"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Lost Books of the Odyseey (Zachary Mason)

Ever since I was a child, the adventures of Odysseus have been some of my favorite stories. To me, Odysseus has been the perfect hero--brave, not always strong, but clever to a fault. And up to this point, that's all he was. But, after reading The Lost Books of the Odyssey, I discovered something else which could be added to that list: Odysseus is also profoundly human. And story after story confirms this, all while keeping his heroic status.

This is not a book you can read expecting one, long, continuous story. In fact, each chapter of this book is its own, separate, disjointed tale of Odysseus. And they have very little to do with each other. Some suggest that Achilles is the son of a god, some that he is a gollem made of clay. Either way, the story is amazing.

I wavered between a three out of five or a four of five for the final score of this piece. See, in the final quarter of the book, the stories start to really slow down. Tales which I tore through at the start start to labor and drag. No, they're not boring per se, but they are certainly not of the same caliber of the first stories. However, it was the final few tales which redeemed the collection, hence the higher score. The final story in particular, "Last Islands," while incredibly bittersweet, was a personal favorite of mine, and really tied up the collection well.

If you have an interest in Classical mythology, especially Odysseus's adventures in The Odyssey, then I recommend this book rather highly. For me, it was a magical transport back to the adventures I spent with my childhood friend. And I feel that I understood him on a deeper level this time around. It was a powerful and wonderful experience.

As I'm sure many of you know, Odysseus is perhaps my favorite literary figure.  I know a few weeks ago, I had given this title to Mr. Arthur "Boo" Radley, but after reading more adventures of my dear friend Odysseus, I have finally remembered who my favorite really was.  Ever since I was  child, Odysseus has been a faithful companion to my adventures.  I've had to read about him for three separate classes in addition to all the stories I had picked up from collections of Greco-Roman mythology...I nicknamed a previous love interest after him (I'm sure some of my older bloggers remember my "Odysseus" poetry?)  I don't know what it is...I just really like Odysseus.

When I first picked up this collection, I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit concerned that it would not stand up to how I remembered things to be.  But, in fact, it was much better than I thought.  My hero leaped out of the pages, took me by the hand, and continued his old adventures just as I had always hoped he would.  I was so happy.  While it is not the best book I've ever read, I still have to say that it's a wonderful adaptation, and one which I would highly recommend :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let the Reviews Begin!

I'm so glad to be home from college for a whole month...if nothing else, just to start reading for fun again!  That means I'll have more time to compose reviews as well....so be on the lookout for my commentaries on various works.  I'm currently reading The Lost Books of the Odyssey (halfway there), so a review should hopefully be here by Festivus (Dec. 23).  In the meantime, I'll be busy reading, reading, reading :)

I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird for the nth time the other day.  And I just have to say that this book just gets better and better every time I read it!  I always find something new and beautiful in the text, which is something I certainly can't say about every book I read.

I wasn't really planning on writing a review for To Kill a Mockingbird, but if any of you are supremely disappointed as a result, just let me know and I'll see what I can whip up.  In the meantime, I just wanted to give a heads up as to my reading selections and the excited gusto in which I hope to tear through these texts!

On an unrelated note, the end of the year is coming.  And that means that my reading challenge for Goodreads will either be met, or it will not.  And so far, I've read 48 out of 50 books.  I have just over a week to read two more books.  I'm really hoping I reach my goal!  Next year's goal will be dependant on what I read this year.  If I make 50, then next year will be 50, too.  If I only make 48, then it'll be 48, and if I go beyond 50, then that will be the goal.  I guess you could say I'm just trying to beat my high score, haha.

Next semester is my final semester of college.  Then, I'll be taking a year off before going on to grad school for Library Science.  I'll be sure to post my book list before the end of the year so you guys can check out the cool stuff I'll be reading.  It should be a lot of fun :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back on Speaking Terms

Boo and I are talking again.  In fact, he's become almost chatty on Facebook (a big thing for him.  He is not a talkative person, even online) and today, when I ran into him, I was just going to say "hi," and keep walking, giving him the space it seemed he really needed.  Instead, he stopped me and wanted to talk.  I was shocked.  I think our relationship is going to be just fine.

He posted this song on Facebook, and I just fell in love with it.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I had been hanging out with Boo a little while before work (my lungs are now choked with cigarette smoke, and I have a smokey lump in my throat).  It all started when he posted online about how he had to come up to campus early for a meeting with a professor, and now he's lonely.  I texted him, said if he wanted company to let me know, and he texted back almost instantly, alerting me to his location.  So, I went and found him smoking a pack of cigarettes ("I'm quitting smoking after this pack.  Although, I said that after the last pack and then I went out to buy this, so we'll see."), and we fell to talking for a while.
He confided things in me.  I have no idea why he tells me stuff.  But, he told me things and we talked and had fun, but I'll be honest, the more we talked, the more I realize that we could never be more than friends.  We're just too different in the areas where it's important to be similar.
He made a comment about people keeping their distance, and that most everyone will do it eventually.  I made a comment in response that I thought he was pretty cool, and had nothing to worry about.  And as the conversation continued, he said something to the effect of "I have two mirrors, you know.  One even sits at the edge of my bed.  I'm well aware of things."  And his tone clearly implied that he did not see just how handsome he actually was; in fact, I'm pretty sure he thought he looked like shit.  When I first saw him, when he was about 100 pounds heavier, I told myself that he was the most handsome man in the room, and that I just had to go out with him.  He's one of the most handsome men I know.
Now, here's the Ctrl+Z moment.  I told him.  I said "Not to make things awkward, but I don't believe your mirror comment.  I think you're incredibly handsome, and it's a pity you don't see it."  He started to get agitated and dismissed it.  He said he only looks somewhat decent now because he's lost weight, and he knows how to dress.  And I told him that he looked good even before, when he was much heavier and wearing sweatpants.  He remained agitated until we parted ways.
I don't think I offended him, and I certainly hope I didn't make things weird between the two of us.  But, I'm afraid I might have shown a part of my hand which I was not really ready to show.  I really like Boo, but I don't think we're a good match until he works through some shit.  And I need to figure out myself, first.  But, I do think I made him think.  And I think it scared him that someone might actually be interested in him; that someone might actually find him attractive or interesting, or worth their time.  I think that terrified him.
If someone finds the keyboard of life, could they just hit Ctrl+Z for me?  It would make my life so much easier. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gatsby Party Update

I simply had a wonderful time at the party last night!  It was so much fun.  I went out shopping with the Roomie and Rachel that afternoon, stressed majorly over what to wear, and ended up with a cute black top with white polka dots and ruffles, and a cute set of black tights with faux diamond sparkles on the calves.  I tied that in with a skirt and shoes which I already owned, and voila!  I was ready to go.

