Blog Series

Stay Classy With These Classics

When I was in middle school, I decided that I would attempt to read one-hundred fiction classic books  by the time I graduated from high school. It’s about the nerdiest feat I’ve ever *almost* accomplished. Frankly, I was annoyed that-aside from an eight grade literature class- my teachers never assigned enough books for my liking. I’ve read plenty, and yet, when people ask me for a recommendation, involving any genre, I have a brain freeze and I mumble out something like, “Great Expectations is good.” Only I didn’t say I started the book two or three times before reading it all the way through.

I’ve decided to do a series of lists, both fiction and non-fiction. These will be divided into about three posts. Here is the first:

 

1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

2. Robinson Crusoe  by Daniel Defoe

3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

5. Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

6. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

7. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Agatha Christie

Aside from the Nancy Drew books, I’m not too excited about mystery novels. Then, in eight or ninth grade, my literature teacher assigned our class And Then There Were None. I’m a big fan.

9. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

10. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

11. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

12. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

13. Shakespeare by Bill Bryson (not a classic, but  related to the topic of Shakespeare)

14. Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

15. Richard III by William Shakespeare

16. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

17. Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare

18. Hamlet by  William Shakespeare

19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

20. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

21. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

21. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

22. Pride and prejudicee by Jane Austen

23. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

24. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

25. Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by Frank L. Baum

26. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper

27. Our Town [Play] by Thornton Wilder

28. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan  Rawlings

29. Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

30. Animal Farm by George Orwell

31. The Pearl by John Steinbeck

32. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

33. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

34. The Crucible by Upton Sinclair

35. The Chosen by Chaim Potok

36. Black Like Me (non-fiction) by John Howard Griffith

37. Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White

38. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

39. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (Not to be confused with The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

40. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle

41. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’engle

42. Billy Budd by Herman Mellville

43. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

44. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

45. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

46. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury

47. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephan Crane

48. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

49. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

50. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

51. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

52. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

53. 1984 by George Orwell

 

Short Stories:

“The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

“The Gold Bug” Edgar Allan Poe

“The Celebrated Jumping Frog” by Mark Twain

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber

“The Gift of the Magi” by O’Henry

“The Cap and the Anthem” O’Henry

“An Unfinished Star” O’Henry

“Enchanted Profile” by O’Henry

“The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

“An Appointment With Love” by Sulamith Ish Kishor

“An Experiment in Misery” by Stephan Crane

 

You’re probably thinking, wait, only fifty-three books? That’s not exactly close to one-hundred. Unfortunately, I was not smart enough to write all of these down. Many, recalling from memory. This post will continue to be updated.

 

Is there a classic not on the list(s) above that you recommend? Comment down below.  If I receive enough feedback, I’ll  create a post from your recommendations for other subscribers to see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Writing

10 Summer Reads

It’s amazing, really, that considering all the books I’ve read, I haven’t already compiled any reading lists!  So, without further ado, I give you ten of my personal faves:

Top 10 Summer Reads to check out! Tweetable

1.  Hotel  on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I highly recommend this book. I’m not the best critic, but I remember absolutely loving this one. Also, if you doubt my credibility, it’s a New York Times Bestseller. If you’ve been a reader of mine for any amount of time, you may have noted this fact: I’m a total nerd.   I’d honestly be somewhat surprised if you have not seen or heard of this title. It’s received a lot of attention from various newspapers, magazines and even schools. Bonus: it’s set in Seattle!

2.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Total classic. Ladies, I do hope you’ve indulged yourself in this book at some point in your life. If not, this book is for anyone.  I read it as a child, however, I’ve read it numerous times.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Twenty, thirty years down the road, I have no doubt people will still be talking about this story. If you’ve only seen the movie and you are wondering if the book is worth your time, let me be the first to tell you that it’d be a waste of time not to. Readers of historical fiction, inspiring characters, and Southern humor will adore this page-turner.

4.Packing Light: Thought on Living Life with Less Baggage by Allison Vesterfelt. This book blew me away. The risks Allison  took in her book to make this grand adventure happen, has significantly encouraged me to see risks as opportunities, and not scary giants. Follow her journey as she travels to all fifty states and discover what she learned about Packing Light. Learn more about Allison here.

5. Love Does by Bob Goff. There are very few titles I’d consider re-reading. However, Love Does  is one of those rare treasures. If you are somewhat new to my blog, or a first time visitor, you may have missed my more detailed review of this particular book. This book is for the world-changers, the doers, and non-fiction lovers.

