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Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Life in June: World Pride, Toronto Zoo, and The Night Before Our Stars

I absolutely CANNOT believe 2014 is already half over!! Where has the time gone?? I would like some of it back now, please. I feel like I've been busy, busy, busy, and yet haven't accomplished very much so far this year thesis-wise. Entertainment-wise, however, I'm doing fine - check out my June:


Just this past weekend, I was able to attend my first ever Toronto Pride Parade:
This year is an extra special one for Toronto Pride because Toronto played host to World Pride this year, which meant an entire week of festivities. I was only able to make it out to the parade, but I'm happy I even managed that considering how intensely hot it is outside and how crazy the crowds were. As always, LGBT Pride parades never fail to make me smile and appreciate just how many people out there are good-hearted, open-minded folk who embrace and support those who are of a different sexual orientation from their own. It made for a great day!


Earlier this month, I was FINALLY able to make time to visit the world-renown Toronto Zoo:
I spent an entire day there and STILL only saw about half of the entire zoo! Another visit to see the rest of the park is already in the works because I seriously LOVED every minute of it. How cool would it be to be a zookeeper there??

My favourite animals were the apes - the gorillas and the orangutan I saw. I don't know how anyone can meet our closest living relatives, the Great Apes, and NOT feel an instant connection to them.

They're also very intelligent animals. Check out the video I took of this clever orangutan washing the glass of her enclosure with her left hand and squeegee-ing it with her right hand:


And finally, this month I was also lucky enough to be able to attend the advanced screening event of The Fault In Our Stars movie, entitled The Night Before Our Stars:
And so I saw The Fault In Our Stars in a theatre full of squealing teenage girls. In retrospect, this was not such a great idea. Of course it was SO great to see such enthusiasm for a great book by such young people, but for me, it kind of took away from the viewing experience. The girls all squealed and cheered every single time that Augustus Waters appeared on screen so that I could not hear his dialogue and they all bawled LOUDLY at the end of the movie in a fashion that I found quite distracting. So what did I think of the movie? Well, I really don't know. I really feel like I need a second viewing of the movie all on my own so that I can FEEL my own feelings and not get distracted by raucous squeals and loud honks. I have the general impression that I liked it and thought it was well acted, but that's it. I will rent it on DVD and make up my mind about what I think of it then!


Blog Posts in June:

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2014
Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR (Help Me Prioritize!) - As always, you guys DELIVERED when I asked for help on which books to prioritize for my summer reading and I can't thank you enough! Funnily enough, the results were fairly even across the board, which makes me excited because I KNOW I have some good reading ahead of me! If you're curious, Crown of Midnight and Eleanor & Park tied for first place with 39% of the vote, Graceling came in second with 36%, and The Raven Boys and The Giver tied for third with 32% of the vote. No worries though, I do absolutely plan on reading all ten of the books on the list, I just wanted to know which ones should be made a priority for right now!
Top Ten Unique and Beautiful Uses of Typography
Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands #3) by Moira Young - 4 Stars
Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne - 3 Stars
Series Review: Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - 4 Stars
The Great John Green Read of 2014
My Life in May: Moira Young, Period Dramas, and the Great John Green Read of 2014


Best Book Read in June:
The audiobook of Anne of Green Gables was offered up for free last week on SYNC Audiobooks and I didn't think much of it as I downloaded it to my phone to listen to as I get ready in the mornings. But then. OHMIGAWD IT WAS INSTA-LOVE (yes, it DOES exist in some instances!)!! Okay, first of all it must be said that I feel a bit ashamed at the fact that I, as a Canadian, had never read this classic Canadian novel. I have no excuses. And second, I want ever so much to be bosom friends with Anne Shirley!! Words cannot express how much I love that girl and her imagination and her earnestness. I can only hope that she would think me a kindred spirit in turn. This audiobook, as narrated by Colleen Winton, just filled me with so much JOY (and in the end... heartbreak) that it instantly became an all-time favourite of mine. I do wish Anne of Green Gables had been introduced to me in my childhood, but I am happy to have it in my life as an adult at any rate. Also: it has convinced me that I absolutely MUST see Prince Edward Island in my lifetime!!

40 comments :

  1. WOW! You guys got Pandas!!
    We got some too, and a Polar Bear, but he's getting on in years so they don't put him out in the open enclosure often anymore, so it's really a matter of luck if you get to see him - he mostly chills in his private pool, for what I hear.

    Also, Anne of the Green Gables is awesome!! I don't know why narrator you got - because I think there are a few of them but I got the Barbara Carusso one, and it's really good. I just love who the language just rolls out and you have to sit back and enjoy it.
    Sadly, I've been meaning to listen to the second book, but i haven't found it with the same reader yet.

