Oct 10

Raise a Glass to Blog Friends

BEA 2016, Blogging, Friendship, Personal 11

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

I trust you all had excellent weekends. I know I did. ADVENTURE was in the air. I drove up to the Chicago Suburbs to attend a little BEA buddies reunion with three of my favorite ladies- Julie, Marisa, and Stacey. Since I live in the middle of Illinois (more or less) this shindig necessitated a bit of a road trip, which necessitated an audio book, which is easily the biggest perk of the solo road trip. Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in on the audio book when I finish it. But let’s talk about the main event, shall we?

beareeunion

Photo Credit: Hubs of Julie AKA Shortman, AKA “Mr. Internet Anonymous”. Thank you so very much for being an excellent sport as we invaded your home.

FIRST: Julie’s house is impossibly bookish. She’s got a room dedicated to non fiction that makes me want to sip scotch and binge read F. Scott Fitzgerald. But she’s also got AN ACTUAL FREAKING LIBRARY. And her guest room is dedicated to Alice in Wonderland which is the epitome of whimsy. Of course, should I ever stay the night, I’ve already called dibs on sleeping in the bathtub in the Harry Potter bathroom. THAT IS A THING AND IT IS GLORIOUS! (If you click on those links you can creep on pics of Julie’s house via her blog posts. You won’t be sorry.)

SECOND: Julie makes delicious cocktails that do not taste alcoholic. It was fine because, you know, it was mid afternoon and I am a responsible adult, but I could have drained that punch bowl. Which ALSO would have been fine, probably, seeing as I already plan to sleep in the bathroom should I stay the night. Next time, perhaps.

THIRD: Stacey recently took a trip to Iceland. ICELAND! And she came back raving about how great skyr is, which caused me to demand that she read Burial Rites immediately, and then read an old post of mine in which I connected books based on yogurt. It was a weird and glorious time.

FOURTH: During BEA, Marisa had been talking about wanting to get back into teaching, and SHE DID! She’s now changing lives and molding minds. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. She’s a good egg, that one.

FIFTH: There is a limit to how often one should mention Lin-Manuel Miranda in casual conversation, and I exceeded it. Also, I shouldn’t rap. Ever.

SIXTH: Apparently I’ve been remiss in not yet having tackled Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow.

SEVENTH: I almost cried laughing when we discussed David Bowie’s costume in Labyrinth. It’s entirely Julie’s fault, though, because she is a TERRIBLE INFLUENCE. In the best way, of course.

As you can tell from the highlight reel, I had a blast hanging out with these ladies. I mean, I have people in my day to day life with whom I can discuss books and things, but there’s something magical about hanging out with book bloggers. There’s just this warm fuzzy feeling of knowing THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. Sigh. What a wonderful day. Huge thanks to Julie for hosting. Let’s do it again soon! 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

Divider

Oct 07

Once Upon a Fitbit

Personal 13

Howdy Bookworms!

I realize I normally talk about books almost exclusively, but bear with me here. I have some thoughts a-percolating in the old gray matter and I need to get them out. I’m talking about my personal relationship with exercise. I don’t normally go OMG EXERCISE on the internet for a few reasons. Foremost among them being that if one were to take a glance at my physique, one would not immediately scream “you are a superfit lady!” and ask me for workout tips. Similarly, I’m not going through a major life overhaul where I want motivation and accountability either. Just like, I go to the gym sometimes. It simply isn’t terribly exciting.

The whole exercise thing has only been at the forefront of my mind because I started playing around with a Fitbit a couple of weeks ago. Hubs got the Fitbit for Christmas. He used it for a while, but he’s got sensitive skin and it started giving him trouble. Plus, he has issues with wearing any kind of jewelry, watches, etc. It’s a sensory thing, I think. Just drives him batty. Anyway, I thought I’d take ye olde Fitbit for a spin. Current observations… (In case it wasn’t already super obvious, nobody is paying me a darn thing. I got nothing for free. This is the most unbiased nonsense in the history of ever.)

I am just nailing this whole blogging thing.

I am just nailing this whole blogging thing.

