Sunday, January 31, 2016

Taking Stock Sunday: January 31

 fave pick of the week

Originally saw this Taking Stock post on Meet Me At Mike's and thought it was the perfect end of the week post. 

Here are the latest happenings: 

Making: plans
Cooking: lasagna (well, lasagna is being cooked for me)
Drinking: Naked and Odwalla smoothies
Reading: many books and articles (welcome back school)
Wanting: sleep
Looking: haggard
Deciding: on what I'm going to do next week
Wishing: that I had more time
Enjoying: aspects of being home
Waiting: for things to really get going
Liking: this song
Wondering: why my arms are breaking out
Loving: this Buzzfeed post (#90s forever)

Watching: Million Dollar American Princesses
Hoping: for no drama
Cringing: at the thought of going through this
Needing: to get through this
Smelling: lasagna cooking :)
Wearing: workout clothes
Following: Texas Humor...always good for a laugh or two
Thinking: about everything
Admiring: the amount of strength is takes to let go
Sorting: through all sorts of emotions
Getting: sick (again)
Bookmarking: this Fast Company post
Coveting: some time to process everything
Disliking: today and tomorrow
Giggling: at just about everything
Feeling: spent
Helping: my family
Hearing: water boil


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Alana

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Dream Literary Collection: Post #2


Ryan from Invaluable emailed me about creating a Dream Literary Collection post. Invaluable is an auction website with scores of art and collectibles, and perusing through all that they offer was so much fun.

Here's my latest post talking about my Dream Literary Collection.


1. John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath

 

One of my biggest literary interests is American Lit from the Interwar Period (1919-1941), especially Depression-era fiction. This book absolutely fits right into those interests. It also fulfills my desire to read the books that I was supposed to read in high school but never did, so this would be a two-for-one pick up.

2. John Steinbeck's East of Eden

 

I've actually already seen the movie, but I've yet to read this book. I have a large reading gap in 1950s American Literature, and I think this would be a good book to start filling that gap with since I've heard some really good thing about it. 

   3. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community

 
                                                   
I've read Letter From Birmingham Jail and read and heard/seen the I Have A Dream and Mountaintop speeches. However, I've never actually read one of King's books before. I would absolutely love to learn how he felt about how the direction the U.S. was going by the late 60s and see if his philosophy and outlook changed any by then.


 4. Cormac McCarthy's The Border Trilogy



I was introduced to McCarthy last semester when I wrote a conference paper about his short stories. Learning that a lot of the same themes and style from the short stories are also seen in the novels makes me want to read them now (and then see the movie versions of the novels that have been adapted). 

 5. Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'urbervilles



I actually have a copy of this book already (though I haven't actually read it yet), but it's always nice to have some classics in the collection in its original form and binding. 



Bonus:
Charles Schultz's Peanuts


Thinking about my Dream Literary Collection got me thinking about those closest to me and their literary collections. I know a few people who love The Peanuts and would love this book. It would be hard to decide who I'd actually give this to though. Maybe those around me would be nice enough to share?



  ***all pictures taken from Invaluable.com***

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Alana

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WWW Wednesday: January 27


IMG_1384-0
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?
  • African American Literature 1930-1960: Langston Hughes's Not Without Laughter
  • African American Literature 1960-1988: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • The U.S. Since 1945: Chapter 2 of Steven M. Gillon's The American Paradox and handouts
  • The World Since 1945: Chapter 1 of P.M.H. Bell's The World Since 1945
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

I'm still listening to Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (again) and am 5/16 through with Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford. As always, I'm also reading journal and contest submissions.
 
• What did you recently finish reading?

  • African American Literature 1930-1960:  Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin In The Sun
  • African American Literature 1960-1988: Handouts of chapters and journal articles and James Baldwin's Another Country.
  • The U.S. Since 1945: Chapter 1 of Steven M. Gillon's The American Paradox and handouts
  • The World Since 1945: we didn't read anything our first week of class 
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

I read about 30 journal and contest submissions last week, but didn't get very far with anything else I'm reading or listening to. 





• What do you think you’ll read next?

  • African American Literature 1930-1960: Zora Neale Hurston’s Jonah’s Gourd Vine
  • African American Literature 1960-1988: Alice Walker's The Third Life of Grange Copeland
  • The U.S. Since 1945: Chapter 3 of Steven M. Gillon's The American Paradox
  • The World Since 1945: Chapter 2 of P.M.H. Bell's The World Since 1945
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

More submission readings, reading Josh Kaufman's The Personal MBA: Master The Art of Business, and Jan Karon's A Light In The Window.



