Reading Diaries – v. II

As promised, an update on my reading list this week. Happy New Year!

Kim bookcoverKim. I don’t know how to describe Kipling’s novel, except that I wish I could relive the experience of reading it all over again. Initially, I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the storyline – I’d read Laurie R. King’s The Game, which sets Mary Russell and Holmes in the backdrop of Kim’s colonial India. But reading Kim itself was re-immersing myself in that world. Kipling’s sensory descriptions of places and people are phenomenal, and the narrative balanced the fast-paced action of the Great Game with the spiritual reflections of Kim’s lama. Although I draw issue with the blatant sexism(s) within the novel, I didn’t find it as overtly pro-Imperialism as I thought I might (Conan Doyle, I think, may be more of an Imperialist than Kipling is in Kim).

15808242My light read for today was Magnus Flyte’s City of Dark Magic. I think this one falls under the new(er) genre of New Adult, which is (from my understanding) a mix of YA-like narrative with the uncensured Adult genre. So, essentially, this novel is Prague + magic + art/music history + sex. It’s quite engaging, and a good read. I love the amount of research that went into this novel (it’s all about Beethoven), and spinning a fantasy tale from said research is certainly intriguing. That being said, as much as I’d enjoy Sarah (the protagonist and narrator) in real life, I found her narrative voice slightly annoying and somewhat predictable. (Note that this is one of my major complaints about the YA genre in general… yes, my YA-loving friends, don’t act so shocked.) Still a fun read, and it was a good way to transition from Kim to my next classic novel.

Reading Diaries – v. I

It’s finally post-Christmas – post-crazy, if you will. These are the two weeks of break that I am most looking forward to. Catching up with friends, reading, and brainstorming for the next semester. Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I’m celebrating for the first time by going to a few parties with the Boy.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be using this blog as a space to reflect on the copious amounts of reading that I’m doing – I love writing about what I’ve read; I think it’s an incredibly healthy reading habit, and one that I hope to partake in for reflection purposes.

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Yesterday’s books were A Holiday for Murder by Agatha Christie and The Shelf by Phyllis Rose. The former, I’d already seen via the BBC Poirot adaptation, so no surprises there, sadly. But it was still a good read. After not reading (for pleasure) for a long time, it was absolutely delightful to start up again with something easy and enjoyable. If I’d started with Rose’s work, then I might have been less inspired to continue.

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Not that I didn’t like Rose’s book. Actually, I think it’s one of the better scholarly-lite works that I’ve read in quite a while. If you’re not familiar with her, Phyllis Rose is a feminist literary critic and essayist. She’s done a bit of work on Virginia Woolf, which is how I first became acquainted with her (although I’m not a particular fan of her approach to Woolf, I must note). However, I was entranced by the premise behind The Shelf, where Rose picks, at random, a shelf of library books that she has not read, and reads (+ writes) her way through them. LEQ to LES. Each chapter in the book is a mini-essay – some more scholarly than others (her chapters on “Women and Fiction: A Question of Privilege” and “Domesticities: Margaret Leroy and Lisa Lerner” are both phenomenal discussions on women and writing), while others are more anecdotal or take the shape of personal reading diaries.

This book is scholarly, but readable. It’s Rose both approachable and transparent, and through those qualities, I think I’ve come to love her scholarly approach – far more so than when I attempted to read her more formal work(s). The New Yorker concludes that “Rose’s stunt is useless – and wonderfully so” because it reminds us that reading doesn’t have to have an agenda or a due date behind it (source article). Besides the fact that this is directly relevant to my current reading experience (thank you, university), I’m just thoroughly entranced by this book. If this sounds at all interesting to you, please do read it. I think you’ll be surprised by it, in the best possible way.

Happy reading, and happy New Year, mes amis!

20 Before 20 (Post-20 Reflection)

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Happy Christmas, friends! Since I’m in college, I never really get into the holidays until Finals are over. Luckily, they are over for me, which I’m ecstatic about. I’m working on a few projects over break, but luckily, my courses themselves are over (and I even maintained a decent GPA during my busiest semester yet, so hurrah!).

Today, I wanted to take a look at that 20 before 20 list that I’d created earlier this year. I’ve been 20 for over a month now, but it’s fun to reflect on what I’ve done this past year. Not to be mysterious and all that, but 20, so far, has been full of new adventures, and I’m extremely excited for the year ahead.

Let’s take a look at this list:

1. Head to Politics & Prose in DC. I am really lame. Still haven’t gone, and I want to!
2. Explore a city I’ve never been to. NYC in May.
3. Find an internship. Finished an 8 month internship at Washington Performing Arts in DC last month!
4. Touch up on/learn another language. I’ve taken two semesters in French this year. I’m still not fluent, but I love the language!
5. Break my nonfiction trend and experiment with creative fiction. I took creative writing in the spring, and did a creative nonfiction tutorial this fall!
6. Go to _____________. To be honest, I put this space here for going overseas, which didn’t happen. But I went so many other places and did so many different things that I’m not too upset about not specifically completing this one!
7. Publish something. Oui! In my school’s nonfiction journal.
8. Post more often on this blog. hahhhhaaaaa. I… tried?
9. Read & watch a performance of a Shakespeare play I haven’t read. I saw my first performances of The Winter’s Tale (have read) and As You Like It (haven’t read) this year, which was really exciting!
10. Do something incredibly spontaneous. Done. 
11. Meet another online friend in person. Done! Amelia came to visit me this summer!
12. Explore a few local hiking spots in DC. Didn’t get the chance to do this, alas. I like to imagine that I’ll have time to hike and exercise, but that’s really just a pipe dream.
13. Shoot a fashion portrait sessionNot specifically fashion, but I have a few portrait sessions that I’m really proud of!
14. Roadtrip somewhere with friendsDone, a few times, actually. NYC (if you count a train as road-tripping), and a few VA trips this fall. 
15. Do something brave. Maybe? I think I’ll dedicate a post or two to this.
16. Go internet-free for a weekend (or two). On at least one of said roadtrips. 
17. Visit the rest of the Smithsonian museums. Definitely not, because when I go to museums I always to the NGA, regardless of what I tell myself I should do. I love that place.
18. Write more letters. I wrote… papers with… letters? 
19. Binge-watch Sherlock or Elementary for a weekend. Obsessively. I’ve done that, for sure. At least once. Maybe more. 
20. Take an unnecessary class for fun. Atlantic World Slavery in the spring, which was fantastic! My French classes are also technically unnecessary, but they’re important for graduate school, etc, so I don’t label them as such. 

I’m still debating on whether I should do a 21 before 21 list – more to come on that later! In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over here, enjoying snuggling with puppies, reading, and relaxing from the semester.

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