ONE: The fact that this bad boy is a basic pedometer is no joke. You get exactly the same amount of step credit for taking a step as you do for doing a tuck jump. I think you have to do some fancy pants thing to get the appropriate amount of “credit” for exercise that isn’t running/jogging/walking. There’s an app. I am very lazy and have no intention of figuring it out.

TWO: I logged ZERO ACTIVE MINUTES for a BodyPump weight lifting class. Despite sweating my face off, feeling like an overcooked noodle immediately afterward, and having soreness in muscles I didn’t know I possessed the following morning. I feel cheated.

THREE: Complaints aside, it does give me lots of credit for stairs I didn’t actually climb, so maybe that kind of sort of makes up for the fact that it cheats me out of steps and active minutes?

FOUR: Ten thousand steps is WAY harder to reach than you might think. Especially when your exercise efforts aren’t step-heavy.

FIVE: I thought the sleep feature would be super cool, and it is. Except. The Fitbit thinks I’m sleeping when I’m reading in bed at night. I glanced at the clock when I put the kindle down last night at it was past 11, but the Fitbit registered my sleep time at 10:15. Reading puts my into a meditative state, I guess? (It also thinks I’m sleeping sometimes when I’m laying on the couch watching TV. Why you gotta judge my binge watch of Say Yes to the Dress, Fitbit?!)

SIX: Does anyone have a recommendation for headphones to use during a workout? If I’m not taking a class of some sort, I’m spending quality time with an elliptical machine and Hamilton or an audio book (Yaaaaaaay now this post is book related. Sort of.) Only my sweaty, disgusting ears keep making my standard issue apple earbuds fall out.

Are you still reading this? I probably would have stopped after I saw that pathetic phoned-in image, so YOU ARE AMAZING. If you’re still here, and you have a Fitbit, do you feel like it’s judging your television choices?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Again. Nobody paid me anything to say anything about anything in this post.*

Divider

Oct 04

Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi

Audio Books, Book Club, Non Fiction 5

Greetings Bookworms!

I’ve discussed before that I’ve got a rather tenuous relationship with non fiction. Luckily, my relationship with bread, wine, and chocolate has always been top notch. Thus, when one of my neighbors chose Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi for book club, my curiosity was piqued.

breadwinechocolateThis  tome focuses on a series of five foods- the aforementioned bread, wine, and chocolate, as well as beer and coffee. Sethi takes the reader on a journey to explore the history and cultural importance of each of these foods, as well as delving deeply into the flavor profiles of some of the world’s most complex tastes. From far flung cacao fields to craft beer breweries, Sethi’s research is extensive and thorough. I learned a ridiculous amount from reading this book. I mean, genetic biodiversity? I didn’t even know this was a thing I should be concerned with. And now? I am CONCERNED, y’all.

I will forever sing the praises of listening to non-fiction audio books. I don’t know why they work so much better for me than just, you know, eyeball reading, but they do. I found the scientific bits fascinating and didn’t get bogged down at all even when things got super technical and scientific. My mind was legit blown several times. I mean, do you KNOW how chocolate comes to be? Like REALLY know? I’m willing to bet that a lot of you don’t. I always imagined little beans growing on a bush somewhere that were picked and ground and VOILA chocolate. Oh no. So many more steps. And bizarrely shaped fruits. And fermentation. And don’t even get me started on coffee.

Bread, Wine, Chocolate is the stuff of foodies’ dreams. It’s awesome, though, I’ll admit that NOT being a foodie, some of it was lost on me. I love to eat and drink and all, but I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to muster the intensity and enthusiasm Sethi and the professionals she interviewed had for flavor profiles. If you happen to BE a foodie though? THIS IS YOUR BOOK. SIMRAN SETHI IS YOUR PEOPLE. GO READ THIS.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Are you well versed in wine or does it mostly make you feel like a (tipsy) nincompoop?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Sep 30

The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin

Audio Books, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction 7

Rusting Earth, Bookworms!

