My Faith Crisis in America

Well, I wish this wasn’t my first post back on the blog. But here we are.

I’ve never let myself belong to anything that I didn’t completely believe in. It’s the reason that I have never conformed to one particular faith or belief system. It’s not necessarily something I have ever struggled with. I was raised by amazing parents who fostered that part of me. They encouraged me to follow my heart and to not let anyone tell me that I needed to be something that I wasn’t, or be a part of something that I didn’t believe in. I’ve always planned to raise my children the same way.

But when I went in and picked up my daughter out of her crib this morning, my heart broke. My faith in one of the things I have always been proud to be a part of, broke.

How am I supposed to look her in the eyes knowing that last night my country, our country, elected someone into the highest office that wants to take her rights away? Who sees her as less, as inferior?

What if my son is gay? What if that brief glimpse into equality that this country saw gets ripped away? What if his amazing daycare provider, an immigrant who has helped me raise my son since he was 7 weeks old, decides to leave this country? Or is forced to?

How has this happened? I have never, until today, felt any shame about being an American.

I have always had a strong connection to American History. I’ve spent years studying it. I’ve poured tens of thousands of dollars into our education system to learn more about it. Believe me, we have never been perfect. I understand that the story we are told in elementary school about the pilgrims and the founders is all a romantic tale void of factual events. I know that. Slavery. Native American injustice. Japanese internment. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Segregation. Gender Inequality. These are all things that are a part of the American legacy. I didn’t think they were a part of our future.

I was wrong.

I made the mistake of believing that this country was progressive in it’s human rights. That we were always moving forward on the path to equality, no matter how slowly. I didn’t think that we would ever take a step backward.

For the sake of what? Trade? The national deficit? As a country, we have decided that those things are more important than the people who live here.

The only way I can describe this feeling in my gut, is a faith crisis. What people experience when they begin to question their religion. I’ve believed in this country my whole life, I’ve been proud to be a part of it. To tell people that I am an American. Now for the first time, I am questioning that faith.

As a woman, I am angry. As a mother, I am heartbroken. As an American, I am ashamed.

Facelifts & The Future

Guys. I know. I left you all again. But I had another cute baby! Forgiven?

Also, Im changing this place up a bit. I miss being able to blog, and since I have two littles now, reading happens a lot less often as I would like. I would really love to be able to read as much as I used to and bring you the same weekly reviews, I swear. It’s not my fault. Talk to my two year old.

So- I’m going to be morphing this blog into a space where I can basically blog about whatever I want. But mainly about the things that I like, which still includes reading! I’m just gonna throw some baby shenanigans and ramblings about my favorite beverages in there too. It’s gonna be a great time. I really hope that all of you will sill follow a long with my crazy life!

For starters, I’ve given this place a little facelift in the form of a new banner! It’s pretty fancy and I’m pretty proud of it. I’m still debating on changing the domain name for consistency, but for those of you already following the blog that shouldn’t change much.

Other than that, I am not going to change much of anything else. I have always loved the simple layout we have going on here, so it’ll stay. It’s just the content that will be getting the major facelift, but sometimes change is good, right? Do you think so? I hope you do. I hope you keep reading, because I am excited to be back!

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hey guys! I just posted my review of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie over on the Appraising Pages blog! I will be contributing over there every now and then, you guys should go give it a follow! Plus the Appraising Pages shop is full over bookish tshirts and jewlery, Justine is amazing and I am so happy to be a part of her blog! You can find it here! I am on the tail end of listening to The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and also about halfway through reading The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, so be on the lookout for those posts soon!

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

theboneseason

I was a mollisher, the protegee of a mime-lord. My boss was a man named Jaxon Hall, the mime-lord responsible for the I-4 area. There were six of us in his direct employ. We called ourselves the Seven Seals.

It has been a while since I have been able to lose myself in a dystopian novel. Lately, they all seem to follow the same path. Heavier on the romance than the world building. Which is not a bad thing, its just the same thing. Sometimes, it’s nice to get back to a story that the romance is secondary and the action is drawn to the forefront. Before I jump on into my thoughts about it here is the summary from goodreads!

