Monday, January 9, 2017

Don't Let The Fall Change You

Hey there! How's it going? I recently finished The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins, and I absolutely loved it! I think it's one of my favorite books I've ever read. I was completely shocked by the ending, but of course, I'm not gonna spoil it for you. However, I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a good thriller or mystery. Right now, I'm finishing up The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger as my required AP book for out last nine weeks of English. It took me forever to decide on an AP book to read, and I tested out so many before deciding to read this one because a friend recommended it to me. I've enjoyed it so much so far, and I'm almost done reading it. I think I've done an overall good job with my reading this semester, but I know I'm gonna have to really motivate myself next semester to keep reading if I'm going to reach my ten book goal for the school year. The good thing is there are a lot of books I want to read right now so hopefully I'll keep reading.

Like I said earlier, I'm currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The book is about boy named Holden Caulfield who has recently been kicked out of his boarding school. After several goodbyes, one of his teachers gives him a wake up call and tells him he needs to get his life together and take it more seriously. He doesn't disagree with this, but he also doesn't care enough to act on it. Instead, he decides to go to New York to get away for three days and escape his life before he has to go back home to reality. He learns so much about himself and life in those days as he encounters a variety of people and attempts to make connections with them, but deep down he's really just trying to find himself or what's missing from his life. I think the book has a lot of great messages and many things to take away from it. Holden is the type of guy who acts like he has the whole world figured out when he really hasn't a clue about anything, not even himself. However, with his cynical, sarcastic personality, he never fails to make the book interesting, and I've really enjoyed reading about his adventure and seeing how he's changed.

While there are many important lessons and quotes I could talk about, I'm only gonna talk about the one that was my favorite and stuck out to me the most. This quote is where the title of the book originated, too. Holden flawlessly explains the idea of the catcher in the rye while he says, "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around―nobody big, I mean―except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff―I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy" (Salinger 162). This is Holden's response when he is asked what he wants to do with his life; he wants to be the catcher in the rye. Based on his description, the catcher in the rye represents a person that saves kids from falling off what Holden describes as a cliff, or in other words, the inevitability of adulthood. Holden wants the ability to save kids from the cold, harsh realities of adulthood which he has recently gotten a taste of. He sees the world full of liars, phonies, cheaters and stealers and wants protect kids from all of that. This reflects Holden's beliefs on innocence, purity and youthfulness and why he tries to remain in it even as his adulthood is creeping up in the near future. I love Holden's idea of staying kid forever and never growing up. Being a kid is carefree and less stressful because all you see is good in the world, but adulthood corrupts that view in many ways, at least that's what Holden believes. However, I don't think growing up means you have to stop viewing the world in a positive, romanticized, childlike manner. Yes, adulthood brings more responsibilities and realities of life, but that doesn't mean you have to lose sight of the important things in life like family, love, and happiness. I completely understand Holden's wanted to prevent kids from falling into adulthood, but the sad truth is that growing up is inevitable; however, that doesn't mean you have to lose sight of yourself and what makes you happy during the fall. Preserving ones childhood is possible. I think adulthood is what you make of it, and you don't have to conform to the ways other people live as long as you remember the things that truly matter.  The truth is the fall down to adulthood should be exciting because during that time, you get to figure out who you are and that's scary, but it's also an amazing part of life. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and it exposed to me to a lot of new ideas. Hope you enjoyed my last blog! Peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Lies to Nowhere

Hey hey hey! How've you been? I've been pretty good! There's less than a week till winter break, so I'm very excited about that.  My reading has been going pretty well. I finished up Just Friends by Billy Taylor; it had the cutest ending, and I highly recommend it to any hopeless romantic, like me. I' recently started reading The Girl on the Train  by Paula Hawkins. Even though I'm only a third of the way through it, I can't already say that it's one of my favorite books I've ever read. Also, I've been reading almost everyday when I get home from school or before I go to sleep; it's probably because I love the book I'm reading right now, but nonetheless, it's reading! Overall, I think my reading journey is going as smoothly as ever.

Like I said earlier, I'm currently reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. A friend in class recommended it to me, so I decided to give it a try. It's a quite popular thriller/mystery book full of lies, the reality of life, betrayal and running from the past that all encompass a group of complex characters. The book bounces between viewpoints of certain characters that constantly keeps you on your toes. However, it is centered around one main girl named Rachel whose ordinary, plain life gets swept up into a mystery all because she may or may not have seen something no one else knows about.

