Monday, July 30, 2012

Bucket Lists

For today I'm going to go a little off topic and ask if anyone has/has ever made a bucket list? The two books I just finished reading (Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and Noelle Hancock's My Year with Eleanor) are bucket list esque type memoirs and although I created my own bucket list at the start of summer, these books have inspired me to go even further with it.

So two questions for today: Do you have a bucket list? and Has a book ever inspired you to try something new/expand a project, etc?

Happy Monday readers and thank you for making this blog what it is becoming each day :)

Two ships passing in the..sunset. by rseidel3, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  rseidel3 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Rereads!

"If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2am clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She'll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable." - Rosemarie Urquico 

I love that quote. I know that online it's typically attributed to Robert Pattinson and I secretly hoped it was said by him because that would be so adorable, but after doing some digging I found that it was actually written by Rosemarie Urquico and the full version can be found here:
Either way, it's just such a shareable quote and I hope you enjoy! 

For today I want to ask my readers, what are some of the books you've reread (whether it's twice, several times, or twenty times)?

I've already included these two books in a post, but I adore them both and currently just reread/am rereading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project and Noelle Hancock's My Year with Eleanor.  They are two bucket list esque/live-your-life-to-the-fullest (especially My Year with Eleanor) books, which are right up my alley and ideal for summer. Please check these out if you haven't already! 

So tell me dear readers, what are the best books to cozy up with and reread on this rainy Sunday (or at least it's rainy here)? 

And on a side note, we've reached fifty followers, a halfway mark! If you enjoy some of these posts, I'd love if you followed this blog at the end of the page or told a friend about it! Happy reading! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Short Stories

first day of summer by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Before I start this post, I have to ask, did anyone notice the adorable background on Google today? Anyways, today I'd like to stray off the path of books for a moment to talk about some classic short stories. Unfortunately, I read a piece about how short stories are becoming less and less popular (I believe it was an essay written by Stephen King), but if you want a break from reading novels they're definitely something to take a look at. There's some wonderful books out there that house the best short stories, etc. So if you looking for a few quick reads take a look at some of these:

"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allen Poe - Yes, this story is incredibly sick as so many of Poe's stories are, but it's interesting and kept me intrigued. I promise I'm not some weirdo who craves morbid stories, but this story is a classic of Poe's, so I figured I'd share it. The story is narrated by an alcoholic (so we don't know how reliable the narrator is), but according to his story he used to love animals, but becomes so aggravated by his first cat that he takes his eye out, then hangs him. His wife still loves animals and tries to protect them. Some supernatural occurrences after the first cat is gone, including a second cat the narrator finds that looks very similar to his first cat Pluto. At first the narrator likes this cat, but notices this cat's fur is the exact shape of a noose and becomes further disconcerted and bothered by the cat. He plans to kill this cat with an ax, but is so angered by his wife trying to protect the cat that he kills her with the ax instead and hides the body in his walls. The police come and don't find anything, but the narrator opens his mouth and says something about the basement walls. When he taps on the walls, he discovers the second cat was trapped in there with his wife because it makes a tortured meowing sound.
Maybe it was my hilarious professor who made me really enjoy this story with his comments such as  "A little wife beating, I don't see what's wrong with that," or "Maybe the bitch deserved it." He was kidding of course, so please don't take offense!

"Winter Dreams" by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Dexter Green works on a golf course and meets a spoiled young girl named Judy who is with her nurse. Dexter quits and later goes to college in the East. Dexter then goes on to own a chain of laundries. He is invited back to the golf course he used to work at and there, Miss. Jones (the same girl who was at the golf course years ago) strikes a man in the stomach with her golf ball, but wishes to keep playing. Luckily many of the men find her beautiful. Dexter meets her again on the lake where she leaves her date on a motorboat and asks Dexter to help her water ski. Dexter has his first date with Judy, who is very wealthy, on her porch and they continue dating, but Judy dates many other men as well. When he becomes engaged to another woman, Irene, Judy tells him he should marry her instead. But within the month she ditches him and he's left with nothing. After he comes back from WWI he learns Judy married his friend, but her husband cheats on her and she isn't very attractive anymore. Dexter is deeply hurt because his dreams of her are gone.

