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. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Assholes and Overachievers

Let me start off by saying that I see the irony between pairing these two books together. Although they are both non-fiction, they are obviously two very different types of books. One is informative and well researched, while the other is... well just look at the title. Also, I know a lot of people were offended by Tucker Max's book and you'd have to live in a box to not see why that is. Of course I agree that the way he treats people is cruel and a bully like him shouldn't be making so much money off being an asshole. And yes, I do feel a little ridiculous for feeding into the assurance that people will buy this book because sex, alcohol, and funny stories sells. But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't find the book entertaining, which is why I'm introducing this book (and plus, it is book #19 on my summer reading list so I have to add it!). So in advance I apologize if I'm offending anyone by discussing this book and I welcome your criticism on it, but please don't shoot the messenger! 

Assholes Finish First by Tucker Max - One day over spring break my car was in the shop so I decided I'd walk to my local Barnes & Noble. My mom was going to pick me up when she got home from work, which meant I had about an hour to mosey around the store. At the time, this book was sitting on the best sellers shelf and of course the title caught my eye. I had heard about the book before and figured I'd grab a coffee, then read it for entertainment until my mom arrived. I got to about page fifty and thought it was pretty funny. Then again I enjoy shows like "Family Guy," which I know a lot of people despise. I didn't buy the book until a few days ago. When I went to the counter I tried to ease the embarrassment of buying a book like this (the last book I bought there was a book on teaching children's creative writing) by saying "I'm doing some educational reading." Luckily, I don't think the cashier really looked at the book title because she simply said "Oh, that's good to hear."  Basically, Tucker Max combines his sexcapades, drunken acts, and just general funny stories in one book. But as stupid as his decisions are, one thing I like about his book is you can tell from his writing that he's fairly smart (as ridiculous as that may sound). A lot of people would probably find this book repulsive and say to never buy it (I definitely wouldn't fault them for saying that), but if you're looking for an entertaining read then go ahead and pick this one up. 
A quote from the book: "When a girl you meet three hours ago decides to tattoo your name on her body what is the appropriate reaction?" 

The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins - Obviously, this is a very different type of non-fiction account and in no way do I see any resemblance between the book discussed above and this one. I just found this to be another interesting non-fiction read and thought I'd pair the two together for that reason alone. Well... maybe I did it to redeem myself from discussing the other book or because the two books make an excellent blog post title. I read this one last summer after finding it in a pile of books in my mom's room. My grandpa gave this one to her a few years ago. As stated on the author's website the book combines "fast-paced storytelling and spectacular investigative journalism." The book rotates between nine high school over achievers, their stories, and their journey through the admissions process to get into college. Maybe I would've enjoyed the book more when I was in high school because it would be easier to relate to, but it was also nice reading it after I'd already been through that whole process. This is a good book to consider if you're going through/finished with the admissions process or are an overachiever/parent of an overachiever. I found some parts of this book funny because like those kids, I have recopied forty pages of a textbook into my notebook so the material would be absorbed better or studied for twelve hours to do well on a test. I liked how the author stresses that while it's okay to like a school because of its name, it isn't always the right decision and it's important to find a school that fits you, like a few of the students in her book. Although I found this to be slow at times (though maybe because I'd just read a series of fiction books), overall I found it to be both funny and real. 
A quote from the book: "In one survey respondents listed Princeton as one of the country's top ten law schools. The problem? Princeton doesn't have a law school." 

Hope you're enjoying your weekend and happy reading! If you like some of these blog posts please feel free to follow this blog by clicking the link at the end of the page; I'd love to meet some of my readers. 

Disney’s California Adventure by peasap, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  peasap 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Two Great Reads

Happy Saturday readers! I hope you're taking advantage of the weekend and either relaxing, heading to the beach/pool, or catching up with friends. I'd like to share two other books I really enjoyed that I read fairly recently:

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult - I read this one over my spring break and really liked it. Daniel Stone grew up as the only white boy in an Alaskan village. Because of his isolation, he turned to drinking and stealing. Eventually he meets a girl, falls in love, and gets her pregnant. Years later he is a reformed man and father as well as a comic book artist. His wife teaches Dante's Inferno at her college and in a sense, The Tenth Circle reflects Dante's struggles through the nine circles of hell. Mainly, the book focuses on Daniel's teenage daughter Trixie, who accuses her ex-boyfriend of raping her. The end of the book is definitely a shocker.
A quote from the novel: "What if love wasn't the act of finding what you were missing but the give-and-take that made you both match?"

