Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Does Literature Mean to Me?-- 1 A.M. Post

I didn't plan on having a post up today because it was already midnight when I realized I hadn't scheduled anything, and I didn't have any quick posts in mind. After a rather stressful day, I decided to just get in bed and start next week's readings for my American Literature class. I was just flipping through my anthology when I happened upon 'pity this busy monster, manunkind' by e.e. Cummings, and something in me just clicked.

In the two minutes it took me to read this poem one time, I was a different person. I read someone else's words and got inside their head and out of my own. I felt something very huge, from just a fifteen line poem. I was calmed, and confused, intrigued and enlightened, I saw both the beauty of the world and the ugliness of the world- all in two minutes.
And as I read the poem again, these feelings shifted and intensified.

That's why I love literature. Because it makes me feel and it makes me think. It makes me get out of bed at one o'clock in the morning to write a post dedicated to it, and it helps me fall asleep at three o'clock in the morning when something is running through my brain over and over. It makes me nod my head in agreement to the thoughts someone had a hundred years before I was born, and it gives me the ability to emphasize with situations I have never been in and never will be in.

Literature is such a huge part of my identity, and who would I be without the words and thoughts of all of these other men and women floating around in my head? Who would any of us be without the words and thoughts of others running through our heads? Who would we be if there was no one to tell our story, or no one who understood our story?

Literature is so powerful- in all forms. Story telling is essential to human existence, and we sure have found beautiful ways of doing it.

"--listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go"
- e.e. Cummings  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recently Reread: Romeo and Juliet-- What to Look for While You Read

Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Classic Play- Tragedy
Publication Date: 1597 approx.
Rating: 5/5

Other Shakespeare Posts:
An English Major's Thoughts on Shakespeare
Macbeth No Fear Shakespeare Graphic Novel

I'm here with my first reread of the year! I'm taking a Shakespeare class and this was the first play we started with. I read this play for the first time my freshman year of high school, and I really enjoyed it the first time around, and this time around was no different.            

So for this review I thought I would make a few comments about the play, and list some elements that you should keep your eye out for while reading the play.

Everyone knows the plot of this play, so there is no need to give a synopsis. This is one of Shakespeare's most readable plays, and it is a great place to start if you are new to Shakespeare. It also has quite a bit of humor in for a tragedy. Romeo and Mercutio certainly act like teenage boys, and there is an abundance of sexual innuendos in the play.

I like this play because of its many elements. I know that on the surface the plot may seem simple enough as well as the themes, but this play has so much going on; it is so much more than just a tragic love story. And of course this play has so many great and infamous lines! This play is a very beautifully written play that is also highly entertaining. The drama is so over-the-top, and is highly comparable to the drama seen on T.V. and movies nowadays (which is probably why this story is still being adapted to this day). I think that the dramatics of Romeo and Juliet's love and relationship are meant to mirror the dramatic and ridiculous feud between the two families.

Elements and Themes to Watch for While Reading:

Fate: This is a huge theme in this play, after all Romeo and Juliet are "Star-crossed lovers." Fate is a really interesting idea to me, and it's really interesting to read this play with the mind-set that the events of the play were fated to happen, they were unavoidable because the Universe stated that they must happen. R&J become sacrifices in order to end the feud, and fate would say that this was the only way to end it, so the young lovers had to die.

Individual Wishes vs. Society/ Peer Wishes: To me, this is the biggest conflict and theme of this play. Everyone in the play must decide to do what makes them happy or what will make society happy, Romeo and Juliet especially. The wishes and expectations of society are what sets this play up to be a tragedy in the first place. Is this play meant to be a warning about putting individual happiness over the good of the group? Let me know what you think.

Foreshadowing: This play is full of foreshadowing. I really enjoyed going through and picking out all the examples of it on this second read. (Yeah, I know I'm weird- I'm an English major, what can I say?)

Foils and Parallels:  This is another elements that Shakespeare does in a lot of his plays, along with foreshadowing. See if you can pair of the foils (opposites) and the parallels (characters who mirror each other) while you read the play.

