You don’t have to like hockey or even know much about it to find this novel riveting for the story revolves around the inhabitants of a small town, their fears, and sorrows and loves – all wrapped around the town hockey team. When violence enters, hearts break and yours will break too for the characters you have come to love.
NB After you’ve read Beartown, read the stunning sequel Us Against You.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
For many Mexican families, gifts and celebration are centered around Day of the Kings on January 6, rather than Santa and December 25.
Catering to the Dia de los reyes, Gallerias Vallarta shifts from pictures with Santa to pictures with the three kings (beautifully outfitted in opulent robes of ancient times) – none of whom are white guys, by the way.
Tonight (Dec. 19) we were honored to be invited to the neighbors’ Posada – a traditional Mexican party held at Christmas. We enjoyed Atole (a hot corn and chocolate drink) and ate tamales and of course had a piñata. See below for more information about Posadas.
How did posadas originate?
Posadas in Mexico began as a way for the Spaniards to teach native people about Christmas. During the nine days leading up to Christmas Day, masses would include representations of Mary and Joseph. Following mass was a party where people were blindfolded before hitting a piñata with a stick, a representation of faith defeating temptation with the help of virtue. The fruits and sweets that poured out of the piñata represented the joys of union with God.
In time, posadas started to be held in neighborhoods and people’s homes, becoming a more familiar and tightly-knit occasion, as well as preparation for Christmas. At the beginning of a posada, people are divided in two groups, the ones “outside” representing Mary and Joseph, and the ones “inside” representing innkeepers. Then everyone sings the posada litany together, re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search, going back and forth until they are finally “admitted” to an inn. After this tradition, the party proper starts. Posadas have spread to other countries—such as Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela; the celebrations vary by location. Carlos Villamayor
Found this fellow parked on the street in town the other day. When I approached he pulled back abruptly. His owner, a little old lady, told me that he only liked her, no one else. I’m guessing that these two have been together for years.
The owner changed from a baseball cap to the hat you see on the saddle, before mounting and riding away with her bags of groceries hanging from the saddle horn.
I cannot get this story out of my head. The intricacies of the characters’ relationships, the depth of emotion, the shattering of lives left me with an urge to dive into the novel and sort everyone out. If you’d just mind your own business, I screamed in my head, If you only knew. A vivid depiction of the importance of knowing the facts before acting and then asking yourself, “Is this any of my business?”
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.