 The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Paige’s world, although complicated and harsh, is so easy to jump into. You start off knowing absolutely nothing about the state of the world, what kind of society this dystopia is built on. Shannon does an amazing job of easing you right into it. She starts using slang and phrases that are new to you right from the get go, and I don’t hate it. Some books, like The Maze Runner, try to do the same thing but fall short a bit. You have all these new words and have no idea what they mean or what to make of them, making you hesitate. The Bone Season doesn’t hesitate. Shannon is so sure of the world that she built that it flows through the pages. Her confidence is apparent, as it should be.

The  character building in this story is everything you would want it to be. Paige is complicated, but not confusing. You guys know I talk all the time about secondary character building, and how important I think it is. The secondary characters in this book are amazing. Some of them you get to know for maybe a total of a page collectively through the whole book, and you fall in love with them. That kind of building is so so important! When you only care about the protagonist, you don’t care about the world that they live in, which is so contradictory in a dystopian! My favorite secondary character in The Bone Season is Michael. If that guy doesn’t at least get his own short story, I might die a little inside.

I know I said that the romance takes a back seat in this one, and it does, but that does not mean it dissapoints 🙂 you will love some of the men in this one, and hate others. But you will love the right ones, if you know what I am saying 😉 It isn’t without it’s steamy bits.

I know with dystopians reviews are more like teasers, because I want to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, but trust me on this one you guys. It’s good. I mean really really good. I’m pretty excited to start the sequel, The Mime Order, but I’m gonna take a break and read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie for my book club first! So you will see a review on that one up before The Mime Order. I’m also listening to The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard on Audible because I like to bite off more than I can chew 🙂

Also, go follow @thebookboozer on Instagram! All the cool kids are doing it.

Last Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Etsy Shop: Night&Day

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

It’s been a minute guys! Be ready for a slew of posts in the next two weeks. Real talk. Because I already wrote them 😉

TriggerWArning

Trigger Warning is the newest collection of poems and short stories by Neil Gaiman. This is by no means his first collection, and the other ones are just as mesmerizing (my favorite being Smoke and Mirrors, that one heats up a bit!). There is a ton that I could talk about, being that there is a lot of different content, so I will just focus on the two things that I love the most about this collection.

First off, let’s talk about trigger warning’s for a minute. They have been around for a long time, but I think are used more predominately now. A trigger warning is a warning that you give before posting something that you think might upset someone. Something that might trigger a past pain or emotion that they experienced. The question is, do you keep reading? Should fiction come with a trigger warning? Gaiman says no. I totally agree with him. You need to feel all the feels people. Good fiction is supposed to make you feel. That is one of the reasons why Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is my favorite book. It made me feel empowered and strong and brilliant, but it also made me feel loss and heartbreak and grief. And I love it for that. People don’t love Harry Potter because its about wizards and spells and magic. They love it because it is about people who live and lose and grow. They love it because it makes them feel.

Every story in this collection will make you feel a different way, depending on the story and depending on who you are. Some are happy, some are dark. The beauty is you have no idea which way each short story is going to go unless you read it. That is why I am only going to talk about one of these stories, so as not to steal the experience of reading this collection yourself.

My absolute favorite story in this collection, and one of my favorite that he has ever written, is called The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury. This story was released before this collection, and was actually a birthday present from Gaiman to Bradbury on what turned out to be his last birthday. It starts out lighthearted and funny, then morphs into philosophical and thought provoking, making you feel a range of emotions. However, the most beautiful part of this story, is that it was written before Ray Bradbury passed away. I know that. But, if you happen to read this story and did not know it was written while he was still alive, you would almost be positive it was written in memorium of his life. It is an ode to his works and his career that shaped so many lives and childhoods and were so important. So important.

Even if you don’t pick up this collection, please look up that story. It is available all over the internet for free, usually with Gaiman himself reading it. But honestly, you should probably just get the book 🙂

An Evening With Neil Gaiman

Yeah, you read that title right.

