#AmCurrently | Reading “King Lear,” Writing Profiles, Thinking About Antidepressants, & More

Hi, everyone! Today’s post is… something I’ve been meaning to try for a while! I see a lot of #amcurrently blog posts and that made me want to write one of my own! The idea behind #amcurrently is that you talk about whatever it is that you are currently doing and want to share with people – whether that’s reading, writing, thinking, traveling, dreaming, WHATEVER. I hope to make this a semi-regular feature on my blog because I think it’s a great way of giving fun life-y updates!

Enjoy!

#amreading

Right now I’m reading King Lear for school! I’m up to act four and I feel like it’s taken forever to get there, but I’m so so happy that I’m finally reading this play because it’s been on my TBR for a while! I have NO idea exactly how it ends, only that it must end VERY VERY BADLY because it’s a tragedy and supposed to be even more devastating than Shakespeare’s tragedies usually are, so I’m looking forward to seeing what goes down at the end.

Since I’m reading it for my Literary Retelling & Impersonation class, I’m debating what I could write inspired by this. I’m leaning toward… a retelling about the Trumps?! As long as none of the characters are redeemed by the end of the story, of course. SO. I shall have to keep reading and see what happens. I really hope I can use that idea because it would be hilarious.

#amlistening

Lately I’ve been enjoying a Spotify playlist called Harry Potter 1-7 Film Scores! I found it while looking for suitable music to listen to while reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over spring break and I’ve been listening to it ever since then. It’s such a good playlist for studying! Makes me feel motivated to pull a Hermione Granger and get amazing grades in all my classes.

#amwatching

My roommate and I watched Legally Blonde last night! I had never seen it before and it was so much fun… although TBH if I’d written the screenplay, Vivian would’ve gotten together with Rlle after dumping Warner and they could have been beautiful lawyer wives together lmaoooo. Oh well, life isn’t perfect.

#amprofiling

My latest assignment in Writing Across Cultures is to profile someone from a different culture than my own, so I’m interviewing a friend from a secular Jewish family and learning so much about her and her heritage in the process!

My first interview took a very interesting direction: I asked if she has ever included Jewish characters in her stories, since she’s a writer just like me, and she said that she’s more interested in portraying the Jewish way of thinking – in other words, values such as education, questioning, stubbornness, and the ability to adapt to new situations – than the Jewish faith. Which is FASCINATING to me, because I’d never thought of it that way before and it was not at all the answer I was expecting. So excited to see what this project becomes!

#amattending

Welllll… I’m not attending it RIGHT THIS MINUTE, but this evening I will be at a lecture given by Leslie Odom, Jr., and sponsored by my university. I’ve never listened to or seen Hamilton and honestly don’t intend to,* but I’ve watched several of Odom’s interviews and loved what he had to say about race, representation, et cetera. I have a busy day of studying planned for today so it will be nice to relax at this event tonight!

*I’m going to get so much flack for this, but it’s true. This is a good explanation of my feelings toward the musical.

#amenjoying

My parents went to Australia for several weeks this winter and one of the things they brought back was a pencil case for me because they knew I’d been meaning to get one! It seems like everyone in the studyblr community has one… aaaand since I love to color-code my notes, I wanted something in which to keep the approximately 45,000 pens, pencils, and highlighters I carry with me on school days. My pencil case shows a map of Australia with wildlife and landscapes around the edge and I love it so much; it’s so cute.

#amwondering

I think my antidepressants may actually be working?! I’m so nervous that this is just a fluke, though, and I’ve been overthinking my feelings pretty much every single day: Do I feel better because I’ve been productive lately, or am I more productive because I’ve been feeling better? And will this last? HOW LONG will this last? I’m so worried that it’s nothing more than the placebo effect and I feel tired just thinking about that because I tried two other medications before the one I’m on now and they didn’t work. Soooo I can only hope that I won’t have to go through the process of trying another med because I’m so over that already.

