Gone Girl

When you’re a bookworm, you know what it’s like to get caught up in a story.  Have you read Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn?

I had my name on the waiting list at the library for a while, but I was 12th, so I wasn’t expecting it for weeks. Suddenly, it was available, and I only had it for a few weeks. Saturday was a rainy, cold day. It was perfect for reading.

I heard a lot about Gone Girl, but no one would really say what it was about. Everyone said the book was awesome, amazing, fantastic, and I just had to read it. But when I asked what it was about, no one would tell me anything.

Well, guess what? I can’t tell you anything about it either.

All I can say about the story is pretty much what’s on the back of the book: A woman goes missing and her husband is a suspect.

What I can tell you, is that this book seriously messed with my head. I could not stop reading it. I felt like I was being manipulated by these people. Sometimes, I got frustrated, shut the book, and put it down. I’d stare at it for a little while, then, unable to resist, pick it back up and keep reading.

I kept expecting to have one of those moments where I discovred I’d figured out a part of the story. I love those moments, they make me feel smart, like getting the answers right on Jeopardy. That moment never came. Never. The whole time, I had no idea what was going on, or who was doing what. All I knew is that somehow, they were making me think things. Think what they wanted me to. It wasn’t the author, it was the people in the book.

I think it might take a few days before I can read something else. I believe this is what’s referred to as a “book hangover”.

Now go, read it!

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Summer solstice

If you were to image the perfect first day of summer, today would be it. It was sunny and beautiful. It was also the last day of school. Actually, yesterday was my last full day with my students, today was a picnic with all the kids and their parents. It was a lovely day. I’m working next week, but only for four days. Then I’m off for the whole summer.

The strange thing is, it doesn’t feel like summer. It’s not about the weather (which has not been happy lately). I think it’s because normally, at the end of June, I look ahead and see two months of lazy days, beach days and sunny days. This year, however, I’m going to be doing my yoga teacher training from July 4th to the 31st, six days a week. It’s not “time off” like I normally have.

I’m excited about this teacher training, and I can’t wait for it to start, but I’m also nervous and a little worried. I get sweaty palms and my heart beats fast when I picture myself talking in front of a group. It’s not the same as teaching kids. I’m a little scared because I don’t know what to expect.

I wanted to do something special for the summer solstice, because it feels like an important day. This day only happens once a year. But then I thought, all days only happen once. If you waste it, you never get it back. So instead of trying to find some meaningful, first day of summer thing to do, I did what was calling out to me. Reading and yoga.

This is not a very exciting way to spend a Friday, but I am tired. I feel like I just let go of one whole school year of thinking, planning, worrying, laughing, and teaching in just one day.

I went to Sasha’s flow class at Pure tonight, and she massaged my feet during pigeon pose. I could just feel the stress and the weight of the year melt away. I spend so much time standing, and my feet were happy for the love.

So, while there was nothing particularly summer solstice-y about my day, it made me happy.

What made you happy today?

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Do more of what makes you happy

May was a busy, happy month for me. I spent most of it annoying people so they would watch my yoga video. I participated in a contest to win money for my yoga teacher training tuition. And I won! I am so grateful to everyone who watched. Thanks a million!

May had a lot of happy moments for me. Here are a few.

Climbing  fences.

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Picking flowers.

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Pretty flowers.

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Surprise flowers by my door.

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Reading a fairy tale.

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Book day with my students.

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Also there was yoga. Lots of yoga. Always yoga.

I know we’re well into June now, but I still wanted to share!

Read me a story

A few months ago in class, I tried to get one of my student’s attention. He was reading and he didn’t hear me. I had to repeat his name several times, and when he finally looked at me, he had a dazed look on his face. I told him “I get it, you were reading and your mind is still in the story. I love books too, so I know how it feels.” This led to a discussion with a few students about how much we all love books and reading. I don’t remember if the idea came from me or a student, but we decided to have a reading day. A whole day of nothing but books and reading, no other school work. The kids were so excited!

This was in late winter, so we decided to wait until it was nice enough to read outside. That day was last Friday. The kids worked really hard all week so they could read on Friday. I thought of making them little reading passports, where they could put stickers or stamps, but I decided against it. They were happy to read for the sake of reading, they didn’t need anything else.

We started off with a game of pass-the-book. Each kid picked a book from the ones I had set out on the tables. They sat in a circle and passed the books around while music played. When the music stopped, they had a minute to flip through it and decide if it was a book they would like to read.

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Then we took a trip to the library, because no matter how much the kids thought they could sit still and read all day, I knew better. We needed some action.

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When everyone had picked out their books, we went to the park to read there for a little while.

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After lunch, we headed out on the lawn in front of the school with our books, beach towels, blankets and water bottles.

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At one point, there were a bunch of us reading a book about the toe fairy (like the tooth fairy, but with toes). We were all crowded around the book and one kid poked my foot with his finger and asked “Who’s foot is this?”

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Yes, that is a small child on my back. She’s like velcro. We were looking at a book about Vikings.

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It was a perfect day. I told the kids we could do it again next year.

The Book Thief

Sometimes, after I’ve read a book, I’m still not sure if I liked it or not. Take Water for elephants. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s cruel too. It was well written and I tell people they should read it, but I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I just finished The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. I bought it based solely on the name. It sounded like something I would love. If I had taken a closer look, I might not have read it. Although I’m not sure I liked it, I am glad I read it. Confusing, I know.

Here are three things about this book that I think you should know before you read it:

1. It takes place in Germany during World War 2

2. The narrator is death

3. The sad moments outnumber the happy moments

It’s about a young girl trying to figure out life in war torn Germany. She is surrounded by people who don’t all believe the same things and who try to do their best, be it hide a Jewish man in their basement or leave the window to their library open so the book thief can “steal” a book.

