It has been a very long 2017. I’m not 100% sure where it’s gone because I know I’ve been very busy. I mean this is my first recap of the year and it’s APRIL!! The good part is we took a trip to the Dominican Republic earlier this month and it was a much-needed vacation from the craziness that is work and life.
I read five books while I was there and that’s 1/3 of what I’ve read this entire year! We were in one of those all-inclusive resorts and it was EXACTLY what we needed. We went to a couple of the restaurants but didn’t do any excursions and spent two days in a beach hut (bottom middle photo) reading even in the rain we didn’t have to leave to go be dry.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. See the movie and if you enjoy it, read this. (Also how adorable this is posting on Valentine’s Day – Newt and Tina 4ever!)
I don’t know why I loved this so much. I think it’s because I was so disappointed in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that this one stood out for me. Don’t get me wrong though Cursed was okay, but it just wasn’t up to the same standard as the original seven books.
I fell in love with Newt and Tina when I saw the movie. I saw it four times in the theatre (yeah I know right?) and each time I found more to enjoy, just like the original books every time I re-read them. I know there were some plot holes and I know there were things people didn’t like, but for me it was perfect. The awkwardness of Newt and Tina and all the other characters just made me grin like an idiot.
Recommendation: As if you need to ask. READ IT. I found this a fast and delightful read. It also allowed me to actually understand a few lines where it was either hard to hear or I was distracted by something on screen.
I had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.
All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.
The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.
Picking up immediately after the events of The Alchemyst, the second book in the series is just as action packed and full as the first!
The Magician again takes place over a period of days and this time moves us from San Francisco, California to Paris, France. The same cast of characters is here and this book introduces two of my favorites, Niccolò Machiavelli and Joan of Arc, and gives further insight into the strongest female character in the series, Perenelle Flamel.
As I re-read it, I was glad that some of my hesitancy about re-reading the series started to fade. I’m not sure if it’s because the story was becoming more and more intense, or that I was spending more time with some of my favorite characters, but I was glad my reservations at least took a bit of a back seat to the book. (It also could’ve been that I devoured this book.)
Yet another book that I can appreciate, but feel went a little heavy-handed with the dependence on religion to explain things. This was thinly veiled parable about Chik-fil-A and it’s founder’s story (they do finally acknowledge this in the afterward, but I wish it were more upfront). I found it on a list of best books to read for fundraisers and thats why I read it.
As with the numerous Mormon authors I’ve read I had some issues with this book because of one of the authors’ standpoints on social issues, or at least their company at one point. S. Truett Cathy, mostly his family, as the founder of Chik-fil-A, has contributed hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations. I think the problem for me is that they were so vocal about it for such a time period. Is this problematic to me? Yes. Did it stop me from reading the book or from eating at Chik-fil-A? No.
After re-reading Fun Home for book group I dove right into the follow-up Are You My Mother? As much as I enjoyed it and ultimately identified with it, it didn’t live up to the magical experience of Fun Home. It’s hard to say whether this lack of magic was a result of the intense navel gazing or the less compelling surface emotional story. To be honest it could be the daughter identifying with mother as this is an experience/story that I will never experience in the same way.
This being said, the story was still eloquently and humorously told! The graphics were just as poignant and detailed as those in the original. I enjoyed the complete color shift from the green-gray to the red, especially when Bechdel revisited scenes from her earlier work and the emphasis changed slightly. The book list in Are You My Mother? wasn’t quite as long as Fun Home but it was still pretty impressive at 38 separate works listed.
I first read Fun Home in undergrad after my friend Mia gave me a copy not long after it came out in paperback. (I’m pretty sure it was paperback and I’m pretty sure it was Mia. I wasn’t so great at tracking who, when or where books came from back then…oh the olden days :-D)
Either way, I remember thoroughly loving it that first time I read it. I even went out of my way to read Camus’ A Happy Death after I finished even though I have very little recollection of it now other than these quotes I saved on a proto-blog I had that I’m pretty sure it was called East Coast Traditional Meets West Coast Casual or something like that (I stole it from a furniture magazine.)