December 27, 2018: My Review on ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty

Novel received from Book of the Month

Length: 453pp.

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

My Thoughts:

I usually don’t bother reading stories that are fixated on finding love. As soon as books venture into characters down-trodden and lost due to love, or moving on after a failed breakup, I put the book down. Yet reading ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty was a nice blend of characters from different backgrounds drawn together, gaining empowerment after difficult life situations.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ follow the lives of nine individuals taking part of a pricey, 10 day wellness retreat at Tranquillum House. The workshops are run by an overzealous guru, applying her un-orthodox approach of healing to the attendees in order to attain transformative results.

The novel is written in the third person, each chapter taking the perspective of a different character. This made some parts of the story fast-paced, as a certain scene could be split in several chapter following several perspectives. This allowed the reader to see what the other attendees in the retreat were pondering at these tense moments.

Moriatry also delves into the lives of each person, revealing the inner truths of how Tranquillum House entered their lives. The story didn’t have a central ‘dark character’, if you will, for each person carried a personal life struggle which led to their self-discovery. Moriarty also writes in the perspective of the health guru and her consultants. Their input in this tale further opens up a window into the past that gives clarity to the bigger picture.

I also appreciated how Moriarty writes about the power of social media’s influence in our society. Ben and Jessica, a married couple in the wellness retreat, were attending Tranquillum House for marriage counseling due to the wife’s obsession in her appearance, leading to a constant need for ‘Likes’ on her Instagram account. Frances Welty, a once best-selling author, was attending Tranquillum House after suffering her first huge rejection and poor feedback due to (according to her publisher) a lack of online traffic and resources. Both women suffered from the harsh eye of the internet, but for different reasons: Jessica was at the mercy of comparing herself to beauty’s entrapment, while Frances struggled to thrive under a publishing company run by a younger, social-media savvy generation.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ was a pretty good read, even with the periodic slow pace it contained. Reading about relationship struggles normally isn’t a preference for me, but this didn’t take away from the story.

Rating: 4/5

December 20, 2018: Time for Reading

I wish I could read more of my current story during the week, since it’s a high page count. I’m still tackling my books about a couple chapters a night. Some days I have some time during my break, but I don’t want to get to used to reading then, since I usually get work tasks done. It does sound odd to do work assignments during my break, but since I don’t receive any prep time during the day, I usually spend my break times working. So I only get my reading done in the evening. I can manage a couple chapters before I fall asleep. Depending on what I’m reading, I need to pull myself away from the story, since I do value my sleep. Weekends are so valuable for personal time!

Blogmas Day 13: Watching ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

     This evening I caught a couple scenes of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ on YouTube. It’s one of my favorite movies to watch when my two favorite holidays come around: Christmas and Halloween. There’s always the long debate as to what ‘type’ of movie it falls under. I watch it during both times of year, since it’s an enjoyable film.

     ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas is about Jack Skellington, the leader of Halloween Town who becomes enamored with Christmas Town. He wants to introduce the comforts of Christmas into the spooky world he’s accustomed to, and funny adventures take place. When I first watched the film many years ago, I fell in love with it. I enjoy the imagery of both Halloween Town and Christmas Town. There is also a love story between Jack Skellington and Sally Stitch that’s simply heartwarming. 

     I’m definitely going to watch ‘A Nightmare Before Christmas’ this weekend. It will be a nice break from the stress of life. 

Image source: http://disney.wikia.com

December 13, 2018: Solutions When Stressed

The things that keep me grounded when I’m stressed:

Reading: No matter how exhausted or strung out I’m feeling on any given day, I can read a couple of chapters in my book before bed. I’ll feel more refreshed.

Watching short films. This can take the form of YouTube videos, or a television program. I’ll watch for about a half hour and I’ll feel calmer.

Contacting a friend. Due to work schedules, reaching out to a friend may seem a bit complicated, yet writing a message to whom I wish to speak with to begins the connection.

There are some days when life may feel overwhelming. One thing to remember is that you are never alone when handling difficulties.

Blogmas Day 6: My DIY Christmas Gift

The holidays are a busy time of year! For many people, it’s all about giving thanks for another year with loved ones, and feeling grateful for the blessings in one’s life. For others, the act of gift giving is equally important as giving thanks.

One of the tasks at my place of enployment is giving parents a personalized gift by next week. Since we are allowed to create items based on materials available in our Art Closet. I decided to create handmade photo frames. A fellow teacher suggested this idea to her peers.

To create the photo frames, all you need are popsicle sticks and glue. You glue the ends of the sticks, and make sure they are lined up from end to end. The popsicle sticks must be layered in order to have the frame sturdy. You would need eight popsicle sticks to create this picture frame.

After the photo frame is dried, you can then paint the frame in any color you desire. Since I have white paint at home, that’s the color I will choose.

I will show pics of my progress as they emerge!

December 6, 2015: My Thoughts on ‘After the Quake’ by Haruki Murakami

I usually don’t bother with short stories ‘After the Quake’ by Haruki Murakami is a compilation of six short stories. All of the tales center around the catastrophic earthquake in Kobe, Japan in the mid nineties.

While this book is a work of fiction, Murakami captures the raw emotion of citizens who experienced the shock of such an event. There is the man who waits for the return of his wife who deserts him, after obsessively watching coverage of the disaster. There’s the woman who goes on a vacation and hopes that her unlawful ex-husband is one of the victims, yet the journey shifts into one of self-exploration. There is the child who is plagued with anxiety and nightmares.

‘After the Quake’ is very well written, and I enjoyed this venture into reading a collection of short stories.

November 29, 2018: Thursday Thoughts

The days are getting colder…not that much to be inside all the time, but a chill is definitely in the air. I’m taking advantage of all the seasonable days I have. Winter will be here before we know it.

I got in contact with my cousin yesterday, to see if we can get together to find shoes for my wedding. It’s so impossible to get in touch with her for anything, but she and her daughter will be in the wedding, so I would like for her to be involved in some way. I will see what transpires.

November 15, 2018: Halfway through NaNoWriMo

I reached the halfway point in my NaNoWriMo journey! It’s been quite a journey so far. I learned that a story can change at a moment’s notice, so accommodating those changes is very important. I’ve grown a bit overwhelmed also, since my story now feels like separate squares in a blanket that needs to be carefully stitched together. The process is very time consuming, yet the end result will be a draft of a novel.

November 8, 2018: Passing Time

I unexpectedly have lots of time at home this week. It’s these unexpected ‘time-off’ periods that make me value my ability to move about. Unfortunately, I can’t go anywhere at the moment. Yet I’m going a bit loopy staying in one room.

So, I’m keeping busy with NaNoWriMo. I usually wait until the evening to write, but having time during the day changes things a bit. I enjoy taking part in the sprint exercises on their Twitter account.

I’m also reading my Nurakami short story compilation. During my schedule in November, I only have time to write at the end of the day. Now with some extra time, I can get some reading in.