Happy Hobbit Day!

Hobbitses, rejoice! Today is Hobbit Day, which means that it’s the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. His bravery, loyalty, keenness for adventure, quirkiness, and good-natured humor is admirable. He passed these traits, including his sense of adventure and heroism, to Frodo, his relation and heir. Both characters are worth celebrating!

Another event worth celebrating is that yesterday, September 21, was the 80th anniversary of The Hobbit. 

To celebrate both occasions, here are some of my favorite quotes from Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit:


“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” 

“Good morning,” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. 

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!”

-Bilbo

“I will give you a name,” he said to it, “and I shall call you Sting.” -Bilbo

“Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!” -Bilbo

“If ever you are passing my way,” said Bilbo, “don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four; but any of you are welcome at any time!” -Bilbo

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”  -Bilbo

And just one more for fun…

“He [Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ . . .”
-Frodo, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Did I miss any? What are some of your favorite hobbit quotes?

 

 

Happy fall! 10 Spooky Books to Read this Season

Fall is here! Fall is here! While the weather is still on the balmy side, fall is definitely upon us!

If you can’t tell by now, fall is my favorite season. I love the cool weather and fall fashion—lots of layers! I love walking outside and inhaling the fresh, crisp air. I love the breathtaking views with its foliage and picturesque images in a pumpkin patch or a nearby lake. I love all of the activities: apple picking, pumpkin picking, hiking, biking, going to fairs (like the Big E!), making fall crafts, and eating delicious fall desserts—like apple crisp!

Another great part of fall is what I call the “spooky season.” Is it just me, or do things look eerier and darker in the months of October and November? With the leaves on the ground and the skeleton-shaped trees, driving past any cemetery or old looking house can send a chill up your spine.

Despite being a big baby, I love being scared. I don’t know why, but I love spooky things: haunted houses, scary stories, and everything Halloween! Granted, while most of the movies I watch during Halloween season are Disney classics like “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown,” “Frankenweenie,” “Corpse Bride,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” I definitely enjoy other classics like “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Sleepy Hollow,” and of course, “Young Frankenstein!”

Along with watching scary movies, I also love to read spooky, horror-filled stories! While the movies may scare me, reading thrilling tales in a book seems to kick it up a notch. Here are some spooky tales/books to read this fall!

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
A classic short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a perfect quick read to give you goosebumps and put you into the Halloween spooky spirit.

Carrie by Stephen King
A different kind of spooky tale, Carrie follows the story of Carrie White, a misfit girl who is bullied by her classmates. She discovers that she has telekinetic powers, which she uses to get revenge on those who torment her.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, not exactly scary, but Harry Potter is a wonderful, mild series that contains all of the spooky components: witches, wizards, magic, trolls, and goblins. Dive into the magical world of Harry Potter this Halloween!

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
From “The Tell-Tale Heart” to “The Black Cat”, to “The Fall of the House of Usher” to “The Masque of the Red Death”, Poe will have you spooked! His way of writing captivates you and keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first sentence.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I remember seeing the cover of this book at the Scholastic Fair and cowering in fear. It is now one of my favorites! Pick up this short book by an incredible author and follow the heroine Coraline in this thrilling and dark tale.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dive in to this novel that established the conventions of vampire fantasy! Count Dracula is indeed a terrifying character, and he will have you checking your closets before bedtime.

IT by Stephen King
Ah…IT. The terrifying Pennywise the Clown. I’m petrified of clowns, so, naturally, I’ve read King’s novel twice and watched the 1990 film a few times. No, reader, I will not be watching the new adaptation. Ever.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a chilling tale about a woman in postpartum who goes mad after being trapped in the attic of a Victorian house by her husband. This was a common practice that men executed in order to “confine” women with mental illness, which is a horror story in itself.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein is one of the first science fiction novels, and it is indeed one of my favorites! Learn how Frankenstein is not the name of the monster, and how he is a creepy, yet endearing creature.

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare
“By the prickling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!” With apparitions, ghosts, and witches, “Macbeth,” where in the world of theater is believed to be cursed if uttered aloud, will have you spooked!

 

What horror/scary novels do you enjoy? Please share!

