January Wrap Up

What I’m Up To:

I cannot believe it’s 2019! 2015 seems like it was just yesterday. After a long holiday break, school has started back up for me. So far, my highlights have been an interesting soa.jpgclass on the culture of the Hispanic Caribbean and another on the intricacies of arguments.

What I’m Reading Right Now: 

Just like I promised in my review of Circe by Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles is what’s currently sitting on my nightstand. This novel follows Patroclus, Achilles’ friend and lover, as he navigates his life and the Trojan War by the famed hero’s side. I’m only 25 pages into the story, but Miller’s signature attention to detail and lush storytelling have already captured my attention.

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New Year, Same Blog (Kinda)

My Year in Review

2018 was crazy for me. For starters, I finished my first year of boarding school and started my second. In June I studied abroad in Chile, where I studied poets like Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral. Lately, I’ve just been studying hard in school, which starts back up in a few days.

yjyMy Favorite Books of 2018

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin: Zevin’s vivid female characters- a mother, a daughter, a wife illuminate her latest novel. Both timely and timeless, Young Jane Young explores marriage, affairs, and love through vibrant female perspectives, painting a hilarious, lively portrait that is not to be missed.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali: Abdulali’s novel is a difficult work to read. She does not shy away from harsh realities, showing readers compelling stories and undeniable statistics, but ends her novel with a necessary glimmer of hope, which I intend to carry into the new year.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: I cannot get enough of Taylor’s lush fantasy worlds. Last year, Strange the Dreamer, the predecessor to Muse of Nightmares made its way on to my best of list, so I delight in putting Taylor’s latest onto this list as well. Her clear gift for spinning stories so wildly imaginative and yet so fiercely human makes her one of my favorite authors to date.

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November Wrap Up

What I’m Up To:

 I’m writing this wrap up on my way back to school, ready for the dreaded two and a half weeks between Thanksgiving break and winter break. It’s time to get some work done, but as soon as it’s over, I’ll be back in New York to celebrate Christmas with my family, where I can get some reading done.

avleof What I’m Reading Right Now:

 I’m almost finished with A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Tahereh Mafi’s realistic fiction debut (which was long-listed for the National Book Award). I was a huge fan of Mafi’s fantasy series when it came out a few years ago, but her newest is both a thematic and stylistic departure. Gone are the flowery sentences and angsty action-packed chapters, replaced by sharp wit and politically-charged narratives. A Very Large Expanse of Sea follows Shirin, a Muslim teenager grappling with her identity in a post 9/11 world.

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September Wrap Up

What I’m Up To

I’m back at boarding school, working my way through sophomore year. I love school and the chance to be back with all my friends, but I miss being able to pick up a book and read whenever I wanted.

wwtawwtar.jpgWhat’s On My Bedside Table

Right now, I’m reading What we Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali. Thanks to Mary Beard’s Women & Power which I read in July, I’ve been getting more into nonfiction recently. Abdulali’s account of her gang rape in India went viral in 2013. Now, she’s channelled many of the ideas she mentioned in her op-ed into her memoir/essay/research/manifesto about rape, which will be released later this month. As a young woman, I find Abdulali’s story is both unflinchingly terrifying and galvanizing.

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August Wrap Up

What I’m Up To

August was a month of relaxation for me. I’m only home for a few months every year, so I loved spending time with my family- especially by the pool. But, I’m so excited to start school next week.

Last school year, I really struggled with keeping up with my blogging schedule, so this year I’m making a change. I’ve scheduled posts to post automatically through November. In November, during Thanksgiving break, I’ll schedule posts up until winter break. I’m optimistic that this system will work fantastically, but if there’s any problems, feel free to reach out on my contact page.

pcWhat’s On My Bedside Table

Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss. Moss, a features writer at Bustle chronicles the history of 80’s and 90’s Young Adult cult classics, from Sweet Valley High to Goosebumps. Think: Everything after Forever but before Harry Potter. I’m only 100 pages in, but it’s so interesting to learn about an era of YA that I know almost nothing about. Check out my review soon and check out Paperback Crush when it hits shelves October 30.

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Curating the Perfect Bookshelf

w&pFeeling at home is important wherever you are. A sanctuary to  ground you in difficult times or somewhere you can relax, away from the world around you, is vital. But, especially for students, finding that small sanctuary in an environment like a dorm can be difficult.

