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When people think of Valentine’s Day, they generally fall into one of three camps:
The Haters - “I HATE Valentine’s Day. It’s a greedy corporate holiday designed to sell products and make people who aren’t coupled up feel lesser than.”
The Indifferent - “I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. February 14 is just another day on the calendar as far as I’m concerned.”
The Hopeless Romantics - “I LOVE Valentine’s Day! Chocolate, candy, cards, flowers bring it on!”
When I think about my own feelings towards Valentine’s Day, I’m always conflicted. Out of those three categories, I’d say that I fall somewhere in-between (a soft answer, I know, but ‘tis true).
I love a day dedicated to love - one of the most important, if not THE most important, human emotion. Love is a weighty word, uniquely felt by each and every one of us. What’s not to like about that?
On the other hand, the commodification of love and how the holiday targets “couples” is getting outta hand. The stereotype of a single girl or guy sitting at home all forlorn on Valentine’s Day (you can probably picture this exact scene from just about every rom com) really grinds my gears.
Romantic relationships, in my opinion, are given WAY too much attention and credit in our world. Sure, they’re great and all (don’t get me wrong!!!) but the relationships you have with your friends, family, yourself etc. are all just as valuable and worthy of celebrating.
So when it comes to V-DAY, I like to approach it by giving attention and love to ALL of the relationships in my life (including MYSELF! “Self-care” and “self-love” are starting to become commodified terms in themselves so I’m trying not to use them as often, but I’m all for the underlying meaning!) Any extra excuse to tell the people in your life that you love them, I am all about.
I know some nay-sayers argue that you should tell/show people you love them EVERY DAY, which is true, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little gentle reminder. Everyone gets caught up in the daily chaos of their own lives and schedules, so if February 14 is one day a year that makes you pause and say out loud how you feel about the people you love, why not take it?!
Ideal Valentine’s Days for me: cuddled up on the couch, candle burning, glass of red wine, making my way through my TBR (To Be Read) pile of books, hanging out with my sisters, eating heart-shaped gummy candy and watching Harry Potter, opening V-Day cards and having dinner with my parents, going out for tacos and margs with my boyfriend (not necessarily because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because Thursday is date night) — all of these are equally amazing ways to celebrate LOVE in my life.
However you choose to celebrate tonight, do whatever makes you feel happy and loved — don’t let anyone else (especially Instagram) dictate how you think you should feel.
One of the best parts about vacation is the guilt-free reading time. When I’m home, I always feel antsy if I allow myself to read for too long - especially during the day - as we live in a “busy culture” that thrives on productivity and makes us feel as though leisure time is wasted time.
I just returned from Mexico where I allotted any free time to reading and managed to finish two books (in a week!) The best part was that I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt. Perhaps it was also that my phone was on airplane mode the entire time so I really allowed myself to slip away into the book world.
In fact, on the days that I read the most, I went to bed feeling as though I had an extra productive day.
This year, I want to document more of my reading life in this little place in cyberspace. I’ve let blogging fall by the wayside as it often feels self-indulgent and silly, but I realized that I missed this form of creative expression. As long as I’m writing posts that mean something to me, whether to remember or reflect, “blogging” as a medium, seems far less daunting. I also love to see what books other people are currently reading or recommend so why not share/muse together?!
TITLE: Washington Black
AUTHOR: Esi Edugyan
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2018
Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner 2018
Man Booker Prize Semi-Finalist 2018
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence Finalist 2018
Roger's Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
• TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEAR: New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Slate
• ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Boston Globe, NPR, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, The Economist, Bustle
"Enthralling" --Boston Globe "Extraordinary" --Seattle Times "A rip-roaring tale" --Washington Post
A dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom.
When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black – an eleven year-old field slave – is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde – naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist – whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him. Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning – and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.
But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington's life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington's head. Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence.
From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is Freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole?
I was eager to read Washington Black by Esi Edugyan after I discovered that it was the winner of the 2018 Giller Prize (one of Canada’s most esteemed literary awards) and oh boy, it did NOT disappoint. It’s been awhile since a narrative hooked me from the get-go and held my attention from first to last page. The book’s settings, from the sweltering heat of the plantation fields in Barbados to the icy-cold Arctic tundra, along with the endearingly earnest main character (Washington Black), Esi’s writing speaks to all five senses and touches every empathetic nerve in your body.
ps. I’m on GOODREADS if you want to connect on there too!
Because I loved Washington Black so much, I want to give YOU a free copy (hardcover + shipping included!)