A few of us started off the night with a dress-up party and some wine.  The roomie did my hair and makeup.  Then, we just hung out, laughing and talking, giving ourselves a chance to get there fashionably late.  We certainly didn't want to be the first people there!

Boo didn't come until we had been there for about half an hour; maybe forty-five minutes.  And when he did.....God, he was so handsome!  I have never seen him look quite so fine!  And he was completely hammered.  He was practically pickled.  And strangely enough, being shit-faced doesn't make him act like an idiot, but it makes him talk in really big, fancy words.  When I first started talking to him, you would have thought he was Gatsby, the way he was carrying on.  For all his fancy talk, however, you could see that it was taking longer for the gears to work.  His language might have been fancy, but his brain was running real slow.  It was not long before he disappeared into the corner with just the friends he had come with.  I had asked him to dance before that point, but he protested a series of injuries, scars, and physical therapy made it impossible for him to dance.  So, I was a bit disappointed.  I've chalked it up to his being drunk, though, because usually, he's a bit more friendly with me.

After a point, I began to get frustrated.  I wanted to dance with a cute blond, so I decided that was just what I was going to do.  And if that cute blond was not Boo, then I'd just have to find another.  I spotted a familiar face in the crowd, and asked him to dance.  He's a freshman and I'm a senior; there is no romantic feeling there at all, but he's a wonderful dancer.  And we accidentally got caught in a slow dance, but that was fun, too.  All in all, I think that one dance was the highlight of my night.  And I kinda hope that Boo wasn't watching, but part of me hopes he was.  I also got to dance with one of the people who put the party together.  He made a comment that the host must dance with everyone, and I jokingly asked if he was Gatsby.  With a wink he said "maybe".  I called him mysterious, and he told me that was his middle name, "Jay Mysterious Gatsby," haha!

At the end of the party, once the dancing was over and the band was packing up, I slipped upstairs to the second floor to say goodbye to Boo.  On the way there, I found a bunch of playing cards scattered all over the steps.  And on the top step, just staring at me, was the Five of Hearts; my lucky card.  There is a whole story behind it, and it would take at least another post to explain, but for me, it really hit me hard.  It reminded me of things and of people.  And after little details that I noticed during the night (again, I'd need to explain so much background context first), I felt as though this might be a sign of something, although I don't know what.  I left the card, went up to the second floor, said goodbye to some people, and then came up to Boo.  He didn't see me, so I placed a hand on his arm, and said goodbye.  He was starting to sober up, and his response sounded so much more like his old self.  On the way back down the stairs, I grabbed the card.

The night was finished off with Princess Bride and more wine.  My feet were killing me, and I was incredibly tired, but it was a wonderful evening, Boo or not.  I was so glad that I went!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dress to Impress

There's going to be a dance on campus this weekend.  More specifically, it's a Great Gatsby themed party.  And I've been wanting to go since the beginning of the semester, but as the date got closer and closer, I've been getting worried that I won't have the right outfit, and that means I have to go buy one, which requires time and money which I don't have...and after a certain point, I wasn't even sure if it was worth going, even though almost all my friends ARE, and it's pretty much all the English department talks about.

Then, I got a text from Boo yesterday.  And he asked me if I was going.  And not only is he going, but he's getting all dressed up, really getting into character, and is super excited.  He even bought a ton of stuff just for the occasion!  I'm still hoping to go, and my more fashion-conscious friends are going to help me find a cute outfit, but I'm seriously freaking out....I want to impress him sooooooo badly!  And since this is one of the few times he'll ever see me in a dress, I need to make this count.

Wish me luck, y'all!  I'll post details soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boo Radley?

Not sure how many of you have read To Kill a Mockingbird, but if you haven't, you should, and if you have, you should read it again.  I'm about halfway through my nth reading of it.  I love this book so much it's not even funny.  But, what is funny is the strange encounter I had with one of my writer friends.

I've mentioned this guy several times before.  This is the cynical Russian who clumsily injured his hand fixing his car, and who injured himself the day he was supposed to take me out for an afternoon of coffee and chess.  Lately, he's been helping me with my writing, acting as editor and moral support when I start to spaz.  In short, he's been amazing.

We met up today because he wanted to read over a few of my pieces (I'm seriously considering a Creative Writing MA, at his suggestion, and he offered to help me prepare a portfolio).  We were just going to hang out in one of the academic buildings, and then he suggested me grab a cup of coffee in one of the campus coffee shops.  While there, we fell to talking over our too-hot-to-drink beverages, and somehow, the topic of my current read, To Kill a Mockingbird came up in conversation.  And I asked him if he's ever read it.

Not only has he read it, but he confided in me that he discovered that he's actually the Boo Radley in his life.  And I awkwardly admitted to him that Boo is one of my favorite characters EVER in literature, and that it was funny he should feel that connection.  I was hopefully pretty casual about it, but inside, I was having a bit of a freak out.

I've been crushing on this guy on and off since I first met him.  From the moment he first spoke in class, I was head-over-heels for him.  I've calmed down somewhat, but there is still this gently pulsing attraction for him.  Factor in that he actually wants to spend time with me (even though he is generally antisocial), that he offers to help me with my writing and actively seeks out my help on his writing, and the fact that he believes himself to be something of a kindred spirit to my favorite literary character EVER, and, well, things get kinda complicated.

Part of me thought I might just be struggling with my emotions after the events with my creeper, but now, I'm not so sure.  I've been crushing on this guy for a year and a half...at this point, I think it's more of a steady crush than any sort of rebound.

I would try to ask him out, but I don't know if we'd mesh very well on a more intimate level.  Besides being of different opinions politically, we're also on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to religion (which is a huge thing for me in a serious relationship).  I'm a dedicated Catholic, and he's an agnostic who has tipped over into atheism.  Why can't relationships be simple?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I can't wait for this week to be over.  Or, more specifically, I can't wait until my Wednesday 5-6:15 class is over, and I don't have to stress about this presentation about Irish author Benedict Kiely anymore.  Going along with that, when class is over, my professor has offered to take us all out to dinner at a local Irish pub, and one of the grad students is buying us all beer.  I can't wait to sit back with a deliciously dark Guinness! 

