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A Mid-Year Resolution

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

This is it, everyone. This is the week I will finish Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I have declared it my goal, and I will not rest until I have finished the very final page.

I am notorious for starting book series and not finishing them. I’ve mentioned on a handful of occasions that the only series I’ve ever finished is Harry Potter, but that all changes this week. Not that I will ever openly admit that I read the Twilight series, but the fact will remain– I can officially say I’ve read two series in my 26 years of existence.

Breaking Dawn has been especially challenging to finish. I started reading the book two summers ago. After about page 500, I set the book down, and I haven’t picked it back up. By now, most people would have cut ties with the book, but with only 200 pages remaining, I cannot in good conscience just give up. This is truly a testament to my endurance.

I am having a hard time getting back in to the groove of reading this book though. I find that I can only read about 20 pages at a time before feeling a sort of hollowness in my chest develop. Supernatural Bella is such a terrible being. She’s supposed to be almost-perfect, but oh gosh, she’s so mean and arrogant and I just…I really kind of hate her, and I really do not like reading about her.  I’d rather read about human Bella, who was clumsy and emotionless and really quite like Melba Toast.

Am I bonkers for doing this? For insisting on finishing a book–a terrible book– just so I can claim I’ve finished a series? Have you ever endured a series (or even just a single book) just to say you’ve read it, and which one was it?

 

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Book Buying Woes

I am uncertain how this is even possible, but I am terrible at buying books. I spend months, even years pining over books and organizing them on my Goodreads shelves according to which books I want to read the most. Yet, when I receive my Barnes & Noble gift cards for my birthday or Christmas, I almost never purchase the books that take the top rank. I celebrated my 26th birthday at the end of July, and I ended up filling my shelves with the following:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple ♥ Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ♥ The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan ♥ Life After Life by Kate Atkinson ♥ I Wrote This For You: Just the Words. by pleasefindthis

Most of these I want to read. Eventually. People have raved about these books (with the exception of I Wrote This For You, which I bought on a total whim late at night), but they are hardly the books that make me feel giddy when I think about finally having the opportunity to read them. I think the only reason they ended up in my Barnes & Noble cart is because of indecision. Being apart of the book blogosphere puts so many different books on my radar that sometimes it’s overwhelming; sometimes I forget how to prioritize. Do I go for the book that I’ve had my eye on for months, or do I go for this shiny new book that everyone has been talking about? I spent so long flipping between tabs of potential purchases in my browser that I eventually became fed up and just picked something. Anything.

If I had a time turner, I’d probably go back and fill my cart with these books:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: Who hasn’t read this book? *raises hand sheepishly* Considering I loved Cinder so much, I’m really surprised I still haven’t read the second installment in this sci-fi fairy tale adaptation.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: This book was immensely popular when I was first introduced to the book blogging world. I read so many positive things about this book that I knew I had to read it. I also knew that I needed to take a step back from all the hype. It’s been about five years since this book was first put on my radar… that should be a sufficient amount time for that hype to fizzle, right?

Y is for Yorick: A Slightly Irreverent Shakespearean ABC for Grown-Ups by Jennifer Adams: The summary says it’s the perfect gift for Shakespeare fans, and I really, really like Shakespeare. (Digression: one of my co-workers put a plastic, Halloween skull in my office, and I’ve named him Yorick. A lot of my co-workers seem put-off by Yorick.)

Spook by Mary Roach: I was introduced to Mary Roach in 11th grade. We read and analyzed an excerpt from one of her books, Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers. She tackled such a morbid subject in a fascinating and sometimes humorous way, and I’ve wanted more ever since.

The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got that Way by Bill Bryson: I also just really, really, really like Bill Bryson, and I probably won’t be satisfied until I read all his books.

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson: It was a toss-up between this book and Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. I’m a sucker for non-fiction, and lately I’ve been fascinated by these micro-histories.

Alas, I do not have a time turner. And to be honest, this Christmas, when I get my second bout of gift cards, I’ll probably end up with another cart filled with books I only kind of want to read because they’re titles that are fresh on my mind.


What was the last book you purchased that left you with buyer’s remorse? How do you prioritize what books to purchase when you’re perusing bookshelves in the store (or online)?

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The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan #Review

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan


The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Released: January 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Age Group: Adult/New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 211
Source: Purchased

I am smitten with the format of The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. The novel is a series of dictionary entries, and each word represents a feeling or a thought or a moment that occur during the course of a romantic relationship. The entries are brief, but Levithan’s writing is powerful. If you’ve been in love or if you’ve been hurt or if you’ve been in love with the idea of love, then at least one passage will resonate with you, knock you down, leave you breathless. This was mine:

corrode, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.

While I appreciated the creativity of the storytelling, I did struggle with the story as a whole. At first, I thought I was reading vignettes about many different relationships. It wasn’t until the end that I realized it was about just one relationship. I ended up giving the book a quick, second read-through so I could gain a better understanding of what I had just read. I also feel like I may have picked this book up at a bad time. The Lover’s Dictionary isn’t the happiest of novels. For every entry about love and butterflies, there were twice as many about drinking too much, distrust, and complacency, and it weighed heavy on my heart.

