Book of the Month: May

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Publication: January 20, 2011

Pages: 353

Rating: 4/5

Dysfunction and lack of identity are the common themes in this story. It takes place in the small, college town of Barnwell, Ohio and follows the three sisters- Rose, Bean and Cordy, through all their insecurities and past mistakes, as they question who they are and what there role in the family is really.  For Rose, she has lived there throughout her adult life and likes everything to be in its place, so she’s faced with a difficult decision after her husband gets a job opportunity in Oxford, England. Their mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, which only adds hesitation to Rose’s big decision. Unlike Rose, Bean and Cordy couldn’t leave their hometown fast enough. Bean, the wild child trendy middle child, jetted off to New York only to return after she’s been fired for embezzlement. Lastly, Cordy is the free-spirit, baby of the family who comes home when she’s finds out she’s pregnant. Neither want to stay in Barnwell, but they also know that they can’t return to the same ways from their old life.

When I first picked up this book, I wasn’t sure of the plot, but since I knew one of Brown’s other works and their was somewhat high praise for this one, I thought I’d give it a read.It’s a slow start, to be honest, and all the Shakespeare quotes can be a little overwhelming at first, but once I got a hang of the style, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The book also raises questions about how birth order affects our personality and heavily focuses on Bean’s journey to self identity, with Rose and Cordy as side characters. She has the most growing to do and also makes the most progress in the end, but is still flawed (aren’t we all?). Although the plot may have been subpar, Brown knows how to write characters.

Finally, the book is written in first person-plural, which was a bit confusing in the beginning, but made for an interesting read by the end. I still don’t know if I like it or not.

. . .

Goodreads summary: A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.

But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from — one another, their small hometown, and themselves — might offer more than they ever expected.

 

Parties Are Bad, Surprises Are Worse

For most extraverted individuals or social butterflies, having your birthday fall on a holiday weekend might be a dream. However, I am neither and my perfect day would have consisted of copious amounts of coffee and hours spent reading. Also, cake. For the most part, that’s how my birthday went. There was also a 4-hour ride day trip with my mom to see an art festival, which was fine and wasn’t a disruption to my day because it was planned a week in advance.

So it’s about 6 o’clock on May 27th and I’m feeling a little nauseous because I ate too much, I’m tired from being cooped up in a car for most of the day and jazzed from all the coffee, but all is well because it’s just me and the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s a satisfying end to an otherwise peaceful day until my mom let’s me know that people are coming over tomorrow to celebrate. Wait, so I’m not getting my cake tonight?

(It also seems a little much to extend the not-celebrations further, like I want to have more than one day dedicated to me, myself, and I).

You know the movie/tv show trope where the shy, loner kid starts dating the goody-goody, well-liked chick, and then the BFF of the quiet kid accidentally slips and tells their GF that it’s their birthday and then the girl is all “we gotta have a surprise b-day party because I’m super nice and never do anything with malicious intent so it’ll be fine,” and then the BFF is all, “I don’t know about that, [shy kid] much prefers to keep their birthday low key (insert tragic backstory for *~*emphasis*~*). Flash forward to the birthday party scene, the guest of honor shows up and is unpleased with the turn of events but fakes it anyway to put off the inevitable break up. Well that shy kid was me, only my GF is my family and the BFF’s (my) complaints only fell on deaf ears.

I don’t know why I dislike celebrating my birthday so much or when it all started, but I’m assuming it’s because I really really do not like being the center of attention. What am I supposed with my eyes, face and myself in general when they bring out the cake and start singing “Happy Birthday!” Seriously, if anyone knows, please enlighten me.  Thankfully, there wasn’t the usual hiding and screaming that is synonymous with surprise parties, and if it would’ve been held at a restaurant, I would’ve CTRL + ALT + DELETE (SHIFT + COMMAND + Q on a Mac) myself right then and there.

What do you think: do you agree with my stance on surprise birthday parties or am I being too cynical?

Happy New Year!

At the end of each year, people are either stoked to accomplish those new year resolutions or they complain because “you can change at any time, why wait until the new year?” It’s a nice sentiment and all, but from my experience, it’s mostly talk.

I’m the type to casually make new year’s resolutions and then not follow through with them…until right now. (It also works out that my birthday is on Saturday, so it technically is a new year for me).

Since I never do this, and I have never seen anyone do this, I thought it would be a cool idea to check in on the resolutions I made at the start of this year and see how much I have accomplished. I’ll explain each one, and then give it a check-in rating on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not very accomplished to 10, have completed).

#1. Read at least nine books 

It’s specifically nine because it’s one more than I read last year. Currently, I’ve read five. Check-in rating: 6/10 

#2. Communicate with friends and family more 

I am a huge introvert and also incredibly shy, so it’s hard for me to open up to people. It’s better now, but there is definitely room for improvement. Check-in rating: 4/10

#3. Transfer to a four-year 

This one is pretty self explanatory and I think I just put it down because I wanted to be able to check something off by the end of the year. Currently, I have submitted the application. Check-in rating: 5/10. 

#4. Write!!!! (Literally anything)

For someone who prides themselves on being a writer and wants to succeed in writing, I don’t write that much. However, this blog is a step in the right direction. Check-in rating: 4/10 

#5. Track personal growth and get to know myself 

I created this when I was still bullet journaling and had this pretty chart that would remind of the areas I wanted to improve. I ranked “personal development” a 3/10 and I don’t think it’s changed that much since January. Check-in rating: 1.5/10 (the .5 is for sympathy) 

In all honesty, I’m kind of surprised that I’ve stuck to my new year’s resolutions this much. Wait a minute, do these things actually work? Let’s test this theory and add on a few more to accomplish by 2018.

  • Read fifteen books (including the five I have read)
  • Try reading not-YA books (I love YA, but I gotta expand my collection)
  • Have a routine/schedule for this blog 
  • Learn how to cook three basic meals 
  • Enjoy nature more i.e, leave the house every once and awhile 

That’s where my list ends. Did you make new year’s resolutions for this year and how have you done so far? If you don’t make resolutions, why not? Let me know!

Why I Hate The Word “Just”

I had this epiphany awhile ago so I can’t fully remember its context, but I assume it was in reference to me saying “I just go to community college.” That phrase is only fueling the bad reputation community college gets in comparison to its superior sister “university.” Like I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started, but I should garner all this student loan debt at a four-year institution only to find out that maybe this very-expensive-school might not be the best place for me? Yet, I’m the dumb one.

I thought about this topic again while writing my final exam for my media writing class (at the aforementioned community college). Personal anecdote aside, I normally hear “just” being used to simplify something or to belittle someone. It’s the latter that gives me the most trouble because you’re not just anything. You are whatever you want to be! You have the power to be anything you want to be! And whatever that is, it is completely valid! So, it’s not to say that I will never ever use the word just, but I’m more consciously aware of it now and I think about what I’m trying to say before I use it.

Before writing this, I did a quick google search of the title and found that I’m not the only one with this view. This one nails my thoughts right on the head. What are your thoughts on the word “just,” and are there any other words that you hate for similar reasons?

P.S. My first post!! AH!!!!