Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Summer Reading List

Summer is coming to a close and I can't believe that I still haven't shared my ToReadThisSummer list!! Blasphemy!!

I remember when I was in Elementary School what a shock it caused me when teachers asigned summer reading. They would tell us, students, to read two or three books, at most. And we had to write them down in a "Summer Reading Log."

TWO BOOKS?!?!?! WHAT THE HELL, ARE YOU GOING TO READ A PAGE A DAY???? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO EVEN DO ALL SUMMER!!!!!!

And so, whilst most of my classmates returned at the end of the summer with their reading log showcasing two or three book, I returned with a smug smile of pride that was in all likelihood a tad too obnoxious for my peers, because I had not read the denigrating number of two or three books over the summer, but ten.

Yes, I have read at least ten books every summertime since I can remember. This might not seem like an impressive number, but allow me to explain: Up to a few years ago, my summers didn't last three but only two months, so I didn't have much time. Also, I am a very slow reader, and I go to a summer camp and often travel. This year I really have very little time to read, because a friend invited me to her lake house, and I travelled for about a month and a half, and because I went to the summer camp. But fear not, published authors of the world, I will complete this list, no doubt about that! Even if takes a uber-reading marathon during the remaining week of summ-ah.

A cyber-smile for you,
Ana

Monday, February 25, 2013

Word: 2013: Focus


It's never too late to set goals, right?

My word for 2011 was "find yourself." (Oh, sweet 15 year old self, that is neither a word nor an original.) For 2012 it was "grow." And for 2013 it is focus.

I want to focus. On not losing perspective. To not let minor disturbances take major roles. On being the person that I found in 2011 and I grew to be in 2012. In fact, 2012 was a very hard year, but it ended marvelously with the trip of my life. And all that energy and passion for life, I want to translate into a wonderful year, one in which I will focus on the people and things that are important in my life.

(Somewhat belated) cheers to an excellent 2013!

Love and focus to you,
Ana

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Recent Goodreads Love

Not to be humble or anything, but I think I'm getting better at the awkwardness that is reviewing books on Goodreads. Here are recent reviews that I feel sort of proud of:

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pat pat on the back for me, for having finished this book so quickly.

But then, the merit is not mine.

The merit is Ishiguro's, because he wrote a book in which not much happens, yet nevertheless you will risk the wrath of Mommy by getting ten minutes late to dinner because you simply could not put the book down. The perfect characters, and the perfect way that the story unfolds leaves the reader satisfied, yet not bloated. (I admit to preferring the bloating kind of meal, for example, I am a fan of Gone with the Wind and Jane Eyre and all those melodramas.)

Therefore, pat pat on the back for you, Mr. Ishiguro.

PS. I find myself infected by the butler's fine manner of writing. Noice.



My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I read it for the first time, A Tale of Love and Darkness was consecrated and declared my favorite book. This, being the second time through with this book, was a little different. There weren't many surprises, as I knew what to expect. It would be wonderful to go back to the moment in which I had never read this book, and start it all over again! Especially because in that first moment, I read it in Jerusalem, and the cafés and streets Amos Oz wrote about where the cafés and streets I was roaming.

Anyways. This book is a gem, and it breathes. It's a gem that breathes! Now, that is something unique. I have never seen a diamond or a ruby that has lungs, but this book is a gem, and it breathes, and if that does not captivate your fancy, then I don't know what will. Maybe this book will. Read it.


My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I actually feel the ball of guilt in my stomach. What kind of an atrocious reader am I, that my most beloved English teacher's favorite book, that the book with such great recommendations on Goodreads and, fine, EVERYWHERE, could simply not finish Midnight's Children?

That's not even the worse part. I only had 50 pages to go.

And I should be brave! I should be strong-minded and full of pride that I dare to challenge the fandom of Salman Rushdie! But I'm not only struck my deep literary remorse, but also a sort of confusion. This book was boring.

Fine, sure, whatever, Rushdie is a master story-teller. But what is the use of being a master story teller if there is NO STORY TO TELL! I told my sister, an avid non-reader, "you know, it is thanks to books like this that I understand people that don't enjoy reading. This book cheated me. It did! This book cheated me so hard that Tiger Wood's wife would tell me that she was sorry for me. You see, I read the first 100 pages and thought that the book was magnificent. The next 100 pages were not quite as great, but still quite good. And then it started working its tricky ways. The following 100 pages were nothing special, but it was like "heck, it obviously picks up after this, it's just a dry spell. But wait, no, 100 pages later, and it's worse, and I'd rather be reading my math textbook than Midnight's Children. But I've already read 400 pages! How can I NOT continue? I tell you, this book cheated me."

It wasn't the most boring book in the world, but, honestly, there are so many others out there, that it was just no use to continue with this little bugger. The worse part is, I should feel liberated, but I don't. I just hope that the guilt doesn't lead me into trying to finish the last 50 pages. Guilt > Torture.



