Great Things I’ve Read: 2013

2013 was a big year- academically, in regard to development of thinking (especially over the past few months), and, of course, reading-wise. I did not nearly read enough this year (again, over the past few months), but I have read some really fantastic things this year. And so comes the end-of-year highlights.

Pete Wells reviews Guy Fieri’s Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.  By far the best restaurant review ever. Period. Also one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, and while this came out last November (picture me laughing and looking insane on the school bus), I have shared it with a countless number of people this year. I believe it is fantastic.  My family also has a thing against Guy Fieri, which is mostly with my dad, which makes it that much more hilarious. Enjoy.

LeBron James Is a Sack of Melons. I don’t do sports. I mean, I played volleyball for a couple years and took on soccer this fall, but I definitely am not a “sports person” and I am assuredly not a, let’s say, proficient viewer of professional sports. Uh, no. I have minimal knowledge of football, and the smallest inkling of basketball (primarily from my first grade days when I was playing with all boys– sound familiar to any fields of study I happen to love now?). Yet this article made me laugh. A lot. It too came out last year, but I’ve read and reread it countless times, heightened by the fact that it’s one of my dad’s favorite articles. If you’ve ever heard of LeBron James (who goes by the nickname LeBon (like a bon bon) from my sister in our house), read this. Please.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. I was looking through my notes from last school year to make sure that I technically read this book this year. It’s true. I did read it this year. It was in January, which seems both ages ago and no time at all. Frank McCourt writes more poignantly about childhood, poverty, innocence and loss of innocence than any other writer I’ve ever encountered. This is my go-to book whenever any of those things come up in discussion, and, as I tend to say, “it’s my go-to book for slum life.” As crude as it sounds, it’s true. And the whole book is true too, given that it’s a memoir. I said ages ago that I’d read ‘Tis (the sequel) and I haven’t yet, but will definitely get around to it soon.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. I don’t know how I managed to put several other things before this, as it is the best book I’ve ever read and I read it this past summer. Incredible. Just incredible. You have to read it if you haven’t. There’s no way to describe it that does it justice. Just amazing.

These articles (1, 2) on reading. My reading has developed in such a different way in the past couple of months; annotating has approached new standards and levels, which I hope to keep improving. Both of these articles were eye-opening in terms of approaching things in a new manner. More to come on how I read later.

Explaining Twerking to Your Parents. For all teenagers out there. All of them. All teenagers who have to deal with our potentially decaying (though quite up to debate, I admit) pop culture. Inexplicably fantastic.

War and Baked Beans. My dad sent me this article one afternoon. Food for thought, definitely, with no pun intended. Which brings me to…

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Wow. This is one of those books you read in just a couple hours and then need a week to think about. Intense, certainly, but poetic, as a teacher and I agreed on. For sure on my reread list.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I wrote about it here right after I first read it, but I gifted my sister a copy and found myself, as I was attempting to wrap it, halfway through rereading it. Similar to The Things They Carried in terms of the way in which you need to read it- three hours or less, and then nothing else for a week. Don’t do what I did and read The Lost Symbol right afterwards. Let’s just say it doesn’t work well that way.

Give and Take by Adam Grant. Sociology, which has been a fairly new topic to me this year, is brought into a totally new light in this book. After reading about him in this NY Times Magazine article a long time ago, I waited to buy the book because it was a hardcover I could only find on Amazon. With a gift card one day, I splurged on it, and never looked back. My copy is currently lent out, but you will want one for yourself. It’s going to change the way I approach everything (and has already) moving forwards.

Both of these articles on running (1, 2). I ran track this spring again, the 400 and 800 meters. But I just love running. I’ve never been “good” at running long-distance, but I am vowing to run more for me next year. Both of these were great to read as general ideas/opinions/advice, not just on running.

Philosophical thoughts here. I know the people who run this blog, and this is a favorite sample of their writing. Reminds me a bit of several quotes from Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed that we read in class (which is yet another book on my reading list). Philosophical questions are coming up in my annotations more, so I need to explore more writing and apply ideas across things.

Lastly, if that wasn’t enough reading material, this made me laugh back in June or July. Especially relevant given that this is an end-of-year list. You can be one of those people and comment on this post if you’d like, but no guarantees I won’t do the same on yours.

Happy reading! What’s the best you’ve read this year?

-Nicole

Top 10 Favorite Things Right Now

Good morning! 

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I admit and apologize for being negligent, as the end of the trimester found me extremely busy, and hadn’t much time to write (or read, for that matter). Solutions come over break! Today is pie-baking day, and I have some time to pump out posts when those beauties are in the oven. None in yet, but they will be soon. 

