“As most eclipse chasers will tell you, nothing less than totality counts. Partial eclipses are interesting but they don’t give you the shivers. Even 98 percent coverage is like being nearly pregnant.”

A Literary Feast | He Said She Said | solar eclipse | book review | solar eclipse glowing cake | activity for kids

We are just days away from a full solar eclipse. Well, it will be a full eclipse if you happen to be in the path of totality, this year extending across a good portion of the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. Here’s a neat link where you can see a simulation of how the eclipse will look like from any location, along with the local time. I’ll be viewing a partial eclipse from New Hampshire; however, had I read this book a few months ago, I may have vied for a better viewing location.

As you know, I love offering contests to you on the blog, but this month I actually won one! The blog Leslie’s Bookcase was offering a giveaway of one of her summer reading picks, and I was the winner! I chose He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly, a modern thriller that rotates around several solar eclipses, formatting the book in the phases of an eclipse (brilliant!). One thing that I appreciated about this book was not only the explanation of the technical aspects of solar eclipses, but also the experience of being there. I found out that there are such things as “eclipse chasers”– you know, the ones that are paying thousands of dollars to camp out in people’s fields in Oregon? There are festivals and forums and fanatics, and while reading this book, I understood the fever. I now have a new actionable bucket list item, as the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. occurs on my son’s 8th birthday. What a cool birthday party that’s going to be!

“If revenge is a dish best served cold, confession should be dished up piping hot or not at all.” 

Back to the book. That quote is a good insight into the theme of this thriller, as well as a well-turned food metaphor. The thriller/suspense genre has been my literary staple as of late. My life is fast-paced, and I need my books to keep up (and keep me awake!). He Said, She Said has the benefit of not one, but two first-person narrators. You know I love a good, unreliable narrator– keeps you on your toes! Secrets and plot twists abound. I can’t say that it was entirely believable, but I highly enjoyed this page-turner.
*For the sake of plot protection, I can’t go into details, but if you are triggered by references to sexual assault, this is not the book for you.*

I mentioned already that the food references are slim pickin’s. But no matter! I have the perfect dish to pair up with this book– and it doesn’t include revenge or confession. This is also a great activity to do with your kids to have a bit of fun before or after the eclipse on Monday. Behold the wonder of the Ultimate Glowing Hot Solar Eclipse Cake from Gifter Grid. Seriously, how fun is this? So, we didn’t make the cake. It does work best on smooth, dark surfaces, so I decided to make chocolate pancakes to try it out. I would have never thought to do anything like this, but really, this fun activity couldn’t be simpler. Take a small glass, shot glass size, and turn it upside down on your cake/pancake/brownies. Sprinkle cornstarch (best result) or powdered sugar around the cup and drag your finger through it towards the outside of the cake to form the starburst pattern. You can also sprinkle a fine dust of the powder around the cake to simulate stars. Remove the cup, and your eclipse is ready. Darken the room and shine a UV light on the cake. Voila! (After years of owning cats and now boys, we already have a blacklight at the ready.) 

A Literary Feast | He Said She Said | solar eclipse | book review | solar eclipse glowing cake | activity for kids

Okay, maybe it involves a little bit of confession, because actually it was a bust. Why? I forgot the 5 Ps (prior planning prevents poor performance). Our UV light is only keychain sized, and the battery is evidently giving out. There wasn’t enough light to make the cake glow. Make sure your light gives off enough light! Head on over to Gifter Grid to see a pic of what it should look like under the blacklight. If yours flops, too, and you need backup plans for the eclipse, Hope in the Chaos has a great round-up of ideas, lesson plans, information, and more! I know I will enjoy it more after expanding my knowledge about eclipses from this book. I’m sure your littles will appreciate the hands on learning, too! 

A Literary Feast | He Said She Said | solar eclipse | book review | solar eclipse glowing cake | activity for kids


Do you have plans for the eclipse? Viewing party, road trip, picnic in the park with your fancy eye shields? Let me know in the comments. Even better, share a pic on Facebook! (Take a moment and “like” my page on Facebook so that we can connect there, too. Thanks!) I’d love to see how you celebrate.