Wednesday, August 31, 2011

an teaching actual job!

After what felt like forever, I got a job. I am teaching English 9 and 11 at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. I'd write more, but I am way behind since I got hired so late. As exhausting and overwhelming as the last week has been, it's been great. So glad to be back in a classroom!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One Day

One DayOne Day by David Nicholls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People have such different reactions to this book. Some think it’s completely over-hyped while others think it’s a love story for the ages. I fall somewhere in the middle. I decided to read the book because there was a movie coming out and also because I was intrigued by the idea. Twenty years broken down into chapters told about one day each year. We as readers have to fill in the blanks about what is not said or explained.

The premise alone is brilliant. Yes, the characters are occasionally oversimplified or the connections are too serendipitous, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book just the same. I did not have high expectations, and so over and over again, my expectations were exceeded. This is one of those books that I saw myself in. The characters are often lost trying to grapple with life decisions and missing that one person who helped them make sense of the chaos around them.

I think it’s a worthwhile read. It’s not a classic. It’s not a romance. It’s a beach read. It’s a curl up on a couch read, but not something you have justify. It just lands somewhere in between. And for reading it you will enjoy some great one-liners, a chance to use your imagination, and a chance to cheer for one of those couples you can’t help but root for.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Paris Wife

The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew very little of the premise of Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife when I started reading it. I thought it was just about the writers and artists living in Paris in the 1920s. Not quite a “Midnight in Paris” storyline in book form, but I thought it was more of a nostalgia piece. Probably should have read the book jacket – and yet, would I have read on so voluntarily? Don’t get me wrong, stories of failed marriages and disappointed dreams make for great literature (can we say Gatsby?), but McLain’s novel is not a work of pure fiction.

The Paris Wife is based heavily on the lives Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. So almost against my will I fell in love with their love and felt Hadley’s starry-eyed excitement over the tempestuous, young writer who was destined to become one of America’s most distinct voices. But I knew from the beginning that Ernie had fallen in love with a beautiful nurse during World War I, that she had broken his heart, and that as the boy had grown into a man, he turned to drinking in failed attempts to mend what had been broken. Hadley came next, and it was she who was there as Ernest went from being merely in the shadows of Gertrude Stein and Scott Fitzgerald and the other brilliant writers who made Paris their home in the 1920s to being a reputable and sought-after writer. Everyone in Hadley and Ernest’s circle drank too much, wanted too much, and in the end, had to run from the scene or be drowned in it.

McLain’s portrayal of Hemingway is uncanny. His voice that we have come to know in writing rings so clear that it adds an air of reality to what might have felt just like another overly-romanticized piece of historical fiction. And so while I knew from the beginning that Hadley was destined to be the first of four wives, I was drawn in to the carefully crafted details, to the authenticity of the characters, and to the hope that as Ernest said, “No one you ever love is truly lost.”

I can’t say you should read this book. While it’s well-written and gives fantastic insights into some of the greatest creative minds of the last century, it is a book without a happy ending. And it’s a book full of details that someone uninterested in English literature or history might find tiresome. I, as you well know, am a lover of both and am also so in love with Paris that I just couldn’t help but read on and try to find the fleeting truth that Hemingway was so desperate to find.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


.....After posting an absurd amount of posts about Europe, I haven't posted anything. And actually if you noticed, I haven't done any real posting about anything else in a couple months. Lots of reasons why, and no, I don't feel like explaining them. The short of it is that I am either hanging out with my sisters, digging through thousands of family pictures, or watching Grey's Anatomy. I am in absolute denial about reality and am trying to keep it that way for as long as possible. If you need me, a homing pigeon will probably work best. The end.....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer at the Movies

  • Over four months ago, I started this post on all the movies I was watching while working on projects. Needless to say, I spent hours and hours organizing photos, compiling my Europe scrapbook, and trying to make sense of fifteen years of saved paper. I don't remember why I was keeping a list, but for the sake of having no unposted posts as we close out 2011, here is a partial (yes, partial) collection of my summer at the movies. December 26, 2011 
  • The American President
  • Never Been Kissed
  • The Family Stone
  • Life As We Know It
  • Sabrina
  • The Illusionist
  • The Legend of Bagger Vance
  • Pleasantville
  • Sense & Sensibility (2008 BBC Version)
  • Coyote Ugly
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
  • North & South
  • Wimbledon
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Finding Neverland
  • Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson Version)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
  • Hope Floats
  • The Namesake
  • Dan in Real Life
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Eclipse
  • The Accidental Husband
  • In Love and War
  • Tangled
  • New Moon
  • We Are Marshall
  • The Adjustment Bureau
  • You've Got Mail
  • The Lakehouse
  • Kate & Leopold
  • The Mummy
  • Twilight
  • The Young Victoria
  • Sliding Doors
  • A Walk to Remember
  • The Wedding Planner
  • Ever After
  • Mona Lisa Smile
  • The Way We Were
  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Two Weeks Notice
  • Eat Pray Love
  • Penelope
  • Emma (2010 BBC Version)
  • Little Women
  • Ella Enchanted
  • Definitely, Maybe
  • A League of Their Own
  • Stepmom
  • The Princess Diaries
  • The King's Speech