I'm hoping to make a post about Romeo and Juliet movie adaptations very soon, but there is one more that I have to watch before I write that post- so be on the look out for that. Let me know what your thoughts are on R&J, Shakespeare, movie adaptations, or anything else down below!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Would Create Great Discussion

I'm an English Education major in college, so a lot of my lit classes can feel like a giant book club, which is a good thing. To me, great book club picks have to be able to spark discussion. Here's a list of ten books that I would love to discuss with others who have read them. If you've read any of them, let's talk about them below!
Hosted by:The Broke and the Bookish


1. The Virgin Suicides, Jeffery Eugenides- This book begs to be discussed and theorized about and analysed!

2. Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick- I'm kind of in awe over this book, and I would love to discuss it with people in order to form more concrete thoughts about it! I'm rereading it this year, even though I just read it for the first time last year, because I loved it that much. Sedgwick is a really great author.

3. The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath- I just want to gush about this book with other people who love it! It's so great, and there is so much to discuss and it makes such important statements on feminism, gender expectations and mental illness.


4. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger- Holden Caulfield is such a polarizing character; you either love him or you hate him. It would be great to hear from a mix of people who love and hate him and hear the different reasons. P.S. I'm on the love side when it comes to Holden, I feel for the guy!

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling- So much character development happens in this book! Ahh! So good!

6. The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak- This book is so gorgeous I would love to appreciate it with a group. The language and images are so powerful and so beautiful and heart wrenching.

7. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury- I'm planning on rereading this one this year and I'm really excited. I would love to read this with a group of people who are passionate about reading and learning! If you haven't read this yet, you should right now!

8. Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King- I really liked this book, and would love to read more by A.S. King, it seems like she tackles a lot of big issues in her books, and she tackled bullying in this one very, very well. This book was short, but very powerful.

9. Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith- There is so much going on in this novel, and it deals with so many things, sexuality, recording history, giant bugs, the end of the world, friendship, etc. So much to talk about!

10. Paper Towns, John Green- I really love this novel and will never tire of thinking or talking about how well constructed it is and how powerful the themes are.

Let's discuss these books! What have you read, and what did you think about them? Which books made your list?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Just Added (3)

I've been busy with school and and just got hooked on Scandal so I haven't been doing a lot of non-required reading, so I thought today was a great time for another installment of Recently Added; so as usual here are the last three books I've added to my Goodreads TBR. 

The House of Hawthrone, Ericka Robuck
Release Date: May 5, 2015
 Summary from Goodreads:

Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.
Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorneexplores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature…

Why I'm Excited: I love reading fictional accounts of author's wives, they are a guilty pleasure of mine, and this one looks good. Who knew Nathaniel Hawthorne was a passionate romantic! 

Emma: A Modern Retelling, Alexander Smith
Release Date: April 7, 2015 
Summary from Goodreads

The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury, where she will live with her health-conscious father until she is ready to launch her interior-design business and strike out on her own. In the meantime, she will do what she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world than herself. Happily, this summer brings many new faces to Highbury and into the sphere of Emma's not always perfectly felicitous council: Harriet Smith, a naive teacher's assistant at the ESL school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard; Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma's former governess; and, of course, the perfect Jane Fairfax. This Emma is wise, witty, and totally enchanting, and will appeal equally to Sandy's multitude of fans and the enormous community of wildly enthusiastic Austen aficionados.

Why I'm Excited: I love Austen, and I want to start in on some of the retellings that have come out in the past few years.

Our Endless, Numbered Days, Clarie Fuller
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Summary from Goodreads:

Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons.

When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly unravels the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.

After Peggy's return to civilization, her mother begins to learn the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since.

Why I'm Excited: This sounds so interesting and unique! And I love the cover. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up:New Netflix Addiction

What's New
Well, I haven't being doing a lot of reading this week. I did start a book that wasn't part of my required reading so that's progress. I'm currently reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. Fictional stories about author/celebrity wives are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and so far this one is pretty good. I also got totally hooked on Scandal and watched way too many episodes on Friday night, but I just couldn't stop! Olivia Pope is so smart and tactical. I'm in the beginning of season 2- so no spoilers! If you like political dramas, this is a great one! And if political dramas aren't usually your thing, you should still give this one a try- I think fans of Mad Men will really enjoy it- it's at the same level of drama and has great characters.