"The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber" by Earnest Hemingway  - Francis Macomber goes on a safari with his wife. However, she is embarrassed when their tour guide has to take over because Francis was too afraid of shooting a lion and ran away. She ignores him for much of the trip and winds up sleeping with the tour guide. Francis tells her to stop her "bitchery" and admits that the reason they stay together is because his wife is beautiful and he is wealthy/it is too late for her to find someone better. After this act with the tour guide however, Francis gains his masculinity back and does an excellent job on the next day of hunting. His wife seems very disconcerted by this new confidence because before, she had him whipped. When it appears an animal is about to attack her husband, she shoots, but winds up shooting her husband Francis in the head. The tour guide thinks she did this deliberately because she couldn't handle his newfound courage, but it is left open to the reader whether she killed him or saved him.

What are some of your favorite short stories?

Also, one more follower and we've reached fifty followers (the halfway mark to getting some guest posts and contests on here!) Thank you readers!

sunset at peggy’s cove by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lost and Found

Happy Thursday readers! Hope you're getting ready for weekend plans or some relaxation time. Today I'll be teaching another creative writing workshop for children at a local library so I'm looking forward to that, but I figured I'd share another book with you before I left. I read this one awhile ago, but really enjoyed it so I'll give you a synopsis and some thoughts.

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst - The book follows seven pairs of contestants who decide to go on a reality television show called Lost and Found. Some of the contestants include Cassie and Laura (a mother and daughter), a religious couple, two business partners, two flight attendants, two old child stars, etc. The television show chose particular contestants because they wanted people whose lives can unravel on screen. The book rotates between points of view, but Cassie knows that the show has chosen her because of a secret she holds that the producers hope will be revealed to get more views.

There is a good description of the book here:

Personally, I really liked this book because of the shifting points of view and its interesting setting in which characters were asked to travel the globe. It was like watching reality t.v., only so much more real because I was given a glimpse at how the characters were actually feeling, unlike most reality television. I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for an exciting new read.

What are some books you've read a long time ago, but really enjoyed?

I'm so thrilled that we're almost halfway to reaching 100 followers. If you like some of these posts please feel free to follow this blog at the end of the page or tell a friend about it! Happy reading!

the journey home by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book #20!

Hello wonderful readers! Hope you're enjoying your Wednesday's. I'm writing this post because I did it! Yesterday I completed my bucket list goal of reading at least twenty books by the end of summer. I started with a Jodi Picoult book (and several in between), so I figured why not end with one? Here's a little summary and some thoughts:

Mercy by Jodi Picoult -

Summary: This book follows police chief Cameron MacDonald who crosses paths with his cousin Jamie Macdonald. Jamie was madly in love with his wife Maggie, but she was terminally ill with cancer so Jamie killed her out of mercy. He came to Cameron for help and understanding, but now Cameron must arrest him and aid the prosecution. As the back of the book states, Cameron's wife Allie is "seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he'd grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life." Therefore, she befriends Jamie. Meanwhile, her husband Cameron is having an affair. The book shifts between the lives of these four characters (Cameron, Jamie, Allie, and this woman) and the people who are close to them.

Thoughts: So far, there is not a Jodi Picoult book I haven't in love with including this one. However, the difference about this book is that I really hated two of the characters. I won't say who because I don't want to spoil too much, but it was hard to get through a book in which I was constantly hoping karma would slap those two characters in the face. And in some ways it does for one of the characters, but not nearly enough. Also, I sort of wanted this book to end with that contented feeling that all was right in the world again and I just didn't feel that way. Nonetheless, I couldn't put the book down and it was definitely a satisfying read so I'd still recommend that you check this one out1

A quote from the book: "You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride."

For your viewing pleasure, the pile of the twenty books I read (p.s. the clutter in the background is some of my dorm stuff)

So hopefully you guys run to the bookstore and pick up Mercy or any of these really :]. And I'm so psyched because we've reached 45 followers! We're almost halfway to our goal of getting 100 followers before introducing a guest blogger. So if you enjoy these posts please feel free to follow this blog at the end of the page or tell your friends about it because I'd love to meet new readers! 

What are some of your favorite books? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

A big thanks to Stephanie at for nominating me and fifteen other bloggers for the versatile blogger award! I really appreciate it!

