The Underground Railroad

I finished The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead today, which recently won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.  It tells the story of Cora, a slave in Georgia and follows her from her time as a slave on a plantation throughout her journey to freedom and all of the trials in between.

The descriptions of the horrors of slavery are moving and often uncomfortable to read, even though I’m sure all of these atrocities actually occurred.  It seems like every time she caught a break, something would happen to her and beat her back down.  It was interesting to read about the aspects of the novel’s railroad system, which functioned as a literal railroad underground here instead of merely safe houses.

This book is set to be made into a mini-series soon and I will definitely check it out once made.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

On the airplane home I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin off on the Harry Potter films.  In this one, taking place well before Harry Potter, Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne travels to New York with a suitcase full of magical creatures.  Of course, they are let loose and mayhem ensues.

It has been announced that there were be five films with these characters so it will be interesting to see where it goes with how this first one was set up.  I definitely enjoyed the movie and the characters in this world.  They will never be Harry, Hermione and Ron, but I will see where they go.

Arrival

Another movie I watched on the airplane was Arrival, which was along the Best Picture nominees last year.  The director, Denis Villeneuve made Sicario the year before, which I really enjoyed, so I was looking forward to this one.

Amy Adams plays a linguist who is recruited to help communicate with aliens who have arrived in pods in various places around the globe.  Jeremy Renner plays the scientist who works with her and eventually becomes her love interest.

The way Adams’ character develops a language and works with the aliens is fascinating and every time she enters the pod is tense and exciting.  The fact that the aliens appear to be giving her visions of the future is also tragic and heartbreaking.  The movie definitely makes you think about choosing certain paths in important life decisions and the possibility of life on other planets.

The Edge of Seventeen

We had another few airplane rides over the past week, so I was able to catch up on a few movies that I missed last year.  I watched The Edge of Seventeen, starring Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, a high school student who struggles to fit in.  When her only friend starts dating her brother, she feels betrayed and completely breaks down.  I had a hard time relating to her as a character, partly because she was selfish the entire time and didn’t want to look at anything from someone else’s perspective.  Maybe it’s because I am so far removed from high school at this point…

The acting was excellent in the movie and I appreciated the friendship between Nadine and her best friend.  I also thought Woody Harrelson as the teacher she confides in plays the role well and it doesn’t disintegrate into a ploy.  Overall, this was a good airplane choice.

Thor

Next up on our Marvel movie viewing was Thor.  The kids both really enjoyed this one.  Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, an alien prince who is banished to Earth and must prove himself worthy to return.  On Earth, he meets his love interest in scientist Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman.  Tom Hiddleston is his evil brother Loki, who is plotting to take over the throne.  Jeremy Renner also makes his first appearance as Hawkeye.

My five year-old son liked when Thor finally got his powers back and my seven year-old daughter agreed that was the best part.  The supernatural aspects of the movie made it interesting and different from the other movies we have seen so far.  Captain America is up next so it will be cool to see how the kids respond to the historical aspect.

Stitch Fix #8 – March 2017

Since my last Stitch Fix box was so good, I decided to order another one last month to see if I would get anything amazing.

If you are curious, here’s how it works: for $20, you get a personal stylist and fill out a questionnaire and then they send you 5 items to try on.  You can keep one, all, or even none and the $20 applies to any purchase.  Shipping is free, as is the return postage.  If you are also intrigued, you can try it: here.

Here is what I got in this month’s box:

1. Skies are Blue Neriah Cotton Cargo Jacket – $68.00

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I was not a fan of this one.  The color was blah and the material seemed cheap and the style was not very flattering.

2. Market & Spruce Mireille Embroidered Dress – $68.00

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I liked this one, but have received a similar one in a past box and couldn’t rationalize keeping something so similar.

3. Skies are Blue Colina Mix Material Knit Top – $48.00

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Winner, winner!  This is why I love Stitch Fix.  I probably wouldn’t have picked this top out on my own, but it is super cute and flattering.  There is a shear part on the back and when paired with a black bra, is a little sexy for a night out with jeans and heels.

4. Loveappella Aleena Knit Romper – $64.00

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This romper did really not fit very well.  The torso was cut short and so the crotch area was up pretty high and was not comfortable.  I also feel like the top part is not super flattering to my figure and actually made me look a little bigger than I am.  I really would love a well fitting romper for the summer and actually requested one in my next box, so hopefully, I will have better luck.

5. Liverpool Cortland Cuffed Linen Short – $68.00

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These shorts are great and I am definitely keeping them.  The linen is soft and the olive green is versatile.  Shorts are sometimes hard to find, so these are a great pick.

Overall, this box had it’s hits and misses.  I really like the two items that I kept, but wasn’t crazy about the other selections.  If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix out for yourself, check out the  referral link: Click here to try Stitch Fix!

 

Exit West

I finished Exit West, which came out this year and was written by Mohsin Hamid.  It tells the story of two young people presumably in the Middle East, who start to fall in love at the same time their country is being torn apart by strife.  They cling to each other and when magical doors open up leading to other safer parts of the world, they develop a plan to leave.

Their travels first take them to Mykonos, then London and finally San Francisco.  Ultimately, the story is bittersweet as they eventually grow apart from each, as many relationships tend to do.

The book presents a very interesting point of view of today’s refugee crisis and makes the reader sympathetic to the two people who are trying to escape for a better life.  The depictions of refugee communities springing up around the globe is no different than what is really going on today.