Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten of My Favorite Poems

If you have been here for a little while, you know that I love poetry and I have a whole series about poetry called Poetry Spotlight (you can see the series posts here). So today I thought I would just link you guys to some of my favorite poems. I could write a novel about why I love these poems, but I think poetry is so much better when you just read it with no outside influence and make your own connection to it.

This poem has my favorite imagery out of every poem I have read so far.  

I wrote a whole paper on this poem and the feminist bad-assery of it. 

The most haunting poem I have ever read.

Plath's poetry is haunting and brutal and so beautifully crafted.

So powerful, a must read for every woman.

This poem left me speechless when I read it for the first time. 

This is one of Whitman's more concrete poems, though it still offers a challenge, but trust me, it's well worth it.  

This is my favorite Poe poem, it's so romantic and dark.

This poem has so much depth in meaning and construction. 

Love this little poem and Edna's sass. It was my first introduction to her.

Let me know some of your favorite poems in the comments so I can check them out! And let me know which of these poems you enjoyed if you check them out! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Recently Read: The Accident Season

Author: Moria Fowley-Doyle
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 2015
Page Count: 280
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

I'm just going to share the summary from Goodreads because this book is really hard to summarize with no spoilers while still doing it justice.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

This book was really good and was not what I was expecting it to be. The writing is really atmospheric and rhythmic, and I loved that it was a full and complete story in 280 pages. This book is a mix of contemporary and magical realism/paranormal that worked really well.Some parts were a bit confusing at times, but that is pretty common with magical realism. Everything was clear and answered at the end of the book and I really like how everything came together in the end. There were a couple of twists in this book, and even though they weren't that surprising, they added to the themes and story development nicely, and I didn't mind the fact that they weren't mind-blowing. 

I was really sucked in by this book; I finished this book in two sittings because I just couldn't put it down. I was a bit creeped out at some points and I was always intrigued to find out what was really happening.  Even though this was so short, I felt like the characters were fully developed and three-dimensional and the story was complete. This would be a great October read because the atmosphere is perfect, plus there is a haunted house. I'm really interested to see what Fowley-Doyle comes out with next, as her writing style is really great, it reminds me a little bit of  Maggie Stiefvater's writing. 

If you liked e. Lockhart's We Are Liars, I think you will like this one too. They both have a magical/ mysterious plot and are really quick and engaging reads. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What I'm Reading This Semester (hold onto your hats because it's all over the place)

A new semester has started, so of course I have a new (and large) list of required reading. I thought I would share some of the things I will be reading, as I like to share and hear about what you guys are reading or have read for school.

This semester I have two literature classes, two history, and one education so I am ALWAYS reading for one class or another, I'm obviously only going to mention the exciting reading material, I wouldn't bore you guys with textbooks.

British Literature Part 2
For this class I will be rereading Persuasion by Jane Austen and Tess of the D'urberville's by Thomas Hardy. I will also be reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley for the first time which I'm very, very excited about. We are reading lots of the romantic poets in the first half of the class as well as some excerpts from Charles Dickens, I'm not sure what the second half of the semester's reading schedule looks like yet, but I'm really excited for the readings in this class.

Teaching Literature
This class is interesting because we will be reading these works as teachers preparing to read and teach them with a class. We are reading three books, one of which I have read before, and all of which I think would be great to use in a classroom. We are reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

History 300- Writing a Research Paper
For this class, I am writing a paper on women codebreakers in WWII so I have to do a lot of research. I have found that most of the research that exists on this subject has been printed in book form, so I have quite a few books I want to either read in full, or partially read for this paper including: The Debs of Bletchley Park and other stories, The Bletchley Girls: War, Secrecy Love, and Loss, and the Secret Lives of Codebreakers. I will also be reading/ watching interviews and hopefully memoirs from the actual women as well. I will definitely update you guys on the reading I am doing for this class if I find anything interesting!

What are you reading this semester? What was your favorite and least favorite required read?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Decided I NEED to Read

I am always adding new books to my TBR list on Goodreads! It's getting a little out of control. So here's ten books that have caught my eye recently. 

Book Tittles Link to Goodreads so your TBR can get out of control too naturally!

1. The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women who Helped Win WWII, Denise Kiernan 
I'm currently writing a paper on women codebreakers so I want ALL the books on women in WWII.

2. The Amber Shadows, Lucy Ribchester
I have Ribchester's first historical fiction novel about English suffragettes and I have been wanting to get to it forever. This one about a woman who works at Bletchly Park looks equally awesome, plus it fits the above theme. 