I try--as a rule--to avoid drinking when I'm stressed out, but I would kill for a nice glass of wine or shot of vodka right now....just something to help me relax.  And I don't even know why I'm so stressed out!

Maybe it's because I just got back from Thanksgiving break, and I already have a ton of work?  Like 3+ papers, a one-act play, and two short story revisions?  Or maybe it's because I had finally decided I was going to take a year off before grad school, and now, on the suggestion of one of my writing buddies, I'm off on a mad scramble to fill out applications for a MA in Creative Writing program?  Or, if that's not what's bothering me, perhaps it's the fact that I'm majorly crushing (against my will!) on a creep who keeps trying to seduce me, even though he has a girlfriend?  I tell him that I just want to be friends, but he keeps coming on to me.  And it's seriously starting to piss me off.  Maybe I'm stressed because I graduate in just over a semester?  Or because I still don't quite know what I want to do with my life?  Do I want to be a writer or a librarian?  What the hell am I doing?

Why do I always attract creeps?  I don't even want a boyfriend....I really don't want to be in a relationship right now, but I certainly wouldn't mind a few pleasant dates with someone who's not a player, a creep, or a weasel (this current guy happens to be all three).

I think I'm going to curl up in bed with To Kill a Mockingbird, and read until I fall asleep.....that is, once I finish all this homework, first.

That was a LOT of rambling and stressing out.  So, here's a cute picture of a hedgehog to make y'all feel better :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last College Autumn

Autumn has settled upon my senior year of college.  To be honest, I find it hard to believe that I've been attending this school for nearly four years now.  Where does the time go?  Seriously!  I'm so amazed.

Sometimes, the swiftness of time terrifies me.  And I'll be honest, I'm a bit nervous about graduating in May, and leaving all this behind.  Don't get me wrong, I love being at home....I love my family and all the friends I can only see when I'm there...but I know I'll miss the campus, my college friends, and the freedom I feel here.  Sure, there are classes and such, but it's been nice having a dorm to retreat to, and having friends only a five to ten minute walk away.  I love the feeling of the campus in the fall, and I think that I'm going to miss that more than most things.

I know I have a few more months, but this is my last autumn here, and I want to enjoy as much of it as I possibly can.  Ever since I was a child, fall has always been my favorite season.  I love the weather, the crispness in the air....the start of school, my birthday, and Halloween were all in the fall (and in that order).  It was and is a magical time.

There are so many things I still want to do here, but at the same time, I feel as though my time to move on has come.  I guess what I'm looking for right now is a chance to stay attached to this campus forever, but as a student.  I want to continue to learn, and to wander the campus, taking in every delicious detail so that nothing is forgotten...Like a ghost, but alive, and well, and happy.  I want to freeze time for just a little bit longer.

And sometimes, I wish I could go back to freshman year, when I was just a naive kid wandering around to God-knows where with a frog-faced philosopher who made me feel like I could fly, even if only for a short time.  True, things fell apart, but I still think of him fondly when I see our cherry blossom tree bloom in the spring, or when I walk past the bench and lampposts where we used to meet up every night.  I guess, all in all, you could say I'm feeling somewhat nostalgic....and I guess that would be right.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween, everyone!  I just wanted to remind you all that tomorrow is November 1st....and that means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  For those of you who are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it's a personal challenge of many writers to try and complete a 50,000 word novel in one month.  I tried last year and utterly failed.  This year, I'm hoping to at least get halfway there.
I would love to be writer buddies with you guys!  If anyone is interested, please sign up to join NaNoWriMo with me!  We don't have to share any of our writing, but it would be nice to talk about how far we're getting in our respective pieces, or taking a chance to give each other pep talks or lament our frustrations with the project.  If you do have an interest, you can sign up or learn a bit more about NaNoWriMo here.  Also, I've included a widget on my blog's sidebar to keep up with my NaNoWriMo progress.  It's just underneath the widget for my 2012 reading goal.
So, as I said before, Happy Halloween, try not to eat too much candy, and let me know if you'd be interested in joining NaNoWriMo with me :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why So Serious?

I want to ask this to pretty much everyone in my creative writing workshop.  Everything is so depressing in this class!  Out of a group of 15, I swear that I'm the only one who wrote something vaguely uplifting.....and my narrator is dying of cancer!

I just don't understand.  Literature doesn't have to be sad to be good.  True, you don't want to read something sappy, but you can still have an uplifting ending without making it cheesy.  But, I feel like student writers always feel that they need to bog down their readers in depressing tales that leave them feeling forlorn and empty inside.  Here's just a few examples from my class:

  • One protagonist is eaten by a werewolf
  • Two find their significant others dead at the end of the piece
  • One gets arrested
  • One commits suicide
  • One suffers a devastating breakup
  • Two are insane
  • Two stories are about 9/11
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.
I know it's always suggested that writers use experience to create art.  And I'll be the first to admit that I have so much pain in my past that I could easily dredge up to write something passionate that would reduce the toughest among you to tears.  But, why would I want to do that?  I don't want to make people cry.  Literature is not all about pain and frustration.  It's about conflict and overcoming this conflict, reaching past it.  But, I feel like I'm the only one in this workshop who understands that.  Halloween is this Wednesday.  And I really want to just show up in class dressed like the Joker and rant about how this class needs to lighten up a bit, asking them "Why so serious?"  Maybe, while I'm at it, I'll see if they'd be interested in learning "how I got these scars."  In the meantime, though, I'll just be sitting in the corner writing pieces with conflict and ultimately uplifting endings.  True, I do write depressing pieces now and again, but there's no fun in only writing the same type of literature all the time.  That's like only eating one flavor of ice cream or only playing one board game for the rest of your life!

I've reached the conclusion that people are crazy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Means Halloween!!

So, call me a dork, but I just love Halloween :)  I just love seeing the trees change colors as the nights grow longer, and children dress up in cute costumes to go trick-or-treating door to door for candy treats.  I haven't been home for Halloween since I went to college, so I haven't had the chance to enjoy that aspect of the holiday, but I've still been having fun enjoying spooky stories, scary videos, and other Halloween themed treats.