My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Things that Rookie did for MY LIFE:

 *Make my time at the toilet much more fun.
 *Make of me a solid feminist with solid arguments. (I used to be just a quiet voice for equality. It sounds counterproductive, as if Rookie made of me one of those "ew boys suck" fourth graders, but what I really mean is that I now know things about women's situations that I wasn't previously aware about, such as our increased vulnerability to sexual harassment, the way many times many people judge women more violently -with exceptions, obviously- and how to embrace self confidence not only for ourselves, but for others too.)
 *My Goodreads "to read" list and "Movies To Watch" list have grown twice in size.
 *I currently do not aprecciate a sundae if in a bowl.
 *I have stopped squandering my allowance on stupid things like Seventeen and makeup to usefully spend it on very valuable art supplies and used clothes.
 *I don't have time for my homework anymore. Sorry, got more important things to do. Like DIYs. (I'm sort of kidding.)
 *A lot of other very life changing things that I can't remember right now.

I must add that I read this (the best teenage girl oriented magazine in the world) super rushed because I have to lend it to this friend, and that other friend, but, oh, wouldn't that one other friend love it? Anyways, I have to start getting more and more people hooked on Rookie. It's my way of changing the world, I guess.

EDITED TO ADD: Because Rookies are awesome, and we want to share that awesomeness through our passion for books, I created a Goodreads group that concentrates on reading stuff that was recommended on our favorite online magazine. Check it out:
http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/8...



Have a nice day, and happy reading!

Ana

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We Can All Make It

I hope that everything one of my (few) readers has at some point seen a Ted talk. Especially because I have a particularly bright collection of readers. And I don't know how they do it at TED, but every single one of their talks are beyond amazing. Illuminating is more like it.

I'm saying all of this because I was just moved to tears by Alex Day. Fine, it's not hard to move me to tears, but how insane is it that Alex Day, a witty, sarcastic, handsome, funny musician made me cry. I would understand if John Green's talk made me cry -which it didn't- but why should Alex Day's?

Enough with the rhetorical questions now, because I have the answer.

He made me cry because he is just like every one of us, but should serve as role model to all. We teenagers live in an era of our lives where we are forced to make all the decisions without any of the preparation. And we have dreams, we have passions, but we are all so doubtful of discovering that we have woken up and the dream was left back in REM state. I, for example, know that I want to become a writer, hopefully someday a published author. But why should I insert the adverb in that otherwise energizing sentence? Because I am scared. I am scared that I will not be able to pay the bills with an English major, I am scared of not being able to give my future children the education, healthcare, or opportunities that I had because I made a selfish and misguided decision when I was still young and naïve. Few people in my life know that I want to become a writer, because I keep it a secret. The knowledge that any day now I might chicken out and study medicine, like everyone expects me to, stops me in my tracks from being honest every time someone asks me what I want to be when I "grow up." Hello, world, I am 17, only a child still but not the child I used to be, am I supposed to make a sane decision NOW?

Yes. That's what Alex Day taught me in his TED talk. Yes, yes, yes. It seems crazy and impossible, but I am smart, I have the tools, and I have the drive, so the only thing that is stopping me is the fear of failure. I can do it all if only I want it so hard that I will work and work and keep on working, until the day comes in which I will discover that I have accomplished my dream to be a writer.

And so can you.





Ps. I'm sorry about not being able to enbed the video, but I'm on the iPad! It's on Youtube, you can find the TEDtalk there.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pictures with a Disposable Camera: Check (Part 1)

In case you don't remember my 17 b4 18 bucket list -you know, the one written in crayon, the one full of childish activities to complete, the one done on my seventeenth birthday to be completed before my eighteenth one- click HERE and you can read all about it.

One of the activities I was most exited about was #5: Taking pictures with a disposable camera. Halcyon! (I'm pretty sure I'm not using the word correctly.) It was wonderful.

Part 1of sharing these pictures will be titled:

Friends






These were all taken on a summer evening with a group of beloved friends. We had fun. Unfortunately, many of the pictures we took did not develop :( Oh well, it's part of the PERILOUS UNPREDICTABILITY of using a disposable camera. Oh, yes, I'm a dare-devil.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jerusalem 6

These are the last of the Jerusalem pictures. After that, Tel Aviv here we come!












Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Poetry Reading

(This is an old post that I wrote for my previous blog, The Years of the Nobel.)

So much depends
upon


a red wheel
barrow


glazed with rain
water


beside the white
chickens.



This is a poem by William Carlos Williams, written in 1923. A poem in a sentence, a sentence in a poem. 

What is magical about a poem that could just be considered a sentence, a sentence that could have nothing special about it?
The color.
The consonants.
The stillness.
The vagueness.


Everybody is entitled to their opinion. And mine is that this poem is magic.

The consonants.

SSSSo muCH DePeNDSSSS uPoN
a RRRed WWWeel BaRRoW...

And the color! The color!
Red and white and glazed
You could say that without counting articles and such, color and images are 3/16 of the poem

I love it so much, in fact, that I did a recording of me reading it:


Untitled from NobelReader on Vimeo.



And here's a professional Youtube recording (by the author himself):



What is your favorite poem at the moment?? I would love to check it out!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading







Gratitude towards my little sister for being the best model on Earth.
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