Bookish Thursdays: Reading With Your Child

bookish thurs 3

My son has been looking at books since he was four months old (read more about that here). My daughter is now doing the same. It is the most special time of the day to have my baby on my lap as we read the alphabet, count to ten, or flip through a cute and cuddly touch and feel board book. Or to laugh out loud at the antics of Captain Underpants as my son now proudly takes on some of the reading himself.

It is the book-lover in me and the English teacher in me that drove me to instil a love and respect for books in my son and I hope to continue that with my daughter.

There is something about reading that teaches us to slow down, to appreciate the written word and to use our imaginations in ways that modern society does not challenge us to do in our every day lives.

The importance of reading to children and babies is firmly supported by a plethora of journals, researchers, parenting websites etc etc etc.

I do not pretend to be well versed in this research – but, I do know that as a mother of two my heart is warmed by my son’s excitement when we discuss our favourite parts of a book and  my 7 month old’s little fingers grasping at her book when I say “turn the page”.

I admit that as an English teacher, I am aware of the connection between being a good reader and being able to inquire, research, deduce, create and write well. So instilling a love of books is as much about their education as it is about loving the written word. This is easy for me because I love reading. But what about those adults who don’t? If you’re at a loss for how to give your child something that you may lack, but you know is important, here are a few tips that might help:

watermarked children and books

They deprive me of sleep, push me to the borders of irrational rage, squeeze every last bit of patience out of me – but when we sit to read everything dissolves around us. My children and I willingly lose ourselves in the magic of the words and pictures.

Love for reading is a gift that will last forever. Teach it with passion. Give it with abandon. Your children will thank you.

blog sign off

Bookish Thursdays: The Husband’s Secret Fizzled Fast

bookish thurs 3

The-Husbands-Secret

Summary from Goodreads: At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read. My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died… Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret. Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

**spoiler alert: I will implicitly allude to the conclusion of the novel and John Paul’s secret**

I finished this book a while ago, so this review will not be as thorough as I normally would like.

I could not write about The Husband’s Secret right away because I strongly disliked the ending and I didn’t want to let the book’s conclusion taint the rest of it…because I actually liked the book. Until the last 2 chapters. And the epilogue. If there was one epilogue that did not need to be written…it was the epilogue to The Husband’s Secret.

I really enjoyed the three different plots in the novel and was kept intrigued about how they would finally intersect. Cecilia, Tess and Rachel’s stories were all equally compelling for me. I liked the way Moriarty brought me into her characters’ most intimate thoughts, some of them not very flattering or appropriate. This made the characters real and easier to relate to. I didn’t necessarily like all the characters though. I found Cecilia annoying with her perfect life and Rachel is a tough one because she is so (understandably) bitter that she alienates her son.

Once the secret was finally revealed…I was not all that surprised…still, what does a person do if they discover such a monumental thing about their spouse? I don’t know. Cecilia’s near nervous breakdown makes sense. And how narcissistic is this guy who believes he can cover up his actions with self-punishment? That whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” cliche screams at you throughout this novel. It makes you actually wonder about that perfect family in your own neighbourhood…what kind of secrets are they hiding?

Ok, so now what? Secret revealed. Cecilia a mess. Rachel still angry. How does Tess fit into all this? She does in a roundabout way…which bothers me because what’s the point of her plot line? Really, you could take out Tess’ entire story and the plot would pretty much remain intact…why make her such a main character when she doesn’t really fit in?

Once Cecilia begins to live a chaotic, anxious life now that she holds the secret, you know that tragedy looms. Moriarty nicely creates so much tension that the book is ready to explode. And, it does. Oh, the tragedy! The least deserving person, the most innocent person is the one who falls victim to all of these characters’ flaws, faults and sins. I was speechless.

