My word, I am sucker for a sweet song and especially one that mentions sunshine. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s always carried on with me from the love of “You Are My Sunshine” song as a child? Who knows, but you play me a sweet song and I’m hooked. I heard Nikki Lane’s “Send the Sun” recently, and I thought to myself what is this beautiful piece of art? It speaks to distance and to darkness, but also to turning towards the light. Someone trying to assure someone of their love from miles away, and make them feel their love and warmth. Lane’s voice is smooth and steady and really seems to convey that heartfelt wish to a person out of reach at the time. One of those where you hear it, and you feel it. And I swear I’ve had the line “Darlin’ we’re starin’ at the same moon” in my head for a week, especially with the full moon hanging in the sky recently. Simple and sweet, but so memorable all at once. Let me tell you, if you listen to this one in the morning, it’s a pretty great way to start your day. If you haven’t heard this one, check it out.
I read this in less than 24 hours. It’s a page turner, it’s exciting, Ware’s writing is great. This was exactly the type of mystery I was looking for. The story begins with Lo in her apartment in England, being awoken by her cat who keeps nudging her. Of course, she tried to sleep it off…until she heard a noise. (If you’re a restless sleeper because of everything that “goes bump in the night,” then this is probably your worst nightmare.) The noise wasn’t just the refrigerator or the air conditioner or some banal house sound, it was an intruder. The physical harm the intruder caused was minimal, but the psychological damage was much more than Lo lets on to her coworkers, boyfriend, neighbors, police, etc. Of course, who could blame her? It was a violation of her privacy, and she was trapped in her own home, and her cell phone was stolen. So! That was a bit of a jarring opener to Lo’s story. Amidst the whole, get all her credit cards sorted, and a new phone, calling locksmiths, and all the other unpleasantries that go along with being robbed – we find out that Lo was prepping for a big gig for her journalism job with a travel magazine that would hopefully open doors for her to climb up the industry ladder. With Lo’s boss in the hospital, she’s supposed to fill in as a guest – taking a cruise on a luxury liner, and reporting back all the details, and hopefully schmoozing some advertising deals with fellow passengers in the process. With Lo’s luck running a bit amuck lately, of course everything doesn’t go quite as planned. Ruth Ware writes intently. It’s easily to imagine Lo’s surroundings, how she’s dressed, whether the person she’s conversing with is a snobby jerk, etc. You’d think maybe with a story that opens with a burglary, that’s where the mystery would be…think again. Ten cabins on this ship, and not everyone is accounted for at the first dinner. Dun, dun, dun.
With recent thrillers like Gone Girl or The Girl On the Train maybe you’re wondering as a reader, is Lo a reliable narrator? Well, that’s up to you to read and find out.
Who’s the woman in cabin 10? Does Lo have reason to be suspicious of her fellow passengers? An ex-flame? Her boyfriend who’s off on a work trip (what’s their status anyway?)
I love that Ruth Ware doesn’t belittle the reader. I hate when we’re clonked over our heads with repeated facts, and the dots are connected so cleanly way before a story is wrapped up, as if not to give readers a chance to speculate their own theories – she does the opposite.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but NBC’s Superstore is so worth mentioning again. Remember my post about the importance of finding things that make us laugh? The value of comic relief? Superstore hits the nail on the head. I can’t even tell you how many times I laugh until there are tears in my eyes during one episode. On multiple occasions I’ve realized I’m still laughing when it’s segued into commercial. The comedy show is brought to you by the geniuses behind The Office. Last night’s Valentine’s episode was just the amount of laughter my week had been missing. It’s actually available on NBC’s website, now. If you’re not already a fan of this show and you could use some laughter in your life (who can’t?) I highly recommend checking it out! The show features an eclectic group of people working at a major chain store. Hilarity ensues whether it’s an HR meeting, making a playground out of the inventory room, off-limits romantic sparks between coworkers, a little bit of everything. Sometimes, it might seem so off the wall that it’s unbelievable, but that’s just it – at the bottom of everything it’s insanely realistic. Here’s a trailer I found on YouTube because even if you don’t have time to watch a whole episode right now, this might make you giggle.
There’s a reason All the Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer Prize. It took me a few weeks to work my way through this one. In early January, one afternoon it was a surprise waiting for me in the mailbox from one of my favorite teachers. Over the weekend I was bound and determined to find out how this story wrapped up. Sometimes while reading, I had to take breaks because my stomach was in knots and my thoughts would wander (not out of boredom, quite the opposite – this book gave me so much to think about.) The story alternates view points, and points in time throughout the novel, later adding on to the character’s perspectives you’re seeing through, and eventually (as may have been expected), intertwining these character’s lives. There is so much to digest here, so much to take away. We have Marie-Laure a young blind girl living in occupied France during WWII. Marie-Laure’s father Daniel LeBlanc is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. You have orphan Werner Pfennig living in a children’s home in Germany with his sister Jutta, with their kind care taker Frau Elena. As you can imagine in war-time, all of these character’s locations change and their stories expand and they encounter more people who become essential to their stories. I’m intentionally being vague because I would hate to ruin the beautiful way this story unravels. I think some of the key points I was reminded of is the way art, music, books, and imagination can be threads of hope in the darkest of times. I was reminded that although we know what’s right and wrong, people who do bad things, are still capable of doing good things. Recently, I saw a tweet that said “Historically, ‘I was only following orders’ has not been a solid defense.” How true this is, and some people only come to the realization after so much damage is done. Friendship can sprout from curious places. Fear makes people do evil things. It’s never wrong to do the right thing, even if it means you’re going against the current. Doing the right thing takes a tremendous amount of courage sometimes. People can be very impressionable, it’s important to remember to think for yourself and not be a follower. We have a responsibility to maintain a knowledge of the past, so we don’t repeat history’s mistakes. This story tugged on my heart strings, and these characters will stay with me for years to come. If you haven’t read this novel yet, I highly recommend you do so immediately.
(Image from Huffington Post.)
Mary Tyler Moore died yesterday at the age of 80, suffering cardiac arrest which had followed a case of pneumonia. She was an actress, an activist, wife, mother who inspired so many people. Maybe you remember watching her on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Think about how big that was back then – a single young woman living in a city, with big career goals – doing it all on her own. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Ordinary People. I remember my 11th grade psychology teacher (Mr.Delucia) showing us this film. It has stuck with me ever since. Moore wrote memoirs in which she didn’t shy away from describing her own personal demons. If anything, her struggles made her more relatable. Anyway, I’ve had the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show “Love Is All Around” stuck in my head since I read the news yesterday. It never fails to put a smile on my face. See the lyrics, and hear the song below: