Friday, July 24, 2015
Lo’Melkhiin was once a good man in this story without names. His three-hundredth-and-first bride was acquired like all the rest: presented to him by a village in a line up of all marriageable women in their wadi. None of his brides had lasted more than a handful of nights, and, in an attempt to save her beautiful sister from a sure death, Lo’Melkhiin’s newest bride clothed herself in her sister’s finest, purple dishdashah, an intricately embroidered dress meant for a happy wedding, and made herself known to him without fear.
She’s now been taken away to his qasr, the elaborate palace he calls home, and must stay strong and unaffected as her strange, cold husband visits her each night to hold her hands, to take her strength, to pull away her power, and accidentally leave some of his own to settle and grow.
As his bride discovers a new magic within through traditional feminine activities, gathering strength from the women around her as she spins and weaves and longs for her home, there is a shift. This man who is now her husband matches every horrendous claim that’s been cast. Despite his cruelty, though, he feeds his horse by his own hand, he cares for his mother with her odd lion’s mane of hair, and there is spot of sleeping darkness in his mind that his new bride cannot seem to ignore.
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is as unique in as many ways as it is familiar. It’s a story of female strength in the face of adversity and the importance of patience. Most people are aware of the bones that make up the skeleton of this story. A mad king, a legendarily long string of, let’s say, unsuccessful unions, a marriage to someone unplanned, a struggle for control. Although it differs from the principal One Thousand and One Nights tale, there are many things that will still ring true from the original telling.
A Thousand Nights reminded me, in some ways, of one of my favorite childhood books, East by Edith Pattou, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To me, the writing felt a bit formal at times, as if the author was trying to converse with the reader the way someone would around a campfire in a land where you might not know the language. I think there is a great advantage to this style of writing in that it can be very immersive even if it is not my personal preference.
Similarly, there were many things within the book that I felt were expanded on extensively while somewhat ignoring the mystical and political portions of the story, which, to me, were the book’s greatest strengths. There were creative and romantic elements tacked on at the end and throughout the book that I would have loved to learn about in the same detail we learned about the bride’s relationships and history.
That said, the relationships in the book, especially the trust forged in the qasr between the bride and the women workers and Skeptics in Lo’Melkhiin’s employ were wonderful. Many times when reading a book, I feel there’s not enough history to hold up the integrity of the characters. A Thousand Nights is not one of those stories. If you enjoy background information, family stories and history, you will relish the level of attention that Johnston has paid to these subjects.
I really enjoyed A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston. I thought it was an excellent retelling of one of my favorite stories, and I would encourage you to find it once it comes to its full audience on October 22nd of this year. It is currently available for pre-order in hardcover and Kindle.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
“My dear man, a gourmand is a gentleman with the talent and fortitude to continue eating even when he is not hungry.”
“Never forget a snob is a person utterly lacking in good taste.”
If you've read this book or seen this movie, let me know what you think. There's a lot of room for discussion!
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
As many avaricious readers are apt to define, I like to send a reading goal for myself yearly. I usually do this via Goodread's Reading Challenge widget and stop it there. This year, though, a curious little challenge was floating around Reddit and Facebook, and I decided I might as well give it a go.
PopSugar is a company largely known for sending out "Must Have" boxes (a subscription service where you pay a set amount every month and receive a box of full-size goodies), but they apparently set out these challenges every once in a blue moon. The range of subjects covered was pretty intriguing so I figured I would give it a go.
If you've been looking for something a little more interesting or ambitious for your 2015 reading, check it out! I'll be adding a page to this website to keep you updated on my progress. I'd love to hear about yours!
Happy Belated New Year!
Sunday, October 5, 2014
When I received this book in the mail, the first thing that struck me was the quality of the printing. The colors stand out on sturdy paper, the cover plush, the binding strong. It's really quite striking. The recipes inside are even more so.
My husband and I have gone through several now, by the seasons, and have enjoyed each one. Kimberley Hasselbrink offers surprising combinations, which I feel is difficult to achieve in a world of over-saturation of ideas as we do today.
I've found that most of the recipes are easy to adapt with the ingredients you might have on hand, and they translate well for weeknight meals, as well as entertainment courses. The recipes with tree fruits and figs are definitely my most favorite of the bunch, and my favorite recipe would actually be the Celebration Salad found on page 150.
If you're interested to read a bit more, the first section is available for free on Scribd. Although, it is many times the case that I feel books could be purchased on e-Book (the Kindle Paperwhite being my personal poison), this book in particular is lovely in hardback. If you're able to find it, would like to try out some interesting seasonal ideas, and need something for people to flip through while they wait for you to finish getting ready - I would definitely check this one out.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.