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What have you been up to lately? Leave an #amcurrently list in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

P.S. Feel free to steal this idea for your own blog… after all, I borrowed it from others, so I can’t exactly lay claim to the format!

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Links I Loved Lately | Race, Gender, & Education

Hey, everyone! So, tonight’s post will be super short and sweet, partially because I don’t have a ton of time (I’ve been studying all day and still have hours to go) and partially because there are, after all, only a few things I want to discuss today. I mean, what’s the use in rambling on if I’ve already made my point?

Anyway, today I wanted to share some articles I read (and loved!) lately. I tend not to do very many of these posts except sometimes as link round-ups during Pride month, but my friend Mahima @ The Controversies does them occasionally and they’re always interesting to read because her commentary is so good. So, yeah. Gonna try this today.

The first article is from PBS Newshour: “What White Folks Who Teach In The Hood Get Wrong About Education.” One of my Facebook friends recently shared it and I just can’t stop thinking about it. (Which was the impetus for this post: When I think about something a lot, I can’t help wanting to share it with EVERYONE.)

This article is about the white savior narrative in education and, since both subjects have been points of discussion in the Black Fiction Now course I’m taking this semester, I found this piece fascinating and on point in its analysis.

Especially this passage:

“I think framing this hero teacher narrative, particularly for folks who are not from these communities, is problematic. The model of a hero going to save this savage other is a piece of a narrative that we can trace back to colonialism; it isn’t just relegated to teaching and learning. It’s a historical narrative and that’s why it still exists because, in many ways, it is part of the bones of America. It is part of the structure of this country. And unless we come to grips with the fact that even in our collective American history that’s problematic, we’re going to keep reinforcing it. Not only are we setting the kids up to fail and the educators up to fail, but most importantly, we are creating a societal model that positions young people as unable to be saved.

I always ask my teachers why do they want to teach and I can tell by their responses how closely the white savior narrative is imbued in who they are or who they want to be. I always say, if you’re coming into a place to save somebody then you’ve already lost because young people don’t need saving. They have brilliance, it’s just on their own terms. Once we get the narrative shifted then every teacher can be effective, including white folks who teach in the hood.”

And this part, too:

“I know that folks hear that title and get upset. I’ve got folks who say to me “that’s inherently racist.” But no, because it’s a reality. The overwhelming number of teachers in an urban setting are white, come from different communities and are of different socioeconomic classes. Why can’t we name that? If we don’t name that then we’ll continue to have this disconnect between teachers and students. I want white teachers to teach in the hood, believe or it not. I’m for that. But I want them to do it in a way that makes them effective and not burnt out. Or have them do it and not think negatively about young people. Too many are teaching in the hood for 2 or 3 years, having bad experiences teaching students of color, leaving, then ending up being a lawyer or policy maker who inherently has these biases against young people of color. That reinforces the flawed structures that we have in place already. I’m about teachers being trained to be effective regardless of race.”

And I’m just… yes! So much yes to all of this!

The second article, “Your Tumblr Makes Me Want To Study,” was written by a college student. As someone who got involved with the studyblr community within the past year or so, I found myself agreeing with just about every point the author made in her post.

In particular, I’ve been thinking about how the author calls studyblr both a “feminized space” and a “feminist space.” I’ve noticed that, too. (And I think I’ve actually read other articles about it before? But I don’t remember their titles anymore, so I wouldn’t be able to find them now.)

There are a LOT of female students in the studyblr community and it’s honestly so wonderful to see so many other young women so motivated about getting an education – especially when you remember that, in many parts of the world, being female and having access to education are still two mutually exclusive things.

I hope you enjoy reading – and thinking about – those articles as much as I have! What have you been up to lately? Read anything good I should know about?

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The Spring Has Sprung Book Tag

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is A TAG (!!!) because it’s been a while since I’ve done any. I’m so happy that spring is finally here, even if the weather is still pretty wacky where I live: One day it’s freezing, the next it’s brilliantly sunny and warm. Is this global warming, or is it just another spring day in the Midwest? WHO EVEN KNOWS?!

