Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Funnies #3

The custom of sending greeting cards dates as far back as the ancient Chinese who used to send messages of good will to one another to celebrate the New YearEarly Egyptians also engaged in a similar custom using papyrus scrolls.

I should know. I checked Wikipedia.

Today, you can send greeting cards for nearly any event to pretty much anybody.

Again, I should know.  This year I sent a "Happy 1st Hallowe'en, Godson" card. Really. They make those.

Now, you can even send e-cards, so you barely have to put any effort at all into sending someone a warm wish. I'm sure the ancient Chinese would be thrilled.

To spread a little funny this Friday, I'm sharing a collection of wonderfully irreverent Hallowe'en e-cards from one of my favourite e-card sites: Their tagline is: "When you care enough to hit send." Enough said.

Happy Friday!

PS Why does no one put the apostrophe in Hallowe'en anymore?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: The Night Circus

"This is not magic.
This is the way the world is, only very few people take the time to stop and note it."

It took me a longer time to finish this novel than it usually takes me to finish a novel I really enjoy.  I think this is mostly due to the fact that this is a novel to be savoured, not devoured.

I first picked it up despite many "warnings" of its intensive imagery, lengthy descriptions, and slow-moving story. I'm still not sure why I ignored such warnings, but I am glad I did.

The imagery is, indeed, intense. The description every bit as long as I had been warned. The story did, in fact, crawl along. However, it didn't read like trudging through quick sand-- struggling to put one foot in front of another to tell some kind of disjointed story. Instead, it slowly drifted through time, from past to present and back again, in a kind of mist. So, slow-moving as it was, it remained graceful and quite mystical in a way that is very captivating.

You become part of the fantastical circus that is so enchanted it is unbelievable, and yet, I found myself longing to believe in it.  What some might call unnecessarily long descriptions of mere trivial circus nonsense, I came to understand as crucial battle scenes and eventually love letters between the two seemingly star-crossed magicians.

The novel is romantic and exciting in an understated way. It left me wanting to believe in magic, and possibly hopeful of seeing magic in some things I've never examined closely enough before to see it.

Recommendation: Avid readers and lovers of the magical, fantastical, and romantical should enjoy this book. Though I should stress the importance of being a patient reader, one who is okay with the absence of jarring action, and capable of keeping track of small fluctuations in time. If you can do and be all of that, you'll read a book that is quite actually a little spellbinding.

Up Next: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
I ran into Chapters looking to pick up a resource for school, and ran out looking to finish The Night Circus so I could move onto the next gem I stumbled across on my shopping adventure. In January I read a novel called A Dog's Purpose, possibly the first novel I've read written from a dog's perspective since I was 10 and read The Incredible Journey. And you know what? I loved it. I hadn't realized I was looking for something else like it until I found The Art of Racing in the Rain. It's the story of Enzo, a dog owned by an up-and-coming race car driver. "On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through." Further described as "A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it." I can't see why a reader and dog-lover like myself wouldn't love this novel. Can't wait to dig in. Happy Reading!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Funnies #2

All kinds of books have found their ways into all kinds of pop culture. This is one of my favourite storylines from one of my favourite TV shows of all time: Friends.

Happy Friday!

*I should probably mention that I don't own the rights to any of this video, nor am I making any money from posting it on this blog.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

WTJ: Bring This Book in the Shower with You

Eventually it had to come to this.

Part of my whole journey toward living a fuller, happier life has reached that moment that I had been dreading.
It's time to not just take care of my inside, but to work out the outside too.

Enter: The Gym.

Truth be told, it's not nearly as scary a place as I thought. It turns out, I quite like it there. Granted, I'm only one week into my brand new membership, but I've been there nearly every day and haven't even complained once. Not even when I've woken up everyday this week with a new sore muscle. I just tell myself: "That means it's working."

AND, just as it might happen, the stationary bike (the one where you kind of sit back in a little seat and peddle -- Sort of like a banana bicycle), is a great place to get some reading done. I just peddle my heart out and before I know it, 1 hour, 45 minutes, 20-30 minutes has gone by, and I'm done with my cardio for the day!

But, the best part of all is that great feeling I get when I get back to the house and jump in the shower knowing I've done something super awesome for myself.

Today, Wreck This Journal joined me in celebrating my awesome morning workout.

It wasn't easy... And I'm still very sad at having ruined some completed pages, but isn't that the point? Maybe I'll feel better once the pages have dried.

In the meantime, I'll just feel happy with my healthier lifestyle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Truer Words

Stumbled across this today on, my latest obessession. I thought it was very appropriate for what I'm aiming to do here:

Hope you're having a great week!

And you should check out my boards over at Pinterest!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Funnies

It's recently become really obvious to me that it is important to laugh. Laugh even when you might not feel like it. A laugh can change everything. One of my favourite quotes is from Victor Hugo:

"Laughter is like sunshine; it chases winter from the human face."

I couldn't agree more. So, I'd like to bring some more laughs to my blog. Today marks the beginning of "Friday Funnies," a series of posts designed to bring you a funny/hilarious bit of comedy to usher in your weekend. Given the nature of my blog I'm going to try to keep these comedic gems in a literary realm, but you'll see that I'm good at pushing the envelope.

It makes sense to start things up with some Shakespearean inspired humour. Hope you enjoy the inaugural Friday Funnies!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. I had a wonderful long-weekend with my family at my sister and brother-in-law's new house. Thanks for asking!