I took the rules for this award right off her site, so you can check out her post here:

There are a few rules one one must follow before accepting the award and they are as follows:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging.
  2. Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award.
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  4. Thank the blogger who has nominated you.
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post. 
7 Random facts about me: 

  1. My lucky numbers are seven and thirteen. 
  2. The only pets I have ever had are fish, but I usually cried when they died (HEY I was little and my dad would hold funerals in the back yard and bury them! It was traumatizing!)
  3. I love to run.
  4. I've always disliked summer reading (sorry schools) because I feel like it's a roadblock for people who love to read anyway. I'd always focus solely on the three books assigned the whole summer so that I'd do well on the tests, which made me wind up reading less. 
  5. I'm always smiling. 
  6. One time on April Fools' Day some friends and I were walking home from school (we were in like fifth grade) & our neighbor who was a year younger told us his one month old dog died. We started cracking up and saying "Yeah right," because of the date, until his mom told us the dog actually did die. We wound up making him a ton of cards, but I still feel guilty about that. 
  7. The t.v. show King of Queens is my favorite; I think it's hilarious. 
Like Elizabeth I didn't necessarily nominate new blogs (they may even be several years old), but rather, blogs that are new to me. Congratulations bloggers :) 

And my nominations are:

So please check out these blogs; they deserve it :)! 

On a side note, I'm so happy we've almost reached 40 followers. If you like these posts please feel free to follow this blog at the end of the page because I'd love to get to know my new readers! Happy Tuesday :). 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

Hi all! I'd like to give a big thanks to Lauren from, who nominated me and ten other bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award, an award for new bloggers with less than 200 followers. I'm really grateful to her for passing on the award because I'm still so new at blogging and it was a nice surprise to hear about this! Also, I think this will be a cool way to meet other bloggers by passing the award on to 11 new bloggers!

"Award winners share 11 facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who tagged them, come up with 11 of their own questions and tag 11 more bloggers with the award." (qtd. in The Headless Owl blog).

Here are my answers to Lauren's questions, facts, new nominees, and questions for my nominees. 