Anyway, I’m stealing this spring-themed book tag from Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions! Enjoy!

FLOWERS.

Look on your shelves. What is the most beautiful book both inside and out?

Batwoman, Vol. 0: Elegy by Greg Rucka has gorgeous illustrations both inside and out, as well as a compelling story that twists and turns in surprising ways. I absolutely love the black-white-red color palette used in this comic; it’s just so pleasing to the eye.

GRASS.

What is a book that you find others like way more than you do?

There are people who like Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. And then there’s me. It seems like a lot of people disliked the third book in the series, Isla and the Happily Ever After, but I found the second book the most disappointing. After the cuteness (yes, I’ll admit it even though it’s super super het) of Anna and the French Kiss, I was expecting… well, definitely something more than what I got. I thought Lola was boring and also kind of ridiculous, if I’m being honest. Oh, well. At least the series ended on a high note for me!

RAIN.

What’s a great book that lifts your spirits when you’re down?

E. Lockhart’s Dramarama is one of my all-time FAVORITE books about friendship! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread it… I tend to borrow it from the library in the summer and then flip through it almost compulsively whenever I feel down or just plain bored. It makes me feel all the emotions because I’m so attached to the characters at this point.

DEW.

What book made you feel alive?

I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness back in January and AHHH MY HEART. I checked what I had to say about it in my Goodreads status updates just now and this is what I found: “Ahh my chest feels tight and I’m getting all emotional as I read this… I’ve been wishing I found it easier to cry while reading books because it’s always such a cathartic feeling and this book is perfect for that.”

STORMS.

What book did you find unpredictable?

Can I cheat here and name an entire series? Because I was continually surprised by Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant books. Like, I thought I was in for a cute, fun children’s series but I ended up having my heart ripped out and stomped on not once but MULTIPLE TIMES??? What’s up with that? And OH THE PLOT TWISTS. THERE ARE MANY. I CRIED. A LOT.

RAINBOW.

What was a book that you struggled with only to be happy that you read it in the end?

I picked up Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art last fall expecting it to be a quick read because of its graphic novel format. I WAS SO WRONG. SO VERY, VERY WRONG. It’s basically an instruction manual for how to read and interpret comics – very academic, draws HEAVILY upon art theory, et cetera. Not that those are bad things, just that they weren’t what I was expecting! This is a good book to really sink your teeth into. I know I’ll definitely have to reread it one or two or a thousand times until I fully understand it!

CHILLY WEATHER.

What’s a book that you couldn’t finish or didn’t enjoy?

I almost always finish the books I start – I find it really hard to DNF, like, ANYTHING, no matter how bad it is – so I did finish Divergent by Veronica Roth, but it was a total waste of my time. (Later I tried to read the sequel, Insurgent, but gave up because I kept falling asleep. No joke.)

WARM WEATHER.

What book did you love and want more of?

I sooo want more of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel And Then There Were None! I want to know what happened both before and after the events of this story. I love her writing style, pacing, characters, et cetera and I wish she were still alive to write more books.

GREEN.

What book have you not read yet but really want to?

Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads To You has been on my TBR list for about three years now! Every couple of months I’m like, “Oh hey, I should finally read that,” and then I immediately get busy with something else. It’s like the universe is conspiring against me and trying to stop me from getting my gay little hands on this book. SOMEDAY I WILL BUILD A COZY BLANKET FORT AND MAKE 1,000,000,000 CUPS OF TEA AND BINGE-READ NOTHING BUT LESBIAN FICTION ALL DAY LONG.

PINK.

What book made you feel a strong connection to the characters?

Probably The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater? Honestly, I could choose any book from her Raven Cycle series but I think the second one really spoke to me because it delved further into its characters’ minds. I feel as if I’ve met all of the characters in real life… their feelings and motivations and worries and dreams (pun totally intended) are THAT well described.

