the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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what I’m currently reading

Lately, I haven’t been reading as fast as I was only two weeks ago. This is because 1) I went to visited family, which included lots and lots of social time and not very much reading time, 2) I worked way too much when I got back, and 3) I had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday, and the pain has been debilitating ever since. To the point where reading is annoying (and you know it’s bad when I’m like that).

Despite all the hold-ups, I still have had way too many books waiting for me at the library.

Here’s the typical me: I put books on hold at the library before I forget I want to read them, knowing there are long waiting lists for most of them. When I go to pick them up, there’s usually three or more waiting for me. But on my way out the door, I glance at the new releases the librarians have tempted me with on the end caps and usually pick up one or two of those (my library is special in that is it the only one in our system you cannot request their books on hold and have to physically grab them. Thus lots of new and popular books).

Anyway, here’s my long list of what I am currently reading:

me-talk-pretty-one-day1.  Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Excellent book of essays. Slow going because it’s located at my work and I can only read it to my clients occasionally. But I have enjoyed it immensely thus far.

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashnerthe maze runner

Of course I am reading this because I saw the movie. Basically, I want answers. And a friend graciously borrowed it to me but unfortunately then the slew of books came in. Another one of my YA-read craze.

unbroken3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

So so good. On hold because, again, library books a’calling, but oh so good. My mom borrowed this to me maybe… right before the movie came out. I went and saw it about a month ago, even though I hadn’t finished the book, and the movie did not disappoint. But of course the book has way more depth and I am excited to finish it.

4. Things That Are by Amy Leachthings that are

Since I own this delightful Milkweed Editions book of essays, it is also on hold. But beautimous. (Yes that is a word). I hope to get back to it soon.

you-must-remember-this-web5. You Must Remember This: Poems by Michael Bazzett

Another wonderful Milkweed book, this time borrowed from a friend. So good. It has reminded me that I want to read poetry more often (:

6. On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Bisson immunity

This is a popular Graywolf Press book that just came out that I am super curious about. So far, it’s truly remarkable and fascinating. Definitely not as light as all my YA, but very insightful and interesting. Unfortunately I had to return this to the library yesterday, but I am about halfway through and can’t wait to get it again.

neverwhere7. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Decided to go with some adult fiction instead of YA! So far it’s super mysterious, so I’m having a hard time keeping up. But I do like it enough to keep reading.

8. Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies_new-cover

Another YA dystopian, but one that’s been around for around 10 years. I’ve been meaning to read this for about that long, but forgot about it with all the new releases that are catching my eye constantly. I’m halfway finished and so far I like it but not as much as others in the genre.

So that’s it for now! I’ll probably start another library book tomorrow though 😉

What are you currently reading? 


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thoughts on The Hundred

the 100

(Source: Wikipedia)

Another YA dystopian! Will it stand the test of trilogies that are making Hollywood? Not so sure.

Honest review! The premise? I just learned it is based on the CW Network TV show, so if that scares you, be warned. I won’t say whether I’ve seen any of the show or not.

100 teenagers from Confinement are sent down to Earth after 300 years of living up in space. The government on the space ship wants to know if the radiation has gone away enough for them to come back to Earth and repopulate. But the only way of knowing is to see if the 100 survive. Follow Clarke, Wells, Glass, and Bellamy through this gripping new dystopian YA romance to find out.

Now that I think about it, it really does sound (and truly is) so so so unrealistic. Um, radiation? Nuclear war? Is Earth really gonna be livable and why wouldn’t they know that through technology? They survived 300 years in space! Also, how do not all of the 100 not die when landing on Earth? Seriously, the amount of details that were stretched and skipped to make this book – and TV series – possible is insane. It’s so unrealistic it’s not worth listing all the details. Just stay away from it if you’re a sci-fi fan (this is not sci-fi) or need a book to be realistic at all in order to enjoy it.

The other downside, if you’re able to look past the missing details of the background and surroundings and the almost-completely-absent explanation of why the way things are the way they are, is that there are four main characters POVs you must follow. Four. And if that wasn’t hard enough, there’s a good amount of flashbacks per chapter that all explain the background emotions and actions of the characters. A little confusing and hard to follow, to say the least. It was hard to differentiate the voices as well, even though two are girls and two are guys.

Lastly, this is not a survival novel. This is a romance, plain and simple. But hey, I’m a sap. This book confirmed that I still fall for contrived, cheesy teenage romance in thrilling environments. It’s true – all the actions the characters made were not from common sense but out of their teenage emotions (some of which drove me crazy by the end). It didn’t make me cry, and I didn’t really feel anything for the characters. No plot, no “survival,” no actual details of what Earth is really like. But oh well, I guess.

