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Search tags: slice-of-life
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review 2017-06-15 23:48
Granpa, tell me about when you were little
Boy: Tales of Childhood - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

What a great biographic piece. Dahl is an excellent story teller, and puts that to use: he doesn't waste pages in the minutia, or get scared of leaving swathes of time undressed, but picks the bits he wants to tell about his early life, because they are important, interesting, colorful, defining. It turns into a very entertaining read.

It paints a picture of a time. I was impressed by his mother courage and strength (and humor, and mettle, and pragmatism... she comes across as one awesome lady), horrified by much of the sadism involved in his education, and somewhat enlightened on the reasons for his often irreverent characters.

I laughed a lot. There is humor inside every part, from the comfort of hindsight, fondness of remembrance, matter-of-fact way harrowing or ridiculous situations are described, or dry irony.

I plain loved it.

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text 2017-06-13 02:50
Slice of Life

 

 

I didn't get a lot of reading time this weekend, in part because my younger son and I participated at the in-house tournament at our Kempo school.  I placed 3rd in "Moves" (short set-pieces that are designed to be turned into take-downs with a partner) and 2nd in Kata (forms).  While there are a few adult-only classes, because of scheduling, I typically train in a mixed class of folks from age 13 on up, (including my son).  

 

I'm proud of my placement in forms, where I was completing against 2 High School level black belts (in fact they had just tested for their 2nd degree black  belt) and another mid-rank adult student.  Because this is an in-house tournament, winning isn't simply a matter of rank because we were being scored, in part, based on what is expected of your belt level.  I'm very proud that despite my simpler form, my better stances beat the teen black belt who is a powerful, canny opponent when sparring, but thinks of Kata as an after-thought and tends to be a bit sloppy.

 

 

 

  

I do feel a bit funny about my 3rd placement in Moves. They included the Middle School student in the category, so there were 6 of us.  I agree that the 1st place (one of the High School Students) clearly earned it. The other adult came in 2nd, and I came in 3rd.  None of the 7th or 8th graders placed.  I'm not sure that it was fair to compare the body control of a mature adult against youngsters who are in the awkward figuring out a new body stage (My son has grown 8 inches in 2.5 years). I made an obvious mistake (forgot a kick in something that was relatively new to me) and hope the other students use their loss to drive them to train harder rather than being so upset that they didn't win that they lose the love of martial arts.

 

 

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review 2017-06-02 19:33
Slice of life is fun to say
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life - Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Not very long ago, I saw an article that had gone viral about a woman who knew that she was going to die and she wanted to make sure that her husband found someone (it was like a dating profile but way better). The author was one that somehow hadn't made it onto my radar before this time and I couldn't help feeling thankful that I had found her even though it was under very tragic circumstances. You might have guessed who I was talking about at this point but just in case it was Amy Krouse Rosenthal and the article I'm talking about can be found here. Ten days after the article was published she passed away. It turns out that not only was she a prolific writer of children's books but she also wrote for adults. I thought I'd start with one of her well-known adult nonfiction pieces called Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. It's somewhere between a memoir which depicts a slice of Rosenthal's life and a quirky encyclopedia. It's one of the most unique books that I've ever read and after doing some research into the author that seems to adequately describe her. She took the events and circumstances of the year in which she wrote the book to record alphabetically (as one would do in an encyclopedia) different aspects of herself (and the world around her somewhat). For example, under the letter J you would find information about her husband, Jason, with a "See Also Husband" at the end of the entry. It was a lot of fun to dip in and out of it and learn about this totally singular individual. It's a shame that I'm late to the game discovering Amy's work but I am certainly glad that I've found her now. 9/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-04 01:31
Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen

Initial reaction: I really enjoyed this story by Sarah Dessen (and ended up buying it on a spontaneous trip to Barnes and Noble). The key metaphor throughout the book really resonated with me and I enjoyed reading the narrative through Ruby's voice. Though I'd probably give this book 3.5 stars overall because there were certain emotional moments that I think would've hit home more if they'd been given more room to be showcased.

