2017 in Books

I did this a couple of years ago, but I’m going to do it again. This year, I read 176 books. I was only going to read 100. Then, Goodreads let people count re-reads towards the Goodreads challenge (something I hadn’t counted before), and I got a job that gave me actually breaks during which I could read. I, also, want to credit my endo giving me plenty of time to read to distract from the pain. That might be a personal best since the last time I read that many books might have been when I was young and reading lower lexile books. I’ve finished three YA series, read several Shakespeare adaptations, even more books about strong women, and a lot of books about race relations. So, I just wanted to recommend a couple of books.

Non-fiction:

  • Sisters In Law: How  Sandra Day O’Conner and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman (This is a great story about how the first two women on the Supreme Court interacted)
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson (This book is mainly about how people of color were treated after the Civil War. I would highly recommend reading this book in companion with next book.)
  • White Trash: The 400-Year-Old Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (This one is about how poor mostly white people were treated by the rich people all throughout the history of the US.)
  • The Doctor Will See You Now: Recognizing and Treating Endometriosis by Dr. Tamer Seckin (Since I was diagnosed with endo in the summer, I’ve been trying to figure things out. This book was recommended to me by The Uterus and The Duderus podcast.)
  • Grant by Ron Cherow (I want you to read this because Lin-Manuel Miranda might go on vacation and come back with an idea of a hip-hop musical about US Grant.)
  • Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag (Especially in a world full of images, we tend to forget to think of others feelings. I read it for book club and couldn’t put it down.)
  • An American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeremy Toobin (I knew very little about Patty Hearst going in, and it’s informative)
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (I cried when I saw her onscreen for The Last Jedi. This was her last book and was published October 18th of last year.)
  • Plenty more though. I could fill more pages.

Fiction:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Would any list this year be complete without this book? It deserves all the praise it’s getting.)
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston (It’s another retelling of Cinderella but a really good one promise.)
  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (Atwood retells The Tempest in the way that only Atwood could. I also reread The Handmaid’s Tale two times this year, so my judgement might be biased.)
  • Bloodline by Claudia Gray (Gray is on a role writing new Star Wars books. This one is set after the sixth movie. She’s had Ben and is conflicted about telling him about his grandfather.)
  • New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (A retelling of Othello set in a 1970’s school.)
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill (A woman throws things at an up and coming politician and has to meet up with the son she abandoned decades ago.)
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Atwood fictionalizes a real case about a woman who was put in jail for murdering two people.)
  • Crazy Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (I would recommend reading Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend first, but it’s great. Believe me.)
  • Plenty more as well, but I value your time.

Re-Reads:

  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (I watched it by the American Shakespeare Center. Tears were rolling down my face due to laughter and then, sadness.)
  • The Catcher in the Rye/Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger (I recommend as always to read Franny and Zooey as a complement of The Catcher in the Rye.)
  • Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me/Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (I love reading Mindy’s books. She’s very funny, and I actually watched The Office this year because of rereading these two books.)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (I’ve admitted earlier that I actually read it twice this year. Once for fun and a second time for book club.)
  • Just Don’t Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made It Down the Mountain by Josh Sundquist (Sundquist was the first YouTuber that I actually subscribed to. I like rereading his books once in a while.)
Aside

