If You Cannot Be Unafraid

tumblr_o8rngqWBRN1qb0bzxo1_500

This week I learned:

If you cannot be unafraid, be afraid and happy.

Quote taken from this beautiful book.

It’s so simple, and goes along with what I want for my life, which is to worry less, be in the moment more, and yet it’s something I’ve never seen articulated so well until now.

I’m afraid all the time. Of disease, of growing old, of losing someone I love, of terrorism, of screwing up, of never becoming successful, of what other people think of me or say about me, of missing opportunities, of choosing the wrong thing, of choosing the right thing and then somehow squandering it. Of writing the wrong thing, of choosing the wrong life, of being the wrong person.

I worry too much. I know this. I try and stop. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t.

But if I can’t not worry–and I can’t, not at all the time–I can worry and at the same time be happy about other things. Like a new blue chair in the corner of my living room, and the basil plant I just bought. How when watering it last night on my deck, I finally made friends with my neighbor, who is a delightfully sweet Russian girl who wants to become friends. How much I am really liking my work in progress at the moment. That there are bagels in the office today. Little things.

This week I am:

Reading This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. I’ve read her other two books, and they were both super sweet, well-written YA romances, and this is proving to be much of the same. The only complaint I would have is that these books aren’t really ones that stay with you; I end up forgetting the characters’ names and a lot of the plot the moment I finish the book.

Writing The Play Story. 55K words in and somewhere between the first and second turning points. It’s going to be too long, but then my first drafts always are.

Watching I am hooked on this ridiculous, implausible, unrealistic television show. It is the perfect thing to have on when you want to be distracted or entertained, which is all I’m really looking for from TV these days.

Listening to The Spotify top 100 Punk Songs playlist is top-notch.

Cooking We figured out how to use our communal grills in our apartment’s courtyard and have been grilling chicken (him) and polenta (me) with asparagus, onions, peppers, and tomatoes, and it is the perfect simple nutritious delicious summer dinner.

Have a great weekend and I hope you can be afraid and happy too.

Image found here

MK’s Book Reviews: The Raven King

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

I finished this!

He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.

Here is what I thought.

There were a lot of beautiful things in this novel, as there were in the previous three. Beautiful prose, bizarre magic, insane imagery, these characters I have come to know and love.

And yet ….

I was a little let down.

And I know that that’s partly because my expectations were sky-high.

I can’t get into why without getting spoiler-y, so SPOILERS below the jump.

 

Continue reading

My Favorite Female Writers

  
Happy International Women’s Day!

To celebrate, I’d like to pay something of an homage to my favorite female writers. The following women are everything I aspire to be as a writer. Also, from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty cool people, too.

Jennifer Niven Starting off this list with my newest fave. I’ve only read one of her books so far, and loved it, so suffice to say I’ll be reading her other stuff just as soon as I get my hands on it.

Marisa de los Santos I haven’t read her in a while—been on a YA kick for the past year or so—but she’s an absolutely gorgeous writer who you should check out. Start with this book.

Stephanie Perkins Her books are these beautifully-written, entertaining looks at young love. I talk about my love for her books here.

Maggie Stiefvater I fell in love with this series and can’t wish for the last book to come out. Also, she’s a rockstar on Tumblr.

Lauren Oliver Everything this woman writes is pure gold. And I’m pretty sure she’s like, my age. 

JK Rowling Self-explanatory. Not only am I huge Harry Potter nerd but this woman continues to inspire me with everything she says and does.

Tana French Otherwise known as the writer of some of my favorite books of all time. She is, quite simply put, the most beautiful writer I’ve ever encountered. Her character studies are unparalleled. Also, she’s Irish! (I love Irish people). You can read me gushing about her here.

Any other amazing lady writers I’ve missed? Let me know!

