2015 Reading List

As per usual, one of my resolutions for 2015 is to read more. This time though, I’ve made a concrete goal of reading two books a month. This is pretty typical (if not low) for me, but often my reading is motivated by syllabi and essay assignments. Now that my English education is over, I don’t want to lose my reading stamina. Here are some of the books on my list.

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1. Not That Kind of Girl. I’m actually reading this one right now. It’s so Lena Dunham, but I’m a fan.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera. I read some short stories by Garbiel García Márquez this semester and fell in love with his prose. I’m anxious to read one of his novels.

3. The Virgin Suicides. I love the movie (so dreamy and Sofia Coppola-esque) and happened upon the book at a book fair.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale. I attended a lecture by Margaret Atwood a few months ago and found myself sorely regretting not having read any of her work.

5. Yes, Please. A book by Amy Poehler? Yes, please! Linnea suggested I listen to the audio book (it would be my first one!), because it would be so amazing to listen to in Amy’s voice. I have to agree.

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6. Fox 8. Ok, this isn’t a full-length book, but people have told me to read it so many times that it has to go on here.

7. The Bean Trees. I picked this up on my last trip to Powell’s in Portland.

8. Other Voices, Other Rooms. This one has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I’ve read a few of Capote’s novels (In Cold Blood, Summer Crossing), but this is his first, published novel and apparently quite a good one.

9. The People of Paper. This one was recommended to me, and I’m always a fan of stellar debut novels.

10. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Again, I’ve been meaning to read Junot Diaz’s work for so long; it’s time I finally get around to it.

Well, this will at least get me through the first part of the year. What will you be reading in 2015?

A Wish-Granting Factory

Yesterday I finished my first week of work at the Make-A-Wish headquarters in Phoenix. Or, put differently, my first-ever week of working full time like a full adult. Spending a 40-hour week at a national organization that truly makes an impact on people’s lives makes me feel pretty put together and grown-up – and not just because of my outfit like the other day. Of course, I’ve still had a few childish blunders, including falling and scraping my knee in front of my supervisor and several other members from my team. I have to say, nothing makes you feel more like an incapable child than falling on your face. But alas, this is my life. Luckily, there was some lunchtime gelato to soften the blow.

This isn’t the type of internship where I’m filing paperwork and making coffee runs either. In fact, I’ve been treated to coffee and lunch several times already – the perks of being new. And best of all? I’m actually writing and getting paid for it. I’ll be posting on the Wish Nation blog and writing stories about wish kids like this one. So far, I’ve composed two blog posts, copy edited a few others, drafted a wish story, and I’ve been assigned to come up with copy for an ad. It’s so exciting to realize the possibilities that lie beyond a newsroom. Who knows if I’ll continue to work in nonprofits after this summer, but it’s nice to know that opportunities exist at organizations like this.

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On a separate but related note, I just got back from a movie date with my mom and Emily to see The Fault in Our Stars. I read the book over Christmas break as a little palate cleanser between literature classes. I wasn’t a diehard fan or anything, but it was a pleasant, albeit saddening, read. Since the film premiered this week, the office has been buzzing about it, as many of the kids we serve understandably saw themselves in Hazel and Augustus.I must admit that I really did enjoy the movie. I mean, just look at those cuties? Plus there are some pretty great lines in the book, most of which were carried into the film adaptation.

And now, I’m about to leave to pack bags of food for Feed My Starving Children, another nonprofit that I just recently heard about; Kaylie was kind enough to invite me to join her family at a group packing event.

In Search of America

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I just finished reading John Steinbeck’s (mostly) nonfiction book, Travels with Charley. I read the whole thing on bus trips to and from school, so I felt as though I might be traveling along with the pair in Rocinante, his homemade camper. I loved pretty much everything about this book – the constant presence of Charley, his quite personable and noble poodle; the vignettes of America’s sometimes-caustic, mostly-charming towns and people; the commentary on the excess of the ’60s (God, what would he think of today); and the rhythm of Steinbeck’s writing. It would be the perfect summer read, but was still a nice escape while I’m in the thick of things this semester.

I pretty much want to spend the next few months traveling around in a cute camper with my dog now. I mean, just look at this roundup of cozy RVs. Of course, if I ever undertake such a thing, I’ll be sure to study up on Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky’s tips for RV traveling. Her experiences in her Winnebago are enough to make a girl want to take to the road right now.

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Speaking of summer plan, Domenico and I spent the weekend dreaming up ideas for our own little road trip up the California coast. We’ll be starting out somewhere near LA and working our way up to San Francisco. I booked a few days at this adorable, historic hotel yesterday. May can’t get here fast enough!