What I Bought
Nothing this week! Go me!

What Happened This Week
Monday-  I started the week with the second part of my hot (as in attractive) authors list. It's so fun to discover what these author's look like that I had never seen pictures of before or that I had never seen young.

Tuesday- On Top Ten Tuesday I asked for advice on what to buy next.

Wednesday- Waiting on Wednesday: Black Dove, White Raven- this one is going to be good guys!

Thursday- I reviewed a non-fiction graphic novel- The Beats about the Beatnik movement. 

Friday- I did the Taylor Swift Book Tag!

Last Week's Wrap-Up 
What's Next
This is another one of those "I have no idea what's happening next" weeks because I haven't been reading very much, which means I don't have any reviews to write or post. This week will feature some thoughts on one play and one classic novel that I have finished for school recently, and of course TTT along with some other non-review posts.

What T.V. shows are you guys watching right now? and What are you reading?

Hosted by: The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Friday, January 23, 2015

Taylor Swift Book Tag!

Guys, I like Taylor Swift. I love that she's not taking herself too seriously and how she is working to brush off those who are saying negative things about her. I've been listening to 1989 a lot lately, and I just discovered the other day that I have bought every cd she has eve come out with, so I guess there is no denying I'm a fan. This tag looks like a lot of fun so let's get started!

Thanks to Jess for tagging me!
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - A book/series
 you loved and now hate

I don't hate this series, but I don't think I will be finishing The Luxe series by Jenifer L. Armentrout. I read all but the last one, and thought they were fun addictive reads, but I don't really have any desire to read the last one any time soon. Maybe I will someday but not right now. I just have tons of other books that are a higher priority. 

Red - A book with a red cover 

The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of her Own Making- world's longest title! I still need to read this one! Soon, it will happen soon! 

The Best Day - A book that makes you feel nostalgic

The Series of Unfortunate Events was huge when I was in elementary and middle school, and everyone read and loved them. I never finished the series, but I have thought about picking it up again many times. 

Love Story - A book with forbidden love

I haven't read The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simmons yet, but I would love to get to it soon. It's the first in an epic love story trilogy about a forbidden love between a solider and a Russian girl during WWII.  

I Knew You Were Trouble - A book with a bad character you 
can't help but love

I had a really hard time coming up with an answer for this one. The Darkling is a great villain, but I don't know if I love him. Leave me some recommendations of lovable villains down below! 

Innocent - A book that someone ruined the ending to

Tumblr spoiled The Fault in Our Stars for me back in the day, but regardless of my knowledge of the end I still enjoyed this book immensely, and have read it multiple times. I read it in one sitting the first read.  

Everything Has Changed - A book with a character who goes 
through extensive character development

Ester from The Bell Jar is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read. She goes through some very crazy and honest character development. 

You Belong With Me - A book you are anticipating most

Throne of Glass #4 (which got its title released just yesterday!!) Queen of Shadows- I need more Choal and Celena kicking ass! And I can't wait to see the cover!!  

Forever and Always - Your book otp

Ron and Hermonie forever! They are perfect; I don't care what any one says (that includes you, J.K. Rowling!) 

Come Back, Be Here - A book you'd least like to lend out (for 
fear of missing it too much)

Uh, all of them! I get very nervous about lending out books, but I would be even more nervous to lend out books that I've made notes in, or my copy of The Great Gatsby, sometimes I just need to read a page or two of it- it's not a want but a need. 

Teardrops On My Guitar - A book that made you cry a lot

The Time Travelers Wife is by far the saddest book I have ever read, but it's also so, so good! 

Thanks again to Jess for tagging me!
Leave me your favorite T-Swift song down below! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Recently Read: The Beats: A Graphic History

Author: Harvey Parker, Ed Pisktor, Paul Buhle and others
Genre: Non-fiction Graphic Novel
Publication Date: 2009
Page Count: 193
Rating: 4/5

This graphic novel is made up of multiple artists and art styles. Each comic gives information on an artist, or some aspect of the Beatnik Movement. Of course, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs have the biggest sections, but this novel has information on so many other artists, places, and events that were important during this time period.