Anyways, as a “warm-up post” since I haven’t written in a while, I thought I’d do a Top 10. Favorite Things Right Now. I did one of these in what, June? I think it was June. You can find it here (or here was the one right after it). I like those posts a lot. Maybe it’s because they’re really fun to write, and I kept seeing them on some of my favorite blogs in my absence. And so I present my own. 

1. PIES! 

I am making six or more pies today. I think it will be seven because one recipe makes a double. For a sneak-peek of my choices, I’m making one of these (which have amazing pictures), one of these, and one of these for my neighbors. Excited for a day of baking ahead. 

2. The Best American Nonrequired Reading

My (I don’t know how to describe the subject) teacher sent me something related to Ray Bradbury, and the quote was from the 2012 version of this. I really want to look it over, as it seems very interesting from the first glance. 

3. Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street

I just started this the other day. It is the first book for me ever that I am fully committing to writing in the actual margins. Post-its are typically my thinking vehicle (fueled by my English teacher last year), so it is really weird for me to pick up a pencil and start writing in the book. I like it, though, and the book itself is awesome and quirky and I will post a review when I finish (which hopefully will be pretty soon). 

4. These cookies.

I am hoping an opportunity will pop up in the near future for me to make these (though I am making Christina Tosi’s cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies on Sunday– which brings me to #5….). 

5. Christina Tosi!

A newly-discovered role model of mine. She kicks some pastry butt. Tough as nails, endlessly innovative, and a driving force (if not THE driving force) behind super-cool Momofuku Milk Bar. I got the cookbook (thank you, Dad!) as a present while up at school; I cannot wait to start experimenting!

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6. Holiday planning. 

I am already looking at cookies and wrapping paper. Is that a bad thing? I hope not. I have too many cookie recipes and ideas for that. I like being very much in control far in advance, so planning holiday cookies before Thanksgiving is over? Maybe not normal, but it will keep me a little more sane. 

7. Fujifilm X10

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My friend has this camera and I’ve fallen in love with it. Definitely on the “potential presents for myself” list (along with the smaller things that are this and this and this). 

8. The Literary Gift Company

One of my favorite online gift sellers. Their stuff has book charm without being too kitschy sometimes, and it is very fun to browse. 

9. Book Arts

This is an awesome activity I’m taking where you make new books/notebooks! Sometimes out of other books (the library has this fantastic free book bin- need to scour on a daily basis). Sometimes from scratch. I will definitely post pictures later. It is a wonderful way to relax, make new notebooks, look at really cool things other people make…. And I have a great instructor, which helps. 

10. The Vanilla Bean Blog

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I have fallen in love with this blog big time. I had seen the name before but not explored until recently- and I was so happy I did! The recipes are original and beautiful, and the pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to check it out if you have time. 

That’s all for now, folks. I’m off to bake some pies!

-Nicole

Top 10 Favorite Comfort Foods

Hi all!

I am writing this on my “new adventure,” which is very exciting so far. Some of you who are friends and family know what that adventure is, and for those who don’t, it’s simply “my new adventure” as a reader and writer and blogger and learner.

Anyways, everything has been going well. First week of classes! As an obsessive academic, I don’t think there could be anything better, other than the homework and assignments attached to it. I have started reading Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, and will post the review for Z shortly.

Now, however, I have something else to talk about- comfort food. We all have those foods that just make our mouthes water when we feel homesick, or the things we want to eat when we’re busy or needing a flashback to the good ol’ times when you’d sit around consuming these things and doing various activities in the memories attached.

Here are my top 10:

1. Chicken noodle soup. I don’t think it can possibly get homier than this. I had this on the last night before I started the new adventure. My dad makes the best chicken noodle soup, and I think it may be my favorite food ever.

2. Swedish Fish. My one and only candy thing. These are my “before I have a nervous break down” food, and they were also a volleyball food, associated with the many tournaments we went to as a team. I was snacking on a couple right before I started this post 🙂

3. Chocowalla Odwalla cereal bars and Peppermint Stick Luna bars. Again, game food for volleyball, both tournaments and team games. These are power foods. Again, amazing, and some of the only bars I would take with me everywhere because they taste really good as well as give you lots of energy.

4. Shepard’s pie. This is the ultimate winter food. Just about ever. I have been slowly weaning myself onto vegetarianism, and I would break for this food (and chicken soup, of course). We have a deal at home that Mom cooks on Sunday football nights, and this is a staple. Ground beef or lamb on the bottom, with little peas and carrots mixed in. Fluffy mashed potatoes with butter and sometimes melted cheese (parmesan only) on top. Totally ah-mazing.