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Alana

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten All-Time Faves (so far)

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: it's a freebie week this week, so I went back and chose one of the previous topics that I missed out on. Here are my top ten all-time faves (I say so far because there could be books I read later on that could just blow me away) 
 

1. Anne Frank's The Diary of Anne Frank was my first love. I read it for the first time in elementary school and read it at least once a year until I graduated from high school. My best friend bought me a copy for my birthday one year after learning that I always checked a copy out from the library (thank Sami!) so now, I can finally read it whenever I get the inclination.

2. Alice Walker's The Color Purple: probably not the most appropriate read for a fifth grader, especially since it took a few more times reading it over the next several years to finally understand what all was happening, but I read this one while I was waiting for my next Baby-Sitters Little Sister books to come in the mail. I never really got to enjoy the YA trend (it really blew up here once I was already an adult), so The Color Purple was one of the books that served as a bridge from children's books to adult books.

3. Kaye Gibbons' Ellen Foster: I was a big Oprah fan, so once I found out she had a book club, I started regularly checking out books she had chosen. My favorite of the bunch was Ellen Foster and I really liked it since a young girl was the protagonist, but it didn't feel like I was reading a book written by children if that makes any sense. 

4. Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar: I discovered Sylvia and this book when I was in middle school and was just absolutely thunderstruck. Reading her for the first time was also the first time I ever got the feeling I wanted to do something like that one day too.

5. Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird: not just the first and only book that was assigned to me in high school that I actually read, this is one of the books that changed my life and the way I saw the world.

6. Joy Kogawa's Obasan: I also read this one in high school for AP English (we got to choose from a selection, so technically not assigned to me) and like TKAM, this book changed my life and the way I saw things. It was also one of the first times that I ever read an author or a character that was a minority that I got to read for school, so that was a really big deal for me.

7. Michael Cunningham's The Hours: I picked this book up to cram-read it before seeing the movie because I'm an uber Meryl Streep fan (especially back when the movie version came out). I ended up loooooovvvvvvviiiiiinnnnnggggg the book and that really served as my introduction to Virginia Woolf (other than Gilmore Girls of course)

8. Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway: reading The Hours and watching the movie finally inspired me to finish reading Mrs. Dalloway after trying to read it several times over several years. It took reading it for my Virginia Woolf seminar to truly appreciate it.

9. Debbie Macomber's 16 Lighthouse Road: it was hard to figure out which book from the Cedar Cove/Rose Harbor series to choose, so I went with my introduction to what may be my favorite series. I had read a lot from Debbie by then, but I had mainly read stand-alone books and shorter series until then.

10. Marilynne Robinson's Lila: I know it's early to add this book to my list, but I've also listened to it in its entirety four times in seven months. Lila and its predecessor Gilead have absolutely captivated me in a way that books haven't done so in years. What makes this funny is that Gilead was assigned to me in my Forms of Fiction class and I had to force myself to finally start reading it the night before class. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting.



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Alana

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Taking Stock Sunday: January 24

fave pic of the week: Snow Day

  Originally saw this Taking Stock post on Meet Me At Mike's and thought it was the perfect end of the week post. 

Here are the latest happenings: 

Making: plans
Cooking: whatever I can microwave
Drinking : water
Reading: James Baldwin's Another Country and Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin in the Sun
Wanting: to be home
Looking: for one more job
Playing: for keeps
Deciding: on what I'll be doing in these next few months
Wishing: I knew what I should do
Enjoying: the start of a new semester
Waiting: for my first grades
Liking: the books I'll have to read this semester (so far)
Wondering: about how live after this semester will look like
Loving: this song 
Considering: my options
Buying: new curtains (eventually)
Watching: church
Hoping: that things remain peaceful
Marvelling: at the last few flakes of snow that haven't melted yet
Cringing: at this presidential race
Needing: to be home
Questioning: everything
Smelling: nothing (gotta love year-round allergies)
Wearing: PJs
Following: espnW
Admiring: my friend Cheryl
Sorting: out a litany of feelings
Getting: prepared
Bookmarking: this Buzzfeed post
Coveting: this work station
Disliking: the amount of laundry I have to put up
Opening: a can of worms
Giggling: at everyone stepping in it over the Oscars controversy (just say no comment man...)
Feeling: sad
Hearing: Face The Nation

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Booking Through Thursday: January 21

Every week, Booking Through Thursday asks a reading-specific question. I thought it would be fun to go through their archives and see what all I could find and answer. Here's a question I found from 2005 and my answer: 


1. It's hard to answer this question because I don't necessarily gravitate towards one genre or subgenre. I could hop from a romance novel to a memoir to a professional development book to a middle grade book and back to another romance novel. I have a very long To-Read List, To-Finish List, and ______ Says I Absolutely Have to Read This Book list. I mainly pick books from one of those lists, but I will sometimes check out a book at the front of the library if its cover catches my eye (yes, I judge books by their cover from time to time). 

