An Illustrated Version

This weekend I re-read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K.Rowling. I had read the book over a decade ago and wanted to improve my memory on some of the details as my students this year love the Harry Potter stories.

Title page. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

My re-read of this well-known story was made even more interesting because I spent time with the illustrated version of the novel. J. K. Rowling’s story has been illustrated beautifully by Jim Kay and I loved looking at the paintings  that accompany the text.

Coffee and Harry Potter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

I spent my weekend immersed in the land of Hogwarts and the world of Harry. This extra long picture book brought me so much joy. How I wish many more stories were illustrated in this way.

Relaxing on the sofa with Harry Potter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

This weekend I definitely had a smile on my face while reading. Both the story and the illustrations in my read brought a smile to my face.

Have you seen the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Advertisements

Frenzy Presents Ben Philippe

Yesterday evening I attended an event to celebrate the release of Ben Philippe’s debut novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager (you can read my review here). The event, held by Harper Collins Canada for book bloggers, took place at a pie and coffee shop in the Kensington area of Toronto. As my daughter and I walked along the street, we recognised that we had strolled along the same road during the past summer and that we had actually walked past this store front but not gone in. We walked in, curious about this venue that had been chosen by the organisers of the event.

The vibe at the venue was thrumming once everyone had arrived and we were all keen to hear Ben Philippe speak. Most of us had already read his novel and wished to learn a little more about the writer. Unfortunately he did not speak long to the large group as the venue was noisy and he could not be heard clearly. However when he personalised the copies of our books, we had the opportunity to speak to him a bit. I loved that he is enthusiastic about his story, and that he was curious how people responded to the ending. I agree with the way he ended the story, though not everyone in attendance did.

My daughter and I had a lovely evening at the event. We met new people, had the chance to meet a wonderful debut author, and had some key lime pie (which is often mentioned in the novel 🙂 )

Do you wish to read The Field Guide to the North American Teenager?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Towards a Book Hangover

It is almost time to go back to my work-week routine and, in the days leading up to waking up at 5:30am, I find myself enjoying the gift my children gave me for my birthday.

The Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

I began reading the first novel last week Thursday – that is, four days ago. Even though I had seen the film already, I found myself enjoying the humour and the little details that were not written in the screenplay. Friday evening I had to delve into the second tome of the series. And on Sunday afternoon, I could not resist cracking open the third. The story is a fun, contemporary tale that describes the craziness of the ultra rich (and makes a little fun of them).

Immersed in a trilogy. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This weekend I have read for many hours, immersing myself in Kevin Kwan’s story. It has made me smile – and encouraged me to enjoy the remaining moments of my break until I am back in the craziness of work. I was hoping to complete the tale before my Sunday bedtime. Alas! I do not think I will manage to do so.

How did you spend the last moments of your break for the Holidays?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

A Family Smile

There were so many things that made me smile this week. Besides being Christmas – a holiday during which I spend time with my family – it is also my birthday. The reason for my long-lasting smile this week is my family. Not only did my husband and children spend time with me over Christmas, but they also spent the day with me on my birthday.

Christmas began as it always does: with me spending some time on the sofa reading before my family awakes. I always enjoy this time in front of the Christmas tree. After sending Christmas messages to my family in South Africa, I relaxed a little with my current read. This year I decided to get brunch ready before waking up my husband and children. The kids are older now so they are not impatient to open the gifts. We spent a lovely time at the table chatting and catching up with our son who is visiting for a couple of weeks.

After brunch, we got ready for opening the gifts. We normally spend quite a bit of time doing this as we open the gifts one at a time and discuss what has been given. We always have a number of laughs – and this year was no different. This year I got everyone a couple of Christmas socks. Of course these were pulled on quickly to show a little Christmas spirit. I am sure the socks will be worn during the year and I will be seeing them in the wash. If not, I am sure they will be brought out again in December in the lead-up to Christmas. After gift opening, we relaxed a little and read. No-one was up to playing board games and we decided we would watch a movie after supper. We did so, and it was the end to a perfect day.

My smile continued two days later with my birthday. When I woke up, I read the messages that friends and family had sent me from all over the world. Then, of course, I spend a little time reading. Then it was time to get ready for lunch. As is tradition, my family and I went out to a buffet lunch to celebrate me being a year older. Upon entering, we were impressed with the effort the restaurant had made this year with the decorations.

The food was also delicious this year. Last year we were disappointed as some of the dishes were dry. This year, overcooked meat was not an issue. Eating out with my family and chatting with them was the best gift they could have given me. I really appreciate that they spent the time with me, especially now that they are older.

After lunch, we went to the cinema to watch Mary Poppins Returns. We had to see this show en famille as all three children had watched the movie with Julie Andrews repeatedly when they were young. They knew the songs – and even some lines! The 4pm show was popular and many families were waiting in line to enter the cinema. There were even some older people waiting in line – curious, I am sure, to see what Disney had done in this sequel of a well-loved film.

