Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Book Review: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin


Another adventure in listening to books in the car as opposed to listening to the radio..and this adventure was:



Courtesy of Goodreads.com:

"Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.
Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future."


  

I wrote "sweet, uncertain, and beautifully (yet simply) written. I loved it." as my Goodreads review, and it's true. That's exactly what I thought of it. I've heard many people talk about it's simple nature. It's "cardboard cut out characters" and it's lack of a fast pace.

And I don't necessarily disagree with them.

Most of the time though, when I listen to a book as opposed to reading it, I'm drawn into it. It all becomes more alive, more real as I'm being lulled into the story. 

I like a good "coming of age" story - I've always been drawn to them. I guess that's why I'm still reading YA Fiction instead of moving onto classics (that's what you're supposed to be reading at my age apparently..)

It was sweet, but slow.
It was uncertain, but there was hope.
It was simple, but you had the desire to finish it.
And it was beautifully written. 

That's all. The end.

 

“In this waking time his presence, once so solid, lacked any substance or form; it was merely a shadow at the edge of every moment of the day and night.” 

It just reminds me of people that have come in and out of your life. They were once such a part, but now it almost feels like phantom limb. They don't help you anymore. They start to not matter as much. Life goes on. On and on. 

“In the morning, she was not sure that she had slept as much as lived a set of vivid dreams, letting them linger so that she would not have to open her eyes and see the room.” 

I think we've all had that moment. Regardless of circumstances.

 “She has gone back to Brooklyn,' her mother would say. And, as the train rolled past Macmire Bridge on its way towards Wexford, Eilis imagined the years already when these words would come to mean less and less to the man who heard them and would come to mean more and more to herself. She almost smiled at the thought of it, then closed her eyes and tried to imagine nothing more.”

SPOILER ALERT: this is the last sentence of the story. And it didn't exactly end like I thought it would - but I think the beautiful part of it was that after all she had been through, she was able to make a decision and go when she needed to. 


I'm thinking of getting rid of this part of my review..because it's not like I have real reasons every time. You just should. I think I'd stick with the audio book for this one though. And I'm looking forward to seeing the movie finally too! I'll let you know what I think of it too :)

C

Monday, June 27, 2016

At the Movies With: "The Fundamentals of Caring"


It's been a while, right? Life has included a lot of big changes, and while I don't talk about those..I do miss writing. I watched a movie today, "The Fundamentals of Caring" that I feel HAS to be talked about. Mostly because I found myself laughing out loud during it.

The trailer:

The positives:
1// The relationship between Craig Roberts (a wonderful little English man who is hilarious) and Paul Rudd. They play patient and caregiver. Each spewing sarcasm and developing a deeper relationship than they even realize. It's sweet.
2// And then you add Selena, who plays "rough and tumble" Dot. I say that with a bit of sarcasm, because a filthy mouth doesn't exactly make you rough. She adds a different element to the movie that I really did enjoy having her.
3// The "John Green element". The story is straight out of a John Green novel - and really, you have to know that anything JG touches turns to gold. I'd be interested in reading the novel this is based on, for sure.
4// The soundtrack. You know I love a good soundtrack.

The negatives:
1// The story is SAD. While it makes for a good emotional pull, you really do feel a lot for Rudd's character - and even for Robert's character. You become sad for the things people go through..how life beats them up. Good thing we're all tougher than we seem.

Wait, that's all I have for negatives :)

It's a simple road trip movie with simple characters who care deeply for each other. They're messed up, messy, and talented - the whole lot of them. It's the type of film, like the Breakfast Club, where you so want to be apart of it by the end. And one you hope the actor's became best friends by the end.  Or is that just me? I know it's acting, but geez..I want everyone to be best friends.

I think I'm getting sappy in my old age.

Anyway, I loved it. If you're looking for a feel good film - you need this one in your life. Head over to Netflix and get your watch on!

C

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fun Found Things: Pt 2!


Remember that time I used to blog? Yeah, I don't really either. Life is bananas right now..I'm throwing around the word "coping" a lot..and I had Chick-fil-a three nights for dinner this last week. So, I don't exactly have a lot to update y'all on (maybe when things have quieted down a little), but, after reading through some of my blogs..I've got a few things that HAVE to be shared.

 1// 49 PHRASES to Calm An Anxious Child.
But for real, it's for adults too.

2// What? FITNESS PROS are insecure too?
Obviously, they're human. I just don't think people think they do. 

3// Living with BIG EMOTIONS.
The third solid read in a row. I loved all three. So applicable to my life right now.

4// There's new flavors of M&MS!
Spoiler alert: they're all bad. The Everywhereist always says exactly what we're all thinking.

