Thursday, January 31, 2019

January Wrap-Up

Books I Read

In addition to all of these books, I also reread The Hunger Games. I'd been in the mood for a reread for a while now and I finally took the plunge by ignoring every other book on my TBR (which is out of control again). I was both surprised by how much I remembered and how much I'd forgotten, considering I read it at least five times in the span of just a couple years back in 2012/2013.


I expected to love this and I did! When I'm particularly obsessed with a Broadway show, I read every interview/article/fun fact I can get my hands on about the actors and writers. Reading the annotations in the script was probably my favorite part of this book. The photos were beautiful, too. And the interviews were fascinating. So I pretty much just loved the whole thing.


I liked this a lot, but I was a little disappointed in terms of how much I loved Gentleman's Guide. A lot of the quick pacing, wit, humor, and fun was lost here. That makes some sense, since this is from Felicity's POV, and she's a much more serious character than Monty, but it still didn't have that same spark. I did appreciate how well Mackenzi Lee was able to make a historical fiction novel super feminist. The whole cast of characters showed so many different versions of what a woman can be, even back in the 1700s. And there was a giant, adorable dog (who does not die!), so that made everything exponentially better. (Also, Felicity is asexual! That term is not explicitly used since it didn't exist back then, but the author has confirmed it.)


This is a very timely book, considering how the #MeToo movement has taken off, and it deals with so many aspects of sexual assault in a sensitive and thoughtful way. I got justifiably angry. I felt fear, sadness, pity, and rage many, many times. That being said, I think the author definitely set out to send a message rather than tell a story, so the characters and plot suffered a little for that. Some aspects of the plot struck me as unrealistic and while the blurb of the book seemed to suggest that the story would be about three characters, the author painted a larger picture by including snippets from many different characters. It made it hard to keep track of who was who and what exactly was going on at some points. I think story might have been better had she truly only focused on the main three. Either that, or the messages she told in this book might have been better suited for non-fiction instead of trying to be preachy while masking the themes with a halfhearted story. "Important message" books like The Hate U Give, Long Way Down, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and If I Was Your Girl did this better. I was more invested in those stories, when it came to pure entertainment. (If anyone has read this book and has more experience/knowledge on the subject, too, I'd be curious to know if the autism rep was any good!)

Movies I Watched


What a bizarre, but thoroughly entertaining movie! I was definitely intrigued the whole time, even if there was a long stretch in the middle where I felt like I had no clue what was happening or how to follow the story. It's not told in a completely linear (or lucid) manner, so that contributed to some of the confusion. I got it by the end, but I'm warning you now, you have to pay close attention in order to understand what's going on! The concept is really neat and deals with some interesting ethical dilemmas. I think I would have liked it even more if I'd enjoyed the characters. Joel was kind of boring and lacked a personality and Clementine was definitely a pure manic pixie dream girl. She was all kinds of problematic. But Kate Winslet can definitely act. Even if I didn't like her character, I was fascinated by her.

Quotes I Wrote

No quotes to report this month! I am deep into rewrites, so most of my time has gone to trying to piece together a new outline for one of my rough drafts so I can actually clean up my story.

This is an accurate representation of my perception of my productivity versus how much is actually getting done.

Obsessions I Acquired

Dodie's "Human" album - I. Love. Dodie. Her new album is fantastic, as I expected! I've loved her song "She" for years, but this is the first time she's released it on Spotify, so now I can finally include it on all the playlists I've wanted to put it on for ages. It's fabulous.


Pictures of the Month

Max and I performed at the Hershey Area Playhouse's 20th Anniversary Cabaret. I had a blast! In addition to the opening and closing numbers, I got to perform in "Matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Stepsisters' Lament" from "Cinderella." I felt like such a fancy, professional performer singing at a cocktail party!
Katie was my stepsister for "Stepsisters' Lament."
You can tell we really got into character. xD
My brother turned 16, which is bonkers!
Went to see a bunch of friends in a fun cabaret at their school.
The cheering section.
You just can't make cookies without tasting the dough first.
Went to a friend's "Friends" themed birthday party where we met a bunch of her friends (see what I did there?).
Max and I auditioned for "Mary Poppins Jr.," which is my final junior production before I've aged out of them completely! *bittersweet sniff* We destressed afterwards by getting ice cream with friends (who also auditioned).
For Max's 16th birthday party, he had a 20s-themed murder mystery. I love how many people dressed up!
The "Charlotte's Web" cast was invited to perform a portion of the show at an elementary school, since that's the book their class was reading together. It was so much fun! I loved hearing the kids laugh and get so into the show. It was a completely different kind of energy than your typical theatre audience.
My friend TJ took me to another dance at his school. It was tons of fun, especially since I know several of the kids there from a couple years of attending dances, shows, and performing together at community theaters.
Post-dance selfie.
Not entirely sure you'll be able to read the text in this picture, even with it blown up, so I'll caption it, too! In "Mary Poppins Jr.," I've been cast as many, many people! I'm Katie Nanna, the Cathedral Nun (which is a somewhat made up character that will sing a solo in "Feed the Birds"), a bank clerk, a "Step In Time" dance member (I'll dance in that number as well as several other numbers), and a member of the adult ensemble (which means when I'm not dancing in the big numbers, I'm singing in them!). I was hoping to get either Mary Poppins or Winnifred when I auditioned, but I think having all of these different roles is going to be a different kind of fun. I love keeping busy during a show. I've never had a prominent dancing role before, and now I get to be a part of "Step In Time"??? It's going to be a blast.

