Grateful for Internet Connection

It has been strange not having my husband around. After living with a person for just over 19 years, you get used to seeing them everyday day and always having someone around to talk to. Even conversation at the dinner table has been a little different.

Last weekend, my husband had the opportunity to contact us over Facebook messenger. The communication began with texting, and then we managed to have an audio-visual connection. It was good to see his face – he looked a lot better than the last time we had managed to connect. I could see that he was happy to see his family as well, judging by his large smile. Another week and a half and then we will see him in person.

This week I am grateful for an internet connection as it has allowed myself and my family to keep in contact with my husband while he is away.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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Book Review: Sofie and Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg

I picked up the ARC for Sofie and Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg at the OLA Super Conference. The blurb on the back of the book intrigued me as it promised to introduce me to the lives of celebrated Swedish artists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn. What interested me even more was that the author chose to focus on the rich stories of the wives of these well-known men: the restlessly creative Sofie Olsson and the fiercely private curator Cecilia Vogt.

The book gives detail about art, design, European history, sexual politics, country life, and the salons of Sweden. In addition, Ashenburg weaves within her story a rich tapestry of female friendship that unfolds in unexpected ways over a lifetime.

While reading the novel – especially the first half during the description of Sofie’s life – I learned at lot about how women artists were regarded in Europe in the 1800s. Women were expected to give up their art once married. In addition, they were expected to focus on the more ‘genteel’ subjects (which did not include painting/drawing the human form). While reading the novel, I could not help by think of my daughter who plans to be an artist.

The novel is beautifully written. The description of the women’s lives is told with clarity. This read is not a fast-paced one and is instead a literary type of book that causes the reader to reflect a little on the role of women in society during the time period described. It took me a while to become invested in the story but my interest was maintained due to the subject matter and the author’s indirect comment on women artists during this time period.

This historical novel is the perfect story for those who enjoy reading a little about a time period far from our current one. It is a slow read but one that is worth investing in.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

Do you enjoy reading historical novels depicting artists?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 35th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Music Monday: For Me Formidable

This week is our year-end concert and the school is in a flurry of preparation. My class have been practicing their song and dance steps every week for months now and I am hoping that they know it well enough not to get stage fright when they perform in the high school auditorium on Wednesday. The song they will be singing is For Me Formidable as sung by Charles Aznavour.

The dance that has been choreographed to go with it is perfect for this song and I am sure it will wow the parents. As for me, I will be pleased to no longer have this song running in my head.  🙂

Do you enjoy listening to old style songs?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Weekend Coffee Share: Beginning to Wrap Up

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather for the last week has been perfect – not too hot and not too cold. This morning the air outside is refreshingly cool and has the potential to be hot and muggy. By then all my chores will be done and I will be able to do a little bit of relaxing  and reading.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am taking things slowly in class. I have finished the curriculum and all the planned activities that will be reported on in the report cards. Now what I will do with my class are fun learning activities. During this upcoming week three of my students are leaving before the end of the school year to go on vacation and I am therefore getting all their work together so that it can go home before they leave for their planned trips. We will also have the class party a week before I normally would hold it as I want to wish them all well for the upcoming year – as well as give them their gift.

In addition to gathering all of my students’ work, I have started taking down things from my walls and putting items away in the cupboards. I was told on Thursday that my classroom will be used during the Summer for a Summer camp so it is important that the room be tidied and ready for another person to use by the 29 June. The downside to this is that my task needs to be done in 2 weeks; the upside is that I will be forced to finish on time and not linger over the tidying in the first week of our break.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my family is missing the father of our tribe. We managed to speak to my husband last night and it was nice to see his face and hear him laugh. Sigh … another 2 weeks and then we will all be back together again. At least for a while.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am going to have a busy week. My report cards will be returned and I will make the corrections; the school concert is happening; and I will be tidying my room. The children are excited that the Summer vacation is almost here – and the teachers are looking forward to the break and the chance to rest and connect with their families. There is quite a buzz in the school at the moment.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead. May it be filled with sunshine and smiles.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Book Review: Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

When I picked up Jennif Weiner’s Goodnight Nobody, I dimly recalled reading one of her novels but could not remember the story. Reading the blurb on the back of this one, I was interested enough to turn the first page. The main character in the story is Kate Klein, a mother of three, who finds herself living in suburbia. Her once-loving husband is hardly ever home, the supermommies on the playground snub her, and her days are spent with three children under the age if five. A fellow mother is murdered and Katie launches an unofficial investigation – from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays when the children are at nursery school.

The blurb promised not only a story of investigation, but also a tale that considers the choices that all modern women make as they navigate between independence and marriage, being a mother and having a life of one’s own. The promise, however, was not delivered.

Goodnight Nobody skates on the surface of the above-mentioned themes. The marriage problems between Kate and Ben, her husband, are hinted at but never addressed.  The reader is told that Kate feels to be an incompetent mother – but these feelings are not explored. Even the investigation seems pedantic. And the solution is arrived at by Kate suddenly with with no suggestion as to why she makes the connection between events and the person she suspects to be the murderer.