6. Rooms by James L. Rubart. It’s not everyday that the opportunity arises for me to support local authors. Roomsdefinitely grabbed my attention. It’s very unique in that it didn’t quite fit many of the popular story plots. In a nutshell, the story is about one man and one soul-searching journey as he finds God after years of living the “good life.” A series of uncanny  events causes leads him to serious introspection.

7. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I didn’t know how much I loved murder mysteries until I discovered this stupendous author.

8. As Waters Gone By by Tina Bustamante. This book is one of hope and redemption. There are no other two words which better fit the bill than these. Except maybe grace and love. I love Tina. She put her heart and soul into this book and the result is beautiful.

9. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday. Every once in a while, I unearth a gem in a secondhand bookstore  such as the one Torday has brilliantly written. While I may not know much about fishing, I walked away from these precious pages with a little more faith in humanity. And an increased respect for fish and fishermen.

10. The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie by Kim Carpenter and Krickitt Carpenter. One word: wow. I can tell you right now, had I read this book prior to seeing the movie, I would not have paid money to see the Hollywood film. This here is the real deal.

 

Did I leave out any must-read in 2014 titles? Share your suggestions in the comments below!

 

Standard
Writing

Empty Shelf Book 14: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Author: Rebecca Skloot

What’s it about: This book is about the immortal life of the HeLa cell line, grown  from an African-American woman who died of cervical cancer in the fifties. Henrietta Lacks cells were the first human cells to be immortal. When Lacks was operated on at John Hopkins hospital, her cancerous cell tissue was taken without her consent.

Why did I read it: This book was part required reading material for my Women’s Studies class I’m taking this quarter. I don’t like the class so much, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about  Lack’s story and her incredible contribution to science.

Favorite idea: In the book, Skloot writes about two of Henrietta’s adult children seeing their mother’s cells for the first time. When discussing genetics and DNA, a researcher at Hopkins explained  “They [the HeLa cells] all look the same–they’re just clear until we put color on them with a dye. You can’t tell what color a person is from their cells.”

Where you can buy it: here.

Standard
Writing

Empty Shelf Book 14: Rooms

Title: Rooms

Author: James L. Rubart

What’s it about: When Micah Taylor inherits a mansion in Cannon Beach from a long dead uncle who he has never met, he’s not quite sure what to think. After stepping out of his comfort zone, Taylor decides to visit this mystery house. In the house, he encounters rooms which force him to face bits and pieces of his painful past-and the faith he thought he had abandoned for sure.

Why did I read it:A friend recommended it to me and I thought “why not?” It’s probably something I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, but I’m glad I read it nonetheless.

Favorite idea: “Despite the unanswered questions and being within miles of where his heart had shattered, he felt at peace.” This feeling resonated deeply with me.

Where you can buy it: here

Standard
Writing

The Girl With the Purple Pen

**The Coffee**

I’ve tried. Tea is bearable. I’m not biased. Sometimes I boil water in my room and brew a strong cup of tea. Typically, I only feel so inclined when I’m sick. Only then do I believe in the power of extra vitamin c, additional supplements, cold medicine. You name it. My conclusion that if I believe the stuff actually works then I’ll overcome whatever bug it is that has inhibited my body.

Coffee is where it’s at. Like others, my college budget doesn’t allow for a  four dollar  latte from Starbucks every day. That kind of reckless spending is hardly economical. That’s fine with me. I can do with another leisure: my Keurig coffee maker. One of the best birthday presents throughout my twenty years. Most people don’t need the extra calories pumped into most drinks elsewhere. And yet, on the rare occasion I treat myself—often out with a friend—I still laugh when they order a regular cup of Joe. I mean, for all I care, we could have just enjoyed a cup of coffee in my dorm. That’s just how my brain works. I’m practical and frugal.

There is an analogy between the coffee and my writing. My writing, the writing I share with social media anyways, is a compilation of thoughts similar to discussions I’ve had over coffee. The range of topics is broad. Occasionally, I meet with a friend to say “farewell for now. Enjoy your adventures globetrotting. Other times I find myself in deep theological discussions. Often, the theme is hardly complex. Small talk at best. “How is school?” “How is work?” “How is your relationship with that special guy of yours?” Coffee Shop Talk. The atmosphere in most coffee shops I’ve run into are welcoming. Mostly laid back—well, except for maybe those that are within a 3 mile radius any mall. Hardly formal. Definitely energetic.
This ideology is what gave me the inspiration to start my blog. I wanted a platform where I could be wrong. Make mistakes. Leave behind my grammar Nazi tendencies. And hopefully, make an impact. Be it big or small. This is my exhortation. If you are able to carry a conversation over a cup of hot liquid, I do not doubt your ability to write. One must not write to be known, but understood.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Flannery O’Connar