While the lies, reality of life, betrayal and running from the past keep the book incredibly interesting, there is much more complexity to this book. Early on, the main character, Rachel, struggles to obtain happiness because of her depressed and drunken state. She tries to find happiness and feel fulfilled through drinking, but it only leads her to feeling more alone. Other characters try to find happiness through affairs, or creating the picture perfect life to appear happy to everyone else. However, all of these things are just ways of lying to oneself to convince themselves that they're happy. In reality, these are forms of false happiness. Like everyone, these characters crave happiness, so they lie to themselves till they actually believe they are happy. A character in particular tries to convince his wife they're happy by saying to her, "We are happy. We are. We are happy" (110). The constant repetition of this phrase seems as if he tries to convince himself he's happy and not his wife. I think this is a reality for many people in the real world because isn't happiness what we all look for? Isn't the goal of life to find happiness? While to some that may be the goal, finding happiness is what makes people get hurt and go down dark paths because they look for happiness in the wrong places. Many people in the book, including Rachel, seek happiness in others, or are determine to find it at the end of a bottle. However, happiness isn't something that you can touch or drink or even feel. Happiness, to me, is a mind set; it's choice. Yes, life is rough and full of pain and suffering, but it's how you decide to look at this pain and what you do with your suffering that can turn it into true happiness. Lying to yourself that you're happy isn't real happiness. Although, there isn't even an exact definition for happiness; happiness is all up to ones own interpretation, but lying to oneself to get it doesn't t make you anymore joyful. From my own experiences, I believe that happiness comes from within yourself, and lying won't help to obtain it. This book has made me believe in that even more because I've seen again, through the characters, how lying about being happy won't actually make you happy; it only leads to obsessions or unhealthy ways of trying to obtain this false happiness. I'm hoping by the time I finsish this book that at least one of the characters will have found happiness from inside themselves, and they'll  stop relying on other things to convince themselves that they're happy.  Everyone wants to be able to say they're happy, but very few people are willing to find the strength to realize happiness comes from within yourself.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Just One Love

Hey there! How's it going? Welcome back to my blog! I can't believe it's already November! The fall weather makes reading so much more appealing because I love snuggling up in a blanket with a good book. Truthfully, the weather has made me read a decent bit more outside of school, and I'm pleased to say that I'm almost done with Just Friends by Billy Taylor. The book has just gotten really good, so hopefully, I'll finish it soon. This nine weeks, I also have to read an AP book. I haven't quite decided on an AP book, but I have a few ideas of what I might read. A couple weeks ago I finished reading Lord of the Flies. It was a rough read and sometimes hard to follow, but now that we're analyzing it in class, I find myself understanding it more and being able to appreciate its many messages. Overall, I'd say my reading journey is going along pretty well, and I think it's only going to get better.

Currently, I'm finishing up Just Friends by Billy Taylor. I've been wanting to read it for a long time now because of all the things I've heard about it on Twitter. It's a simple, cute love story, and so far, it has been a fairly easy read. The plot itself is a little cliche and predictable, but most teen romance books are. The love story itself is laid out right in the title; two best friends, August and Ethan, realize they might want to be more than just friends. However, I'm a sucker for heart-warming love stories, so I gotten exactly what I want out of this read.

WARNING! Spoilers up ahead! I could honestly talk about the cuteness of this book forever. There are so many quotes about love, destiny, life and friendship that I absolutely love, and I wish I could share each and everyone, but I don't really have time fro that. Anyway, Ethan and August have been best friends since they were seven, and like a typical romance book, everyone else in the book knows they should be together. I expected August and Ethan to end up together by the end of the book, and I predicted all the bumps along the road and issues they would have before finally getting together. However, I didn't expect it to be as sweet of a journey. Ethan and August's friendship was already very endearoring to begin with and from the beginning of the book, I could see glimpses of them definitely having more true feelings for each other and being more than just friends. I saw this daily through August because the book is from her point of view. She is very outgoing, compassionate girl who has a very romanticized idea of how life should be. She views love as a simplistic, whimsical thing that she'll eventually discover. I feel like I can relate to her this way so much because I adore the idea of finding love in unexpected places. Early on, August shows her love for love. At one point, when Ethan is in the hospital, August is hoping that he is okay, but her mind wonders, while at the hospital, and she ends up thinking about the idea of only having one person who is meant for you, one true love. While she reflects on all those thoughts, she says, "It kept repeating in my head over and over - one, one, one, one, one, one, one" (37). I love this quote because I find it adorable how when she thought she might lose Ethan, her mind went straight to the idea of only having one person that is meant for you. I find it sweet that she's so blind to the obvious connection she is making here between Ethan and love. However, I also love this part because I agree with the idea of only having one true love. Yes, I think you can love many people in a life time, but I agree with August that there is truly only one person who fully completes you and serves as your other half. I think that finding this person takes time, and the relationship takes work, but to me, this person makes all the hard times and rough patches worth it because they're the one person you can't live without. I definitely think August and Ethan are meant to be, and reading this book makes me incredibly excited for prospects of love in my future. I think the love Ethan and August share is something very sweet and true. Even though they are fictional, I think the many issues they overcome to become more than just friends are similar to many real world couples. Overall, I appreciated how the book made their love realistic and messy, but also simple. At least to me, love can be the simplest thing in the world if it's with the one who completes you.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Life's Ultimate Goal: Happiness