Arts Café: Montréal

The Arts Café is a very hip and cozy restaurant on Fairmount Avenue in Montréal, Canada. We came across the café on a rainy morning when I spotted rows of books and strings of rustic light bulbs in the windows. I have what we call a “Kass-radar” for bookshops, and when I first saw the books and lights, I was intrigued. However, when I saw that there was a cappuccino machine, I saw myself making a beeline for the shop.

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When I opened the door, I was not disappointed. I was greeted with a rush of warm, sweet air filled with the smell of coffee and pastries. It reminded me of a real-life replica of Professor Trelawney’s classroom!

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Feeling serendipitous, my husband and I sat down and ordered our drinks and looked at the menu. The menu had a variety of choices from a classic breakfast of eggs, toast, russet potato, salad and a choice of meat to Eggs Benedict and french toast. We went for the breakfast sandwich and classic breakfast.

The food was excellent, and the staff were very kind and attentive. What I liked the most about Arts Café was the atmosphere. Inside, there were tables to sit at, but also bars with stools. And, the books. There were books around the café from Jane Eyre to a biography on Salvador Dali. Along with bookshelves, the café had beautiful hanging plants and intriguing wall art. The café felt homey, and there were a few people reading books, doing work, or writing on their laptops with coffee and tea mugs at their tables. The entire café was very relaxed, and it seems as if there are guests who stay there most of the day. We never felt rushed to leave.

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If you ever visit Montréal, take time to stop at the Arts Café for a warm beverage and delicious breakfast that won’t disappoint!

 

 

Why I Read, Why I Write

Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a book in my hand. I remember being in kindergarten and sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor with a sea of books in front of me. I still experience that exciting, greedy feeling as I took in the pile of books in one huge gulp.

I love reading. In the summertime, I have fond memories of lying in a hammock with a stack of books at my side checking off my summer reading list. The library was never a chore; I would scurry into the children’s section with an impassive wave to my mother and get lost in Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and E.B. White. I’d check out books with my library card and surprise my mom a week later letting her know that I finished them, and wanted to go back to the library for more. Bookworm was and still is, a loose term to describe my crazed obsession.

With the help of books, you are always on an exhilarating adventure. With wide eyes, I have made my way through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia with Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund. I journeyed through Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins and eventually made the same trip with Frodo and Sam. I pushed my trunk and other belongings through Platform 9 3/4 and hopped on the Hogwarts Express with Harry and his friends. With literature, anything is possible, and that’s a beautiful thought, indeed.

Ever since I was little, reading has always been my escape. When times were tough, I would open my books and tune out the sound around me. I would cling on to its bindings and flip its pages in hopes that I would find solace, and I almost always did. As an adult, I still find myself clasping on to stories in the hope that I can find peace in myself.

Literature is something that is sacred to me. With literature, you are able to jump into entirely different worlds. You meet characters you can relate to, and they become real to you. Sometimes, you like them more than those you meet in real life (sorry, it’s true!)

That’s one of the most precious things about being an author: you create characters who become timeless. With the help of female characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Nancy Drew, Jane Eyre, Sara Crewe, Hermione Granger, Anna Karenina, Portia, Katniss Everdeen, Offred, and so many others, I have role models I can look to for strength and courage. I take what I learn from their stories and mold it into my own life, hoping to carry the same levelheadedness and grace that some of these characters exhibit through hard times. Because of their timelessness, so many other individuals get to read their stories and learn more about themselves through these characters. As an author, you have the power of immortality with the characters, and worlds, that you create.

In my life, I plan to continue to read and write. It’s what keeps me sane; it’s what makes me feel whole. My one goal in life is to leave an imprint somehow. I want to help people through a hard time. I want to be that same escape that I reach for when I need it most.   Even if it’s one person, I want to make a difference.

I am excited to continue my journey in writing. I am hopeful for the future and know that my dreams to become a writer will become a reality soon. In my eyes, I already am a writer. My plan in the next few blog posts to come (I have been very busy with work/wedding planning) I will be posting some book reviews on a few books I’ve been reading in the last three months. Exciting stuff to come.

Your turn: What are your hobbies/interests? Why do you continue to do them? I’m interested to learn your stories.