I don’t mean to bore you. Rather, I desire to inspire you to begin your own adventure. In all honesty, life in words is may seem dull at first. But then, you look back on that first page you wrote. Your thoughts will probably vary. You may laugh, you may cry, you may feel inspired. I never write to grab the attention of a highly esteemed audience. Elite wordsmiths. That group is small. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. They are the ones who take risks. This group doesn’t let the burden of conformity shape their voice. I raise my mug of coffee—your choice of drink is entirely up to you—to the underdogs, the creators of mistakes, the adventurers, the risk-takers, the beginners, the aspiring wordsmiths, the coffee drinkers and tea drinkers. May you take note of the people and experiences who become a part of your writing adventure.

The Coffee

Quote
Writing

The Girl With The Purple Pen

A little bit of fiction, to kick off  31 days of writing. My 500 Words is a challenge created by Jeff Goins.  It’s intended to inspire daily writing habits among writers in all stages.

Chapter 1: The Girl With The Purple Pen

**About Me**

It’s a nickname unheard of among most college students. I accepted it. It was in no way offensive. In fact, I take it as a compliment. I am indeed the girl with the purple pen. Like most names, there is a story behind it. My favorite color is purple. My real name is Brittney. However, most people call me Brit. Naturally, I feel inclined to pen my thoughts with this seemingly majestic ink. Few students in my field have such a strange fetish. However, nothing motivates me quite so much as the flow of fresh ink across a Moleskine journal–another leisure I sometimes indulge myself in. 

  I’m a communications major. Journalism and Media Production, to be more specific, is my area of expertise. A dying art. Pursued by few.The internet has already occupied the jobs of more than a few  journalists.   Even fewer who pursue it are successful. I’m considering a minor in professional writing. You know, something I can do outside of my 8am-5pm job. A hobby that could possible help with the student loans I will inherit once I’m on my feet. My goal is to pay them off  before I presumably get married, have children, all that jazz. 

In the summer of 2012, I found myself in Port-au-Prince Haiti. A location desired by few high school students. It was there, I knew I wanted to write. I shared my experiences via a  blog and was told “hey, you’re not half bad at this.” My travels were really a turning point. Kake, Alaska, Tijuana, Mexico,  and Port-Au-Prince Haiti make for some pretty exciting adventures. They aren’t your typical vacationing spots. But I wasn’t there on vacation. All three times I was there for relief work. This purpose opened my eyes to instance I like to call “beauty in the broken” experiences.

In Haiti, I first became aware of beauty in the broken. Life in death. Joy in the most depressing of places. Sweet music in streets filled with political riots. Hope in a land wrecked with economic strife, uncertainty,  and violence. I’ve found that most people don’t understand to the full extent what I’m trying to say, where I’m going with all of this. Third world countries open your eyes to things which we are otherwise blind to in filthy rich America. Believe it or not, being well off has it’s downsides.

Anyhow, in Mexico and Haiti, I kept a consistent journal. Not your typical entries i.e. “This morning I woke up and had Cheerios for breakfast.” Not that there is anything wrong with this information. In fact, it’s where I started out. I’d like to think I’ve made progress since then, but I some days are less exciting than others, and that’s OK. Many new writers are discouraged by this. I’ve been trying to emphasize to my friends and family that it’s not about what  you write, it’s just important you write at all. Even those who right for a living didn’t wake up one day knowing they were going to write a bestseller.

I’ve been writing for quite a while. I tried my hand in the field as early as elementary school with the typical “dear diary” entries. Didn’t we all? Some of us develop a habit, of it, others don’t.

**About The Roommates**

They’re an odd bunch, but not too Crazy. Emily is up there with the STEM people. In other words, her major is math related and there are times when I wonder if she’s related to Einstein. She’s not so math oriented that I can’t hold a conversation without her going on about how much she loves functions. She’s human, and for that I’m grateful.  I’m not quite sure how I got paired up with her. The math, the thinking, I just don’t get it. We have a deal. I’ll help her with words if she’ll help me with my poor technology skills. Thus far, the arrangement has worked out pretty well.

Lizzy is down to earth. She’s part of the Communications College like me. We have a couple prerequisites together this quarter. You might say she’s my study buddy. We may not see eye to eye on everything, but our one common  thread is this: we all love what we do and we want to do it well. That’s good enough for me. I’m not gonna lie, I’d heard enough horror stories about bad roommates, that I’d nearly given myself a complex waiting to hear back after submitting my housing application. So, I was relieved to hear that in spite of my awkward tendencies, I’d been placed with people who won’t judge me.

Welcome to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Standard