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Thursday, January 18, 2018
Monday, January 15, 2018
The past few weeks were hell for me. So I needed something light hearted and simple to read; so I returned to a world that I knew would give me the comfort I needed...Narnia. I was introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia when I was in the fifth grade. It was one of those books that sparked my imagination as a child. When I was embarking on my college career The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe came to the big screen. And I was immediately disappointed. I felt like the movie had failed to capture the magic of the words Lewis had written so long ago. For the past few years I have wanted to return to Lewis stories and experience it with an adult eye. So that’s what I started last week.
In the Magician’s Nephew we are introduced to Digory and Polly; two average, adventure seeking children. One of these adventures leads them into Digory’s Uncle Andrew’s study. While in the study Andrew makes Polly vanish and forces Digory to go after her. It seems that Uncle Andrew is a magician and has discovered a way to travel between worlds. While Digory and Polly are gone they happen upon Queen Jadis; a terrifying, self serving and very destructive ruler. While trying to escape her and get back home to London they end up bringing her along. That is when all hell breaks loose. Jadis causes a bunch of craziness on the streets of London; it becomes clear that the children have to get her back to the world she came from. So they use the magic that Andrew invented to bring not only Jadis and themselves back but Andrew, Frank (a carriage driver) and his horse. The group ends up in Narnia at the moment that Aslan is singing the world into being. They watch as Aslan creates Narnia from nothing. Flowers, trees, mountains and animals come into being. Aslan grants a few of these animals the ability to speak. And sets the rules for how they must live. In fact, he even adds another person to the mix - Helen (Frank’s wife); and installs them as the first Queen and King of Narnia. Narnia seems perfect, however, there is an issue - Queen Jadis. She is on the loose in Aslan’s beautiful world; she is evil to the core and Narnia must be protected from her. Since it is Digory’s fault that Jadis was bought into Narnia Aslan sends him on a mission (with the assistance of Polly) to bring back the fruit of a magical tree. The fruit of this tree will help protect Narnia from Jadis for centuries. Once his mission is complete Digory is rewarded by Aslan and sent home (along with Polly and Andrew).
At the heart of this story is friendship, love, magic and faith. As many of you may know C.S. Lewis was a devout Christian and wrote the Chronicles as a way to explain the gospel to his God daughter. The Christian themes in the story are more evident to me now then they were to me as a child. I found myself smiling as I read about Aslan creating the world. It was as perfect an analogy as you can get to the creation story in the book of Genesis. And from a child’s perspective its probably a lot easier to understand. Of course, Aslan is God/Christ; and the choice of him as a Lion is symbolic as well; for God is described as a Lion in the biblical book of Hosea. Aslan is an animal that the children should be scared of but they are also drawn to him. They see a fierce gentleness in him. And when at one point Digory expresses sorrow over his mothers illness you see that Aslan knows his pain well; which reminds me of the compassion of Christ. Queen Jadis is an example of evil in the world. I took her to be a representative of sin and being unrepentant. She is selfish and self serving at her core. She cares about nothing and no one. Her ways will be her undoing.
Lewis storytelling is simplistic and magical. It’s an easy, one sit read. And anyone that says they don’t like Narnia needs their head examined. These stories are just that good. I have decided to read one book a month from the series until I have finished the entire thing. I gave The Magician’s Nephew 5/5 stars on goodreads.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
I have seen the movie at least once and for what ever odd reason I was never really compelled to read the book; even though I had owned a tattered second hand copy for a number of years. I began my journey with this book with only a baseline knowledge of what the book would hold within its pages. To my surprise the book made me long for the simpler times of Childhood. Were I was able to live a carefree and easy life. To Kill a Mockingbird is very much a story of growing as it is an indictment of an America long since dead and buried. An American, that even today, some in our society would like nothing more than to go back to.
In Lee’s American classic we meet a young girl nicknamed Scout and her older brother Jem and their father Atticus. The Finch’s live in the small southern town of Macomb. Scout and Jem are your typical children - they tease one another, get into as much trouble as possible and live for soft summer breezes and cool lemonade. They do however, have an aching desire to see Arthur “Boo” Radley come out of his house - and the children spend summer after summer (with the help of their friend Dill) attempting to get a glimpse at old Boo Radley.