My fourth way of choosing what to read focuses more on the who than what they write. There are also some authors that I like enough to where I will read anything they have written if I can get my hands on it and have time to finish it before it's due (most of the books I get my hands on are library books, so I have to make sure that I have enough time to read them before they're due).  

Last but not least: if I'm going on a long road trip, the audiobooks section of my local library is a must-visit before I go. In this case, I usually pick up a memoir/autobiography, a historical/nonfiction book, and a couple of fiction titles. If I'm lucky, I'll also find a play on the shelves that I have not already heard. I bring music on these trips as well, but I like to mix and match so I don't get bored while driving or riding. 

While several genres and subgenres engage me, I do specifically stay away from some. For example, I've never made it through a sci-fi, western, or fantasy. Not big on vampires, zombies, or the apocalypse either.  

2. Some of the authors that I will read no matter what are Debbie Macomber, Rebecca Wells, Dorothy Allison, and Mary Karr. My newest addition to this list is Marilynne Robinson thanks to Gilead and Lila that I have fallen absolutely in love with. I don't often re-read books once I've finished, but I will re-read books from my go-to authors (especially if there's a sequel or a new book with a tie-in coming out). 

When it comes to what I won't read, I'm pretty adamant on that. I've never read a page of a single Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings book. The only reason I read The Hunger Games was because the classes at the school I was interning at were reading it (although I ended up loving it and reading the other two books in the series, I don't see myself wanting to read anymore Don't Want To Reads anytime soon). 



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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WWW Wednesday: January 20


IMG_1384-0
Each week, Sam over at Taking on a World of Words asks the following three questions: 
What are you currently reading? 
What did you recently finish reading? 
What do you think you’ll read next?

• What are you currently reading?
  • African American Literature 1930-1960: We don't actually have our first meeting until Monday, but since I know that Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin In The Sun is our first text for the semester, I'm reading/listening ahead (luckily for me, I still have Lorraine Hansberry's Audio Collection with me)
  • African American Literature 1960-1988: I'm reading handouts and starting on James Baldwin's Another Country.
  • The U.S. Since 1945: Chapter 1 of Steven M. Gillon's The American Paradox and handouts
  • The World Since 1945: Nothing's been assigned yet, but I have seven books to read plus a historiography to write, so I may just get started reading whatever gets delivered to me first until we get our reading schedule. 
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

I'm currently listening to Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (again) and reading journal and contest submissions.
 
• What did you recently finish reading?


I finished listening to Marilynne Robinson's Lila (again) and got through about 30 submissions. Not going to lie, most of my four day weekend was spent reacquainting myself with fanfiction. 


• What do you think you’ll read next?

  • African American Literature 1930-1960: Langston Hughes's Not Without Laughter
  • African American Literature 1960-1988: The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • The U.S. Since 1945: Chapter 2 of Steven M. Gillon's The American Paradox
  • The World Since 1945: hoping to find out soon...
Pleasure/Other Reads: 

More submission readings (always submissions to read ;) ) as well as continuing to listen to Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford and reading Josh Kaufman's The Personal MBA: Master The Art of Business.


Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR List

 

This week's Top Ten list from The Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR List

1. Gloria Steinem's My Life On The Road: though I can't go so far as to label myself one thing or another, I've always liked Gloria Steinem and have wanted to learn more about her the person. After seeing her appearances on CSPAN2 and Watch What Happens Live!, I really want to read this book when I get the time.

2. Christopher Hitchens's And Yet...Essays: each month as a teenager, I would make sure to head to the Barnes and Nobel or Half Price to read Hitchens's latest piece in Vanity Fair and even got a subscription to it once I got to college just to read his column. His work never disappointed me and always made me think. I'm sure I'll be able to say the same about this collection.

3. Zadie Smith's White Teeth: a friend let me borrow this book and I know I said I was done letting friends recommend books to me after The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but I made an exception for this.

4. Lynne Tillman's What Would Lynne Tillman Do?: speaking of friends letting me borrow books, the same goes for this one.

5. Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between The World And Me: I've just heard that this is a good book so I want to check it out. May hold off until the summer to actually read it so I can fully appreciate it.

The rest of the books I've added are series as part of this year's reading plan is to finish what I started by finishing the series that I started reading as a kid but forgot to pick back up over time. 


6. Meg Cabot's Princess Diaries series: I only made it halfway through the second book, so I'll be starting this series from the beginning. 

7. Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon series: I actually didn't pick this up until seeing A Prairie Home Companion when I was eighteen and thought "how cool would it be if this was an actual radio show" Well, it is and I want to read the books that the show has inspired.

8. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series: I was all about these books in the sixth grade and even did an English project about homesteaders and settlers. I even went as far as to not use electricity for twenty four hours during the winter to see how life was like during the late 1800s (my mom has since forgiven me for this...I think....) I made it through the first five before seventh grade (and my beginning to read books only written by authors who had attempted or committed suicide (I was a weird kid) ) but never made it through the last ones. 

