Okay, so I always have a super-long list of books to read next, and if I don’t there’s a problem. I have an entire bookshelf devoted to it; it’s the main point of my Amazon wish list; and I constantly get recommendations from my dad and friends. So, I decided to post the ten books I’m most excited to read right now. One of them I just started, but I’ll count it. This’ll be fun!
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare- I have to read this, or some version of it, for school. And then, once my group has thoroughly discussed summaries and different symbolisms, we have to pick an act or scene and perform it (a cut Shakespearean one) for our English final. I am extremely happy! It’s my first taste of Shakespeare, and 40 pages into it I love the lyrical, sonnet nature of it.
- ‘Tis by Frank McCourt- I really truly love Angela’s Ashes, his first memoir, as I detailed in the post My Print Addictions (which you should read, if you haven’t yet…). I got my copy of ‘Tis at the same place I got my copy of Angela’s Ashes, spread several months apart. I didn’t know the book existed, but Angela’s Ashes gave a very indefinite, curious ending. I love McCourt’s writing, and I am psyched for ‘Tis!
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens- Okay, I admit: I really am no literary scholar. I have not read Dickens yet. You probably know that I’m not a literary scholar, as I am a girl randomly writing a book blog, but still… I love literature, and am planning to make this summer a Dickens summer. I got twenty pages into Oliver Twist in the library at lunch one day, and had to stop myself. Dickens, here I come!
- Give and Take by Adam Grant- Now I may seem insane. I have no idea who may have heard of or read this book, but it seems incredible. I read this awesome article about Adam Grant in the NY Times Magazine one Sunday night, and I wanted to be a sociologist right then and there. No joke. His work in finding out how we as humans interact is groundbreaking, and my anticipation is huge.
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child- How, for a food-obsessed person, have I not read this? Seriously?! After reading Julie & Julia (by Julie Powell; awesome beach read), I am very intrigued by this total cookbook classic. But copies of single volumes (not even boxed sets) cost like $85 each, so they have yet to reach my bookshelf. Next year’s birthday request? When’s the next holiday again? Memorial Day? Can I ask for it then? Just kidding! 🙂
- The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards- This is just one of those books that has sat on my shelf for the longest time. I bought it months, even maybe a year ago, and haven’t read it yet (which is a very, VERY long time for me). I could not resist since I love The Memory Keeper’s Daughter so much, and it might be my favorite book ever (and that’s really saying something, considering my innumerable biases). I want to see if any other character can top Caroline Gill. It’s also one of my writing goals in life to make a character as awe-inspiring as Caroline Gill, so that shows just how much I love it…
- Penguin Critical Studies: The Great Gatsby by Kathleen Parkinson- I am one of those people who adore books and have highly critical standpoints on the movie(s), and I will later post my review of Baz Luhrman’s version. However, in the mean time, my dad gave me this copy of some critical studies of Fitzgerald’s third novel. I used a very small chunk for my Gatsby social studies paper, but am interested to find out what more it has in store.
- Ariel: Poems by Slyvia Plath by Slyvia Plath- Excitement is not the word. Anticipation is not the word. How do I describe what I’m feeling for this? I can’t. That could be a problem. Well, the only other problem is that the same thing happened right after I read The Bell Jar last summer and now I can’t put words on how eye-opening Sylvia Plath’s work is. Oh well. I will find something sufficient when the time comes that I’m actually reviewing it for AB&AB.
- Rereading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- I was obsessed, really obsessed in the fifth grade, right after I read all seven in about six weeks. I was Hermione for Halloween that year! I haven’t reread since then, but this summer will serve as the perfect time to re-dig myself into the magical adventures of Harry and Ron and Hermione. (P.S. The fifth was always my favorite book, and my least favorite movie)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky- Being a self-termed wallflower, I can’t avoid this book. I saw the movie, and it was pretty good. Now I need to finish this high school-centric book on my way there to have a debate with my cousin, who’s just leaving it. Exciting, nonetheless.