IMG_20150418_173022

When someone poses the age old question, “If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would it be?”, who are your three people? It takes me about .00001 seconds to answer that one, and it is the same three people every single time. J.K. Rowling, Steve Nash, and Neil Gaiman (all of whom happen to still be alive, because I like my goals to be realistic ;)).

IMG_20150418_191435

Well, I didn’t get to have dinner with him, but I did get to see him in person, answering questions and talking about his work for two hours. DREAMS CAME TRUE PEOPLE. He also didn’t do a meet and greet because he is a busy person and had to be in a different city the next night.

It was honestly, one of the best experiences I have ever had. I mean, not above like the birth of my child and getting married and all that, but its top ten. It just solidified how much respect and admiration I have for that man. My husband, whom only has read Gaiman because I force him to fall asleep listening to my audiobooks and make him listen in the car and make him listen when I love a part and read it out loud to him and well you get the point. ANYWAY. I was very interested to hear what he thought afterward, and was trying to gauge his reactions during it but I couldn’t get a good feel for if he was enjoying it. After it was over and we were walking out of the auditorium, I asked him what he thought. He looked right at me and said, “that was absolutely amazing.” And guess what, like usual, he was so right.

IMG_20150418_194409

I know it looks like we were super far away, but really only about 30 rows! It was a small auditorium, and the single spotlight in combination with the camera on my phone was not the best.

On the way home we got to talking about our thoughts on what was discussed and Gaiman’s work and when he asked me why I liked him so much, I was at a loss. It’s like the words are there in my brain, but I can’t get them all out in the right order. Maybe writing it out will make more sense. Stay with me people. It’s like, you know when you are growing up and you think everything your parents say is true, and you never question why or how. You belong to the same religion, you have the same political affiliations. Well, my parents were not like that. They did a very good job of letting me decide for myself who I was, and what I believed. They didn’t steer me to one specific ideation, or one specific political party, just because they belonged to it. Awesome, right? I think so. But while that fosters a life of independence, it also takes away the feeling of security, knowing that you “aren’t the only one”. You never begin to question what you think because there is always someone there, parents, siblings, friends, that can reinforce that truth. Reassure you that you are on the right path. Well, I never had that. I never had someone that I thought believed the same things I did, and had the same views on the world. Until one day I picked up Stardust and you know the rest.

Did that make any sense? I know it sounds like some creepy soulmate shit, but it’s not. I promise. That’s like thinking your brother is your soulmate because you have the same points of view. It’s just sometimes when someone asks him a question, and he answers it, my brain goes; THAT. YES THAT. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING.

For example, during his interview he was asked about a quote he had included in the intro to (I believe) Fragile Things in which he stated that the people who really scare him are the people who believe in their own rightness. The interviewer wanted to know what he had meant by that. Gaiman answered, and I’m obviously paraphrasing here, that when he was younger he knew that in stories there was always the good guy, and the villain. However, in the stories the villain always knew he was the bad guy. In life though, that isn’t always the case. He went on to talk about how the really scary thing about ISIS is that as much as you want them to be the bad guy, they are absolutely certain that they are the good guy. That what they are doing is “the right thing”.

My brain: THAT. YES. EXACTLY.

Make sense? Hopefully.

He also said things like: “I think religion is true, like national boundaries are true” and “England has history, America has geography.”

 EXACTLY.

Also, Gaiman opened up a lot about Terry Pratchett, and his feeling following his death. He talked about a lot of things that he had never spoken about before. While this was obviously sad, he told the funniest stories about Terry. You can tell that those two had a serious bond. Also, I totally think that there is something Good Omens-ish in the works right now because he was seriously cryptic and alluding to things.

My favorite part of the whole night was at the end, when he closed with a reading of his choice. He chose to read one of his favorite passages from Good Omens, that contained one of his favorite lines from Terry in the whole book. It was amazing.

Luckily, KUER_FM, a local radio station, posted the audio of the interview as well as the Q&A that followed here. 🙂

Also, my review of his newest collection of short stories Fragile Things, will be up tomorrow or Monday. Sorry guys, life is freaking busy! Also, I apparently can’t quit giving myself projects and piling more on my plate. Which is why I just opened an Etsy Shop. Obviously. 🙂