Book Talk: The Graveyard Book

Hello fellow ghouls and witches!

Since Halloween is Tuesday I thought a dark novel would be appropriate for the October Book Talk. Earlier this month I went searching for a great Halloween read, I picked up the classics (Lovecraft and King) and kept putting them down. I then realized that a new Halloween read was in store, something that I have never read before. This led me to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

This novel has been out for a few years (since 2008 to be exact), but it’s something one should read to get into the Halloween spirit! Graveyard is marketed as a children’s fantasy novel, and it includes a few illustrations by Dave McKean. With this being said, you can find it shelved in the adult science fiction and fantasy section with a different cover, right next to the graphic novel adaption.

Most know this novel to be Gaiman’s adaption of The Jungle Book, but the setting is among the dead and not the beasts of the lush jungle. After reading the novel it’s easy to see the similarities, but I don’t think you should go into this book expecting an exact replica of The Jungle Book. You will not be disappointed; the story keeps the reader interested and the character development is amazing.

In the first chapter the reader encounters Nobody Owens, also known as Bod. He is a toddler that has just mindlessly stumbled into the graveyard, not realizing that someone is coming to murder him. The residents within the cemetery understand that Bod’s life is at risk, so they come together and make a decision to raise the boy as their own.

As Bod grows up he begins to ask questions about the town outside of the wrought iron gates. His guardian, Silas, tries to keep him safe by telling him to not leave the confinements of home. Bod does not listen and eventually comes face to face with the man that tried to kill him years before.

It may seem as if I gave a bit too much away, but trust me, I didn’t even tell you a sixteenth of the story!

I couldn’t put this book down. As I read I felt for Nobody Owens and those of the living and dead he encountered. All my questions were answered by the end of the story too, which is very important to me!

Graveyard has won four awards and deserves it. If you are looking for a new ghoul-filled read, look no further. Do not let the category of “children’s” scare you away. There are a lot of lessons to be learned for young and old in this story, and it’s one the whole family can enjoy.

The City of Constant Change


Old City will always have certain memories for me. I will hold the memories of walking down its streets, underage, with a liquor blush warming my cheeks. Holding onto my friends as we laughed about the events that had just unfolded.

I will remember my birthday when a dear friend went shopping with me in Center City (against his wishes) and was determined to get me to The Ritz to see Wes Anderson’s new film. Our feet were so sore by the end of the night, practically yelling at us. Our broke asses didn’t have enough money for a round-trip on the subway and we ended up walking from Center City to old, racing against the clock. We learned that night that Center City is a lot more than 5 blocks from Old City, and we felt it the next day.

Two weeks I made a new memory in Old City. As I sat in front of Independence Hall in a nice shirt with my hair pinned back I realized something. The days of underage drinking, not having enough money for the subway, and being a teenager were over. As I sat there for my corporate interview I realized that this was a new path I was venturing down in life. These previous paths are not ones I regret, but hold dear to my heart.

Sitting on that bench in my dress clothes with a portfolio in hand made me realize I was becoming an adult. And, in that moment I felt excited.

I’m excited for what life brings me, for I know it has never been dull. As I watched people walk through the square I realized this was where i needed to be. If I got the job or not, I needed to be in this exact spot, this exact city. Philadelphia has made me realize a lot. It had me grow up, grow with some, and apart from others. It’s my place of constant change.

How will it change me now?

Side Note: The Best Drink in Italy

I will tell you about my favorite drink, hands down, in all of Italia.

It was not a specific brand or type of wine. It was not a homemade concoction or even something a bartender whipped up behind the counter.

It was the majestic liquid that is Meloncello.

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A shot of Meloncello on the rocks

Now you can make Meloncello homemade, just like you can make Limoncello in the comfort of your kitchen. But I fell in love with the manufactured stuff, so I can only imagine how heavenly the homemade drink is.

So what is Meloncello? It’s vodka, melon juice, water, and sugar. You mix it up, let it sit for a while, and then enjoy!

Michi and I drank so much of this, the the local bars ran dry! I felt so bad, but it’s something I didn’t really see or never had in the states! And also take a moment and look at the size of that shot, it only cost me two Euros!

Summer in a bottle. If you can get this imported, do it!

 

Check out the rest of my Italy travels here.

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Finding Beauty Everywhere: Back Alley

Every time we head to the pub everyone parks their cars in the same spot, walks the same alley way, and ends up at the same entrance.

It’s a force of habit. We have become so intertwined in the same cycle that nothing seems special about this trek to the bar.

As I was walking through the alley the other night, it occurred to me that this would be a great opportunity to seek out beauty. There had to be something beautiful about this walk, this spot of the town, that kept people coming from all over the country to see.

As I was walking I changed my point of view. Instead of looking down, making sure not to misstep, I looked up.

That’s when I saw the sunset reaching over the brick building. The bay window, that is as old as the town itself, overlooks those drinking below. String lights can be seen, indicating casual drinkers enjoying their evening. Even phone lines dice through the image, showing another era that is soon to be forgotten.

This photo shows so many eras in a single snapshot.

Even though I dread being trapped in a small town, I just have to search for that breathtaking moment and it makes me realize that this is a pretty spot. People travel here for a reason. It is beautiful.

Sometimes it’s hard to feel stuck in one place. But, a change of perspective is all you need to make that place bearable for another night.