‘Tis the Season to be Reading

Christmas break is the time for reading–recreationally!

I love getting to actually choose what I get to read for almost an entire month! Of course, this Christmas break I plan to get ahead in my “The Novel” course next semester, but for right now I am enjoying reading whatever my little heart desires.

Some of the following books are in the “to be read” category, and some are in the “currently reading” category. Here are a few little reviews of the books I’ve read/am reading/about to read so far:

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Oh, this was good. If you like historical fiction sort of reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you’ll like this. People of the Book holds a lot more literary merit, however, and it made me want to Google the Sarajevo Haggadah (an ancient illustrated Jewish book; illustrations are extremely rare in Jewish tradition) until the wee hours of the morning. I highly recommend this.

March by Geraldine Brooks

Because of People of the Book, I decided to check out another one by Brooks. March tells the story of the father absent in the beloved children’s classic, Little Women. I am actually  in the middle of listening to this book; it was the audio book of choice as I made my journey home yesterday. I really like it so far–it’s full of Civil War gore and poignant flashbacks in which Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson make an appearance. I also decided I really like Brook’s writing style–rich and full and beautiful; the language flows so nicely as I continue listening, and the narrator’s slight English accent makes it that much better.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I LOVED this book. Told from a dog’s perspective, this book is funny and heartbreaking and inspiring and just so so good. You’ll never look at a dog the same way again–I’m telling you, dogs know. They just do. Read this. It’s an easy read, and you’ll just want to hug and pet your dog for all they do for you.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

I recently finished all two seasons of The Carrie Diaries on Netflix, so of course I had to read the book. If you don’t know, The Carrie Diaries follows a young Carrie Bradshaw (pre- Sex and the City) as she navigates her senior year of high school. I’m only half-way through, and so far so good. It’s not mind-shattering or anything, but it is entertaining. The back cover of my copy simply says, “Carrie Bradshaw was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more…” Classic coming of age–can’t complain.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I literally just picked this up at the bookstore tonight, and I am so excited to start reading this. I’ve heard it’s a lot like Tina Fey’s Bossypants which I LOVED. What’s funny is I’m not particularly a huge fan of either–of course, I think they are so talented and good at what they do. I just can’t help but absolutely love the way they write. They’re just plain funny and they can convey this through their written word. That takes talent. Even the back cover made me laugh, and the hardcover under the flap: on the front it says the title, Yes Please. On the back, it says, “Thank you.” HA. It’s the little touches that make Fey and Poehler hilarious.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I only have read the first chapter or so, but I am determined to finish it. I’ve heard it’s great, and it’s written by a woman who bet her husband that she could write a better horror story than he could. You go, girl. Can’t wait to uncover the genius that is Frankenstein.

And that, my friends, is the tentative list of what I have read/ what I’ll be reading over break. Of course, I hope this list expands as Christmas comes and goes.

Happy reading, everyone.

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Life of an English Major

I sat in the library this afternoon writing a paper and loving every minute of it.

That’s the funny thing about us English majors. Most of us actually enjoy homework. Yes, sometimes the amount of required reading you have to do and the amount of printed pages your printer has spit out can get a tad overwhelming. But every once in a while, you remember why you like your obscure major so much.

Quiet moments in the library on a Sunday afternoon are amazing. Today I picked a table nestled in a little reading nook equipped with a couch and a view of the clock tower and got so much work done. I could just zone out, occasionally people watch, and critically analyze Henrik Isben’s Hedda Gabler and Moliere’s Tartuffe in peace. It was a beautiful day and I was passionate about my topic. Nothing’s better than your paper effortlessly coming together; it just kind of goes. These are the days that just make me so happy I chose to be an English major.

One of the downfalls of the lifestyle (yes, lifestyle. It’s not just a major) are the questions.

“So, what are you gonna do?” “What grade are you gonna teach?” “Why would any one want to do that?”

Here are my go-to responses:

  • I’m going to do whatever the heck I want. I used to think I had to have everything precisely planned out, but not anymore. While most people see no options with an English major, I see an endless amount of career possibilities and “next steps.” Life doesn’t have to be mapped out by the time you’re 22. It just doesn’t work that way.
  • Not all English majors want to be teachers. I’m not in any way ruling it out of my future, but It’s not my first choice.
  • Because I love it. I am one of the few people who chose a major because I love it so much. It’s not “practical” by society’s standards. I simply enjoy it so much that I chose to take the majority of my classes on the subject. Because of these classes, I feel so prepared for the real world–no, really, I do. I know I can write efficiently,  keep a deadline, and work my tail off to get little details just right. I also know that sometimes your work isn’t perfect, and it’s ok to accept that every once in a while. Not everything you write will get the stamp of approval–just like not everything you do will be please everybody.

To my fellow English majors: be proud of what you do and who you are. We’re a different breed of people. We love a good story, procrastinate like crazy, and always end up getting some awesome work done. We’ve overcome red-ink-stained papers, biting feedback, and picky professors. We’ve persevered through writer’s block and survived late nights. We’re diligent, quirky, and really thinky. Not a word, but it fits.

In short, English majors, I’d say we are pretty awesome. Enjoy your quiet library time and bask in the contentment that only finishing a major paper can bring. You earned it.