Something New Sunday, Jan 1 2012 

Hi Readers,

Everything else aside, 2011 was an incredibly busy, shocking, and memorable to say the very least. There were some really good times… and definitely some really bad times. More than any other year, I discovered things about myself and other people… I think it might almost be tragic to discover what I have. That being said, I’ve also received a renewed want to blog.

I know. I’ve posted countless entries about how I need to do this, accept that. challenge them, drop a “friend” like a hot rock, etc. This is not that kind of post. This is… a promise to myself that if I so desire to post something, I will make time to do so. On that note, I’m not going to discuss everything I’ve been up to since June, and I certainly won’t ramble on about school.. too much.

School began and like a rocket, I was gone. You can imagine what happens when you take 18 credits and work. Study? Sleep? Social life? Typically, I’ve heard you are allowed to choose two. I got to pick one, and despite being on the verge of a meltdown by the middle of the semester, I pulled through and finished this semester’s classes: Biology and Biology Lab, PE, Government and Politics of Asia, Choir, History of the Cold War, Medieval European History, and English Senior Thesis. Technically, I’ve not yet finished Thesis. I will defend in the Spring before I graduate. This coming semester, I am taking: Intermediate Creative Writing, Early Modern European History, Modern Latin American History, Choir, Applied Voice Lessons, PE, Government and Politics of Europe. I am already reading much of the material for a couple of the courses. I think it is better to read them now because if I don’t do it now, I won’t do it when I’m actually supposed to.

Okay… I lied. I rambled. Happy New Year–I wish you happiness and love.

Always,
Nolaleigh

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Heads Carolina, Tails California Friday, Sep 17 2010 

What I would not give for this entry to be a book review. Do you realize how many books I have in my possession–not including the huge pile that is an avalanche all on its own? School has taken up so much of my time and to be honest–I long for summer once again when I can go to work and come home and read. I’ve taken up knitting–it is so calming. I’ve completed two hats and can’t wait to begin making scarves.

My reason for writing this entry which has nothing to do with what I would truly love to be doing right now? I could not leave this untouched for another day. I became so accustomed to reading non-stop, writing a blog, and then starting up again. So, to those who read and those who comment: I appreciate your comments and discussion… and your patience. I will one day soon get another book review up. However, this is not even half of what I am up against:

ENG 203–Introduction to Drama.
We aren’t reading books so much as we are reading plays like “Oedipus Rex”, “Everyman”, “Lysistrata”, etc. The Greeks really knew how to stress SEX without saying it. Okay, that’s a lie. At one point in “Lysistrata”, the women declare they will not be “lifting their slippers to the ceiling” or “go on all fours.” Oh joy. I am currently writing a paper about King Oedipus and Oedipus complex–riveting, wouldn’t you say?

ENG 312–Literary Criticism.
Mostly collected works by Elizabeth Bishop and a custom-made course reader thanks to the Professor. Apparently, my views are incredibly Marxist and reader based. I guess I can agree if it means that I firmly believe how you interpret literature is based on your social location and experiences. No matter, recently read a short story called “The Burning House” by Anne Beattie–amazing. Read it. I could pick apart that story all day.

ENG 326–American Immigrant Experience.
Yep, you guessed it. It is a co-taught class for History and English. The professors banter back and forth–funny as hell. We read historical accounts, participate in lectures, and discuss what we are reading. Six or seven novels and a zillion articles. To be quite honest, the topic of immigration tends to be a very touchy topic. I do not understand why. We are a nation of immigrants. On another note, you could say I am a bit of a feminist. So, despite the fact that I’ve learned to respect various cultures, I became very sad when we had to read a short story about a young Chinese couple who were to be driven apart thanks to being Americanized–which really is so true–we expect everyone to act “American.” Whatever that is–I do not really know anymore. And now that I have gone somewhere on a tangent, let us return.

HIS 211–History of Latin American Civilizations.
The professor, my roommate and I have decided, looks exceedingly like a young Michael Caine. We are reading two books in that class and the sections are so ungodly long. The class lectures are fascinating and it is quite obvious the professor is passionate about the subject: Maya, Aztecs, Incas, etc., but this English major and History minor loves to read–just not texts that are so dense that you could put a knife through it.

SPN 101–Introduction to Spanish.
Hola! Me gusta mucho! I had taken three years in middle school and high school. However, upon being called stupid and lazy, I backed away from the language that I was so close to being fluent in and slowly but surely, it became dormant. Until now. I am staying up late and having fantastic conversations with one of my roommates, Amanda, and the second best part about having these conversations: they are  completely in Spanish! Hell yes!