I recommend this book…but not if you’re falling in love because it will just “harsh your mellow”. And not if you’ve just gotten out of a relationship because it will make you feel even worse. Everyone else should give it a go though!

The Weekend Review

Work in Progress

It’s been a while, right? My last post was in May, and normally that would mean that I found nothing to write about during the almost-three-month hiatus, but not this time. I’ve endured a number of changes the past few months (mostly good), and I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around everything. Where do I even begin?

I’ve closed the door on a worn-out and toxic relationship– the kind of relationship that leaves you as a shell of your former self. I’m slowly rebuilding my bank accounts, my goals, my dreams, my character, my confidence. It’s exhausting, but for the first time in five years I can actually see toward the future, and it’s definitely bright.

I’ve opened my arms and embraced new and healthier relationships. It started with a Bachlorette Party at the beginning of June. Then, I went to my very first company outing despite having worked for the same company for almost two years. On Friday, I actually went out for beer with a couple of my co-workers and, I also have some (vague) plans to reconnect with old college buddies.

I’ve also started dating someone, which has been both an exciting and scary experience. More on that later though.

These days I can only complain about work, and trust me I’ve done that so much recently. We’re barely surviving all of the changes and transitions that occurred during our busy season this year, and the work environment has become incredibly negative as a result. For the first time in almost two years, I feel dread when I think about work, and I really, really need a vacation. I look forward to when things start to normalize again.

And just as my life is going through changes, so is Books & Tea. I’ve started with a facelift. Honestly, I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. All I know is I sort of had an idea, and it didn’t really translate well, but after two hours of updating old posts with “featured images”, I deemed it too late to turn back. I imagine I’ll have to create some sharp, attractive graphics so there is some kind of consistency, and maybe I’ll start some new, weekly feature, but mostly I just want to get back to posting regularly.

Books & Tea and my dear readers, I’ve missed you.

The Weekend Review

The Weekend Review

1. Have I told you that I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series? Again? These books have cast a spell on me (har har har!).

2. Fitocracy.com is a cool website and iphone App that marries physical activity with the level-up systems of RPGs. I get to burn calories while simultaneously satisfying my nerdy desires to gain experience points. Currently, I’m a level five paladin fitocrat, and I only have 864 points to earn before I level up.

3. The office staff had their monthly meeting, and our manager bought everyone Panera’s. In the past, we were allowed to customize our orders to our hearts content, but that took a long time, and it cost a lot of money. Now, our manager just buys a bunch of turkey sammiches and asiago steak sammiches for everyone. Except for me. I just found out that she orders the Mediterranean Veggie sammich special for me. It is a small gesture, but it actually made me feel appreciated.

Coffee and Mango

Coffee and Mango

4. Mangoes. I’ve never been a mango fanatic before, but now I cannot get enough of them. I eat them plain, I eat them along side homemade coconut rice pudding, and I eat them on top of steak salad with homemade honey lime dressing.

5. Three Day Weekend! Thanks to Memorial Day, I get one more day to really mess up my sleeping schedule.

 

 

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Is it possible to re-read a series too many times?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’ve mentioned before (here and here), when the seasons shift from Summer into Autumn, I re-read the Harry Potter series. The crisp air, the Fall colors, and the overcast skies make me think about feasts in the Great Hall, trips to Hogsmeade, and mugs of butterbeer. This year, the hankering to re-read Harry Potter has come two seasons early. I blame it on Al Roker, who has been reciting Harry Potter-themed trivia on Comcast On Demand for the chance to win tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After hearing Hedwig’s theme for the umpteenth time, I could resist no longer, and I decided to hunt for my books. You’d think I wouldn’t have to “hunt” for something I cherish and read so frequently though. Alas! I am dreadfully unorganized.

I embarked on another re-read around midnight on Saturday. After cracking open the cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the 8th time, at least, I was struck by a memory of my first, true re-read. My final semester at college, right before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one) hit theaters, I decided to re-read the series from start to finish. I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time in probably 10 years, and I was flabbergasted by how much I forgot. I had become so accustomed to the introduction in the movie that I forgot all about Vernon Dursely’s uncomfortable day at Grunnings and the shower of shooting stars over Kent, which was probably bewitched by Dedalus Diggle. Since then, it’s been a rare occasion that more than a year should pass before picking up at least one of the books to read (last year was one such occasion), and I feel I could practically recite parts of the series.

I wonder if there is such thing as reading a book (or in my case, a series) too many times. Is it possible that one day, the spell these books have cast on me will run its course? …Naaaaaah! Surely not. That’s kind of like saying one day I will stop craving my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup!

What book(s) do you frequently re-read? Have you ever felt like you read a book too many times?