Every year, I think I'm going to post a whole ton of awesome Halloween stuff, but every year that falls through and I only end up posting a small smattering of things.  This time, I'm not going to try and be too ambitious, but I did want to pass along some fun seasonal treats for all of you.

I think I'll start off with a video.  I thought this was the funniest thing when it first came out, and I'm sure most of you have already heard of it, but for those of you who haven't, I'll provide a bit of background.  So, a few months back, a song came out on the Internet called "Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf".  And as far as I know, there was really no reason behind it; the actor is not actually a cannibal.  But, it sounds cool, and it's actually a very funny song (if you understand that it's still very dark).  I've included the song below (this video is my favorite version so far--I love the cartoon characters, and I think it's funny that Shia is drawn to look like Hannibal Lecter).  Also, if you want to learn a bit more about the song, you can read all about it on Cheezburger.com's Know Your Meme, here.


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Post Where Emmy Just Writes and Writes and Writes...

Having one of those moments where I just want to curl up in the corner and read EVERYTHING forever.  And it's kinda great.  I haven't felt like that in a long time.  Sometimes, I feel as though being an English major is squashing my love of books...like being forced to read is making me hate it or something.  Nice to know that the passion is still there, though.
So, this is going to be a bit of a bigger update, since I've been pretty AWOL lately.  I hadn't been blogging much for the past few months, but OF's passing has made it even more difficult to get back online and write.  And I desperately want to write.
Things have been a bit stressful lately.  Classes are taking up a lot of time, and I'm still trying to keep up a social life on top of all that, which makes for a lot of stress and things not getting done.  I'm getting bogged down in projects and stuff, and people make me feel bad for complaining because they have more to do.  It bothers me sometimes, because I feel that just because I have less work, it doesn't mean it's not overwhelming, and I'm not sleep deprived, too.  Watching cat videos on the Internet is my way of relaxing; I'm not a lazy-ass.
Ranting over.  So, the guy I had mentioned before?  Yeah, not working out.  He's kind of a snake who flirts with me like crazy, and only told me that he had a girlfriend when I asked him.  At first, though, I thought I could be overreacting, so I was just going to drop it, but he insisted on talking to me about it, so that he could explain himself.  So, I let him.  And we had a great conversation.  Then, though, he took that as his "okay" to basically cling to me like a very horny shadow.  And I'm not really cool with that.  I mean, we could be friends, but I'm experiencing slight trust issues from this, and I just need a bit of space.  Instead, he comes running back, trying to act like he's my boyfriend.  And while I would  be perfectly happy to have another male friend, I think that these advances he's making at me are a bit too forward.
I've talked about him to some of my guy friends.  Movie Boy says that this guy is either in love with me, or he's a psychopath.  Either alternative is not ideal, but I'd prefer the first one.  And another male friend (who is in the same class as the Snake and myself), says that not only is he positive that this guy is really into me, but that he's been getting bad vibes off him, and that there is something wrong with him, and I should stay away.  How comforting, am I right?
Work has been blissfully quiet.  I'm having a wonderful time.  I've been getting homework done.  And I'm BLOGGING!  I'm so happy!
I've started reading Jasper Fforde's latest book The Last Dragonslayer in my free time.  This guy is brilliant! :)
Irish Lit is focusing on James's Joyce's short story "The Dead".  I've read and reread a 14 page essay on new historicism in "The Dead" about three times now.  It is so boring!  I feel my brain turning to soup as I read.  I wouldn't care so much, except I have to be able to discuss it in class.....in a group with two other people...while the whole class watches us. How awkward.  Why can't we just make it a presentation??
My writer crush has asked me to read his work and give feedback.  Do you know how amazing that is for me????  I just want him to write things at me.  His literary genius is beautiful.  I'm thrilled :)
Okay, so I think that's enough for now.   It was nice to actually blog a bit again.  Hope y'all are well.  I would love to hear from you :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Old Fool

I'm not the best with words at times like this, so I'll be brief:

Old Fool, you were an inspiration.  You are loved.  You will be missed.


A silly girl honored to have known you, and your Blogging Granddaughter,


What is up with Emmy?

So, life is starting to really confuse me right now.  First, I'm super tired.  I haven't been sleeping properly.  And that of course, doesn't help me one bit.  It's a Friday night, and all I wanted to do is curl up in bed with a blanket, a movie, and a nice cold can of Guinness.  Instead, I'm went out into the dark and the cold with my friends from the Physics Club to go stargazing.  It was a lot of fun, but it was so cloudy that we couldn't actually see anything.  However, my friend and I ran into a thick patch of fog and found a clustering of trees that looked like tall thin people.  It was actually somewhat terrifying because we honestly could not tell what they were from a distance, and it was so dark, that we couldn't make out more than just basic shapes.  Overall, though, I would still say it was a worthwhile time :)

Also, there's this guy in my writing class.  We've been talking a bit and he seems pretty okay.  I friended him on Facebook, and now he keeps messaging me.  I sort of get the impression he likes me, especially when he addressed me as "bella donna".  But, the issue I'm having right now is I just don't know how to feel.  I should probably be flattered, but I think I've finally gotten to that point where I'm not going to go to pieces every time a guy seems to like me as more than a friend.  It's comforting to know that I've finally gotten past that awkward stage, but it's difficult, too, because as much as I protest that I'm not a romantic, I would really love to feel sparks and to go all mushy inside when someone compliments me or tries to flirt.  Instead, I'm just lukewarm.

I'm not rushing things.  I'm not even getting too excited right now.  Usually, that kicks me in the ass.  But, this guy could be something worth pursuing.  He's Catholic for a start, and a writer.  He's ex-military/wants to be a cop. I come from a family of cops and military men.  And he wears his heart on his sleeve.  Whether he tries to or not, I feel like I can see exactly what's going on in his head.  And I kinda like that.  For once, I feel like I'm the cool, collected one (not that he's a basket case or anything), and I really like how it feels.  It's not so stressful.

I'm sure I look a sight sitting here right now.  I have one sock on, one off; my hair in a ragged ponytail, and I'm practically shivering from the cold air coming in through my window screens.  On the plus side, I have that Guinness sitting beside me.  And ah....it is delicious :)

Friday, September 14, 2012


The rain softens my
heart of stone and turns my thoughts
to the arms of men.

