Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do After Reading Them

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Books have made me want to do a lot of things. Some that I’ve done. Some that I haven’t. Some that are possible. Some that aren’t possible. Here are ten things that books have made me want to do after reading them. I’ve accomplished two of them. Can you guess which two?

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Go to boarding school in Paris.

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Marry a prince

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Save Jews during the Holocaust

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Become a book translator

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Dance Ballet

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Read more fanfiction

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Start my own school

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Try Turkish Delight

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Write letters to my old crushes

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Spy on the French

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme!

 

Four Good Things

  1. This week marked one month at my new job. I was with seven and eight year old, and their stories were hilarious. Yesterday, I took them for a walk around the block where they had to pretend to be their characters. We had a fairy, a giraffe, the last dragon on earth, a dangerous cat warlord, and a boy with a scar. When we stopped I asked them what they smelled, saw, and heard. The giraffe smelled trees she wanted to eat. The dragon saw weird moving metal boxes (cars). The cat warlord smelled bombs about to go off. It was so charming and now I want to go on a walk pretending to my characters.
  2. I’m getting a lot of reading time in on the subway. This week I’ve read The Girl Who Fell, Shannon M. Parker and Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay (I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book).
  3. Writing has been going slower than I want, but I did reach the half way point in my revision this week. I’m hoping the second half of the draft will go faster with some down-hill momentum.
  4. Last weekend, I got to see LOTS of family at one of my cousin’s wedding. It was wonderful to get to cuddle with my mom, play with my cousins’ babies, and catch up over frescas and chips in hotel rooms. The wedding was also GORGEOUS.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have fun weekend plans and weeks full of good things.

Hindsight

I’ve been cleaning my room (a too rare occurrence this summer!) and found one of my diaries from a few years ago. Paging through it, I found this entry from 2013 when I was trying to decide whether to quit my job and take some time off to explore writing.

I wrote: Being a writer – for some reason I feel embarrassed and unworthy about accepting that as my goal. It seems unlikely and unattainable. It might be a mistake, but deep down I think it is a mistake I want to make. 

I remember that uncertainty and insecurity so clearly. And I still feel that way sometimes, but I’m not embarrassed about it being my goal anymore. I don’t know, it’s interesting in a transition time out of being an MFA student to reflect on what changes over time and what stays the same.

When I wrote those words, I thought I was taking three months off to give myself writing time. Now it’s been a little more than three years. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I never would have imagined grad school or living in New York. But it was really this first step in what made all of this happen.

And I really, really idea of making the mistakes we want to make. I hope I keep making them.

Reading More “Adult” Books

In case you don’t know this by now, I’m 100% not someone who thinks adults shouldn’t read YA. I think the designations by readership don’t make sense, especially with different media sources quoting that 50% or more YA readers are over 18. My personal definition is that books about teenagers are young adult and books about adults are (insert adult genre here). More of the definitions are decided by publishing professionals and how a book is marketed/what press publishes the book. All that’s fine.

That being said, after a record low year for reading “adult books” last year I’m trying to fit a few more in this year. Here are a few I’ve really enjoyed:  Continue reading

Ten Bookish Facts About Me

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  1. I had a really hard time learning to read. I didn’t learn at all until I was nine/ten … but then by eleven it was pretty much all I wanted to be doing.
  2. Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, totally changed my life. My mom was reading it out loud to me and my sister, but then Sarah didn’t want to keep reading it. I feel like, in part, I started learning to read so I could finish it on my own. Ella of Frell is still a big favorite of mine.
  3. The first “novel” I wrote was in tenth grade. It was a modernized version of the Tudor Court. I was obsessed with Elizabeth I and the wives of Henry VIII.
  4. I read Gone With the Wind over spring break in the sixth grade.
  5. In high school, I read all the Jane Austen novels and War and Peace along with every single Judith Krantz novel.
  6. I am not precious with my books. I break spines, dog ear pages, underline quotes, and have dropped many, many books in the bathtub.
  7. Last year, I read fewer than ten books written for adults. I’m trying to up that number this year.
  8. In college, I wrote lots of bad short stories about boring “adult” things like being dissatisfied with a job at a law firm or feeling like an old maid at twenty-six. My writing got a lot better – and a lot more fun – when I started writing about teenagers.
  9. I will always love Twilight, because (1) my sixth grade students loved it & (2) Edward.
  10. I’m pretty sure my favorite book is The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss.

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme!

A Hard Week For Good Things

What a hard week. What a hard year. And how hard to face the realization that this violence is nothing new – technology and activism have just shined a spotlight on it. I like ending my week thinking about the good. It’s rarely a popular or well-read post, but I like reflecting on the positive. That’s hard this week for a lot of us.

And that’s okay. The bad things are not okay. The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are not okay. The murders of police officers trying to protect a peaceful protest are not okay. But feeling sad about the tragedy or angry about the tragedy – that is okay.

Even among tragedy upon tragedy, there are good things to shine lights on as well. #WordsForChange was created for authors, writers, and readers to help raise funds for #blacklivesmatter funds. Heben Nagatu created a hashtag #CareFreeBlackKids2k16 for some relief. Both of these things are making me smile in a week where there have been a lot of tears.

But, of course, I want to make clear that my tears and my smiles aren’t what’s important. I walk through the world largely trusting in my own safety, both because of my skin color and because of my profession. There is a long, long way to go until everyone enjoys this ability. Let’s try to keep taking care of each other through these hard times.