Alright. So the secret is finally revealed and Rachel knows the truth about John Paul. Cecilia knows the truth about Rachel. John Paul and Rachel are sorry and devastated by their actions. It is gut wrenching because both Rachel and John Paul have paid a very high price for their actions, but the question remains…is it enough? Should they be punished by law or is the guilty self-hatred they carry and their self-inflicted punishments enough? I wish I could decide.  Oh and once again, what does Tess have to do with this?

The answer is kind of in the epilogue. An epilogue which could have served as an outline for a whole other novel. The purpose of it is not lost on me. Moriarty wants to show us how split second decisions can affect an entire life…how one person’s universe can become topsy-turvy because of another’s actions (lack of)…except…I don’t want to know that John Paul’s secret is not really his secret. That there were other forces at work when he acted upon his anger…really? It made everything that happened in the novel so much more tragic and to a certain degree pointless.

Would I recommend this novel? Surprisingly, yes. You would think not because I’ve written pretty negatively about the conclusion, but I didn’t feel that way until the very end. I was absorbed by these characters and plot for almost the entire novel. Their stories and conflicts really drew me in. The book is easy to read and moves quickly. And, perhaps you may appreciate Moriarty’s presentation of the way life can completely alter it’s course because of the actions (or not) of people you know and people you don’t more than I did. Any book that makes me feel this strongly about how it ends is a worthy read.

Did you read The Husband’s Secret? Would love to read your thoughts!

blog sign off

Wednesday Quotables: Being Unapologetic

Wed quotables 3

 

In the spirit of today’s post I will not apologize for my long absence from my blog. I will say that I missed it and am glad to be back.

I was scrolling through twitter this morning and found this awesome article posted by Women’s Health.

 

If you have a minute, watch the video clip. It’s not long and although it is ultimately a Pantene commercial, it still carries a pretty great message: stop saying sorry for everything! What a perfect topic for quotables. Here are some inspiring quotes about being yourself, owning yourself and being unapologetic about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t this the most wonderful message? Be you. No apologies. What a great lesson to pass along to our daughters. Hold on to your power, listen to your inner voice and proceed with confidence.

Have a great and unapologetic Wednesday!

blog sign off

Stop! And Do This Right Now.

  1. Tell your spouse you love him/her
  2. Hug your children…squeeze them, get lost in their cheeks, dive into their necks and revel in their laughter
  3. Call your mom and dad – thank them. Ask about their day.
  4. If your parents are no longer living…say a quick prayer to them, tell them what they mean to you.
  5. Repeat 3 and/or 4 with your grandparents
  6. Reach out to your sibling(s)…let them feel how great it was to grow up with them
  7. Text your friends or send out a mass email to all of your friends letting them know they are the family you chose…
  8. Thank the universe, God, the goddess, for your life, your health, the health of those you love and all of the good things that surround you
  9. Smile and give yourself a hug
  10. Eat some chocolate

Because sometimes life reminds us in the most cruel of ways that it is short. That in an instant everything can change. It is fragile and fleeting. Nowhere on my list is there a reference to work or the bank account or the kind of car in the driveway.

Stripped down to the essentials, life is not as complicated as we make it. Lighten the load and truly embrace what is important. It is far too easy to forget and ultimately, it is all that matters when we need it most.

Go ahead. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.

blog sign off

Friday Five Favourite Mom Quotes

My Friday Five Favourite Things WM

In honour of mother’s day this weekend, here are five lovely and emotional quotes and five light hearted quotes (one is not a quote, but an awesome image…bear with me) for the mom(s) in your life. If you’re a mom, celebrate! And, take a minute to smile at the privilege and joy to have children, sigh at the chaos and laugh at the little (or big) people who made you a mother.

I realize I’ve posted 10 things for my Friday Five. Moms are worth it.

Five pretty, inspiring and sentimental quotes:

 

mom day 1

 

 

But motherhood isn’t always pretty, inspiring or sentimental…four amusing quotes and one kick-ass image:

There’s no quote here, but what a great image! I picked this one because I love Wonder Woman, I have a five year old boy and a baby girl…and on most days, I feel I deserve to wear a cape because of all the shit I do. (courtesy danitoons.deviantart.com) Give her long, curly, black hair and this is literally, my life.

