Tag Archive | hurrah!



That is all.


What I Read: Vampire Academy Series, Books 2-6

Alright, nerds. This is the blog entry where I admit how many Vampire Academy books I’ve read in the last week or so. (The answer is 6, if you count Bloodlines, but 5 because technically that book is a spin-off series.) Am I ashamed? Slightly. But I’m going to be real with you, blog. I really liked those books. (Can’t say the same for their covers, though. Or their titles.)

Titles: Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice

Author: Richelle Mead

It would take way too long for me to go into the details of each of these books, so I’m just going to talk generally about the series. All of them got 3-4 stars from me on Goodreads, but each of them at least deserves a 3.5.

So here’s the deal. I am 22 years old and kind of a snob when it comes to literature and what I read. I look disdainfully down at paranormal romance, especially when it’s for teens, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that probably the Twilight series is the main cause of that one. But anyway, the last thing I expected was to read all six of these books. I read the first one because I got it for free. Then I found myself downloading the rest from libraries onto my phone. (Seriously, Kindles. Get on the library train.)

I read each one in about a day and I was so entertained you wouldn’t even believe it. Rose, the narrator, is a great character. She’s a little too good at beating evil up, sure, but overall she’s believable and she makes mistakes and she isn’t totally insane when it comes to romance. Obsessive about Dimitri, her hot teacher? Sure, a little bit. But the books get better after the first one as Rose becomes more dynamic and has to face new, darker challenges.

Things I liked: Rose as narrator; Rose/Dimitri love (don’t judge me); crazy terrible things that befall Dimitri, oh no!; Rose in Siberia and especially Yeva; Amish vampires; exciting plot lines!; dynamic characters!; Adrian; MAGIC; snarkiness; healthy relationship views (SERIOUSLY GUYS THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Mead was pretty good with these except for the cheating part, the aftermath of which was handled a bit too quickly but then you see more about that in Bloodlines so it’s a little more okay. BUT ANYWAY it’s not a terrible relationship where they spend every second together and stop existing in the real world, even if the things that they say to each other are of a corn factor of 1 million.); MAKE OUT SCENES (don’t judge me); Abe; finding characters endearing and actually wanting to know what happens to them; corny happy endings.

Things I didn’t like: LOVE TRIANGLES part 1 and 2 since we knew who ended up together in the end, Richelle, ugh, stop with all the boyz being so into Rose just cause she has boobs; boys being into Rose because she has boobs; minor characters’ stories being kind of left hanging in the end, even though they pick back up in Bloodlines; some slowness when you KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHO ROSE WILL FIND IN RUSSIA SO COME ON ALREADY JUST FIND HIM UGH and then UGH GET OUT OF THE DRUG HOUSE UGH COME ON STOP BEING DRUGGED; a certain someone CHEATING on a certain someone else and then that being kind of glossed over even though it was super shitty; THAT IT ENDED COME ON I WANT MORE.

I’m really embarrassed to admit that I was really into this series. When it was over, I rapidly read three more YA books hoping to find something to fill the void but it didn’t work none were as good. So then, even though I swore I wouldn’t, when I was reading Shelf Awareness yesterday and it had an ad for Bloodlines, I immediately read the excerpt it linked to and then bought it on my Kindle. CAN YOU BELIEVE ME, blog? I can’t. Go read these books, world.

In other vampire news:

In other general news, I secured myself a paid internship with W. W. Norton & Company! Hurrah!

It All Ends (not just HP)

I’m sure you’ve all seen the final Harry Potter movie posters. If not, here’s what I see every day, plastered on buses and telephone booths and walls:

Just for a second, can we talk about how depressing that is? I mean, it’s super exciting that the final movie is coming out–I have midnight tickets–but that tagline is the most depressing tagline in the world.

What makes it worse is that the day Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is released is also the day we at New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute are released and let out into the wilds of the city and the publishing industry. So not only is the most significant book series of my childhood coming to an end, but so, too is my actual childhood. I’ll have to find a job and an apartment.

Goodbye, childhood. Goodbye, Harry Potter.

(May also be read: Hello, exciting opportunities. Hello, 8-DVD-HP-marathons.)

What I Read: Eating Animals, One Year Later

Next week or so I’ll have been a pescetarian for a year. I quit eating meat early last summer, with the exception of fish and shellfish (which I rarely eat, but enjoy immensely). I had been toying with the idea for a few years before that; I even had an experiment at school that I told no one about, during which I tried going without meat, to see how long I could do it. I lasted about two weeks, and caved at the first sighting of a chicken patty. Chicken, I thought, would always be my downfall. I would never be able to give up chicken. And how could I ever go without Thanksgiving turkey? Then, just about a year ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. I’m not going to review it like I have other books, but rather I want to talk about my experiences and decisions because of it.

