Tag Archive | books

Departure

img_9140-2It’s today it’s today it’s today!!!

I have no idea what that quote is from, but it’s from some movie. A kid is running somewhere really excitedly, saying that that in a high pitched voice over and over. I’m imagining that he is waving something in the air, shrieking and completely filled with energy and joy. I’m not sure if that’s what the kid in the movie was doing , but that’s what I feel like.

Today I’m flying to Europe. Paris, specifically. I got to the airport around 11:30 am this morning after a mild navigational misadventure. (Getting to the actual airport is wild.) It was the first time that I’ve ever gone through check in and airport security by myself too. My suitcase img_9145was exactly forty-nine pounds, out of the allotted fifty, so that was exciting. Also, full-on security pat-down? Maybe it was my bracelet. The lady couldn’t believe that I was nineteen; she said she thought I was younger. I was taken aback, but I’ll take it. I made it through unscathed.

There were few people coming and going yet, and I got lunch and have been sitting at our boarding gate since. People have come and gone, all going about their lives and travels and day. Slowly the other people from my group have collected together. We’ve talked and joked and eaten and shared in our excitement. I can’t wait to get to know them better over the next few hours and weeks and months. I can’t wait to drink coffee and wander around the streets of Paris and eat crepes. I can’t wait to see the beautiful city and art and rivers and sky. It’s today it’s today it’s today!!!

Talking As Fast I Can Book Review

So as you know I’m obsessed with Gilmore girls. (HA, understatement of the year.)

As you may also know (thanks to my Instagram that I much more faithfully update than this poor pretty little child blog of mine), when I found out that Lauren Graham was writing a book about her experiences as Lorelai on the old and new Gilmore sets, I completely freaked out.

Like, I don’t think I’ve as ever impulsively bought a book as I did when I clicked “preorder” on Amazon in September. (That’s a lie, I’ve grabbed off of the shelves at Goodwill faster than you could read the last sentence.)

When it arrived a while back, all pretty and shiny and new, I was ecstatic. It came out around when the miniseries reboot aired, and I had little time to touch it thanks to school and being completely preoccupied with the living breathing characters and Stars Hollow on screen.

When school ended for the winter break, and after I finished the show (*sniff*), I picked up my dear friend’s memoir and dove right in. I ate it up in a solid two days.

As a fan, I loved it. Lauren talked about her past, how her career began, where she started. I feel like all actors or comedians who write biographies throw this in there somewhere. (I also know that this is, in fact, what makes them biographies. It’s also a huge part of their story and who they are as people. As Lauren would say, “medical, medical.”) So I enjoyed learning about her past jobs and childhood, but I couldn’t help but keep thinking, “when does Gilmore Girls come in,” so I probably breezed through it a bit.

Other times, there were sections that were completely and interestingly insightful. The part about Old Lady Jackson and looking up every once in a while? Loved and bookmarked it. The writing advice she’d learned? Noted it and plan on using it. There were so many other brief little messages here and there that truly made me stop to think. I had been so hyped up that I wasn’t really expecting to find nuggets of wisdom, but they’re there—and plentiful.

Finally, the long awaited Gilmore Girls sections. First, Lauren described the process, what it was like originally. She had never seen all of the series herself (which I thought was odd at first but now totally understand), and so she literally watched it all and made notes about everything from what was going on behind the scenes to what was up with her hair at that point in her life. Oh, and she pointed out every time a technology was out-of-date, which was amusing.

Next (or actually, after several more sections and closer to the end of the book, which is fitting since so much time has passed and all of this is so recent), Lauren describes the reboot process. She describes it like a dream, and said she cried throughout the whole year in the life. So did I Lauren. So did I.

She kept a journal from the set of the set of the reboot, complete with pictures and the story of the things she stole from set. Alexis stole a Yale banner from the wall in Rory’s room, and when I read this I almost started crying. And the fact that every time Lauren mentioned how “cliffhanger-y” the ending was, Amy just smiled? Again in the words of Lauren Graham, “Hmmm.”

The Gilmore Girls tidbits were brief, but sweet. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into this side of not only Stars Hollow, but the world of acting and life of such a wonderful, quick-witted, and introspective actor as Lauren Graham. I only wish that this lovely little book had been longer because, like Gilmore Girls in all of its many forms, I hated to see it end.

Rating: 4/5

Where’d You Go, Bernadette Book Review

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple tells the story of a family, particularly a woman, who is a little “odd” and completely misunderstood by everyone. Misunderstood, but, throughout the novel, revealed—and redeemed.