Have a great weekend and celebrate your mom, yourself as a mom, and all the women in your life who are mother-like.

blog sign off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookish Thursdays: Reading The Husband’s Secret

bookish thurs 3

 

I’m on chapter 20 of 59. I thought I was moving right along and then I saw that there are 59 chapters! They go by quickly, but I’ve got a lot of plot left!

from kerryannmorgan.com

from kerryannmorgan.com

The Husband’s Secret is not at all what I expected. I thought I was in for light reading, but the circumstances of these characters are anything but light.

I love Moriarty’s narration so far. It is light. It is fun and easy. Yet, her characters experience great turmoil. Moriarty cleverly blends the darkness of very painful experiences with the lightness of every day routines and idiosyncrasies. It’s almost as if she’s making light of the characters…but she isn’t.

Having said that, it took me a while to get used to her narrative voice. I was really annoyed in Chapter 1 by how long it took for Cecilia to get to the letter…it went on and on about the Berlin Wall, and the Berlin Wall was a great analogy for the events opening the novel and I guess it captured Cecilia’s character quite nicely, but still…get on with it! When that was all finally over though, I was hooked.

I hate (love) the way each chapter ends with something I really want to keep reading about and the next chapter continues the story of another character (which I remember, oh yeah, I want to know about this too!)

And, THE SECRET. Oh, the secret! I finally discovered the secret and it wasn’t a complete shocker – but I didn’t expect it to be so…well, so coldly revealed. WTF, John-Paul?!? Can you IMAGINE finding out something like THAT about your husband? I really thought Cecilia would read it before seeing John-Paul which might have made for more dramatic tension. How do you ever look at the man the same way again?

I’m also very intrigued by Tess’ storyline…why oh why do Felicity and Will have to fall in love? Isn’t there another way to get Tess to Sydney than the betrayal of her husband and cousin/best friend?

I’m racking my brain trying to tie all the plots together. Right now it’s like one of the floor puzzles I do with my son. The pieces are large and obvious but I still can’t see how they come together. It’s driving me crazy! How does Tess fit into Janie’s murder? On what level is Connor responsible? What will Cecilia do? And, poor Rachel…

So far, I’m really enjoying The Husband’s Secret and am looking forward to seeing how it all falls into place, especially now that Cecilia knows the truth. What will she do

What are your thoughts on the book? If you’ve read past Chapter 20 – no spoilers please!

I hope to have it finished by next Thursday…unless life gets in the way 🙂

blog sign off

WWW Wednesday

Weekly meme at shouldbereading.wordpress.com asks 3 questions every Wednesday. This where I’m at in my reading these days:

What are you currently reading?

The-Husbands-SecretThe Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I’ll be writing about my reading so far in tomorrow’s post, Bookish Thursdays

 

 

 

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Around Valentine’s day there were so many recommended “Swoon-worthy” reads that I had to jump in and start reading them. I’ve been reading Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series…and while they are definitely sweet and swoon-worthy, they are also leaving me a little bit troubled. I’m working on a post about this that will also be published on a Bookish Thursday soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ll probably finish the Bridgerton series or move on to The Accidental Bookclub by Jennifer Scott or The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee…not sure yet.

 

Wanna participate? Go to MizB’s blog via links above or leave comments below.

blog sign off

Ten Book Covers I’d Frame As Art

94109-toptentuesday

This week at The Broke and The Bookish the challenge is to list our top ten book covers that could be framed as pieces of art.