I’ve told you before that I rely on my bookish friends on Twitter for oodles of recommendations, but I cannot thank Shaina enough for raving about NK Jemisin. I devoured The Fifth Season (with my ears) and waited on tenterhooks for a few weeks before the sequel, The Obelisk Gate was released. Obviously, I gobbled that book down as well, but I was only semi-lucky in the timing of my reading because now I shall utterly rot in wait for release of the conclusion to the trilogy. Siiiigh. But let me tell you about these phenomenal books in the meantime, so that you may read them and then join me in my anticipation.

fifth-seasonThe world is ending… Again. Sometime in the distant future, the Earth has begun a series of catastrophic “seasons.” Seismic instability leads to volcanic eruptions that cause apocalyptic ash clouds. Unprepared populations even in The Stillness are unable to grow crops during this period and populations dramatically decrease due to violence, illness, famine, and desperation. But humanity has evolved somewhat. There are some who wield power that can help control the tumultuous earth- or use it as a weapon. Post apocalyptic society plus geological superpowers equals WHOA.

That abstract I just wrote completely sucks and in no way explains how great these books are. In fact, the world building is so incredible and detailed, it takes a bit of reading to fully understand everything that’s going on. Stick with it, though, the payoff is one thousand percent worth it. NK Jemisin is a master craftswoman. I want to thrust these books into the hands of every science fiction and fantasy reader I know. And then I want to thrust these books into the hands of people who think they don’t like science fiction and fantasy. They’re just so dang innovative! I mean, this world has NOTHING WHATSOEVER in common theobeliskgatewith Medieval Europe. It’s not just the Middle Ages plus dragons and magic (not that that isn’t great in its own way) it’s a whole different world. Except it’s THIS WORLD. Sort of. It might make your head spin a little. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing. I’m sure the books are fabulous in print, but the narrator of the audio books is superb. Besides, I always like to hear how names are meant to be pronounced, especially in fantasy novels. It adds a little something to the experience, I think. Plus it prevents me from sounding dumb when discussing the book with folks in person. The ONLY problem I can find with these books is the fact that I unwisely started the series before it was completed and therefore am prevented from full binge reading.

Alright Bookworms, who has already read The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate? And does anyone know if NK Jemisin’s backlist titles are anywhere near this awesome? I think I’m going to have a LOT of reading to do while I wait for the final installment of this series… 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The author will too, obviously, because royalties, so you’d be doing us both a solid.*

Divider

Sep 28

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts on Banned Books Week 2016

Banned Books 7

Happy Banned Books Week, Bookworms!

It’s that time of year again, celebrating the freedom to read. I was just perusing the ALA’s statistics (check them out here) and while it probably comes as no surprise to you, the VAST majority of complaints about books come in the form of parents objecting to school curriculum or what should and shouldn’t be included in the school library. I have feelings about this. Strong ones. I’ve probably discussed them in past years, but whatever. I’m putting my ranty pants back on. They’re a bit snug, so I’ll probably be even MORE ranty.

bookishnotsobookish

ONE: If you are a parent or guardian of a minor, you get to dictate what they do an do not read. You DO NOT get to dictate what everyone else’s children get to read. If you take issue with a book that your child is assigned in class, ask the teacher for an alternative assignment rather than attempting to deprive a whole bunch of kids the opportunity to read. You may know YOUR kid best, but teachers typically have a pretty good feel for what is and isn’t age appropriate. Give the rest of the class a chance.

TWO: This year’s BBW theme is diversity, so let’s talk about that for a hot second. One of the more common parental objections to books is racism and/or racist language, but the books cited for racism or racist language are often written by authors of color and directly address problems faced by their communities. Racism is real and it’s ugly and pretending it doesn’t exist helps exactly nobody. I feel it’s my duty as a human being to believe folks when they try to tell me about their experiences and what it’s like to be them. I’m not going to say I don’t cringe every time I see the N-word in print, but in my experience, it’s written universally in the context of “this is not the thing to be doing.” Why not use these books as a jumping off point for a discussion with your child?

