Annyeong haseyo. How was your weekend? I’m slow to start on this book post as this past weekend zoomed by: Friday was craft night at my neighbor’s, Saturday I woke up with a sinus headache but cooked a big brunch for the ga-jok and then went back to bed, and Sunday was full of baking.
I. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
I’m making solid progress through the Harry Potter series #potterbinge as the third book was completed.
I had gotten a good chunk read during the xeroxing last Wednesday. There were points I wanted to LOL or cheer out loud but had to stifle it since I was in the school.
Due to multitasking I didn’t highlight many notes but thought these two set the mood in the beginning:
On page 49, at 11%, Harry is now a teen and so Rowling shows this childhood development as he gains a sense of independence during the last bit of his summer holiday:
It took Harry several days to get used to his strange new freedom. Never before had he been able to get up whenever he wanted to eat whatever he fancied. He could go wherever he pleased, as long as it was in Diagon Alley, and as this long cobbled street was packed with the most fascinating Wizarding shops in the world, Harry felt no desire to break his word to Fudge and stray back into the Muggle world.
And on pages 62-63, at 14%, the Weasleys are always a big part of these books. The twins’ humor makes me smile:
“What do we want to be prefects for? said George, looking revolted at the very idea. “It’d take all the fun out of life.
“You want to set a better example for your sister!” snapped Mrs. Weasley.
“Ginny’s got other brothers to set her an example, Mother,” said Percy loftily. “I’m going up to change for dinner….”
He disappeared and George heaved a sigh.
“We tried to shut him in a pyramid,” he told Harry. “But Mum spotted us.”
After finishing the last set of books and audiobooks, I was in the mood to try a new author. Boy, did I pick right!
II. The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
Known for her moving characters and emotional honesty, Mary Alice Monroe brings readers a beautifully rendered story that explores the fragile yet enduring bond between mothers and daughters.
Caretta Rutledge thought she’d left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother coming just as her own life is spinning out of control has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide “turtle lady” and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life’s most precious lessons true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven.
Before I started this book, I felt like I was internally steeling myself for some daughter/mother bickering. But it didn’t feel like that at all. I was captivated by the Isle of Palm, South Carolina. This storyline totally charmed me as I felt certain points of Monroe’s writing spoke out to me:
Now that I live away from my hometown, I feel I can relate with there being constant development underway in the city – page 18, at 2%:
So it was all the more shocking to see that the dunes she’d played on were gone, paved flat for a row of mansions that formed a wall of pastel-colored wood blocking the view of the sea and dwarfing the once oceanfront cottages across the street.
Still, some things never changed, she thought as she spied a line of pelicans flying overhead looking like a squadron of bombardiers on patrol.
As someone who grew up as what I call a “water baby” and who visited Oahu during many summers, the sound of the ocean is soothing to me – page 30, at 5%:
…she listened to the ocean’s steady, rhythmic motion, lulling her to sleep, like the gentle rocking of a mother’s arms.
Her mind floated as helplessly as a piece of driftwood through the turbulence of the past few days’ events that had sent her on this journey.
The ocean is also meditative therapy – page 78, at 15%:
It was a marvel how she couldn’t think about her problems or solutions while staring out at the sea. It was as if she’d pushed a delete button in her brain and the monitor had cleared.
Another thing I loved about this book is how the characters are brought alive – page 107, at 21%:
He had acquired their father’s gift of storytelling. It was a skill with words taught to young Southern boys that improved with age. But only a few inherited the real talent for drawing out choice details, for turning the colorful phrase and for nailing a characterization with such precision that the listener could see the person as readily as if he or she were standing before them in the flesh. The listeners leaned forward as Palmer brought to life old memories. He seemed to relive them as he spoke and brought Cara and Lovie to the past along with him.
As a woman, wife, and mother these two parts of the book resonated with me – page 127, at 25%:
“A woman’s life has so many demands because she is the axis around which so many little planets spin…
Page 136, at 27%:
“The loggerhead was steadfast as one by one more than one hundred leathery eggs slipped into the sand. While she worked, great streams of salty tears flowed down from her eyes.
A mother’s tears, Lovie thought to herself. The tears of duty, love and commitment. The tears of resignation and acceptance. And, too, the tears of abandonment. For this sea turtle would finish laying her eggs then leave the nest, never to return.
Don’t cry, Mother, she silently said to the turtle. Didn’t all mothers abandon their children at some time? Soon she, too, would leave her own children, never to return.
What did scientists know, explaining those tears away as a mere cleansing of the eye? A woman saw those turtle tears and instinctively knew that the turtle mother wept for her children. A mother knew of all the predators that awaited her young, of the swift currents that might lead them astray, of the dazzle of dangerous lights, of the complicated nets that could entangle them and of the may years of solitary swimming. She wept because she could not protect them from their fate.
I concur with this quote – page 172, at 35%:
“People always seem to be in so much of a hurry,” Lovie continued as she sat down breathlessly in the sand. “Rush, rush, rush. What are they rushing toward? Life isn’t some kind of race. We all cross the same finish line, sooner or later. You’d hate to get the end in sight and suddenly wish you’d walked rather than run, wouldn’t you?”
“Well, we are all in it together. But the winner of this race gets no prize…”
I wanna live here – pages 290-291, at 60%:
…the tables were overflowing with fried chicken, steamed crabs and shrimp, corn on the cob, pickles, all kinds of greens and salads, biscuits, four pies and two cakes.
When I lived in San Francisco, I only frequented certain parts of the city. There were actually areas I never really explored. When I happened to be in a new district, I admired the view, having a better appreciation of my hometown’s surroundings – page 306, at 64%:
Every once in a while I look up and really see it. It takes me by surprise how beautiful it is. Like a gift. I appreciate it then. It may only be a moment, but in that moment my life is better…
So that’s it for now. I need to stretch out and get my butt out there running.
What book touched your inner being in some way?