My High School Analysis As You Like It

I did this before with High School Me Writes Poetry. I like looking back to see the growth in my personal writing. The summer before my senior year in high school, we were supposed to read As You Like It and The Count of Monte Cristo. I decided to “blog” my reading of As You Like It on Facebook Notes. I will be doing minor edits because someone didn’t believe in using the shift key and the APA format has changed. But, I’m keeping the many spelling errors. I’m even going to make some comments because these were just that bad.
Part 1:
I will be writing in here my adventure through the wonderful world of As You Like It. I can guarantee that this will very funny.
[No. No, it wasn’t high school me.]
Part 2:
As You Like It is really not that bad. In Act 1, it got funny. I think. I had to look it up on Sparknotes. I am not the person to get with Shakespeare. I am supposed to do a summary and then a reflection. All you people who have not graduated from [redacted] have to do that. You former seniors got lucky. At least you had to do this… maybe… once? I don’t know! I doubt the teachers will take it up though. It was extra credit the last time. I did venture into Twelfth Night this school year. That was a disaster. If drama is elective and an English, should I get a credit to graduate with?
[Dear high school me, you end up being a person that does Shakespeare. You actually volunteer at a Shakespeare theater for basically three years. As You Like It is in your top ten Shakespeare plays. And yes, you did get extra credit.]
Part 3:
More adventures!!!!!!!!!! I have no clue what Shakespeare is saying. I think this book I checked out from the libray might help. It is call The Complete Idoit’s Guide to Shakespeare.
[It’s called a proofread. You misspelled library and idiot.]
Part 4:
I have memorized one line. “Now brothers and comates in exile.”
[You are going to learn in about two years that accurate quotes matter. It’s actually, “Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile.”]
Part 5:
I had to return The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Shakespeare because I will be going on vacation next week. I feel very lost. The next week I have youth camp so I will be dragging the play As You Like It all over the place. That should be fun.
[Are you being sarcastic? Because, I remember that you didn’t even read As You Like It at camp. You have no room for being sarcastic, you procrastinator.]
Part 6:
I finished it. After weeks of reading, I have finished As You Like It. I loved that I have finished reading it, but now, I have to write summaries and reflections. How do you write a persuasion essay on how running away is good? I won’t be able to do that. That would be a little too hard.
[I guess this whole thing is over. It’s not as bad as I thought…]
Part 7:
I am so behind in As You Like It. I really shoukd be writing reflections and summaries. It was just youth camp and district conferance. Oops! I should really start writing the summaries and reflections. Bye!!!!!
[How are you behind if you’re finished reading it? Why are you online when you should be writing? Why don’t you use contractions? These are only some of the many mysteries of these postings.]
Part 8: 
I am not behind everybody reading. I might even be most ahead. I watched the movie and they deleted a whole lot of good lines!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another horrible movie is The Crucible. The ending is alittle flat. It is so serious, and then it is so hilarious. i want to speak with the writer of it. Stick to the script!!!!!! I don’t care if Arthur Miller said you could do it. Was he in the classroom when the half the class erupted into laughter. I was one of those people laughing. Come on, when people are saying the Lord’s Prayer, you do not kill them. I need to end this blog. It is not critiquing movies.
[Don’t cut yourself on that edge, now. Also, this is only the first of many disappointments with plays as movies.]
Part 9:
I lost the book!!!!!!!!!!! It is somewhere in the basement. I looked everywhere! I have not finished my summaries and reflections! I would not be this paniced if i did not get my first college application today. SWU sent me my first college application ever!!!! It will be so cool going to SWU. Go Warriors!!! But I really am freaking out about this. It has my notes in it. Basically 4 weeks until school starts. At least I finished As You Like It. I am still working on The Count of Monte Cristo. It is really boring. I don’t even know what to compare it to. Teeth drilling sounds fun. The process of reading it is so slow. As You Like IT really does not have any action. It does have wit though. Wit or witout wit, it is pretty cool. Remember, SWU Wariors rule!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are blue and yellow. this seems really random right?
[I’m going to not call out the witout because I think you are trying to be funny. Man, you misspelled warriors which would be bad enough if it was only your mascot in college, but your high school mascot. Also me from the past, panicked.]
Part 10:
I found my book and my notes. The Count of Monte Cristo is going along slow. I am still on page 26. It takes forever. I really should be reading it instead of writing this note. It is so boring. Is this what i get for joing an ap class?
[Translation: “I’m so smart because I’m in an AP class. You should pity my struggle of reading classic literature.”]

High school me, you have to learn a lot. But, you eventually learned a lot. Just tone down on the exclamation points.