To further commemorate this most gracious of holidays, I thought I'd create a short list of the books I am most thankful for.

1. The Babysitters Club series: Thank you for getting me to love reading at a young age. I not only owe you for instilling in me this love of reading, but for also inspiring several fleeting childhood clubs of my own.


2. The Harry Potter series: Thank you for getting a new generation of kids to love reading. And thank you for giving nerds everywhere (ones just like me), a magical world in which to get lost in, pretend could actually exist, and share with our own kids someday.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye: Thank you for being some of the very few interesting and exciting books forced upon me in high school. I may not have said so back then, but I appreciate having had the opportunity to read some relevant and game-changing classics even if at the time I didn't see them as such.

4. Anything by Nora Roberts: Thank you for being easily digested in a wonderful way. In university I might have been tempted to hide you behind a copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare, but now I respect you for being true to what you are. I celebrate pleasure-reading in its simplest (most popular) form and don't know how I would be sane today without you to use as an escape.

5. Handling Sin by Michael Malone: Thank you for changing the way I buy books. 2 years ago at a bookstore I took a chance on a giant book by an author unknown to me, and I loved every minute of reading it. Since then, I'm not afraid to read what I don't know. This has truly changed everything.

What books are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

WTJ: Cover This Page With Office Supplies

It looks like celebrations are in order. After one week in Toronto I've gotten myself hooked up with a full-time contract teaching position at an independent school! I don't start until January, and it's a random assignment without any English classes, but that's okay. No English means less marking and more time for pleasure-reading instead of school-reading which is obviously a benefit for me... Though don't get me wrong, I loooove teaching English.

Anyway! The timing couldn't be more perfect since today is World Teachers Day!

So, to commemorate both the new job and the international day for teachers everywhere I cracked open my just a bit dusty Wreck This Journal and completed pages 71 and 72: Cover This Page With Office Supplies.

Post-its for notes and page marking, staples, tape of the masking and Scotch varieties, paper clips big and small, rubber bands, white-out tape, highlighter, and the all-powerful Sharpie were put to good use, and appropriately all things you are likely to find in a teacher's desk.

The colours and randomness make me very happy ... But not nearly as happy as my new job.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: Something Borrowed & Something Blue

Here's another post that's a long time coming. But it's fitting since the current theme of my life is about tackling things that are a long time coming.

One of the biggest reasons for the blog post-delay is because of my recent relocation to Toronto: The Big City. What a cliche. As mentioned, this change has been a long time coming. But I'm in it now and slowly putting the pieces together to have some semblance of a life down here. This includes a job, a place to live that isn't in my boyfriend's parents' house... maybe a dog? I don't know what it is about a dog that makes me feel like I've really made it in "grown up land."

The most recent events of my life are finally taking on the challenge in my blog title. I've finally begun to "turn the page." Try out a new chapter.

Here's where my deep spiritual connection to Giffin's "Something" duo kicks in. It's an amazing thing when you read a fictional novel and feel like the author got to take a peek in your head in order to write her characters.

Which is interesting in this case because Rachel and Darcy couldn't be more different, and yet each woman seemed to represent each of my dual personalities: a quiet, hard working girl, always trying to do the right thing, only to stray from her usual do-gooder path to discover an exciting part of herself she didn't realize she could be... and a fun-loving party girl who is used to having the world handed to her on a silver platter, only to have it all fall away and have to figure out how to live a truly independent life in a new place.

Okay... so maybe I'm more like one than the other. I won't tell you which one.

But the point is, I couldn't have purposely chosen a better time to read these books. Maybe they're not as great as I'm going to tell you they are. They'll probably never win a Nobel Prize in Literature, but like most of my favourites, they're marked as New York Times Bestsellers (though, it might be harder to name a piece of popular fiction that isn't)...

Both novels came into my life at the perfect time to tell me to get out in the world and live a life I want to live. Life's not always easy, and it's not always fair, but it is short... too short to not do what makes you happy. Not everyone might understand your actions, and certainly there will be people who disagree with them, but no one can make a judgement call for you. No one can give you the same feeling your gut can, and if you're wrong, you're wrong... You move on. But if you're right, nothing feels better.

Recommendation: As good as chick lit gets. Worth a read if you're a fan of the genre, or if you've ever slept with your best friend's fiance and want to see how that whole saga could potentially play out. Originally I wasn't going to read the sequel to Borrowed, especially once I found out it was about a character I was less than fond of. But as it turns out, I'd recommend Blue too. Especially if you love to see someone you don't like get crapped all over and then try to redeem herself.

Up Next: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

In keeping with the "time for a change" theme, it's time I take a step away from the Bestsellers and "Now a Major Motion Picture!" types and take a risk on a bit of an unknown. Recommended to me by my friendly neighbourhood Sony Reader Store, I thought I'd take a chance. I'm looking to shake up my life so it's time to put down the rom-com chick lit, and pick up a fantasy romance... Maybe not a huge departure for me, but sometimes it's best to take baby steps. Anyway, I'm told (or I've read) that it's about a breath-taking circus only open at night (see: the title), but "at the center of The Night Circus spectacle are two specially gifted young magicians, Celia and Marco, pitted against each other in professional competition, drawn towards one another in love." The mixed reviews I've read about this novel make me anxious to get started and see for myself if it's "A novel so magical that there is no escaping its spell..." or if it's as disjointed, slow, and indulgent as some other bloggers suggest. Happy Reading?