As the title suggests, Bernadette, mother of Bee, goes missing. The novel, however, is more than simply a tale of how she goes missing and the madness that ensues; Bee, the narrator, goes deeper to tell why. Bee’s investigates the events originating from months prior, and readers can get to know each of the characters and walk around in their lives for a bit before things get complicated. They are privy to the secrets that Bernadette and the “gnats” keep from one another and their families, can witness the drama firsthand. Bee reads emails, police transcripts, messages between the neighbors that loathed Bernadette so strongly, to understand and share with readers who were mother truly is and why she did what she did. It is through these various mediums that the story is told.

The characters in this story were extremely unique and complex. It is difficult to fully understand Bernadette. It is helpful to see what she goes through as both a woman, but it seems as though sometimes her personality wavers.

What is more well-founded and clear, though,  is Bee’s fierce love for her mother. Their relationship and banter is similar to that of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, as well as, perhaps, readers themselves. They rang true, and was often hilarious. The scene in the car where they sing the Beatles was special. Truthfully, such scenes were far too brief, too rare. Such situations made the crazy events more realistic.

For many of the situations throughout the story that the characters find themselves in are just that: crazy. So many ridiculous things happen, unbelievable things, that the reader is reminded of it continuously. But the point is that they are surprised, suspended, and amused. And they are.

Sometimes things are clarified with later emails; sometimes things are confusing only to be explained in detail later on. Regardless, the events, be they funny, sad, exciting, or strange—keep the story moving at a quick, fun pace. For this book is certainly many things: twisty and exciting, relatable, outlandishly dramatic, complicated, and even thought-provoking. Most of all, though, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is completely and ridiculously fun.

Rating: 5/5

IAC Dean’s Research Internship

August 28th, 2016

When I applied to Georgia Tech last winter, I applied for a slew of other scholarships too. College scholarships, alumni scholarships, Dean’s scholarships, “outside” scholarships…img_8648so many that, by the end of the process, they were all an incoherent whirlwind of “maybe’s” and “money” and “unlikely” in my head.

So, when I found out that I was being awarded the Ivan Allen College (Tech’s liberal arts college) (yes there’s a liberal arts college) Dean’s Research Internship Scholarship, I freaked.

First, because I was super excited about it. It’s a paid internship, under the guidance of a professor in my major. And I’m a freshman. Opportunities like this are extremely rare, so I snatched it up.

img_8568Then, though, I freaked because I had no idea what I was going to have to do. I was excited about it, of course, but what would such a position entail? There was nothing about it anywhere online. Would I be helping a professor with his or her research? Would I need to come up with projects of my own, and only consult this professor for advising? How would I fit this job into my already inevitably busy schedule?

I didn’t know what to expect, but even in February, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Now it’s here, finally, the beginning of the fall semester and the beginning of the mysterious scholarship research program that the World Wide Web has yet to recognize. Now it’s here, and as I figure it all out, you will be the next to know.

Crown of Midnight Review

Wanna hear something horrible? I don’t even remember actually finishing this book.

I did finish, though. So that definitely says more about the book than me. (Right?)

ttrIt wasn’t horrible. I just lost interest in it somewhere towards the supposedly most exciting part of the story, and didn’t even care to finish it until a month later when I came home from school. I also did what I said I wouldn’t and read it as an audiobook. (It was free, okay!) I’m sure a physical copy would have made the story flow better, would have forced me into world of the fae, would have me somewhat worried about Celaena when she fights monsters.

Because boy did she fight a lot of monsters.

Those parts were cool, but a lot of them were like, “oh crap I didn’t see that coming!” or, “oh no I have to save the world again I hope I don’t die!” or even better, “oh my goodness I have MAGIC? Where did THAT come from?!” Like with the first book, I just didn’t like Celaena and Maas’s groundbreaking(ly predictable) logic. It felt juvenile.

To be fair, though, not everything was obnoxious or predictable. There were a couple parts where I was shocked, freaked out, on the edge of the seat in my car. Some of the best bits that Celaena didn’t see coming, I didn’t expect either.

(I’m not going to spoil anything of course, but even if I tried I wouldn’t know how to spell their names.)

So it was exciting and exciting book. No revolutionary literature here, but exciting nonetheless. If you loved the first book, I’ve heard that this one is better, from much more enthusiastic readers and bigger fans than me. It just wasn’t for me. (That cliche applies here, I think. I also think that it was used in the actual book somewhere.)

