Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#64) - Beach Reads Week aka My Summer 2016 To-Read List

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I am not a very enthusiastic beach-goer, mostly because my skin burns so easily and I really don't like to swim. But I do love to read during the summer, so while I might not plan to read these books on a beach, I do hope to get to them at some other location. 

I am not a fan of set-in-stone TBRs either, so there is a high possibility I won't be reading all of these this summer, but they are titles I want to keep in my mind and on my radar, hence their inclusion on this list.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Review: War Dances by Sherman Alexie

Release date: January 1, 2009
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Grove Press
Pages: 209
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Fresh off his National Book Award win, Alexie delivers a heartbreaking, hilarious collection of stories that explores the precarious balance between self-preservation and external responsibility in art, family, and the world at large. With unparalleled insight into the minds of artists, laborers, fathers, husbands, and sons, Alexie populates his stories with ordinary men on the brink of exceptional change. In a bicoastal journey through the consequences of both simple and monumental life choices, Alexie introduces us to personal worlds as they transform beyond return. In the title story, a famous writer must decide how to care for his distant father who is slowly dying a “natural Indian death” from alcohol and diabetes, just as he learns that he himself may have a brain tumor. Alexie dissects a vintage-clothing store owner’s failing marriage and his courtship of a married photographer in various airports across the country; what happens when a politician’s son commits a hate crime; and how a young boy discovers his self-worth while writing obituaries for his local newspaper. Brazen and wise, War Dances takes us to the heart of what it means to be human. This provocative new work is Alexie at the height of his powers. 

Sherman Alexie's War Dances is a fairly short and extremely entertaining collection of short stories and poetry. It was also my first experience with Alexie's prose, since he was familiar to me only as a screenwriter of the brilliant film Smoke Signals (1998), a comedy/drama directed by Chris Eyre.

After taking a postcolonial theory and an ethnicity in North American film classes I have become increasingly interested in Native American voices and representation. I have seen my fair share of Westerns, but have never really liked them. These two courses ignited in me a desire to look for voices from within the Native American community and as a result I have found gems like Eyre's Smoke Signals and Skins, James Welch's Winter in the Blood and now this collection by Sherman Alexie. I will keep looking for more, and if you have any recommendations, please let me know.

From War Dances I especially found myself enjoying the poetry. There runs a certain kind of undercurrent of nostalgic within his poetic work - he writes about payphones and how it felt to run to the phone booth to call a college sweetheart, about the process of putting together mix tapes and the certain kind of simplicity of childhood that is not present anymore. I especially loved the mix tape poem because I am of that age that I can remember a time when I put together mix tapes to C-cassette - the careful process of recording songs from the radio, the time consuming wait for the perfect songs to record. Though I am only 25, I have noticed in myself this yearn for nostalgia, for the "old times", for a time when I wasn't so heavily reliant on technology. Don't get me wrong - I love my laptop, my phone and my iPad, but sometimes I just feel like taking a break from everything. The fact that these days your life is pretty much connected to all sorts of social media makes taking a break fairly difficult.

Alexie approaches topics related to the lives of Native Americans in North America poignantly, but also with humor. I have seen a documentary called Reel Injun about the representation of Native Americans in Hollywood for a few times now and I think what Alexie does with this collection can be connected fairly easily to that documentary. He for example addresses alcoholism within the Native communities and how that is treated - he for example asks the question of whether the death of a reservation raised Native American by alcoholism should be regarded as a death by natural causes (a horrific idea, but something that seems to dominate some American mainstream media). He also addresses relationships between members of different generations, religious believes, and so on.

I thoroughly enjoyed War Dances and definitely want to read more by Alexie at some point in time. I also ended up rewatching Smoke Signals and damn, that movie still delivers. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you add it to your to-watch list!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#63) - Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

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This week Top Ten Tuesday is all about books that I have started to feel differently about as a result of the passage of time. Some books I have started to love and/or appreciate more, while others I have started to look at more critically. I would be curious to know which books made your list this week - leave me a comment and I will come and check out your list.

1. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer - I was 17 years old when I first encountered Twilight and absolutely fell in love with it! I had a friend in high school who was equally obsessed, and we used to talk about the books and eagerly wait for the movies together. This novel fueled my interest in all things paranormal and got me into blogging and the online book community in general. Now that I have grown up and read more, I have become more critical of the story and the relationships it portrays. Once upon a time I called this one of my favorite series, but not anymore. I have grown out of it, but I still do appreciate it for nostalgic reasons and for the fact that it got me into a position I am in right now when it comes to the book community etc. I don't think I would have started blogging without this book and the desire to find more books like it to read.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I read Little Women for the first time probably the year I learned to read. My grandmother used to have a battered old copy of this one that used to belong to my mother and I read it one summer while staying at my grandmother's. I have never reread it, but I am currently the owner of that old copy I originally read this book from and I am waiting for the perfect time to reread it. I think for mainly nostalgic reasons I treasure this book more that I used to - to be completely honest, I don't even remember the events of the novel so well. I have seen the film several times, and I like it, so I am eagerly waiting for my reread.

3. Macbeth by William Shakespeare - So what some of you might not know about me is that I actually double-majored in film and theatre studies for my undergrad. I continued with film and media, but I do have a background of 4 years of theatre studies. I read Macbeth for the first time in high school and enjoyed it, especially seeing it live at Globe, but it wasn't until university that I really started to appreciate it. I actually wrote a few essays about this one during my university career and immensely enjoyed both the research and the writing processes.

4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez - I read this novel in high school in Finnish and occasionally had a difficult time getting through it - I don't read much in Finnish in general, and I think the translation just didn't work for me. I haven't read it since, but I think I would like to give it a new chance, this time in English. Now that I think back to my high school years my memories of this book are mostly positive, so I want to go back and see what I think as a more "experienced" reader. I found a beautiful Folio Society edition of this book from a second-hand store and once I go back to my place in September when my uni continues I will definitely pick this one up. 

5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - This is actually the first book I ever got an ARC for, which is why I treasure it as an important part of my collection. It is also one of the most memorable YA novels I have ever read, though my thoughts about it have gone down a little bit after reading more YA novels. I still appreciate it, but I don't think I would rate it 5 stars if I were to read it now for the first time.

6. Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat - When I read this book in high school the short story format wasn't overly familiar to me and I think that is the reason I did not appreciate this quite as much as it should be appreciated. We did discuss this in class, but never to a very large extend. Now that I have taken a class on postcolonial theory, I think I would appreciate this WAY more than I originally did, which is why I want to reread it ASAP. 

7. Saving June by Hannah Harrington - After finishing with this book I rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads, but now that I think about it, I could easily increase my rating to 5 stars. I am always slightly skeptical when it comes to books that deal with suicide - as someone who has gone through the loss of someone close to me via suicide, I keep looking for books that approach suicide with honesty, stories that feel "real" to me! This book has stayed with me ever since I read it and because of that I have started to appreciate it more and more. 

8. Landline by Rainbow Rowell - I love Rainbow Rowell, but I must admit that the more I think about this book, the more disappointed I am by it. I rated it 4/5 when I read it right after it was published it, but now almost two years later I honestly remember nothing about this book. I think after reading Fangirl my expectations for this book were VERY high and this book just never managed to fill them.

9. Columbine by Dave Cullen - I rated this book 5/5 after I read it a few years ago, but I think I have started to appreciate it even more since then after reading more about school shootings etc (for example Matthew Lysiak's book about the Newtown shootings does not compare to this one at all). The amount of research Cullen has put into this book is astounding as a result of which Columbine is not only very informative, but also extremely touching. I am especially interested about the ways the media approaches this kind of tragedies with and reading this book made me look into more research on the topic as a result of which I ended up doing a presentation of the mediation of school shootings during my undergraduate studies.

10. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel - I liked this one after reading it, but my appreciation for it increased when we discussed it as part of my queer mediation class this spring. In addition I read some academic essays about this and watched Bechdel interviews and I think what she has done with Fun Home is something extremely brilliant! If you like graphic novels, definitely check this one out!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book Review: Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid

Release date: October 22, 1990
Author links: Goodreads
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 176
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

The coming-of-age story of one of Jamaica Kincaid's most admired creations--newly available in paperback

Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple--handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, alomst at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. With mingled anger and compassion, Lucy scrutinizes the assumptions and verities of her employers' world and compares them with the vivid realities of her native place. Lucy has no illusions about her own past, but neither is she prepared to be deceived about where she presently is. 

At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis's and Mariah's lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest. In Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid has created a startling new character possessed with adamantine clearsightedness and ferocious integrity--a captivating heroine for our time.

I knew nothing about this book as I picked it up from the library. To be honest, I can't even remember hearing about Jamaica Kincaid before this book. The fact that it was fairly short and had a synopsis that went well with my current interest in postcolonial and feminist literature was all that was really needed for me to pick this one up. Now that I've read it, I can say that I make awesome decisions in libraries, because I really ended up enjoying this one and found it to be an extremely interesting reading experience! 

I believe this book is set in late 1960s/1970s and the novel begins when Lucy, a teenager (she's about 19, I believe) from West Indies arrives in North America to work as as a nanny for a white couple, Mariah and Lewis, and their four daughters. Mariah and Lewis are rich, gorgeous and seem like the happiest people in the world, and as Lucy tries to get used to her life abroad, she continually wonders how people like Mariah and Lewis can have the privilege to have for example a rainy day as "the worst problem in their life". The more and more Lucy follows the actions of the people in her new life, the more she compares them to the actions of people in her home country, especially to those of her mother. While it is clear that she misses home, there are clearly things she is trying to run away from, and especially her relationship with her mother is something this novel interestingly delves into.

I found Lucy to be an extremely interesting character. The fact that she is looking at and commenting on people who look and act very much like me (no, I am not really rich, but I do get my privilege) made this an extremely interesting read and definitely made me question and examine my own privilege. The development of the relationship between Lucy and Mariah was probably one of the most interesting aspects of the novel, and something I definitely would have liked to read more of. I also really enjoyed Lucy's growth, the discovery of her sexual side, and the way she comments on things she sees with very honestly and clearly.

I really enjoyed Kincaid's writing style and definitely want to read something else by her. Lucy is a fairly short read, so if you are at all interested, I recommend picking this one up - it didn't take long to read it, but there is so much there that one could grab onto for further discussion/analysis, such as the references to other literature, the way the book comments of black transnationalism, etc. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#62) - Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday click here

I am usually one of those readers who obsessively checks Goodreads before picking anything up. If my friends have rated it low, I mostly likely won't pick it up. And though I am aware of the fact that we all individually form our opinions, I tend to be influenced by Goodreads ratings, whether I want it or not. 

This spring has been somewhat special in the sense that for the first time in years I have just picked books out randomly from the library and read them. In probably 8/10 cases this has been fruitful and I have found awesome books and because of this I think this TTT topic came at a perfect time. So without further ado, here are 10 books I have picked on a whim and really ended up enjoying!

1. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid - A young woman travels from the West Indies to North America to work as an au pair and ponders the differences between her old and new homes, the people, her family, etc. Very interesting thoughts about postcolonialism!

2. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa - Haunting collection of short stories that are all linked to each other. Beautifully written, strange, absurd set of brilliantly weaved stories about an interesting set of characters. 

3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker - A beautifully written classic set in the US during the 1930s (the novel actually covers a long period of time in the lives of its characters!). Inhabited by extremely interesting female characters. 

4. The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke (translated by Jamie Bulloch) - A tale of a German family who prepare mussels while waiting for the father to come home. Narrated by an unnamed teenage girl in an extremely interesting manner. A quick read that definitely made me think!

5. War Dances by Sherman Alexie - A collection of poetry and short stories about a variety of topics from a Native American author. Alexie was the screenwriter of Smoke Signals, one of my favorite movies of ALL TIME, which obviously made me very interested about this one!

6. Pretty Face by Mary Hogan - A book I read before I was really aware that there was such a genre as YOUNG ADULT. A contemporary novel about a fat girl who travels to Italy and learns bunch of stuff about herself and her place in this world.