Truth is that I would probably have all of these books finished if my English teacher didn’t attempt to enforce a read-one-book-at-a-time rule. But that’s another story. I’ll keep reading Romeo and Juliet for now, and try attacking these jewels during finals.
I was trying to find the best way to upload pictures, so here’s a first! Some of my favorite books!
Top row, from left:
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Bottom row, from left:
A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY by Barbara Abercrombie
THE FLAVOR THESAURUS by Niki Segnit
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd
ANGELA’S ASHES by Frank McCourt
EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert
This week has been erratic, and I hadn’t set aside the time to blog my quotes of the week. I mean, I wrote in my own way, with program notes and a speech for the band concert on Wednesday, and used a quote there, but I hadn’t updated A Book & A Button with my quotes of the week yet! So, here we go: my five quotes of the week.
1. “A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.” (I used this as an opening to my speech, and it expresses my gratitude for compliments on the program notes I wrote too)
2. “There is a great difference between knowing and understanding; you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.” Charles F. Kettering
3. “When you reach the end of what you know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.” Kahlil Gibran
4. “You resemble the advertisement of the man.” Daisy, The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
5. “We are here to add what we can to life, not get what we can from life.” William Osler
I never really knew how to respond as a little kid to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I mean, I probably could’ve given some smart-aleck answer about wanting to be an adult when I grew up, or be happy or a nice person. But instead, I gave some prototypical response on the top of my list of dream jobs. I’ve had plenty of things happen to me since I was five years old, and now the question mainly is, “Where do you want to go to college?” Frankly, I don’t know for sure where I want to go to college; I want to go to a good school that I’m accepted to. People especially like this question when you are considered smart and get straight A’s, as though they want to measure up their dreams to yours.
However, that is not the matter of the minute. I want to address that question from when I was younger, and that you as the reader probably received too- “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Here are my top job picks, as they stand right now.
-A quantum physicist. My friend and I promised each other that at least one of us would be quantum physicist. I don’t know if they offer it at MIT, where I think she wants to go for college, but it has the coolest title ever. Seriously. “Quantum” means how much. Physics is science. We both ace science. And there’s a lot of math in physics, I think, which I’m pretty good at. Quantum physics is a perfect match. Let’s be quantum physicists!
-A magazine editor-in-chief, preferably for Bon Appetit. I love Bon Appetit, and Adam Rapoport should take this as a compliment. I adore BA, and with my editing and writing skills, it would be a pretty good fit. Killer baker-writer combo. And leader to boot! I’m already working as editor of the school newspaper. I would love to gracefully take the place of Adam Rapoport some day.
-A flavorist. Okay, I just finished Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, and I have it on the brain. It was a really cool book, but if you particularly enjoy fast food, especially McDonald’s, I don’t recommend reading it. And a lot of the parts about the meat industry made me want to go vegetarian and never eat school cafeteria food again. It’s pretty gruesome and disgusting at points, just the mentality of it even, so be prepared if you will read it… Anyways, continuing back with my dream jobs… There was this really cool section in Fast Food Nation, one of my favorites, where Schlosser describes the jobs of flavorists, who create the flavors labeled “natural” and “artificial” on many food packages. It was an amazing thing, really, to imagine people putting together chemicals to form scents that are so realistic. It’s a chemistry job, dealing with tiny and precise amounts, but as I love food and science, as shown by my above two choices, it could be truly amazing.
-A small business owner. It would be so incredible to get my own bakery one day. For now, I operate my miniscule Nicole’s Sweets out of my family’s kitchen, but the prospects of having one day a fully functional professional kitchen are indescribable. To have my own space for playing around with sugar and sweets, flour, eggs and baking soda. Turning it into things that people buy and that make people smile. It sounds so so so so wonderful. I’ve been forewarned about the powers, good and bad, about being your own boss, and the strenuous hours involved with running a business. But that doesn’t discourage me from one day maybe opening a cafe/bakery/bookstore and making it all that it can be.
-An author. Okay, so I love writing. I want to run a magazine. You kinda had to expect this one to be coming.
