Monday, May 30, 2016

May Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio


The first time I read this book was almost exactly three years ago. M had found out about it from somewhere and bought it. I think it took me less than two days to finish.

The bare bones synopsis of the book is as follows:

Auggie, a ten year old boy with severe facial deformations, is about to go to school for the first time in his life. The book follows him through the whole nine month period of his fifth grade year. There are five other narrators that have smaller sections in the book, people affected by Auggie so to speak.

Ok so going off of that last bit, Palacio does an amazing job of crafting a unique voice for each character as well as a personal writing style. Let me just go on and say it outright: this book is fantastic. It's wonderfully written and so captivating. It's technically a kids book, a middle grade level but don't be deterred, this book is for everyone. I adore the writing style and the dialogue is simply fantastic.

This book will make you laugh, it will surely make you cry and let me tell you, when you are finished-you'll want to go right back to page one and start over.

Apparently, they're making it into a movie so I wanted to quickly get this review done before people start thinking that maybe they could just skip the book and see the film instead-don't! Please read it!

Great book. Great message. Great writing. Great characters. Just a great book! Ha. I'm sorry this review is so fanatic and not at all academic but I don't have one single bad thing to say about this book. Not one.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sometimes Being a Loner is Easier

This is the grand truth of my life. I'm naturally a person that gravitates toward being alone. I'd much rather sit in and read before class starts then make an effort to converse with other students. I'm happier observing parties than I am participating in them. Unless I'm with close family or very select friends, I get nervous in social settings, trying to be liked and making sure I come across the way I intend to.

For the past few years, I haven't had friends that I've hung out with. I still have Claire as my best friend but she lives out of state now. And my one good friend from high school and I just aren't able to coordinate much. I spent weekends alone or with my family, watching TV, movies, writing, reading, hanging out. And I'm happy that way. I'm am so happy to write for hours, or float in the pool with a book. I love having the house to myself.

But I had felt as if I'd been missing something. The need for socialization, I've never been able to fully realize where it comes form...internal pressure? External? Do I want friends because I ought to have them? Do I want to hang out with people just to say that I did? Am I more worried about how others view me than anything else?  I'm not sure. I don't know if friends make me happy because I genuinely want them or because I genuinely feel that I'm required to have them. Either way, the idea of having a good group of friends does please me.

Through the young adult group that I'm involved with at church, I've gotten to meet some great potential lifelong friends. Unfortunately, some drama has gone down recently that puts some of these people on the outs with me and my sister. I don't even fully understand the situation or how we're involved but there is a certain rift now. Additionally, I'm peeved at the way a few people have treated myself and M who really put herself out there but was ignored and rudely mistreated. Both of us tried to get in this friend group and were pretty obviously rejected. After that went down, I really began to think that life was just easier when I didn't have to worry about people liking me, or wanting to hang out with me etc. Being a loner IS easier. But life isn't about easy.

After the rejection, M and I started realizing that perhaps we are more compatible with some other girls and lo and behold, I think we were right. Yesterday we got to hang out with another pair of sisters and it was a good time. And next month we have a Gilmore Girls series finale watch party with another girl who I think is super fun.

What I want is for friendships to be easy like it is with Claire. I want to be able to act stupid and have inside jokes. I don't want awkward silences, I want to have friends that I'm comfortable with. I know it could take a long time to get there but I'm willing to put in the effort.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Goals 2016

Summer Goals 2016
Accomplish at Least Half

  1. Buy a car
  2. Thoroughly enjoy the Rio Olympics 
  3. Cultivate new friendships
  4. Read the Bible everyday
  5. Spend as much time outside, swimming/biking/running/reading as possible
  6. Drink (even) more water
  7. Do one thing crazy
  8. Have a perfect day
  9. Finish writing my book series
  10. Review 3 books I've reread
  11. Read 3 new books additionally 
  12. Run a race
  13. Eat healthier/work out more
  14. Blog more regularily
  15. Enjoy it!
I can't wait to see what these next 3 months hold!

The Car Project

I need a car. Plain and simple. If I'd been smart and saved more these past few years, I could have easily bought a car by now. But alas, life is all about learning.

So the deal is that I need to get a car before or soon after I start nannying for my cousin Ellie. I need a way to get her places, you know? I don't want to simply be confined to the places we can walk. Besides that, I need a car for school in the fall.