For the Courage of Those From Bergerac

I have been meaning to write this several times. Mostly when I am nowhere near a computer. I am not physically perfect. Now, I have never been “physically perfect” in any definition of the phrase. In the past year, I have become more “socially acceptable” I guess you could say, but the amount of curves I have is not the thing I am self-conscious about. For the past six or seven years, I have avoided eye contact as much as possible. Most people took it as a mark of shyness (maybe) or even a lack of confidence (in the worst of times, this could also be said as true). At these times, I want to draw strength from the greatest misfit of all…the great Cyrano de Bergerac.

I had been wanting to talk/write about Cyrano for a while now, but I never had time. Last year, I saw the same production of the play about six times (I currently usher at a playhouse Cyrano de Bergerac was one of the plays). It gave me plenty thoughts on the subjects. Mainly about love and the characters and how is it possible for words to be held down by gravity. In January, I was diagnosed with an eye condition that made one of my eyes not dilate as much as the other (also it an eye condition that is normally found in people a lot older than me). This lead to that eye being dilated for the entire month of February. Needless to say, I felt like a freak. I felt like people would care about something as simple as two eyes not being the same size. I know that they don’t care as much as I think they care, but that is not how I feel. I feel like the anomaly (no matter how small) is the only thing that people can see.

I wish I was as clever as Cyrano. Or at least as good at poetry. Cyrano has had years to work on his confidence (or panache) from the constant comments on his nose. By the time we see him in the play, he is about middle-aged. So, he is in his regular routine. Someone makes a comment on his nose, and he either insults or kills them. Now, I don’t want to take it to that extreme. I just want to have the ability to walk around with the thing that makes me special without having that thing control my intentions. I want to let everyone know that I can look people into the eye now. It was probably stupid to avoid eye contact as much as I did (to be honest I thought I had a cooler condition and should have given more eye contact). He just seems so confident even though you know it hides all of the emotional scars from his family life and “dating” life. He lives for the fight which is something I never hope to have to do. Even though both of these things are there, he has courage to even walk the streets even if he knows people will talk about his nose. I think that is why he becomes such a good sword fighter. If they talk about my fighting, they won’t talk about my nose. If they talk about my work, they won’t have time to look deep enough into my eyes to see the problem.

I have talk to about three people this year about how I feel about my eyes. They are probably all bored of hearing about how they hurt and all of the implications. I just needed to write this to get it out there. By the way, I am going to try live my life with no intentions of being killed by a log to the head.

To A Year of Non-Academic Reading

Throughout my life, reading has been associated with the academic world. If not reading for a class, I have been reading supplemental material to something I have already read. Yet after graduating last year, I have been given a gift. This is the gift of not being assigned anything to read. So, what does one read when not assigned? That is the problem yet also the most amazing thing. This gives  the freedom to read whatever I want without the deadline. This was my year to grow as a person and a reader. It was there to prove that I liked reading for more than just being a GPA boaster.

The question soon becomes: What should a person read without any guidelines? Well, anything is too big of a pool of suggestions. Book Riot soon became a source for many options. This post has become a challenge of sorts. Currently, I have read 45 of the books on the list of 100. Yet with some of these being assigned in school, it took some of the challenge out of it. Except Great Expectations which, I will admit to not reading five years after it was assigned. Then, there are the books which I have wanted to read yet never had the time. Somehow, Wicked is still on this list after at least two years of trying before this year of complete chaotic reading habits. Goodreads has been extremely helpful in finding books along with Overdrive for Kindle reading.

In this year of unlimited reading, I have been re-reading favorite books. This includes parts of The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey. Everyone has their own reason for liking and disliking The Catcher in the Rye. My reason for liking The Catcher in the Rye is Holden’s personality. We have pretty much the same personality especially in high school, so I have pretty decided that my personality in high school was pretty annoying. If Holden was my personality in high school, Franny is my personality now. My favorite quote comes from how there is no way of being original. She could turn into a bohemian, and I could turn into a hipster; it would just feel conforming. Another book that I re-read was The Princess Bride. Now, I had originally watched the movie before reading the book. This is one movie which is as good as the book. It is quotable and watchable. It seems to be inline with “Don Juan” by Lord Byron where the author comments on the action. One book which I did not re-read was Up the Down Staircase. It gets told through notes and announcements rather than prose. It is inspirational to teachers and those who would like to be teachers.