7. The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - A beautiful book with a beautiful cover! Set in Alaska in the 1970s, this novel follows a set of young characters from different walks of life. A thoughtful, beautifully written young adult book for all ages!

8. Columbine by Dave Cullen - A remarkable masterpiece of journalistic research about an important event. Detailed, harrowing, memorable - a study of a community and of individuals that make it, as well as the violence that took place there. As a media student I found the way Cullen discusses the role of media in our understandings of this kinds of events extremely interesting and eye-opening.

9. Magnolia by Kristi Cook - A fun, romantic YA contemporary set in Mississippi. I adore Southern US setting in books, movies and TV shows as a result of which I really loved this one! Read it on one sitting because I just couldn't put it down. 

10. Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros - I picked this one up just because the synopsis mentioned a hockey star and ended up crying like a baby while reading it! So emotional, so well written and full of interesting characters. One of my favorite new adult reads of all time. 

What books have you picked up on a whim? Did you end up liking or disliking them?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Midmonth Obsessions (#8) - May 2016

The midpoint of May is here! The sun is shining and the days are getting longer here in Oulu, Finland (I think the sun went down at around 11 pm last night!). It is not very warm yet, but I am okay with that since I am not a big fan of warm weather to begin with (for me warm weather equals sun burns and more freckles!). I have been home for a week now and I love it; having a chance to hang out with my dear puppy again is the best thing ever! I feel like I am getting back to reading again after a period I felt like I rather just kept watching films, and I can't wait until I finish with my last essay so I can fully commit myself to reading for a while. When the summer comes around I always feel like reading contemporary YA and I was happy to notice I have some pretty awesome review copies lined up for the summer months. But now to my obsessions...

1984 by George Orwell (+annotating my copy!)

I came across this video by the wonderful Ariel Bissett and started to think about annotating books and why I haven't done it before. I am one of those people who has always been careful with my books and after watching this video, I started thinking WHY I have acted like the books need to look like they have never been read. I have been annotating books for school, but that has been mostly done because it has just eased up the access to notes etc. Inspired by Ariel, I decided to FINALLY pick up my long ago purchased copy of 1984 by George Orwell and annotate it! AND OH MY, THE WHOLE PROCESS WAS SO MUCH FUN! Having a pencil in my hand while reading made me think about the book SO MUCH MORE and I feel like I got so much more out of it than I expected. Yes, it might have taken a bit more time to read it through, but I am already excited about the prospect of rereading it in a few years and reading through all of my notes at the time. 

If you have never annotated your books, I highly recommend you testing it out! Especially with classics it could be helpful in understanding and fully ingesting the material. I think this summer I will reread one of my favorite classics and annotate it. 

IIHF World Championship Games

While other people seem to get excited about May because of the Eurovision Song Contest, for me May is the month for the IIHF World Championship Games aka the Ice Hockey World Championship games. Team Finland has won all of its games so far, but the real test comes tomorrow when we play against Canada. 

Even if you are not a hockey fan, I recommend watching the video because it beautifully highlights how crazy we Finns can get about hockey. It is from the 2011 games and the guy one the video is probably the most loved hockey commentator in Finland. 

Ripcord by Keith Urban

Keith Urban has been one of my favorite country singers for years and his most recent album RIPCORD comes at a perfect time for summer! I can already see myself blasting this from my headphones while I cycle around the town. 

Summer of YA Contemporaries

When summer rolls around I usually get excited about the prospect of reading YA contemporaries. So far I've spent this year expanding my reading tastes and I will definitely continue doing so, but at the same time I am excited about reading some awesome YA contemporaries I have requested for review and so on. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

I started reading The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder last night and so far it has been really entertaining!

New Trailers

Though summer is barely here, I am already getting excited about the first trailers for new fall shows. 

I am not sure how to feel about the trailer for THIS IS US starring Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore. I LOVE MANDY MOORE AND I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE HER IN SOMETHING NEW, but hmm... Especially the fat woman storyline is one I am interested to know more about because I hope it is not one of those "a fat woman can only be happy and find love when she is skinny" storylines. If she wants to lose weight for herself, GOOD FOR HER, but if fat=sad and lonely and skinny=happy and loved, then NOPE.

