Book 2 of 94: Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

This is a book that has sat unread on the family bookshelf for the last 20 years or so.  I remember seeing it while I was growing up, but I never really took an interest in it.  Now seemed like an appropriate time to read it though.

Summary:  The Moomins are Finnish mythical creatures and this book is the first in the Moomintroll series.  Moomintroll, the lead character, goes on a series of adventures with his family and friends.  They find a magical hat which belongs to the Hobgoblin and causes all sorts of trouble.  They travel to an island and weather a storm and wake the next day to find many treasures along the beach.  This book shares tales of family, the bonds of friendship, and doing the right thing.  It is sweet and endearing and a fun read.

My Three Main Takeaways from Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Number 1:

“And don’t come home until you’re better tempered.” (Jansson, 1958)

This quote is from Moominmamma.  The Moomin family is in the middle of a hot summer and Momminmamma is at her wits end with the children who are all bored and hot and underfoot.  So, Moominmamma suggests that they all go sleep in a cave for three days where it will be cooler and where they can go on their own little adventures and give her some room to breathe.   I found this sentiment to be entertaining because every adult who has been around small children during a hot summer has had a similar thought to this.  However, I wager that it would be socially unacceptable if we were to tell children now that they should go sleep in a cave for a few days.  Or would it be?  Huh, if someone could answer this for me by June that would be greatly appreciated.

Number 2:

“We will go home,” said the Hemulen.  “Strange adventures, and getting wet, and carrying on alone and that sort of thing are all very well, but they’re not comfortable in the long run.”  (Jansson, 1958)

I like that this thought is universal.  I love going on vacation and getting away from my day to day responsibilities, but there always comes a moment when I just want to go home.  I want the comfort of my own bed, I want to take a shower in my own shower, and I even want to go back to work.  However, I am still counting down the days until I can lay on a beach for an entire week this summer!

Number 3:

As I mentioned earlier, this book has been in my house for at least 20 years, and it has existed in the world even longer than that.  The copyright is from 1958!  My imagination is a bit rusty, so I looked up some of the characters online to see if I could get a better description of them.  I was astonished, ASTONISHED, with what I found.  While I have casually ignored the Moomins for the majority of my life, Finland has been celebrating them for the last 70 years.  There is a Fan Club.  There is an entire collection of books.  There are mugs, plates, umbrellas, and even Moomin sneakers for sale.  There is a Moomin café.  There is a theme park.  There is a ballet.  A ballet!!!  Amazing!  Check out this link to see what I am talking about.  Who knows, maybe you need a Snorkmaiden mobile phone bag and you didn’t even know it.

Who should read this book?

  • Children with a 4th -6th grade reading level who have an active imagination and love the world of make-believe.
  • Parents who want a good chapter book to read to their kids and don’t mind explaining some of the things that their kids won’t understand.
  • Apparently anyone who is Finnish. Seriously, I feel like you might lose your Finnish citizenship if you haven’t read the Moomin series.

Who should not read this book?

  • People who don’t like magic.
  • Parents who just want their kids to go to sleep and don’t want to explain to them why the Groke is so sad.
  • Kids who don’t know how to read yet. They will probably just rip out the pages and ruin the book for everyone else.

If you are interested in this book please let me know, as I am happy to send it along to its next home.

Two books down, 92 to go!

Jansson, T. (1958). Finn Family Moomintroll. Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.

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Book 1 of 94: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

In the interest of full disclosure, I finished this book a week or so ago.  However, just as Cleveland was starting to see signs of a coming Spring (i.e. hope), we were knocked down by a vicious stomach bug, the details of which I will spare you.  By the time the bug reached me, I was in the midst of hosting six family members visiting from Michigan.  At times it felt like I was experiencing gentrification first hand as my house was quickly rearranged to make it “kid friendly”.  This basically means that all of my breakable treasures were placed on high surfaces and gates were erected that forced me to reconsider yoga each time I attempted to summit one.  So once my family departed and my stomach stopped raging war on me, I decided that it was time to sit down and review my first book.

In short, I loved this book!  In short, I love Amy Poehler!  I figure that I should probably elaborate just a tad though if I intend to recommend this book to any of you.  I also figure that I should have some sort of format if I am going to review a total of 94 books.  I have decided to have a list of “takeaways”.  As I mentioned in my first post on this topic, I tend to highlight or take notes on every book I read.  Sometimes I will highlight a phrase that I think is wonderfully written, a sentiment that resonates with me, or a new bit of information that I intend to research further.    After reading each book I will attempt to narrow all of these things down into the THREE main takeaways which I will then present to you along with a brief summary of the book itself.   Here we go!

