day, but it sounds interesting and unique. I am hoping to love the writing and story just as much.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Description from back cover: If anyone asks you how it ends, just lie. We are Sinclairs. We live, at least in the summertime on a private island off the coat of Massachusetts. Perhaps that is all you need to know. Except that some of us are liars.

I honestly have no idea what to expect with this book. I picked this up on a whim, and I have heard that it’s supposed to be good. If anything, it sounds like it should be a good summer read.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I am skipping sharing the description of this one, because I would like to go into this book as blind to the details as possible. I can’t believe I have never read this book! I think it’s regained popularity with the Hulu TV show out that’s based on the book, but I haven’t seen the show. I have been trying to avoid anything on the show so I won’t spoil the book for myself.

………….

That’s all I picked up other than a few Father’s Day cards. I will update with reviews once I read the books I bought. I hope this post inspired you to go to your own favorite bookstore or check a big stack of books out of the library. Happy summer reading!

 

 

Travel

Beach, Lobster and Lighthouses: My Trip to Maine

We drove over to York Harbor, Maine for Memorial Weekend. It was our first time in Maine and our first vacation as a family. It’s only a little over three hours away from home so the drive wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately the weather was pretty cold for most of this mini vacation. 50s and windy by the ocean isn’t pleasant, but we came prepared with jackets and sweaters, even remembering the baby’s winter hat to shield his tiny ears.

Where We Stayed: We stayed at the York Harbor Inn, and I highly recommend it. http://www.yorkharborinn.com It’s right across from the beach with views of the ocean, the staff is exceptionally nice, and the free continental breakfast is more generous than anywhere else I’ve been. They have a few different buildings and we stayed in the Yorkshire Inn next to the main Inn, and our room was modest but clean with windows that were the perfect height for the baby to stand at to watch the waves at the beach and the cars on the road. He may have found the cars more exciting.

Special Memories: It was eighty and sunny the afternoon we arrived. We took our son down to the beach to see the ocean for the first time in his life and held his hands while he walked barefoot on the sand. Everything is new and different to a baby and it makes your experiences so much more magical when you are with them.

Attractions: Across the street from the Inn was the Hartley Mason Reservation featuring green space, a cliff walk with fantastic views of the crashing waves, and a beach.

The Nubble Lighthouse was probably my favorite of all the attractions that we visited. The island where the lighthouse is located is not publically accessible, but the view of the lighthouse from the rocks at Sohier Park was spectacular. The spray of the water smashing into the rocks while gazing at an old fashioned lighthouse felt like something out of a haunting novel like The Light Between Oceans.

We only went to the zoo part of York’s Wild Kingdom opting to skip the amusement park. http://www.yorkswildkingdom.com It was quite large with a lot of different animals to see, and we didn’t even get to all of it. Under normal circustmances I think this would have been a great family activity. Unfortunately the baby was very tired for this and not really reacting to seeing the animals other than really liking a pig.

Where We Ate: We found that a seafood dinner can get expensive here, but it’s so good!

The first night of our stay we discovered our son had a fever, likely from teething. I didn’t want to make him sit in a high chair with a fever while we enjoyed dinner at a nice restaurant. Instead, we ordered fancy food and drinks from the York Harbor Inn, spread a picnic blanket across the bed, and watched HGTV. The food was still amazing though. My husband got the seafood ravioli and I enjoyed the seafood pie. Yum!

The second night we did manage to go out to eat and had fantasatic food again. We went to Fox’s per a recommendation from our Inn. http://www.foxslobster.com. The service was fabulous here. As former waitstaff we try to be mindful of leaving a big mess to clean up so we started to pick up the food our son had dropped on the floor. Our waitress stopped us, saying it was no trouble at all to pick up. I ordered lobster macaroni and cheese here and the husband had haddock. Both were delicious!