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - I found this one sitting on my bookshelf last summer and I wish I would've picked it up sooner! I was afraid it would be too juvenile, simply because I received the book a long time ago, but I really loved it. The book is about Macy, who is getting over the recent death of her father. Her boyfriend is away at brain camp so Macy decides to get a job at the library, where her coworkers treat her like dirt. Her boyfriend says she is being dramatic and that maybe the two of them should take a break because she is distracting him. One day, Macy notices a Wish Catering van, which catered a party her mom threw. There she meets Wes, who she learns she has a lot in common with. She also meets Kristy who becomes a good friend. I liked the ending of this book because it was so uplifting.
A quote from the novel: "It's just that... I just think that some things are meant to be broken. Imperfect. Chaotic. It's the universe's way of providing contrast, you know? There have to be a few holes in the road. It's how life is."

I hope you take a look at the two books, dear readers, and that you enjoy your Saturday! As of today we've reached 30 followers, wohoo! I can't wait to introduce some guest bloggers soon so if you like some of these posts, please feel free to follow this blog by clicking the link at the end of the page. Happy reading!

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Shakespeare!

dark forest by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

"What is wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote." - E.M. Forster

Hello readers! I'm hoping to purchase a few new books today, but until then I'd like to discuss a few more Shakespeare plays that I've really enjoyed. I figured I'd share these in case you want to take a walk down memory lane for a moment to think "Oh yeah, I remember when I read that one."

King Lear - I read this play during my senior year of high school. King Lear has three daughters and at the beginning of the play he asks the three of them to tell them how much they love him. Cordelia is the only one who doesn't use false flattery and because she is honest and dutiful to her father, she gives him a relatively plain answer. Because he loved Cordelia best and was angered by her lame profession of love he sends her out of his house and divides the kingdom between his other two daughters. He later realizes that neither of them want him around and tries to redeem himself.
A quote from the play: "Nothing will come of nothing: speak again."

Macbeth - I typically don't like plays, stories, or movies with a lot of action and fighting scenes, but I'm a little biased toward this play as I was in it last year! I played a female Ross, which was a lot of fun because I got to wear an army fatigue outfit during the fighting scenes, got to drop my glass in surprise when Macbeth started going crazy at the banquet table, and was one of the few characters who got to stay alive throughout the entire play. Basically, Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches that he'll become king and then murders the current king to steal the title. Both he and Lady Macbeth start to become paranoid and mad as the play progresses and more murders occur up until the final battle.
A quote from the play: "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it."

Merchant of Venice - I read this one last year for my theatre class. Shylock seeks a literal pound of flesh from Antonio, the Merchant of Venice when he fails to pay Shylock the money he owes him. Several characters defend Antonio throughout the play and in the end, Shylock curses his faith.
A quote from the play: "But love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit."

I hope you're all having a wonderful summer and I'm so pleased that we're more than a quarter of the way there to my goal of getting 100 followers before introducing a guest blogger :) Oh! And after commenting on her blog, Tracey Garvis Graves,, author of On the Island, commented on my post about her book and is now following this blog *gasp*!

If you enjoy some of these posts, please feel free to subscribe to this blog by following it at the bottom of the page. Happy reading everyone!

casa loma by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


streams by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

"When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life." - Christopher Morley

This fall, I'll be taking a Shakespeare class. I've been thinking about my recent posts on classics and how I haven't added any Shakespeare plays, but it's mainly because I've decided that William deserves his own post. I haven't come close to reading all of his plays yet (which is why I'm looking forward to this class), but for now, I'd like to share three favorites with you! I know it might seem a bit dull to return to Shakespeare after reading so many modern authors, but if you haven't read any of these, please take a look :)!