I find my sanctuary in books. I grew up in libraries and bookstores and my room at home has always had an overflowing bookshelf. Obviously, I can’t bring this bookshelf to school every year. But, I can bring a few books to remind me of home. The books I chose are more mementos than stories. They carry memories of the people they were gifted from or ideas that changed my life.

No matter what you chose to bring to create your home, there are a few categories that your mementos can fit in to. When using these categories, I find it easier to choose what comes with me and what stays behind. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration for your own packing list.

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3 Books for Pablo Neruda’s 3 Houses

This summer I am studying abroad in Chile, improving my Spanish and studying poetry in Pablo Neruda’s hometown. In fact, my host family in Chile live a mere ten minutes from Neruda’s house in Valparaíso. Additionally, I visited Neruda’s two other homes in Chile. Each house was beautiful and inspirational in its own way, and I came home to the states with lots more books, both in English in Spanish. Here’s a little about each house, with a book recommendation to go along.

La Sebastiana (Valparaíso, Chile)

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tgLa Sebastiana, named after its original owner Sebastian Collao, was Neruda’s recluse from the bustle of Santiago. A towering five stories, the home is eclectically decorated with everything from pink striped wallpaper to an enormous portrait of Walt Whitman. It’s all held together by a winding staircase. The house is in town, but is shrouded by greenery so it seems to stand on its own, which is why I chose The Graces by Laure Eve for this house. Chock full of mystery and magical realism, The Graces chronicles teenage River’s obsession with the mysterious Grace family and their home.

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Summer’s Best Book to Movie Adaptations

The hottest days of summer are here- which means there’s nothing better than an air conditioned movie theater. Luckily, there are plenty of great book to movie adaptations coming out in the next month. Here are just some of my favorites!

tdmAugust 3: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Protagonist of The Darkest Minds, Ruby, is played by Amandla Stenberg, a Young Adult book to movie adaptation veteran (check her out in The Hunger Games and Everything, Everything). Ruby lives in a world where teenagers have begun developing special powers- and she’s one of them. After escaping the government camp she was held in, with the help of some friends Ruby discovers a safe haven run by teens like her. In this action-packed dystopian thriller, nothing is as it seems and everyone has something to be afraid of.

August 15: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Kwan’s wealth-saturated debut boasts a nearly all Asian cast and $30 million dollar budget. Set in Singapore, the story follows Rachel as she’s introduced to her boyfriend Nick’s family. However, Nick’s family happens to be one of the richest families in Asia- and they’re not exactly welcoming of an outsider. A win for diverse representation and romance novel lovers alike, Crazy Rich Asians is sure to be a hit.

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News Years Resolutions + What I’m Excited for in 2018

Year In Review

I can’t believe 2017 is over! It feels like just yesterday I was making new years resolutions for last year. It’s been a tough year, but I’ve grown from it and there’s been many moments I know I will cherish. For instance, the transition to boarding school was a welcome challenge and I cannot wait for the next four years. However, it can be easy to overlook big (and small) moments of joy when we are faced with the current news cycle. This year, I learned it is important now more than ever to use my voice to contact my representatives, stand up for what I believe in, and to fight for my rights.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” – Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

 

bestofBest Young Adult Books of 2017

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. It is hard to imagine any “best books” list without Benway’s National Book Award winning Far From the Tree. This story of three siblings begins with middle child Maya grappling with giving her baby up for adoption just as she was given up for adoption sixteen years ago.

Warcross by Marie Lu. Lu’s sci-fi thriller was an unexpected favorite. I am not usually drawn to either genre, but something about heroine Emika Chen was immediately compelling.

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Books for People Who Hate Reading

It’s that time again. The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time to pick out gifts. I find picking out the perfect present a stressful hassle, but I know that everyone, even those who absolutely despise reading, can take pleasure in the gift of a good book. Without further ado, here is the third annual holiday gift guide:

For the person who “doesn’t like reading”: 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi feels simultaneously like a sweeping multi generational family story and a collection of vignettes of each family member. This lends to easy, yet thoughtful readability.

For that one cousin you see at every reunion but have never actually talked to:

National Book Award winner Far from the Tree by Robin Benway is perfect for everyone. Far from the Tree follows three birth siblings torn apart by adoption, but reunited through interesting circumstances.

For the person who just wants to see the movie:

We all love Amandla Stenberg, and her newest movie, slated for release in 2018, is based off Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. The Hate U Give follows Starr, a black teenager who witnesses her unarmed friend get shot by a police officer.

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