Books

Book Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

I recently picked up Changeling, the first book in Philippa Gregory’s Order of Darkness series. It had been gathering dust on my book shelf ever since my mom unloaded some books on me.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite generes. It might even be my favorite, and I have read other books by Greogory before and found them to be enjoyable, although I have yet to find one that’s as good as The Other Boleyn Girl. Changeling doesn’t hold a candle to it.

The plot of this book is broken into two uneven stories, and after the climax of the first plot regarding crazy nuns winds down about 150 pages in, a secondary plot begins. The reader spends the last 60 or so pages in what feels like an entirely different story about a possible werewolf.

I do admire the uniqueness of a story with a group of characters that get brought together in medieval Italy and go on subsequent adventures together, discovering hidden truths and bonding with each other. The premise is fun and different and sometimes the book pulls it off well and sometimes it doesn’t.

This book centers around Luca, an intelligent young man who has been brought up in a monastery since he was eleven. He is given and accepts an opportunity to join an Order that investigates mysteries on behalf of The Church. Luca is joined by his witty and comical servant Freize and the dour and no-nonsense persona of Brother Peter, Luca’s recorder. Along the way they encounter Isolde whose lost her home and inheritance to her brother and her servant Ishraq who is of Moorish descent and more independent than any typical woman of the time.

I am interested enough in the characters and where the story is going to read more of the series, but I am definitely hoping for more character development in the next book and a less scattered plot.

Quote: Because we like nothing more than when he breaks that seal, unfolds that paper, and tells us that some danger is opening up under our feet and we are to ride straight into it.”

Listen to while reading: Fly Away with Me by Tom Walker

Books · Travel

10 Things To Do in Spring: My Spring Bucket List

Now that the weather in New England has finally improved, and it feels like spring is finally here, I decided to make a list of my goals for the next few months.

1) Spend as much time outside as possible

We have had such a long winter with consistent snow from November to mid April. I have felt cooped up and sorely in need of sunshine and fresh air. I want to spend as much time outdoors as possible, taking my son to parks and for walks around the neighborhood. There’s no better way to meet neighbors than to get out on a nice day! There is also a place nearby where we can baby wear and take him on mini hikes around a reservoir. Everything just comes alive this time of year, and I want to introduce my almost nine-month-old boy to grass, flowers, insects…nature.

2) Take Baby to see Farm Animals

It’s very important to my husband and me that our son be exposed to farm life and farm animals as much as possible,and even though we don’t live on a farm, there are plenty nearby. We want our child to appreciate agriculture and where his food comes from. We may live in a suburban part of Vermont, but the state was founded on agriculture. It is still an essential part of being a Vermonter. This will be a limited experience since he’s still very young but still a fun activity. There will be lots of hand washing!

https://shelburnefarms.org/visit/childrens-farmyard

3) Plant something

I want to get my hands on some dirt, feel the earth run in between my fingers, and watch something I cultivated grow. We are considering planting some wildflowers in one spot in our backyard.

I would also like to try my inexperienced hand at planting some annuals. We have a gift card to a gardening store to use, and it’s such a lovely place to go and be surrounded by plants. There’s even a cafe.

4) Support local farming by using our CSA card

We have belonged to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for the past few spring/summers now. Ours allows us to buy what we want, at 15% off, from a farm stand with a prepaid card. It will be wonderful to start eating fresh fruits and vegetables, especially now that our little boy is getting more used to solids.

5) Schedule a facial

I have a gift card from my husband for Christmas to get a facial at a nearby spa, and I haven’t used it yet. My skin is need of some TLC, and it would be a nice thing to do for myself. A fresh face for spring!

6) Clothes Transfer

It’s an essential part of the season changeover to get your winter clothes and heavy coats put away, bringing out the lighter, airy spring and summer fabrics.

I usually take advantage of the clothes switch activity and use it to reorganize my closet and dresser, setting aside clothes to donate. You always rediscover clothes you forgot you had and new potential outfits!

