Friday, March 23, 2018

Book Reviews: Korean Folktales

So I mentioned the other day about finding some fun Asian folktales, Chinese and Korean, at the library and how I was looking forward to them. These two were very short tales, told in a picture book form. Here's what I thought about each of them:

Older Brother, Younger Brothers retold by Nina Jaffe

From what I understand, this one is a very old, very well known story told to everyone in Korea (even North I know since the boy in that recent book I read referred to this story many times) and probably other Asian countries. It reminded me a little bit of the Prodigal Son from the bible, except that the "bad" son is a brother and comes begging back home to the other brother and not the father.

The story is about two brothers who have very different personalities. (I guess this could be kinda like Cain and Able too actually.) One is loving and kind and generous. The other is selfish and mean and spiteful. When the dad dies, the older mean brother brother takes the house and kicks his younger brother out.

So the younger brother finds a new place to live and struggles and grows and learns. He is nice to a wounded bird, and later, that bird comes back and rewards him with many riches.

When the younger brother learns about this, he figures he can do the same thing. So he hurts a bird, then fixes it and then sits back to wait for his reward. Only instead he gets bad fortune. Terrible things happen. And he and his family lose everything. So he has to go begging to his brother.

Of course the younger brother takes him and welcomes him with open arms. The older brother finally sees his terrible ways and vows to do better, which he does and they live happily ever after.

I'm sure kids are told this story and learn a ton of lessons from it! Karma being one I'd think. Forgiveness. You reap what you sew. All sorts of lessons!

The Princess and the Beggar retold by Anne Sibley O'brien

This is the story of a royal family, with a princess who always seemed to be crying. She was called The Weeping Princess. But in fact, she just felt a lot of sympathy for those around her. Especially one day when she saw the local beggar boy being harassed in town. She felt so bad for him. This boy was eventually banned to live in the forests outside of town and people sat around and told stories about him.

When the Princess continued to cry over every little thing, her dad the King joked that he might just have to marry her off to the Idiot in the forest. The joke got around and everyone teased her relentlessly.

Then one day she was to be married off to another kingdom. She knew she wouldn't be even a little bit happy. So she refused. Her dad was so mad and tried to force her to obey. She said "I would rather be married to the Idiot!" And so the king made it so and banished his daughter.

When she went to the forest, the Idiot (his name was Ondal by the way) found her and asked her why she was there.  When he learned she was there to "marry" him, he thought he was being mocked. But then he realized she was for real. He was very nice then and they become friends and partners. She taught him a ton of things and he learned fast. Of course, he was not an idiot at all.

Gradually, they became brave enough and one day they decided to go back to the town to the festival. She managed to convince him to compete in the games and guess what, he won! And now everyone had to know who he was!

Imagine everyone's surprise when they found out he was the "idiot" and had learned everything from his new wife, the weeping princess! The king decided to welcome them back but they said no thanks and stayed living in the forest, only coming to visit and help the kingdom now and then.

I loved this story and could see all the potential romance and sweetness. And another tale of forgiveness too. I think it would make a great drama or a YA story. I wonder if someone has already thought the same thing?

Lovely lovely stories. I'm so glad I thought to check out the folktale section at the library! I always forget it even exists! I might have to see what else it hides...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Anne of Green Gables RAL Part 2: Chapters 14 to 26

How's the reading going everyone? Are you keeping up with us? Please be sure to visit Kami's Library Thoughts today for the discussion of part 2.. the middle! Later tonight be sure to come hangout on Twitter at 7 pm MDT for more discussion. #GreenGablesRAL

I am continuing to love this re-read. Dying for more Gilbert though (see my answer below.) I find it interesting that the loveliness of this book maintains its loveliness and doesn't seem to seep into the realm of sappiness. Know what I mean? Well, I guess for some it could, but for me, it doesn't. I was worried that it might for me this re-read, but thankfully, I'm not there yet.

Okay, without further ramblings, here are my answers to Kami's questions:

1. Anne has a gift for loving nature in all its forms, she even gives them delightful names. Do you find yourself appreciating nature more as you read this?

I don't know that I appreciate it more since I do appreciate it quite a bit, but the picture she and the author paints of nature is quite a beautiful one. Everything is so perfect! Is it really like that there? 

2. We have finally met Gilbert! What do you think of him? Do you think Anne is justified in hating him so much?

Ah! I LOVE HIM! He is the best. But man, I want more... MORE MORE GILBERT PLEASE! I keep waiting for the next incident to happen and I'm getting worried maybe it's in the second book? I know he is much much more in the second book and now I might need to keep up on the re-read into that book just for him.