THREE: It’s pretty clear from the way I’m arguing my points here that I’m not a super conservative thinker, so when I think of folks objecting to books for religious reasons, I tend to imagine it’s a conservative Christian objecting to a different viewpoint (hey, at least I recognize my implicit bias.) But the door swings both ways on this one. Folks have objected to the Bible being available to students as well, citing certain passages as discriminatory, hateful, etc. Soooooo here’s my take. Unless your child attends a parochial school, they shouldn’t be receiving religious instruction. That said, there’s no way you can ignore religion completely in an educational environment. Trying to learn history without any sort of foundation of religious understanding is impossible. And, just because a character in a novel happens to be an Atheist or Muslim or Buddhist or Lutheran or Wiccan doesn’t make a book religious propaganda. It just means they have a particular viewpoint that influences how they react to certain situations. Also, there’s no reason a kid shouldn’t be able to access religious texts through their school library should they choose to seek them out. That’s kind of what libraries are for, you know? Learning about things you haven’t already been exposed to? If your tween comes home saying they don’t want to be Catholic anymore, I highly doubt it’s because of a book. It’s more likely because you continually sign them up for Saturday morning CCD when all they want to do is sleep in. (Alright, that might have gotten a wee bit personal, moving on…)

FOUR: LGBTQ issues- are we not over this yet? Seriously? Much like people of other faiths, LGBTQ folks totally exist. Reading a book about LGBTQ people won’t “turn” your kid. And, frankly, if your kid happens to identify as LGBTQ and you think that a book can “turn” them, your kid needs that freaking book more than anyone.

stand-up_facebook2

FIVE: Remember when I talked about how teachers probably have a decent idea of what they’re doing? Yeah. Teachers aren’t going to assign your 13 year old to read Fifty Shades of Grey (review). But if you think that a YA or middle grade novel is going to be any more explicit than what kids already discuss among themselves, I think you’re pretty naive. Actually, a YA novel that discusses sex is more likely to correct misinformation and serve as a cautionary tale than anything. (SPOILER ALERT: Seriously, Bella Swan gets pregnant the first time she has sex. Sure, she’s married, but she’s only 18. Plus, the baby is half vampire and literally kills her so she has to become one of the undead, so…)

SIX: Part of the reason that school reading lists seem so outdated and stodgy has to be because parents pitch a fit when something like Eleanor & Park is added to the reading list (which is so flipping chaste, I cannot even.) I can appreciate the classics as much as the next nerd, but you’d get a lot more student engagement by assigning Rainbow Rowell than you would by assigning Herman Melville. Plus, a focus on the classics places a focus on (let’s face it) a lot of dead white dudes. There’s so much more out there!

SEVEN: I can only hope that attempts to ban books blow up in the face of would-be banners. In the words of the incomparable Hermione Granger: “Oh Harry, don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!” – JK Rowling, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Alright Bookworms. Talk to me. If you were in high school and a book was removed from the reading list for scandalous (IE, parental objection) reasons, how likely would you be to seek out and read that book? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Sep 26

Bite Size Reviews September 2016

Bite Size Reviews 12

Howdy Bookworms!

I have a massive backlog of books to tell y’all about so I’m going to put some little bite size reviews together for you today. Maybe someday I’ll catch up. Stranger things have happened. (Also, STRANGER THINGS did happen. Did you watch it yet?! Did you love it?!) Here we gooooooo!

bitesizereviews

ONE: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells– I got this book through Netgalley (which means I got a free book, full disclosure.) It was a quick read, but MAN I have GOT to stop reading books about plane crashes if I ever plan to fly anywhere again. Engrossing, reminded me of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (review) though that’s probably moooostly because of the plane crash survivor swimming and rescuing children thing. I did get a little bit frustrated by the protagonist sometimes, though. Her hangups and secret keeping seemed unnecessary and weird, especially the way she acted around Colin even prior to the crash.