PURPLE.

What book makes you feel safe when you read it?

I’d have to say… Matilda? Just about any of Roald Dahl’s books, TBH. Curling up with one of his stories is very comforting because each and every word (not to mention those fantastic illustrations by Quentin Blake!) is familiar to me: I grew up reading them. They were among the first books I ever read, actually. So, yeah. I’d pick that one. It relaxes me, takes me back to a time in my life when I felt safer than I do now because things were so much less complicated and confusing.

ORANGE.

What book do you feel is intelligently written?

I finished Between the World and Me with a longer TBR list than I’d had when I started. In this nonfiction novel about race and racial tensions in America, author Ta-Nehisi Coates name-drops dozens of black writers, some of whom I’d never even heard of before. Plus, his writing style is amazing. (I occasionally used it as a model for my own writing in Prose Style, a course I took last semester about how to construct the perfect sentence!)

YELLOW.

What book puts a smile on your face?

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray is just so witty and feminist and FUN! It’s probably one of the most over-the-top books I’ve ever read, which makes my smiles while reading it even bigger. This book has so many POV characters that there is never a dull moment: There’s always something going on and it’s usually completely silly!

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I’m tagging:

And as always, feel free to participate whether or not I tagged you. (Or ignore this tag, if you so choose.)

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How has your spring been so far? Have you had nice weather? Read any good books lately?

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A Spring Break Planning Disaster

Me: I’m really bad at knowing how much is too much to do in a day. Or a week. Or a month. It’s a HUGE character flaw.

Me: Hey guys, I need help figuring out what a realistic spring break workload would be. Wanna make sure I don’t overdo things AGAIN and burn out.

Me: [Proceeds to make an elaborately organized and decorated three-page-long to-do list on the bus ride home]

Me: Nothing can possibly go wrong!

Me: [Is actually fairly productive at first and enjoys the structure that the to-do list gives me]

Me: [Soon begins to get worn out but keeps working due to stubbornness and the pretty to-do list]

Me: This is FINE.

Me: [Does a truly extraordinary amount of homework and studying in the meantime]

Me: YES! THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

Me: [Collapses]

Me: [Barely gets out of bed for the next three days due to depression and burnout]

Me: What the fuck. WHAT the FUCK.

Me: I just can’t believe this would happen to me! I mean, there was absolutely NOTHING to indicate that this would happen… nope, not anything.

Me: [Continues to lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, feeling Sad And Exhausted]

Me: …on second thought, that to-do list? It was a bit much. And I knew that.

Me: [Heads back to school after spring break is over]

Me: It’s so nice to have so little homework to do compared to how much there usually is! I’m a week ahead in four of my five classes, yessss. I’m not totally sure it was worth it, though, considering I’m now in a LIFE SLUMP because I thought it would be a good idea to do seventeen assignments in one day during spring break.

Me: Well, at least I’ve learned my lesson.

Me: MAYBE.

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Quarterly Rewind, Winter 2017 | “Moonlight,” “A Monster Calls,” & The Women’s March On Washington

Hello, everyone! Today is the last day of winter! And that means it’s time for another quarterly rewind. This post covers the time from December twenty-first through March nineteenth. And as always, the idea of a quarterly rewind is not mine – the credit for that goes to Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner. Enjoy!

P.S. You can find earlier quarterly rewinds here, if you’re interested.

Image From This Winter

womens-march-on-washington-i-raise-up-my-voiceTaken on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at the Women’s March

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Winter

Who am I? the monster repeated, still roaring. I am the spine that the mountains hang upon! I am the tears that the rivers cry! I am the lungs that breathe the wind! I am the wolf that kills the stag, the hawk that kills the mouse, the spider that kills the fly! I am the stag, the mouse and the fly that are eaten! I am the snake of the world devouring its tail! I am everything untamed and untameable! It brought Conor up close to its eye. I am this wild earth, come for you, Conor O’Malley.

‘You look like a tree,’ Conor said.”

