The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I knew if the simple but magical, textured cover was anything to go by, I would love this book. I was right. Part fairy-tale, part tale of frontier survival, I was enchanted by both the beautiful snow child and the childless couple that she she ‘adopts’. The couple’s desperation for a child and the snow child’s yearning to be running free provided a tension which pulled through the whole book.
It is the kind of book that makes you hold your breath, waiting for the heartache. When it inevitably comes, it is softened. There is some peace. The edition I have also includes a delightful tale by Arthur Ransome which inspired Ivey’s book. Atmospheric, ethereal and emotive, this is a story that will stay with me for a while.
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Yesterday, Rich and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (which was actually on Friday but Dad’s birthday trumped our anniversary so we celebrated that instead on Friday night!). We spent the day in Stratford-upon-Avon and went to see As You Like It at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
It blew us away. The music, the production, the acting and of course the words themselves. It even made me cry a little bit.
It feels like my life is on hold until June. The workload for the course is barely manageable and I have already started dreaming of all the things I can do come the summer when I have finished my course:
- Catch up with friends – if you haven’t heard from me for a while, it’s not because I don’t care about you. I promise.
- Take Evelina to Thomasland and on other fun days out
- Sew a quilt
- Go on a fortnightly date with my husband
- Write a story
- Write regularly for my blog and sew make believe
- Go on a day trip to London to browse sewing shops
- Catch up with Community and some other TV shows I have had to give up
- Go to the cinema
- Go on two holidays (these are already booked!)
When time is so precious and work is talking over, it is very easy to stop doing the things that you love but that are not essential to your day-to-day life. For me, crafting has always been something that I love but not something that I need. So it has been something I have stopped doing at home almost completely.
On Wednesday, I went along to the sew make believe fabric bird workshop knowing I wanted to be there but thinking I ought to be marking or lesson planning. I did not go because I needed to craft but because I needed to give my support to Zoe and because I wanted to see some friendly crafter faces.
I spent an hour and a half making this bright fabric bird, using gorgeous Moda fabrics, and when I was finished, I had such a sense of calm. I felt I had actually achieved something, a feeling all to elusive at the moment as I grind my way through my course and a failed interview. I felt content and at peace. I realised I need craft.
So thank you to my sew make believe friends, thank you particularly to Zoë for all that she has done to keep this club going while I am busy trying to become a teacher and Cie is busy with her two baby boys. And thank you to craft for making me feel good despite of everything.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I knew little of this book other than it had won the Man Booker Prize and that a film had been made of it recently, directed by Ang Lee. All I could tell (and the rear cover confirmed this) that the book was about a boy, a boat and a tiger. I couldn’t quite see how this could be captivating reading. I couldn’t imagine how I would be anxious to read on. Yet, almost as soon as I had started reading, I was intrigued. I wanted to know what was going to happen with this boy on the boat. I wanted to know his story.
A big part of why this book was so captivating was the way it is written. I have read other prize-winning books and found myself wondering what I was missing. Often, the writing is too opaque, too convoluted for the sake of it, too exclusive for me to enjoy reading every night. Martel, though, writes in such a fluid and easy manner that whilst the ideas are lofty and the soul of the book is intact, the reader can gallop through and take in the story and the heart of the story.
At points, I was holding my breath. I was urging Pi to hold on (even though his survival is known to the reader right at the beginning of the book). I felt desperate for his loss, that is, his grief and his geographical loss, adrift in a seemingly endless ocean. The tiger was a character in its own right and I was emotionally invested in his survival too.
The ending was both perplexing and gratifying. I am eager to see how this book translates to the screen; just as I could not imagine this book working, I cannot really picture the film working either. I look forward to being proved wrong a second time.
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