I read Eating Animals probably mostly because two of my favorite books, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated, are also by Jonathan Safran Foer. Given that I’d already thought about vegetarianism, I was curious to see how one of my favorite authors would write about giving up meat. I bought the book at a Barnes & Noble in hardcover. This is a big deal for me. I rarely buy books at big name book stores (preferring Amazon’s used books or smaller stores and used book stores), and I even more rarely buy hardcover books. But I couldn’t resist.

Here I should note that I wasn’t expecting to find anything surprising. I already knew about factory farms, and about horrible slaughtering practices. I hadn’t read in detail, because I knew that detail would be upsetting. But here, I finally decided to suck it up and read about it. I learned about the looseness of terms like “free range” and about the amount of water chicken is allowed to soak up–water that could be full of all sorts of disgusting things. (This, as it turns out, made it much easier to give up chicken.) I learned even more about the risks to my health that come from our standard and legal farming practices. But Foer doesn’t just preach for vegetarianism–he allows for other perspectives as well, including that of the factory farmer.

After I finished the book, I made the decision to give up meat, barring fish. (The health risks are much lower in fish, and the health risks are ultimately what made me decide to give up other meats. I am, however, due to environmental concerns and increasingly poor fish-farming practices, toying with the idea of giving up fish as well.) My decision was made even easier when I watched Food, Inc. (available to watch instantly on Netflix) and Jamie Oliver’s TED talk on teaching children about food. Full disclosure: both made me cry.

I’ve also tried to learn more and more since reading Eating Animals. There is so much to learn and so much we aren’t told and it is horrible. The food industry and the policies that surround it are disgusting and a lot needs to be done, but that is another post for another day.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed that a book is what finally made me decide to stop eating meat–especially a book that doesn’t focus as much on the scientific technicalities of others of its kind. But Eating Animals is both accessible and tied in with real people and the real social consequences of becoming a vegetarian. Never once have I seriously considered returning to meat, although I do crave pepperoni and hot dogs here and there. (I know, I know. They are gross excuses for meats in the first place. Can’t help what I crave.) Eating Animals is beautifully written and I’ve recommended it to many of my friends. If you’re on the fence about vegetarianism, read this. It doesn’t read like a book encouraging vegetarianism over all else, but rather like a book about a father, trying to find out the best way to raise his son–which it is. If I could get everyone to read it, I would.

On a side note, I still haven’t read but very much want to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I need to get on that…

Worst Blogger: Life Updates

Well, I’m officially the worst blogger. I shouldn’t be surprised. The number of blogs and diaries I’ve started and just not kept up with is ridiculous. I have notebooks scattered through desk and dresser drawers, and the internet knows me by so many different attempts. Right now I’ll say but this time will be different, and maybe it will be, but in the past it never was. It isn’t a lack of ideas. I have loads of ideas I want to post about. (Here are some: my vegetarianism [pesceterianism, technically] and JSF’s Eating Animals, all the YA novels I’ve read recently [the entire His Dark Materials series and The Hunger Games], HBO’s Game of Thrones [which I haven’t read, but the show is SO GOOD], Wind-Up Bird Chronicles [which I’m working on, and why it’s taking so long], and more!) What it is is a lack of motivation due to a lack of publicizing due to a lack of confidence in anyone wanting to read this ever. Probably I should just keep going with it for my own sake, so later I can look back and remember books even better; in fact, I remember books better because I intend to write about them.

Anyway, to kind of make up for it, and because I have time to kill (summer!), I’ll update twice tonight. What a champ!

First off, I graduated. I now have a Bachelor of the Arts degree. It even says that I graduated magna cum laude, which means I got between a 3.75 and a 3.899 GPA. (I got a 3.76.) I also graduated with honors in both departments due to having over a 3.5 GPA in each department, and getting HONORS on my Independent Study. (P.S. I got Honors on my Independent Study! This is the highest grade you can get. I am very happy with that, especially given my stickler of a Philosopher advisor.) It was sad, but happy. I’m excited to enter the real world but very sad to leave all the fabulous people I met at college, especially those who helped me to become less stressed and crazy in life.