I loved how the different art styles combined in this novel, and the range of information provided. My favorite thing about this graphic novel was that it was HONEST. It  did not shy away from the mistakes and flaws of the authors covered in this novel. It gave facts about their lives and their works without painting them to be heroes or great people. At one point it is stated that Jack Kerouac is a bigot, which is awesome! (and totally true) Usually their is a bias when reading about people who have achieved something, but there was no bias here, just facts.

This novel also did a really great job of showing how people and events were connected during this movement, which can get kind of complicated. It was easy to follow where and when the lives of major contributors converged and what events inspired later events. I learned a lot of new information from this graphic novel, which was awesome.

My one criticism of this graphic novel was it lacked information on female artists of the time. There was a section on Diana Di Prima, a small section on Jay DeFeo and another comic titled Beatnik Chicks and that was it. I loved Beatnik Chicks which covered a few ladies from the time and took a really critically look at what it was like to be a women artist during this movement and the obstacles they faced, but I would have loved for there to be more coverage of the ladies during this time. Another great thing that Beatnik Chicks did was tell the story of these "heroic" writers' lives from the p.o.v of the women they cheated on, and let down. If this graphic novel was anything, it was honest.

I'm on the look out for more graphic novels, especially non-fiction graphic novels so leave me your recommendations down below!

If you're interested in reading more on the Beats check out these posts!
On the Road by Jack Kerouac Review
Literary Look: The Beatnik Generation

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Summary from Goodreads:

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

Why I'm Excited: Okay, admittedly I haven't read her other two books yet, but I'm going to ASAP- like the minute I'm settled into my new semester and have time to read again. I love how her books are historical fiction stories full of girl power! This one sounds so unique- Ethiopia in the 1930's? I've never read a book with this setting, and I really want to read more YA with settings other than America and the U.K. This one is highly anticipated.  

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Wishlist

I've got a lot of books on my wishlist. Like more than I could ever afford, or find room to store, in one lifetime. So here's the ten I want to buy the most, and if you could let me know which ones I should buy RIGHT NOW that would be great. I need to prioritize my massive book wish list!
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish


1. I'll Give you the Sun, Jandy Nelson-- This will be the next book I buy! I've wanted it for so long. I've heard nothing but amazing things about it!

2. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mendel- I really want to read this one too, I'm thinking of putting it on my birthday list. Thoughts?

3. In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters- I just read and loved The Cure For Dreaming, so I definitely want to pick up Cat Winter's other novel.


4. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr- This is such a gorgeous book! I've been in the mood for historical fiction lately and this one has been getting all kinds of praise. Thoughts?

5. Dangerous Girls, Abigail Haas- Not my usual type of novel, but I've heard some great things about it, and it looks like a fun and exciting read.

6. Stray, Elissa Sussman- This looks like a great twist on the fairy tale genre. It's about fairy god mothers. Plus, that cover is beyond gorgeous.


7. The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood- I need to read more Atwood after The Handmaid's Tale, and I think I will love this one.

8. Orlando, Virginia Woolf - This one has been on my wishlist forever, I just need to bite the bullet and pick up a nice copy.

9. A Mad, Wicked Folly, Sharon Waller Biggs- This is a recent addition to the wish list. It's another historical fiction novel with some feminist themes. Yay!

10. Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman- I love forbidden and tragic love stories, and I've heard this one is great.

Which of these should I make top priority? Which ones did you love?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hot Authors Part Two

Awhile ago I made a list of really hot authors (read it here) and promised a part two. Well I'm finally getting around to it! The last list was male heavy, so the females take center stage in this post!
Now, of course this post is just for fun, and these ladies are responsible for some amazing pieces of literature as well as being smokin' hot!

Sarah J. Maas- Throne of Glass series
She so looks like Jenifer Lawrence to me!

Jhumpa Lahiri- Interpreter of Maladies- Pulitzer Prize Winner 

Maya Angelou- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings/ Phenomenal Women 

Toni Morrison- Beloved/ The Bluest Eye

Zora Neale Hurston- Their Eyes were Watching God

Edna St. Vincent Millay- Sonnets and other Poems 

Anne Sexton- To my Lover Returning to His Wife/ Other Poems 

Kate Chopin- The Awakening/ The Story of an Hour

Pierce Brown- Red Rising 

Hot Authors Part One