9. Ann M. Martin's The Baby-Sitters Club series: I found out from a random Wikipedia search that there are like 100 more BSC books that I never got to when I was reading them. I would like to see how everything ended for the girls.

10. The American Girl series: back in my day, there were only five girls (Felicity, Addy, Samantha, Molly and then Josefina at the tail end of my reading it), so I want to read the new girls' stories. It's probably weird that I as an adult want to read books written for children, but I'm okay with that. A good book is a good book.

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Alana

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Photo Of The Day: January 17

Sunday Walk Sighting

Taking Stock Sunday: January 17


 fave photo from this past week

Originally saw this Taking Stock post on Meet Me At Mike's and thought it was the perfect end of the week post. 

Here are the latest happenings: 

Making: plans
Cooking: up ideas
Drinking: water
Reading: journal submissions
Wanting: a good night's rest
Looking: haggard
Playing: music
Deciding: on what I want to do after this semester
Wishing: for a good night's rest
Enjoying: this break
Waiting: for a sign
Liking: just chilling out 
Wondering: how I want to start this new story idea of mine  
Loving: this song (RIP David Bowie)
Pondering: the book of Job 
Considering: completely rewriting one of my monstrosities (novel-length stories)
Buying: time
Watching: basketball
Hoping: for clarity
Marvelling: at those who have clarity?
Cringing: at the thought of food
Needing: to get a schedule set 
Questioning: everything. Always everything.
Smelling: nothing (winter allergies)
Wearing: my PJs
Following: the NFL playoffs
Noticing: that the light bulb in my lamp will be going out soon
Knowing: I should be putting up or washing laundry
Thinking: about the laundry I need to put up or wash
Admiring: those who've got this work-life balance thing figured out
Sorting: through ideas for a story idea that came to me during a nightmare
Getting: no rest 
Bookmarking: #Ham4Ham's performances so I can watch them all
Coveting: sleep
Disliking: not feeling well
Opening: yet another tab to Google something
Giggling: about #changeaconsonantspoilamovie
Feeling: very ill
Snacking: on nothing
Helping: myself to a jam fest.
Hearing: Common's "Testify"


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Alana

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Photo Of The Day: January 12-16

 1/12: Shadows 
 
 1/13: Caught
 
 1/14: Passing By 
 
 1/15: Four Day Weekend 
 
1/16: Saturday Night #TurnUp

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016 Check In #1


Picture it, not Sicily, between 1995-2002: for me, summertime meant one thing: Summer Reading Challenge time at my local library. There was nothing more exciting to me than filling out the logs we were given and eventually turning them in for some free swag (and making sure to always read enough so I could score a free book or two).

As I grew up, those Summer Reading Challenges became Summer Reading assignments since I was in Pre AP or AP English throughout high school and that went straight into college and me taking classes almost every summer.

Fast forward, my for-pleasure reading is few and far between as books and articles assigned to me in class have taken precedence. One goal for 2016 is to better balance for-pleasure reading and for-class reading. One of the ways I hope to do this is by participating in some of the amazing reading challenges that other bloggers and sites have created.

Here's what I hope to do in the next 350 or so days:


French Bingo 2016 Reading Challenge (words and peace):

French Bingo 2016 card


Reading Bingo for 2015 (found on Cleopatra Loves Books) (I know this was for 2015, but I figure this is an evergreen challenge)
reading-bingo-small

POPSUGAR's 2016 Reading Challenge:


When Are You Reading? (Taking On A World Of Words)

when are you reading 2016 final

Read one book written in following eras:

  • Pre-1500:
  • 1500-1599:
  • 1600-1699:
  • 1700-1799:
  • 1800-1899:
  • 1900-1919:
  • 1920-1939:
  • 1940-1959:
  • 1960-1979:
  • 1980-1999:
  • 2000-Present: 
  • The Future:

Now I know that these are a lot, but...

1. I'm not good with doing things halfway. Either I'm all the way in or all the way out.
2. With the bingo challenges, I don't have to read every single book listed. I can read as little as five to make a bingo or as many as I can/have time for.

I'm also going to (finally) jump in and join Goodreads. Promised myself no more social media after Instagram, but I'll make an exception for this one. But this is it. I'm serious this time. I think.

Also going to challenge myself further by not double dipping (using one book to satisfy part of more than one challenge's) However, I will use books that are assigned to me as well as books that I'm reading for pleasure to fulfill what the challenges ask for.  

I'll post updates as well as (hopefully) reviews of the books that I do read while fulfilling these challenges regularly.



Thank you for taking the time to read my latest entry. Please feel free to follow and never miss another post by clicking here

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Thanks again for reading 
Alana