I’m never above a fun meme.

Writing every day hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still getting adjusted to my new life and new job. Fortunately, there are memes for times like these! Thanks to Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, who seems to be in a similar boat at the moment, I have this My Life in Books meme. I love doing these and it seems like this one got started with Pop Culture Nerd.

One time at band/summer camp, I was: Solo by Rana Dasgupta

Weekends at my house are: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

My neighbor is: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

My boss is: Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff (Because I’m always refreshing Outlook to get his emails!)

My ex is:  The Kid by Sapphire (Since my last boyfriend was named Tyler and we were in the fourth grade. It lasted a week.)

My superhero identity is: The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry because: When She Woke by Hilary Jordan

I’d win a gold medal in: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I’d pay good money for: The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken

If I were president, I would: Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

When I don’t have good books, I [am] My American Unhappiness by Dean Bakopoulos

Loud talkers at the movies should be: Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Okay, so some of these are a stretch. But most of my books have really happy titles!


Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books that Made You Cry

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday list is near and dear to my heart – books that make you cry!  Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I tend to let the waterworks flow when it comes to anything that is remotely sad.  That Kleenex commercial where everyone talks about their sadnesses?  Yup, made me cry.  That phone commercial where the couple falls in love and their son becomes president?  Might have shed a tear or two.  Every Lifetime movie ever made? Forget about it.  When it comes to books, I’m a little more discerning.  Only certain books have really made me cry buckets, but here they are.

Note: Yes, this means I have returned from Spain!  I will be posting all about it soon!  Once I get all my pictures in order.  Oh, friends I have some stories to tell you!


1. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman – This book didn’t just make me cry, it made me sob.  I sobbed unrelenting buckets of tears, all the while trying to remain very very quiet because everyone in the house was still sleeping.  If I Stay is about Mia, a girl who has a wonderful life with her wonderful family and boyfriend.  Except for when, on an afternoon drive, her mother, father and brother are killed in a car accident that leaves her in a coma, but still conscious of her surroundings.  Mia is left with a choice: should she stay, and live in this new world she doesn’t understand that doesn’t include her family, or should she join her family?  And I know that description sounds trite, but this book is full of absolutely wonderful moments that make the loss of Mia’s family unbearable.  My review of this book is clearly pitiful because I did not once mention how much it made me cry.

2. Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee – I read this book for Nerds Heart YA and it made it all the way to the final round!  Though it was runner-up and not the winner of the whole tournament, this book is one that everyone should read.  Shawna’s mom leaves her father for another woman and Shawna never forgives her.  In the first few chapters, Shawna’s mother dies and she is left with all sorts of questions about what happened between her mother and father, not to mention an entirely new family.  This book is touching and real  and often heartbreaking, but it’s a wonderful story.

3. Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee – This book is bound to make anyone cry, about a precocious young boy whose grandfather dies when they go on a walk together.  Anu tries to understand his grandfather’s death by becoming closer to the gods.  This book is seriously amazing and paired with the fact that I read it shortly after losing my own grandmother, I cried, a lot.

4. The Untelling by Tayari Jones – Jones’s lovely novel about a woman who is trying to have a baby is perfect.  I loved every single thing about it, including the connection I felt with Aria.  Her situation brought me to tears quite a few times.

5. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb – I have a lot of bones to pick with Mr. Lamb, but the first 100 or so pages of this book that described, through Lamb’s unique fictional lens, the tragedy of Columbine absolutely shattered me.  I didn’t stop crying and finished the rest of this 700-page doorstop in two days.

6. City of Thieves by David BanioffCity of Thieves is a comedy, so perhaps it’s a bit strange that it is appearing on this list, but it is exactly because of its humor that the ending of this book is so tragic and tear-worthy.

7. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about this book before.  I loved this book to pieces and I think it is the best thing that Sarah Waters has ever written (yes, it’s better than Fingersmith).  I don’t know that I thought that at the time I read it, but since then it has made it possibly into my top ten list.  This story is so sad, like most of Waters’s stories, so you’re going to go into it prepared, but it still made me cry.  I listened to it on audio, so that was awkward.  I guess I could always say I was crying because of the traffic.

8. Kitchen by Banana Yohsimoto – Go read this book.  Just do it.  It defies description and is just amazing.  Also might make you cry.

9. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patric Ness – I’m sure this one made a lot of lists.  This book is sad for many reasons, but there’s always that one reason that gets everyone in the end.  I’m currently reading Monsters of Men, the third book in the trilogy and I was just reminded about that thing that made everyone cry and I almost teared up again.

10. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – This is another book that I have shouted from the rooftops that everyone should read, but nothing made me cry like hearing Tim O’Brien read aloud from this book and a book that he is currently working on.  There was not a dry eye in that entire tent during the 2009 National Book Festival.

