Categories
#personal

Lists upon Lists

Guten morgen, everyone!

Today’s the day in which I compose my Christmas list. While I won’t tell you everything that I want (because it’s more of a want than a need), I do really like reading and knitting.

Categories
#randomopinions

Thanksgiving Day

Good evening, everyone!

Thanksgiving was 2 days ago. I got to spend the entire day with my family: my mom, my dad, and my sister. (Normally, we spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents, but refrained from doing so this year due to Covid ramping up in my home state.)

Categories
book reviews

Station Eleven

book cover for Station Eleven

A strain of flu creates an apocalyptic world, one where technology and modern comforts are seldom seen as the norm. Amid this new world are a group of traveling actors, a symphony of men and women who have survived the pandemic that altered their world.

Categories
book reviews

The Water Dancer

Ta-Nehisi Coates first novel is compelling, dark, and full of hope.

Categories
#weekendcoffeeshares

It’s been a while…

Hello, again! (Blows dust off the screen.)

It’s been a while, I realize. Lately, I’ve been getting used to the busy season at work. (I cashier at my local Target.) I’ve been doing my best to catch up on my book reviews, since I’m reading so much so relatively fast. I’m still just as passionate about books and entering new character’s lives as ever as I hurtle towards my reading goal of 40 out of 30 books on Goodreads.

Bullet journaling is my new passion, and while I may not be as talented as some, I still do my best to integrate creativity into my bujo. (This year’s bullet journal is going really well, better than my first attempt in 2018.)

I’m also falling back in love with podcasts. I’m currently finishing up “Nice White Parents,” which is a five-part series done by the New York Times about the struggle to achieve racial integration in one New York school–and the white parents that influence the decisions in this particular school. It’s gotten praise and criticism in its reviews, but for me (as the oldest daughter of two educators) I find this podcast interesting.

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, where I’ll be spending quality time with my immediate family. We are still very much up in the air about whether or not we’ll actually be going to my grandparents. Still, my family and I plan to be safe no matter what during this tremulous time.

What’s new with you?

Please stay safe,

Meghan B.

Categories
book reviews

Educated

Tara Westover’s memoir left me wondering how a life can truly change with the help of an education.

I loved going to school. Throughout my childhood, I was taught in elementary school how to read, how to write, and learned common facts and ideas about the world. This continued throughout junior high and high school. In college, I expanded my knowledge of the world around me, and chose to declare a major in English as my main (and only) focus. I grew up learning to love getting an education: I worked hard, tried to teach myself how to study, and (more so in college) what it means to have an education. After reading Educated, I’m thinking more about what it truly means to have grown up with an education.

Tara grew up with very little of that. At a young age, her father stopped her from going to school.

On the highway below, the school bus rolls past without stopping.
I am only seven, but I understand that it is this fact, more than any other, that makes my family different: we don’t go to school.

pg. xiii, Prologue, Kindle edition

Tara grew up living in the mountains of Idaho, where she lived out her days running wild and free. As she got older, she worked for her father in the junkyard, then worked elsewhere. Her brother encouraged her to get her GED and go to college; he helped influence Tara into getting out of her parents house.

With a survivalist Mormon family, with an un-diagnosed bipolar father, and with a brother who became steadily more abusive, Tara sought getting an education as a way of getting out of her dysfunctional family.

At seventeen, Tara got into college, and later went on to Cambridge University. Tara first learned about the Holocaust in college, and had to further educate herself about topics that were common knowledge to her classmates. With the help of her mentors, she learned how to think critically, and how to navigate the world of academia. Her roommates helped her, too, mostly in teaching her personal hygiene, because her father didn’t believe in using soap to wash your hands after using the bathroom.

Educated has taught me how important it is to have an education. It’s important to have a basis of knowledge about the world around you, and to learn how to challenge yourself through higher learning by attending a university.

