Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Emma, I heart you

So, I started reading Emma about a week ago. I've read well over 300 pages so far. I can't believe I haven't read it sooner!I had to make a character list at first to keep everyone straight, but once I wrapped my head around all the people, I really quite enjoyed it. I would love to travel back to that time, when you argue about whether or not you should be leaving the party because it's snowing. Or where people rejoice over receiving letters and share them with the whole town. Although, I'd probably get frustrated with how no one really said what they were thinking, or took forever to make a point. Much in the fashion of Emma herself, I believe I would be quite often thinking to myself, "Don't give another half second to the subject!"

I'm also amazed by the fact that love at first sight (practically) was so natural. For Emma to spend 2 weeks with Frank Churchill and upon his departure, she admits she is in love with him, but then talks herself out of it! Today, love at first sight is looked down upon or thought of as only a fantasy, even though there a plently of people who admit to its existence. (Ask Trisha!)

If Emma were to have taken place today, or even updated into a movie (like they did with Taming of the Shrew) I am convinced that Mrs. Elton would have been put in her place by Emma. Instead of calling her "pleasant and elegant" when she was really rude and insulting, I believe Emma would have shouted at her, "Your husband was in love with me, just weeks before he married you." Then she would walk away, leaving Mrs. Elton defeated and put in her place.

My favorite quote comes from Mr. Weston, discussing the return of his son.
"I have observed, Mrs. Elton, in the course of my life, that if things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next." I love it so much. Simple and true.

I'm hoping to have finished Emma within a few days and I will move onto the next book. Summer vacation, why can't you last forever?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And so it begins!

I made the journey to my library yesterday. I had to renew my card and pay my giant $1.25 fine, thanks to the season of Bones we checked out a long time ago. Instantly, I got that feeling I always get when I'm in a library or a book store. "So many choices, so many stories, so much fun! And it's FREE! How can you beat that?"  

I perused the shelves for awhile. I didn't know where to start. I knew which books that I've always wanted to read, but then how would I ever push myself to read all of them if I read all the familiar ones first?
I was also getting ideas for books I've always wanted to read that aren't on the list.  Hello, Ellen DeGeneres, hiding over here. Maybe later, but not today!
I randomly picked a few books of my list and came home with:
A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines

Emma by THE Jane Austen, of course! and
The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

They didn't have the Joy Luck Club, which would have been my first pick from Tan, but it all worked out pretty well.
I picked one book that I was familiar with and two that I didn't know anything about. I think I might organize the list that way and tackle it like that. Or I could organize it into fiction and non-fiction. Or categories. Oh, there's so many options!

I can't wait to get started. Since I'm on vacation and also currently have no gas to go anywhere, I should be able to make a dent in these books by the end of the month.

Gretchen Rubin is so right. Sometimes, just the planning something (a vacation, a party, a project) gives you almost as much happiness as actually going through with the activity!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Gist

I was always "The Shy Girl" in school. It took me a while to open up to people and 23 years later, it still does. Maybe if people would have quit labeling me as shy, I would have been more open. It's not that I don't enjoy the company of other people-I do-but gun to my head, if I had to choose between talking or reading, I'd choose reading. I was the one on the high school bus who always brought a book with me to read for the ride home. Most people just ignored me, but some would pry. "Why would you want to READ?" they said, with looks of disgust.

So, it made sense that I took Advanced Composition in 11th grade and Advanced Placement English in 12th grade. For both classes, they gave us a list of books we could read for our assignments. Now, once I got this list of 161 books, I said to myself,
"I am going to read all of these books during my lifetime."

It's been 6 years since I've graduated, and I have only read, to completion, 7 of them:
The Green Mile by Stephen King
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I have also started The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, but never finished it.
I was also about one page away from finishing The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, but never finished it. There is a story to that, but I will tell it later, as it is not pertinent at this moment.

Now, this fact disappoints me, considering I own several other titles that are on my list that I didn't list above. Of course, I left them in Michigan with my mom, but nevertheless.
I just never got around to it.

And that's when I realized, I'm tired of not getting around to things. I want to get around things.

I love "a year in the life" of stories. I'm sure there is a proper term for it, but we'll just go with that. Last year I discovered The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin when I was having a really rough time. I felt like it changed my life.
Check out her blog:
The Happiness Project!

I also loved the movie Julie/Julia, so when I saw the library selling a copy of the book for $0.50, I just had to have it and am currently reading it right now.
Check out her blog:
What Could Happen

And I'm realistic. I'm not expecting a book deal or a movie out of this. I just want this to be MY project, and if I have a blog, I'm accountable, even it it's just to myself. So, in the next few weeks I'd like to put up the list of books, get started, post thoughts after each book and then move onto the next one.

There's several other things about me/going on that are worth mentioning:

  • I'm 23
  • Currently residing in South Carolina, but born in Michigan (to which we will be returning to next year)
  • I'm a first semester nursing student (RN) graduating in August 2013, which means I have NO social life and not much time for anything other than studying
  • My partner of 7 years and love of my life recently left for truck driving school (the beginning of that sentence makes it sound like she is "no longer with us" or something, but really, she's just as truck driving school!)
  • For the first time in my entire life, I will be living on my own (if you don't count Teddy, our Chow)
  • I own the work-out Insanity, and if I finish it while my partner is out of town, I will win...wait for it...A BRAND NEW WARDROBE!
  • I will also be starting my own Happiness Project, officially (I've unofficially been trying to start it since I read the book last summer, but this is the first time I'm putting my goals for it in writing)

    I have a final on May 1st, after which I will be rewarded with 3 WHOLE weeks of vacation. I will be starting my "Literature List" (unless I come up with a better name for it) shortly after that. I can't wait!
"Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."  P.J. O'Rourke