In addition to re-reading other books, I have recently gotten into reading non-fiction. It all started with reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?.  This was one of the books I randomly found on Overdrive. I was pleasantly surprised with how witty and relatable it was. So in addition to finding a really cool book, I found a really cool TV show which was not cancelled in this last go round (I tend to start liking shows which get cancelled soon after I find them). It makes me feel like I am not alone in some senses. I also read Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. It was less of a serendipity find than it is a highly reviewed book that I might like. I get that Sandburg started from a place of “privilege,” but what successful is not given some advantage. The latest non-fiction book that I really liked is Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity in addition with Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. They both tell the story of Mumbai. A couple of years ago, I got really into Bollywood movies like 3 Idiots and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. So, non-fiction about India was not that far of a leap. It was really interesting to read about the poor in India.

Finally, I had to challenge my fiction reading because I cannot read YA and Jane Austen for the rest of my life. That being said, I am not ashamed of YA literature. Back to the subject at hand. At the time of the publication of this blog, I have read four out of five A Song of Fire and Ice books. That was a real stretch of reading ability. It takes a lot out me to actually read the books, so I cannot read them right after another.  I do like the books though. I started and finished Anna Karenina. It is this year’s Irene Iddesleigh, yet it is better written. At least in this book, the husband had reasons to doubt his wife and get mad at her. I have discovered Rainbow Rowell in this past year and enjoy all of the books of hers published this far. She writes in a YA style that is often called New Adult. This makes her the Meg Cabot of older young adults. I especially enjoyed Attachments which takes place right at the time of the Y2K scare. Finally, I have read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers so far. I am planning to read The Return of the King in the next couple of months after I finish the last A Song of Fire and Ice books and 1Q84.

So long story short, I took my non-academic year to read and read and read. I took advantage of free resources from the library and recommendations from strangers. I took leaps of faith that I would not hate the book presented to me, which actually takes a lot of effort more than some people. It has been a rare gift to read for the joy of reading instead of for the joy of GPA. 

What are “Real” Books Anyway?

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Recently, I ran into an article about how “real” books are better than e-books. When talking about “real” books, the authors were trying to talk about print. It seems like people would rather criticize a new medium of reading than actually give it a try. That being said, I still read print books. Some books are available through Kindle or other providers, yet I read them using print sources. Even though I do not personally use them, I also think that audiobooks are also considered “real” books. Some people do not have the time to read and use audiobooks in that course, or it is easier to listen than to read. Looking at Internet culture, people are only allowed to have two opinions about books. They either love e-books and hate print or love print and hate e-books. The culture of books is changing too rapidly to hold fast to either stance.

1. Libraries

Library books are in and of themselves convenient. The books save people money by not needing to buy the books that are popular or out of print. Libraries have had books on tape. These books are now translated into MP3s. In addition to Mp3s, e-books are available to be be read through e-book format. The books can be borrowed for as long as print books. This does not hinder the reader in the time that it may take to read the book. The Mp3s may be taken out for a shorter time, yet I think that is because the libraries think that listening takes a shorter time than “actually” reading.

2. Multi-book Reading

In using the Kindle (or other favored e-readers), the user has the possibility to download multiple books. Even still, there are books that are not even available in e-book format. Yet since e-book publishing is seemingly easy to get into (as one who has never tried nor knows much about publishing), people are publishing through electronic format to get their foot in the door. This offering of books in multiple formats helps the reader gain opportunity to help cut down on the To Be Read book faster. I know not everybody reads multiple books at a time, but if the reader does, they can.

