School is a steady constant in most suburban children’s lives, but my experience was particularly steady for my first ten years of education. I went to a Catholic grammar school from preschool to eighth grade, seeing several new students arrive each year but essentially growing up alongside the same 40-ish faces for a decade. My entire world was within those brick walls, and now with a whole other decade of life under my belt, it’s mind-blowing to remember how confined everything was.
My morning routines before school were almost as predictable as the way I knew my mother would always pack my latest lunch craving (consistently a turkey sandwich by middle school) and how we could expect the rare father or two volunteering on Pizza Day to stack empty boxes as high as they could (“More, more, more!” the student mobs would chant). Each morning, I’d wake, dress in my uniform, and pick at a breakfast bar, frozen mini pancakes, or cereal as I flipped through our local paper. It didn’t occur to me until I was much older that waking to the sounds of your parents listening to the news on the kitchen radio and subsequently reading the paper as a kid sounded a little strange to others.
As with anything print nowadays, the paper’s current state pales in comparison to my favorite section back then: the comics. Like clockwork, I’d skip stories of Long Island political battles and car accidents to skim the celebrity section, packed with Lohan family news and tracking which local reality star was cut from their TV competition that week (JP Rosenbaum, an eventual Bachelorette husband, is still our crowning glory in my eyes). Then, the piece de resistance: the familiar, simple stories the comics told. As I pored over the quickly resolved, otherworldly strips — Stone Soup, Baby Blues, Blondie — one comic always stuck out as proudly different.
I’m a total sucker for a good quote in a book. With my notebook of favorite book quotes approaching its seventh anniversary, I love seeing the progression of reading choices and what kind of writing or subject matters stuck out to me at different points of my life.
Picking up almost exactly from the point of my quote notebook I left off at in my last Favorite Book Quotes post, the 10 more quotes below date from the second semester of my junior year of college to as recently as this past fall.
“I ask you to pass through life at my side – to be my second self, and best earthly companion.”
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Confession: I didn’t finish reading Jane Eyre when I was assigned it for a Victorian Lit class in college. I probably read the entire first half, but lost interest when Jane left Rochester’s home. Still, I couldn’t help but be moved by this quote said by Rochester.
“In the arts, you need to learn not to expect that success will equal money.”
Mistakes I Made at Work:
I’ve balanced at least two writing/editing jobs simultaneously for over two years. I’ve done editorial work since at least a year before that. I’m proud of the experience I’ve had so early on in my professional life, but this little snippet is something I do want to remember moving forward.
I snatched up this great-sounding topic from The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday subject list! That is my good-to source for inspiration when I’m stuck on what to write about, and this particular idea takes the concept of what authors I’d like to meet (which I wrote about ages ago) to the next level. I took “bookish” to mean writers of any kind, whether they’re journalists, authors or general creators. These are people who inspire me, create escapist worlds, and remind me that pursuing the written word in a career is far from being silly.
Here we go!
1) J.K. Rowling
I mean, duh.
2) Heidi Thomas
Not only is Heidi the creator and main writer of one of my favorite shows, Call the Midwife (and married to Stephen McGann / Dr. Turner, which I’m low-key jealous of), she’s also the mind behind the recent adaptations of Ballet Shoes, the musical Gigi, and the upcoming (in the U.S.) version of Little Women. Call the Midwife is such an underrated show, but it celebrates women, their strength, and good men who support them so well. I admire Heidi so much, and I love how she works with mostly female directors on the show. She also uses her platform to share so many unique birth stories and highlight reproductive and general health issues women faced in the mid-twentieth century.
I graduated college this year, and in the past, books I read in my English classes have often appeared on my yearly favorites list (check out my picks for 2014, 2015, and 2016). Having taken only one literature class my last semester, where I skimmed rather than read, that wasn’t the case this year. Although I ended up adoring most of the books from my college English classes (I took the majority of them with the same professor, whose reading picks I knew I usually enjoyed), I went a little lighter with my reading choices this year.
As 2017 progressed, I turned to a lot of fun chick lit to clear my mind and fast-paced historical fiction to busy it. As a result, my favorites list this year is comprised of just that. It looks quite different from past years’ lists, but more importantly, I found stories that captured me, and managed to read 52 books this year as of Dec. 22!
