Tag: holiday

Five Famous Bears Whose Stories Are “Just Right!”

September 9th is National Teddy Bear Day and we're celebrating it by highlighting some of our favorite bears from over the years. Click to read up on five famous bears in literature and television!

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Why You Should Read The ‘Book of Lamentations’ In 2020

Every year on this day, Jews from all over the world commemorate the destruction of the Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem. They don’t eat or drink for 25 hours, and among other customs, they read aloud the Book of Lamentations.

In 586 BCE Lamentations was written by the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah. It is a deeply sad account of the fall of Jerusalem, from the perspective of a man who loved the city more than anyone else.

I would argue that although Lamentations is thousands of years old, it is a text that is worth reading in 2020. Here’s why:

1. It has literary merit

If none of the other ideas below will convince you, start with a literary approach. The Old and New Testaments are fundamentals of the western canon. There’s an idea that there are no new stories in the world anymore, all literature stems from either the Bible, Shakespeare, or Greek Mythology. So, as avid readers, it is worth it to learn your roots. Reading classic and religious texts will give you a better understanding of the books you read today. Lamentations for one, set a standard of mourning devices, of how to effectively display the pain one feels over a loss.

2. It feels eerily similar to a COVID-ridden NYC

Granted, our buildings are not up in flames and there aren’t Babylonians wandering the streets in victory. And, by no means do I want to take away from the original text, but I believe once art is released it is given to each person to interact with it in their own way.

The first line of the text is:

“O how has the city that was once so populous remained lonely! She has become like a widow! She that was great among the nations, a princess among the provinces has become tributary” (Lamentations 1:1).

This immediately reminded me of NYC. How it was stuffed with people and then Corona hit and how everyone marveled at how empty the streets had become.

There is something so sad about the emptiness of a once bright and moving city.

3. Jeremiah’s Pain can be Relatable

It’s hard to imagine relating to someone who lived at a time so radically different than the one we live in. But when everything else is shoved aside, Jeremiah is just a guy who lost his loved one (Jerusalem) and now feels alone in the world.

The 3rd chapter of Lamentations changes from being about the terror of the destruction to Jeremiah’s own personal torments. He writes lines like, “He has led me and made me walk [in] darkness and not [in] light” (3:2) and “He has fenced me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chains heavy” (3:7).

In such an impactful way, Jeremiah describes his feelings of being alone, trapped, and helpless. It is a sentiment that breaks time and is one that people can relate to easily, especially right now.

We are all stuck at home in quarantine, alone and scared. Whether we are mourning the loss of loved ones, or just wondering when our lives will return to normal, it is an extremely isolating time.

But Jeremiah never gives up his faith in a better future. Despite all the terrible events that he has witnessed, Jeremiah never wavers on his faith and continues to believe that his reality will improve.

His hope is important and so inspirational.

Reading Lamentations can be cathartic for whatever pain you may be going through. It is a beautifully written depiction of loneliness and mourning that is worth reading.

feature image via Wikipedia

The Other Mother: The Best Worst Mother In Literature. PERIOD

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is one of my favorite stories of all time. I’ve read the book, the graphic novel and saw the movie like a hundred times so I’m basically an expert.  It blends the mysterious with the creepy and it’s still somehow manages to be wholesome.  Which is my vibe.

Image via Laika

Since it is Mother’s Day, I thought it be best to celebrate The Other Mother or The Beldam, the villain from Coraline. If you somehow don’t know, I will catch you up. Coraline, a young girl moves into a new home with her parents at The Pink Palace Apartments. They don’t have time for her because they are working so much so she explores the house. She finds a little door and a key to match. On the other side of it she finds that its her house but different. Bright, beautiful and filled with love and too much attention from her Other parents, especially her Other Mother.

“She said, ‘You know that I love you.’
And, despite herself, Coraline nodded. It was true: the other mother loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold.”

The Other Mother is described as looking like Coraline’s mother but taller, thinner with black button eyes and long, red fingernails. And she loves Coraline; she wants to make sure she’s happy and have everything she’s ever wanted.

image via Syfy
″‘We’ll see you soon, though,’ said her other father. ‘When you come back.’
‘Um,’ said Coraline.
‘And then we’ll all be together as one big, happy family,’ said her other mother. ‘For ever and always.‘”
As Coraline goes back and forth, The Other Mother wants her to make a choice. She can either replace her eyes with buttons and stay with her forever or…let’s just say, Mother isn’t happy when she doesn’t get her way. Ultimately, Coraline defeats her, frees her actual parents and the spirits of the other children, The Other Mother loved.
What I love most about The Other Mother is the mystery surrounding her and The Other World. The books and movie keep it ambiguous enough where we as the audience can try to work it out for ourselves.
The Other Mother is powerful, she is a being who can take the shape of a child’s mother, can create entire sets, people they could recognize and escapes for the children to tap into their happiness. She uses rats as her spies who have messages of their own.