I REALLY HOPE THIS ONE IS GOOD because I am dying to see Kristen Bell in TV on weekly basis!

Also, this is coming already this summer (actually in just few weeks!) but I couldn't resist sharing it BECAUSE I AM SO EXCITED!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Publication date: 14 January, 1963 (Kindle version published in 2006 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
Author links: Goodreads
Publisher: Heinemann
Pages: 288
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. 

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

So, once again I get to say "this is one of those books I have been meaning to read for ages but have hesitated picking up because I have been thinking that the modern classic status makes it difficult to read and thus means a long reading process". I feel like this spring, as I have started to delve outside YA and looked for especially feminist fiction, I have repeated that above statement over and over again. Finally, after a Twitter Chat from Ely from Tea & Titles, who named The Bell Jar as one of her favorite books, I finally decided it was time to pick this up, despite the feelings of hesitation, and oh my, I am so happy I did, because THIS BOOK WAS FREAKING AMAZING and definitely became of my all-time favorites too!

I read Sylvia Plath's poetry in high school, in addition to which I have read a part of her unabridged journals, which means that Plath was not a complete stranger to me when I started reading this book. I knew about her struggles with issues related to her mental health, and I was aware for the way her life ended. I loved her poetry, but feel like the very scrutinizing analysis of her work in high school kind of pushed me back from this novel for years - I do similar kind of detailed analysis with films, and I am very aware of the way analyzing the work of someone for a long time can push you away from it for a while. That certainly happened with my BA thesis and Darren Aronosfky - I love that man's films, but if someone where to now suggest that we should watch for example Black Swan, I would run away screaming. Well, it has been almost 5 years from high school graduation, so I definitely had had enough time to distance myself from Plath.

The Bell Jar was published in 1963 with a pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" due to the semi-autobiographic elements of the novel (the names of people and places were changed, but otherwise it includes experiences from Plath's actual life). It is the only novel written by Plath, who killed herself only about a month after the book was first published in the UK. 

The Bell Jar focuses on Esther, who moves from the suburbs of Boston to New York City for a month to participate in a summer internship program for a prominent magazine editor. Unlike the other girls, who are taking everything out of the New York job and the somewhat glamorous lifestyle working for the magazine offers them, Esther fails to feel such a level of excitement. She spends time with Doreen, who is more interested about the New York the magazine cannot offer her, with its men and nightlife, but never really fits into the picture. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Esther describes several different instances from her life in New York and gives the reader a glimpse into her life, her state of mind and her plans for the future.

After Esther learns that she hasn't been accepted to summer writing program she has thought the would attend after her internship, she returns to Boston in low spirits. Her whole life, she has lived through her academic success - it has been something that she defines herself through - and now that she failed something (getting the internship), she feels like her life is without direction. She starts to question everything - her major in college, her capability to write a novel, what the future will hold for her, her decisions related to her love life, etc. At the same time, her spirits get more and more down and eventually she loses her capability to sleep and spends weeks without sleeping. She is directed to see a doctor, but after an experience of electroconvulsive therapy, she doesn't want to go back. But she just keeps falling deeper and deeper into depression, and eventually is made to deal with her situation and her thoughts.

While Plath writes extremely beautifully and at parts, the book reads like poetry, I did not have a hard time adapting to the language or understanding what was going on. Plath uses several flashbacks to narrate the story, and I think structure was extremely interesting, while at the beginning a bit confusing, though after I understood what she was doing with the form, I very quickly got back on track. Though I do not share Esther's feelings of depression, I was able to identity with her struggle of finding her own identity as a young woman. I have also always defined myself quite largely in connection to my academic pursuits, and the way Esther questions the decisions related to her academics is something I was able to connect with - will this path give me a future? Is there another academic path I could have taken that would have been more suitable for me? While I love what I am doing, these questions haunt me from time to time.