5. Kale. Again, power food, except in vegetable form. It is awesome in awesome’s basic form: awe-inspiring. I love kale, especially cooked. I love cooked kale so much. That or spinach cooked goes with everything and I could eat it for dinner every night for almost forever. I know some people find it intimidating, but I hope you can muster up the nerve to just try it cooked first. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

6. Cinnamon toast, particularly on an English muffin or a mini bagel. Do you know those supermarket bagels? The mini ones that come in plastic bags that aren’t really bagels? That’s what I’m talking about. My dad is not a bagel person, so these are of rare occurrence. The same goes with English muffins recently, though their disappearance is yet to be explained… Less carbs in the house? We need to use up the old cereal for breakfast instead? No matter, cinnamon toast, just butter with a cinnamon-sugar mix on top, is a top chilly winter morning breakfast. And while it’s not quite winter yet, it gets pretty chilly in the mornings, and I’ve been thinking of this.

7. York Peppermint Patties. Okay, so I kinda lied when I said that Swedish Fish were my only sweet thing… I love these too, though I don’t keep a stash in a desk drawer like I do Swedish Fish for fear of them melting. One of the best hot weather snacks (to contrast that cinnamon toast is good in cold weather)? These. Frozen. Or even just kept in the fridge for several hours or a couple days. Soooooo good.

8. Mango-fish curry. Over the past few months, this has become my favorite takeout food. They have it at this Thai place relatively near to my house, and gosh, it is so good. The curry, the sweet mango, the little strips of red pepper and onion tossed in, the crispy fried fish on top… Insanely delectable. I should try to make my own soon.

9. Smokehouse almonds. These are a great plane snack, in case you ever want them. Along with honey-roasted peanuts for car rides, which are a different story. But these make me reminisce about Sunday afternoons, sitting and reading or doing my homework. Fantabulous munchie. Love these for the whole salty-crunchy thing which is hard to get the right balance of.

10. Chocolate chip cookies. I had to end on this. These are just so homey and warm and welcoming that they had to be saved for last. Chilly afternoon days? Pop these in the oven and soon you’ll be warm, smelling something good, and feeling all cozy again. A recipe I want to try is this off Butter Baking (because even I with my foolproof one need to experiment sometimes).

I hope all of these remind you of home somehow, and that you can find ways to have or share with me your favorites (like my dad’s was navy beans with ham and ketchup when he was a kid).  I would love to hear everything, and I promise that lots will come your way once I get into a routine in my “new adventure.”

-Nicole

Another Top 10- Favorite Things at the Start of Summer

Happy Saturday! I’m here posting my top 10 favorite things from this week and this moment. I know I did this once already, and I’m trying not to be redundant in posting, but I like having an outlet to express things that I love.

Here they are:

1. My brand-new (got it yesterday!) MacBook Pro

I am doing my first post from it right now! I cannot say how head-over-heels in love I am with this thing! I had wanted for years to get a MacBook Air, but after a discussion with an Apple Genius yesterday in the Apple store and a slightly spur-of-the-moment decision on my dad’s part, I got the Pro. I could not be happier, really. I’m paying for half, and for the money, it’s a much better value. Lots of storage, super fast, well-organized like most Macs. Plus, it’s the first new computer that I can call my own and is now the newest piece of technology in our household. Sweet! Such an upgrade from the almost ten-year-old Mac desktop I have. Yay! I’m so excited. 

2. Summer goals

Summer always seems like a total get-things-done sort of time, but it also has time within to relax and have fun on a more casual basis. Being the person I am, making lists all the time, I have a yellow notepad with probably five pages worth of goals for this summer. And I am ready to get them underway! My Geometry classes (to be able to go straight to Algebra II/Trig next year instead of taking Geometry) start Monday. Monday or today might mark the first of the Mile a Day challenge. I’m not sure if I have the initiative yet to start it today… We’ll see :). I have plenty of pre-boarding school packing, new websites and programs to try, getting acquainted with my new computer, and photography adventures planned. Summer 2013 should be great! Oh yeah, and a reading list that spans another seven pages too… 🙂

3. Beaches at sunsetImage

Since I’m most likely missing our family beach week for Geometry, I have been craving more pictures of beaches to mentally take me there and have me miss Rehoboth at least a little bit less. This picture above was taken at our grade-wide beach party to celebrate the end of the school year. I just adore the colors!