Summary:

This book isn’t so much a linear autobiography as it is a collection of reflective essays on Poehler’s life (think David Sedaris style).  In Yes Please, Poehler describes her rise to fame, which was hard fought and well earned.  She tells stories of her adventures and tales of her friends.  In fact, I truly enjoyed the times she spoke of her friends (the famous ones that I am familiar with like Seth Meyers, Nick Offerman, and Tina Fey) because she describes them exactly as I hoped they would all be in “real life”.

Poehler reminds us that very few people, if any, are “discovered” and that people achieve success because they work for it every single day and they refuse to give up on their dreams.  She reminds us that famous people still experience the same heartaches and tribulations that those of us who are only famous in our own dreams experience.  She is someone with whom I would like to be friends because I think she is intelligent, funny, and empowering.  Amy Poehler is MY definition of a feminist, someone who believes in and supports the power and strength that women have to create their own happy endings and not the traditional definition of a feminist who supports women’s rights to have a happy ending that is merely equal to the happy ending of a man.

My Three Main Takeaways from Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Number 1:

I didn’t really know who I was, but improv had taught me that I could be anyone.  I didn’t have to wait to be cast – I could give myself the part. (Poehler, 2014)

As people, but especially women, we tend to wait for permission to do things.  We know which roles we play and we act accordingly.  However, if there is ever something that we want in life that exceeds our roles, we tend to wait for someone to give us the permission to pursue those things.  I do this… a lot.  I’m okay with being “good”, but it’s like I’m waiting around for someone to tell me that it is okay to be great.  Amy swopped in like a sparkling little fairy godmother and granted me the permission (that I didn’t need but I still sought) to cast myself in any role that I want.  We all need people in our lives who remind us that while God is still the Producer, by granting us free will, He gave us the role of Director in our own lives.  This is the encouragement I needed to start writing my own script.

Number 2:

I learned that I was getting way too good at a job that was not my life’s passion. (Poehler, 2014)

I have been blessed to work for a great company for the last ten years.  I have learned a tremendous amount, both personally and professionally, and I have grown in ways that I never could have imagined when I first took the job all those years ago.  But the truth is, while I enjoy my job and I am exceptionally good at it, it is not my life’s passion.  In fact, last year I caught the eye and the praise of one of our regional managers and he encouraged me to increase my role within the company.  At the time, I was so flattered by what he saw in me that I believed that moving up in my company was what I actually wanted.  Through a series of events I did not receive a promotion, and while I was devastated at the time, I know now that the Producer stepped in and canceled that production for my own good.

This isn’t all to say that I am going to up and quit tomorrow, far from it.  I have a vested interest in staying where I am for the time being; however, I am spending more time contemplating what I am passionate about.  I have taken steps to align myself with the things that matter to me and I am slowly working those things into my life on a daily basis.  I’m realizing that I can have both, financial stability and rewarding work.  For the time being those things may not come from the same place, but I’m convinced that I will find a way to have financial stability while pursuing my life’s passion when the time is right.

Number 3:

My ideal night out is a dinner party in my backyard with a group of like-minded friends whom I boss around in a gentle and loving way. (Poehler, 2014)

A huge part of being an adult is not just recognizing and accepting who you are, it is also about owning it.  I am bossy.  I like to be social, but on my terms.  I’m not interested in going to clubs or trendy bars; I don’t care for all that noise and, frankly, I don’t really like being that close to strangers.  Any conversation is going to lack some depth when one must yell to be heard.   Instead, I have found that I’ve settled in nicely to enjoying the company of a handful of people at a time.  I force my adult friends into “arts and crafts” hour when I invite them over for a Valentine’s Day party.  They might moan for a moment or two, but eventually they relent and end up having a good time.  This is who I am, and I like who I am.

Who should read this book?

  • People with a sense of humor who enjoy playful sarcasm.
  • People who want to feel empowered about chasing their dreams.
  • People who are friendly and believe that the world could use a touch of friendliness.

Who should not read this book?

  • People who don’t know how to take a joke.
  • People who think that they shouldn’t have to work to make their dreams come true.
  • People who cut in line.

One book down, 93 to go!

Poehler, A. (2014). Yes Please. New York: HarperCollins.