  • Hamlet - I'm sure many of you have read this in school at one point or another, but I had to add Hamlet to the list! If you haven't read this one, please go back because although it's one of Shakespeare's tragedies, I still find Hamlet and some of the other characters hilarious. I first read this play during my senior year of high school, then two semesters ago in a British literature course. I find the little quirks in this play (such as the play within a play, the scene where Claudius is praying, and Polonius constantly spying on his son) adorable. The play begins with Hamlet pining over the death of his father and his mother's marriage to Hamlet's uncle Claudius. When Hamlet's father returns to Hamlet in the form of a ghost and tells Hamlet he was murdered by Claudius, Hamlet spends the rest of the play trying to get revenge, faking insanity, and trying to get Claudius to confess to the murder. A quote from Hamlet: "This above all; to thine own self be true." 
  • Taming of the Shrew - If you have seen the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, you're watching a modern version of this play, which the film bases its plot on. I read this play for my theatre class freshman year, then watched an excellent production of the play on video. I'm bummed I can't remember who the performers were because they did an awesome job. The plot involves the beautiful, calm Bianca who has plenty of suitors and her sister Katharina who has none. Bianca's father tells her she cannot get married until her shrewish sister Katharina is married. Bianca's suitors pay Petruchio to suit Katharina. He brings her back to his home and tries to tame her. At a banquet Katharina shows that she is the most obedient wife. A quote from The Taming of the Shrew: "There's small choice in rotten apples." 
  • Twelfth Night - My theatre group put this play on at my school this year and I was the publicity chair for the play. I also read this for my British literature class. Like Taming of the Shrew, this is another one of Shakespeare's comedies and definitely gave me some good laughs (especially when I saw it performed). A woman named Viola decides to cross dress and use the name Cesario so she can get closer to and serve Duke Orsino who is in love with Olivia. Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino. Everyone is confused when Viola's twin brother Sebastian arrives. Sir Toby Belch, the fool, and Malvolio are three other hilarious characters who live in Olivia's household. This one definitely has a feel good ending (except maybe for Malvolio). A quote from Twelfth Night: "Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage." 

Have a wonderful day my lovely readers :). If you enjoy reading some of these posts, please feel free to subscribe to the blog by following it at the end of the page or tell some friends to! Once we reach 100 followers I'd love to get a guest blogger on here. Happy reading! 

casa loma - ir by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Books I've Really Enjoyed!

“We don't need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They're always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.” – Llyod Alexander

Hello lovely readers! I'd like to share four more books with you that gave me that empty feeling when I finished them, aka that "Aw man, I wish there was a sequel" feeling. So whether you're sitting on the beach with a strawberry daiquiri, relaxing on a raft in the pool, or lounging inside your air conditioned house, here are four more books that are ideal for any of those scenarios: 
  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult - If you've been reading some of my other posts, I'm guessing you've gathered that I absolutely love Jodi Picoult. This book is about Shay Bourne who is on death row in New Hampshire. He wants to donate his heart to a small child, but that child is his victim's sister. Shay becomes a sensation when he suddenly starts performing miracles in prison. The child's mother is conflicted between giving her daughter the heart of a man who killed her daughter's sister and saving her child's life. We later learn why Shay felt he needed to commit the crime. A quote from the novel: “When you're different, sometimes you don't see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn't.”
  • One Day by David Nicholls - I purchased this book before watching the movie. I remember first seeing advertisements for the movie and thinking that it looked interesting. Then I went to Barnes & Noble and saw the novel toward the front of the store, which is when I realized the movie is based off this book. The book follows Dexter (Dex) and Emma (Em) who first spend the night together after they graduate from college. It then details where they are in their lives on the same date of every subsequent year from that first day. They eventually become best friends. Dexter is a player and becomes very successful, while Emma rarely dates and seems to be putting her life on hold. The ending of this book is a complete tearjerker, but I still recommend it for an awesome read. A quote from the novel: "I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference," she said. "You know, actually change something." (opening line)
  • Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver - I remember reading this book for school once and really enjoying it. Apparently it's a sequel to the book The Bean Trees, but I never read that one and it definitely wasn't necessary to understand Pigs in Heaven. The book follows Turtle and her nonbiological mother, Taylor. When Turtle sees a man fall down the Hoover Dam she tells her mother and eventually, the man is rescued. Because of this rescue, Turtle and Taylor are asked to go on the Oprah Winfrey show. However, when a lawyer watches the show and notices Turtle is of Cherokee heritage she tries to return Turtle to her birth family. Turtle and Taylor go on the run and the book follows this journey. A quote from the novel: “Anybody can get worked up, if they have the intention. It's peacefulness that is hard to come by on purpose.”
  • The Pact by Jodi Picoult - This book is about Chris and Emily, two teenagers, who have been neighbors for eighteen years. Their parents are best friends and they are too until high school,  when their relationship turns into something more. When Emily dies from a gunshot wound to the head, Chris tells the police that him and Emily had a suicide pact. Rather than believing this story, the police put Chris on trial for murder. I read this one awhile ago, but I remember not being able to put it down. A quote from the novel: “She was all the things I wasn't. And I was all the things she wasn't. She could paint circles around anyone; I couldn't even draw a straight line. She was never into sports; I've always been. Her hand, it fit mine.”
What are some of your favorite books? I'd love to hear about them!

