Monday, March 31, 2014

To Count as a Classic or Not?

     So far this year I have read a lot of books that are easily defined as a classic: Emma by Jane Austen, Crime and Punishment, and even Watership Down, though its author is still alive. Of course there are many, many others. I've read a lot of books that are called classics, but are they truly? Can a book be a classic if its author is still alive? Perhaps if 50 years had gone by I could understand. But just 20 years? Or TEN?
     If Ender's Game is a classic, is Speaker for the Dead? Is Game of Thrones a classic? What about The Help? Is that, too, already considered a classic. Can I count these books as part of the 50 classics I seek to read this year? I even struggled putting Ender's Game into the count, and when I did that, I wanted to count Speaker for the Dead too, especially because I feel it was the better of the two. Yet I didn't. I don't know why. I also didn't count The Time Traveler's Wife, which many would claim as a classic without a doubt. Same with The Notebook. I plan on reading The Help, Water for Elephants, The Thirteenth Tale, Stardust, and the rest of the Song of Ice and Fire series and Ender's Game series. Would you count these as classics? Would you have counted Speaker for the Dead, Game of Thrones, The Time Traveler's Wife, and The Notebook?
     If I count all these book as classics, then I must make my goal higher. At the same time I feel I must make distinctions between the solid classics and the newer classics. And then what of contemporary classics like One Day and Perks of Being a Wallflower? Or Hunger Games? Or... Well, there seems to be no limitation nor does it seem to be very hard to qualify as a classic. Where is the line drawn? Why is it that we have such low standards or to be so quick to call something a classic? There used to be a time as a young girl that I thought a book was only a classic if it was written 100 years ago. Then as I got older that 100 became 50. Now it seems to be 20 or 10 or less than that! So long as the sales are high, it's written with high quality, and it's well loved, we are quick to call it a classic. Yet how many will stand the test of time?
     With technology advancing and the world flinging along quicker and quicker, it makes sense that we are so quick to call something a classic or to be assured that it will be a classic. With all honesty, there are many books that will be immortalized because of our technology. Likewise we do not have all the great books from long ago because of the lack of technology. But does this mean our new books are classics? I understand and even join along in quickly labeling a book a classic, but I find it hard to place all these new classics on the same shelves as those written hundreds of years ago. I see classics written between 50 and 100 years ago to be bridging the gap between the ancient classics and those that have been released recently which we already labeling as classics. What are your thought on all these ideas?
  1. What books from the past 25 years would you consider solidly a classic to be counted in my 50 classics?
  2. Would you consider the rest of a series classics if the first book is? Even if the rest of the series is still being published? (Game of Thrones, Ender's Game, The Giver)
  3. If an author still living wrote a classic and is still publishing books, are all their books classics as well? (Lois Lowry- The Giver, J.K. Rowling- Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin- Game of Thrones, Richard Adams- Watership Down)
P.S. It is a lot of fun to guess what books will be classics in the future. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wishing on a Dream Room, Summer, and a Few Fun Things

Lately I've desired to do or have quite a few lovely little things (not all of them are little though). I've been dreaming of summer, how I want my room to be, and a few fun things to do. So here's my late winter wish list!


Summer: I absolutely love winter. As in very much so. Not to mention I haven't had the chance to go skiing yet! But this year more than ever I can't wait to feel the warm sun on my skin, to swing in a hammock on a warm, breezy summer day, and to sit in a sun room that's not ten degrees. I can't wait to wear shorts and tank tops on a super hot day with perhaps an iced latte using my mom's new machine for it while lounging by the pool or in the hammock, reading a nice big book. I refuse to be stuck inside this summer. Therefore, I need to bust my butt with schoolwork so that I don't have too much to do this summer (because it's looking like my whole summer might be playing catch up).


To make my dream room: There's so much I'd love to do but almost all of it is little things in my eyes. Basically I need to do some major thrift shopping to find the perfect items!
  1. Paint my room, preferably a light vintage pink- this is a pretty big project, but my mom said it will be done!
  2. Taller, bigger bookshelves- this is kind of a must since my bookshelves are very full and half my shelves are make shift from cardboard boxes. Those books need to be placed on a real, nice shelf!
  3. My reading chair- just recently I saw on a booktuber's channel her reading chair, and the more I think about it, I would love to have one of those big, comfy armchairs as my reading chair rather than the butterfly chair I have right now. This won't be too big of a deal until I paint my room, and my current chair won't match. So I'll be looking around at the thrift shops for the perfect chair! :)
  4. The floor- all right I'm not actually planning on replacing the blue carpet anytime soon because it's quite expensive to do that, but I hope that in the next three or so years that it's done.
  5. A side table for my reading chair- I have a box with blankets in it that I was thinking of using as a makeshift side table, but I would love to go thrifting to find a really great side table. That will also mean that I'll need a...
  6. Vintage stand up lamp!- It'd be super cool to have this next to my future spiffy armchair. Another thrift item (unless Mom lets me steal the one from downstairs haha!)
  7. Candles- I've been itching to be allowed to light candles in my room, beautiful fragranced candles. It just seems absolutely dreamy, and easy!
  8. Curtains- This is going to be so hard! I would love to have lacey, light and airy curtains, but I also need curtains that are thick enough so no one will see through them from outside. Hm... I'll thrift around for a bit on these, but I may end up also looking in department stores. :(
Things I want to do in the near future!


