I snatched up this great-sounding topic from The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday subject list! That is my good-to source for inspiration when I’m stuck on what to write about, and this particular idea takes the concept of what authors I’d like to meet (which I wrote about ages ago) to the next level. I took “bookish” to mean writers of any kind, whether they’re journalists, authors or general creators. These are people who inspire me, create escapist worlds, and remind me that pursuing the written word in a career is far from being silly.
Here we go!
1) J.K. Rowling
I mean, duh.
2) Heidi Thomas
Not only is Heidi the creator and main writer of one of my favorite shows, Call the Midwife (and married to Stephen McGann / Dr. Turner, which I’m low-key jealous of), she’s also the mind behind the recent adaptations of Ballet Shoes, the musical Gigi, and the upcoming (in the U.S.) version of Little Women. Call the Midwife is such an underrated show, but it celebrates women, their strength, and good men who support them so well. I admire Heidi so much, and I love how she works with mostly female directors on the show. She also uses her platform to share so many unique birth stories and highlight reproductive and general health issues women faced in the mid-twentieth century.
Dream-casting characters in books I’ve recently read has become my favorite kind of blog post to make. It’s so funny how within just a few pages of some books, an actor’s face will permanently slap across one of the characters for me. For today’s post, I picked books that I’ve read within the last two months or so, thus these “portrayals” are still very vivid in my mind!
For my previous “If These Books Were Movies” posts, check out the category’s tag!
1) Zachary Levi as Joshua Templeman (The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne)
“Shyness takes so many different forms. Some people are shy and soft. Some, shy and hard. Or in Josh’s case, shy, and wrapped in military-grade armor.”
After seeing other bloggers rave about this book, I had such high hopes for it, but it fell a little flat for me. The “romance” stories I gravitate towards are usually more innocent books written by authors like Sophie Kinsella, and they have a well-rounded narrator with an entertaining personality and plenty of fun friends and family around her. This narrator was…fine. The book was just a little dull because I didn’t feel like I knew the main character Lucy very well, and it didn’t help that she lost her only close friend through work drama before the story started and her parents were only seen via Skype.
However, the highlight of the book was seeing Lucy chip away at the tough exterior of her work rival and eventual love interest Joshua. Joshua is a sarcastic guy who plays tough but proves to be a caring softie when Lucy grows more attracted to him. I almost instantly saw Zachary Levi as Josh. I totally fell in love with him after watching him in the live broadcast of She Loves Me last year, and his character in that musical is similar to Josh in that he loves to rile up the people he clashes with. From what I’ve seen, Zach is a genuinely charming and friendly guy, and I think he could pull off Josh’s icy exterior and his succeeding kindness.
I graduated college this year, and in the past, books I read in my English classes have often appeared on my yearly favorites list (check out my picks for 2014, 2015, and 2016). Having taken only one literature class my last semester, where I skimmed rather than read, that wasn’t the case this year. Although I ended up adoring most of the books from my college English classes (I took the majority of them with the same professor, whose reading picks I knew I usually enjoyed), I went a little lighter with my reading choices this year.
As 2017 progressed, I turned to a lot of fun chick lit to clear my mind and fast-paced historical fiction to busy it. As a result, my favorites list this year is comprised of just that. It looks quite different from past years’ lists, but more importantly, I found stories that captured me, and managed to read 52 books this year as of Dec. 22!
As always, a disclaimer: these are just books I read for the first time in 2017, not necessarily books that were published this year.
1) The French War Bride, by Robin Wells
We made each other feel loved and accepted and treasured. I think that is all one can ask for in this life.
I gushed about this book here, and it remains my favorite read of the year. There are a ton of books set in France during World War II, and I’ve read a good number of them, but The French War Bride is the most captivating, comprehensive story about this pocket of time that I’ve ever read. It’s a long one, but it wouldn’t let go of me until I finished two days in, so it can speed by! If you’re treating yourself to a few lazy days after Christmas this year, pick it up from your library or ebook store!
2017 was a bit of a mess politically and socially. Trump’s tirades, several terrorist attacks, and an onslaught of sexual assault allegations were just some of the difficult moments we faced on a global scale this year. Although it’s important to find a balance between caring enough for the world’s struggles and taking note of your own self care, I’ve always loved entertainment and pop culture because of the relief they provide from sad or negative things.
Despite all of its negativeness, 2017 had plenty of moments that made me happy. I wanted to share my favorite pop culture moments of the year, so get ready to go down memory lane!
1) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get engaged
Guys, this love story is a made-for-TV movie come to life! But, seriously, I’m hoping for another perfectly cheesy Lifetime flick about them a la William and Kate. Until recent months, I never knew much about Meghan Markle, but I definitely liked the sound of her and her relationship with Harry. After watching their adorable engagement interview, it’s clear that they’re truly in love and that Meghan has already begun a seamless-looking transition into royal life. Try not to smile watching that interview.
Going through my longtime book quote notebook for insight into 10 of my favorite quotes was so much fun that I continued sifting through my records for 10 more lovely quotes to talk about. While the first post solidly covered books read in my last two years of high school and first year of college, these quotes jump around in time a lot. While away at college, I never had my notebook with me, and I kept quotes I liked in my phone Notes. I work through transferring quotes from the phone to the book quite slowly, so the notebook has some chronological gaps. So, I would say that this post includes books I read mostly from freshman to junior year of college.
“I waited patiently – years – for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, ‘Yeah, he’s a cool guy.’ But it never happened. Instead, women across the nation colluded in our degradation! Pretty soon Cool Girl became the standard girl.”