    Anyway, I always love reading your recaps :D

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    1. Ooh, a polar bear in Mexico? They would have to be sure to keep him quite cool!

      Ah, I got Colleen Winston for the audiobook I listened to and I just loved her voice for Anne, all excitable and high-voiced and dramatic. But I would actually be curious to relisten to it again with another reader to compare! And yeah, I had to turn to LibriVox recordings to be able to listen to the next books because I couldn't find them read by the same narrator.

      Thanks, Alex :)

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    2. Well, he has an special enclosure next to the penguins and seals and its like in the most shaded part of the zoo and he has a big, deep pool he can swim in. And in the city the temps rarely get higher than 30 to 32ºC, even in summer. So, the experts say he's doing OK, unlike the polar bear in Argentina. Have you seen that? makes me so mad.

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    3. I hadn't seen that. I had to google it and that is pretty bad. I do worry about animals in zoos sometimes. Some have it good, but others seem to experience a kind of depression from being in captivity. It is sad.

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  2. It looks like you've had a fantastic month! I love the Toronto Pride Parade it's always so much fun - sorry we didn't run into one another there!

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    1. Oh, I didn't know you would be there! I should have expected it though, I guess. There were so many people there that I'm sure it would have been near impossible to find you!

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  3. Yup, thinking about Anne and Gilbert always brings a smile to my face. After watching the tv miniseries, I really want to visit Prince Edward Island. It looks so beautiful!

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    1. Oh, would you know I had no idea there was a miniseries? I'll have to check it out :)

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  4. The Pride parade looks like it was fun! And zoos are always great too :D

    I still haven't seen the TFIOS movie, I'm waiting to rent it on DVD (mostly because I was worried about noisy teen girls - I learned my lesson watching DIVERGENT in theaters that it's best to wait for DVD, since I missed about half the dialogue in the film thanks to them).

    Sounds like I need to check out Anne of Green Gables! I missed the download because of internet issues, but my library hopefully has a copy.

    Glad you had a nice June - let's hope July is great too!

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    1. Aww, I don't remember having the same problem for Divergent, but that could be because it wasn't an advanced screening. There were definitely a lot of excitable teen girls there though, too.

      Too bad you missed the download! I definitely recommend the one narrated by Colleen Winton when you do have the time to check it out.

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  5. I can't believe you haven't read Anne of Green Gables until now! I remember reading it way back in elementary school and wishing I had friends like Anne and Diana. And then I read the next three books in the series and ended up falling in love with Gilbert!

    I also still can't believe I haven't gone to the Toronto Zoo yet. For some reason, I never ended up getting to go there on a class field trip and because both my younger siblings went a few times, they're not interested in going there as a family :( Seeing animals in enclosures though kind of makes me feel sad.

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    1. Hee, it's surprising isn't it? I really have no excuse. It just never happened, as with a lot of classics. But I'm glad I'm finally in the know!

      Hey, if you ever need someone to go to the zoo with, I'm always up for it because as I say, I freaking loved it! I do know what you mean about the animals seeming sad, but if they weren't in the zoo, they would not be able to survive in the wild. The zookeepers are all very committed to making sure they have good lives there.

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  6. Ah! It looks like you had a lot of fun during the parade and at the zoo! That photo of the lions in so precious.

    I have yet to read Anne of Green Gables as well. I've read very few classics, hehe. And I love your typography post. I love typography, and that post is awesome.

    Great recap, Aylee!

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    1. Thanks, Hafsah! You should read Anne of Green Gables! I definitely recommend it. But don't worry - I haven't read many classics either!

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  7. Ah! I am SO SO happy you loved Anne of Green Gables as much as I did (and still do)! Reading your feels about the book, about Anne and being bosom friends and kindred spirits make me want to re-read it right now. Maybe not the entire series though cause I vividly remember the next 2 books being quite good but the rest went downhill after that :( Anyways visiting PEI is a must if you ask me, it's such a wonderful spot - we're actually planning a visit down there this Summer or Fall!

    Toronto Pride looks incredible! I wish I lived closer to bigger cities so I could attend stuff like this ^^ it makes me proud to see such a big turnout and lots of people coming together for all the right reasons :D And the zoo looks like something else too, hopefully you can check out the next half soon!

    PS- love the results for your Summer TBR poll ♥ Happy Summer reading xxxx

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    1. Aww, I'm happy too! If you do do a reread, might I recommend the audiobook? :) And yeah, I'm definitely getting the impression that the subsequent books weren't quite as good. I will continue on as long as I see fit. I really must make a point of visiting the Maritimes while I'm living out West and it's easy!

      That is the advantage of big cities. But man, are there ever a lot of people at these events! It sure takes a lot out of me... I do like the quiet of small towns too.

      Thanks, Miche!!