Death, as a narrator, lets us know how it’s saddened by the state of humanity. It has a job to do, but is not happy about it.

The book is sad, but something kept me reading. I had to know Liesel’s fate. If you’ve read this, please tell me what you thought.

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Read me!

If you’re a book lover/bookworm like me, you buy books when you feel inspired. You might not have time to read it just then, or maybe you’ve already got a big pile of to read books. It doesn’t matter. You want it, you buy it. It’s a book, so it’s ok. It’s never a bad idea to buy a book.

But then, you end up with a nice pile of “I just had to buy this book but now it’s been sitting of the shelf for a while” books. It’s a nice problem to have, and it’s this week’s prompt for The Broke and the Bookish’s top ten Tuesday.

1. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

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Even before the Gilmore Girls episode where Rory tries to get Dean to read Anna Karenina, I’ve wanted to read it. It’s been called the best love story of all time. The thing is, I’ve tried to read this. I get lost in all the characters and their names. I mean, does Katherine really need to be Katie, Kitty, Ekaterina and Katherine? I’ll try again. I’m determined to read this even if I know how it ends.

2. Fall of Giants, Ken Follett

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I loved, loved, loved Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, so when Fall of Giants came out, I was super excited and bought it right away. I read a few chapters, but it’s about the first world war, and that’s not my favourite subject, so I put it aside and haven’t gotten back to it yet.

3. Shadow Princess, Indu Sundaresan

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I totally judge books by their cover and this one is a great example of what draws me in. I love stories set in India and this one seems to have some sort of sibling rivalry mystery.

4. 7 ans après, Guillaume Musso

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I’ve read several of Musso’s books, and I enjoyed them, so I didn’t hesitate to buy this one. I read about half, but then I lost interest. (Humm, maybe my top ten should be “Books I bought, then read a little and put away”.

5. Marie de la Mer, Annie Lavigne

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When I saw this book at the store, I snatched it up right away because I really liked the first one. When I realized it was a trilogy, I decided to wait for the third one to be published, so I wouldn’t have to wait between books two and three. Yes, I know that is a little strange.

6. The science of yoga, William J. Broad

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To be fair, I only bought this book a few days ago. I haven’t started it yet, but since it’s not a novel (which is what I normally read) I’ll probably read it in bits and pieces while I read other books.

7. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

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Also a book I bought last weekend (because obviously, I need more books). Ever since I heard the title, I’ve been wanting to read it.

8. The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory

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When I saw the movie The Other Boleyn girl, I decided to read the book. I bought this one instead and I can’t remember why I never read it. I bought it a few years ago.

9. Stones into schools, Greg Mortenson

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This book isn’t even mine. I got it for my mom after we read and loved Three cups of tea. As soon as she was done reading it, I grabbed it from her and, well, I haven’t read it yet. But you know that, because there’s a whole theme going on here.

10. Beautiful Darkness, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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I liked Beautiful Creatures, so I bought the second book in the series. I’ve actually started reading it, so it doesn’t really belong on this list, but I ran out of books. It’s not great litterature, but it’s entertaining.

Writing this post was actually a great idea! I feel like I have a bunch of new books to read. Have you read any of these books? Which one should I start with?

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The Red Garden

Sometimes, a book is just a book. Sometimes, a book is an adventure, an escape, a dream, an other world. Rarely is one book all of these things. So when, a few pages into a book, you realize it’s going to be one of those books, the magical kind that keeps you from sleeping because you just have to read more, you do a little happy dance and sometimes let out a squeal of joy.

The Red Garden is one of those books.

Written by Alice Hoffman, it’s no surprise that it’s a fantastic read.

I had a little moment of doubt when I first started reading. The story starts off with Hallie Brady, a young woman who comes to America and becomes the founder of a new town in the wilderness of Massachusetts. I was so into her story, but after a few pages, it was over. The next chapter was the story of a sad young woman and a man who plants apple trees. Then, a little girl who goes missing.

Soon, I realized that the book was not a person’s story, as a novel usually is. It’s the story of a place. The place is Bearsville, later renamed Blackwell. People come and go, love and cry, hope and dream, live and die. The town grows and some of the earlier stories become legend. Every person leaves their mark on the town, and shapes into a place where magic happens.

Through the stories, we meet an interesting cast of character, including Emily Dickinson and Johnny Appleseed. Some stories are happier than others. There’s a man who’s going blind, but is more of an adventurer than anyone the town has seen since Hallie Brady. There’s the young man who comes home from war broken, only to have his soul healed by a young widow. There’s a young woman who meets a man who lives in the woods, and it changes her forever. My favourite was the fisherman’s wife. Sad, lonely and beautiful, she longs to go back home to be with her one true love. Her home isn’t where you expect it to be.

One of the things I loved the most was how, when a story ended, you might not know what happend to the people later on, but tidbits about their lives would come up in the next chapters, where they were now the current character’s ancestors.

I also love that there is an actual red garden. People don’t know why the earth is red, but you, the reader, know. It like knowing a secret. It feels like being a part of something special, because you’ve been there since the begining.

I finished this book over a week ago, but I haven’t been able to read anything else yet. The collection of episodes, like pieces of a puzzle, are still floating around in my head. I need to read it again, to make even more connections between the people and their stories.

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Today is Alice Hoffman’s birthday, and two very awesome bloggers have put together a bloghop where all of her fans could share their love for her enchanting storytelling. Happy birthday, Alice Hoffman, and thank you for sharing your magic!

I’ve written post about Alice Hoffman’s books before, because she’s just so amazing! Check it out here , here, here and here!