TWO: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter- Hamiltome. It was everything I wanted it to be. Plus pictures! I now know a whole lot more than I ever did before about what goes into making a Broadway show, and I got all sorts of delightful little backstage snippets. Lin-Manuel’s commentary is priceless. I love his glorious nerdery. I stand by my statement that LMM could convince aliens that humanity has something to offer the universe and that we shouldn’t be exterminated. (Please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal…)

THREE: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler- Girl runs away to NYC and gets a job working in a high end fine dining restaurant. Plus sex and drugs. Anyone who has ever waited tables should read this. Even if you waited tables at a super lame chain restaurant and wouldn’t know red wine from white with a blindfold on, you’ll still relate on some level. Fun fact! I waited tables for a few months in college. I was terrible at it. I’m an excellent tipper as a direct result of this experience.

FOUR: We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly- I snagged a copy of this book at BEA and was super excited to read it. Hipsters move to Vermont to homestead, world weather patterns go wonky and apocalyptic storms are forecasted. I liked the whole concept, I mean, I love a good apocalypse story. It also seemed especially fitting because I was reading this during the Baton Rouge floods. BUT. I did not love the relationship between our hipster couple Pia and Ash. I don’t want to get super spoilery, but fetishizing mental illness is nooooooooooot cool, and I think this book went there. Proceed with caution.

What have you been reading, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

Divider

Sep 21

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Cozy Lady Fiction, Romance 8

Good Day, Bookworms!

I’m going to give you a tip. If you’re looking to diversify your bookish repertoire, you can’t beat lurking on Twitter. The #diversebookbloggers hashtag is simply a wealth of information on phenomenal books written by and/or starring folks of diverse backgrounds. That is how I came to discover the gem that is Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik (thank you to Amal and Nuzaifa for inadvertently bringing it to my attention!)

sofiakhanFinding love in London has never been the simplest endeavor, but dating while also being an observant Muslim adds a certain level of complexity. At 30, Sofia Khan has been hearing the old “hurry up and get married” line from her family for years. But Sofia is not one to settle. Just ask her recently jilted for being too close to his parents boyfriend. (And really. Can you blame her? I have a fabulous relationship with my in-laws, but I still wouldn’t want to move in with them indefinitely.) During a bout of dating frustration, Sofia finds herself roped into, of all things, writing a book on Muslim dating.

Following Sofia on her journey through dating and compiling stories for her book is seriously freaking charming. The book is a little Bridget Jones’s Diary, a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and a lot of wonderful. If you’ve got a soft spot for romantic comedies, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, TAKE NOTE!

I haven’t been super vocal about the fact that I’m trying to read diversely, because I’m not an expert on diverse literature and I’m still exploring and learning. Buuuuuuut, I’m totally into trying to read diversely. Yay diverse books! It can be a little overwhelming though, because a lot of the diverse books I’ve read feature really intense, heavy themes. They’re often incredibly powerful and important stories that need to be told, but emotionally wrenching literary fiction isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I know that I, at least, need the occasional palate cleanser, and that’s why Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was such a breath of fresh air! Diverse books of ALL genres are out there, it just takes a little digging to find them sometimes… Or Twitter lurking. Whatever. GO READ THIS BOOK, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Talk to me, Bookworms! If your partner wanted to share a dwelling with his extended family, would you be cool with it, or would you run for the hills like Sofia?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider

Sep 19

So You Want Me To Speak at Your Wedding…

Personal 10

Long Time No See, Bookworms!

Sorry for falling off the planet on you, but last week was a few different kinds of crazy. One of the reasons being that I was busy bridesmaiding. One of my closest friends (she writes a blog! go visit! Quirky Chrissy) got married on Friday and I was proud to stand up in her wedding as Matron of Honor. (We had the maid vs. matron discussion and I decided I preferred “matron” not only because I am, in fact, a married woman, but because it sounded like I had more authority. Which seemed fitting.) Anyway. I gave a speech, and because I believe it to be of superior quality, I’m going to share it with you. Without further ado, a toast to the groom (to the groom! to the groom! to the groom!) to the bride (to the bride! to the briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide):

Bridal selfie on the left, bustle repair on the right. I'm the MacGyver of weddings.

Bridal selfie on the left, bustle repair on the right. I’m the MacGyver of weddings.