Second, I turned 22! My birthday was a few days ago. I did nothing special. Truth be told, I watched Parks and Recreation on Netflix all day because that show is so stinking good. Also, went to Olive Garden with the family, and that was very nice. Then, the next day, my sister and I got ampersand tattoos. Why? Because as different as we are (and we are very different), we will always be there for each other. Corniness aside, I also love punctuation and it’s a reminder to myself to stay with people, especially those who make me better (choose my &s wisely). Given my emotional turmoil (graduation, etc.), I also felt a strong need to change something and the need to prove to myself I can do awesome and scary things things; I got a small, cover-up-able tattoo and it looks awesome. (And don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll love it years down the road as well.)

Third, I’m going to New York City in less than a fortnight for NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute. I was waitlisted at Columbia, but by the time I find out if they really want me NYU will have already started, so NYU it is, to be safe. I’m very very excited and very very scared all at once (part of my emotional turmoil). I know it will be awesome, and I know it’s a smart choice for me. I really want to go into publishing. Books forever! Or maybe magazines. We’ll see. I hope I love NYC enough to live there, because that’s where everything is happening and I want to be in the middle of it all. Goodbye money, hello “The I’m Poor” Diet!

I feel bad for no pictures, but so goes this update.

I’m a Winner!

After nearly three weeks of waiting, we finally found out who the winners of the English Department Writing Prizes were today. And by golly, I’m one of them. I won first place for a short story I wrote for my flash fiction class entitled “Lobster Boy,” and the Academy of American Poets Award for a poem I wrote for my Independent Study, “Lightning Words.” And I won cash prizes for both, which is awesome and probably the first time I’ve ever been paid for writing something. I am very excited. (Now I need to get my act together and start submitting to literary magazines.)

With this money, however, comes the expectation that we will read our winning pieces to a group of professors and students at an event held by the department. This is where I get less excited. I’ve actually already read “Lobster Boy” to a group of probably 30 or 40 people (students and professors). We all had to read for our flash fiction class. It was pretty painless, but I am not a fan of doing readings. I used to be in Speech and Debate in high school, so you’d think I’d be better at it, but the thing here is that I have to read pieces I wrote. I could get up and read you something I didn’t read (like a humor piece, like I did for two years in Speech and Debate [I was not a debater]), but reading a piece that I wrote makes me feel so nervous and judged and unworthy. Clearly I must be a decent writer, given that I won some prizes, but I’m nevertheless nervous about it.

The thing about poetry and creative writing, at least to me, is that I write it to be read, not necessarily to be read out loud. If I’m reading it out loud, I’m sure it’s much more awkward than the text on the page is. Does it make it better that in my head I know how things should sound if when I say them they don’t sound like that at all? There are lots of arguments for public readings, and against, and I think I side with the against, at least with my own writing. I know there are plenty of people who are great readers, but I don’t think I’m one of them.

Obviously the only choice is to become a famous writer and get a ton of practice.

Here’s to my future fame!

(Just kidding. I don’t want to be famous. Writing is cool, though.)

The Giant Romper Extravaganza

Well, it finally happened. For the first time since summertime, I pulled out the sewing machine to attack a giant romper. Found months ago at a thrift store, it was in desperate need of a de-pantsing. I’ve never been a fan of rompers, so this one needed to be a dress. It was also giant on me.

Here’s how it looked:

Yep! Giant shorts on a giant romper. It was way too big for me so I took care of a few things.

  • No more shorts. I seam-ripped the leg bits and re-sewed down the already present center seams to make a skirt.
  • Shorter straps. I had to take three inches off each of the straps.
  • Take in time. I took in six inches–three on each side, but only on the upper portion. To keep the pockets I didn’t take in the skirt; I like a fuller skirt, anyhow.
  • Fix the gross. There were some exposed edges that I folded in and sewed over to avoid loose threads.
  • Done. Easy-peasy.

And the results…

(Please excuse my dumb face / bra straps. Background is the pattern of the fabric.)

Anyway, it’s really an adorable dress and I can’t wait until it’s a normal springtime temperature so I can wear it tight-less. I might get too excited and wear it with tights soon, anyway. There are pockets and the length is great and the fabric is a nice thick cotton-y something, and I am excited.

Some details:

Price: <$3. I don’t remember how much it was, but I doubt I would’ve spent more than $3.

# Stabbed Fingers: 3…oops.

Hours: ~3. It was a nice, simple afternoon project.

Lots of 3s. I’ll be back sometime soon for reviews on The Blind Assassin and The Golden Compass, because I’ve also been reading with all this spare time. Currently working on The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.