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little things | summer 2018

Summer is usually my least favorite season. It's humid and boring and long. I get too ambitious for everything I want to do during the summer, and as I get nothing accomplished, the time wastes away, and I get discouraged and am ready for school to start up again. However, this summer I have found more of an appreciation for this time of year.

My sophomore year of college was rough, and I have found the time off much needed and refreshing. While the season is still definitely not my favorite, this summer has been somewhat of a turning point in my life. I've really had to get out of my comfort zone and re-evaluate my goals. I might write a blog post all about it at some point once I've organized my thoughts on everything that's going on. It's a lot and it's been challenging, but it's also something that I know I will be thankful for in the future.

But other than all the deep personal reflecting, this summer has been unnaturally busy. Though I'm sure there's more I could've done with my time, I was very active and accomplished a lot.

the books to read before you die | recommendations

Recommending books to people is an art. People ask me for reading recommendations all the time and it has become something I take very seriously. Almost a little too seriously.

It's not as simple as just sending them my own personal favorite books, expecting them to love them. It takes time and patience and purposeful thought to figure the perfect read (or three) to recommend. I always want people to walk away with a new all-time favorite that they'll think about forever when I give them something to read.

That's why I find those generic "top books you should read before you die" lists to be skeptical. They're usually all the same, regurgitating the same selective books stolen from a high school English class's required reading. They always have scholarly and literary significance, and are usually mostly always classics.

While those type of books have their own importance and should definitely be read, I believe there are very few books in the world that everyone should read before they die.

Books that really add something to the world that should be read regardless of where you are personally in your own life. I also believe that a book doesn't have to be a well known classic to be impactful for everyone. There is more than literary significance that makes a book one that everyone should read. I personally think that themes, characters, and even overall enjoyment are just as important.

Goodbye. Don't forget me.

17 July 1918
Yekaterinberg, Russia

She couldn't sleep that night. Pounding thoughts of what would happen to her and her family ate at her mind, keeping her awake, staring at the cracked, dirty ceiling of the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinberg. Tiredness had no effect on her now. She was always tired. But she barely noticed it anymore as the days passed by, one after another, blurring together in slow, repetitive succession.

She was as restless as Russia itself. 

The country was swelling with revolutionary fervor, led by visionaries like Valdimir Lenin. They had decided long ago that her father and the rest of her family didn't fit in the new Russia they were piecing together. So they had been whisked away to be hidden from the rest of the world. They had become prisoners. 

Since February, it had been one relocation after the next. She could hardly remember the old life she had once had in the palace of Tsarkoe Selo. It felt as if they had been in Yekaterinberg for a lifetime, waiting to make the next leg of their gradual journey to the wasteland of Siberia. What was to happen when they got there, she didn't know. She couldn't do anything by sit awake in her nightmare.

A single light appeared in the darkness, making its way up the stairs and illuminating the room. 

reading diary | A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

It's been so long since I have read a book that blew me away. That left me wounded and raw, yet full hearted and hopeful. That gave me perspective and revealed parts of myself that I didn't even know existed. That captured me so completely. I almost thought no book ever would touch my heart quite like that again, until I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Under any normal circumstances, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is not the type of story I would've expected to like that much. It's a coming of age story following an eleven-year-old girl, Francie Nolan, and her family in early twentieth-century Brooklyn. I expected a light feel-good story. Enjoyable, but nothing profound. There was no way I could have predicted how much this book would impact me when I started to read it.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the type of book that changes your life.

It's the type of book that settles in your soul without you realizing it. It speaks softly and slowly. It shows the difficulties of life, like death, starvation, and the pain of growing up too fast in a gentle way. It doesn't brush over hard topics or look at them through nostalgic, rose-colored glasses. The author, Betty Smith, writes with brutal truthfulness and doesn't hold back. But she is able to deal with it all with a beautiful childlike wonder and respect so it's not a burdensome task to read.