Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: The Ocean at The End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman

This book is not what you'd expect.  I'm not even sure I had any expectations before reading the first page.  But this is a story within a story about a world unseen by everyone but the Hempstock women.
This is a story of fantasy where a seven year old boy who loves books more than sports meets a smart eleven year old girl, a Hempstock, wise beyond her years, and from that moment trouble arises. A monster takes over in the boy's home in order to "give people what they want;" everyone but him that is.

The emotions are so real, and as I read this I couldn't help but think of my little brothers, who are 11 and 6, and think what if this extravagant story happened to them?!

I give this story a 5 out of 5 stars, so obviously I highly recommend it! Comment down below what you thought if you've read it, or if you're going to now! :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Review: Winger - Andrew Smith

This book is so great.  I started reading it to give my brain a break from studying and filming and editing and doing things that seem a little bit like work.  I wanted to have some me time so I picked something that looked like an easy read.

The Plot (no spoilers): Ryan Dean West aka Winger is in 11th grade, but he's only 14.  He's in love with his classmate Annie Altman and plays rugby with his best friends: JP & Seanie, along with Joey & his roommate Chas.  He goes to an American boarding school and is one of the only kids who never goes home on the weekends.

Without giving away spoilers let me tell you that something will happen in this book that will surprise you.

I gave this book 5 stars on my GoodReads account

My favorite moment in this book is farther into it. Joey tells Winger:

"Nothing ever goes back exactly the way it was. Things just expand and contract. Like the universe, like breathing. You'll never fill your lungs up with the same air twice."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Seeing Dr. Jane Goodall

On Tuesday April 1, 2014, I saw Dr. Jane Goodall speak about chimpanzees. NO IT WASN'T AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE!

I know she's pretty small, but the woman at the podium is really Dr. Jane Goodall! WHAT!

For those who don't know, Dr. Jane Goodall was chosen, before she had a PhD I might add) to study chimpanzees in their home environment by Louis Leakey in the '60s.  She found that "man the tool maker" was false, because chimps makes tools too!  They will take sticks and take all the leaves off them and use them to get termites from inside the ground to eat!

Dr. Jane Goodall has even gone so far to say that chimpanzees are able to experience spiritual experiences, using evidence she's found when chimps encounter a magnificent waterfall or intense rain.  Chimps will not go into a lake and play or anything like that, they're not huge fans of the rain.  But when they encounter water such as mentioned above, they will sort of swaying and just looking out over the water.  She hypothesizes that it might be something spiritual for them.

She was also the first to discover that chimpanzees actively hunt, as well as mourn their dead, and will adopt young that have been abandoned because of deaths of their mothers.  These were previously thought to be solely human interactions.

So basically Dr. Jane Goodall is a anthropologist aka BADASS.

And seeing her speak about her experiences in helping end the Bushmeat Trade (trading any sort of primate meat -- illegally) and everything she's experienced in her professional life was amazing!
She even spoke about her mother, and how her mother always supported and encouraged her curious mind and curiosity about how life worked, how things grow and become what they are as she was seeing them in the moment. It was an unreal experience for me.  And I'm so glad I didn't miss out on the opportunity to see her live and in person. She is after all getting older as the days and years pass, and she won't be here forever.

I wanted to share this because although you may not be interested in becoming an anthropologist or primatologist, I hope everyone is interesting in learning just a little about our closing living relatives: the chimpanzees.  If not though, hopefully you at least enjoyed reading about my excitement and love for things like this.