3. Privacy

This is where a majority people take sides. With print books, you can show the person who is annoying you the cover. Yet, e-books do not have that advantage. That is where jokes that say that e-reader people are hiding what they are reading come from. To be honest whether reading a print or e-book, other people do not need to know. Yes, a cover can be a conversation starter. Yet, what if you are not looking for conversation? Covers do not have a good outright solution. E-books have the advantage of course with the privacy along with Mp3s.

4. Marginalia

While you cannot write an exact feeling in an Mp3, you can in e-books and print. However, marginalia is frowned upon especially in print books. Though it really does not harm the book, the emotional connection somehow disappears when writing happens in books. Yet, it is an accepted practice to highlight and add notes in e-books. E-readers have functions to share these quotes and notes. Personally, I write in books. I will even share the books with writing in it. It is a small act of “rebellion.” The e-book gives power to the patron when they highlight and annotate in library books (not that people sometimes do in print books).

5. Convenience

Mp3s are a new sort of book. People can listen to books on the go while pretending to be listening to music (the perfect disguise). E-books are also convenient for travel because the sheer number of books that a person can carry. Can print books be convenient? Yes, they can. Print books are easier for research projects. The page numbers are easily displayed in an easily found format. Every single one of the formats has its ease of convenience. There is no better format. Each pulls its weight to help society. There is no superior format.

Since each format has its advantage and disadvantage, it is only a matter of opinion of which is best. People decide which format is best for them. People may always cling to print books for the scent and feel (and Vashta Nerada), yet these will not always be the reigning form. People may find a format better than e-readers or Mp3 or books. The best thing to do is to embrace the change and not slam people for the choice.

Books of 2013

Okay, it is almost New Year’s Day. A majority of the experts have released the best book lists. These are all books which were released in 2013. Unfortunately for the world, I did not read a lot of books which are released in 2013 because books cost money, and library waits are long. I have read a couple of books this year. Okay, I have read more than a couple. So, I wanted to let the world know about my top books that I had read this year were. Maybe, this will be the final push for someone to read one of these books. I will try to avoid spoilers. It will be divided into three lists. Top Books will consist of six books which are new books that blew me away this year. Honorable Mentions will be five books and are still important in some way; Old Favorites will be four books which I reread for one reason or another.

Old Favorites

1. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1961)

I love this book. If there are two characters who I relate to, one is Holden Caulfield. Which is weird because I am a 20 some year old who should not be that moody. But, I sort of explained that earlier in the year. And, I do want to catch people/kids before or during the fall off the cliff. I first read The Catcher in the Rye after years and years of people saying that it was banned. It was not an instantaneous love. It was one which was cemented in this last rereading. Now, I reread The Catcher in the Rye for that Contemporary Literature class. I caught somethings that I missed in the first reading. Yet, I still love this book.

2. Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger (1961)

Franny is one of the most relatable characters in literature to myself. If I would want someone to really get me, I would give them these to books. I am more of a Franny than a Holden. I read Franny and Zooey right after reading The Catcher in the Rye and maybe before Bright Lights, Big City.  It was just a coincidence that I was in the middle of a production while reading it. I reread it to do a comparison to The Catcher in the Rye. While looking, there is definitely a Hindu/Buddhist vibe yet there are also these profound moments that seem to promote Christianity.

3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2008)

This book was introduced to me by a fellow English major a couple of years ago. This English major also introduced me to Bollywood, so she has amazing taste. It narrated by a young girl who is going to commit suicide and a concierge who is more than who she seems. They become friends through a mutual friend. I actually reread this one because I was going to rate it on Goodreads and you need a fresh reading to rate things properly on Goodreads. I got more out of the second reading than the first, which I think is typical of any book.

4. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman (1973)

I first ran across the movie in eighth seventh grade. Yet in high school, I ran across the book. It is set up as a fairy tale written by a 16th century writer with Goldman’s commentary throughout. This is partially confusing yet so much more effective than just telling the story. Again, Goodreads brought the two of us together. I reread the book and enjoyed it more knowing that my copy of movie the was safely tucked away in my room. For those who have watched the movie and not read the book, the action from the fairy tale is pretty much the same.