– A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

AHHHH IT’S BEEN OVER TWO MONTHS SINCE I FINISHED THIS BOOK AND I STILL CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT UGH I JUST HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS. The writing was so beautiful that it was hard for me to choose just one quote I loved!

This Winter In One Word

Intense.

Most Popular Review This Winter

I actually didn’t review ANYTHING – books, movies, TV shows, music, or something else – this winter! Which has happened in the past. Some seasons I just get so busy doing other things that I don’t seem to be able to find the time to sit down and write reviews. I’m hoping to get some written and scheduled within the next few days, though!

Top Two Books I Read This Winter

  1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was my first five-star read of the year! The writing is oh so beautiful and MADE ME CRY. Would recommend.
  2. I read Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov for my Prose Style class last semester and appreciated the creativity so much I gave it four stars!

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Spring

  1. I am ridiculously excited for the Wonder Woman movie, which debuts on June 2!
  2. My study abroad program, the Irish Writing Program, begins in June and I’m so impatient to head off to Dublin already!

Three New Obsessions This Winter

  1. I started keeping a daily gratitude journal and it’s already so much fun to flip through my past pages to see what I was thankful for on previous days!
  2. I bought a double venus necklace last month at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference, AKA MBLGTACC. (The double venus is a lesbian symbol.) I’ve worn it every day since then and it’s amazing how confident such a little thing can make me feel!
  3. I downloaded the StayFocusd extension for Chrome to keep myself on task and off of social media during study sessions. Unfortunately, I’ve already figured out how to disable it, so I may need to find something more strict. (Any suggestions?)

Most Popular Five Blog Posts Overall This Winter

  1. Surprisingly, that was First Reactions To The “Doctor Who” Series Ten TV Trailer! It’s not a particularly thinky post, so I’m actually really happy that people seem to have enjoyed it!
  2. The popularity of 2016 In Review, on the other hand, does not surprise me at all. I love writing up my year-in-review posts and last year’s was no different, especially since I was anxious for that HELL YEAR to finally be over!
  3. In The #LoveMe Challenge | Day 1 | Why I’m Doing #LoveMe, I laid out the reasons I was participated and discussed my mental health.
  4. Reading Diversely In 2016 was a super fun post to write because I always enjoy reminiscing about all the diverse books I manage to read in a year!
  5. Writing Books I Read In 2016 made me feel super productive and proud of myself… because although I may not have read nearly as many books as I have in the past, I still read ONE HUNDRED BOOKS! And that’s no small thing!

Five Posts I Loved On Other Blogs This Winter

  1. Mahima @ The Controversies was as brilliant as always this winter with her post How To Be A Person.
  2. Sam Dylan Finch @ Let’s Queer Things Up! absolutely blew me away with his post Please Keep Inviting Me To Brunch. I’ve followed his blog for the past few years now because I love what he has to say about mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, et cetera, but this post means SO much to me. Thank you for writing it, Sam!
  3. Holly @ Nut Free Nerd tackled a difficult and discouraging topic in her post How Do You Prevent Blogging Burnout? | Discussion.
  4. I really loved On Not Rating Indie Books Generously by Liam @ Hey Ashers! because ughhhh I agree with it SO MUCH YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  5. Rachel @ The Musings Of A Coffee Addicted Bibliophile had a super creative idea for a post: 8 Words Created/Inspired By Literature!

Five Things That Happened This Winter

  1. I began several year-long reading challenges! I think I’ll have to abandon Around The Year In 52 Books because I’m busier than I thought I would be, but I’d still love to continue working on Book Riot’s 2017 Read Harder challenge…
  2. I went to the Women’s March on Washington with some of my friends! THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME TBH. I know I’ll still be talking about it when I’m an old lady, ha ha.
  3. I went to a lecture given by Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of #BlackLivesMatter, that my college hosted. IT WAS SO SO GOOD OH MY GOD.
  4. I attended MBLGTACC 2017 at Navy Pier in Chicago! (And heard Cullors a second time – she was one of the keynote speakers!)
  5. I did #LoveMe, a blog challenge designed to help you learn to love yourself, and it improved my self-esteem!

