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!) :)