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is one of those books that I didn’t really like, yet it was a fascinating page-turner that really messed with the reader’s perspective. I can understand why both it and the movie adaptation did so well. It’s passages like these that drew me in and made me stop and think about how society works. I like this quote because of how it sets up this double standard that plays out with men and women – women are rewarded for liking what men are typically more interested in, while men who like “girly stuff” are made fun of.
I mentioned before that I’ve kept a notebook of book quotes since I was 16, and six years after starting that collection, it’s still going strong! From my eleventh grade summer reading assignments to current reads that are more likely to align with my mom’s book choices than ever before, any writing that left me thinking, crying, or laughing is captured in this notebook.
Obviously, this record has a crazy amount of quotes, so I wanted to share 10 of my favorites from the first few pages, which equates to what I read my last two years of high school and freshman year of college. You can totally tell where I was in school when flipping through the quote book (the classics mentioned below? Some of them were assigned reading). I loved picking these out, so I will definitely do another post covering the next chunk of my notebook!
While the majority of these books were first-time reads, quotes from the Anne of Green Gables series pop up throughout my notebook because I’m always rereading them and finding new bits that I love!
“Emma’s mid-twenties had brought a second adolescence even more self-absorbed and doom-laden than the first one.”
One Day, David Nicholls
I’m in a bit of a slow, transitory phase of my life now, and it’s hard not to get frustrated with the pace of things when everyone around me seems to already be on their next adventure. The quote above resonates with my current mindset. I must have read One Day when I was only a high school junior, so I don’t know why this quote about a proper grown-up appealed to me. It’s part of why I write down quotes I like – they’re words of encouragement or wisdom for the future.
If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you probably have a sense of what kind of topics I gravitate to the most in books and TV shows. My reading material is particularly predictable, and I’m a little less likely to try out a new book genre than I am to watch a different kind of TV show. Essentially, I know what I like, and supernatural, fantasy, paranormal, and thriller stories rarely interest me. Even as a kid, the Harry Potter books were really my only foray into fantasy stories. and I mostly read contemporary or historical fiction.
Below, I’m sharing the top topics that are bound to convince me to read a certain book. No matter how many books I read with these features, I can never get enough! I’m always looking for recommendations, so leave a few titles in the comments if you know a book that fits one of these molds!
1. The Kennedys
I’m a fiend for non-fiction about the Kennedy family. When the summer comes around each year, I just get in the mood for long, in-depth books about these people. You know that I love stories about big, multi-generational families, and the Kennedys are the real-life equivalent of that. I can read as many as two or three Kennedy-related books in a row before I have to take a break. This year’s books were Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot and Jackie After O. Yes, there’s tons of books out there about JFK and RFK’s politics, but what draws me in are the family sagas and marriage narratives. I’m secretly hoping for a new Kennedy dynasty to become 1960s-level famous just so there are more books about them someday.
Some of my favorite blog posts are about my wish list casting of the book-to-movie adaptations I’d want to see someday (here, here, and here). I loved putting together this one, which leans a bit more on the fantastical side than the realistic one. Nevertheless, here are my most recent picks for what actors could play certain book characters in a movie!
1. Christy Altomare and Corey Cott as Amelie and Jack (The French War Bride, by Robin Wells)
We made each other feel loved and accepted and treasured. I think that is all one can ask for in this life.
THIS BOOK. I devoured it in two days and didn’t want it to end – totally my favorite book of the year so far. If you love fiction set during World War II, this is a must read for you. It explored France’s war years in such an immersive way that I was exposed to several facets I didn’t know about before, and I’ve read a good amount of historical fiction set in 1940s France. Part of its gripping narrative was due to the narrator Amelie. The book follows her from the war’s beginning to what she does after the German surrender, but also flips between her past and 2016, when she shares her story with her dead husband Jack’s ex-fiancee.
When I’m stumped about what kind of posts to write, I turn to The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday book topics. The topic “Books I’d Give a Theme Song To” stuck out to me because, at the moment, I’m very much into the soundtracks of some of my favorite films and the moods they inspire. Right now, I’m in love with the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack (and was even on a Nora Ephron reading kick for awhile!), because it just screams New York in the fall.
So, I picked a few books that seemed to fit well with songs I knew from movies, the radio, or even my own iPod. Keep reading for these pairings and explanations of why I think they fit together!
I associate this song with movies that end in weddings, like The Parent Trap or Yours. Mine and Ours. Three Amazing Things About You, which I briefly talked about here, covers three characters who are finally together by the end of the book, celebrating the crazy twist of fate that introduced them to each other. When I match books with songs, I think about the decision cinematically, and “Right Where We Started From” is like the ultimate closing credits montage song for me.
Being that I’m currently on the job hunt, I’ve turned to a lot of nonfiction reads written by women in the media industry this summer. I’ve found that these kind of books keep me motivated but also provide a dose of tough love reality. Sometimes, you just get lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time for a certain job. Most of the time, though, you have to work hard at not-quite-right jobs until you finally earn your dream position.
I wanted to share the three “career woman” books I’ve read this summer. I actually saw all of these authors in person over the course of Her Conference weekend back in July! if you ever have the chance to hear someone you admire professionally at an event, definitely jump on that chance!
1) The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be, by Ann Shoket
“It can be incredibly lonely to grow into who you’re meant to be.”
I have to be honest: I was never a Seventeen reader beyond flicking through it in waiting rooms. I’ve known of its former editor-in-chief Ann Shoket completely from her guest appearances on America’s Next Top Model, but one of the Her Campus (which I currently work for) co-founders interned for her back in the day and they kept in touch. This called for Ann’s workshop at Her Conference, where she talked to us about staying confident while climbing the professional ladder and keeping calm about stabilizing a satisfying personal life.