3. A Gathering of Shadows, V.E. Schawb 
I recently read and loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, and these covers are to die for!


4. Clever Maids: The Secret History of The Grimm's Fairytales, Valarie Paradiz and Walter Crane
Someone in one of my literature classes recommended this to me and it sounds really interesting. It's about how the Grimm brothers stole their stories from maids and housewives. 

5. Silhouette of a Sparrow, Molly Beth Griffin 
I discovered this one while browsing on my ereader the other day. This one is a coming of age story set in 1926 and it sounds like it deals with women's limited life options.

6.  Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
I haven't read any Angela Carter yet, but I have heard really great things about her. I really like the circus atmosphere in books when it is done well and I think Carter will do an amazing job with it.


7. Love, Lies, Spies, Cindy Anstey 
The first thing that caught my eye about this one was the cover; I would wallpaper my life with that pattern if I could. This one looks like a lot of fun; I love historical fiction mysteries. 

Kate Morton is another author that I have heard really great things about. I have read a couple of great reviews about her newest release, so I added it to my TBR.

9. A Fatal Likeness, Lynn Shepard 
You know I love fictional novels with literary figures as the main characters and this one is about Percy Bysshe Shelley the poet and his wife Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein so this one should be really good. Goodreads says this is the third in a series, but I'm not sure if they have to be read in order, if you know, let me know!

10. The Innkeeper's Daughter, Cindy Trumbore
This is a 2016 YA release that sounds really interesting. It's set in the 1500's and has to do with the struggle between Christianity and Paganism which is a really interesting topic for YA. There's no cover for this one, but I can't wait to see it when it comes out. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Recently Read: Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Non-fiction/ Travel Memoir
Publication Date: 2006
Page Count: 330
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

Elizabeth Gilbert has just went through a terrible and long divorce. She is a writer and loves to travel and decides she is not ready to give all that up and have children like her husband wishes her to. After four terrible years of the divorce process, she is finally free of her marriage and goes on a journey to free herself from her self-hate and blame. Gilbert visits Italy, India, and Bali over the course of a year and learns self-love and acceptance.

This book was HUGE a couple of years ago, but I never really had any interest to read it. Last year I picked it up at my local Goodwill for a quarter because it was so cheap, but I didn't know if I would ever pick it up or not. Then as I was making my goals for 2016, I decided to read more nonfiction, and I remembered that I had this book sitting on my shelves. I decided to pick it up on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. 

This book is divided into thirds: Italy (eat), India (pray), and Bali (love). I loved the first part of this novel about Gilbert's time in Italy. Gilbert decides to learn Italian just for the sheer pleasure of learning it and because it was something she has always wanted to do. This section has lots of amazing food and Gilbert does a lot of reflecting on her failed marriage and failed relationship after her separation from her husband. Gilbert is amazingly honest in this novel, and I really respect her and this novel for that reason. Gilbert is so honest about her divorce and the feelings she had about herself during the process. Gilbert's personal growth throughout the novel was amazing and really inspiring. 

The second part of the novel was my least favorite, but I still found it interesting. This section was all about spirituality and devotion, which is something that I am not really big on. I found it really interesting to read about her spiritual journey in India, but in the back of my mind, I couldn't help but think how ridiculous some of the things were. I know Gilbert paid TONS of money to stay in this Ashram and study under a guru that she would never meet because the guru was living it up in the U.S. With that said, I still found it interesting to hear about her spiritual journey and how it helped it on her journey to forgiving herself and healing. 

The third section was again really enjoyable. This section has a really great cast of characters and wraps up Gilbert's journey perfectly. I'm really glad I picked this one up for my first nonfiction read of the year, as it has definitely made me excited to pick up more nonfiction reads this year. I loved the combination of self-discovery and travel in this one. If you have any recommendations for nonfiction reads, let me know!   

Thursday, January 14, 2016

1 A.M. Post-- When Reading is Fun (And When it's Not)

It's currently the third day of the new semester for me and I have spent all day (from noon-four) reading for the two history classes I have this semester. Now, I love reading. I have a blog and a couple hundred books to prove it, but I did not love spending four hours reading from history textbooks. (Just a little bit of info for those about to start college: all of my history classes have required about four times more reading than any literature class I have ever taken). So this got me thinking about when reading is fun and when it's not, and how it can be both to someone whom normally loves doing it. Do you find this to be true in your life? Does this happen with other hobbies and interests in your life besides reading? I would love to hear your thoughts.

