Saturday, March 19, 2016

Current Loves & Obsessions

*I cannot get enough of Peter Hollens. I put his youtube channel playlist on every chance I get. If you haven't heard him, stop what you're doing and look him up. LOVE.
*I started listening to the Harry Potter books again in the fall. I'm now nearing the end of the sixth one. I am so content to get lost in Rowling's world of Hogwarts, unlikely heroes, English phrasing, etc, etc. Plus Jim Dale's voice is now so familiar that I start to miss it if I haven't heard it in a long time. I will be sad when the final pages of book seven are over. Then I think the next time I go through the books will be with a future son or daughter...if I can wait that long.
*I should probably be over this, but I am obsessed with our wedding photos. We still are trying to figure out which to hang in our apartment and which to include in a wedding album, so I use that as an excuse to pour over our pictures and relive our blissfully happy day.
(All wedding photography credits go to the amazing Kristina Curtis)
*My sophomores are studying "The Book Thief" right now. I love watching them appreciate Zusak's master storytelling. I could not love this story or Zusak's writing more.
*Henry got glasses, and he's beyond adorable. He chose black frames to be like Batman. 
*March 8 was International Women's Day. Amidst all the horrible political rhetoric, I was inspired by the hope and message of the day. One of my sophomores, a petite Indian girl who will be an extraordinary woman someday, came dressed very subtly as Rosie the Riveter. These girls really will change the world if only given the chance. #onedayIwill
*That, of course, leads me to Emma Watson's work on the HeForShe campaign. I love this campaign, particularly Emma's work, because it has not focused on women's rights at the detriment or chastisement of men. It's about people being treated fairly, not because they are men or women, but because they are human. Empowering others doesn't take away from our own strength, but rather increases our own potential. 
*My sisters and I went to Disneyland last weekend with Seth, Chad, and Mae. One of my favorite (although uncaptured) views were Mae's little arms stretched as high as they would go whenever we were on any sort of roller coaster. She really is a powerhouse in the making.
*Wouldn't be normal life if I didn't include something about Seth that I am currently loving...not that I could ever choose one: that guy's smile just melts my heart, his earnest desire to see me happy, the fact that he chooses my company over everything else he could be doing, that he goes on adventures with me, and kisses me good night and first thing every morning. I love my Mr. Mann. 
Happy spring. Happy life. 

The Book Thief...Round 4

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marcus Zusak said that when he wrote The Book Thief, he was trying to write someone's favorite book. He succeeded. The Book Thief is truly my favorite book. I can't believe I am lucky enough to be teaching it to my sophomores this year.

"I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I ever simple estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant."
(*Not so secret desire: someday I hope my son or daughter has a friendship like Rudy and Liesel share.)

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As my friend Alicia said, The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to people who love books and writing. The plot is buried in so many details and layers that I think some people get lost and stop caring about the story Setterfield is trying to tell. I love it though. I love the mystery shrouded in love and loss and fear. The sentences are so well crafted and the words so well chosen. The word delicious kept coming to mind as I was reading - the taste of writing so eloquent and beautiful that I wanted to share line after line with someone. Setterfield's depth left me feeling like I was curled up in a window seat of a fine English manor watching the snow swirl over the moors. The only thing missing was Heathcliff or Elizabeth Bennett coming through the mist.

As always, happy reading!
[A picture in front of one of the most impressive gothic manors I've visited in England. Hello Vida Winter, and of course, hello Crawley family.]

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I have rhapsodized about Harry Potter more than I should, but I cannot get enough of these books. My neighbor's daughter was just telling me that her mom won't let her read these books, and I wanted to tell her to read them anyway. I resisted that urge, but seriously I just love them. This book's ending is spectacular. I love everything about them going to the ministry. The department of mysteries details are so clever.....

When I get asked about who my dream dinner party would be, I think of Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Michelle Obama, Emma Stone, Emma Watson...about a dozen others, and of course, Jo Rowling. She's just amazing. Can't wait for her newest work, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", to come out this summer.

Happy reading!

ps. Forgot to mention that I love the D.A. and trying to thwart Umbridge alongside the coming of age details like the boys trying to understand crying girls. So, so much love. #borderlinefangirl #cannothelpit

“Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.”