I'm not a romantic.  I will never be a romantic.  But, on rainy days, as I curl up in my frigid dorm room, dressed in too many layers to keep myself warm, sometimes I wish there was a guy to cuddle with.  Sometimes I have someone particular in mind.  I know I do today.  And he's so perfect in every way, but it just won't work out for so many reasons.  It's not a sad thing, just a melancholy feeling that comes knocking on my door sometimes in the cold and the dark, in the rain and the night.  It's the driving force that keeps me writing; that spark in my gut that makes me remember that I'm alive, and that my heart is not fully dead within me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two Small Disappointments

I'll keep this brief....

1.) I didn't get the job at the coffee shop; they loved me, they wanted me to work there, but we could not make our schedules match up.  They wanted me to come during times when I would be in class....

2.) My date didn't actually go through.  He sent me a text a few hours before we were supposed to go out for coffee and chess, saying that he sustained an nasty injury during his workout that morning.  Apparently, he strained his trapezius muscle, and was having trouble even sitting up.

I guess the good news is that I'll still hopefully be able to get a rain check for the date, but as for the job...well, I'm not going to be getting that.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Date....ish?

So, do you guys remember the cynical Russian guy I was obsessed with?  Well, we were talking online the other day, and he ended up asking me to join him for coffee and chess at the local hipster coffee shop.  I'm nervous and excited all at once.  I'm not sure if this is a date or not, so that puts a bit of pressure on me, since I'm not really in a place right now where I'm looking for a boyfriend....plus, we would totally kill each other if we ever tried to date.  Still, I don't want to hurt his feelings.  I think for now, I'll just treat this like a "two friends hanging out" sort of thing and see what happens.  Either way, wish me luck! :D

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back on Campus

Senior year is about to start, and I'm so excited!  The past couple of weeks building up to this point were difficult, but I was pleased as punch to discover that just getting back on campus totally helped me readjust; and living in the same dorm as last year makes it feel like I never actually left.
I know I've already amazed and thrilled (or perhaps bored) all of you with details of my class schedule and the books I'll be reading, so I won't subject you to that now.  However, I will bring up some other interesting news...
I applied for a job in one of the on-campus coffee shops.  I'm actually just hanging out during the interview process right now.  I was the first to be interviewed, and now, I'm just waiting for our little "training" session.  Ironically, we'll be trained before we're told if we have the job or not.  I'm just hoping I'll get a chance to go to the second level of interviews....Working at a coffee shop would be a lot of fun, plus the hours aren't that bad.  And I could always add this to a resume when I apply for a summer job at Starbucks, lol.  But seriously, I would love to work in a coffee shop.  What could be more fun than sharing my favorite brews with my fellow students?
I think the interview went well...but I can't say much more about it at this point.  I'll be sure to keep y'all posted if anything happens.
In the meantime, I'm reading Tristram Shandy for pleasure, and waiting to see which books I'll be reading first for classes...and I'm totally eavesdropping on some girls talking about very many things, such as:
  • The extreme hickeys Girl A's bf gave her (resulting in scarves on a hot day, and tons of concealer)
  • The possibility of selling one's first born in exchange for text books ("it's cheaper and they will probably accept it")
Oh, the things you hear when people don't realize you're listening...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beautiful Weather, Good Food, and the End of the Summer

I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful it is outside today!  The weather is simply glorious.  The sun is shining, the sky is a perfect shade of blue, peppered with big, white, fluffy clouds, and the breeze is just glorious.  I wish every day of summer could be just like this one.

Summer is almost over, and while I'm excited to start back at school is just over a week, I'm also somewhat sad.  Going back to school means the end of so many things here....like riding my bike, hanging out with my wonderful friends from home (although, I'll be able to see more friends from school), and, perhaps surprisingly, shopping for fruits and vegetables at the local roadside stands.

There's one stand in particular where we always make it appoint to go at least once a week, all summer (and sometimes, into the fall).  There is something wonderful about stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies that could very easily have been picked that day.  Peppers, eggplant, okra, peaches, tomatoes, blueberries, potatoes, zucchini, watermelon, even fresh-cut flowers.  Going there is always a treat, and one which I will certainly miss.

We had a tomato salad today; all heirloom tomatoes-- six different sizes and varieties.  I've found that heirloom tomatoes tend to be avoided because of their strange shapes and colors, but I thought they were delicious.  We just chopped up the tomatoes and mixed them up with some sweet Italian dressing.  It was a delightful treat.

Sometimes, I wish summer would last forever.  It means spending quality time with my family and always trying new things.  And I love both of those things very much.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So, I was trying to use a new workout video yesterday.  And....well, I don't work out too much.  But, even so, I've never had a problem before.  I think I must have done something wrong this time around, though, since my lower back, butt, and upper legs seemed sore by about mid-day, and by the time night rolled around, I was in considerable discomfort.

I woke up this morning, and my back was so stiff and sore that I couldn't even get out of bed without considerable effort.  Every time I bend down or move my torso at all, these muscles just scream at me.

I moved a few of my things into my dorm today (the same room I shared with Italia, but will now be sharing with The Roomie from Freshman and Sophomore year).  And I decided to put sheets on my bed for the year.  That was not a good idea, either.  Maneuvering a large, heavy, cumbersome mattress ALONE can cause a lot of frustration.  And if you already have irritated, inflamed muscles, it only causes them MORE pain.

I'm fine as long as I'm sitting or standing. Any attempts to MOVE hurts like hell.

Will someone bring me tea and a comic book to make me feel better?

Fall 2012 School Reading List

Hi, guys!  So, this update is mostly for Robby (who said he would like to see what I'm reading for class), but of course, same as before, anyone can read along with me.  I'm taking three English classes this year (one is a writing class, the other two are literature).  And while I don't have nearly as many books as last time, I still have a nice list for everyone.  I would love it if you would be interested in reading along with me.  I'll try and be better about posting updates this year.

  • The Awakening (Chopin)
  • Scarlet Letter and Other Writings (Hawthorne)
  • Moby Dick  (Melville)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Jacobs)
  • Final Harvest (Emily Dickenson)
  • Turn of the Screw (James)
  • Selected Writings (Poe)
  • The Dubliners (Joyce)

...And a few extra books, such as criticisms and backgrounds.