I see why she is so mad, but... it hurts more because she likes him. Right? One thing I had forgotten was how fast he apologizes after the "carrots" comment. He really is a nice boy at heart and man, I'm sure he so regrets this first impression he made on her! As a reader, I for one am ready for her to be done with being mad... but... sigh. It's going to take awhile. Poor Gilbert. 

3. Anne's imagination finally got the better of her in the Haunted Wood. Do you think she learned anything from that experience? Do you think she'll tone down the imagination a bit?

This little moment was very funny. I doubt she will tone anything down though. It's just not going to happen! She can't really control her imagination. It's awesome.

4. What do you think of Diana and the other school girls? Do you think Anne chose wisely for her bosom friend?

Diana is a great bosom friend. I feel that Anne can easily control her though, which maybe is why it works out so well? All the rest of the girls seem nice enough. I keep imagining a Nelly Olsen type girl from Little House on the Prairie to emerge, but so far, all seems well!

5. I've always dreamed of visiting Prince Edward Island some day. Do you want to visit there also? What other real life literature places do you want to visit?

Yes. I've always always wanted to. I need to see if it's as beautiful as this book makes it out to be!  It really would be so fun to see all these places in real life. (According to the other book I have on hand, everything is inspired by real life places most/all of which one can go visit, I think.)

Other literature places? I've been lucky enough to see a bunch already!  I got to see the Charles Bridge in Prague just last year, as featured in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I drove through the moors as talked about in Wuthering Heights. (It was just as spooky as described!) In England we saw lots of literature places (Bath at that Crescent street where Anne runs to find Capt. Wentworth!) but one place we skipped was driving over to Cornwall. Ah... NEXT TIME! That area is featured in tons of books and I need to see it!  In Paris we saw so many places referred to in A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's a bit surreal actually, to be there and imagine these stories (and the real life events they are based on ) happening!

See you tonight at the chat!!! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Blogging Slumps

Tomorrow for Bloggiesta's Twitter chat, I'll be hosting a conversation about pushing through the blogging slumps. Please join us even if you aren't participating in Bloggiesta! I want to have a fun and energetic discussion about this since I know many of us are suffering!

It will be at 8 pm EDT/6 PM MDT... use the hashtag #Bloggiesta and you'll find us!

To get you thinking, I thought I'd start the discussion right here right now!

This past week I've reached my 11th year of blogging... well, book blogging that is. I had another blog for a year before that which eventually died when the book blog became the main place. So let's say 12 years. Many of you have blogged for even longer, I know. During all this time, I never thought I'd get tired of it. I figured I could talk about books forever and ever! I also never thought new and exciting other passions would take over.

Well, so about two years ago all those things I thought would never happen, happened. 

1. I didn't have much more to say about books and reading. For instance I felt like all the topics from Top Ten Tuesday I'd done a thousand times already. And I couldn't think of any new discussion posts on my own to throw out here either.

2. A new passion entered my life and that's all I wanted to talk about. Books suddenly took a back seat.

3. Which meant I wasn't reading as much so I didn't really have anything to review either.

4. Life just continues to get more and more complicated...having kids get older just makes things harder even than when they were younger. Just sayin'.

So between all these things, the blog suffered. But I was determined to not let it end. But, I figured that blogging isn't a matter of life and death and that it would wait for me to figure things out. So this is what I told myself:

1. You don't have to blog every day. (I had nearly been doing this for all the years.)

2. You don't have to blog only about books.(While I hadn't totally been doing this already, it was still mostly "all about books".) And since there was a new passion,  who says I can't just start blogging about that? 

3. Blogging is for fun and you can take breaks and then come back. No one is going to freak out.

4. Speaking of freaking out, the real blogging buddies will stick through the slumps with you. So hopefully worry about losing followers and such is not a thing.

It was painful though for a good long while. I felt guilty skipping days, then weeks. And almost months. I felt guilty talking about things besides books, knowing that people that came here to read and check in expected the discussion to be about books. I felt tired and lethargic just thinking about sitting down and writing something to post. I felt like everything was boring with regard to the blog.

It's been a sad time.

And I'm not totally sure it's over. But I feel like that after more than two years of slumping, I can see the light again, for this blog. I feel more energetic again. I'm reading more again. I'm not caring so much about what I post and telling myself that it's my blog and I can post whatever I want on it. I can change it's direction throughout it's lifetime as much as I want and as often as I want. I can try to recruit new readers that match that new content. Or not. And, I can have readers and followers that enjoy some or all of things I do.

And so it's all okay.

So at this point, I don't see the blog ending anytime soon. But I can't promise anything about what the future holds for it! Who knows what direction it will take? The possibilities are endless!