Camp NaNoWriMo: I've created a novel, but I'm still a bit undecided whether I'm going to even do Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm terribly behind in schoolwork. I'm incredibly ahead for my reading goal of 50 classics this year (15/50), so taking a month where I only read two or so wouldn't be that big of a deal. It's the schoolwork that determines this one. Even if I do Camp NaNo, my goal won't be to finish a novel but rather to just write everyday in April on this idea I have. The writing could be planning out events, rambling about anything from the point of view of different characters, or legit writing chapters. Whatever I feel like as long as I'm writing.


Doing my hair: I want to do my hair more often. I've been loving braids and buns, so we'll see. It's nice to actually do my hair every now and then rather than just brush and run! :)


Weeding my clothes: I desperately need to get rid of everything I don't really wear. In return I'd love to buy some basic clothes I find I'm lacking like white and plain black shirts.


Listening to soft jazz music playing in the background while I read late at night: the only thing missing is the candles! :) It's an absolutely dreamy, lovely thing to do. I really enjoyed it last night. Almost like I was on vacation for a bit.


So there it is! My wish list right now. There's a lot that I can do easily. I'm so excited to get started! This time of year when we've been given a taste of Spring only to have Winter claim the throne again is just the time of year everyone starts dreaming up things and going on Spring Cleaning mode. I can't wait for Spring and Summer! We've had a rough winter that is beginning to overextend its stay. I'll enjoy the beauty while it lasts though because come summer I'll be dying for fall and winter. Ciao!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Holy Camoly! I Read So Many Classics in February!

     So maybe people don't say holy camoly anymore. Too bad. I do. For some reason in my childhood I picked up loads of outdated phrases that I've continued to use to this day like oh shucks!, Geez Louis, nice goin' Melvin (from a Detroit Zoo commercial when my dad was a kid), and numerous others. But I like them so I'll keep saying them. :)
     Now to the point. This last month I read a 19 books. One was a kid book and quite a few mangas, but they still totally count as books... right? ;) The main focus though is that I read 10 classics this month! That's a huge jump from January's lonely Treasure Island, the only classic I read that month. Of course, I had been reading a few massive classics that month which I finished this month. All right, I only finished one seeing as the other was Les Miserables, and I did not finish reading that this month. In fact, I barely picked it up. As for the books I did read, I am so excited to share them with you!



Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling- I decided to read this real quick one night, didn't even pick it up until midnight! Then later that week I found out it was a Harry Potter marathon week. How awesome that I got a head start without even knowing it. :) (though I didn't end up reading much Harry Potter haha)



Emma by Jane Austen- I absolutely loved this book! For years I have avoided hearing anything about who ends up with who in this Austen classic. I must admit that despite my efforts some names trinkled down. Mr. Knightley and Emma, two main characters. Even with only a few known details I managed to guess a lot of what would happen early on in the book. It was so much fun to read this book. Especially because I was going to go from Pride and Prejudice to Sense and Sensibility to Mansfield Park. However, getting to Mansfield Park I just couldn't get into it at the time. Picking up Emma, however, was so wonderful and beautifully written, as always by our dear Jane Austen.
P.S. The Harry Potter marathon really prompted me to finish this book in the first week of February since I figured that it connected so much to Harry Potter, being J.K. Rowling's favorite book and model, that I ought to read it quickly.



Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen- Finishing Emma the first Thursday of the month I was in such a Jane Austen mood that less than an hour later I picked up Northanger Abbey! I read for a few hours, put it down to go to bed, woke up, and immediately picked it back up again. I loved reading all Austen's opinionated rants that filled a page here and a page there. Quite different from the other novels I've read by her. I loved this one just as much though! While reading this book I developed a queer habit, capable because the book was quite small and therefore light, that I would pace about my room whilst reading this book. It certainly added to the excitement of the novel! After all that Austen in February, I am so excited to read the last two books by her!



Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky- I will admit that I started this one way back in October, read everything but the last 150 pages, and didn't pick it up again due to the holidays. However, after adding two more books to my "have read" pile, I was feeling the motivation to plow through the rest of this amazing classic. I must also admit that before I read this book I thought it would be quite the punishment (haha okay not that funny of a pun, bare with me). I thought this book would be one of those hard to read and hard to understand classics. You can imagine my surprise at finding it so easily read and engaging! I was pulled into the story quickly, and I loved that I could actually notice the literary devices being used, especially the foreshadowing! I really enjoyed Dostoevsky's writing and just picked up Brothers Karamazov to read this year.



Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith- This one's the childrens book. I read quite a few kids books, but I've only counted this one in my personal reading since I picked it up just for me. I loved the illustrations and the story was so cute about a boy that believes in magic and travels to the place Between where magicians pull the rabbits out of or the things and people that they make disappear. Very cute.



The Time Machine by H.G. Wells- Before reading this I had read The Invisible Man by Wells, which I loved. I have to admit that in the hour it took to read this book, I didn't actually like it that much. I felt like it certainly wasn't character driven (something we're so used to these days yet wasn't a staple and sometimes a common do-not-do for some genres in the past- think mystery, maybe science fiction, ect.). It wasn't just that, though, which may be excused based on the grounds that maybe that was common practice at the time. I just felt like the story wasn't told very well. There certainly wasn't much in depth talk about the science. The time traveling itself and the places he went to and what happened there just weren't very engaging to me. They could have been and the ideas are magnificent, but the story itself wasn't written well in my opinion. Definitely not a favorite of mine nor, in my opinion, Wells greatest work. However, it is worth the short read I suppose just to see the story in its raw form as it finds its way into many modern day allusions to it.



Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper- Once again I was feeling incredibly motivated, and seeing as my room was running out to place my read books due to a stack of American Literature books I have on the same shelf, I decided to read this book since it's also for school. Having at this point gotten very used to reading straight through even the boringest books or lengthy passages, I decided to read straight through this one. I'll admit I had picked this book up last year and could not get into it for the life of me. I was rather curious why people love it so much. And now I know. It took me 150 pages to get into this story. Yes, 150. With most books I would never give them that many pages, but I had to read this for school and so I stuck with it. At that point, halfway through the book, I was sucked into the story. I could barely put the book down, and when I got to the end I tried not to cry. Then I just let myself delve deeper in and shed a few tears. I had completely fallen in love with the characters, even some that I didn't realize I had fallen in love with until the end. I cannot express how glad I am that I stuck through the first 150 pages because this book was so amazing! I would love to reread, in fact probably will soon! I want to read the entire Leatherstock Tales, but unfortunately, they aren't all easily found in book format unless you want to pay $50, which I don't, though I may seriously think about it- that's how much I loved this book.



Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card- I read this book because I loved the movie. As usual, the book blew the movie out of the waters. This book was so complex. The ideas and feelings brought to the surface so deep that I can hardly form solid opinions about this book. One thing I do know is that it isn't just a kid's book. This is a book for all ages to read. I also know that I will reread this someday because right now I don't know exactly what to say about it. Therefore, I will only leave this with a high suggestion to read the book! By the way, would you consider this a classic? I have counted it as one towards my goal of 50 classics because it had a huge influence on science fiction novels, or so I'm told. Let me know what you think.



Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card- I picked this one up a day after reading Ender's Game. I went into it knowing it would be different than Ender's Game since EG is more of a prequel to this book that was Card's original idea (as he says in EG's intro). For others that are going to read this after Ender's Game, know that it is like a totally different story. The characters are different, there's obviously a different plot, and Ender is 35 years old, a lot different from his six year old self. Even though I felt like Ender was probably similar to how he was as a youngster, I felt as though we don't get to know everything about him, almost as though we aren't really in his brain, even though sometimes we are. The younger characters were more of a focus to me, as well as the pequeninos, the new alien species. So even though others say they thought this was boring compared to Ender's Game, I actually thought it was better. Seriously, I thought this was a lot better than Ender's Game. I can't quite describe it but being in the minds of other characters was great. I can't wait to read Xenocide which picks up right after this book. I have a feeling I am going to become a major Ender fan with all the books I get to read. :)



A Place Called Home by Jason Grant- All right, this one was just because of all the pretty pictures inside it. :)



War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells- This was a lot better than The Time Machine. I must admit I was expecting little green martians in flying saucers. The aliens in this book were much different than that! Trust me, Wells goes into the anatomy of them, and their machines are quite interesting. It was a fairly good book, though, again, I liked Invisible Man more. I would love to watch the movie sometime. But back to the book! The characters in this book seemed more real than in Time Machine, and it's incredibly interesting to hear the main character's thoughts as he battles with issues of surviving and humanity all while worrying if his wife even exists and how to get back to her. As for the plot, well the aliens fighting the army seemed real enough for the time I suppose (a radio reading of the story led thousands to panic!), but today we would probably be able to wipe out the attacking aliens. Not to mention I would imagine aliens to be higher advanced in technology and inteligence, though this would likely be due to the advancement of today's technology. Overall it was a great book! The battles inside the main character's thoughts were the most interesting to me as he struggled through changed and dangerous lands.


