Tag Archives: Cinderella

Reread my favorite book (Ella Enchanted) (2014)

Photo Credit: Kate Ter Haar via Flickr
Used unmodified under CC By 2.0 license

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.
–Maurice Sendak

Every time I read this book, it’s like visiting a favorite place. Ella Enchanted (by Gail Carson Levine) was the book that first introduced me to retold fairy tales. When I read it the first time I didn’t recognize it as a Cinderella story until halfway through. When I did, what a great surprise!

I’ve reread this book almost every year, but I accidentally skipped the last year for some reason. I want to get back in the habit of rereading it yearly, like a mini-vacation for my brain. So, I added it to my first-ever summer bucket list!

I don’t really feel like doing a long book review, but if you want to know if you should read it, of course I’d recommend it. The writing is simple, so it’s a fast, entertaining read.

Elements of the story you may want to know when deciding if you should to add it to your reading list:

  • humor, drama
  • fairies, elves, gnomes, centaurs, other magical characters and themes
  • strong female lead, she’s smart and independent, but also has friends
  • strong male characters (no “dumb jock” or “useless men” stereotypes)
  • actually, just strong character development overall
  • the premise is that Ella has to obey everything she’s told to do
  • the plot is a twist on the Cinderella fairy tale
  • and from what I can tell of the movie plot (based on movie trailers and plot summary), the book’s plot is different from the movie’s

Based on how much I enjoy this book, I never saw the movie, because the trailers made it seem like a very different story, told in a silly way; but the book, while funny, is not roll-your-eyes silly. However, I’m willing to reconsider if any of you have seen the movie and read the book and think they’re similar.

Do you have a favorite book? What is it and why do you like it?
If it’s been made into a movie, have you seen the movie adaptation? What did you think?

Attend the Opera (January 2013)

Attend the opera

At the Seattle Opera McCaw Hall, waiting for the opera to start

I added this goal in July of 2008 in the summer between freshman and sophomore years of undergrad. Because I left my official Goal List notebook (at that time it still fit into only one notebook) at home during college, I had to write goals down on a separate piece of paper during the school year as I came up with them, and then transfer them to the notebook during school breaks. Because of that, I’m not exactly sure when I thought of this goal, but I added it because I felt like it would be a good experience, since it is a form of theater/art that has been around for so many years.

The good news is that I live in Seattle, which has the Seattle Opera, so geographically speaking, this goal was simple to do, so all I had to do was wait for them to select an opera I wanted to see. Then, the goal sat idle for a while because I found out how much a ticket to the opera could cost. I started focusing on other goals that could be accomplished more quickly and with less money.

I’m glad I waited. Fast-forward a few years. As a graduate student, I found out about the Seattle Opera’s student tickets. It also happened that Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Italian Cinderella) was playing, which I was VERY excited about (I love fairy tales, retold fairy tales, etc).

So, a friend and I went to the opera and when we got our tickets day of performance, we could choose from any open seat. So we got to sit in the orchestra level ($160) for $20.

Attend the opera

You can see part of the chandelier behind us

Entering the McCaw Hall opera house was like stepping into another world. It almost felt like the 12 Dancing Princesses, if you know that story. It was dark and kind of cold and drizzly outside, like the underground pathway the princesses walked,  but then inside, it was lit up, sparkly, full of rich carpet and rich people clinking wine glasses. There was a huge chandelier which from far away looked super fancy and close up revealed that it was made of normal objects like cups, fake flowers, pins and clips, etc. It gave the place that crazy dream-like feeling that I get when I read fairy tales.

We were probably the youngest people there, but it didn’t matter because we were very excited to be there. Both of us had never been to see an opera before, and the music, costumes, set, props, and characters were fantastic. At intermission, we went to be impressed by the fancy and expensive menu of food and drinks (but chose not to buy anything – students, after all). We looked down into the orchestra pit, wandered around the theater, and returned to our seats for the last part of the opera.

At the end, we both decided that it was a good experience, but that it wasn’t really an form of art we enjoyed as much as others. I like plays, musicals, and ballets more. I was glad that I really liked the story though. I’ve rarely experienced a fairy tale that I didn’t like, in whatever form it’s presented.

The opera experience is definitely one to have during your lifetime, if only to experience that magical feeling of being lifted away from reality for the night.

If attending the opera is on your list…

  • Consider reading the First Timer’s Guide by the Seattle Opera (Note that some things in this guide are specific to Seattle. If you are going to another opera house, please also take a look to see if they have a What to Expect section on their website).
  • Think about eating before you go to the opera. We did dinner out and then the show, and it is much cheaper than eating dinner at the opera house.