For me, reading is fun when I am choosing when and what I am reading, and when what I'm reading has a voice, or maybe even a personality. Therefore, text books are not fun. I would gladly read twenty well-written nonfiction novels over one chapter of a history textbook. I can't stand the information overload, and I feel like I come away from the chapter with no new knowledge because I was zoned out for half of that chapter, or there was too much information so I didn't retain any of it. Do I find all times and subjects in history absolutely riveting? Absolutely not! Would I love to pick a few era or events in history and dig into them really deeply instead of mashing together 1,00 years of world history into fifteen weeks? You betcha.

Of course I can still enjoy a required piece of reading just as much as I would enjoy one that I picked out myself, but these are of course always novels or short stories of some sort. Some of my favorite pieces of literature were introduced to me by the beast that is required reading.

So even though I love both history and reading, reading history textbooks and in some cases primary sources is absolutely tortuous at times, and I totally understand why some people absolutely hate the subject of history. If I ever get the chance to teach a history class, I would love to add an independent study element to my class where students pick a time period and subject within that time period and just go to town researching and reading non-fiction about it.

I would love to hear your thoughts and your experiences with history classes, and fun and not fun reading. I'd also love to hear some tips you have for getting through tortuous required reading and retaining information from it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Film Wishlist

I love old movies. Every year, about twice a year Barnes and Noble puts all of their classics films on DVD 50% off, and I love to stock up on them by picking out Christmas and birthday presents from my parents. I accidentally missed the end of the year sale that I usually hit (and was devastated when I realized it) so I thought I would put together a list of some of the movies on my wishlist, my actual wishlist is much longer than this of course, but I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these you have seen, or any of your favorite movies.

I'll link you to the movies' IMDB pages because I'm fuzzy on the summaries and I don't really want to know too much about them as most of them are thrillers/mysteries.

Strangers on a Train
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock 
Released in 1951
Staring: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, and Ruth Roman
I have been loving watching Hitchcock's films and this one really caught my eye. I really love his subtle way of building tension and keeping you on the edge of your seat. 
The Maltese Falcon
Directed by John Huston
Released in 1941
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor

I have really been wanting to watch more black and white crime movies and this one is a classic. I loved Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep so I really need to see this one.
Double Indemnity 
Directed by Billy Wilder
Released in 1944
Starring: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
Another crime classic I really need to see.  
The Way We Were

Directed by Sydney Pollack
Released in 1973
Starring: Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand 

This movie gets mentioned in Gilmore Girls quite often and I really want to see it! I love Robert Redford, so this one should be really enjoyable. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten 2015 Releases I Didn't Get To (But I Need To)

At no surprise to anyone, I didn't get to all of the 2015 releases that I wanted to read last year. So here's a list that I didn't get to yet, but I still really want to.


1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

2. The Game of Life and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

3. The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

4. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein 

5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

6. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente


7. The Uninvited by Cat Winters

8. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

9. Black Widow: Forever Red by Margret Stohl

10. Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliot

Monday, January 11, 2016

Just Added (13)

Here's what I have added to my Goodreads TBR lately.

Just Added (12)
Just Added (11)

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

Summary from Goodreads:

An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she’ll win the account. 
For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control. 
To have the life she wants-to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win WWII by Denise Kiernan

Summary from Goodreads:

The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.
The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!
But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb.
Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there—work they didn’t fully understand at the time—are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant—a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way.

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan 

Summary from Goodreads:

 Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wise and Witty (and way off schedule)

"I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation." 
-George Bernard Shaw 

I'm in a bit of a writing and reading slump at the moment, but I'm trying to get back into a set schedule with the new semester coming up, and blogging is part of my set weekday schedule. So let's all cross our fingers I can get my crapola together and get in a real-life adult schedule in the next two weeks.   

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I'm Trying to do in 2016

I debated on whether I was going to set goals for this year or not, but I decided to set a few light goals for my reading and blogging life to work on over the year.  

1. Read 55 books

2. Read at least five non-fiction novels- I have quite a few nonfiction novels that I have owned for years and have yet to read, I want to get to them this year. 

3. Lay off of Book Outlet for a while- I buy way too many books at one time on that site, and I have so many books from there that I need to read already. I'm going to try to stick to buying one or two books at a time this year. 

4. Go through my books and organize them- I need to go through my books and get rid of what I don't think I will ever read, and put books I have already read but don't plan on rereading in a pile to put in my classroom after I graduate. I have my books separated between my apartment and my parents house, so this will be a bit of a task.  