Looking forward to reading with you guys :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Reading Blip

So....Summer is almost over.  I have like two weeks left, and that means I will NOT be able to finish the entire LOTR series (and I'll be honest, I only got through The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring).  There were just so many other books that caught my attention!  And as for these other books...yeah, I was NOT very good about posting updates on them.  Not at all.  In fact, of the 19 books I read (Wow!  That's better than I thought, haha!) I only recorded records for 9.  The rest can be found, of course on my Goodreads account, but I didn't record them here.

So, that being said, I hope to be able to start posting more things online once school starts.  I spend a bit more time in front of a computer, and have more time to write and post.  So, please stick with me just a little while longer.

On a slightly related note, if anyone is interested, I'll post my reading list for classes this semester.  Just let me know in the comments :)  (This time around, I'll try to actually read everything cover to cover, instead of skimming).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Almost-Autumn Weather

The weather today, as compared to the past few months, is so cool that I almost feel like I could call it autumn.  And the moisture in the air from the impending rain, makes it feel so delightfully brisk.  I wish the weather would last like this forever.

I can't wait until fall comes.  Until I can spend countless hours on a weekend sitting outside in the crisp fall air, reading books until my fingers become too cold to turn the pages, pulling my hoodie closer around my chilled frame.

I become the most alive in the fall.

I cannot wait to come back to life again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Cactus Con

As some of you already know, I have a lucky bamboo plant that I call Bertram.  It may sound silly, but since my dorm does not really support most pets, keeping a plant is the next best thing.  And so, a year this past March, I've been taking care of a rapidly growing houseplant.  This is the first time I've had a plant and it's lasted more than a few weeks.

Today, I finally decided it might be fun to get another plant.  I thought it might brighten up my dorm room for this coming school year.  And, since the local drug store was carrying tiny cacti (for only $1.99!) I thought that might be a fun plant to start with (either that, or one of the $5.00 orchids I found at the grocery store).

So, I was checking out the cacti (all tiny and cute-- some with little flowers on top).  And that's when I discovered a clever, if not distasteful deception.

There was something funky about the base of the flowers.  As I leaned in to get a closer look, I realized that these were not natural flowers (well, they might be real flowers, but they weren't naturally a part of the cactus.  They were fixed on with a hot glue gun.  And it wouldn't have been so bad if the workmanship weren't so shoddy; you could actually see the opaque strands of glue where the flower was attached!

Needless to say, I didn't buy a cactus.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Hello, everyone!

Just a quick update.....I'm going to be going on vacation for the next few weeks, so I'll be pretty AWOL (no Internet access).  I hope you are all doing well, and I look forward to blogging with you again upon my return :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Mass Book Update!

Hello, everyone!  I hope all of you have having a wonderful summer :)  As for me, I've been getting a lot of reading done, but I haven't been very good about posting my reviews online.  For those of you who are friends with me on Goodreads, I'm sure you've seen my reviews and lists of the books that I've read all listed on my profile.  For the rest of you, though, I'm afraid I've been pretty bad at updating.  So, since I'm already a few books back, I'm going to attempt something a little different: a mass posting about a few books that I've read, instead of just one. This way, I can give a quick update about stuff, without clogging up your update feeds with three, four posts about book reviews.  That being said, I'm going to be touching on four books in one post: The Zombie AutopsiesA Treasury of Royal Scandals, Animal Farm, and the second book for my Summer in Middle Earth Reading Challenge: The Fellowship of the Ring.

First, The Zombie Autopsies.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure why I picked this one up.  I really don't like zombies.  I never have.  I developed a minor interest in the concept when Kiity and I were still spending time together; unlike myself, she had quite an interest in zombies, and since we were friends, I tried to show a bit of interest in the things she liked.  I still wasn't a fan, but sometimes, I find a zombie book, doll, or movie, and I cannot help but think of her.  She's been on my mind lately, so I picked up the book and decided to give it a try.  I don't know.

Despite my lack of interest in zombies, this seemed like an interesting take on the classic horror of the living dead.  This book brings an interesting premise and theory: zombiism is a medical condition caused by some sort of virus.  While the world dies from this pandemic, scientists seclude themselves on a tiny island to try and isolate the virus by performing autopsies and live dissections on the zombie spawn they've accumulated.  In theory, while a bit gross, this does promise to be interesting. And, to top it off, there are even illustrations of the procedures.  So, you can see zombies with the tops of their heads missing, or their chests opened.  Very gross.  I tried not to dwell on the illustrations for very long.  All this being said, however, this book was pretty engaging at first.  I desperately wanted to know what the final theory would be; what sort of virus or parasite would prompt this rapid decline in health and mental stability.  But that was the worst part.  They never told us.
Instead of giving us the secret of zombiism, or at least some clever suggestion, the reader is taken though a tortured song and dance of dissection, death, and gore, until ultimately told that there was nothing to be revealed.  By the end of the book, the reader has been force-fed the same theories over and over again, but with nothing to show for it.  In other words, a complete waste of time.  I would have been content if they even just said that it was a virus, or that they found the virus.  I don't need to know what it was, specifically.  But, instead, we're left with an armful of unanswered questions and no answers to satiate us.  A failure.  I'd rather just read a zombie survival story.  At least a plot like that wouldn't promise a cure or a reason for the disease, just a plot resolution where the team of survivors are either eaten, changed, or safe.  That being said, I would not recommend this book.

Next on the list is a fun piece of historical non-fiction: A Treasury of Royal Scandals.  I found this one day while I was trying to hide in the non-fiction section of the library.  The cover looked fun, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm glad I did.  It really was a fun little book.

The concept itself was simple enough: royalty can be pretty crazy, and there was plenty of juicy gossip in the past.  Madness, illness, affairs, sexual perversions, torture, and deformity are all covered in this "innocent" looking text.  And Michael Farquhar does far more than just present these ideas to us.  He brings them alive with his subtle wit and fascinating historical trivia.  This is indeed a book for anyone who has an interest in European history.  Kings, queens, nobility... even popes are covered in this fascinating book. 