5// Places to go: The TREE CHURCH!
Uh, can I just live in the tree church? Because I wanna.

and, a song:


Oh, because you've been listening to something OTHER than Lemonade this week? 
Liar.

Also:
1. Those are CHILDREN. Except for the guy with the dreads at the beginning. He does by Wildebeast..he does all the choreography. 
2. The girl in the purple..right?!

K, byeeeeee
C

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: "Weightless" by Sarah Bannan


I feel like I haven't posted in such a long time! I've actually read a few since last posting, but none really worth mentioning. SUCH a bummer. It's probably my reason for listening to "Goblet of Fire" in my car. It's reliable.

Today I'll be talking about:



From Goodreads.com: "When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the junior class at Adams High School. A good student and natural athlete, she’s immediately welcomed by the school’s cliques. She’s even nominated to the homecoming court and begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn’s bitter romantic rival. When a video of Carolyn and Shane making out is sent to everyone, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut, as Brooke and her best friend Gemma try to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying hound Carolyn, who becomes increasingly private and isolated. When Shane and Brooke—now back together—confront Carolyn in the student parking lot, injuring her, it’s the last attack she can take." 


UGH.

I really genuinely wish I hadn't read this all the way through. Doesn't that synopsis just make you question my taste with choosing what I read? I would.

Needless to say, this book was a BEATING. First, the narrator speaks in a first person plural. "We think this.." "We knew this.." It's kind of interesting, but mostly it makes things confusing and tires you out. You're just left wondering who they're talking about.

Secondly, it ends exactly how you think it will. Think about it. What do you think Carolyn will do at the end? Will someone save her? No. Will she save herself? No. I kept hoping that she would pick herself up or have someone change her mind. I know..by golly I know that depression is hard. Whatever you're feeling, no one can truly understand that. I know. But there was a point where positive light was found, only to be trashed and blown out again.

My heart hurts for kids like Carolyn. Kids who can't see past the situation..and who really can blame them? With your cellphones able to capture video..and Facebook being ever present. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. It's all there and it's used and used. You're not safe from anything. Even Snapchat has ways for you to save images. It doesn't just go away..not if someone doesn't want it to. 

And these kids..they don't get a break from it. It's a constant. And it can be anonymous. What kind of trash is that? Where you can say whatever you want, whenever you want and it be covered because you didn't own up to it? It's hard. It's so unbelievably hard. 

And this book..it didn't say anything. It didn't do anything. There wasn't one good person in it. It was a waste of paper. She didn't once say "it's okay to feel sad, but never EVER think that your life doesn't mean anything..that you'll never get out of this place and this season." 

Not once. And it's a damn shame.

You have to use the platform when you have it. Otherwise it's just a waste.


Let's go ahead and say..I didn't have any favorites, but this quote stuck out:

"We thought it would never feel better, that this would stay around our necks forever. We'd carry it with us to college, and to our first jobs, and into our marriages, and bestow it on our children and then our grandchildren. Not a gift, but a curse, or just a heavy stone that you picked up as a child and never took out of your pocket. Later, when things did start to feel more normal, the guilt would kick in: You did something horrible. And you are too horrible to even realize it." 

It sums up exactly what I've been saying and feeling towards this book. No sympathy, no empathy, no heroes. I know life isn't about saving one another, or even about the underdogs all the time - but what's the point of life if all your energies are flooded into just you. You wouldn't do anything. You wouldn't change anything. Again, such a waste.


I don't recommend this book. Not even a little bit, and there have been a few others that I haven't finished or I've totally disliked that I've skipped talking about. This one needs to be talked about. You need to hear about empathy, and you need to get some. You need to be reminded that being in high school sucks, but it doesn't forever, and you will come out the other side. And you need to know that you don't need to brandish a knife and stab someone to kill them. There are other ways - and you need to be reminded that it is NEVER okay to treat someone the way Carolyn was treated.

Never.

C


Monday, March 14, 2016

At the Movies: "50 Shades of..NO."


Straight up, I'm a little late to the "50 Shades of Grey" party. Except, I most definitely wouldn't call it a party.

I'd like to start this by saying: I do not condone what happens in this series, I don't like it, and what I have to say doesn't really have to do with a review at all. I just feel like it needs to be said.

A few weekends ago a friend and I sat down to watch a movie. We chose "50 Shades" because we "wanted to know what the fuss was about".

We made it 20 minutes in.

In those 20 minutes, I came to totally LOATHE everything about the situation..but I also became very sad for those folks who see the series as a positive representation of what love is. Or even just a representation of what love is.

