Top Five Reasons I Love Reading

I came across this wonderful bookish challenge hosted by Bionic Book Worm in which I knew I had to participate. Every Tuesday we are challenged to write the top 5 of a particular topic. I look forward to participating as well as reading everyone’s contributions.

Reading is a pleasure for me that I discovered when young. I remember spending hours lying on my bed or under the trees in our garden reading. But why do I love it so much?

I am able to visit and explore other worlds

From the moment I was able to read independently, I visited the fantasy world of The Folk of the Faraway Tree, countries across the seas in Europe and America, and even the worlds upon ships. I went back in time to the period of Little Women and into the future when I read Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction novels. From the moment I immersed myself in a book, I was no longer the child growing up during Apartheid South Africa, but an explorer of new places. Today I enjoy reading for the same reason. As an adult, I am able to visit cities and towns (in the past and present) that I have not explored and occasionally revisit a place that i have seen with my own eyes.

I am able to go on adventures

When I was a child, I went on adventures with The Famous Five or even The Secret Seven (Enid Blyton’s adventure stories were my favourite). Now I go on adventures in fantasy worlds, and even in modern day cities. I may be a detective, or a woman living a different life, or even a swordsman. I love the imagination that reading unlocks, and the entry it gives into a creative mind.

I am able to relax and sweep away the tensions of the day

The best novel will take me away from my current life for a while. With reading, I am able to forget – for a moment – my responsibilities and the expectations of others. It is a little like hitting the pause button. One of my best moments after a working day filled with the voices of young children, is to put my feet up and read for at least half an hour while drinking a cup of tea. My favourite way to relax and recuperate over the weekend is to read on the sofa during those early hours when the rest of my family are still asleep.

I am able to learn new things

From time to time I read non-fiction, but I am able to learn learn things from fiction as well. I may learn of the customs and habits of a community described in a novel that is unknown to me. Or, if I am reading a story set back in history, I am learning about that period of time. I have also learned modern colloquialisms while reading. In addition, reading books has allowed me to explore new genres and sub-genres.

I am able to learn of other people’s thoughts and ideas

A good novel will also have a subtle commentary on the society we currently live in, or have in the past. Many of the Young adult novels I have read during the past year do have this characteristic which is why I believe adults read them as well. A good fantasy novel definitely has social commentary mixed in and, integrated with good writing and an excellent storyline, will immediately capture my interest.

These are the top 5 reasons why I love reading. As I go through the day, I am sure I will think of more. These are the reasons, however, that drew me into reading; and these are the reasons why I continue with this habit.

Why do you enjoy reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Bionic Book Worm and the Top 5 Tuesday challenge. This week we are listing the top 5 reasons why we love reading). 

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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.)

Music Monday: Can You Imagine That?

Our family loves Mary Poppins, so we all had to go watch Mary Poppins Returns together. I remember many afternoons watching the original film with my children. Did I say many? I meant every! My girls loved the story and the songs so much. They would often burst into song pretending that they were singing along with the famous nanny. When we moved from South Africa to Canada, Mary Poppins was the first DVD that I bought for them as they missed watching the film. The memories of Julie Andrews’ portrayal of the character was fantastic – and I enjoyed Dick van Dyke’s role as the chimney sweep as well.

I was happy to see that the new film, Mary Poppins Returns, was also a musical. One of the songs I enjoyed was Can you Imagine That?

It reminded me a little of the scene in Mary Poppins when she takes things out of her bag to set up her bedroom. As with this song, there were many other references to the original film. We came out of the cinema having enjoyed the film – but we did not love it as much as the original. Maybe we just need to watch it a few more times?

Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns yet?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 201

Weekend Coffee Share: Tidying Up

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would welcome you in quickly from the cold. The temperatures here have dropped quite rapidly: Tuesday I was overdressed and felt too warm the entire day but that changed on Wednesday with the colder weather. The last few days it has felt like winter, and what you would expect of January here in Toronto. We haven’t had much snow, though, just a few flurries. The snow that has managed to stick, has melted very quickly. I do miss having snow during winter as the surroundings are very grey without it – bare trees and brown grass in the parks do not brighten up the concrete buildings and sidewalks.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my day on Tuesday ended with a highlight. I attended an event organised by Frenzy Presents of Harper Collins Canada. (If you did not see my post, click here). I enjoyed the event as I always do. It was fun to go out for a little and meet another author (whose book I loved, by the way. If you want to read my review, click here). The key lime pie we ate was also very tasty. It was my first time trying it and it is definitely a pie I will eat again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I did quite a bit of organising of my students’ work. My aim this week is to write their report cards – which are due in 2 weeks time. I have been recording their results; and testing their oral, reading and writing skills. It is not an easy task as I try my best to put the correct symbols next to their name.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that by the end of the school week, I felt like I had not had a break. This is a busy time of year as we get everything sorted to write the report cards. Teachers are closeting themselves in their rooms during lunch times as they work towards the upcoming deadline. After the deadline has been achieved, things at school will be a little bit more relaxed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I foresee a busy week ahead. I know that I am going to have to focus and stick to my goals of the day so that I do not get stressed. I wish you a wonderful week ahead – may it be a stress-free one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

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

A Need to Change

PHOTO PROMPT © Priya Bajpal

Sam had been reading the notes in the gratitude jar again. Not a good sign. Ellie prepared herself for an exhausting evening of listening to him continuously criticise people and bemoan his situation in  life. By nature she was a positive person with a continuous smile on her face; but her smile was beginning to feel forced. She found herself snapping at her co-workers constantly. Her mother had expressed concern for her changing behaviours and, a year later, Ellie was beginning to accept the toxicity of her relationship with Sam. It was time to make a change.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(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.)

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.)

Music Monday: To Be Lit

During the holidays, I learned another piece of urban slang from my children while eating at the dinner table. I had previously seen this expression on cards and banners at literary events:

A Slogan of Frenzy Presents at Harper Collins Canada. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

I always thought that it was a pun referring to literary works and thought that it meant we should get reading. When speaking to my children, I came to the realization that the expression was referring, instead, to something exciting; to something that would light you up.

When attending my first exercise class after the Christmas holidays, I danced to the song No Lies by Sean Paul. Needless to say, I thought of my children when I heard the word “it’s gonna be lit tonight”. I will now always think of them when hearing this catchy tune. In addition to understanding a little more of the lyrics, the song will also remind me that I am never to old to learn new slang!

What modern phrase have you recently learned?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: A New Year

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a Happy New Year wish. A new year has begun and the last few days have rushed by. We have already wished our son well as he flew back to his new home (tears were involved); and we have spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with some lovely friends. My first book of the year has been read, and I have begun my second ( my birthday gift has to be read asap!).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am not ready to go back to work on Monday. I still feel tired (too many late nights!) and still wish to rest, relax, and read. I know that on Monday I will have to hit the ground running as our report cards are due in a couple of weeks. January is a stressful time of year for me as I will have to test the children during two weeks so that I can place the appropriate grades below their names.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is unseasonably mild outside for this time of year. The days have been very grey and cloudy, yet we have been able to walk outside without a hat. We did have some snow fall overnight but, within a day, the white covering on the surfaces had melted. The weather forecast for the first week back at school is mild. I am wondering whether we will experience a lot of cold this winter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I put on the usual 2kgs over the Christmas break. The overeating on sugar as well as the sedentary days have led to the weight gain. I know that I will have to work hard to lose what I have gained. The bonus will be getting back into my routine of healthy eating and better food choices. Next year I need to make the decision not to buy store bought cookies and candies – and not binge on cheeses, pastries, and crisps.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you well for the second week of 2019. Make it a good one!

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)

A Need for Action

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

The arid landscape was drawing closer every month. The community felt unsettled as fear eroded their complacency and impassiveness. Men and women of Hope had believed their land would remain the anomaly, but the reality was that the parasitic outsiders were slowly decimating their ecosystems. And the aliens’ greed was voracious! The humans who had survived the unexpected onslaught were compelled to band together and work as a team to take their world back. Future generations and the survival of Arcadia depended on it. People would have to stand up and fight for their birthright and what belonged to them!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(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.)