Now, of course, I do not go so far as to say that everything was sunshine and rainbows, however.  There were (or are) as with most books, little things that keep it from being perfect.  I think the biggest issue with this book is that, no matter how much fun scandal can be, there comes a point where....well...it gets a little bit boring.  One can only read about affairs and sexual scandals for so long before they start to get a bit redundant.  But, even so , Farquhar always seems to reach into his hat and pull out another, far more interesting story just when the boredom starts to become a bit too much.  Just when you're ready to close the book, there is something fun to remind you why you started reading it in the first place.  That's what a good book is supposed to do, because, after all, not every book can be 100% engaging 100% of the time.  Still, this one made a wonderful effort, and I greatly enjoyed reading it.

Thirdly, I just finished Animal Farm this morning.  Ironically, this book is third on the list, and this is the third time I've read it (I just realized that as I was typing this).  And...well, I guess I've never been able to quite figure it out.   I mean, I've read it, I understand what it's about, but I can't bring myself to figure out what it so damn special about this book.  It's just really depressing. 
I've been told that Animal Farm is supposed to be a political critique, and honestly, that much is apparent from the first chapter onward.  However, I'm still a little unsure of what each character is supposed to represent.  I get the strong impression that Communism is wrapped up in there, but apart from that, I really have no idea.

  Just going off of what I've read so far, I'm not really much of an Orwell fan.  True, I've only read Animal Farm (three times), and barely started 1984, but so far, I just can't get into his writing. 

Besides being bothered by the whole plot of this book (bad things happen to the farm animals, while the privileged pigs get fat on milk and apples that the other animals are not allowed to eat), I was also continually annoyed by several of the characters, including Squealer (basically a yarn-weaving politician; as slimy as they come, who tries to convince the others that the pigs need milk and apples to mix into their food, since they are the brains of the farm, plus various other lies to keep the swine elevated above all the other animals) and Boxer, the big, slow workhorse, who is at first rather endearing, soon becomes a bit trying in his blindness when accepting orders and following the animal leaders.

All in all, I just find the entire book a frustration.  I don't care for the characters (except I rather like Mollie, Clover, Benjamin, and Muriel), and the plot is frustrating and convoluted.  However, I think it does provide a certain social criticism, and does present it rather well.   Perhaps, if I was more interested in political theory, I would have enjoyed this book more.

FINALLY, we come to the last book of this super-long mass book review (by the way, if you've made it this far, let me know in the comments what you think of the concept of a giant book review.  Not saying this is something I would do all the time, but I might use it again on occasion if I find it's a success.

The last book of this massive four-book book review is the second book of four for my summer reading challenge: The Fellowship of the Ring.  I honestly really enjoyed this one.  I mean, it took me a long time to read, and I wouldn't rank it as high as The Hobbit, but I still thought it was a wonderful book, and this then prompted me to watch the movie, which I also really enjoyed.

As far as summer reading challenges go, this one is going to be very time consuming.  True, I only have to read four books, but each one is at least 400 pages.  And, well, at least for me, I can't just sit down and read 1600 pages of the same book (or same series of book) without some sort of break in between (hence the other three books).  Still, if you have to read 1600 pages of something, LOTR is a great choice. 

I just love the sense of adventure that this book contains.  It's fun, it's exciting, and it leaves me dying to know what happens next.  Also, I love the characters.  The hobbits are so cute and funny, and of course, if you want badass, then Gandalf, Aragorn, and Boromir are just what you're looking for.  (And those last three are my personal favorites.  In fact, Boromir is my current wallpaper, haha).  I love the sense of danger, too.  It's exciting.  And just when you think something bad is going to happen, and that all hope is lost, something manages to spring up and fix things (just like in The Hobbit, when the group is saved from being burned to death in a forest fire by the timely deus ex machina of the Lord of the Eagles and his flock of subjects).  But, really, my favorite thing has to be the characters.  I love character based plots and storylines.  I love how all of these characters form such an unlikely bunch, and how they band together to stop a great evil, even as it corrupts their numbers.  It makes the drama far more intense, and it makes the stakes higher.  I would hate to be a member of the Fellowship, but I love reading about it, haha.

Wow!  That was a lot of writing......hopefully, you guys are all still here.  As I said before, comment to let me know what you thought of this sort of setup for reviews.  Honestly, I don't think I'll do it again, but if people like it, I might make another one in a month or so, once I've read a bit more.  In closing I'm leaving you with the Boromir picture I made into my wallpaper; hopefully the other LOTR fans out there find him as cool as I do!

My precious holding the Precious......

Friday, June 22, 2012

Caveman Grammar

I get the same reaction from people today when I correct their grammar.  Usually, I'm lucky, though, since they either don't have a club to hit me with, or I'm fast enough to run away.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Ever since I was little, my dad has been one of the most important people in my life.  He was my mentor, my teacher, my own personal comedian, and my friend.  But, more than any of those things, he was and still is, my hero.  And I know he doesn't read this blog, and probably never will, but I just want to say how important he is to me.  We might not always get along or see eye-to-eye, but he means more to me than just about anyone else.  He's one of my all-time favorite people, and so much of what I am is a result of what he has done for me.

But, there are other father figures in my life as well....And I'd like to take a moment to recognize them all in turn:

  • My late grandfather T.L.M., who was my hero as a child.  He was a war veteran and one of the strongest men I know.  Even though he passed when I was still young, there are still so many things that remind me of him on a daily basis.  Thank you, Grandpa, for being my hero, too.
  • My other grandfather P.J.H., who is one of the most generous men I know.  I have had so many wonderful experiences because of this man, and have learned so much.  Beautiful and funny memories abound.  Thank you, Dziager*, for being there for me for so long. [*Dziager is Polish for grandfather]
  • O.F., my blogging father/grandfather.  Even though we have never actually met in person, I can tell that he is a great man, and I'm so grateful for the chance to be in contact with him.  His honest wisdom always amazes me, and makes me wish that I could be a philosopher like him.  Thank you, O.F.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Candy Rant

The simple process of deciding what to have for dessert tonight lead to a small rant to my parents and brothers about false advertising in the world of chocolate.  Here it is......

Hershey's Air Delight; all air-- no delight.

Hershey's Air Delight is not really so much of a delight as Hershey's would make you think.  Sure, it's chocolate and it's Hershey's...so of course it's delightful.  But, basically, upon buying one, you receive a chocolate bar that's full of air pockets, so while it looks bigger than other Hershey's bars, it's the same amount of chocolate, if not less, since the space that's normally full of chocolate is full of air.  I don't know about you, but for me, that's not exactly delightful.  That's just a chocolate bar full of air.  I'm getting less chocolate for my money, and I fall for it because you put it in a fancy wrapper and call it delight.  Clever, Hershey's.....clever.