Reading the appendix to the book, I learned that this novel was Weiner’s first attempt at a novel of this genre. And it shows. Goodnight Nobody  is not a novel I would recommend to readers who enjoy detective stories or novels that explore more deeply the female experience.

I gave the novel ⭐⭐ 2 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read any of Jennifer Weiner’s novels? What did you think?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 34th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Work for Life

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

Looking out through the window, I felt a desire to go out into the sun and admire the life that teemed in our garden. Time, however, was of the essence. I had chopped, boiled, stirred, sieved and blended the ingredients to form the perfect paste. The aroma had seeped into every space in the room, causing a heady sensation on the edge of my brain. The batch was almost ready and my contact would collect the jars within three hours. Soon my sought after product would be found on the streets of the city. Everyone wished to extend their life.

Would you want to extend your life?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)

Grateful for IMAX Showing

As a teacher, I was invited by the Ontario Science Centre to a viewing of their new IMAX films: Pandas and Oceans: Our Blue Planet. The event took place last week Wednesday evening after the Science Centre had closed for the day. Once I had checked in and the doors to the cinema had opened, I found a seat and settled in to experience an IMAX film for the first time.

What an experience! Not only was the documentary interesting, but the experience too was astounding. I felt like I was in the mountainous forests in China, and in the depths of the ocean. The experience was unlike anything I had ever seen.

This week I am grateful for the teacher opportunity given to me by the Ontario Science Centre. Next year when I am planning my Science units, I will definitely have a look to see what times these films are showing. I think my students would love the experience.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: May 2018

During the month of May, I managed to read 7 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bring my total for read books this year to 33 books.

The titles in March are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. The Second Sister by Claire Kendal – psychological thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  2. Something Blue Emily Giffin – women’s fiction, romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  3. 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly – thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  4. The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith. – historical fiction, women’s fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  5. Rosie Coloured Glasses by Brianna Wolfson – women’s fiction, coming-of-age fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  6. Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner – thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  7. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King – horror fiction, science fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

I have so many favourites from the month of May. I loved the Kings novel, Sleeping Beauties. I cried when I read Rosie Coloured Glasses. I gnawed my nails when I read The Second Sister. My favourite novel, however, was The Dutch Wife. I experienced a gamut of emotions while reading this story, and savoured every moment. And the best test? I will definitely reread this story in the years to come.

What was your favourite read in May? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Share Your World: Meeting with Authors

If you could choose any person from history to be your imaginary friend, who would it be and why?

Image result for charles dickensThe first person that comes to mind is Charles Dickens. I enjoy reading his stories and I admire the fact that he used to earn a living writing his tales. I would love to speak to him about his writing process and where he got his ideas for his fabulous stories.

Image result for tolkienI would also love to chat with Tolkien. The Lords of the Rings is one of my most favourite novels – I love the imagination of it, and the creation of new worlds. What a great mind filled with imagination he must have had. A conversion with him and C.S.Lewis would be extraordinary: a conversation filled with ideas and thoughts on religion and the social world order.

Image result for jane austenChatting to Jane Austen on a daily basis would also be intriguing. She had so much to say in her novels and it would be interesting to chat with her about her thoughts and the role of women in the world. She must have been an amazing woman.

60s, 70s, 80s, 90s: Which decade do you love the most and why?

I love the 80s for their music. The reason? Probably because that is the time when I was a teenager and a young adult. That period of your life is so carefree, filled with time for music and friends. Whenever a song from that time period is played, there is always a person that I am reminded of – whether it be a friend or a family member.

When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered for being kind and doing good work to help children learn. I know that I will be remembered for being a bookworm 🙂

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

During the past week, I completed my report cards. Definitely something to smile about! Today I plan to read them over before I hand them in to see if I can catch any errors. I will also decide if there are any parents that I need to see before the end of the year to discuss their child’s progress.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge). 

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

I popped into the library to renew my library card and saw Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King displayed on the fiction shelf. I have so many books at home to read but that did not stop me from picking up this Stephen King novel. The title intrigued me, as did the blurb on the inside flap of the book cover.

This story is set in a future in which the women go to sleep and become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened or the gauze is disturbed, they become feral and violent. While the women sleep, they go to another place where harmony prevails and conflict is rare. One woman, however, is immune to the sleeping disease – Eve Black. Many come to believe that she is the key to the sleeping disease. Left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into two camps: some want to kill Eve while others want to save her.

The novel is an epic tale with the stories of the various characters interwoven in the tale with mastery. The Kings explore human nature at its worst, and at its best. While reading the novel, the reader cannot help but acknowledge the truth of their insight into human nature. The various responses to the disease are realistic and mirror what we see if we observe people responding to the obstacles they face in their lives (even though they may not be as extreme as what is described in the novel).

I love Stephen King’s stories of this ilk and this book is already on my list of books to purchase and enjoy again.

I gave this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5stars on Goodreads.

Do you enjoy reading Stephen King’s novels?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 33rd in my 50 book pledge for 2018)