But for some reason, the book kept me reading. It went very fast (hardly any background given before the plot just takes off), but I went with it. Goodness, I don’t mean to rant. I just like it and I wanted it to actually work. I want to end by saying that it gave me hope: even when a book isn’t perfect or the “best,” it can still be enjoyed.

Will I read the next two books? Maybe, if I’m in the mood for a quick, YA romance, yes. And I sort of still want to know what happens… but there’s always the (very different) show.


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thoughts on The Zookeeper’s Wife

zookeepers wife

Time to catch up on some book reviews! I have been reading and putting books on hold at the library so much. But for this book, I took a break from YA and fiction even to read a historical story I will remember.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by poet Diane Ackerman is the non-fiction story of Antonina Żabińska, the Warsaw, Poland zookeeper’s wife, during World War II. Based upon Antonina’s diary and other research, naturalist Ackerman paints the tremendous story of an unlikely heroine’s care for refugees and animals during the world’s most darkest time.

Ackerman, as the poet that she is, paints a rich description of not only the environment of living during the war in Warsaw but the emotions of the zoo itself. I’ll admit I’d never even thought about what happened to animals during the war much less exotic ones. I came away from the book with a greater appreciation of them – almost caring more for them than the protagonist! One is definitely able to become lost in the beautiful words Ackerman uses. Learning the history was very informative and interesting, although I didn’t feel it was as complete as it could have been.

If you are not into reading about facts and history, you may not enjoy this book. I couldn’t decide whether I liked her style of going back and forth between research and the “made up” stuff (filling in the gaps of the diary as there obviously were), all the while including quotes from the journal. It reads like a history book in that she provides a plethora of background information (the Ghetto and a few of the famous people the Żabińskas come into contact with, to name two examples).

What I did not enjoy was the extreme focus on this background information as well as the descriptions of the animals. I never really understood the wife the story was supposedly about. It didn’t read like a story or a bibliography, and I honestly have no idea what the characters were like. It not only continually lost its focus on Antonina Żabińska but failed to give a complete picture of any character or setting featured. The diary quotes were not enough. Overall, it lacked the emotion I was expecting to feel.

I won’t give spoilers in regards to the ending, but I didn’t much like the post-war details either. Honestly, the details and people Ackerman chose to focus on were seemingly random. As a reader, I wanted to know the facts about how they went about harboring Jewish people in their zoo, but I really couldn’t tell you after having finished the book. She pays a little too much attention to beetles, artists, politics, and superstitions, etc.

Overall, I’m happy for Ackerman’s fulfilling journey to Warsaw to visit the places that may be still there. She still writes beautifully, and now I have more emotions for animals I suppose? But maybe I should return to her poetry and leave the history writing for the historians.


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thoughts on One Thousand Gifts

one-thousand-gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp is a spiritual journey book about finding joy in your every day life. A mother and wife, Voskamp wanted to live her life intentionally and well, and found that a simple challenge to write down things she was thankful for transformed the way she lived. “‘How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?’” (Amazon). This book is a guide to discovering God’s blessings and learning to be present in Him.

My mentor recommended to me this last summer when I expressed a similar hunger for what Voskamp talks about. The description of the book sounded like a guarantee – a fool-proof way to have joy in your life. Maybe it would have been if I had kept up the gratitude journaling, a concept that launched Voskamp’s spiritual journey and shaped the entire book. The first chapter intrigued me so much, and I was sold! I started my journal right then and there. But as I read on, I was so turned off by her confusing and wordy writing style that the joy simply petered out.

I really want to love this book. The concept is wonderful of course, and I appreciate her fascination with small things, making our “mundane,” every-day lives full of joy. She is a breath of fresh air, and I am thankful for my mentor recommending this to me.

However, her way-over-the-top lyrical style, love of poetry, and bad metaphors started annoying me to no end. I found my inner (and outer) editor cringing and wanting to “fix” this book. It had so much potential!

I can relate to her because I love lyrical essays. But during my undergrad, I got failing grades for writing stuff like this, so I am a little frustrated that this mess was publishable. Certainly wanting to be an editor myself isn’t helping things. And maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe it did undergo a transformation before being published. But if so, it wasn’t enough to pull writers in.

I did take things away from it and I tried to read each page with an open mind and less criticism. However, it was slow-going and my own thankfulness journal didn’t kick off because of it. I didn’t study the craft of writing to ignore execution. I did a lot of underlining in my copy though, and one day I’ll go back and craft some quotes and thoughts from those great pages.