And now I want to know:

What struggles have you had with blogging? Have you gone through some of the same issues and thought processes that I have? Do you get blog guilt sometimes and feel like you owe people something? Let me know how you've struggled and how you've gotten through it! Or if you still are suffering, let me know what's up and how we as a community can help!

Comment here, and/or  if you can, please join us tomorrow at 8 PM EDT on Twitter (#Bloggiesta)  to talk more and see what others have to say!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Movie Review: Black Panther

Movie: Black Panther
Genre: Superhero fantasy
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
My Rating: Two thumbs up

Well, I'm not much of a comic person/fan, but usually I know a little about the superhero in question when I go to one of these movies. This one, however, I knew NOTHING. So the whole story was totally new to me. And I quite enjoyed it!

For those who are like me and haven't a clue, this is the story about a hidden city in Africa who has advanced in technology way ahead of the rest of the world. But they hide it and keep it all to themselves... to protect their people and society.

But then they are infiltrated by a dude who claims to be one of their sons and so has the right to be on the throne. (Whoever is king of this place also gets to have the power of the Black Panther.) And he has plans of revenge against the whole world and wants to use their power to destroy EVERYONE. He is one angry young man.

The movie was awesome in special effects and music and all the great things we expect from a superhero movie. The actors where awesome... I enjoyed the two "Tolkein"white guys. (That joke has gotten around right?) Martin Freeman is a favorite for sure. I knew I recognized the general, I think was her role, and only afterwards realized why... Mishonne from The Walking Dead! I also especially enjoyed the sister. She was fabulous!

The stars. They are all so freaking beautiful. 

Their accents were a little hard to understand. I needed subtitles, lol. I'm so used to them these days. I felt so at home when they went to Busan and bam, there were my subtitles! But hearing them speak Korean with their accents was...very interesting! LOL. I loved it. Did they really film in Busan? Because that was awesome if so.

Anyway, it was a fun movie. Very engaging and entertaining. Marvel you've done it again.

Here's the trailer:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★☆

I've been looking forward to reading this one all year! And finally it came up on our book club list. Finally.

But, I was put off right from the start when the main character was described as being 59 and then proceeding to act much older than that. I'm all like, 59 ain't that old, you know? And people who are 59 aren't THAT computer illiterate. In fact, they are the ones, I thought, that brought the computers to the masses. Don't make a 59 year old computer stupid!

Anyway... but it got better... lol.

Still, I had to picture this character more like 69 or 70 for what he was saying and doing to make sense in my head. Because guys, 59 just isn't that old these days.

Anyway, it was a bit of a sad story in that this guy is missing his wife like crazy and he kinda sorta wants to die. But he kinda sorta doesn't want to either. So when he gets new neighbors that both irritate the crap out of him, and yet become endearing to him too... he starts to see life a little differently.

And that's the beautiful thing about this book. How making simple connections and helping the people around you, even if they make you crazy, is what makes you want to keep living.

In the end, I quite loved this book and its message. How people that at first seem so different can come together and be a sort of family. And how no matter how ornery this old guy is, he can still be loved and he still has a ton to contribute to the world and to those around him.

Yes. It's a great story. Read it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


It's already time for another Bloggiesta! The annual week long spring cleaning event! It starts tomorrow and goes through Sunday. I don't have a whole lot of things I want to do but there are things I SHOULD do! I'm looking at my list from last time and I plan to just pick up where I left off:

  • Archive lists...I started this last time but didn't finish. Let's see if I can totally catch this little, ugh, task up!
  • I fixed my social media icons last time, but it looks like it needs fixing again. 
  • Maybe try to tackle some email mess. 
  • Think up some discussion post ideas 
  • Do some housekeeping on the YouTube channel messiness, organize files, and etc.
  • Participate and HOST a twitter chat. Yes, please join me for my chat on Thursday at 8 PM EDT! We'll be talking about how to push through a blogging slump! #Bloggiesta on Twitter. :)
  • Get some review posts written and scheduled.
  • Edit videos.

Will you be joining the fun? What things do you need to do with your blog/channel/website? Let's do it together this week! Check out all the info here and link up with your to do list!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Our Book Club Schedule 2018-2019

We've just finished up the voting process for the book club and here's what ended up on the list:

June 2018: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
July 2018: Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
August 2018: Summerlost by Ally Condie
September 2018: The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
October 2018: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
November 2018: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
December 2018: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
January 2019:  Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
February 2019:  The Marriage Bureau by Penrose Halson
March 2019: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
April 2019: The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

May 2019: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

What do you think? Have you read a bunch of them? Do we we have much to look forward to? I think so!!


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