My day ended perfectly with a gift from my children – a gift w hich shows that they listen to me and know so well what I would enjoy. We watched Crazy Rich Asians togetheron Christmas Eve and I had said I needed to read the stories because I loved the film so much. Et viola! My first reads for 2019 are now waiting for me next to my bed. Today I hope to complete my current read so that I can begin this trilogy soon – though some more family time and smiles are prepared for the next couple of days.

I hope you enjoyed your Holidays as much as I did. It was definitely something to smile about!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

It Finally Arrived!

Yesterday when I got home I saw that I had bookmail. I have been waiting a couple of weeks for this parcel to arrive but with the rotating postal strike as well as online Christmas shopping, it took an age to get to my place. The parcel was sent to me by the person who runs the blogger programme at Harper Collins Canada. Not only did she send me three Young Adult books to read and review, but she also sent me an invitation to an event early next year to meet one of the authors.

Bookmail – with an invitation. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

The bookmail brought a smile to my face – as will reading the books I received (which I will be reading in the next few weeks).

weeklysmile2aDo you enjoy receiving bookmail?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Christmas Window Display

Each year the retirement home near the supermarket I go to, decorates their front window with a Christmas theme. This year, they are displaying the mail that is sent out to Santa.

I cannot help but smile each time I pass the window. The person who works on the display is definitely innovative and does a wonderful job.

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you seen any good Christmas displays in your neighbourhood?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Blooming Houseplants

Every time I walk into my bedroom during this past week, I cannot help but smile. On the chest of drawers near my window, I have a few household plants – and two of them are flowering: the African violet as well as the Christmas cactus. What a treat!

Blooming Houseplants. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

I am enjoying the colour especially as the skies outside have been grey. The blooms are perfectly timed as I can enjoy them before the Christmas decorations come out.

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileDo your houseplants flower?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

A Dancathon 4 Kids

On Saturday I attended an event that I have been looking forward to for about a month – the Spin 4 Kids dancathon organised every year by Goodlife Fitness. For three hours, we dance with our favourite instructors for Zumba, Shab’am, and Body Jam. The music was energetic, the room filled with enthusiasm, and the time passed quickly. Every 20 minutes a different instructor led the dancing while the other teachers spread themselves around the room to dance with us. The organiser had added flashing lights and, with the overhead lights off, it truly felt like a party. Prizes were drawn every hour and I could not help but smile when I won a $50 gift card to the New  Balance store.

But what really made my day, was to see the amount of steps my body took. As a result of doing the laundry, walking to the supermarket to do grocery shopping, walking to the subway to attend the dancathon, dancing, and then going out for dinner, I managed to do the most steps my Fitbit has recorded in the last year and a half.

Now that is definitely something to smile about 🙂

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you danced for three hours with no break?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

An End of the Week Smile

Last week was super busy. I went in early to school, and came home late. Why? “Twas the season of report cards and parent interviews. By Friday I was tired but I had something to look forward to – a chance to hear David Baldacci speak,  one of my favourite authors. I was excited to hear him speak that I went out even though I was tired and it was snowing.

I was surprised at the small number of people attending the talk. I am guessing that the event was not well advertised – and that many people have other things to do on a Friday night. The people who were present, though, listened attentively as the author spoke.

He looked just as he does on the dust jackets of his many novels. He had prepared a speech and recounted many humorous anecdotes. I laughed a number of times – totally unexpected as his novels are not funny at all.

But even though he made us laugh, Baldacci was quiet and reserved during the actual book signing. Most of the author events I have been to, the authors do chat a little with the readers. This writer, however, did not feel comfortable doing so – which is surprising as he must have done so many of these events. I guess it all comes down to personality. And many writers, I believe, are quiet people at heart.

The author event was the perfect start to a busy weekend. But those smiles are for another post. 🙂

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you heard David Baldacci speak?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

A Last Minute Author Event

When I heard about Jodi Picoult coming to Toronto to speak about her latest book A Spark of Light, I was interested in attending as I have read a number of her books and enjoyed them. Her event, unfortunately was sold out. I put myself on the waiting list as someone might cancel their ticket.

The event was on Monday and I had swept it out of my mind. When checking my email during lunch, I saw that I had received a notification stating that more spaces had opened up: I quickly messaged my cousin to let him know (he enjoyed her books as well), and bought tickets. Going to the event was a bit rushed as it was last minute but I thought it would be worth it as she is a well-known and successful author.

When I arrived at the venue in the evening, I was surprised at how many people were in attendance – over 500! It is the biggest author event that I have been to. I liked that they had large screens to project the conversation to the audience. As a result I did not mind that I was at the back of the hall.

It was interesting to listen to someone who has written so many successful novels. She is very confident – and very political. To be honest, I was disappointed that she spoke so much about American politics. The election may have been the following day, but we were there to listen to her speak about her book as well as her writing process.

I am still glad I went to the event, however, as what she said will give me a better understanding of the novel when I read it.

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmileHave you read any of Jodi Picoult’s novels?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)