What I'm Reading: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Thursday, April 30, 2015
It has been awhile since I updated you on what I've been reading lately. In February the A Beautiful Mess (ABM) book club read and discussed Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (which will soon be made into a movie). The book was a fitting read for February because it is a story about young love- between a new girl in school with big red hair and a quiet, half-Korean boy. Once I started reading this story, I couldn't put it down until I finished. I really liked this book and all the memories it brought up of being young, nerdy and in love in high school. 

Check out my responses to the ABM discussion questions below *spoiler alert*:
1. Did you like the ending?! 
I totally agreed with Emma's (the ABM book club discussion leader) feelings about the end of this book and felt conflicted about the ending of this book. For those of you who haven't read the book, in the end Park drives Eleanor cross-country to Minnesota so she can escape an abusive step-father and live with her uncle, even though it means Eleanor will also be away from Park. After that, it seems that Eleanor and Park loose touch from one another and Park tries to continue on without her. But after some time passes, Park receives a postcard from Eleanor containing 3 words, but the reader isn't told what it says. 

It's easy to want to assume that the three words in Eleanor's postcard are "I love you" or "I miss you," because throughout the book the reader is cheering on Eleanor and Park to overcome all obstacles and be together even though they are young and now living hundreds of miles away from one another. I think the story would have been more true to life if no postcard was sent and the pair just carried on with fond memories, but perhaps the author wanted to leave the reader with a snippet of hope that these two would meet again. 

2. Eleanor's family situation
Growing up my family was more similar to Park's in that we almost always ate dinner together and my parents were supportive and accepting of my friends and I. I did have friends that had more difficult family situations, but not to the same extent as Eleanor had with her family. I like to think that my home was kind of a refuge for some of my friends when we were growing up. 
3. Love is larger than the sum of its parts
Throughout the book we watch Eleanor and Park transition from being complete strangers who are tossed together by circumstances (needing a place to sit on the bus and sharing a few classes) even though they are actively trying to avoid other people and each other, to fast friends, and then fall in love. At various points throughout the book the pair ask one other to describe why one love the other, and both have difficulty defining an answer because there is no clear and logical reason for the two to have come together, but they have. The way the author depicts their relationships seems very true to life and makes this book such a fun read!

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about young love or reminisce. 

What's Making Me Laugh: Obama's Anger Translator

Sunday, April 26, 2015
This weekend, President Barack Obama attended the 2015 Correspondents' Dinner where he brought along his "anger translator," Luther (Key & Peele's Keegan- Michael Key). Check out the hilarious clip below:

If you're a long-time follower of my blog, you'll know that I'm a fan of watching the president's attempts at comedy. Check out my previous posts:

White House Correspondents' Dinner 2011

White House Correspondents' Dinner 2010

The Virtual Paintout: Liverpool Part 2

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
When I created my first sketch of Liverpool for The Virtual Paintout I really enjoyed drawing a place that I had actually visited, so I decided to create another sketch of Liverpool. This time I drew the site of the former Sgt. Pepper's Bistro at the roundabout on Church and Allerton Road. I remembered seeing this place on The Beatles themed Magical Mystery Bus Tour and I thought the building had an interesting shape. It was here at the roundabout that the "pretty nurse" (or more likely Nurse Cadet - not a full-time nurse) stood. It is thought that this nurse was in fact Beth Davidson, a childhood friend of John Lennon, and later to become Lennon's best friend Pete Shotton's wife. She would stand there and meet up with her friends while raising money selling poppies.

Church & Allerton Rd., Liverpool
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen
6 x 6


The Virtual Paintout: Greenland

Monday, April 20, 2015
In March, The Virtual Paintout explored Greenland- which is surprisingly less green than the name suggests. Since Greenland is sparsely populated, there were only a few areas available to explore via Google Maps, and I decided to draw a Street View of Hvalsey Church. According to WikipediaHvalsey Church was a church in the abandoned Greenlandic Norse settlement of Hvalsey. The best preserved Norse ruins in Greenland, the Church was also the location of the last written record of the Greenlandic Norse, a wedding in September 1408. I took my time with this drawing and didn't finish it until the beginning of April, so it doesn't appear on the official website.

Hvalsey Church, Greenland
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen
6 x 6


What's Making Me Laugh: Matt Berry Does the Boat Race

Sunday, April 19, 2015
Last weekend was the BNY Mellon Boat race between Oxford University and Cambridge University (spoiler alert: Oxford won). In honor of the races, the BBC released a television short called Matt Berry Does the Boat Race and I've been cracking up ever since. The clip is very similar to Matt Berry's Funny Valentine that I shared back in February, so if you liked that you'll enjoy this too.

Warning: This clip contains naughty language. 


The Virtual Paintout: Bhutan

Friday, April 17, 2015
Admittedly I didn't know anything about the country of Bhutan before I began exploring the country on Google Maps for April's Virtual Paintout, but I enjoyed the region's architecture and mountains and decided to focus on that in my drawing.  

Lingmethang, Mongar, Bhutan
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen, & pencil
6 x 6 


A Belated Virtual Paintout Post: Liverpool, England

Monday, April 6, 2015
After completing 10 Virtual Paintout and Belated Virtual Paintout drawings, my 11th drawing is the first Virtual sketch of a place I've actually visited. In April 2014 The Virtual Paintout took a look at Liverpool, and in July 2014 I visited Liverpool with my mom. So in March 2015 when I started looking for places in Liverpool to sketch on Google Maps, I had a vague idea of where I wanted to sketch- somewhere Beatles related but not overly obvious. I chose 24 Church Rd which is the church cemetery where the real Eleanor Rigby is buried. The church is situated on the same street that John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. 

"Eleanor Rigby"
24 Church Rd.
Liverpool, England
6 x 6
watercolor, watercolor pencil, pen


What I'm Listening To: Brotherhood of Man 'Save Your Kisses for Me'

Saturday, April 4, 2015
Hello everyone! This week I attended the live performance of the Eurovision Song Contest 60th Anniversary and it was amazeballs! Sixteen of the best Eurovision acts from the past 60 years performed such as Conchita Wurst, Loreen, Lordi (the Finnish band, not the singer), and Dana International, plus Graham Norton and Petra Mede hosted, and Riverdance was there.

Before attending the performance I tried to research some of the older Eurovision acts that would be performing, so I'd know what I was in for. One group I was really unsure if I would enjoy was Brotherhood of Man. I just didn't get it when I watched the clip of their 1976 performance! But after seeing the group in person and watching the crowds of people sing and dance along, I understood the appeal. Check out a clip of their 1976 performance of "Save Your Kisses for Me" above.
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