To Read or Not to Read

For Mother’s Day I went to Asheville (North Carolina,) to tour the Biltmore Estate with my mother. If you don’t know what the Biltmore is, it’s a very extravagant castle like mansion built by George Vanderbilt in the 1880s. George Vanderbilt was an avid reader and had over 22,000 books, so as showcase the Biltmore had Designed for Drama. They took some of Mr. Vanderbilt’s favorite books that were adapted into movies and then displayed the costumes of said movies. There were costumes from Portrait of a Lady (1996), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Pride and Prejudice (1995), Anna Karenina (2012), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Finding Neverland (2004) and much more. This showcase inspired this new post.

I’ve been an avid reader since I was young. I’ve always loved to read, even though I may go through time periods where I barely read anything at all. This year I decided to set a reading goal, to read 25 books, and I was doing well in the very beginning but then came that reading wall that I normally hit. I just get tired of reading and end up just stopping. Well I stopped right in the middle of reading American Gods, which is a now a series on Starz. I’ve always wanted to read this book and when I found out that it was going to be a tv show, I knew I had to hurry up and read it. Unfortunately because of the reading fatigue and other hobbies,  I’ve only read 268 out of 742 pages, which saddens me because I’m very eager to watch the show but I want to finish the book first.

So here comes the dilemma, should I finish the book first and then watch the show. We have Starz On Demand, so the show will be there for a while, which means no hurry. I just really want to watch it. So do I give up on the goal of reading the book first and just watch it or hold on to that goal. In the end does it really matter if I read the book first or not?

I’ve never been one to be picky about books that become movies or tv shows. I don’t really nitpick at a movie that I’ve read the book for. I understand that it’s difficult to put everything from a book into a movie, it would either make a movie really long or maybe bore the viewers that haven’t read the book and wouldn’t care about specific scenes. So I never harshly criticize movies when they leave out things from the book. Unless it’s something that I feel was really significant and would have been easy to add. For example, in the third installment of the Harry Potter movies, Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is at a lake and the Dementors are raining down on him and then he sees a glowing stag before a burst of light that scares off the Dementors. Later we find out that Harry goes back in time to alter things that happened and it his Patronus that is the stag, which ultimately he uses to save himself. In the book, it’s later explained to Harry that the probable reason his Patronus is a stag is because his father’s Animagus (the animal he would morph into) was a stag. He and his friends would transform into animals so they could be with Lupin (their friend) on full moon nights when he transformed into a werewolf. The stag was also James Potter’s (Harry’s dad) Patronus. To me this is a beautiful moment and such a wonderful thing to hear, it let’s Harry know that a part of his father is still with him. For some reason, this wasn’t in the movie at all. Which makes no sense to me because it is such a simple but significant thing that could have been easily added and only would have taken up one minute of the movie.

Besides things like that I’m usually really good about not judging a movie or tv show based on the book. To me they’re two separate entities. There are times that I’ve even watched adaptations and I would become curious how the book differs. This is the case with the new Hulu show Handmaid’s Tale. I actually considered reading the book before I even knew it was going to be a show, but I had so many other books to read that I just couldn’t fit it in. The show is so dark and creepy but intriguing at the same time. I want to read the book just to see what’s different.

So should I finish reading American Gods before watching the show? That way I don’t end up wondering about the differences. Or if I do read the book first will it affect how I feel about the show, even though I’m pretty good about keeping filmed adaptations and books separate in my mind? Will it be the first time that I really judge. It’s a tough decision.



Small Tea Review:

While I was at the Biltmore I found tea! So of course I had to buy some. Along with the tea, I also go a lovely new mug and my mother got me an early birthday gift, a beautiful teapot! The tea I bought was a black tea with blackberry leaves. It smelled just like blackberries and the taste was heavenly. I loved how smooth it was and the blackberry flavor notes were just the right balance. I don’t think I would ever buy it again just because the price tag was a little high considering the amount you get. But to be honest that’s to be expected since it’s a tourist spot, things always cost more.



There will be another tea review soon. I know I said it would be a while but I’ve learned to never say that again because I always end up getting more tea. So expect a new Whistling Kettle review in the next week or so.

Till next time!!




Television Betrayed Me and Gave Me Nightmares

The trailer for the It remake was recently released and I barely could watch it. I had to hold the phone as far away from me as I could and keep one eye closed, all while I screamed, “NO! NO! NO!” The trailer gave me the idea for this post, because it made me realize that my three biggest fears are all attributed to either a movie or a tv mini series!

First we’ll start with my fear of CLOWNS and the original mini series It, since that’s what inspired this blog. I never had issues with clowns before I saw It. Before they were just lovable funny looking people trying to make others laugh and now they are the face of pure scary evil. I can’t remember how old I was when I saw the mini series but I know I was in the later years of elementary school. My father was a Stephen King fan, we had many of his books on the bookcases in the house and because of my father’s fandom I had also already watched the movies Pet Sematary and Cujo. While those movies did scare me, it did not prepare me for the fear that would be with me forever once I watched It. I can’t look at clown now without wanting run away screaming. I actually had a friend who was a professional clown for a time and I could barely look at her when she was in makeup. Pennywise was the most monstrous creature to ever haunt me in my nightmares and he made simple everyday things hard to be near, like sidewalk drains or sheets on a clothesline. The funny thing is, I love this mini series! I’ve watched it more times than I can count. I don’t get as scared as I used to when watching it because I know what to expect and when to expect it. However I still have to cover my eyes during certain scenes. 

Next up is my fear of BIRDS and obviously this is due to the Alfred Hitchcock film Birds. My father and mother attribute a lot of my fear to this incident:


While in Italy, at St. Mark’s Square, I fed some pigeons. My tiny self had a little seed and the pigeons decided I was their friend and they could swarm me. I obviously don’t remember any of this but there are pictures to document the beginning of what would be a life long fear.

I can’t remember how old I was when I saw Birds but I believe I just randomly caught it on TV and I’m sure I wasn’t older than 10 years old. I couldn’t draw my attention away from this movie and I just kept watching the horror of these every day creatures raining down pain and torture among people in a small town. I think this must have brought back memories from that day in Italy. Now I can’t have birds near me without having a slight panic attack. I don’t trust their empty dead eyes and their sharp beaks. They will forever be the mortal enemies that I can’t fight because of the fear I’ll be pecked to death. I’ll add that I do love the movie Birds, just like I love It. I must be a glutton for punishment.

The last fear is DEATH and yes I know that pretty much everyone is scared to die, but it actually gives me anxiety talking about it and I can only hope that I make it through this last paragraph without freaking out. My fear of death came from the most unlikely place, Anne of Green Gables. This adorable, lovable and light-hearted mini series introduced me to death at the age of five or six. I had seen death many times in other movies and tv shows, but I don’t think I ever really acknowledged what happened, not until Matthew Cuthbert died on Anne of Green Gables. While watching it, I turned to my mother and I asked her what it meant when someone died. She explained it to me in the best way a mother could and I immediately began to sob. I didn’t realize there was going to be an end to my existence. My world was shattered and I would forever be in fear of when my day would come. I don’t remember much at that age but that entire scene is so vivid in my head. It was inevitable that I would learn about death at some point in my youth, unfortunately Anne of Green Gables was the thing that broke the news to me. I do still love the books and the mini-series, but for the rest of my life I will associate it with death.

So there it is, my three biggest fears and how they came to be because of some tv mini series or movie.