Vampire Knight Volume 17 by Matsuri Hino- I read the first 16 volumes way back in December so I was a bit lost when I picked this one up, but that doesn't change the fact that I love this series! I completely recommend this manga series as one of my favorites. There are only two more left! Yay! I don't read much manga so I'm not much interested getting into manga series that go on forever that I could never catch up to. This is a great series though, seriously. Read it! I still can't decide if I like Kaname or Zero more. Hm.. Till the end then!



Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit Vol. 1 and 2 by Quin Rose- You know how I just mentioned I wouldn't be that interested in reading a forever long manga series. Well this is the exception. I would absolutely love, completely flip out, if I knew the Alice in the Country of Hearts series would never end! (This includes Alice in the Country of Jokey and Alice in the Country of Clover.) These two volumes that I read are an offshoot of the series with the idea of what if Alice fell in love with Elliot March, the mad hare. I love his character and this was a funny mini series. I did feel that this offshoot had a lot more sexual references than the other ones or was dirtier but wasn't over the top like a lot of manga, and I still loved the story and of course, the characters. :D



Alice in the Country of Hearts: The Mad Hatter's Late Night Tea Party Volume 1 and 2 by Quin Rose- Okay, the Mad Hatter is one of my favorite characters so I loved this manga! Out of all the offshoots I've read, this was my favorite so far. There was action, romance (of course), and the loveable characters as always. :) It was just amazing!



Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame- I actually did quite a long book review on this which you can find here! P.S. I loved this book!



The Princess Bride by William Goldman- I read this on recommendation from a friend, and though it was a bit odd of a book, I loved it just as much as the movie. :) Some of the characters I liked better than the movie, some I liked better in the movie. Overall by blending the two I loved all the characters. The movie was incredibly accurate to the book without the extra journey of the narrator, which makes the book unique from the movie. Not to mention the book ends totally different. The adventures don't end, and I loved that! I get the perfect romance ending in the movie and a more realistic ending (as far as fantastical adventures go) in the book.



Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne- (Warning: Prepare for rant on my opinion on major science theory halfway through paragraph. I couldn't help myself, sorry. haha) This was my first Jules Verne novel I've ever read. I decided it was about time. I must say it was not a disappointment! The book was very heavily written on science topics to educate the people while still maintaining a high adventure and growing characters. The main character begins as a young boy and grows up into a man by the end of the book. Their journey to the center of the earth reveals the kinds of ideas people had back then regarding science and the earth. It was particularly obvious the discussions on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Obviously today we know a lot more in the science field and genetics and even time frame of the history of humans. Things that are revealed in question in the book, are common knowledge today. I for one don't think that science can at all support Darwin's Theory anymore, though most people have not been revealed to the modern science world since kids are still taught that evolution is fact rather than just a theory. It baffles me that teachers don't even teach the evidence that goes against evolution. I mean really, when you learn one side of an argument in order to support yourself you have to at least know the other side. Teachers really ought to share all the major science points and what today's science has revealed in those areas. It almost seems that instead of teaching and giving us knowledge they just want to give us exactly how to think. Let the science speak for itself. Give all sorts of theories, but don't favor one over the other while teaching and let the science speak for what it possibly true and what is in no way possible. I love science so it was really interesting to read Jules Verne's book even if we now know that most of it isn't true. I can't wait to read more of his books!



     So that's it! Whew! One update in case you didn't catch that from my intro is that I have definitely changed my reading goal this year from 25 classics to 50. Therefore I am over 1/5 of the way done! I have read 11/50 classics this year so far, and I think I'll probably end up getting around 75 done. If by June it's looking like 100 is possible, then you betcha I will be raising the bar! I look forward to all the classics I'll read this March. I've already started Watership Down. It is so fantastic that I will definitely do a full book review on it! Until next time! I'll be discussing the idea of planning what you read. Look forward to it soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Review: Wind in the Willows