Welcome everyone, my name is Katie and I’ll be your friendly neighborhood Matron of Honor this evening. My dear friend Chrissy has authorized me to give a speech, probably against her better judgement, so I’m going to do my best to only embarrass her a little.

I first met Chrissy at Freshman orientation for Bradley University. I was an 18-year-old malcontent wearing the world’s baggiest pants and hoping the teen angst thing I’d been cultivating for years would translate to my new environment. Because I didn’t know anyone and I enjoy junk food, I decided to tag along with a group of people going to Steak N Shake. That is where I first laid eyes on the pink-est person I’d ever met. That’s right. Pink top, pink sneakers, pink scrunchie (yeah, those were still in fashion… sort of), and the girl even ordered a pink milkshake. Frankly, I’m still not convinced she actually likes strawberry, I think she just wanted to color coordinate. She took one look at me in my black t-shirt and comically large pants and decided to be my friend. “I’m going to make sure you have fun” she told me. And she’s been doing that ever since.

Fast forward through many adventures, shenanigans, and hairbrush singalongs, Chrissy met a new fellow. I knew it was getting pretty serious when she asked me to meet him. I rarely got to meet Chrissy’s dates- I’m pretty protective of my girl and I don’t have much of a filter when it comes to those I deem unworthy of her. I was SO THRILLED when I finally met Brian. He was such a nice, smart, interesting guy. I mean, he can have conversations on psychological studies and books and science and still totally geek out on pop culture. Quite the catch.

Chrissy is nothing if not exuberant about life. She’s got one of the kindest hearts of anyone I’ve ever known, and Brian’s more sedate temperament compliments my friend perfectly. I hope that today lives up to each and every one of your expectations, and that your future adventures are bright and sparkly. My love for the two of you goes through walls. Thick ones. Cinderblocks. To Chrissy and Brian!

chrissybrian

D’awwww

I know, I know. You desperately want me to stand up in YOUR wedding now. I’m afraid that ship has sailed, folks. Six dresses I didn’t choose are hanging in the closet and four speeches have been given to riotous applause. Best to retire while you’re on top, right? (HJM, if you’re reading this, I WILL come out of retirement if you decide to marry Meatasaurus. But I’m only doing it for the ouzo.) What did YOU do last week, Bookworms?

 

Divider

Sep 08

Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

Memoirs 5

Bonjour, Bookworms!

When I was at BEA back in May, I was pitched a book that sounded ridiculously charming. It was called Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France and it was the memoir of a dude named Craig Carlson who started an American style diner in Paris. Because e’rybody needs bacon. I wasn’t able to get a copy of the book at the convention, but I was able to get it digitally through NetGalley after the fact, which actually worked out better for me. Kindle = convenience = reading in bed. So. Full disclosure. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. They didn’t even offer me pancakes to sweeten the deal, so you know all opinions expressed will be honest. I make no such promises if bacon is offered along with books.*

pancakes in parisYou know that thing where despite a total lack of experience in an industry, you decide to dive in, head first? In an international market? With no idea what you’re doing? Craig Carlson does! He was the product of humble beginnings in working class Connecticut and went on to acquire the American dream: a college education and a boatload of debt. A study abroad program had caused Carlson to fall in love with Paris and all things French, and during a transitional period in his career, he realized the one thing he’d REALLY missed in his adopted homeland was… Pancakes. More specifically, an American style diner experience. So he decided to start a diner. In Paris. With no money and no clue. The book chronicles Carlson’s struggles from idea inception to completion, with all the road bumps in between. Here are some things that I learned from this book:

ONE: French people refer to American style coffee as “sock water” and think it’s totally lame.

TWO: It is really, really difficult to get fired from your job in France. Which is great, I guess, if you’re an employee. Terrible if you’re a business owner and you happen to have hired poorly.

THREE: All those awesome old European buildings I find so romantic probably also have highly unromantic plumbing problems. Old pipes are just no fun, y’all.