4. Amazon wish lists

This is one of my favorite ways to keep track of books I want to read in the future (besides the Notes function on my phone, paper lists, and my Books on Deck shelf- to be a post of its own soon). I love my Amazon wish list because I can see very clearly books that I want to read or ones that peaked my interest in one way or another. Of course, my family has inside jokes about my sister’s wish list, with 1300 items of all categories, or something absurd like that (mine rests around 130, with about 120 books, for some perspective). My favorite strategy is to use the function on the right-hand side once you’ve added an item and change the priority of it accordingly. That way you can use the sorting features on the top to change categories from All to Books, and then the Sort by from Date Added to Priority (high to low). It’s a super-simple trick to see books that you’ve heard about and want to read, in a good order for reading them. 

5. Photography (and maybe a good new camera?)

I love taking pictures to capture everyday life, lifestyle photography, but I love the hobby of it as a whole. Lately I’ve been one of those people who just use their phone camera for everything (my iPhone, in this case). My dad has a very professional camera that he uses sometimes (being an artist for a living), and I have a little portable Leica that I use sometimes. But now I really really want to start exploring and having a camera to truly call my own, even when I have to pay for it myself. The one I have my eye on is the Nikon D3100. Beware, AB&AB: lots of summer pictures will be coming your way!

6. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Again, another thing I am adoring right now. Audrey Hepburn is fantastic. I saw this picture book on her in an Anthropologie store, and added it to my Amazon wish list almost immediately. She is so gorgeous and unique and funny in her own little ways. I now join the ranks among millions of other Audrey fans. Can’t wait to see other things of hers, though I don’t know if anything can beat the cat named Cat and Paul “Fred” Varjack. Amazing movie. 

7. Organizing

You know that rewarding feeling when everything magically falls into place, neat as can be? I’ve been trying, without the use of magic, to make it that way, as I know an organized summer will be a much more peaceful summer. Yesterday was cleaning out all of my school binders, and I have to sort the papers in chronological order but it still felt really good. Our recycling bin was way to the brims after that! I plan on tackling my desk, all the random paper piles I have, and maybe my chiffonier by this weekend. So exciting! I love organizing just for how rewarding it feels.

8. Charles Dickens

I have waited for months to enact my plan that summer 2013 be a Dickens summer. And I can’t wait! Sure, I have my second reread of The Perks of Being a Wallflower to finish first, and a library run to grab a copy of Oliver Twist, but I am more than prepared for these classics to come my way! 

9. Babysitting

I plan on babysitting today! For the first time in a very, very long time and possibly ever. Which seems kind of crazy, since I was Red Cross certified at age 11, but not many people want an 11-year-old babysitting their kids. Oh well. But it will be the first of my summer jobs, and most any summer money is good summer money!

10. Adapting recipes

A couple nights ago I was thinking of adapting a cookie recipe to encompass some of my new favorite flavors- dates, toasted pecans, and toffee. I had originally tasted this combination in this cookbook, which is for filled pancakes called ebelskivers. I made the recipe for Sticky Toffee Ebelskivers and had some mishaps, but the flavor combination stuck with me (as did the toffee sauce recipe, which I now just cook for seven or eight minutes longer then refrigerate, and I get perfect toffee). I’m thinking of combining those key flavors with my base recipe for chocolate chip cookies, omitting the chocolate chips. And I have another sponge cake and raspberry syrup dessert to make for tomorrow. Adapting and combining things is so fun for me, and even when it doesn’t work out, you learn some great lessons along the way!

I hope summer is off to a great start. And, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, that winter is going just as well. I’m off to enjoy the nice weather today. Will write later!

-Nicole

My Top 10 Favorite Things Right Now

There are several things I just absolutely adore right now, and I want to share them. Ten totally amazing things that have blown me away and I hope will blow you away too. 

1. Julia Rothman’s Typewriter iPad Sleeve.

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This is the cutest iPad sleeve I think I’ve seen in my life. It so makes me want to get a typewriter, which I’ve wanted for so long but am now looking to find one more than ever. Even though I don’t have an iPad to myself, it is adorable and sitting on my desk. It is super-cute, and the illustrations on it of the typewriters themselves are detailed and beautiful. I loved it so much that I bought the matching notebook within two days. Good job, Julia Rothman, and good job Chronicle Books for making and selling it!