     This was such a lovely book I couldn't help but want to share my opinion on it, and seeing as I plan to read a lot of classics this year, I thought I would give short little book reviews for all the books I read. So welcome to my first book review here in which I look back at childhood memories and a few aspects of the story itself.
     As I mentioned, Wind in the Willows was an absolutely lovely book. I grew up watching the movie several times. So many, in fact, that I can envision, right now, the character of Water Rat and hear his voice in my ears. Reading the book was like watching the movie all over again. The peaceful riverside, the daring adventures of Toad, and all the wonderful characters rolled through my mind. Each character's voice and appearance as in the movie was exactly what I saw and heard so clearly as though they were standing right in front of me. Perhaps because of seeing the movie long before reading the book, as well as being almost an adult, I did not experience the story with as much imagination. This book was less like reading a children's book, if it can even be called that, and more like sinking into a comforting world of familiar faces and places.
     But I doubt you have the same childhood fondness of Wind in the Willows as I did. Nonetheless, I truly recommend reading this book. I picked it up when I had a major migraine and to that point, a horrible day. It took very little time before I'd sunk into the peaceful life by the River which soothed me of my headache. Then there were the crazy, whimsical adventures of Toad that never quite turned out. They were entertaining in their own respect, but I found I was always wanting to get back to the River. Some people will read this book and hate the River parts, wanting to move on in the adventure of theft, battle, and risk taking. As a child I always disliked the parts in the beginning with the slow River stories. It was Toad's adventures I wanted to watch. Now that I'm older it's the opposite funny enough.
     But always there was dependable, mature Badger, and Rat, whom is probably my favorite because of the movies. Mole, oh innocent loveable Mole! And a myriad of other characters. I believe the afterword in my version states it best that this book is really three books in one. A lovely soothing time to sink into, a high adventure of reckless youth, and the beauty of living in nature. I believe that anyone could find something they love in it.
      I have heard people say though, that reading the book as adult was not very enjoyable, that it was a childish book, or other excuses along the line of the story. Personally, though my young imaginative child self would have read the book with much imagination, I truly believe I have read it at a far better time in my life. I was able to look past just the story and see life and learn and see the hidden messages in the book. For truly, the author seems to write more for an adult audience looking back on childhood memories and wanting to escape the world for a bit. Or to warn the young that there are terrible things out there and we ought to stay where we are for as long as we can by peaceful River (all right that idea came from the Afterword haha). Regardless of age, I think we can all enjoy this book. I'm incredibly thankful I picked it up. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Caught Between Books and Just Trying to Relax

     I'm one who tends to be reading many books at once. Currently I am "reading" (which means not really reading) Les Miserables, The Wind in the Willows, The Bell Jar, and various other books that hardly even qualify as "reading". Yet, I keep picking up other books. I don't stick to the books I'm reading nor do I even glance at the stack of books I have determined I will read next. I suppose I love the freedom to randomly pick a classic of my shelf, sit down, and read the whole book straight through. Forget about the books I must read. Forget the books I even really want to read. The spontaneity of a few hours spent on a really short classic is wonderful. This month I've read so many books that way: The Time Machine, Northanger Abbey, War of the Worlds, Wind in the Willows (though I didn't finish that one, yet), and I know there will be many more.
     I sat down to write this because I have only recently finished reading a great many books. Already I am astounded with how many classics I have read this month, and there's still a week left! So here I was sitting in a rather gloomy mood. I have less than an hour before the craziness of this weekend begins. The last few days I've been stressing about how jam packed my schedule is this weekend. From Friday 6:30 pm to Sunday 5 pm I have no break. Right now I have about half an hour before I have to leave the house, and I wanted to do something I would really enjoy. The list contained watching an episode of Downton Abbey season 4, watching Emma, or reading a book. Neither of the first two seemed like that great of an idea. I suppose I'll have to check them out from the library at some other time.
     So book it was! Every book I looked at though seemed like a bad time to start it, not in the mood, or some other excuse. I wanted something relaxing. Writing a post for this blog A Good Book and A Cup of Tea sounded lovely. Though I'm not drinking tea, I did heat up a cup of hot cocoa, which in winter is absolutely perfect. The weather outside is cold, but nice- at least to me. :) My siblings had no school today because of the icy roads. Snow is melting and winter is almost gone, though undoubtedly we'll have a few more flurries. Just sitting here with hot cocoa writing about books while listening to Pride and Prejudice has wound me down. In fact, The Wind in the Willows sounds like a lovely read right now.
     I'm incredibly thankful that I was finally able to spend some relaxing time before I'm whirled away with the adventurous weekend. Now that I have officially rambled on long enough I will say adieu and snuggle up with my warm cup of hot cocoa, Pride and Prejudice music, and the lovely world of Wind in the Willows. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Harry Potter Read-A-Thon: Fail(ish)