Six Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Winter

1. “End Credits Suite” (Moonlight) – Nicholas Britell

I absolutely ADORED this movie, which made me so happy because I had been looking forward to it for sooo long! I was overjoyed to hear that it won Best Picture at the Oscars: IT. DESERVED. IT. The film score is gorgeous, too… I’ve been listening to it a lot while I study.

2. “Pyramids” – Frank Ocean

Can you believe I didn’t start listening to his music until this winter?! I’d been meaning to check out his stuff for aaaages, but it wasn’t until I was making a playlist to listen to on the drive to Chicago for MBLGTACC and asked for song recs that I sat down, put my earbuds in, and figured out what all the fuss was about. This one is my favorite both for its sound and for the way it tells a long, intricate story.

3. “Heaven” – Troye Sivan feat. Betty Who

Such a great song! The music video is gorgeous, too: I’ve watched it over and over during study breaks and the old footage of same-gender couples makes me happy-cry every time. EVERY. TIME.

4. “Girlfriend” – Icona Pop

This song makes me so happy ahhhh! It’s such a SUMMERY GAY TUNE, honestly… I suppose I’m getting a head start on summer since I’m so sick of being cold!

5. “How Long Will I Love You” – Ellie Goulding

SUCH A SWEET SONG OMG. At first I heard it in the context of a romantic relationship, but I think it works really well as a parent-and-child thing too! I have a lot of emotions about it.

6. “Stitches” – Shawn Mendes

This song is so catchy! I haven’t really heard much of his other stuff except for “Treat You Better” because it’s seemingly always on the radio in the dining hall, but I quite like this one. I added it to a playlist of music I like to listen to in the morning to feel more awake and energized!

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What did you enjoy most on my blog this winter? And what have you done during these past few months?

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5 Favorite Books With Green Covers | Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! In keeping with today’s theme of GREEN EVERYWHERE, I thought I’d tell you all about my favorite books that have green covers!* Part of the inspiration for this post came from a similar post** published by Holly @ Nut Free Nerd this morning, and part of it came from my own head… I’ve been debating whether or not this would be a fun topic to post about and I decided it was! Enjoy!

*Although the original color associated with St. Patrick was BLUE, apparently?!
**However, unlike her post, mine does not include glorious, gorgeous bookish photography, mostly because I am incompetent. Also, I ran out of time. Also, I left my camera at school by accident.

1. Adaptation by Malinda Lo

It’s been almost three years since I read this and I still think it has one of the coolest covers of any YA novel I’ve seen! It’s very simple, even minimalist, and Amber’s reflection in the water is creepy AF. The plot is unlike anything I’ve seen in YA, too: Where else are you gonna find aliens AND nearly-dystopian settings AND bisexuality AND polyamory? Hmmm?

2. Havoc by Chris Wooding

GOD I NEED TO REREAD THIS SERIES. Havoc, the sequel to Malice, is a wonderfully creepy graphic novel spliced with the regular prose novel format. The fact that the illustrations are in black and white doesn’t detract from the story; in fact, I think it makes it even more amazing.

3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I still haven’t gotten around to read The Kill Order and The Fever Code, buuuuuut… I will SOMEDAY. I promise! Maybe I should make that a summer project as soon as school gets out and I have more free time, because I adored this series. I have to admit that the writing was a little cheesy at times, but the setting was OH SO GOOD and really sparked my imagination.

4. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Sooooo… part of this cover is blue, not green, but I’m counting it anyway because A) it does include at least some green, B) St. Patrick’s blue is apparently A Thing, and C) I’m a cheater. I love this cover to pieces and I love the story inside, too: I may not know much about the quality of writing in Stiefvater’s other books since I’ve only read this series and The Scorpio Races, but every word here is gorgeous and magical and ahhhh it’s just so so good, you guys. You really need to read it ASAP.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

There are actually a number of problematic elements in this novel I noticed only months after reading it, but I still appreciate its take on anxiety. And friendship. And college. And fanfiction/fandom in general! Also, the romance is really well done, which is something I don’t often say about fictional het couples!