Sometimes I pick a book solely based on the book cover. Here are some of my favourites:

The Gargoyle of Andrew Davidson (loved this book and holds special place in my heart since it was one of my first reviews for Book Marks, read review here)

the-gargoyle-1

Insurgent by Veronica Roth – I love images of trees

9052b-insurgenthc-jkt-des4

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler – clean, crisp, cool

Paris by Edward Rutherford – because I love Paris

paris ed ruth

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton – I think I’d like this in a bathroom

forgotten_garden

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong – never read it, might read it…love the colours…

sea of shadows

Someday by Alison Mcghee – how cute for a baby’s room

someday

Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss – another cute one for baby or older child

oh the places

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – I would look at this everyday from November to April

beautiful ruins

Lydia’s Party by Margaret Hawkins – so pretty and love the contrast of the sunflowers with the snow…eating outdoors in winter?

lydia party

Your thoughts? Which book covers would you frame?

blog sign off

 

Bookish Thursdays: Up Next, The Husband’s Secret

bookish thurs 3

 

from kerryannmorgan.com

from kerryannmorgan.com

Summary from Goodreads: At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read. “My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…”

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.  Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

I cannot wait to dive into this book. Finally downloaded it to my e-reader and will start it. Today. (I hope). I don’t know much about Liane Moriarty, so I  googled her and came across her website. You can check it out here if you’re interested. She’s an Australian author. Her books are contemporary with characters and plots that are fun, interesting and thought-provoking.

I will be reviewing this in a few weeks (again, I hope). If you’re interested and would like to read along with me check back next Thursday for an update on where I am in the book, what I think of it so far and, of course, so I can read what you think of it too!

blog sign off

 

Just When…But Then…

from diynatural.com

Just when you get a chance to sit down to write…the baby cries in her crib waking from her nap much earlier than anticipated. But then she gives you that huge, toothless grin making you feel like a hero swooping in to save her from the dark.

Just when you finally get to the washroom…your 5 year old needs to talk and opens the door believing it is perfectly normal to carry on a conversation with mom while she’s on the toilet. But then he finishes that convo with “You’re my bestest mommy ever!” Wait, what? How many mommies do you have…never mind, I get it and I’ll take it.

Just when you think you might have an afternoon to watch a movie…it’s three days later and you’re still only half way through it. But then when you finally get to finish it you realize you got two movie afternoons instead of one.

Just when you’ve made yourself a steaming cup of tea…the phone rings, someone’s at the door, and it’s time to pick up your child at school…you return to iced tea. But then your child hugs you and asks that you have a snack together while he chats about his day.

Just when you grab that cable bill you’ve been meaning to get to…you realize it’s a week overdue.  But then…there’s no upside to this one except it’s only a week overdue.

Just when you’ve purchased that book you’ve been itching to read for a few months…it’s a month later and the book hasn’t left the store’s bag; it is buried under flyers and school work and all sorts of paper that life throws at you somewhere in the pile on that spot on the kitchen counter reserved for miscellaneous…which helps to explain the past due cable bill. But then that magical moment happens when hubby is out bike riding with child 1 and child 2 is napping and all is quiet and there is nothing else to do but read. Ah!

Just when there’s that beautiful sunny day…you can’t use your backyard since the swampy mess is still there because you’ve missed the landscaper’s calls because of course he always calls while you’re trying to get your baby to nap so you can get some writing time. But then that sunny day is followed by three days of rain giving the landscaper time to get to your house and figure out a game plan.

Just when you sit to watch a little mind-numbing television (or television to take away the numbing of your mind)…hubby wants to talk about work and current events and house stuff and gossip and cool places to travel or to eat…you know, normal adult stuff that your brain has trouble computing.  But then your mind wakes up a little and you remember what it’s like to be you.

Just when you think you can get a moment to yourself…it’s 9 o’clock and in your world that basically means it’s almost midnight (since you’ll be up one or two times with the baby and sleeping in has become a hazy memory of a very distant past)…it’s time to get to sleep so you can do it all over again the next day. But then the baby strangely wakes up, feeds and allows you to sleep until 6 am…almost 9 hours of sleep! Amazing. I can do anything after that much sleep!

What are your just when…but then moments?

blog sign off