When (Back) In Rome

When I came back home, I explored some places that I hadn’t really been before. I visited antique stores in search of dorm decor, wandered old bookstores in the middle of clothes shopping downtown, and ate at restaurants both new and old. I went and bought school supplies at Staples and more things for college at Lowe’s.

These are likely all seemingly mundane things, but they were fun. Peaceful. I spent time with my mother and grandmother, found good sales, was altogether inspired. I highly recommend just wandering around sometimes.

Here are the pictures I took~

So satisfying

I walked by this and did a double take because it’s SO photogenic.

Tried something new at Harvest Moon.

Pretty Alice

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


IMG_4006Let’s talk Throne of Glass.

I think this was the fastest I’ve ever read (listened to) an audiobook. I picked it up (not literally) because everyone online raves about it, has been raving about it. They go on and on about the love triangle and“awesome” fantasy elements. They fangirl over their “favorite bad*ss female heroine,” Celaena Sardothien. I’ve been curious about it all for a while.

I finally started it…and read it…and was swept into the messy sea of drama and magic…and yelled and groaned at it…and finished it. It was nothing like what I thought it would be, but I really liked it. It was entertaining, exciting. I couldn’t stop listening—I had to know what became of Celaena, where Chaol was, what the wyrdmarks meant.

Throne of Glass was fast-paced and amusing, but oftentimes unbearably confusing and, well, predictable and irritating. I’m still confused about the wrydmarks, to be honest. It took Celaena entirely too long to figure out what they sort-of meant. And why was she so unconcerned? Sure, she did research, but if evil forces are after someone so used to fighting, why didn’t she get more involved?

For a kick*ss assassin, Celaena also spent an awful lot of time threatening people but not doing anything early on. That is, anything other than going back and forth between Dorian and Chaol and puppies and music  and not liking to kill people and dresses and jewels and wanting blood. She was well-rounded; she had a “soft, kind-hearted girlish side” to balance out literally being an assassin. This made her more relatable, more human, but for a while it was like Maas was trying to make her everything, every heroine she could, wrapped into one.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t like Celaena, though. In fact, she was great—sometimes annoying, but always brave and sassy and strong. She stood out in this way from the very first page. I immediately liked her, cheered her on, felt pain for her, wanted her to win. She definitely grew on me throughout the book. She was my second favorite character. Chaol was my first, but more on that in a bit.

Another issue I had with Throne of Glass was the world. I have absolutely concept of it. I don’t even know what it’s called. Eralia? I know that magic was outlawed, and could imagine the grounds really well due to the beautiful imagery. But the names were so similar, and the politics were so shaky. It didn’t seem very well-developed. Why there are death camps? Why was Celaena captured? Why were there rebellions? The king—what? Who? He has a PLAN? What’s his plan? I have no idea. The king and so many of the characters seemed just as flimsy as the political atmosphere, just as one-dimensional.

And the fae, the MAGIC. I’ve never really read anything about fae before, and this book didn’t help me out at all. It didn’t help that I wasn’t even expecting magic. I was getting a really strong Hunger Games vibe, so I was pretty surprised (startled) halfway through the story when fairies and magic rune things began appearing, casually. And the demons and characters that like…don’t go away, just come and go?

Speaking of characters, where was Chaol for half of the book? His POV was SO underrepresented. Who cares about Dorian that much, anyway?

Oh, and what was the court doing? I loved the ball, I wanted more to happen at the ball! Where was the Queen? And Kaltain? Her POV in particular was shown so infrequently that it seemed as though her plotting never led to anything. At some points I forgot that she was a problem.

There were several problems, conflicts faced by the characters, though, that I was completely blindsided by. (Not by Cain, he was obvious. I rolled my eyes at him. OH, and the hidden passageway. That was so obvious too.) But the PLOT TWISTS! Those were excellently executed. They took me by surprise, twisted the story at just the right moment. 

I really did like Throne of Glass, don’t let my confusion and numerous complaints throw you. I enjoyed the action, the plot twists, the sass. I loved the tests, especially the wall-climbing and poison testing scenes. The main characters were so interesting, and had great chemistry. And the BANTER! So cute.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like YA magic and fantasy and love triangles. I would not recommend it if you are used to Game of Thrones politics and intrigue. I would also not recommend reading it as an audiobook. (At all. Usually I’m fine with them, but all of the quick magic scenes and world-building was completely lost on me. I might reread it at some point, but goodness.)

Despite this…print copy of Crown of Midnight, here I come.

Similar to: The Hunger Games (the characters, action, and competition), The Selection (the setting and castle vibe, the competition), Graceling (the magic)

Rating: 3.5…ok 4/5 stars