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Did you do anything special or fun for St. Patrick’s Day? And would you like to see me do more posts like this one in the future?

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An Update On My Classes | Obama’s Speeches, Retelling “The Odyssey,” & Cross-Cultural Reporting

Hi, everyone! Since my freshman year, I’ve posted monthly updates about what I’ve been up to so far that semester. I didn’t publish one in February since I was doing #LoveMe, so this post is long overdue… and as such will probably be a little longer than usual because I want to recap some things that happened last month!

Enjoy!

Black Fiction Now

We began the semester by discussing the works of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and James Weldon Johnson. We then read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and Charles Chesnutt’s short stories as part of a unit on slavery and Reconstruction. After that, a unit on MLK via Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop (which I REALLY enjoyed).

Our upcoming unit consists of a number of Barack Obama’s speeches, as well as responses to them by writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’ve already done all the reading for the first week back after spring break because I’m so BORED! There’s really nothing else to do here at home, so I’ve gotten a head start on all my homework and I’m excited to jump into a discussion about how Obama’s speeches and memoirs draw upon the narratives set forth by Washington, Douglass, and other black writers of note.

Literary Retelling and Impersonation

I think this course should be a required part of the English major! I think it’s super important to examine other writers’ styles and learn how to imitate them. Plus, it’s just plain fun! So far, I’ve impersonated Anne Sexton and James Joyce, and retold stories by Homer and Margaret Atwood. This class is intense- choosing to retell The Odyssey certainly made things a little, um, difficult – and the reading schedule can be a bit demanding at times, but ultimately I love being challenged in this way. Impersonations, in particular, aren’t something I would have otherwise written, so I appreciate being pushed to try something new!

Foundations of the First Amendment

This class is so interesting but the workload is KICKING MY BUTT! Each week, we have to read several excerpts from different Supreme Court cases on free speech and they’re just SO DENSE. Still, the judicial branch of government has always fascinated me more than the executive or legislative branches, so it’s kind of cool to trace how the court’s views on free speech rights have shifted over time. Sometimes they contradict themselves. Sometimes dissenting opinions in one case become majority opinions many years later.

Writing Across Cultures

Although none of my courses are what I would consider easy, this one has me working harder than any other this semester – mostly because of the graded reading responses that are due each and every time we have class! I absolutely LOVE being trained to do multicultural reporting in a sensitive way and wish this class was a requirement for a journalism degree!

One of my first assignments was to create “a sense of place” through description utilizing the five senses, so I wrote about “protest culture” and being at the Women’s March on Washington! I also worked hard on a group presentation about how to cover Asian-American communities respectfully and without stereotypes. We got ten out of ten points on it, yay! My latest project was a  long(ish) feature story based on a cross-cultural experience of our own and I wrote about my Brazilian roommate from last summer. You can read the final version of it, titled “Carnaval in the Midwest,” here.

I recently began work on my next assignment: A profile of someone from a different culture than mine! I’m interviewing a friend in my writing group who is from a secular Jewish family.

Principles of Reasoning: Arguments and Debate

I actually considered dropping this class because I was so overwhelmed and confused! Eventually I went to office hours and asked my professor to explain some concepts, and that seems to have really helped. I’m still struggling a bit, though: By the time I fully understand something, we’ve moved several units ahead in the chapter! If anyone reading this has taken a logic course, especially at the college level, I would SO appreciate recommendations of tutorial videos/websites/et cetera that you found helpful!

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How has your life been? Tell me one new thing you learned in school lately! I feel like I haven’t talked to you guys about school in practically FOREVER, so I’d be interested to hear how and what you’ve been doing.

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