7) Read three books

My overall goal for 2018 is to read twelve books, which adds up to about a book a month. I thought this was a realistic goal for a new mom who works full time, but it’s still aspirational enough to sustain my love of reading and identity. And if I can manage to read even more books than that, even better!

So far this year I have read three books. They are The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (highly recommend!), No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk, and Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.

I am currently trying to get through a backlog of Philippa Gregory books my mom lent me that have been sitting on my shelf since I was pregnant. Right now I’m reading Changeling (Order of Darkness #1). The tone is a bit of a heavy mood for spring, but I figure I am doing some form of reading spring cleaning of my physical to-be read shelf.

8) Travel

We have plans to go to Maine for Memorial Weekend. I am not sure how we’re three hours from the ocean and haven’t found our way to coastal Maine yet. It will be more than about time. Our son has been on one road trip with us so far. It was a fie hour drive to visit my dad, and he did very well both ways.

It’s important to us to have experiences and live a full life with our child. We want to make memories with him and show him how life can be a fun adventure.

In addition to going to Maine I would love to day trip to a town or two in Vermont and spend the day exploring. There are so many places we love and haven’t fully explored or been to recently. Not to mention all the little towns we have never been to. On our life bucket list is to visit every town in Vermont.

9) Go on a picnic

My husband and I have always loved going on picnics, and, if we get a nice enough day this spring, we will take our son on his first picnic. There is nothing quite like spreading a blanket down somewhere scenic and dining al fresco.

10) Open Windows and Open Doors

Our house needs to breathe! It’s currently nice enough out that we have a window open in every room. I want to do this as much as possible and get our screen door up too. We’ve had so many colds and been so buttoned up this winter. I want to smell, feel and hear spring throughout the house.

Books

Just a Taste. Book Review: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne


I have a psychologist to thank for my first taste of Harry Potter, even though I otherwise resented her and the situation. I was twelve years old and had been coerced into seeing a “shrink” in the aftermath of my brother’s death. She lent my father and me Harry Potter and the Sorcer’s Stone to listen to on audio book in an attempt to get us to connect. My dad and I both became hooked by the magical world of Hogwarts and Wizardy. This was around when the first book was published and in the coming years while growing up into adulthood, I always looked forward to the release of a new Harry Potter book.

Those hefty books you could pick up and completely disappear into for a day or two, hardly coming up for air, are imprinted on my soul as a reader. So much nostalgia. Harry Potter And the Cursed Child had big shoes to fill.

I know I am late to the party with reading this book/play. I have had it sitting on my bookshelf for a little while. My mom gave it me for Christmas. Although it’s been such a whirlwind couple of years for me I honestly can’t recall if that was this past Christmas or the one before it. It’s strange that I didn’t immediately pick up the book and start reading it the way I did with all the other Harry Potter books. I think part of me knew that it wouldn’t be the same. And it wasn’t.

What I liked: I loved being back in the Harry Potter world and visiting characters that felt like old friends. It wasn’t hard to get through by any means. It’s fairly short and the story was compelling enough to find enjoyable. The story centers around Albus (Harry and Ginny’s son) and Scorpius (Draco Malfoy’s son) who are both of Slytherin house and best friends at Hogwarts. Neither has a good relationship with their father, and they are both outcasts. Albus lands on a wacky idea to right the wrongs of his father’s past and many misadventures result for him, Scorpius and their families.

Scorpius also really grew on me towards the end. I never really warmed up to Albus, but I loved Scorpius’ nerdiness and sass.

What I didn’t like: It’s a play. I don’t have anything against plays, but this just didn’t fit with what I’m used to from J.K. Rowling. I admit it’s a bit unfair though. Plays are designed to be performed and viewed by an audience, not read. I think seeing it in person would have made a huge difference, because there just wasn’t the description and character development I needed to become invested in the story. I liked reading it well enough, but I wasn’t entranced. Don’t get me wrong, I would still jump at the chance to see it on Broadway!