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, check out The Broke and the Bookish.

TSS – A little meme for your morning

Most recently seen at: I was a teenage book geek & Bart’s Bookshelf.  Answer the questions with book titles you’ve read this year!

In high school I was: Waiting (Ha Jin)

People might be surprised I’m: Born Round (Frank Bruni)

I will never be: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

My fantasy job is: Flight (Sherman Alexie)

At the end of a long day I need: Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)

I hate it when: Flyaway (Suzie Gilbert)
I have lots of flyaways. 

Wish I had: A Year By the Sea (Joan Anderson)

My family reunions are: Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)

At a party you’d find me: Runaways (Brian Vaughn)

I’ve never been to: Palestine (Joe Sacco)

A happy day includes: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)

Motto I live by: A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans)

On my bucket list: Mendoza in Hollywood (Kage Baker)

In my next life I want to be: The Great Perhaps (Joe Meno)


Bart at Bart’s Bookshelf had this mega-clever meme on his blog!  I had to try it.

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

  • Describe yourself: Skim (Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki)
  • How do you feel: Specials (Scott Westerfeld)
  • Describe where you currently live: A Home At the End of the World (Michael Cunningham)
  • If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Clearing (Philip White)
  • Your favourite form of transportation: Fear of Flying (Erica Jong)
  • Your best friend is: The Implacable Order of Things (José Luís Peixoto)
  • You and your friends are: Kindred (Octavia Butler)
  • What’s the weather like: Yarrow: An Autumn Tale (Charles de Lint)
  • You fear: The House Next Door (Anne Rivers Siddons)
  • What is the best advice you have to give: Let the Right One In (John Ajvide Lindqvist)
  • Thought for the day: The Mystery of Grace (Charles de Lint)
  • How I would like to die: If You Come Softly (Jaqueline Woodson)
  • My soul’s present condition: The Turnaround (George Pelecanos)

Thursday Tunes

thursdaytunesThursday Tunes is the weekly showcase of some my favorite songs, thanks to a meme hosted by S. Krishna.
I hope you’ll find something new to listen to here!

Lately I’ve been way into any band that has a woman as the lead singer.  Like Spinerette!

Poetry Wednesday – Derek Walcott


Bringing you a little poetry, every week, once a week.

Welcome to the first installment of Poetry Wednesday.  Get your weekly dose of verse right here!

This week: DEREK WALCOTT.  Walcott has been a favorite poet of mine since I took a class on post-colonial literature my freshman year of college.  His most common themes are race, the caribbean and nature.  Though his poetry is laden with references, I believe it is still accessible to all readers.  I like poetry with a little mystery in it, that you just might have to go researching for.   Here is a good example:

As John to Patmos

As John to Patmos, among the rocks and the blue, live air, hounded
His heart to peace, as here surrounded
By the strewn-silver on waves, the wood’s crude hair, the rounded
Breasts of the milky bays, palms flocks, the green and dead

Leaves, the sun’s brass coin on my cheek, where
Canoes brace the sun’s strength, as John, in that bleak air,
So am I welcomed richer by these blue scapes, Greek there,
So I shall voyage no more from home; may I speak here.

This island is heaven – away from the dustblown blood of cities;
See the curve of bay, watch the straggling flower, pretty is
The wing’d sound of trees, the sparse-powdered sky, when lit is
The night.  For beauty has surrounded
Its black children, and freed them of homeless ditties.

As John to Patmos, in each love-leaping air,
O slave, soldier, worker under red trees sleeping, hear
What I swear now, as John did:
To praise lovelong, the living and the brown dead.

So, I don’t know or understand the John to Patmos reference; however, I get it.  I understand through what Walcott evokes in this poem what is meant by “as John to Patmos”.  The beauty of life and its relationship to hoplessness.  I think ultimately this is a poem of hope that does not necessarily ignore pain.  It is the idea that those two things can coexist – death and life, hope and despair, beauty and the absence of beauty.  I think that’s a good poem, a poem that evokes the reference, even if you don’t know it.  Now I’m going to go look up John and Patmos.

Ah ha!  John of Patmos is the author of the Book of Revelation.  This makes so much sense!  Essentially the idea of the apocalypse is contradiction.  It is pain, followed by peace.  Despair followed by hope.  Walcott took this idea and wrote his own poem of Revelations.  I love the use of the Bible to give meaning to something secular.  Though I am not religious, I believe that religion is part of our culture, and the Bible is one of the origins of Western literature.

What do you think of Walcott’s poem?  Does this poem make you want to read more by Walcott?

Do you regularly read poetry?  Would you like to read more poetry?