Conclusion: This book may change your life. It certainly taught me things I will carry long beyond the writing style (I hope). Some people truly adore this book, otherwise it wouldn’t be a New York Times best seller! My recommendation is that if you are writer, take this book with a grain of salt (if you attempt to read it at all).

If you are a twenty-something seeking joy, give it a try. And if you are not a writer with an inner editor, definitely go for it! Put it in the church library, gift it to friends wanting to find joy (after reading it of course), and find its gems.

Review on Goodreads


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thoughts on Into the Still Blue

into the still blue

“What I was trying to say,” he whispered, “is that I see you in everything. There isn’t a word for you that means enough, because you’re everything to me.”

This is the third Young Adult science fiction book in the Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. Join Perry and Aria and the cast of characters on the tumultuous journey to discover the elusive Still Blue and save their people. Will their love also stand the test? 

“We all have the potential to do terrible things. But we also have the potential to overcome our mistakes.”

This book had a few beautiful gems, more of the romance I loved in the first two books, and was all around a great way to wrap up the series. Most third installments of YA dystopian trilogies end in a way that makes me want punch walls down and shatter glass (you might know exactly which books I’m talking about). However, I have no complaints about this one, except for (hypocritical me) it being a little too… easy on the eyes. But I don’t want to spoil anything.

Also, it was short. Which was actually awesome. I didn’t want another end-of-series book to be a long, drawn-out wrapping up of all the series’ events (*coughHarryPottercough*), and it definitely didn’t disappoint. I blew through this book and didn’t find anything terribly annoying, if not just unexplained or glanced over. The science fiction part of it (which is borderline fantasy) was easy to understand and relate to, unlike other books I’ve read.

Yes, I am on a Young-Adult-fiction-reading kick, but bear with me. YA is easy for me to relate to as a twenty-something. It’s light, some of the time (moreso lately with recent releases) a fantastic and beautiful romance, and closer to my age than the vast world of Adult Fiction (which you often have no idea what you’re getting. Ah, if only there were a “twenties” genre. But then, what would be the point of that?). Also, it generally stays more appropriate than Adult Fiction if you’re looking to stay away from more sexualized writing.

I would highly recommend reading this series, starting with Under the Never Sky. 

Review on Goodreads


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thoughts on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

My first book review for you all. Depending on how fast I read, please enjoy these reviews on occasion! I hope you find a book you enjoy (:

After finishing this book, I was trying to remember how I stumbled upon it and why I thought it would be excellent. Then I remembered I had found a list of movies being made into books in the (near) future, and it had been on there. So naturally, thinking that books with movie deals automatically makes them awesome, I placed the hold at the library immediately.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Creepy – almost disturbing – vintage photos, a mysterious island, and an abandoned orphanage. And a boy with stories his WWII-veteran grandfather told him. All intriguing aspects that make for a thrilling premise and a page-turning read. In this Young Adult novel, Ransom Riggs combines photography and narrative to create a story anyone with a curious taste for the strange would enjoy. Follow sixteen-year-old Jacob as he sets out in the wake of a family tragedy to figure out the mystery of the island and the answers behind the photographs of his memories. As he explores the rotting home, one thing becomes clear – these “peculiar” children may have been – or be – more than they seem.

The premise sounded – and moreso looked – so promising. The photos was so intriguing in and of themselves that I wondered how this book could be classified as Young Adult. Maybe I’ve seen too much “American Horror Story” and so my expectations were too high, but this book is actually not as scary as it seems.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, and I also don’t want to turn you off from this book. The concept made it worth the read, and the story is fun. It felt like it could have been for a younger audience given the characters’ voices, but there were some frightening aspects that did, in fact, remind me of horror. But it just didn’t take the cake for me. The narrative seems to have been formed around the photos (dispersed throughout the inside to illustrate characters), instead of the photos just supplementing the story. It was as if Riggs had found a list of photos and tried painstakingly to fit them all into the story.

Turns out, that’s sort of what he did! But some of the photos just don’t make sense, others are not even ever explained. That bothered me to no end. I would have been more intrigued with the real stories behind the photos, rather than an adventure story about hybrid children with super powers. And the WWII bit didn’t help one bit. Being somewhat of a history buff, I just didn’t see how it all fit. Three out of five stars. For a debut novel, I think Riggs did a decent job. I, however, will not be reading the sequels.

I wouldn’t highly recommend, but if you want to satisfy your curiosity, it’s not completely a waste. And there’s always the movie!

Review on Goodreads