If you’re into fun memoirs, culture clashes, or breakfast food, check out Pancakes in ParisThere’s a chance you’ll really want to run out to your local diner afterward though. Fair warning. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

Divider

Sep 06

Disjointed SPOILERY Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantasy 8

Hi Bookworms,

I’ve had some time to ruminate on this, and I think I’m finally ready to discuss Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is the SPOILERIEST POST OF ALL TIME when it comes to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER if you have not read the script, okay? Assuming you actually care about spoilers. If you don’t care, proceed. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In case you are living under a rock, a play was written as a sequel to the much loved and adored Harry Potter series. Because the play was only being put on in London and the fandom is absolutely rabid, the script of the two part play was released to the public. The script was “based on an original new story” by JK Rowling but written by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I’ll start by saying I didn’t HATE this. I mean, I certainly wasn’t thrilled by it, but I think it would be really cool to see in the theater. It was wonderful to step back into this world, and there were a few things that made me really happy. Mostly though? It wasn’t great. Rants and raves commencing in 3…2…1….

HPCursedchildFIRST: The time turner was always SUCH a problematic element of the original story. I think Rowling realized that by book 5 when she smashed them all. I get that the crux of this play tried to address some of those problems by screaming BUTTERFLY EFFECT into the ether, but it was kind of like trying to touch up an imperfect paint line by blobbing paint all over the wall. The time turners also seemed like a ploy to bring back dead characters. If I were a dead character, this would annoy me. I can only imagine the epic eye roll Snape would produce. Though I did sort of appreciate the look at Voldemort’s hellscape. The fact that THIS was the gimmick used to center this whole story just irked me.

SECOND: Has wizard kind not figured out a way to make sugary treats somehow devoid of calories? Why is everyone off sugar? This is a level of adulting I never wanted to see in the wizarding world. What’s next, kale smoothies?

THIRD: Alternate timeline Hermione was so bitter. I mean, girl is a catch, you think she wouldn’t have found somebody else if the Ron thing hadn’t panned out? Though, she was pretty badass in the Voldemort hellscape timeline, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

FOURTH: Scorpius and Albus. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say these fellas were more than platonically in love. I like to think they’ll figure this out eventually.

FIFTH: Ron + Padma = Panju? I’m no expert on Indian names, but I’ve heard from several reliable sources that “Panju” isn’t an Indian name at all. It’s not even a word. Like… Couldn’t that have been googled? (Apparently Cho Chang’s name is also pretty awful because it’s basically two last names which is not a thing that happens in Chinese. Unless, of course, Cho’s parents were heavily influenced by the whole last-name-as-first-name trend that was happening in the English speaking muggle world? Yeah, I know. It’s a stretch.)

SIXTH: Okay, you guys. I think the sorting hat is smarter than we give it credit for. It KNEW that Albus had trouble making friends and had already bonded with Scorpius. Since Scorpius was sorted before Albus, don’t you think a little part of him was thinking “I want to hang out with my friend and be my own wizard.” Personally, I think that’s part of how Harry landed in Gryffindor, a knowledge that it was probably where his new BFF Ron was headed…

SEVENTH: The lack of internal monologue makes this play super frustrating. I was discussing this with a friend, and we decided that if we just SAW book 5 Harry out of context he’d come across as suuuuuuuuuuch a whiny pain in the ass (which, even with the benefit of being inside his head, he still comes across as whiny pain in the ass). Maybe missing out on being inside the characters’ heads made the whole thing harder to swallow.

EIGHTH: At one point in the original series, McGonagall takes several stunning spells to the chest which is rough, especially “at her age.” And now she’s headmistress of Hogwarts. 20+ years later. Can the woman not retire? She must be EXHAUSTED. (Right now in some alternate universe, Minerva McGonagall is giving me a NASTY look.)

NINTH: Ron in the play was way more of a buffoon than book Ron. He seemed… Stoned.

TENTH: That damn baby blanket. Does nobody do laundry?! A good washing would have destroyed that secret message. And since a blanket is NOT clothing, it doesn’t even feed into my AS YET UNANSWERED query about House Elves and laundry. If this play could have cleared up ONE SINGLE THING, I’d have liked that to be it.

Alright Bookworms, SOUND OFF! What did y’all think of the play?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Divider