 

2. All of my teachers. For every single one of my teachers out there, this year, last year, wherever and whenever you taught me, thank you. As our school year winds to a close, I hope all of my teachers realize just how much I appreciate them and all they do for me. Today, within about ten minutes of each other, I received two hugs from teachers. One said, “teachers aren’t supposed to do this” and made my English teacher turn around, but the other was just as grateful and happy as that other one may seem (or not seem, since it sounds slightly ominous, but it makes sense knowing the teacher and knowing me). I love school, and I put all effort forth for it. My teachers see that, and they appreciate it, and what I can do for them as well as what they can do for me. It’s settling inside to know that even if I’m not smart or pretty or a good writer, or if I’m stupid or dumb, that at least a couple people out there can see that I try, and they can see the kindness in me. Now, they are reflecting that kindness onto me, and I appreciate it wholeheartedly. 

 

3. Algebra. I know, math geek. But we have our Regents tomorrow for it, and for whatever reason, I’m not nervous. Sure, I’m one of those “crazy” people that love tests and think they’re fun. But Algebra is awesome. Algebra is amazing. Plus, Algebra is relatively easy. So unless I make several stupid mistakes tomorrow during the test, I am going to aim to get 100 on that Regents (which has been my goal the whole school year anyways). 

 

4. Matilda. After seeing Matilda on Broadway a little more than a week ago, I have revived my love for this Roald Dahl book and now for the Broadway counterpart. Sure, it helps than my family friend is one of the four girls playing Matilda, and we got to see her after the show. As tired as she was, she’s still an adorable little pipsqueak and kid, despite now being a part of show business. And the story is a classic! A special, brilliant little girl who goes and finds her revenge and lives happily ever after! The musical version, which I expected to be kind of cheesy, is really fun and sweet. Go watch it, if you haven’t already, and reread the novel if you haven’t in five or ten or twenty years. Sometimes, just like Matilda says up there, sometimes you have to just change your own story, and I know this more than anyone. 

 

5. Bright colors on rainy days. This makes everything completely infectious. It was raining all day yesterday, but my dad and I managed to get these balloons into the car for our Romeo and Juliet performance today, and let me take a picture in the rain. There’s nothing like a bunch of brightly colored balloons to cheer you up on a gray and cloudy day!

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6. Fydor Dostoevsky. Now you’re probably thinking I’m insane. But lately I’ve been recommending Dosoevsky all the time, because as much as I “suffered” while reading Notes from the Underground, it’s an important book in terms of literary style and development of philosophical ideas. So Dostoevsky it is!

 

7. Crepe paper flowers. Image

This happens to be a very dramatic picture of one, but that’s just the lighting. I made six of these on Sunday also as Romeo and Juliet props, and now they’re just striking me with how simple and easy and gorgeous they are. I’m thinking of making a lot of them in pink and orange as party decorations, but the light blue-green ones look delicate and calm. Almost a cross between a lotus flower or a chrysanthemum and a shower loofah. That sounds like a weird analogy, but it’s true, and in a much prettier sense than it seems. Anyways, easy and awesome DIY project. 

 

8. My best friends. Everyone in their own way, at one time or another, experiences this. But today, of all days, I’m feeling this, about my two closest friends who are both VERY different from me. And, especially, very different from each other. One loves “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” and quantum physics and fat birds. The other is the best dancer I know and has a personal style and fashion sense and makeup sensibility and popularity that I can never match. They’re very different people, and they don’t know each other at all, but that’s okay, because they both know me, and I know both of them, and Div and Ellie are both fantastic people and friends. 

 

9. Spanish 4. I am going to be in a Spanish 4 class next year, and right now I’m in Spanish 1. I mean, I’ve taken Spanish since kindergarten, and I got silver on the National Spanish Exam level one (1% away from gold- SO MAD!!!). But I didn’t necessarily expect to be in Spanish 4. So yeah, nine years of Spanish and I make it into Spanish 4 on a system leveled in a different way than my current one. I’m quite excited, and when I told my Spanish teacher she was excited too. Go Spanish 4!

 

10. Sudoku puzzles. I was first taught to do these by a family friend at about age 10. I go in and out of periods where I do lots and lots of them, and sometimes I do none. But they are back in style with me now! They are so varying in how they make me feel- relaxed and at ease, having lots of fun, pensive and concentrating just to get one number down. But I feel really good finishing them, so one final hooray for sudoku puzzles!

 

I know this seems especially long, but it’s what I’m feeling now about several different, really cool things. I am grateful to have all of them in my life, especially my teachers. I hope that you walk away from this, like my blog, with a smile!

Nicole

Books I’m Excited For

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!

  1. 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. 
  2. ‘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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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. 
  5. 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! 🙂
  6. 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…
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 
  9. 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)
  10. 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.

-Nicole