So basically, I'm trying to pick up as many hours as possible at work. I'm praying that everything works out. I'll let you know :)


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's Always A Little Weird

That's how I feel about the beginning of "summer" ever since I started college. It's not really even summer at all when school ends in early May, so the weather feels a little too cold for any "summer activities". It takes time to get used to no school and get into working and all that jazz. I always feel a little lost in May until I find my rhythm.

One thing that's been great is that I'm back to writing for pleasure again. I'm about half way through my fourth (and last) book of the series I've been writing for two years. It's really been one of the most fun things I've ever done. I've enjoyed these characters so much, I don't know what I'll do when I'm done!

And here is some big news: I'm transferring schools again. I know, right? I couldn't take another year at the school I've been at for the last two. It sucked, honestly. I tried not to be critical at first but it became too much. The English program pretty much sucked, though I did have good experience in my creative writing classes. The literature professors, a whole other story. I'm glad to be rid of them.

So I'm going to a private university, a more prestigious one (my grades are pretty great these days if I do say so myself) and it' s where M graduated from in 2013. I'm so excited because it's the school I was supposed to go to two years ago but I had a different major back then and they didn't offer it there. But God's plan is so cool, because now it's actually happening and I'm pumped. No more going to school in a city (which I hated) and no more unorganized, impersonal public college.

So that's what's up right  now! Back soon!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Tenth Anniversary: What I Would Tell Myself

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that you just turned twelve and your life is about to be turned upside down. I'm sorry that you don't fully understand what is happening to you. I'm sorry that no one is really giving you the full story. I'm sorry that you would probably refuse to believe it if they did.

I know you feel out of control and you're going to feel like someone other than yourself for a good month. Don't forget that this too shall pass. Don't forget that healing takes time. Don't forget that you are you no matter what your physical state is.

You will develop resentment for those you love most. It will buried for awhile and then surface level before you finally learn to overcome it. People you love betrayed your trust when you were most vulnerable and that hurts, don't feel bad about feeling bad but deal with your feelings in a healthy way. Anger is something you've never been good at dealing with but don't take it out on people who don't even know where it is coming from.

There will be times when you feel nothingness and wonder if this is what depression feels like. Times when you feel so out of touch with the girl you were just weeks ago. When you really just want to go to school (imagine that) and run around outside and do cartwheels and just laugh like you mean it. But you can't. Instead you lay on the couch for most of the day or sit for maddening evening hours with your inept tutor.

But Grace, there are positive aspects to this time. It will be so hard to understand now, but someday, you will yearn for those quiet hours, you will. You will come to look forward to waking up in the morning and watching the lineup of talk shows. Good Morning America, Regis and Kelly, The Martha Stuart Show and sometimes The View. You will learn about pop culture like never before and how to make blood orange cocktails. You will depend on certain movies for comfort like Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

One day, you will realize the most amazing thing: that you can just sit for hours and think. You will daydream about your future home, your future family, your future ice skating career. It will bring you a sense of joy that had been lost. It will bring you immeasurable happiness and contentment.

There will come a time when you realize, that without noticing, you are starting to feel better. You will go back to your goofy antics and returning to your favorite activities. You will stop needing pain medication and start sleeping all the way through the night. You will begin to feel comfortable in your own skin at last and stop freaking out if you stumble or fall. You will find your new normal.

So Grace, newly 12, tiny, smart, precocious, funny, frustrating, stubborn, spirited, you can do this. You will do this.

And someday, when you're 22 and still small and smart, funny, frustrating, stubborn and spirited, you'll be able to look back and smile because no part of life is all bad. Sometimes, it just takes time to find the good.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Finals Again

It's that time of the year, finals! Well not technically yet, it's really next week but I've been working on my final papers for awhile now. I'm really excited to be done with this semester. It's been a weird one, I feel like I never got comfortable with both my classes and my classrooms. It's weird because I usually get to some point where everything feels familiar but that didn't happen for some reason. Oh well. I'll be happy to bid these classes farewell, I've not really enjoyed them too much but they weren't terrible. Even poetry wasn't terrible, imagine that.

Speaking of, I have to get working on my poetry paper. It's the only one I'm sort of stressed about but I know I can get it done.