Thank you again new readers for making this blog what it is becoming :) If you enjoy some of these posts please feel free to subscribe to this blog by following it at the end of the page!
predawn by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Favorite Books

July 7 2009 Extravaganza - Prediction = by Pilottage, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Pilottage 

"Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you'd most like not to loose." - Neil Gaiman.

Since I just finished two new reads, I'd like to share some of my favorite books until I go on a new book buying spree. For now, here are four favorite books I'd like to share.

  • Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews - I am in love with this book. Although it's slightly sick (like many of her novels) this is still my absolute favorite. I think I've read this book at least fourteen times so I guess that says a lot. I cringed a little when Stephen King berated this book in On Writing. I first read this novel when I was fairly young (maybe too young because I don't think I fully understood what happened between Cathy and Chris) and truly think this was the book that made me say "I want to be an author someday." Yes, it is unrealistic that the main characters say things like "Golly gee," and that the bad guys' motives aren't very strong but personally, I still think V.C. Andrews is an excellent writer. I've never fallen so in love with a plot or a book's characters before. I couldn't wait to read the sequels and basically feel this way about every V.C. Andrew book I have read, which is a lot. This novel was #1 on the NY bestsellers list. It follows four children who start off with the perfect life, but eventually, are locked in an attic in their grandparent's house because of their mother's greed and grandmother's cruelty. It details their struggles, which include a grandmother who whips them, puts tar in Cathy's hair, and tells them they are the "Devil's spawn,"and a mother who buys them gifts, but visits them more and more sporadically. Chris struggles as he comes into manhood, but is isolated from the rest of the world. Anyone I meet who has read this book always says the same thing "Oh my gosh, you read that too? Wasn't it amazing?" So please add this one to your lists :) Here are the sequels if you want to check them out as well: Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. A quote from the novel: “Love doesn't always come when you want it to. Sometimes it just happens despite your will.” 
  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - This is the first book I read that made me continue reading Jodi Picoult books from here on out. If you've already seen the movie, then reading the book may not have the same effect, but it's definitely still worth the read. I read this book before the movie came out and this is such a cliche, but I think the book was a lot better than the movie. If you haven't heard of either, the book follows Anna who has had several transfusions and shots throughout her life so that her sister Kate can battle leukemia; Anna's bone marrow matches Kate's. Eventually Anna decides she wants her body back and goes to see a lawyer, a decision that threatens to rip her family apart. Throughout the novel you discover various secrets about the main characters and their decisions. Although they didn't use this ending in the movie, the end of the book will shock you. A quote from the novel: “You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” 
  • Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult - I loved this book. Katie, a young Amish girl, secretly gives birth in a barn, then denies that the birth ever happened. However, the next day someone finds the baby dead in the barn and a non-Amish lawyer comes to defend the girl. Ellie, the defense lawyer, must question the Amish peoples' different sense of justice, Katie's claims that she remembers nothing that happened, and Elie's own sense of morality. This novel has so many levels to it; a love story, a clash of cultures, and a surprising ending. A quote from the novel: “If you didn't remember something happening, was it because it never had happened? Or because you wished it hadn't?” 
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - This was Curtis Sittenfeld's first book. The novel is so funny mainly because Lee Fiora, the protagonist, is so observant. When the novel starts, Lee is fourteen and the book details all of her experiences at a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts. I once read an interview with Curtis Sittenfeld in which she discusses how in Prep, Lee overanalyzes everything, then overanalyzes everything again. But that's what I really enjoyed this book. I've read this one twice and have heard a lot of people say that they have done the same. I  almost died when my communication professor told us "I know Curtis." A quote from the novel: “I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.” 
So I hope you've found some new books to add to your TBR (the book to read) piles. Thanks again to my new readers :). Yesterday I was thrilled with reaching 200 page views and today we're almost at 300. And as of today we have reached 20 followers! I hope to have my first guest blogger once we reach 100 followers so if you enjoy some of these posts please feel free to follow the blog at the bottom of the page or tell your friends about it!