As always, a disclaimer: these are just books I read for the first time in 2017, not necessarily books that were published this year.
1) The French War Bride, by Robin Wells
We made each other feel loved and accepted and treasured. I think that is all one can ask for in this life.
I gushed about this book here, and it remains my favorite read of the year. There are a ton of books set in France during World War II, and I’ve read a good number of them, but The French War Bride is the most captivating, comprehensive story about this pocket of time that I’ve ever read. It’s a long one, but it wouldn’t let go of me until I finished two days in, so it can speed by! If you’re treating yourself to a few lazy days after Christmas this year, pick it up from your library or ebook store!
Going through my longtime book quote notebook for insight into 10 of my favorite quotes was so much fun that I continued sifting through my records for 10 more lovely quotes to talk about. While the first post solidly covered books read in my last two years of high school and first year of college, these quotes jump around in time a lot. While away at college, I never had my notebook with me, and I kept quotes I liked in my phone Notes. I work through transferring quotes from the phone to the book quite slowly, so the notebook has some chronological gaps. So, I would say that this post includes books I read mostly from freshman to junior year of college.
“I waited patiently – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, ‘Yeah, he’s a cool guy.’ But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl.”
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is one of those books that I didn’t really like, yet it was a fascinating page-turner that really messed with the reader’s perspective. I can understand why both it and the movie adaptation did so well. It’s passages like these that drew me in and made me stop and think about how society works. I like this quote because of how it sets up this double standard that plays out with men and women – women are rewarded for liking what men are typically more interested in, while men who like “girly stuff” are made fun of.
Welcome back to my blog, friends! I’ve had a crazy month and a half or so of schoolwork, internship projects, and freak-outs about life that kept me from blogging regularly, but with summer on the horizon, I’m trying to get back into a nice writing routine!
Recently, I purposely made a post about my Tony nomination predictions so it was out before award announcements, and am planning on a reaction post to seeing the Broadway musical Bandstand. For now, as a nice catch-up to get the blog back in order, I wanted to do a News Worthy-esque post about recent cultural news or events that excited me!
Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry are starring in a Broadway revival of Carousel next year. The sound that came out of my mouth when I saw this headline was not human. I love Jessie Mueller, and recently fell in love with my birthday buddy Joshua Henry through his HamJams on Instagram. I love how this is a pairing no one would have really considered in casting speculation but now that it’s happening, everyone loves it! The fact that a black man was cast as Billy in Carousel is also huge and amazing. With a My Fair Lady revival already announced for next season as well, the 2018 musical revival category is looking pretty strong.
I haven’t written a post for my weekly News Worthy feature since the beginning of September, but I’d like to try and get back into it – a semi New Year’s resolution, if you will. I had a pretty busy semester in the fall, and while there are definitely more gaps in my schedule this semester (my last of college – uhh…), I feel like they’ll fill up quickly, so committing to News Worthy is a good way to write at least one post every week. Let’s see how this goes!
I finished reading Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter last week and checked out McCoy’s website afterwards. She has a page for all of the essays she’s written over the years and this one, “Author Epiphany: I Film-Track My Novels” was great. McCoy explains that, instead of listening to music when she writes, she’s often typing with old black-and-white movies playing in the background.
One of my biggest pleasures is reading the physical weekend papers of The New York Times. I have an online account with the Times, so when I’m at school, I check its site on a daily basis for both breaking news and feature articles. I pass its office building in Manhattan a lot, and get a bit of chill whenever I see the newspaper’s classic font sprawled above the entrance. When I’m home, going through all of the special weekend sections is the perfect way to start my day. My favorite sections include the Sunday Styles, Arts & Leisure, Travel, and Metropolitan, and I love the “What I Love,” “Sunday Routine,” and “Modern Love” series. While I obviously appreciate NYT for the hard news it covers, its profiles of people are my absolute favorite things. I’ve talked a little bit about my love of well-written profiles, and longer profiles in magazines are great, but nothing beats a short and sweet profile in The New York Times.