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  8. The zoo looks fantastic! I love it when you go somewhere and it takes more than the day to see everything. Makes it so much more worthwhile! We keep meaning to go to the Calgary Zoo one of these days ... the Edmonton one just isn't as nice!

    Yay for The Fault in Our Stars! I saw this one as a Movies for Mommies pick, so there were some crying babies, but it felt so good to cuddle my boy as we watched it. I wasn't prepared to cry as much as I did, but it totally happened -- especially during the part where the mom was saying she wasn't going to be a mother anymore. I lost it!

    I hope July brings lots of good things to you!

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    1. It's true! Outings can be pricey these days, but the zoo was absolutely worth it for me and I would gladly pay to go again and again! I wish we had a zoo as nice as Calgary's and Toronto's.

      Awww, it's SO nice that you had your boy to snuggle with while you watched TFioS! So cute. And yeah, that part really got to me, as well!

      Thanks, Kristilyn!

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  9. You will love The Giver and The Raven Boys! Such great books. The other books on your list are on my reading list as well. I have yet to read the book or see the movie for The Fault In Our Stars... I have a feeling this will be like The Hunger Games and Divergent where I waited years before finally jumping on the bandwagon. What can I say? I'm a hipster at heart.

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    1. I'm sure I will :) I have a good feeling about them! haha, a hipster at heart! Well, there's certainly no rush. The book will be around forever and you don't need to read it just because everyone else is.

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  10. Luckily, my theater for TFIOS wasn't that bad. I mean, I knew people were crying but it wasn't that loud. A friend of went to an even earlier show (I saw mine at midnight) and she was annoyed by her audience too. Sigh. Hope you love it when you can watch it again.

    Pride looked like a lot of fun - that's awesome you were able to make the parade.

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    1. Ah that's good. I guess maybe I should have known better than to go to an advanced screening when all the fangirls would go. Well, I'll keep it in mind for next time! Thanks, Lauren!

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  11. Wow! You weren't kidding when you said you were busy, Aylee! It looks like you had a lot of fun this month, and I'm glad you got to go the pride parade and the zoo and that movie showing. I would have been a little annoyed by the screaming and squealing too. I went to a midnight showing of Breaking Dawn Part 1, and every time Jacob came on shirtless, which was a lot, all the girls screamed. haha

    And I need to read Anne of Green Gables! I've been considering it for some time actually, and you make me want to pick it up even more, and it's just a shame I never read it during my childhood! :D I hope you have a great July, Aylee! I look forward to all your posts!

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    1. Heehee, it was busy, but pretty dang great! I loved it :) And yeah... in retrospect, I really shouldn't have gone to an advanced screening. I should have known! Though the Jacob squealing is pretty funny, heh.

      Ooh, please read it!! Or listen to it! I think you'll like it. I do wish I had read it in my childhood because then I could call it a childhood favourite, but oh well. Thanks, Courtney!

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  12. YAY PRIDE PARADE!!!! I would love to attend one, I think it would be such a blast, and like you said, inspiring to see how many people are there to celebrate love in whatever form it comes in:) The Toronto Zoo looks absolutely amazing, I love the picture of the panda just chillin. As you do:)

    I haven't seen The Fault in Our Stars yet, I'm not emotionally equipped to handle it! One day though. One day:)

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    1. Yeah, that's what I love about Pride! It's fun :) Busy and lour though... I'd rather be a chillin' panda ^^ You should see TFioS with someone you love and can comfort you!

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  13. You did so many fun things in June! All I did was sleep and read since I was so happy to be done with university, lol.

    I can't imagine seeing TFIOS with so many fangirls. I'd be so annoyed with the constant screaming and crying o_O;

    I haven't read Anne of Green Gables... I don't think I ever came across it as a child but I keep hearing wonderful things about her and Gilbert :)

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    1. Heh, oh I did plenty of reading and sleeping, too. And there's nothing wrong with that! I quite enjoy relaxing months, as well.

      Yes... well, I'll know for next time that it's probably not a good idea for me! I'm okay with waiting a bit longer and avoiding all that.

      Aww, Anne and Gilbert <3 You'll have to read it sometime!

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  14. I'm glad you had such a wonderufl time at the zoo- I saw your picture and felt sure I recognised you from somewhere, but I have no idea how that could be. Hmm...

    The Pride Parade looks, and sounds, like a lot of fun! I would definitely like to go to one one day.

    And Anne of Green Gables! Isn't it thrilling and wonderful and true? Ah, I do love those books. Have you just listened to the first one, or all?

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    1. haha, i guess maybe you run into someone at some point in your life who looks like me? It happens.

      Thrilling and wonderful and true are such the perfect words to describe Anne of Green Gables!! I'm currently listening to the third book and we'll see how far I get with the rest of the series.