~~

As much as I love school, (if I could be paid to go to school for the rest of my life, I probably would because I love to learn) I would love to get in a car with my travel buddy, Amanda, take some good music, a couple dozen books, my laptop, and plenty of money for gas and food, and just drive without a damn map. Get lost and just be at peace with a good book in my hands. Flip a coin and go. Escape into the novels that have become (almost) like home. Call me crazy, but I love talking to the characters and sharing in their adventures–but I guess I have to come back to reality sometime. Quite honestly, I do not  enjoy reality right now and a great big bubble of positive something would do me some good. By next week, I fully intend on having SOMETHING up…this two-week business is not okay with me.

To end on a positive note–I am thoroughly excited for my Fall TV shows and supposedly, they are making a show or a movie out of the Vampire Academy series. They will not be able to do Dimitri Belikov justice. haha

Books in my possession that I have not started yet: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs, Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, The Killing Game by Iris Johansen, and maybe three or four other books that are coming in. Oh to be able to write another entry. Until then…

Happy Reading!! 🙂

Top 20 Countdown Tuesday, Aug 31 2010 

As of August 31, 2010, the New York Times Bestseller List includes some alluring titles–and even shares some of the books on my reading list. Very nice, very nice. So, for my twentieth post, I think I am going to make a list. Anyone who knows me can tell you how much I love making lists–it wasn’t in my 5o Things About Me blog–but a definite now-you-know.

In fact, I think I like this list idea so much, I might have to do it at the end of every month. Instead of it being a Top 20, maybe I’ll make it the Top 10 of “insert month here.” Categories include Hardcover Nonfiction, Hardcover Fiction, Paperback Nonfiction, Paperback Trade Fiction, and Paperback Mass-Market Fiction. I took the first four of each section. Click here to view complete lists for each category.  Anyway, lists, lists, lists.

Hardcover Nonfiction:
1. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
2. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Hardcover Fiction:
1. The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
2. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4. The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth

Paperback Trade Fiction:
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
3. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
4. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction:
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
3. Ford County by John Grisham
4. Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood

Paperback Nonfiction:
1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
3. Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
4. My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

Reading Questionnaire Sunday, Aug 29 2010 

Soo I browsed around. Found this nifty little questionnaire–I like them. They are in list form and not complicated. Anyway, I am in the process of getting ready for school to start up again–this means my entries, already fairly slow, will now be extremely slow.

READING BACKGROUND:

Do you remember learning to read? What early memories of learning to read stand out in your mind?
I actually don’t remember. For as long as I can remember I’ve been reading. I remember looking at pictures and then being able to read… but I don’t remember the learning process. So sad… the process of learnin to read is so frustrating for some–I often wonder how it was for me.

Did you like to read when you were a child?
I think I did. For awhile I preferred to be read to–but when I began to really get into reading, there was no stopping me from reading multiple books of varying genres at a time.

Did your parents or other adults read to you a lot when you were little? Do you remember any favorite storybooks?
My mum read to me while I was in the womb and then to put me to sleep at night. I loved the Golden books that were about everything from Disney stories to expanded story rhymes.

Do your parents read often?  What do they read?
My mum doesn’t read as much as she used to because she’s a tad busy with life. She likes novels by Nora Roberts and I believe she is reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden right now.

Do you like to read for pleasure at all? If so, what kinds of things do you read?
I love to read all kinds of genres–historical fiction and nonfiction, supernatural, true crime, psychological thrillers, Harry Potter. Alot of variety. 🙂

If you do not like reading, when did you begin to dislike or have trouble with reading?
I’ve never disliked reading–that I know of. It was frustrating when I began reading ethnic literature and I wasn’t sure how certain words were pronounced. But I love the challenge of learning a foreign language. 

Estimate the number of books you own.  How many of those books matter to you?
Oh. I think that I own approximately 200 books, maybe a little less. They all matter to me. I’ve received them through family and friends.

Estimate the number of books in your household.
I could not even begin to tell you. There are four other people who live here currently. 🙂

What are some of your personal interests?  Do you remember reading anything in connection with any of these interests?  Explain.
History–particularly the Tudor time period, psychology, criminology, supernatural phenomena. I read about the things I am interested in. 🙂

Will improving your reading skills be helpful to you?  Why or why not?
I major in English, so if I were to improving anything–whether it be reading or writing, whatever–it is always a good. Always room for improvement.

 READING SPEED:

Do you consider yourself a slow or a fast reader?
It depends on what I am reading. There are some novels where I read slowly because I want to take in all of the details. There are other novels where it  takes me only a couple of hours–say… Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyers.

What kinds of reading have you had  trouble finishing in school?
Two particular novels that gave me hell would be Moby Dick by Herman Melville, and Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

Do you spend a lot of time re-reading? Do you ever give up on reading assignments because they take too long? Explain.
It really depends on how boring the novel is. If it is really good, no re-reading necessary. Now, if it bores me to tears… say Moby Dick and Robinson Crusoethere is A LOT of re-reading.