What are some of your favorite books? I'd love to hear from you! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Really Love Best Sellers

I'm definitely one of those people who walk into Barnes & Noble and rush to the best seller shelf at the front of the store. What can I say? I'm a sucker for consumerism  books about to become major motion pictures, books I read about in magazines, or books that reach that magic shelf in Barnes & Noble are typically the first to catch my eye. But I figure the books are on that list for a reason and they always wind up being incredible reads.

So as I walked into Barnes & Noble this Friday to find some new reads, I wandered over to that shelf and afterward, found myself purchasing two awesome books: The Perks of Being a Wallflower and On the Island. I'll be adding these books to my summer reading list (the first post on this new blog) as they contribute to my goal of reading at least 20 books this summer (these are books seventeen and eighteen). In bullet style, I'll share some facts about the books as well as things I really liked about them in the hopes that you'll add them to your reading lists!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

  • Although I know this book used to be super popular, I saw it make its reappearance on the Barnes & Noble best seller shelf a few months ago and from its cover discovered it's about to becoming a "major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson." 
  • I remember my friend telling me awhile ago that she really liked this book and I typically like books that are about to become movies. However, a few months ago I decided I'd wait on this one because I had some other books in mind. A few days ago a friend said "Did you see that new movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower that's coming out? It looks so funny." As I meandered back to that shelf I saw the book was still sitting there and decided it was time to pick it up. 
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an easy read as its told in a series of letters written by Charlie to an anonymous friend. We never find out who this friend is, but through Charlie's letters we learn about Charlie's life and his journey through his freshman year of high school. 
  • Charlie is so observant about everything. I think people who are readers will really enjoy this book because although Charlie is a little strange, we can all relate to him in some way. As his good friend says, "He's a wallflower. You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand." 
  • The back cover and other readers have compared this book to The Catcher in the Rye. Charlie and his commentary on life did remind me a lot of Holden Caulfield. 
  • Nothing major happens in the book, but Charlie does meet a new group of friends, fall in love, and experiment with sex, drugs, and alcohol. It is his comical observations that made me want to keep reading without putting the book down.
  • By the end of the book you find out why Charlie often needs to see therapists and he tells the friend he is writing to that if he doesn't hear from him it is a good thing because sophomore year Charlie hopes to "participate" more in life as his English teacher suggested, rather than stand on the sidelines. 
  • I definitely recommend this book for a simple summer read. 
On the Island by Tracy Garvis Graves
  • Like the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this is the first book Tracy Garvis Graves has written. What really attracted me to this book was both the cover and title. 
  • What's neat about this novel is that it's a New York Times bestseller, but you find out from the author's letter at the end of the novel that she self-published and that this was "truly a word-of-mouth book." 
  • I really enjoyed this novel, especially because it is told from two points of view, Anna Emerson's and T.J. Callahan's. 
  • Anna starts off as a thirty-year old English teacher, while T.J. is a sixteen-year-old boy whose cancer is in remission. 
  • Anna's relationship with her boyfriend is suffering, so she decides to tutor T.J., who needs to catch up on missed schoolwork from his illness, at his families' summer home on a tropical island in the Maldives. 
  • When the private plane Anna and T.J. board crashes somewhere in the middle of the ocean, they swim to an uninhabited island and are forced to make a new life there together. 
  • Nature provides them with a series of dangers such as sharks, jellyfish, bats, mosquitos, lack of rainwater, and coconuts that are hard to crack open until some of their suitcases wash up on shore. 
  • Although T.J. starts off as a boy, as the novel progresses he becomes a man and the novel follows the relationship that Anna and T.J. build while on the island. I loved the tension between the two characters as they decide between their feelings and social norms. 
  • This novel is definitely a great beach read and the author's letter made it seem like there was also talk of this one becoming a film. 
  • Her blog can be found here:

As always, thank you to my readers; this new blog is growing each day because of you and has just reached 200 page views! I look forward to providing my readers with new opportunities (guest posts, contests, etc) when the blog gets big enough, so if you enjoy some of these posts please feel free to follow my blog at the bottom of the page or recommend it to friends. 

I hope you guys add these two to your piles and happy reading :)! 

west lake view by paul bica, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  paul bica