The children have never had much trouble in life, things are pretty good for them. Until there begins to be some grumbling amongst the town folks about Atticus defending a black man (Tom Robinson) who has been bought up on rape charges. Tom is accused the worst offense imaginable - forcing himself on a white woman. The children are immediately thrust into their fathers business. Even though Atticus tries to instill in them the importance of turning the other cheek and being the bigger person. It’s hardest for Scout to heed her fathers edict and walk away when children at her school call her and her father “nigger lovers”. Some how she does, and so does Jem (for the most part).
The trial on Tom Robinson I believe was a turning point for both of the children. It was as they stood in that court room watching their father defend a man, trying to save a mans life that I believe a part of their innocence was lost. It was at that moment and at that time that the Children really saw that the world wasn’t fair. They were taught a tough and life changing lesson. This moment was heart wrenching and the trial scenes made me angry and also tearful. As a person of color, I wanted Lee to write a different ending. I wanted to believe that with Atticus at the helm of Tom Robinson’s defense that the evident truth would win the day. But, I was wrong. And Atticus lost. And the latter end of the book left me teary eyed and as I said before wanting to go back to a simpler time. When I was a child and the truth and complexities about race, culture, and class were unknown to me.
The beauty of this book is the difficulty of the subject matter. Harper Lee portrayed the attitudes of southern whites with ease because she was one. She also handled with care the need of social change and justice. She showed the reader that not all whites were racist and that some would do their best to treat their fellow man with respect and dignity - right to the end. It’s easy to see why Atticus is a beloved character in literary circles. He along with Scout are perhaps my favorite characters I’ve read in the past few months. With that being said
I am so very happy to have finally picked up this book; and I am very proud to call it my first completed read of the new year. I can’t wait to snuggle up in my bedroom with a nice mug of tea and rewatch the classic film. I gave to Kill a Mockingbird 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
Quotes I Loved:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.”
“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
I was about 27 or so when I first experienced the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t know why I decided to watch it - I just had a desire to see it. I had friends that had been “forced” to read the book in Highschool or college and were very indifferent to it. However, I had never read the American Classic or seen the movie. I knew what it was about (roughly) and I kind of had no desire to read it. Then 2018, a really cold night and the desire for a classic read convienced me to dust off my old, second hand paperback copy of the book.
I settled in with the book the other day and slipped into the lives of Jean Louise (Scout) and Jeremy (Jim) and Atticus Finch. I must say that the story is pure and innocent and funny. There is so much to love about the story. So much more detail the movie just left out. I’m about 80 pages in now and I really can’t wait to see what other nonsense Jim and Scout get into.
I know that eventually I will come to the heart and lesson of the story that is so broadly featured in the film. But for now I am enjoying the lovely stroll through Jim and Scout’s Childhood. This book makes me crave games of tag and adventures with my cousins in our grandparents back yard. How simple life was as a kid; and then life happens. I have a feeling tis will be a book I will come back to from time to time to be reminded of the simpler things in life.
Monday, January 1, 2018
My Reading Goal: 80 Books
My Hit List
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Kalona’s Fall by P.C. and Kristin Cast
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontė
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Emma by Jane Austen
Great Expectations by Charles Dickinson
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Girls of the Murder City by Douglas Perry
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Nigger by Randall Kennedy
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney
Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton
We were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World in Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
How to here by Rob Bell
What is the Bible by Rob Bell
The Power of I am by Joel Osteen
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Transference by Ava Harrison
You Give Good Love by J.J.Murray
I’ll Be your Everything by J.J. Murray
Darker by E.L. James
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Man in the High Castle by Phillip Dick
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Balm by Dolen Perkins - Valdez
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Of course several of these books may fall by the wayside; however, It is my intention to read as many of these as possible. But I also, want to make sure my reading as diverse as possible.
Monday, December 11, 2017
1) Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn't know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
2) The Spy
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city.
As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.
Told in Mata Hari’s voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price.
3) They Can’t Kill Us All
Conducting hundreds of interviews during the course of over one year reporting on the ground, Washington Post writer Wesley Lowery traveled from Ferguson, Missouri, to Cleveland, Ohio; Charleston, South Carolina; and Baltimore, Maryland; and then back to Ferguson to uncover life inside the most heavily policed, if otherwise neglected, corners of America today.