 READING CONCENTRATION:

Do you have trouble staying focused while you read? Explain.
If it is boring, it is difficult to stay focused. If I am extremely stressed about something, then it is also difficult to stay on track.

Do you often find yourself thinking of other things as you read? Try to explain what you experience when you are trying to read.
Reading is my all expense paid vacation from reality, whenever, wherever. When I am reading a novel or short story, I am there and nowhere else.

When you read at home or school, do you have trouble blocking out distractions, such as noise? Do you listen to music or watch TV when you are studying or reading?
I love my family, but they are LOUD. 🙂
Living with them has allowed me the ability to multi-task and/or block out the background noise, haha.

READING COMPREHENSION:
What kinds of reading material do you find most difficult to understand? Why do you think these types of reading are difficult for you?
Anything math and/or science related in regards to biology, chemistry, physics, etc. Biology becomes easier as I grow older. These forms do not interest me, so I get bored, in turn, it is not easy for me to understand.

Do you ever feel that you are understanding while you are reading, but are unable to remember the information once you are done? Explain.
I remember a good deal of everything, even if I do not want to. If I understand it, I remember it. If there is some difficulty involved, I remember it, but there is also a greater need to remember it so I can work towards understanding whatever it might be.

Do you visualize, or see pictures in your head, while you are reading? What kinds of reading material do you find easiest to visualize?
Seeing. For me, visualizing things in my head is part of the beauty of reading. There is not an exact science and label to everything. The author says something is tall or blue–how tall and how light or dark is the blue? Reading is one of those things where I love a grey area because it allows me to see things how I would see them. I believe anything can be visualized in your head. 🙂

Fifteen Books Thursday, Aug 19 2010 

For my fifteenth entry, I’d like to suggest fifteen books that I have read and loved. They might be from way back in grade school to recently read. I’d suggest them as gifts depending on age and preferences of the receiver.

1. The Dear America Series by Various Authors.
There is something so very personal about reading a diary. Add that to historical fiction, and I am pulled in. I have a couple of favorites and began reading this series when I was in 4th grade and continue to read them every now and then. With a beautiful hard cover and satin ribbon for a page marker, it makes a perfect Christmas Gift.

2. The Royal Diaries by Various Authors.
This series is a spin-off of The Dear America series. I would say this is more of a birthday gift. I discovered this series in 5th grade when I discovered my first book about Elizabeth I of England–of Tudor fame. 🙂

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
I do not care how old you are, almost everyone I have met has read this series and connected with one or more of the characters. If you ask my roommate, Amanda, what she thinks, you will get a long rant about the crappiness of the 7th book. Feel free to click here to view her blog. Apart from that, this series is wonderful and have been with me through some of the hardest times in my life.

4. Night by Elie Wiesel.
This is probably one of the most phenomenal stories I have ever read. I read it in my sophomore year of high school and could not put it down. I have read it multiple times since then, and everytime, I love it more.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
It is Jane Austen! Probably one of my all-time favorite love stories. I read it in 7th grade and loved it!

6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
Ah! The story of lovers who have a severe problem with giving each other whiplash. I read this particular novel in 8th grade and found that the characters could easily be diagnosed with some form of mood disorder or another. Great for picking apart character development.

7. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.
My mama gave this book to me. I was a bit unsure about reading it because… well, I don’t rightly know why I was… just was. In any case, Albom’s writing style really pulls you in and allows you to do what few books do today–think.

8. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
Same with this novel. I really enjoy reading Albom’s stories. Fantastic author.

9. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory.
Love the book, like the movie. Books will almost always be better than the movie. Gregory really gives her characters room to grow and evolve. Very impressive.

10. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende.
I truly loved reading this novel! So amazing. Check out my blog entry for Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea here.

11. Blue Bloods Series by Melissa de la Cruz.
If you have not already guessed, I love vampire books. Melissa de la Cruz is refreshing because she brings all these new ideas about vampires to the forefront.

12. Skin Deep by Lois Ruby.
I was in 8th grade when I read this book. The story of a girl who is love with a boy who becomes a skin head. Dramatic story, and the topic was handled well. Especially it being a book for younger readers.

13. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
 One of the most amazing love stories–EVER! Granted, it is kind of like Thornbirds and being able to be with someone who is promised to God. Anyway, was very apprehensive going into it and came out loving it.

14. Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Just started this series and already I love it to death. No pun intended. Hamilton’s writing and content is probably for older teens rather than Twilighters… but no matter… Still really, really good.

15. Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs.
Well… you can ask one of my friend’s from school, completely addicting. You put one down and want to pick up the next one. Love, love, loove the main character and her main man. 🙂 Another book with vampires and werewolves. 🙂 🙂

Do you have any books that you would suggest?

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