     Well, obviously my Harry Potter Read-A-Thon I attempted to join was a fail. I read Quidditch Through the Ages before I even knew the marathon was happening and only barely squeezed in 36 pages of Prisoner of Azkaban. Yah, that's right- 36 pages. So long my aspiration to read even one whole Harry Potter book. Haha! Despite the lack of Harry Potter in my week, I am so proud of my week in reading terms! I managed to finish Emma, upon which I immediately picked up Northanger Abbey, hungry for more Jane Austen. May I say, oh my goodness I loved Emma! And then, Northanger Abbey was so amazing as well! Both were quite different from the other books I've read by her, Northanger Abbey more so.
      I finished Northanger Abbey in one day. In the meantime, I discovered I enjoy pacing back and forth as I read. It was soothing despite being literally three steps and turn (tiny open space in my cluttered room). Of course, I was holding an incredibly short book of just over 200 pgs. Pacing with Les Miserables- not such a good idea. I can only imagine how tired my arms would get. Jane Austen also happens to be written in particularly the era and style that lends itself to make me very calm and of the pacing sort I suppose. :)
     But that's not all! I finally finished Crime and Punishment! I started the book at the end of October last year, but didn't finish it since my Battle of the Books competition happened. It was then lost amidst Christmas, reading the Vampire Knight Academy Manga series, and many other books. My worst habit is not finishing a book, and so often I read the majority of it, set it down, and come back months later starting from the beginning. Even my dad knew I would do this. He actually commanded me to finish the book so I wouldn't waste more time later. Unfortunately, I didn't pick it up until Friday. The motivation from adding two classics to my finished pile, hurtled me into finishing this book.
     My biggest fear was that I would end up starting from the beginning of Crime and Punishment, so I was really determined not to. However, if you know anything about Russian literature there are multiple names for each character. In Crime and Punishment there are quite a few characters as well. I was really lost for a while and only when I was 50 pages through my last 150 pgs did I finally understand who everyone was and what was happening. It did prove once again to me that sometimes you just have to push through a book. This happened for Inferno, but I understood that after the first three pages.
     At the end of it all, I am so glad I finished Crime and Punishment. I must say that I had thought it would be terribly hard to read and well, Punishment (ok, lame joke, I know). I loved the book though! It was really engaging and fast in its own way. I loved his writing well enough that I picked up Brothers Karamazov the other day, but trust me, I have no intention to read it anytime soon. (Why buy it then? It was buy 2 get 1 free for classics.)
     And now I have three more books added to my finished pile. The update for my reading goal of 25 classics this year is 4/25. I'm caught up for February, but if I want to finish 50 books, I have to read 4 more this month. :o Next book to attack- Frankenstein and The Time Machine (notice the short theme haha). So adios! Until next week. :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whimsical and Nerdy Goals (I can dream right?)


     Two days ago I posted 30 Fun Goals for 2014 mostly covering music, books, writing, and various little things I've always wanted to try. This year is looking to be quite the busy year full of school, work, and, hopefully, personal growth. However, despite my wonderful list I've made, there are a few other little goals that are either insensible or I simply don't have a lot of time for this year (though, I'd love to get through these goals- except maybe the first haha). I'd love to share these whimsical "goals" because they show a bit of insight into the nerdy me:
  1. Play more video games: especially Minecraft, Lego Harry Potter, and Infinity Blade. Plus I would love to check out Shadows of Mordor when it comes out (geeky side right there. Love LoTR and the graphics on that game look great, exactly the kind I like)
  2. Dress more artistically at least a couple times a week- this is a big one, that I will in all honestly likely dip in and out of it throughout this year. I just need to get up the guts to wear what I want to.
  3. Buy Harry Potter Wizarding Collections (this will likely never happen considering it is $400! But my little fan heart can dream, right?)
  4. Sew my own dresses, at least a simple black one that fits me perfectly and attractively and can be used at most seasons of the year (we're talking Michigan seasons here haha- cold!)
  5. Learn to skateboard- childhood dream right here :)
  6. Do more DIYs. This is a biggy seeing as I have many little things I want to do, particularly concerning my room: curtains, painting my room, artwork or display wall, and the list goes on.
  7. Discover more music- indie, folk, ect. I love music and really hope to add a few more favorite artists this year
  8. Buy or make more flower crowns: I love these so much! I own one, but I'm hoping to buy a really big one someday :)
  9.  I must go to the Renaissance festival. There's no doubt about it, this must happen. I'll likely go with just my friends this year. Last year I went with my family, and it was so much fun! But the big thing about this year is that I want to finally buy a corset, and I would love to buy a cloak. And a sword and armor, but those won't happen. ;)
  10. Read 100 books this year!
     Obviously these don't take priority in life. I mean seriously, more video games? ;P But some, like sewing and dressing more to my taste are ones that I would love to build into this year. If I don't, then these are taking top priority next year!