I've never been in love. I've thought I was. And possibly, I've been in love from afar (hey James from the 6th grade..!), but I'd like to think that I know what love is. I've watched my grandma keep my grandfather's ashes in her room because she doesn't want to be away from him. I've seen my parents wear the same pair of glasses at a restaurant to see the menu, and hike the Grand Canyon together. I've watched my niece kiss her new brother on the head, and then push him away a second later. And watched my best friend marry the man of her dreams when she wasn't supposed to beat cancer.

Those may not be what your idea of love is..but, it's mine. And it's a far cry from whatever "50 Shades of Grey" is spewing out.

Let's talk about real love..shall we?

"Love is patient.."

It doesn't burst into situations demanding that you stop whatever you're doing and take you home. Not even to your house, but to a hotel room where the next morning it looks like you've slept together.

"and kind.."

It doesn't play with your emotions and make it seem like he's into you, only to find out that he is all about sex. 

"Love does not envy.."

It doesn't see your friend and confidant and dismiss him as a threat.

"or boast.."

It doesn't show you around his "home", shower you with expensive food and a helicopter ride. It's not wealth at all.

"It is not arrogant and rude.."

It doesn't force itself on you. Shoving you up against the wall to kiss you or automatically assume you'll be there at the drop of a hat.

"It does not insist on it's own way.."

There is no "my way or the high way" thinking. It doesn't require you to act or think or dress a certain way to please. You're not a toy.

"It is not irritable or resentful.."

You may have a bad day here and there, but a it doesn't have a permanent growl or stare.

"It does not rejoice at wrongdoing.."

There are no games. There is no pressure to do what you don't feel comfortable with. Even if you have no back bone to speak up on your own behalf.

"but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

(1st Corinthians 13:4-7)

The truth? "50 Shades of Grey" is crap. I learned that in twenty minutes. I didn't need to see the whole thing. Want to know why? Because it's a lie. It's a false truth that whatever you've gone through in life, whatever has made you the way that you are - you can treat people how you want to. You don't have to give them respect, trust, hope..because the world is too big, it's too harsh, and it rips you a new one every time you do something. 

No.

Mr. Grey thinks the world of himself. Thinks that whatever he says and does and thinks is the gospel truth. I know I'm talking about a character, but there are men and women out there who think the same of themselves. And they are unable to love someone how they should. They just aren't. They don't know what true love is. The kind that died on a cross. The kind that keeps ashes close. The kind that plans elaborate birthday parties and sings "your song". 

They've never been apart of that kind of love, and it's heartbreaking. 

And it makes watching a movie hard. It makes seeing our culture scream for protection for rape victims, but celebrate this movie in the theater. I wonder how we've come to this. How we can see it one way, but turn a blind eye to another.

We have to be better. We have to write characters that triumph. That see the dark in their lives and overcome it - and love. We owe that to the next generation..those that go after us. 

The poet Ahbez once said "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved." And not the watered down, forced, warped beyond measure story of "love". You know the lowercase, in parenthesis kind..because I can't stomach calling that real love.

So look for love. You may have to look hard at times, but our kind has always sought it out. We're always drawn to love, and to be loved. That's just the way we are. And I'm thankful for that every day.

C

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: "The Last Letter from Your Lover" by Jojo Moyes


Today's review is coming straight from my bed. I'm feeling under the weather today, so I'm using it as time to relax and get back out there again tomorrow. Also, my bed would have missed me if I had gone to work, and we really can't have that..can we?

That being said, today's review is of:



This is via Goodreads.com: "It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. 

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance."


A friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her book club, and this was the first book we read. Meeting with the girls to discuss the book made me super geek out, and I loved it. I definitely want to continue book club.

As for my thoughts on it - I loved it. The characters are interesting, the scenery is from another era (one of glitz, heroics and glamour), and it's both relatable (we all want our own happy ending) and believable. Jojo is a fantastic writer. I haven't disliked anything yet.

I found myself immersed in the whole scene and also totally caught off guard at the twists. Which, is nothing new - I'm always so wrapped up in a story (whether it's a book, tv show or movie) that I almost never know the ending - unless it's something totally stupid and cheesy. Those I guess pretty soon after starting.

But that's the beauty of both books I've read of Jojo's (this and "Me Before You" - read my review of that HERE!) - she does romance and carries you off into this world where you know everything is going to work out EXACTLY how you think it will and then BAM, it changes. Don't fret though, my friends, it does work out. Just maybe not how you want it to..ala "500 Days of Summer".


1// “She didn't talk about it: if this past year has taught her one thing, it is to live in the present. She immersed herself in every moment, refusing to cloud it by considering the cost. The fall would come - it always did - but she usually collected enough memories to cushion it a little.”  