In an effort to grasp the magnitude of the repose to Michael Brown's death and understand the scale of the problem police violence represents, Lowery speaks to Brown's family and the families of other victims other victims' families as well as local activists. By posing the question, "What does the loss of any one life mean to the rest of the nation?" Lowery examines the cumulative effect of decades of racially biased policing in segregated neighborhoods with failing schools, crumbling infrastructure and too few jobs.
Studded with moments of joy, and tragedy, They Can't Kill Us All offers a historically informed look at the standoff between the police and those they are sworn to protect, showing that civil unrest is just one tool of resistance in the broader struggle for justice. As Lowery brings vividly to life, the protests against police killings are also about the black community's long history on the receiving end of perceived and actual acts of injustice and discrimination. They Can't Kill Us All grapples with a persistent if also largely unexamined aspect of the otherwise transformative presidency of Barack Obama: the failure to deliver tangible security and opportunity to those Americans most in need of both.
4) The Color of Law
In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation―that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation―the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments―that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
5) The Mummy
Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger....
6) Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.
7) The Simplicity of Cider
Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.
Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.
Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.
8) The Witches of New York
New York in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Determined to learn the truth about the world, its residents enthusiastically engage in both scientific experimentation and spiritualist pursuits. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women—some possessed of true intuitive powers, and some gifted with the art of performance—find work as mediums.
Enter Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, they provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies, who speak the right words and ask the right questions. But the profile of Tea and Sympathy is about to change with the fortuitous arrival of Beatrice Dunn.
When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads "Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply," she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her. Beatrice doesn't know it yet, but she is no ordinary small-town girl; she has great spiritual gifts—ones that will serve as her greatest asset and also place her in grave danger. Under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor, Beatrice comes to harness many of her powers, but not even they can prepare her for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or the courage it will take to face them.
9) Knitting Yarns
This is a collection of essays and one poem by well-known authors about the magical powers of knitting. The book also includes six knitting patterns interspersed throughout the book. Because the focus of the text is on the act of knitting and the feelings evoked rather than the finished product, there are no images or diagrams to accompany the knitting projects. Rather, the text invites the reader to curl up with a book or with knitting and be transported to a world of healing, peace, and calm. These are deeply personal stories ranging from true and heartbreaking (Martha Frankel attempting to keep her friend from joining a cult through knitting), to the honest and humorous (finger knitting being even more relaxing than knitting because you can drink your martini while finger knitting).
10) The Rules of Magic
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.
The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.
Here’s to wishing I recieve every book on my list....I really do not want to have to buy these lovelies for myself.
*All synopsis are from amazon.com
Sunday, December 10, 2017
The past three months have been filled with trying to keep myself busy and whole. Since August I have had a tough time getting back into rhe rhythm of things - so I decided to come up with a new craft. So knitting it was. It took me a few hours and now I am a knitting fool. I have managed a triangle shawl, and a few cowls. I am currently working on three projects. One for my boss, another for my god child and one for myself. Check out the photo’s below (yarn info included below as well)!
This yarn.....my oh my...I am in love. I am going to order a few more of these skeins (since Wool and the Gang now has free shipping).
This denim (yup you read that right) yarn is chemical and dye free. I am knitting it on a size 8 (40 inch) circular knitting needles. This gorgeous yarn is 8.50$ a skein. I must admit that I adore working with this material. It knits up fast and absolutely lovely. (BTW this project is for me lol)
This is the fourth time I have worked with lushious yarn. This is Heartfelt Hertiage (Stitch Studio by Nicole) an A.C. Moore brand. I have made several cowls with this material and I am in love with it. Its heavy and warm. And silky and knits quick. This fun and funky colorway is called Bluebird.
The color is my God daughter (8) Madison’s favorite color. This little scarf will be absolutely perfect for her. And I have a funny feeling it will
be much loved and worn with joy.
This yarn is 100% Acrylic, super bulky and is being knitted on size 13 bamboo needles. (Which are my favorite.)
I will share the finished products on my blog as soon as possible.