Monday, February 3, 2014

30 Fun Goals for 2014

     I saw on Her Library Adventures, a blog I follow, a fun little list of 30 Fun Goals to do this year. She did a similar list for last year. And I absolutely love the idea! So I created my own list of 30 Fun Goals for 2014. Some of them require building habits day to day, week to week, and others are just things I want to do this year- one time, check, activities.
  1. Go to the concert of a folk/indie band: I would love if it was The Vespers, Lyric Everly, or Jenny and Tyler, but most of my favorite bands just toured in Michigan last year. :( However, I just found out that Lorde is coming here next month! I don't love her music, but it definitely has been categorized as indie and the music part (not the lyric part) is pretty good :)
  2. Learn the ukulele
  3. Read minimum 25 (high goal of 50) classics
  4. Read more non-fiction
  5. Spend less time surfing Internet, more time being productive
  6. Journal more
  7. Take more pictures and PRINT my pictures (I never print my pictures and wish I did, especially for hanging on the walls in collages)
  8. Make 3 art pieces (we are talking finished, big art pieces here)
  9. Do Devotions everyday
  10. Doodle more- fill my small sketchbook (crazy idea!)
  11. Fill one notebook (writing notebook, which is, of course, different than a drawing notebook)
  12. Eat more healthy foods- don't munch on unhealthy foods
  13. Girls night sleepover, cut out magazines
  14. Lord of the Rings extended edition marathon
  15. Read all Jane Austen's novels
  16. Go to Liz's Bookstore and sift through the stacks, finding books
  17. Get up early
  18. Go to Rhema's, the coffee shop in Flint
  19. Start writing the book I would want to read
  20. Drink tea more often
  21. Have tea with someone- proper tea party either at home or Sweet Thymes in Hartland
  22. Go to a midnight premiere! (I'm thinking the last Hobbit installation hehe)
  23. Get a tattoo
  24. Get more piercings (cardilage, nose, third piercing?)
  25. Find a nice pair of leather riding boots
  26. Make bread
  27. Cook 1 meal every week
  28. Make ice cream
  29. Road trip (would love to go to Kentucky to my relatives or my best friend's, Sarah's, house)
  30. Learn some of my favorite songs on the piano:
    • Dawn from Pride and Prejudice
    • Hedwig's Theme
    • Downton Abbey- The Suite
    • Colors of the Wind
     Evidently, reading is heavily featured here. I've realized I have read very few of the classics I own, and since working at the local library, I have begun to discover the gems in non-fiction. Number 16 on the list is crossed out because I just recently did it! I discovered that I own a lot of the classics I want to read. Therefore, I hope to move from collecting classics to reading them aggressively. :) At Liz's I found some great contemporary books: Water for Elephants, One Day, and The Notebook, to name a few.
     So far cooking one meal a week has gone down unsuccessfully, but I won't put too much pressure on myself. I still have eleven months left, and I likely won't finish everything on this list. Nonetheless, this being the last day of January has made me realize I have very little time left until I turn eighteen. It's been my goal to read all of Jane Austen's novels and Little Woman before I become an adult. I have less than 4 months! Yikes! Right now I'm reading Emma and Les Miserables (oh my goodness, amazing!)
     And that's it! 30 Fun Goals for this year. I look forward to the rest of the year so much. :)


Harry Potter Read -A-Thon

     I found out today at roughly 10:40 pm that there's a group on Goodreads called #AYEARATHON which will be having week long marathons the first Monday through Sunday week of every month this year. And the first read a thon is Feb 3-10 with the theme of... HARRY POTTER! I really wished I had found out about this earlier because I would have arranged my schedule and life around reading the entire HP series in one week (I think I could do it, but not sure). As the matter goes, that ain't gunna happen. Therefore, I will merely pick up the series where I was last rereading it at HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. What's extraordinarily funny is that before I even knew about this, I actually started at midnight last night Quidditch Through the Ages which is fantastic that I get to count it. :)
     But the theme isn't just Harry Potter. It's Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling in case you want to read one of her other works. For me, though, I'm going to take this a little more obscure. You see, for me, all growing up Harry Potter meant J.K. Rowling, and J.K. Rowling meant her favorite book was Emma. She's said so many times that she drew so many examples from Emma by Jane Austen for the HP stories. I've always loved Jane Austen, but I've only read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. This last January I started Emma to accomplish two goals: one, read all Jane Austin's books before I turn 18 so as to quench my thirst of Jane Austen and gain rights to be a true Austinite and two, to peek into the world of J.K. Rowling and see a major component to her genius behind the Harry Potter books. Therefore I think it's reasonable enough to include finishing Emma in this week's Harry Potter marathon.
     I also plan on reading two of the Harry Potter books in the series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I would strive for more, but unfortunately, I have a lot planned for this week. So the total reading for Day1 is this:
  • Quidditch Through the Ages
  • 30 pgs of Emma
     I read a lot today, but the above two are not part of that. Today I read 50 pgs or so of Les Miserables before getting stuck on an incredibly boring part about Napolean and some battle in a place I've only vaguely heard of. The realization that the history lesson was the entire first book of the second volume, made me just shut the book and move on to Emma. haha- even I get intimidated sometimes from classics.


-Until next time (hopefully tomorrow with an update on Harry Potter marathon!) :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Listography