Like Esther, also Plath had a summer internship for a magazine in New York in her 20s (summer of 1953). Plath was also rejected from a writing course, attempted suicide in her 20s, and was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital (McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts). The novel also includes parallels between characters and people from Plath's life, like her patron, her editor in New York and her psychiatrist. Due to these autobiographical elements, I feel like I want to read more about Plath and then go back to this book again with more detail. While I thoroughly was engaged with this book this time around, I feel like with more knowledge about Plath's life, I could get even more out of it.

I am so happy I finally picked this one up, and now that I have read it, I not only want to know more about Plath herself, but I also want to go back to her poetry and continue from where I left off in high school. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#61) - Ten Websites I Love That Aren't About Books

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday click here

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is all about websites, particularly non-bookish, websites that I love. I think these 10 sites tell quite a lot about my interests beyond books. Let me know which sites you love to frequent so I can learn about your non-bookish interests!

(I won't include social media sites like Facebook and Twitter here!)

Letterboxd is like Goodreads for films! I have been using it for several years now to log all of the films I watch. You can make lists, add stuff to your watchlist and keep a "diary" of all of the films you watch. If you are a film lover and not using Letterboxd, I definitely recommend making an account of the site - it is so much fun looking back to your thoughts on different films later on. You can also log rewatches and such so you can see which films you are rewatching the most (for me such films are Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You). 

I started reading AfterEllen during a time I was taking a queer representation class in university and have been going back to it ever since. The site focuses on reviews and commentary on the representation of lesbians and bisexual women in entertainment and the media and I think especially their television reviews of shows like Grey's Anatomy are extremely interesting and well written.

3. Liiga

Some of you might know that I love ice hockey! Liiga is the name of the Finnish ice hockey league and especially once the season is on, I visit this site several times a day. They have scores, game videos, interviews and so on there which makes it pretty much the nm, 1 official source on all things Finnish league hockey. 

The fact that this site is on my list is probably no surprise to anyone. I love watching TV shows and movies and having an access to all sorts of media content is important me from an academic perspective as well (I am a film grad and a post grad media student). Netflix has been a part of my life for many years now and I really can't even remember a time before it.

BuzzFeed is probably the nm. 1 site I waste most time on and I often try to avoid it if there is something else I should be doing. I love the lists they do, the little original videos they post both to the site and on their Youtube and the quizzes as well (where I sometimes cheat just to get the result I want - it seemed extremely important for me to get Tim Riggins as my Friday Night Lights boyfriend rather than Matt Saracen, who is usually someone who's much more my type!)

I use YouTube for bookish purposes as well in the form of watching booktube videos, but I decided to include it here because I use it also for so much more. YouTube has been a large part of my studies because it has made it easy to share media content with others - film trailers, clips and other stuff are so easily accessible from there for everyone! I also love to watch the channels of few plus size bloggers/vloggers, old music videos and hockey videos.

I have both Spotify and Tidal in use, but sometimes I love listening to 8tracks and I think in general it is my number 1 platform for discovering new music. I especially love playlists inspired by different "ships" from television and movies as well as playlists inspired by books (here is a playlist I put together inspired by Open Road Summer by Emery Lord). 

I use listography alongside Letterboxd to keep tally of different film-related lists, like for example my list of films for the #52FilmsByWomen challenge I am participating this year.

I love listening to this while reading!

The Office is my favorite sitcom ever and this website is just GENIUS! You can type any emotion into the site and find supercuts of stared made by the characters from the show. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#60) - Ten YA Characters I Would Like To Visit in 10 Years

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday click here

As readers, we all have probably felt like WE JUST NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS WE READ ABOUT! Especially after finishing with a novel that I really loved, I often start to think about what happens to the characters after the ending - do their relationships last, will they be happy, do they get their dream jobs, etc. 

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, I decided to put up a list of 10 YA characters I would like to know more about via a story about their lives 10 years after their stories were finished by the novels they were featured in. My dream came true when I got to read about adult Princess Mia Thermopolis last year, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed for adult stories about the following characters as well.

Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I love everything Stephanie Perkins has written, but from her trio of characters (Anna, Lola and Isla), I fell in love with Isla and her story the most. I identified with her struggle of finding out what she is meant to do with her life. I feel like Isla grew up so much during the novel, but I would definitely be interested to see how much growing she has done in the ten years following the end of the novel. I am also pretty sure adult Josh is even more adorable and lovable than young adult Josh.

Auden from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Auden goes through a big transformation in the novel from someone who spends time mostly alone to someone who has friendships and a relationship she never really imagined for herself. I loved Auden as a character and found her extremely relatable which is why I would love to read about her 10 years after the book ends. Also, I definitely wouldn't mind getting a glimpse of Eli as an adult. 

Amy from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

I LOVED this book so much! It was the first book I read by Morgan Matson, and though it is not my favorite of her books, it has a special place in my heart. Amy goes through a lot in this novel - she is still going through her grieving process and her whole life is turned upside down when her brother is sent to rehab and her mother decides to move the family to Connecticut. I would love to know what happened to Amy next and how she got used to her new life in a new place. 

Harper from Saving June by Hannah Harrington

I tend to avoid books that deal with suicide because despite the fact that my father killed himself almost 13 years ago, I still going through the process of grieving him and books like this tend to bring all my emotions to the surface. This book was an extremely emotional and relatable reading experience for me and I would definitely be enthusiastic to read more about Harper and her life after the events this book covers. I am sure that 10 years later, Harper is still grieving her sister June, but hopefully it has gotten a little easier for her. 

Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is one of my favorite YA contemporary novels EVER, so obviously I would LOVE to know more about Cath and all of the other people that are part of her life (especially Levi). I am sure Cath is still very much a fangirl 10 years after this novel ends and that she is still very much in love with Levi (because who wouldn't be... he is just adorable). I am so sure that she is still extremely creative and funny and caring and so much more. 

Reagan from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Honestly, I want to know more about all of the principal characters of this book - Reagan, Dee and Matt. This is one of the best YA contemporary books I've ever read and the book that convinced me that I will have to read everything Emery Lord ever writes, so anything she could offer about the lives of these characters "10 years later" is something I would enthusiastically read time and time again. Emery's characters are so honest, wonderfully flawed and interesting young adults who I am sure would grow up into extremely interesting adults. 

Jemma from Magnolia by Kristi Cook

I love all things Southern and this YA contemporary romance took me completely by surprise. I loved the love/hate relationship between Jemma and Ryder and the small Southern town where old rivalries from the Civil War years are still very much present. I think the lives of the lives of these characters ten years after the end of the novel would made wonderful chick lit characters (and if Jemma is not with Ryder anymore, I think she would make a wonderful Zoe Hart-type character for a Southern rom-com in the style of Hart of Dixie (Ryder is more like George Street than Wade, but maybe there's a Wade-like character in town that is not introduced in this novel....)

Becca from Royally Lost by Angie Stanton

I ABSOLUTELY HATED THIS NOVEL! The reason I am including this here is just so I could see whether Becca grows into the kind of spoiled, air-heated, ignorant woman because she for sure acts like an idiot throughout this novel. She is privileged and whiny and doesn't grow at all as a human being during the novel, so I am predicting that not much has changed for her in 10 years. Even thinking about this book makes me want to cringe and rage. 

Mim from Mosquitoland by David Arnold

This book was so beautifully written and filled with a set of intriguing and wonderful characters, Mim being one of them. It took me a while to warm up to Mim, but after I learned more about her, I started to see her uniqueness and started to care for her deeply. The relationships she forms during her trip to meet her mother are so different yet meaningful - especially her relationship with Walt is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. It would be an absolutely privilege to read about Mim as an adult. 

Skylar from I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

This is one of my favorite YA contemporary novels EVER, so obviously anything Demetrios would write about these characters is something I would want to read. Reading about Skylar and her struggles made me realize how incredibly privileged I am (not having to worry I have food on my plate etc) as a result of which I not only enjoyed this novel but was reminded to appreciate all of those wonderful things I have in this life. I would love to know how the relationship between Skylar and Josh develops after the ending of the novel because Josh is one of my favorite YA contemporary love interests EVER.