5. Complete my Classics Club Women's Literature Event list- You can see the list here. I'm really excited for all of these books. 

6. Post at least four Literary Look Posts- I love putting these posts together, but they take a lot of time to research and write up, so I tend to put them off, or push them to the back-burner when I'm busy with school work. 

7. Use my time more wisely- I find myself procrastinating a lot during the semester by just laying in bed and scrolling through my phone. I'm not saying I'm going to stop procrastinating school work, because that would never happen, but I want to make my procrastination time more productive. I want to spend more of that "nothing" time reading, blogging, or doing other stuff that makes me happy and feel productive.  

8. Reread at least five books- I love to reread, and planned to do a lot more of it than I ended up doing last year, so this year I want to make sure I get more rereads in. I won't be making a list of specific books; I'll just pick up whatever I'm in the mood for.  

What are your goals for the new year? Do you track your goal progress through the year, and if so, how? 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Recently Read: East of West vol 1 & vol 2

Volume 1: The Promise 
Author: Jonathon Hickman, Nick Dragotta, Frank Martin, and Rus Wooton
Genre: Graphic Novel/ Science Fiction
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 128
Rating: 3/5

I've seen this graphic novel series around Booktube quite a bit, and when I saw my local library had the first two volumes on their shelves, I decided to pick them up while I was home on break. I had no real idea of what this series was about, so I went in totally blind.

The art is gorgeous, and I love the presentation of the novel. The first volume was pretty confusing. You figure out some things as you go, but at the end of the volume I was still left more confused than not, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. After finishing it, I was eager to pick up volume two to see if my questions got answered.

So from what I can gather from the first volume, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are reborn every generation in an AU where the American Civil War was really long and involved Native Americans. Someone has called the horsemen and is attempting to bring about the end of the world before it's meant to happen. So I am both intrigued and confused.  
This series would make a really great action movie, as that it is how it played out in my head as I was watching it. I will say, it is pretty violent, so if that thing bothers you, this might be one to skip. I'm usually not too big on the violence in movies, but I could handle this one just fine.

Volume 2: We Are All One
Rating: 3/5
I enjoyed the second volume just as much as the first, maybe even a little more. This volume gives some more background information about the world and the characters, and I like that information is revealed as you go instead of in big info dumps. The plot continued to pick up, and I am eager to see where it goes next.

This isn't a "usual" piece of reading for me, and I think that is part of the reason I am enjoying it so much. I like that this is different, and the world is so complex. This story is very well suited for the graphic novel style, and I think the visuals accompany the story perfectly. The world is very complex and involved and I'm definitely going to continue on with this series.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up: Happy New Year!

What's New:
I had a great holiday season, but it was busy. I'm a little behind on the blog so I'm hoping to check up on comments, posting, and reading other blogs in the last week of break before I go back. I haven't done a ton of reading this break, but I'm okay with that. I loved relaxing and not feeling stressed about any obligations or school work. I also managed to finish my Goodreads goal for the year, which was really great after a crazy year of school. It's been a little while since I have done a wrap-up, so I'll catch you guys up on the last two weeks of posts and reading.

What I Read:
I finished A Darker Shade of Magic (review below) and Harry Potter and the Soccer's Stone The Illustrated edition and enjoyed both. I LOVED reading Harry Potter and seeing the gorgeous illustrations; the release of book two cannot come fast enough! I spent Christmas Eve and day reading it and it was perfect.

I'm currently rereading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas to prepare to Queen of Shadows. I'm hoping to get through both before school starts the 11th, but I'm not sure if it will happen.

What I Bought:
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I have been wanting this one forever! I snuck it into my Amazon textbook order this weekend, and I can't wait to get into it! 

What I Posted:
Monday- I posted my 2015 Book Survey and I loved looking back at my reading year.
Wednesday- I highlighted some things I've Been Loving Lately

Monday- I reviewed A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Tuesday- TTT: 2016 Releases on my Radar
Wednesday- I examined my progress on my 2015 Goals
Thursday- I shared my Non-Fiction TBR

Last Wrap-Up (Featuring an ice storm and a Black Friday book haul)

What's Next: 
I'm still trying to decide if I am going to make any goals for 2016, but if I do I'll share them of course. I'm also hoping to schedule some posts for the first two weeks of school ahead of time, so hopefully that will go as planned.

Stacking the Shelves Hosted by: Tyngas Reviews
The Sunday Post Hosted by:Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Are you setting any goals for 2016 (book related or otherwise?) How do you go about setting and sticking to goals? Happy New Year!