Image found here

On Audiobooks

tumblr_nqze4q1WdP1t81m82o1_500.jpg

Last week I drove solo from Jersey City to Raleigh, North Carolina. I stopped in DC for a few days on my way there, but on the way back I drove straight through, so I decided I’d try out an audiobook for the very first time ever…

Continue reading

Friday Things

tumblr_nx3kiceesV1shcqiqo1_500

It’s been a challenging week, to say the least. My new senior kitty is still in the throes of getting used to me, and I am still in the throes of getting used to trying to reason with a creature who doesn’t understand English. “I rescued you!” I exclaim to her. “You’re lucky to have me!” Alas none of my words have the desired effect, which is to get her to stop yowling in the middle of the night and disrupting my sleep. I’m trying some kind of diffuser that releases some kind of calming hormone next; in the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions that could help my situation, I’m more than open to hearing them. I’m getting a little desperate.

Here are some great links from the internets that have at least helped distract me:

1. The secret to enjoying a long winter (I so want to go here!)

2. The best friendship movies (I agree with almost all of these)

3. Has anyone heard of this site? Apparently it helps you find your next favorite movie, music, or book based on what you like. Haven’t used it yet (heard it’s a giant timesuck) but thinking about it!

4. This couple renovated a 1950s Airstream and are living out of it for a year. This is so, so cool, but what I love about this story is the honesty of it:

We felt stuck in draining careers that were sucking the life right out of us, and barely allowing us to make ends meet. We decided that we needed to change something. We left on this journey for a very personal and honest reason. We needed to find home and a life that looked the way we wanted it to, instead of a life that saddened us and didn’t look quite as we’d expected.

#sorelatable

Reading: Currently at the beginning of this, which is wonderfully weird. Also while driving last week I listened to my first audio book, another Maggie Stiefvater. It was just okay, though I’m not totally sure if it was the story or the brand-new audio book experience (or the slightly annoying voice of one of the readers). I’ll probably try audio books again on my next long drive, but I definitely prefer the written word to the spoken one. My mind wanders too much. More on this later.

Watching: Just finished this series! Cried at the finale. I can’t believe I almost didn’t continue watching it. I’m once again reminded that good storytelling is good storytelling, regardless of medium. Now I’ll have to find something new to entertain me during my hours cooking and laundering and cleaning up after my wailing senior kitty. Suggestions welcome!

Listening to: This band. How they escaped my early college Ataris and Co phase I do not know but I’m glad to be listening to them now.

Have a great weekend! Hope you get more sleep than I surely will…

Image not mine, I found it on this Tumblr; my cat is too busy meowing at me to pose for Tumblr-worthy photos

Friday Things

tumblr_nw9kkaVPcr1qhjdo5o1_500

Friday Finally” is trending on Twitter, and for once I am in total agreement with the masses. This week has been brutal–the kind of week that has me asking all these questions again. No answers yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I figure out the enigma that is life.

Here are three things that made me happy this week:

1. We don’t all start on third base.  Powerful and true.

2. Books to read when you need a laughI haven’t actually read any of these. Let me know if they’re good!

3. Life advice from a 95-year-oldThe ones that really resonated with me are “When in doubt, just take the next small step” and “It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.”

Reading: I just finished this book–it was super cute and sweet, but was entirely lacking in tension. I enjoyed it while reading it, but page-turner it was not. 6/10. I just started this book, after loving Stiefvater’s other series, and I have to say, I’m disappointed so far. We’ll see if it gets better.

Watching: I finally got around to watching the movie adaptation of a book I loved. The movie for The Duff was … bad. They changed around the plot, the characters, the scenes–it wasn’t nearly as cute and sweet and REAL as the book was. I’m disappointed.

Listening To: The same thing as I was last week. I think I’ll be listening to it for the rest of fall.

Lovely image found here

The Best Series of All Time (according to me)

tumblr_nspsldP4Kb1tj9238o1_500

Since getting embroiled in yet another series I love, I’ve been thinking about my favorite series (plural) of all time…

Continue reading