Full review:

Sarah Dessen does such a great job getting into the lives of her characters, it's hard not to be drawn into their experiences regardless of the myriad of circumstances they might find themselves within. "Lock and Key" proves no exception to that, though I'll admit I kept feeling even as I finished the novel that I wanted to sink my teeth into the conflict and lives of the characters just a little bit more. But only a little, because it still held my attention and interest through the entire story.

Ruby is a young woman who's been on the run with her mother for a significant part of her life. There used to be a time when Ruby shared a close bond with her sister Cora despite her mother's flights of fancy and abrasiveness. When Cora moves off to college, Ruby thinks the bond is broken as she's forgotten them entirely. Ruby doesn't see this as a problem, she's used to taking care of herself and having to do things for herself and her mother, yet it takes the intervention of a landlord and some dire circumstances (including a stretch in which Ruby's mother doesn't return to their fractured home) to necessitate Ruby being taken into custody and sent away to live with Cora, long thought lost. Ruby isn't exactly welcoming to the change. She's close to being 18, ready to run away at a moment's notice. But she realizes that the environment around her might be the key to her opening up and finding roots in her life after all.

I really enjoyed reading from Ruby's perspective. She can be funny and spontaneous, but I think seeing her character grow throughout the novel brought the most rewarding experience for me throughout this work. She really makes you feel for her situation and I understood why she acted the way she did in the beginnings of the book. I also liked the fact that she came to see on her own terms why her own actions and missteps were wrong, not just from her interactions with the other characters in the book, but from observing the lives of the other characters situations (i.e. Nate's, whose circumstances hit home with me as well) and how they mirrored to her own. The other characters were great to watch unfold in the overarching story as well. I definitely liked the relationship between Ruby and Cora (heck, I would've loved more of those moments), and Nate and Ruby's relationship had some great moments as well. Dessen tackled a lot of difficult issues in this book, yet there were some moments that felt summarized and lacked as much emotional connectivity as some of her other books (i.e. "Dreamland" and "The Truth About Forever") that I was hoping for. I felt like I couldn't really sink my teeth into the experience despite the coming to terms for the characters. The key metaphor carried throughout the book was a good one, and I liked how it came full circle in the end.

It's a book of Dessen's I enjoyed - probably not my favorite in her bibliography, but still a memorable one and well worth reading.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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review 2017-04-20 19:12
*pleased sigh*
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - Jacqueline Kelly

How could I have neglected this book so long! I have found me a new all time favourite. You have no idea how lucky you are that most of the time I was too entertained to post. I have saved quotes at the rate of one-a-chapter, and I was trying to be conservative.

 

I read, and I kept researching things mentioned, from taxonomy to music or history, and having a blast through-out. I couldn't stop laughing, even during the turkey debacle (there was something inherently funny in that tragedy of childhood).

 

“Why do you want a donkey?” said Harry.
“Because I don’t think people eat donkeys. Do they?”

 

The thought that I have to get my mom to read this poped continously too. Mom is a school librarian, and has a project going where she narrates to the kids in a bi-weekly basis. Lending is at an all-time hight since it started. They discuss a lot of what she reads them in a free way, and they come up with the most interesting questions and observations. They also end up researching a lot on their own, (or plain finish the book in a weekend) since there's no obligation *snickers*. Now imagine what this book could spawn. I pestered her on the phone the whole morning (whenever I surfaced from the pages, that is).

 

There are some narrow anachronisms in general, and I reckon there must be more in particular for the region, since the author apologises in the note at the end. But really? Like one can place every bit acuratedly on ones own timeline. And no child is that aware of herself and her place in the world (hell, most adults aren't that awere of themselves), but while many observations might be too clearly worded, they still ring true to some memories of childhood impressions. Children instincts are an uncanny thing.

 

So, is it imperfect? I really couldn't tell you, since after reading six glorious months on the life of this child, my only true complain is that I wanted more when I got to the end. More pages, more time with her, more of and for her future.

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