My dad and brother don't like eggs, so when my mom and I are home alone, we have "egg nights," which means we make some sort of egg recipe and watch a movie together. This month we made a Mexican quiche and watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
Happy second book birthday to INSTRUCTIONS FOR FLIGHT! Two years ago today, I published my first book of poetry. You can get it as an ebook for just 99 cents! Click on the photo to link over. Here's a blurb about it:
"Civil rights, people who smile at strangers, and the fear of public speaking are just a few of the topics tackled in this book. With four sections of diverse poems, Instructions For Flight is Kate I. Foley’s debut poetry collection."
And a snippet from a review, which you can read here:
"Her poetry collection is not extremely long but it is important and powerful. My favourite poem of the collection would have to be the namesake, Instructions for Flight. This poem is all about mental health and stepping out and becoming who you are (spreading your wings, you could say). Again, Kate used metaphor and simile so effectively I could almost taste the poem as I read it. It conveys a message of hope that I think anyone who has ever doubted themselves needs to read. It is inspiring and resonating, poignant and deep. Reading it felt like remaking yourself and becoming something magical and worth it."
Time for Scout pictures!! My mom captioned this photo "Mad-Eye Poochie."
Scout cuddled up to me one morning while I was reading and drinking my coffee.
Pouting because the rest of her humans had left the house to run errands.
This series of pictures shows her slow realization to the fact that Max had woken up and was coming into the room to say hi to her.
"Is that a human I like?"
"It is!!! Kate, that's my human!!!"


How was your January?


CG @ Paper Fury said...

SCOUT IS SO CUTE THOUGH. And omg congrats for all the performing successes last month! That is AMAZING. Especially landing so many parts and also you looked beautiful going to the dance with your friend! (YOU ARE SO TOL. I would probably come up to your elbow.😂)

This also reminds me how much I want to reread the Hunger Games. I haven't even reviewed them because it was like pre-blogging life!!

The Magic Violinist said...


ISN'T SHE. And thank you!! I had a lot of smaller performing opportunities this past December/January,, so that's been a lot of fun. Ha ha, to be fair, I was also wearing heels (small ones, but still), so that doesn't help matters. xD

OMG, imagine what it'd be like reviewing THG now when basically the whole world has already read it!

Boquinha said...

Wow, Kate, Your review of The Nowhere Girls" and the message and stories and characters and comparisons with other books . . . ugh, sometimes I read these things and worry that you're going to be bored and unchallenged in college when it comes to writing and reviewing - look at you! This is such an excellent book review, I feel like you'd already be a pro at that career (book reviewer). Well done!

"(Or lucid)" *snort*

Kate Winslet - "Even if I didn't like her character, I was fascinated by her." YES!

Haha on the Spongebob GIF and caption.

Why did that Scout story at the end make me cry? So sweet!

Gary Foley said...

Congratulations on being cast in Mary Poppins. What a lot if fun it will be with so many various roles. Step in Time should be a blast!

The Magic Violinist said...


Thanks! :) I mean, I've had years and years of experience when it comes to analyzing how I felt about a book and writing a short review for wrap-up posts. Professional book reviewer would be a dream job!

Aww, it was supposed to be a funny story! But it was sweet, too.


Thank you! I always have a lot of fun in shows where I'm busy the whole time. I'm excited to learn "Step in Time!"

Marie @ Drizzle and hurricane Books said...

Ahhh SCOUT is way too adorable. Thank you for sharing these pictures, they made me so happy ahah, love them :)
I should re-read The Hunger Games someday, such an iconic series, but... it's been so long and I am always so nervous to reread anything ever 😂
I hope you're having a wonderful february <3

The Magic Violinist said...


Ha ha, thanks! I think so, too. ;) Scout has a pretty big fan club around here!

I totally get the nerves about rereads! There are several books I've held off on rereading because I'm so scared I won't like them now that I'm older and I don't want to ruin the nostalgia factor!

You, too! <3

Ivyclad Ideas said...

You're obsessed with Broadway shows? I never would have guessed. When did this happen? ;) No, but seriously, I'm glad you're having a fabulous time being fabulous.

Words can not express how jealous I am of your Friends tops. (I love Friends. I have very unpopular opinions about it, but I love it.)

The Magic Violinist said...


LOL, right?? You could never tell I'm obsessed . . .

Ooh, now I'm curious to hear your unpopular opinions!