     I love lists. I mean absolutely love making lists! If you've seen much on my blog, you'll know that I attempted (and still am attempting) to make a list of 1000 things I'm thankful for on a day to day basis, the little things I notice every day. It's the little things I love to be thankful for, because they always add up and they keep me focused on God throughout the day. :) So today when I was at Goodwill, I noticed a small little book called Music Listography: Your Life in (Play) Lists, and my heart fluttered a little. The event was maximized by the fact that my mom had just left me at Goodwill alone so she could go home and turn the oven off which she had forgotten about (my oh my!).
     So there I was, all alone, a grown up girl shopping at Goodwill, and suddenly, a little treasure is seen tossed into a box with Christmas gift bags. It's part of a journaling series involving writing lots of lists, which I mentioned I love, right? ;) I quickly snatched it up, hardly believing my eyes. The unbelievable part was that it was brand new- absolutely no marks in the baby. I continued around the store, eventually finding an adorable tea pot candle holder and a little box featuring ladies and gentleman out on a lawn wearing wonderful hoopskirt gowns and suits. These last two items are part of a bit of myself I lost back in Austen land.
     But the adventure wasn't over yet. Oh no, it had hardly yet begun! Upon looking once more, hopelessly at the book section in our Goodwill, which any citizen around here will tell you is lacking good books, I found, believe it or not, another Listography book unscathed! This time I barely sighted it as it's shy, bland spine was hidden amongst all the large magazines. It was Listography: Your Life in Lists. Basic but still thrilling to me. Upon walking back to my mom, elated with the day's discoveries, I eventually, somehow, made my way back to the pitiful book section of our Goodwill and... found another Listography book sitting face up on the middle shelf! This was the prize and glory of all the ones I had found thus far. It was My Future Listography: All I Hope To Do In Lists. The reason this particular one is my favorite comes from the joy I have in writing out ideas for the future in the format of our beloved lists. It seems it was meant to be. Of course whenever I find a great part of a series, I always wonder if I missed the rest, but in this case I don't think I did.
     It is quite exciting, and I can't wait to start writing some lists. I have a list from each journal that I have marked top priority, kind of: Top Soundtracks (Music), Things I Want to be Knowledgeable About (Future), and Professions I Would Love to Try Out (Life). I'm really into activity kind of books right now, for teens and adults. This Christmas I'm asking for a lot of Kerri Smith books. Remember Wreck This Book, Explore the World, ect.? Those are the ones. They look like loads of fun for whenever I get bored to just kind of pick one and go with it. Tell me if you know of any other fun activity books! I would love to hear of some more!
     Some last few notes. I discovered 52 Lists earlier this year and forgot to keep printing them out. I plan on doing some sort of project with those as well, only I need to keep them in a binder seeing as the ones I do have are all wrinkly now. :( Another quick note: my mom actually ended up telling me she had bought me one of the Listography books from Goodwill for Christmas. Turns out there were duplicates. I felt so bad, but at the same time it felt like Christmas early. I felt so loved from my mother who had known just the sort of thing I would like. Suddenly the list books I own feel like a heart felt gift. I could see she had been so excited about giving it to me, and then here I pick out the same ones when the two of us go shopping. So sad, and yet so thrilling to know she was thinking of me and knew me so well and loves me. It wasn't the gift that mattered, it was the heart, and getting just the heart and not really the gift made it so much more pleasant and enjoyable. :) My heart flutters with joy every time I think that she knew I would want these.
     Perhaps next post I will post my Christmas list, which is almost entirely books. ;)

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Should do this... but I Want to Do...Balancing the Two?!?!?!

Goals for 2014 to do a bit of everything
++++++++++
      I feel like I've been missing out on life lately. I've missed doing fun little things that I really enjoy. I haven't been listening to the music I really like. I haven't been reading YA romances. I haven't been spinning in circles, laughing. All my life has been lately is very serious stuff. My focus has been feeling guilty about not getting much homework done, doing my best at work, and feeling guilty about not reading enough classics. I guess I'm tired of feeling guilty about things that are fun and not bad when I should just enjoy them; laugh with the earth, dream, dance, dwell on pleasant things. Everything that I should be doing I fool myself into thinking I really want to. And I guess in a way I do. I want to read more classics. I want to listen to classical music (I really do like it). I want to do really well at work and constantly be working hard and getting lots done. After all I would love for the library to be clean and organized. I want to eat healthy because I like fruits and veggies. I want to do my homework because I like learning.
     But I also want to listen to Katy Perry, Lyric Everly, Jenny and Tyler, The Vespers, and Disney songs. I want to wear dresses more often. I want to dream of pretty little things: cute tea cups, flower fields, and a good book. I want to go back to my love of bohemian style.
     Basically my life isn't very well balanced with things I want to do and things I need to do. So here are some simply written goals for 2014:
  1. Wake up earlier
  2. Listen to fun music more often
  3. Do more homework
  4. Read more good books: a mix of classics and YA
  5. Do my devotions each morning or night
  6. Drink more tea
  7. Write in my journal more often- this is a big one
  8. Attempt to write more blog posts (:P haha)
  9. Evaluate when I really need to be on the internet and when I could be doing something better, but yes, let myself go on the computer a little bit each day.
  10. Print out more pictures and things I find from the internet and build an inspiration collage on my wall
    Then there are a few things I really want to do soon to feel more at home in the kind of room I want to live in:
  • Paint my room. What color should I paint it?
  • Completely organize my closet
  • Draw with the new media I just got for Christmas