I realize that saying that I like a quote that screams "THIS GLASS IS HALF FULL ALWAYS" probably isn't the best way to start, but - what I see from it is this: there will be crashes. There will be bumps and bruises and times when you can't breathe. But, you're never far from light. From good times, from things that make you alive. That's all. And it gives you that extra push to find your way back again. If you choose to do so.

2// “He talked to her in the way that people tell lifelong secrets to fellow passengers in railway carriages: an unburdened intimacy, resting on the unspoken understanding that they were unlikely to meet again.” 

Isn't that the truth? Sometimes strangers know the most lovely things about you - the things you're afraid to tell other people..because the only way you disclose them is if you're never going to see that person again. Because that's safer than being vulnerable. But then again, all it takes is one person..

3// “I was once told by someone wise that writing is perilous as you cannot always guarantee your words will be read in the spirit in which they were written.” 

So much truth. So much.


1. Jojo Moyes knows how to write a story. Plain and simple.
2. It has something for..most people. Romance, intrigue, well written characters, travel.
3. And definitely read if you're a "Mad Men" fan. I can so picture John Hamm as the husband, and January Jones as Jennifer - but I can't picture "B". Not yet. I'll have to get back to you. Anyway, it's set in the same time period. So if you enjoy that, I'd definitely recommend.

C

Monday, February 15, 2016

At the Movies: Thoughts On "How To Be Single"


Hi there friends! I had every intention of getting things accomplished tonight, but I'm in a weird headspace after a super long day at work. So, I thought I'd talk about "How to Be Single" instead!


Let's get right to it:

1// It really has no plot or character development.
I mean, if you're going to this movie for Oscar winning performances, you're out of luck, my friends. BUT, there are some fabulous comedic presences: Rebel Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr, Anders Holm (hey boy hey), Jason Mantzoukas (who plays a weirdo so SO well), and Colin Jost (my favorite part of Weekend Update!). So, just go for the fun of it, okay?

2// I don't understand everyone's facination with Dakota Johnson.
Or Dakota Fanning according to my best friend..who couldn't remember her name. I find her awkward and boring. Also, she has an odd hair cut:


Is she 10? Maybe it's the 50 Shades of Grey thing, but I don't get it.

3// Leslie Mann does crazy so SO well.
She plays Dakota's big sister - who, after delivering babies for a living decides she needs her own - she uses a sperm bank and finds true love whist pregnant. And the boyfriend is totally cool with said crazy pregnant lady (who says a million times that you shouldn't call a pregnant woman crazy..which, for some reason I know to be a true thing) and said baby (the man, who is like 10 years Leslie's junior) actually says "who wouldn't want to stay home all day and hang with a baby?! I never have to work again". The theater literally erupted in "aww's"..it was cheese ball.  I mean, who could have predicted that plot twist? Everyone, the answer is everyone. I really don't think it would happen in real life. Like at all.

4// Why is there always a kooky best friend?
Rebel plays Dakota's "side kick". Or the other way around, I can't exactly tell. And I sat there wondering why there always has to be this outrageous personality next to the shy, hipster girl?! (there's always a hipster girl too..) Why can't people have real personalities? Why can't they both be chill and have a good personality and be funny? They don't have to be outrageous all the time, Hollywood. So, quit it.


5// The ending is real life.
You're sitting there for two hours and guessing every single plot twist (is it really called a twist outside of horror movies? Get back to me...) and then it lays it on you. She doesn't end up with the dude. Or, in her case, the three dudes vying for her attention in the movie. She ends up (*SPOILER ALERT*) finding something she's passionate about (hiking the Grand Canyon) and going to do it..because, early on in the movie, she exclaims that there are too many things she says she wants to do but never does.

And that's where I am in life. Choosing the solo adventures - or trying to - because that has to be better than doing nothing your entire life. It has to be.


Why you should see it:
1// Rebel Wilson.
2// It kind of gives you one side of being single. The side that's featured in brilliant cinematographies such as "He's Just Not That Into You", "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve". If you like that kind of thing.
3// Girl power. Rebel, Leslie and Dakota are there for each other in every situation and say what needs to be said, even if it's hard to say. That's important in friendships.
4// And cute boys. You know I'll always let you know when there are cute dudes in films ;)


There you have it, amigos. Not the cinematic masterpiece of our age, but if you're wanting something fun to do on your girls night out - I'd go for it. It'll make you laugh, and make you thankful for your solo time. Because, no matter how much I hate other people saying it - being single isn't always the worst. And it's beneficial in being a real adult. Finding out who you are alone is something someone can never take away from you.

C