“We are small but we are many
We are many we are small
We were here before you rose
We will be here when you fall.”

“We have eyes and we have nerveses
We have tails we have teeth
You’ll all get what you deserveses
When we rise from underneath.”

She’s been around for a long time, her first victim dating back to the 1900’s. There are so many questions left in the air, like how is The Other Mother, The Beldam connected to the Pink Palace Apartments in the first place? Who built the door to the Other World if she can’t leave? She can exert a lot of control over the Other World but it doesn’t seem that she created it from scratch so did she stumble upon it one day or was she somehow created there? In the graphic novel she claims to have buried her own mother and put her back in the grave when she tried to climb out, so she must have been a person?

Image via Oregon Live

I love this story! It’s truly centered around parental love, a mother’s love. Many of us crave it and unfortunately not all of us have it. Coraline wants attention from her mother but she has to work and provide for Coraline and the family. So she sought it out from someone else who didn’t have her best interests at heart. The Other Mother services her surface level needs, giving her favorite foods every night for dinner, playing games, gardens dedicated to her and a Wybie that doesn’t talk, in the movie’s case. While her actual mother is working on a deadline to provide food that might not be her favorite, clothes she may not like and a roof over her head that she has to get used to.

I’m sure as kids we were all guilty of this at some point. Wishing we could have different a mother just because we didn’t get what we wanted all the time. But our mothers,our parents or guardians are doing the best they can and now that we are all older hopefully we are more understanding and appreciate them for all that they do. Happy Mother’s Day!

image via Times of India
Featured image via Deviantart: Naruto-Warriors-Oc

5 Sci-Fi Books to Celebrate National Space Day

Every first Friday of May is national Space Day. On this national holiday we honor space exploration; all of its achievements and hope to push younger generations to study the great universe.  In order to celebrate this holiday, here are some books that are out of this world.

  1. Aurora Rising

image via amazon

Set in the year 2380, a new batch of cadets of Aurora Academy are about to graduate. Upon graduation each new cadet and leader are put together in squads to keep order in the galaxy. On the night of graduation and when star pupil Tyler Jones will get first to pick of his squad, he sets out for a late night star cruise. There he finds a girl in a pod in a ship that disappeared hundreds of years ago.

Because of his heroism, Tyler is late to the ceremony and gets the last picks for his squad. This rag tag group gets requested to run a simple errand, and yet, they still find themselves in trouble; the kind of trouble that could change the universe. This is a fun novel that explores space in order to celebrate National Space day.

2. Exhalation book cover

image via amazon

This collection of stories by Ted Chiang is an original look at some of humanities oldest asked questions. In “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom,” the ability to see into alternative universes calls to question the concepts of choice and even free will. In “Exhalation,” an alien scientist makes a shocking discovery with consequences that affect the whole universe, literally.  In “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,” a fabric seller in ancient Baghdad is forced to face past mistakes and second chances because of a portal through time.

3. Dune 

dune

image via Amazon

This book is a classic Sci Fi read, but I added this to the list because soon they will be making it into a live action movie. What better way to get ready for a new adaptation and appreciate the universe by reading Dune. 

The story is set on the desert planet Arrakis, an inhospitable world but this is where a drug with the capabilities to extend life and enhance consciousness arises.  Paul Atrieides is heir to a noble family and is now tasked to rule over this world filled with a drug that the universe is fighting over.

4. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

image via amazon

Set in the year 2172, two sisters, Onyii and Ify, are living in a world ravaged by nuclear disaster. With the Earth unlivable, only the lucky ones can escape to space colonies in the sky. While some are safe in the sky, in a war-torn Nigeria battles are raging with flying mechs and soldiers outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs ,who are meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Survival quickly becomes the only way of life.

5. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray 

image via amazon

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’ve been taught.

 

These Science Fiction novels set in space are a great way to dive deep into new worlds and the crazy unknowns. So, find a book set in the stars and celebrate the curiosity and passion that have inspired the real study of space.

Featured image via wallpapersafari

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