One Curious Incident

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A looooong while. I could say I’ve been busy on spring break (traveling abroad, browsing cookbooks, knitting, reading tons, etc.), and you could believe me if you so choose. You don’t have to, though. I read enough in the meantime that I have a lot to write about.

 

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Let’s get better together.

Well, for those who may not understand the title (AKA most of the world), I just finished Atul Gawande’s book Better. And if I wasn’t already considering medicine as a possible profession, here he goes, both oddly convincing me and pushing me away from it simultaneously. Somehow. That’s just what happens with this book. Really great book in general. But I can’t tell if I’m encouraged or discouraged by it.

better(Yes, I was reading this sitting on my bed. And yes, I was too lazy to get up to get my camera and photograph someplace else. That’s this afternoon, in a nutshell.)

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Poignancy of the Poor: The Incredible Frank McCourt

I try to read a variety of kinds of books, though I am not always successful. I read fiction, and I’m just getting into really good fiction, considering most of what I come across is pretty fluffy. I read nonfiction, some “straight-up” and some creative nonfiction. I read autobiographies and memoirs, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or Mindy Kaling’s or Gail Simmons’ or any number of other books by people I admire and adore.

I had fallen in love with Angela’s Ashes when I read it last January for the first time. It both enticed me and repulsed me, which is completely possible in a book, no doubt. This January I reread it for what seemed like the first time in ages. My goal had been to read ‘Tis and take it off my “To Read” shelf, but in order to do so, rereading the first book was key. I was surprised by my quite neutral reaction to the first book and emotional reaction to the second, given that I had loved the first one so much before. Such is the genius of Frank McCourt.

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If Mindy Kaling Ran the World….

If Mindy Kaling ran the world, then…

  • there would be no cockroaches
  • teenage girls would carry her picture in their purses and use it for style advice
  • book covers would all be colorful and decorative
  • actresses would not all be sample sizes
  • the most beautiful dresses would be in sizes six to twelve
  • there would be a string of best-selling novels based off the revenge fantasies she has while jogging
  • the public would torture Rainn Wilson for her
  • and so on and so forth

In the seventh grade, my friends Div and Louise wanted to run the world. They said I could be their royal advisor. That is probably as close as I have come to world royalty. Yet why am I thinking of this? Particularly of Mindy Kaling running the world? Oh yeah, I just reread her autobiography Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

 

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Why I Read (and Write)

So I was flipping through my WordPress Reader in a homework break, and I came across this wonderful thing:

Why I write. 

And it instantly took me back to several things; namely, why I read. I had managed to sum it up into one sentence several weeks ago, or rather, how I view reading. Here it goes:

Books do not give knowledge but instead increased complexity in the way I view the world.

I can put it in a lot more words than that too. Here goes some more letters, consonants, vowels, on the subject:

I read because it’s one of the first things I took on as something I really loved, and it stuck. I loved it then, and I love it now.

I read because it makes me feel connected to other people out there; the writers, other readers, distant past forms of myself.

I read because it’s a form of creating myself (another story– finding myself in my marginalia).

And then, for whatever (seemingly odd, crazy, irrational) reason, I write about it.

I write because there seems to be some solidarity about it.

I write because it feels concrete, even when it’s totally not.

I write because I’m an egocentric, anthropocentric human being who feels that their every thought has to be addressed and recorded for posterity (I apologize for the blunt negativity of this one).

Together, reading and writing form a large part of who I define myself to be, and what I do both in and out of school (which does define me, in a sense).

If you’re a reader, a writer, a dreamer, why do you do what you do?

Nicole

I am not an animal person.

I’m not an animal person. At all. I suppose I could give most of the credit to my dad for this one, as he passed that gene on to me for sure. My friends all go, “What?! How can you not like animals?!” Then I just say, “I don’t. I’m not an animal person.”

Therefore, Cathy Woodman’s book titled City Girl, Country Vet was probably not the best book for me to buy. Yet guess what? I did it anyways. It was sitting on my shelf at home of “Books to Read” for a very long time, and then when I was home over break a couple weeks ago, I picked it up and it was over within two days.

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Chicago Doesn’t Grow Mangoes! (AKA Why I Love Sandra Cisneros)

So. Sandra Cisneros. She’s awesome. Yeah. And that title about tropical fruit agriculture in the American middle west? That’s just because I read The House on Mango Street (set in Chicago) and fell desperately in love with the writing of Sandra Cisneros.

 

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