Monday, August 10, 2020

Magic Lessons - Book Review

Like so many of us, I was first introduced to Alice Hoffman through "Practical Magic." I was a huge fan of the movie, sought out the book, and never stopped reading. Her return to the lives of the Owens women in The Rules of Magic was lovely. And in October she'll be releasing Magic Lessons.

I love any moment when an author gives us a glint of an idea about a character, and we can wonder what the rest of the story was. Washington Irving's hints at who the Headless Horseman may have been has been on my mind for years. And Maria Owens has always been that for me as well. Hinted at in Practical Magic with just a few references to the rope, and a short fanciful backstory about how she survived hanging, Maria has always felt like this overshadowing mystery behind the curse on the Owens women.

Hoffman did even more than I imagined she would, though. She has (once again) woven a tale of female empowerment inside a tale of magic and sprinkled a whole lot of history on top. This story is both timeless and timely. Like all history there are forgotten details that Hoffman fills in with this tale. And those forgotten details show how the women of yesterday relate to the women of today. How much has changed and how much remains the same. 

What I'm reading next:

Anne of Avonlea

What I'm listening to: 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Education in the Time of Covid19

 I've turned to Facebook recently, with long posts on current events, and it strikes me that I may not always have Facebook to record those things. I should start posting such musings here, as well as getting back to my regular book reviews. 

So, today, some musings on education in a pandemic: 

On 9/11/01 I was in class writing notes to Nina and Venus in Elvish. We had been reading The Hobbit. Someone knocked on the door and told the teacher what happened. He came back in. He told us. He turned on the television. The rest of the day is a blur to me, but I know I spent a large chunk of the day in the music room with the other band and theater geeks, watching the news. The curriculum was put on hold because tragic history was unfolding before our eyes. We watched as over 2,000 people died.

We didn't fully return to math tests and The Hobbit for a few days afterward, because it wasn't possible. We spent class time talking about what had happened, what was still unfolding. The world was different. We were different. We were learning, but we were learning other things. We were learning about heroes, we were learning about mortality, we were learning about the importance of each breath.

So far, 160,000 people have died of Covid19 in America. People are dying today of Covid19. This minute, as I write this. And our children are around us, learning. They are learning about how we can respect others through the use of a mask, they are learning about how important it is to savor the hugs we can get, and they are learning that they are resilient, and can survive heartbreak and loss.

I know you want your children's education to continue, and I know parents need to be able to work and having public schools open is a huge part of that. But you can't look at the world today and think that we can make it look like the world one year ago. It isn't the same world. And learning doesn't happen in the same way in this world as it did in the world of 2019. We can't just go back. There is no going back. There is no perfect solution, only the solutions that will allow us to survive.

We have to stop seeking the world that was, and focus our energy on surviving in the world that is.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Daughter of the White River - Audiobook Review

Ten years ago I was lucky enough to be invited to an S.J. Tucker house concert in Salem, Massachusetts. I had been a fan for a few years by that point, and it was a magical night of music and good company.

A picture of me looking really weird and super nervous.

S.J. Tucker’s music has this wonderful, faery charm and I can’t stress enough how good it is. Each album has its own sound, and purpose. Some are more spiritual and pagan-focused, others play a different direction, but every one of them is good.

When I heard Sooj had recorded an audiobook I had to jump on that. Then I found out it was a true crime story about an incredibly complicated woman who exacted revenge on the man who killed her father and I was even more excited. 

Daughter of the White River by Denise White Parkinson is like a roller-coaster, in all the best ways. From soft, tranquil moments of southern charm, to wild, heart-racing murder and prison escapes, this story has everything a true crime fan could want.

Parkinson offers us a story of crime and poverty that begs us to question what we view as justice. 

S.J. Tucker’s reading performance is beautiful and soothing. I hope I can experience many more audiobooks read by her. 

What I’m reading next:

Another book I recently read and loved:

(I have loved this entire series.) 

What are you reading? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Gloria Steinem - Women’s History Month

Alright, so today’s woman isn’t an unknown feminist. In fact, she’s probably one of the most well-known feminists in history. But she’s always worth a closer look, in my opinion.

Ten Gloria Steinem Facts That Will Make You Love Her Even More

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Catching Up on Women’s History Month

Things got a little behind so here’s a few women in one post for you!

First, the Notorious RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has moved women forward legally for decades. She saw the long-game from the start. I highly suggest the recent documentary about her, RBG.

Of course, there are a thousand other places to find info about this incredible woman, but it’s just a really good film.

Next, let’s stick with the SCOTUS thing. Judge Sonia Sotomayer was the first latina judge appointed to the Supreme Court. Read more about her.

Frida Kahlo is always worth a look. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing she is. The most notable thing for me, though, is that all my friends know who Frida Kahlo is. I’m not sure many of them could name her husband, even though when they were alive he was the celebrity, and she was seen as his “little wife” who dabbled in art.

Jovita Idar was a journalist, a Mexican-American activist and supporter of women’s rights.

Lilian Bland was the first woman to design and build an airplane and she’s pretty amazing!

Alright, hope that was a good makeup for the few days I took off. Who are you learning about this month?