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  15. The Pride parade looks like so much fun! I've never been to one but I'd love to, one day.

    Haha that panda is so cute and I love the photo of the lions. Glad you had fun!

    The hype for The Fault in Our Stars really did me in so I'm probably going to watch it after its DVD release. Sigh.

    I've never read Anne of Green Gables but it is on my (never-ending) to-read list.

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    1. Thanks, Sana! I had a good month. It is too bad about TFioS, but I guess that's just the way it has to be. It's a bit annoying, but I know I'll enjoy the experience so much more on my own. And you'll have to get to Anne of Green Gables sometime!!

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  16. Ha! I went to see Ed Sheeran before he was popular and had a great time but then again once he became a hit with teen girls and like you said - yay for enthusiasm - but you can't hear anything over the squealing lol

    I've been to the Toronto Zoo years ago and it's HUGE. Glad you had a good time.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Heh, yeah. I felt a bit like an old grump and I mean, I WAS happy that they were excited, but there are other ways to show your excitement besides screaming!!

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  17. I haven't read Anne of Green Gables either! I get SO much flack for this fro my house mates, it's embarrassing. Oh, I would love to someday visit the Toronto zoo. To be perfectly honest I am not a huge animal lover, but I am intrigued a zoo that takes more then one day to visit. Having seen TFiOS twice now, and I have thought about it a bunch, I am still on the fence about it.

    Anywho... I hope you have an amazing summer, Aylee... are you heading home at all in the next couple months? I hope so.

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    1. Oh, you MUST read Anne!! Or at least listen to the audio. She has such a memorable voice. And then you should watch the 1985 movie because they do an excellent adaptation of the novel!

      I won't be heading home anytime soon (probably not until Christmas), but my parents will be visiting me in TO soon and we'll do some touristy stuff together so it should be fun! How about you - do you have any vacation time planned for the summer?

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  18. Okay...as strange as it sounds, this post actually made me kinda clue in that June was over. :P I mean, I did know it was July, but I didn't even really think about making a recap post because I kinda forget June was over. Clearly my brain is definitely running on that lazy, summer frequency that happens when the weather gets super nice because it has been glorious in Edmonton this past week...so I'm gonna blame that. And then I'm going to have to start working on my own recap post I guess. ;P haha

    I'm glad June was so great for you thought, Eilidh!! The Pride Parade looks like it was a blast! I've never been to Edmonton's, but I definitely think I've been missing out!!! And the Zoo really does look amazing, too! I love seeing animals at the zoo. I just love animals in general though. :) And that's too bad about TFiOS movie! When I saw New Moon it was kinda like that, too...but thankfully the screaming was more funny than anything...plus, it's not like the dialogue was super important or anything! haha But I hope you like the movie when you get the chance to watch it again! I loved it....but I did cry. Not in a super loud sobby way though...I tried to contain myself. :P haha

    I must admit that I have never read Anne of Green Gables either, and I passed on the audiobook thinking I wouldn't like it. I guess I should've given it a shot. :P Maybe I'll have to read it myself now. :)

    Well, I hope July is awesome for you, Eilidh...and I agree that I want time back! The year is going by wayyyyy too quickly!!

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    1. The end of June kind of snuck up on me too! I mean, the end of the first half of this year really snuck up on me... 2014 is past half over!! Crazy.

      Edmonton's Pride Parade is GREAT! I would say I actually enjoy it more than Toronto's just because Toronto's parade involves 40 degree humid heat and wall to wall people... Edmonton's is not as crazy busy, but is still a lot of fun!

      You'll have to check out the Toronto Zoo when you're here! It's world-class and pretty spectacular!

      I can see how New Moon screaming could be pretty funny! I guess TFioS was just such an emotional book for me that I really needed to watch it on my own to have my own private experience. I'm sure I'll cry when I see it again ^_^;

      And you MUST read Anne!! Or else listen to the audio. She has such a memorable voice. And then you have to watch the 1985 movie as it's a great adaptation of the novel!

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  19. I just love these monthly recaps! :-) Looks like you had an amazing June! The pride parade is always so much fun, I love going with my friends in San Fran but I had to miss it this year. It's so awesome that you were able to when Toronto was the world host! OMG that video is adorable - she is so smart! I can totally see how watching TFIOS with a theater full of teen girls could make it a little intense and almost hyperbolic. I hope you enjoy it when you re-watch. So happy you loved Anne! And yes I also have a life goal of one day visiting Prince Edward island. Hopefully one day! :-)

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    1. Aww, thanks, Lauren! I like putting them together :) Mainly when I have amazing months such as I had for June anyway! I really do think I'll love TFioS so much more when I can see it in a much more low key setting. One day I do hope we can make it to PEI!!

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