Harry, Ron and Hermione’s friendship was one of the best parts of the series, but it struck a hollow note for me in Cursed Child. I know the friendship between Albus and Scorpius was meant to be at the forefront and the adults were the B story, but it left me feeling sad and wanting more substance.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book/play that would probably be amazing to see on stage. The fact is, it had a lot to live up to, and from my point of view, it doesn’t compare to the original seven. It was like getting only one bite of your favorite dinner, and now I really want to reread the Harry Potter books.

Quote: “The world changes and we change with it. I am better off in this world. But the world is not better. And I don’t want that.”

Listen to while reading: Renegades by X Ambassadors

Books

Dreams, Poems and “those who do not have the stomach for their hearts”

In honor of National Poetry Month I thought I would do a “show and tell,” and talk about one my favorite poems that is very meaningful to me lately. The below is from Living in Paradise new and selected poems by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco. If you have never read any of Pier Giorgio Di Cicco I highly recommend his work. I am no poetry expert, but all of his poems that I have read make me feel something, and isn’t that the point?

THE FACIST

This is a poem of hate. It calls itself so for

having grown up; for having washed its eyes out with

sputum, with blood, with hurt; it goes by all the

buildings of the hated, saying hatred-what keeps

us whole and coming. I want to destroy nothing without

proof,

so that I hate editors with a taste for langugage without

love, I want women with blonde hair for a smile

to choke on sunset, I want to kill all those who don’t

permit language like a tool between lovers or friends-

I want their food stuffed down their throats

because they do not make it honestly, but with parsimony.

I want to kill above all those who do not have the

stomach for their hearts, who sent their hearts out to

islands without ferries, who didn’t have charts, who

were fool enough to dream without plans. These

made the world posssible for nothing. I want to kill the

vacancies where stones sit in places of chests, that

do not breathe, but wait for breath as if from heaven.

And I want to pay homage to the sun, to the

umbrellas of it, the haloes of it, the carparks of it,

the taste of it; I want to begin freshly in the

mouths of those who love, those who inspire dawn

because it feels good , like an arm around them.

I want the earth to love its lovers. All else is

expendable.

I am the facist of the blades of grass.

I want to abjure the stars and make a heaven of

my left pocket. I

want to see what it is to have come so far out of the need for it,

and not the curse of it.

This poem might come off a bit dark, but what I read in it is a rage against our lives being ruled by logic instead of passion and love. We’re all guilty of this at times in our lives, or at least a lot of us. Don’t you ever want to kill that part of yourself that says that’s impossible and wouldn’t work out?

I feel ruled by money and practicality instead of my passions a lot lately. Much of my life is devoted to a job that, not only brings me a great deal of stress at times from the demands of it, but that I don’t feel the kind of passion for I feel about writing…BUT money and stability.

I would love to be able to spend more time with my son and have writing be a bigger part of my life instead of being squeezed in if there is time and opportunity. There’s a very big part of me that wishes I wasn’t such a practical person and a cursed Capricorn. “I want to see what it is to have come so far out of the need for it and not the curse of it.” I want to live my life the way my heart and soul need to and not worry about the consequences. But adulting is hard and sometimes we do have to do what we don’t want to do and life’s not fair right?

It is very sad realizing that you never fully gave your dreams a shot before falling into a career that you’ve worked hard to move up in; a job that brings peace of mind to you and your family. I think having a child has opened my eyes to it more, and I want my son to follow his dreams. What if he sees me as an example of someone who gave up on theirs?

So here’s where the inspiration or striving to change something comes in, even if I have to stay pragmatic, I plan to make these passions of mine a priority instead of an afterthought. Lately my husband has started to take our son out for an hour or so on Saturday mornings to give me time and space to write, and it’s so nice to be able to dedicate some piece of me to my true self.

I will build up my passions and try to have the stomach for my dreams so I don’t have to send my heart out to islands without ferries or “be fool enough to dream without plans.”