Answers to Lauren's questions

  1.  If you could meet any living author, who would you choose and why? Jodi Picoult because I absolutely love her books; I've read about ten of them so far. Besides the fact that I often reply “Hanging with Jodi” when my mom or dad asks what I’m doing and I’m reading one of her books or that I added a Jodi Picoult bobble head into a short story I recently wrote, I’d just like to meet her so I could congratulate her on her incredible writing. Otherwise, I’d like to meet Noelle Hancock, a new author, who wrote a memoir called My Year with Eleanor because her story is awesome and she seems like such a cool, funny person to be around.
  2. Why Young Adult? So far, my blog is a mix of adult books, some young adult books, and memoirs/nonfiction books. But I still really love young adult books and I could say it's because I'm still in college, but I think I'll enjoy them when I'm older too since many of them remind me of what it was like to be a kid, teenager, or really, to be me just a few years ago.             
  3. What is your favorite bookstore or library and why? I love Barnes & Noble, but that’s the only major bookstore near me. It’s a bit expensive (I get a little annoyed when I see books for half the price at Costco), but there’s a certain feel to Barnes & Noble and I could spend hours in there looking at books. Plus, the Starbucks coffee venue inside the store is a plus :).
  4. Rank the last 5 books you read from most enjoyed to least enjoyed. Ahh, that’s a tough question! I genuinely don’t have a favorite between the last five books I read so I’ll just list what they were in alphabetical order: Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah, Assholes Finish First by Tucker Max, A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard, The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, and the Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
  5. What books made you love reading? I’ve loved reading from when I was very little, but I’d have to say the books that gave me a reading addiction were Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech and Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews.
  6. Why and when did you start blogging? I started blogging about a two weeks ago for a few reasons: I thought it seemed like fun and I read that it was smart for both college students and writers to begin blogging because it gives you the chance to meet a lot of cool people interested in the same field/s as you.
  7. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and what book would you take? Good question. I’d either go back to St. Martin (I went in June with my family and we go there nearly every year) because there's something special about that place, or to Italy or Australia (I’ve never been to either and they’re on the top of my list). Even though I’ve seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love, I want to read the book and think it's a fitting travel book.
  8.  Describe your dream book. One that has my name as the author ;). But seriously, I love any book I can really relate to and that has characters I fall in love with. 
  9. What's your favorite book cover(s)? Good question. I don’t really have a favorite, though I liked the ones from My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. 
  10. What is your favorite food? Ahh I don’t know if I can choose a favorite because eating is one of my favorite hobbies, but I especially love Chinese buffets and the Italian buffet at Sbraro’s! 
  11. Are you a city person or a country person? Well I live in the suburbs, which is a middle ground, so I really enjoy both city and country. I think it’s a lot of fun going into New York (my mom is from there) so I might have to choose that over country. However, I think the country is so beautiful and peaceful in its own way and it’s also a special place to visit.
11 Facts About Me
  1.         When I was in sixth grade, I was riding my bike with no hands until the bike tilted off the curb, I fell, and had to get twelve stitches. Since it was only a two minute skit though, the doctor gave me the okay and I still danced.
       2.  My friend Matt once asked me, "Since when did you become a light FM station?" Although I enjoy mostly all modern music, I love music from my parents' generation and my early years (mainly 80s and 90s music). 
       3.  My favorite color is purple and my favorite animal is a pig. My grandparents asked me about these favorites when I was three, I copied what my mom's were, and have stuck with these ever since. Hence the GIANT pig my boyfriend just won me from a fair he was at (I'll post a picture at the end of the post). 
        4.  GPA wise, I was eighth out of 240 students in my high school graduating class. 
        5.  But I'm really very stupid. I once lost my phone and car keys down a jetty on the beach around 1 am. It was the day before one of my friends was leaving for Malibu and a week before my other friend and I left for our respective colleges so we thought it would be scenic to sit on a jetty at night. It was until my belongings fell down the cracks into the ocean! 
        6. I have never had gum in my life. I know what you're thinking: WTF? I'll eat anything, but I've just never had the desire to chew gum.
        7. So far I've had four jobs: I've worked at a water park, at Hollister, as the entertainment editor at my college newspaper, and currently (except for summers) as a peer tutor at my school's writing center. I've also volunteered at an adult day care center and this summer, am teaching a couple creative writing workshops for children at local libraries. I was also hired once by Pizza Hut when I was like 16, but when I came back this other manager was there and he kept sending the new employees home (for three days) because he said he didn't need us yet, so I quit =p. But my dream job is to be a writer. 
        8. I have gone bungee jumping with two of my best friends. Well, it was the bungee jumping at Six Flags (aka the Daredevil's Dive), which is a cross between bungee jumping and sky diving, but because of that wrenching feeling in my gut before we dropped 157 feet I'm still counting it!
      9.  I don't think there is a better time of year than summer. I was/am always confused by the friends who couldn't/can't wait to go back to school. Granted, I love and miss my friends down at school, but I can visit them any time during the summer when we're all relaxing. To me, looking forward to homework, tests, and killing myself over grades again isn't worth the excitement. 
      10. My boyfriend and I met nearly two years ago during the first week of our freshman year of college when I was still wandering aimlessly trying to find my classes (basically I'm always lost/lacking direction) and asked him for directions. He walked me to class instead. I had the worst cold/fever I've ever had the first week of college & when I declined his invite to the football game because I was seriously going home for the weekend to recover, he didn't believe me until we hung out a week later.
        11. This fact is super cliche, but I'll write it anyway because it's true. I love my family and friends more than anything and am so lucky to have them in my life. Oh, and I'm lucky to be making some new blogging friends! 

    Questions for My Nominees

    1. If you were stranded in a solitary room for 24 hours would you rather spend your time reading or writing?
    2. If you were to write a book, what genre would you write (fiction, non-fiction, memoir, YA, self-help, psychological, horror, etc)? 
    3. If you were forced to choose between eating a burger and french fries for a year or pizza and french fries, which would you choose?
    4. Who is someone you find really inspirational and why (it can be a relative, close friend, author, celebrity, etc)? 
    5. What book did you read most recently and did you enjoy it?
    6. Use three words to describe your style of dress (I know one of mine would be comfortable!). 
    7. What are three words you think your friends would use to describe you?
    8. What is your favorite part of blogging?
    9. Would you rather be a famous writer, songwriter, or actor/actress?
    10. What is one of your funniest memories from childhood?
    11. If someone asked you why you love reading so much what would you reply?

    I'd just like to say that for my nominations I had a fairly loose definition of "new blogger" as long as the rule with the followers applied. Some of my nominations go to people who have had their blogs for a few years because I really liked the blogs :). Congratulations everyone!

    Passing the Award On To

    Thank you for the tag Lauren! I probably missed several eligible bloggers, so if I did please let me know and we'll try to pass it on to them as well :). 

    For your viewing pleasure, a picture of the giant pig I mentioned my boyfriend Fletch won for me.