I’m so grateful to my family for having me pursue a college education. I not only learned how to write better, but how to be independent and live on my own. Without a higher education, I wouldn’t have my amazing English degree. I wouldn’t have made the close friends I now have because I went to college. If I had just gone into the workforce, I feel like I wouldn’t be as confident as I am now. I wouldn’t have the extra classes that I took under my belt.

For Tara, getting an education meant escaping her family, and becoming independent from her parents. While her education came at a cost, she still feels grateful that she went to college: “You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation. Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it an education” (pg. 328, Kindle edition).

If you like reading memoirs, and if you like compelling non-fiction, Educated should be on your reading list.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
book reviews

Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other is a multi-faceted story about several women—young and old—who live in Great Britain. At first glance, it seems like the novel is comprised of vignettes, but the deeper you venture into the novel, the closer these women become. Every one of the characters is connected to someone else in some way: a daughter, a friend, a lover, or a mother.

Categories
#poetry

Who am I?

I ask,
& you tell me:
I’m your oldest & dearest friend,
I’m a reader, a singer, & a mathematician.

When I wake in the night,
(disoriented, drenched in sweat)
you’re there to hold me,
reminding me that you’re here,
& remind me that it’s over, it’s over, it’s over—

In these moments,
when I’m running (wildly) lost along a dirt road,
you call my name,
drawing me back onto the correct gravel path,
drawing me back into myself:
You’re the guiding lamp leading me home.

As I follow your words—
the bobbing light in front of me—
I come back to myself:

I am Jude St. Francis.
I am your boyfriend.
I was treated horribly & came out on the other end.
Most importantly, I was always me.

If I am Jude, then…
Who are you?
I ask,
& you tell me:

I am Willem Ragnarrson
& I will never let you go.

M.B.B.
10/4/2020 (edited & expanded upon 10/5)

Notes: This is one of my favorite scenes from A Little Life. When Jude, who is plagued by nightmares, wakes up disoriented, he “wakes so far from himself that he can’t remember who he is.” Willem, his boyfriend, chants “him back to himself.” (Pgs. 607-608, Kindle version.) The italicized lines are either directly from this scene, or paraphrased slightly to fit the poem. As always, thanks for reading!

Categories
book reviews

Divergent

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian world.

Categories
#weekendcoffeeshares

#weekendcoffeeshare Oct. 2-4

Happy weekend! Happy October!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog. I’ve been pretty busy at work, and my reading schedule has increased since I started using the wonderful library app, Libby.

Categories
book reviews

Fates and Furies

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives.

Lotto and Mathilde get married at twenty-two years old. As a young couple, they move from the honeymoon period into co-existing with each other, to almost breaking their marriage. As the years change and test their life together, Lotto (Lancelot) and Mathilde stay together, weathering rough patches in their relationship, betrayals of trust, and months of absences from one another.

Categories
book reviews

The Immortalists

In 1969, Varia leads her other three siblings to a fortune teller, a woman who tells each of the kids when they will die. It’s no secret that this book will be about death, but it’s surprisingly about living your life.

Categories
book reviews

The Starless Sea

Bee, key, sword.

Erin Morgenstern’s second novel cannot specifically be defined as one genre. The Starless Sea is many things: a mystery, an adventure, a multi-faceted love story, and above all, a world within a world. Each vignette from various books brings you closer to the characters, who are less random and more real than you originally think.

When Zachary Ezra Rawlins finds a book with a piece of his childhood written exactly as he remembers it in the campus library, he’s stunned. He re-reads the collection of short stories over and over, but nothing of his own story comes up. Sweet Sorrows enthralls Zachary, compelling him to take the book with him everywhere, including a gathering with fellow students.

Categories
book reviews

Symptoms of Being Human

Riley Cavanaugh is your typical rebellious teen: Riley likes to wear Doc Martins, Dad’s old Ramones shirt, and has an ambiguous haircut. Trying to fit into a box isn’t Riley’s thing, especially when it comes to gender. Because Riley is gender-fluid. 

Categories
#personal

Morning Pages

I like to do morning pages because it helps me suss out my thoughts, especially when I’m working on my blog posts—or my current fantasy novel.