Honorable Mentions

1. Irene Iddesleigh by Amanda Ros (1867)

Now, I wrote on Irene Iddesleigh earlier this year. It makes it the Honorable Mentions because of this fact. It was bad. I started reading the book a couple of years ago mainly to make fun of it. Okay, that was the only reason I wanted to read it. Reading Irene was a real challenge. Ros really did not use that complicated of language. She just used words improperly. She stands as an example. If it is old, it does not mean that it is good. People comment that the only books that are good and should be read are the classics. Irene Iddesleigh goes to show that Twilight might be adored in the future for its horribleness.

2. The English Patient by Micheal Ondaatje (1992)

I read this during the Contemporary Literature class that I mentioned in the Top Books section. I enjoyed the story, yet there was one section which really moved me. I even wrote a post about it. I was moved by that thought. The thought that people throughout history have wanted to be remembered. It makes the Honorable Mention section because really it did not have that much of an effect. I liked it. I did. It just did not blow me away like the other books in the Top Books. I was also a little bit confused. The English Patient was my first Post-modern novel.

3. The Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (2005)

Freshman year of college, I bought Memoirs of a Geisha from the five dollar movie bin. It was amazing. I know there is controversy around the casting and all of that. But, I never read the book. I never knew there was a book. That was until I was browsing through Goodreads. The book had so much more information than the movie. Yet for sentimental reasons, I cannot get the movie out of my head. I really do like that we get to learn Sayuri’s fate beyond the end of the movie. She got a fulfilled life outside of the geisha world.

4. The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (1954)

JRR Tolkien has a unique writing style which one has to get used to. That is why before finishing The Lord of the Rings, some people had to read The Hobbit and Tree and Leaf. I started reading The Lord of the Rings on the last final day of eighth grade. I finished it this year. That is why it has to be mentioned. Without reading the other two books, I still might be reading The Fellowship of the Ring. After finishing the first two books (a.k.a. The Fellowship of the Ring), I discovered Tolkien’s son published The Fall of Arthur which is Tolkien’s tale of the death of King Arthur.

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

I do not really read Southern writers. McCarthy is an exception. He does not write like a Southern writer. I read The Road during the Contemporary Literature class mentioned above (See a pattern here?). I also started reading the book on a way to and from a funeral. McCarthy has a father and a son walking on a road to nowhere. Yet in the end, there is hope. I love how all of these really bad things happen, yet there is a light (which is not a train) at the end of the tunnel. It was inspiring enough to read Blood Meridian which dashed all hope. PS. Blood Meridian is still good enough of a book to read.

Top Books

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

In the book market, there is an emerging trend called New Adult literature. Rainbow Rowell is leading the charge it seems. Rowell creates her own homage to Harry Potter called Simon Snow. While mentioning that, Cath and Wren are twins going to college. Cath writes her own fanfiction to the Simon Snow series. She is also a little socially awkward which is great to see in fiction that not everyone is gifted in socializing. You also get to see Cath and Wren drift apart which is something that sometimes happens. Rowell also published Eleanor and Park this year. I would also recommend that.

2. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher (2013)

Yes, it is as gimmicky as it sounds. It takes Star Wars and translates it to Early Modern English (not Old English). Doescher uses a Chorus. Shakespeare does use this in Henry V, and I cannot think of a better play to use. In addition to the Chorus, Doescher takes some of the famous speeches and intertwines them into the Star Wars story. Shakespeare might have even written Star Wars in this way if he lived in a galaxy far, far away. Oh and, R2-D2 has several asides and is given depth as a character thus fulfilling his and C-3PO’s roles as clowns. Just wait for my wonderful production of this play.