-A teacher of sorts, most likely in history or writing. I am a very story-oriented person, as you can tell by the fact that I started this blog, and that I write mainly about books on it. There is something immensely powerful in the way that words weave together, the way that events and happenings intertwine. How one thing leads to another, both on paper and in real life. I love being able to help other people, especially if it involves knowledge, and giving my skills to them in a slightly distorted way. Translating what I know into what they can understand. It might sound confusing here, but the act of explaining something to someone else gives me joy. Friends have said lately that I should be a professor, and it is surely fathomable. I think I would make a pretty good professor, but who knows? I may just have to go find out 🙂
-A pastry chef. I don’t really know if I would want to pursue food as a full-time thing. I love it yes, the act of transforming simple things, and it makes me quite happy. But there is so much more out there, so much that utilizes the more keenly academic parts of my brain. I think I’m more of the home cook sort, making things for pleasure on the side, especially desserts. It peeves me when people bring very simple things for dessert to our house, because I always think, “Hey! I could’ve made that, and I could’ve made it better!”
I’m not looking for fame or fortune in my life, and the jobs above certainly show that. The most famous is probably the BA editor, because Adam Rapoport has like 22 thousand followers on Twitter. But I don’t care about that. I want to find a job that keeps me happy with a roof over my head and a stomach content with good food. Somewhere along the line I may choose to change what I do. I’m leaving options open.
This week, for whatever reason, feels like a good week to post the best of my genius/ingenuity-related quotes. Like many ambitious people out there, I frequently put myself down with the notion that it is for self-improvement. However, genius exists the little things, the hard work of everyday life. For those talented people who created the computer I type on and the blog that I post to. For every person out there who works hard, gets good results, and is proud of it like they should be.
Genius is not just being naturally exceptionally. Genius is being who you are, and knowing that the world will adapt to that. Many things and many people are geniuses in their own ways. Sometimes you just need to discover it, and these are my five quotes to help you realize how ordinarily human and perfect the concept of being a genius is.
1. “Innovation is its own ingenuity.”
2. “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” Minnie, The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
3. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” Socrates
4. “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
5. “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.” Thomas Alva Edison (my favorite of the ones listed here)
My sister, for reasons unbeknownst to me, likes watching the TLC shows My Strange Addiction and My Crazy Obsession. I personally think that the shows are too weird and pointless to warrant an audience. However, these shows are slightly beneficial to Earth. Mainly, they served as inspiration for this post, titled “My Print Addictions.”
You see, like many avid print-lovers and reading-obsessed people in the world, I have a group of standby print sources. These are my favorites. These are everlasting. These are awesome, in each sense of the word. They’re novels and magazines, a newspaper and some cookbooks. They’re eclectic just like me. Lovely and perfectly unique, filled with quaint charm. They are the things I will go back to, time and time again, when I need something with words to fill space.
And so you have it; My Print Addictions:
1. Bon Appetit Magazine (I am obsessed)
2. The Catcher in the Rye (Holden Caulfield is just obnoxious enough for me to smile)
3. The New York Times on my iPhone (handy when stuck bored somewhere; I love Mark Bittman’s food section articles)
4. The Joy of Cooking (it seriously has almost everything out there)
5. Eat, Pray, Love (A little bit too well-written to be chick lit)
6. Roget’s A-Z Thesaurus (My tenth birthday present, and the best besides dinner at Le Bernardin)
7. Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey (Sweets of all shapes and sizes for the baker in me)
8. Julie & Julia (One of the funniest things I’ve found published)
9. Cook’s Illustrated/ Cook’s Country Magazine (The oxymoronic simple and complex)
10. The Great Gatsby (I adore this book, no joke)
11. Angela’s Ashes (Amazing, amazing, amazing memoir)
12. A Year of Writing Dangerously (A fun find filled with 365 days of writing advice)
13. This Lullaby (The best chick lit/realistic fiction book in terms of writing)
14. The Bell Jar (Incredibly awe-inspiring)
15. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (I can’t describe how close to perfect this book is)