Fun Size?  Seems like false advertising to me!

The other candy trick that always mystifies me is the concept of Fun Size.  When the candy is so small that I can eat it in one or two bites, than that's not fun-sized.  That's a nice bite, but that's not fun.  I'd call those baby-sized.  Fun size candy bars are those giant ones that my neighbor used to give to brave trick-or-treaters who "survived" his "haunted garage".  That's a fun size.  That's a lot of fun!  A half-bite of candy is not fun.  That just whets my insatiable appetite for more chocolate.  A King-Sized candy bar my idea of fun!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cinema Sweetheart Summer

Summer has been great so far; true, I don't have a job yet, but I've had a ton of time to read and watch movies.  This means there are going to be plenty of reviews on my other blog, Cinema Sweetheart's Film Reviews.  For those of you who are interested, I post every Thursday, and so far, I have enough reviews written to last me into mid July.  Feel free to check everything out :)

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)

This book started off really well.  I was hooked.  I had meant to read just a couple of pages before bed, and soon found that I could not put it down.  The premise was great: one man left in a world full of vampires.  And in fact, all the short stories included after it were similar in that regard; they were all great ideas for stories.  The problem was in the execution of the ideas.  Matheson took some great ideas and let them fall flat on their faces.  Each story had me excited; had my complete attention.  They were great story ideas, and I was all a tingle with anticipation.  But, too quickly, I found myself wondering when the story would just be over with.  I was so disappointed.  So, I guess it gets two of five stars for interesting ideas, but fails to earn the other three because of poor execution.  In the hands of another writer using the same premises for each of the eleven stories (one novella and ten short stories), this could have been a five out of five.  But, in it's current form, it just didn't make the grade.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? (Pagett Powell)

Did I like this book?  What would you think if I told you there was a book written entirely in questions?  Do you think you would like it?  Why do you think I'm recommending it?  Do you think four stars is a good rating for a book?  Do you prefer black beans, pinto beans, or no beans on your Chipotle chicken burrito?  Do you even order a chicken burrito when you go to Chipotle?  Do you even like Chipotle?  Where do you like to eat?  Do you want to get lunch together?  If I told you that I had truly enjoyed this book, that I found it to be a wonderful experience, and one which I will treasure, would you be more or less inclined to read it?  Should I stop talking now?

Coca Cola (The Interrogative Mood)

Do you wonder why if there is, say, vanilla Coke and cherry Coke, and if the global market is the thing, why there is not, say nutmeg Coke and cumin Coke and anise Coke and garlic Coke and sauerbraten Coke and horseradish Coke and chili Coke and coconut Coke and lemongrass Coke?  Have you lost your mind?

~Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Library Trip

I just returned from a trip to the library, and while I'm greatly dismayed by the renovations that have taken place in the building since I was last there over Christmas break, I was thrilled with the collection of books I've brought back with me.  There's going to be some interesting reviews to come, I'm sure :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Quick Update

Just got back from the library....The Fellowship of the Ring came in, so I'm starting on that right now :)  I got a few other books with it, so hopefully, there will be more reviews to follow!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Stranger (Albert Camus)

This post is dedicated to Robby, who, according to my book list, recommended this piece to me several months back.  Thank you, Robby!

From the back of my book: Through this story of an ordinary man who unwittingly gets drawn into a senseless murder on a sun-drenched Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd."

As one new to Camus (haha, that rhymes!), I have to say that The Stranger is one of the most unusual and unsettling pieces I've ever read.  In fact, it is so different that I'm not quite sure what to make of it.  To be sure, it was brilliant.  And it was wonderfully written.  I cannot remember the last time I've been so focused on the writing style; the types of sentences, their lengths....It was a fascinating read just from that aspect alone.  And there is so much more than the sentence structure!

During the entire reading, I could not help but feel that I was enjoying an evening with a sociopath.  While not outwardly crazy, there was something unnerving about this narrator, and while I could never quite put my finger on it, I felt it might have something to do with his tone, his mood, and his reactions to various events.  Told by anyone else, this story could have had feelings and emotion; it could have been sad or anxious or distraught.  But, instead, it was detached and distant.  It felt like watching the narrator through a pane of glass, while at the same time, he watched the narration unfold through a foggy haze, like in a dream.  Such an unusual experience.  But, such a fascinating book.

Since Camus wrote in French, a translation was obviously required.  And I would recommend the translation I used: Matthew Ward did a fine job; many times, translations are difficult to read because they do not flow right, or feel false.  This was a wonderful translation.  It was easy to read, felt authentic, and was highly engrossing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


For more adventures of Cardboard Colin and Paper Pauline, visit Philippa's website: http://www.mycardboardlife.com/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien)

After reading The Hobbit for the nth time, I still have to say that this book is just as magical, epic, wonderful, and thrilling as it was when I read it the first time, back in grade school.  I don't think I could have been more than twelve or thirteen at the time.  There are so many memories of this book.  Late nights reading in bed....desperately trying to get in one more chapter, or even just a few more pages....renewing the book six times before the librarian told me that I had to simply finish it or return it (that was before we were given the chance to renew up to fifteen or twenty times).

The Hobbit is a story of adventure, loyalty, and courage.  When homebody Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is visited by the wizard Gandalf and a troupe of dwarfs, he has no idea what adventures are in store for him.  But soon, the quiet, non-adventureous Mr. Baggins finds himself facing trolls, goblins, elves, and giant spiders in order to help his new companions reach the final challenge of their quest: rescue their stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug.

Besides being a pleasant and often thrilling read, this book has so much to offer in the way of adventures, characters, and plot.  Like Bilbo, the readers find themselves lulled into the action, drawn in slowly at first, and then all at once, are grabbed by the shirtfront and pulled right into the action.  From that point onward, you have nineteen chapters of bold, fastpaced adventure.  And when the story is over, you almost wish that it would keep going.

This provides a wonderful start to my summer reading challenge: A Summer in Middle Earth.  From there, I'll be moving on to Albert Camus's The Stranger and Jonathan Howard's Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer.  I'm still waiting for The Fellowship of the Ring to come in from the library.