3. The Divergent series by Veronica Roth (2011, 2012, 2013)

I am including the three books into one slot. I know it sounds like a cop-out. Roth invited us to imagine Chicago in the future. Now, this was one of two controlled societies that I read this year. The other one was Matched and the first two chapters of Crossed. Roth had the better of the two. I really want to give away spoilers. But, I won’t. People are always looking for lessons within books to justify reading them. Consistently, Divergent and its sequels give the lesson of self-sacrifice starting in the first book. And, that is all I can say without getting too much into the plot.

4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (2013)

Yes, I really liked the feminist propaganda by a privileged white woman. I was even planning on writing a post about women in college student government. Yet, Sandberg gives readers an inside look to women in major companies. One thing that really stuck with me was the mentoring of people with less experience. It really does not matter where you are working. Everyone needs encouragement when starting something new. I did realize that this was needed. I knew that people needed other people for support. Women should be the ones supporting women. The age of the queen bee should be a thing of the past.

5. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (1598/1599)

I actually did not read the play. I watched it. That is the only way to really experience a play. I actually watched two versions of the play. The first was the David Tennant/Catherine Tate version, and the second was the Joss Whedon version. I love Shakespeare in general and have used this play to against Bard haters. Beatrice is a strong speaker along with Rosalind and Viola. Nothing is as it seems throughout the play. There is a masque in the play. This is only a foreshadow of things to come. Shakespeare uses illusions to make the entire play a masque of sorts.

6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005)

I read this book for a Contemporary Literature class earlier this year. So, I read half of the book for the first week and then, the second half. I, then, reread the book to remember everything. It is the story about the aftermath of 9/11. The protagonist is a 10 year old boy whose father died in the attacks. Yet, there was a subplot involving the grandmother who was from Dresden (yes, this Dresden). This book made it on the list because of what I did during the rereading. It includes a letter from the grandmother which ends with the grandmother asking herself if she should tell her sister that she loves her. I, then, Facebooked messaged everyone in my immediate family “I love you.” This was also the book that I was studying when I found out my grandfather had died. So, it is very important to me.

Sleeping with Herodotus in the Modern Age

Herodotos_Met_91.8

In The English Patient, Micheal Ondaatje writes:

It is when he is old Narcissus wants a graven image of himself. But we were interested in how our lives could mean something in the past. We sailed into the past. We knew power and great finance were temporary things. We all slept with Herodotus.

This book is a reflection of World War II. This quote could be taken to say that we all want to be remembered. Herodotus is considered the father of history in some circles. At the time the novel was written, there was no Facebook or MySpace. WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube were not in existence. The world was still pretty big. Even still, there was a need for every single person. This need was to be remembered for generations to come. Some people, compared to the hundreds lost to history, were able to break through the rest of the pack. Years before, Ezra Pound wrote “Histrion.” In this poem, Pound emphasizes how every time we write we stand on the writing of the ones who came or wrote before. This also might count for there is nothing new under the sun. Yet when we write, we are adding to the pile of all the written things. To a point, Pound is not optimistic about all of us remaining known to history. Yet, we claim a space in history.

Suddenly, social media was developed. Fame was quickly found and quickly lost. People are featured on the front page of YouTube or are Freshly Pressed. Yet, even that fades. Yet, the need remains. People keep writing posts, making videos, and tweeting statements. In the gloom, there remains optimism. That is a fantastic part of human nature. In writing this post, my mind goes to Maslow and his pyramid. In the third part of the pyramid, there is the need for love and belonging. This is where Herodotus comes in. We not only need to be loved by those people. We also need to be remembered by these people. This is why I think that more people seem to be narcissistic. We grow older while we are still young and have the need to reflect. We want to mean something now. Not only that, we also want to be remembered for all time. The current generations have technology that was not there a couple of generations ago. Is this an excuse to be let off the hook in general? Not really. It is an explanation to why too many people are obsessed with the perfect photo. Even while typing, there is an internal struggle in getting all the words right while worrying if any one will care. With more technology, this narcissism will most likely continue. Is there a solution? I really don’t know. That is just the nature of this “problem.” I just really hope to be remembered. But at least, I know that most people also want to be remembered. That just makes everyone feel less alone.