Hey! What's up? How are you? I'm doing great, and my reading is doing great, too! I finished reading Room by Emma Donoghue, and I absolutely LOVED it! It was so inspirational, and I will for sure read it again someday. It gave me a new way of viewing my life, a way that I had never thought to look through. It made me feel incredibly grateful for everything I have and have been given the chance to experience. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new life changing read. I still need to finish up Lord of the Flies, but I'm struggling because I don't love it, and I think it's kind of a drag. However, I'm required to read it, so I'm pushing through. As of right now, I'm reading Power Your Happy by Lisa Sugar for my non-fiction book, and I'm almost done with it. I've been really good about reading a little bit before bed, and it's been helpful in boosting my amount of reading. Overall, I'm doing pretty well, and I hope you are, too!

As I said earlier, I'm currently finishing up Power Your Happy. It was written by Lisa Sugar, the co-founder of POPSUGAR. I picked it out because I love the POPSUGAR company, and I was intrigued about what all Lisa Sugar had to say. In the book, Lisa Sugar describes her personal journey to create her company, have her dream job and have the happy life she has today. She shares her own experiences and gives advice as a way to motivate her readers to construct a life that will make them the happiest.

Going into reading Power Your Happy, I was slightly nervous because I have never been a fan of non-fiction books. However, I had hope for this one because I felt like it was about something that I was passionate about: living a happy life. Sure enough, I instantly connected with this Lisa's message  on page two, and I loved her statement about her book when she stated, "I want this book to be more about you than me" (2). This comment she made stuck out to me and made me smile because it instantly showed me what kind of author and person she is. Lisa's main message throughout the whole book is that the key to happiness is doing what you love every single day. That means having a job that ultimately fulfills your passion(s). This is something I strongly believe in and could not agree with more. Like Lisa, I have personally always thought that "I just wanted a life that would make me happy" (6). I have never wanted anything more than to just live a happy life. Lisa feels the same way and showed me the possibilities of discovering a dream job that follows my passion and will enable me to live a happy life. The language she uses is relatable and friendly allowing for easier connection to her main message, and it has a motivating tone that has given me a sort of confidence as I read it. Through her word choice, she stresses the importance of not stressing over not knowing what you want to do with your life and not choosing a job purely off the amount of money it offers, and as a sophomore in high school, it feels reassuring and nice to hear someone say that you don't need to worry because many adults don't even know where their life is headed. However, she does believe in having a plan and working hard, but she believes in having a plan for the steps to reach your dream job and putting in the hard work to reach it. I couldn't agree more. Personally, I have never liked the idea of working in an office five days a week or staring at a computer screen and documents even if the job provides me with plentiful amounts of money and a comfortable life. I have always wanted to pursue my passion, theatre. It has always been my dream to be on Broadway, but I have always been hesitant because of people reminding me of the lack of security it provides and how risky it can be. However, this book gave me a boost of confidence in my beliefs that I should pursue a career that follows my true passions. I have really connected with this book and feel that I share the same thoughts as the author. My favorite quote from this book is, "Don't decide what you want to do with your life; let your life tell you what your path is" (13). To me, this is incredibly important for high schoolers to remember as they are figuring out what to do with their lives after college. They should remember that it's not about the money, but it's about what will make you ultimately happy. Lisa suggests looking at things in your current life that make you happy to discover what you should do for living. When I apply that to my own life, I realize that my love of movies could lead me to do something film related, my enjoyment in writing these blogs or in our journals could drive me to be some sort of writer, or my love of Disney and making other people smile might push me to work at DisneyWorld someday. I think what Lisa means by letting your life tell you what to do is that you should look for clues of when you're the happiest and what your ideal day looks like because within those things are the key to a job that will provide you with a life time of happiness. Not everyones happiness looks the same, but we can all obtain true happiness. Overall, I have really connected with this book and Lisa Sugar; I feel like I can relate to her so much, and she makes very excited for my future. I would highly recommend this non-fiction book to anyone who feels lost in life or needs motivation to achieving their dream job and wants to live their happiest life because that's what this book has given me.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Making ROOM for Reading

Hey, welcome back to my blog! Recently, my schedule has been very hectic, and I'm still trying to get myself into a good routine. However, I still try to read for at least 20 minutes every night before I go to sleep. Even though I'm not reading as much as I would like, I am proud of my dedication to Room by Emma Donoghue because it's primary subject and genre is usually something I try to avoid. I'm a little over half way done with Room, and I have to say that I'm loving it! It has impacted me and provoked many new thoughts in my head. I was initially nervous to read it because it's based on a true story and involves kidnapping, and since I'm easily spooked I was scared about how descriptive and graphic it might be. However, I've been completely immersed in the entirety of this book and can't wait to finish it. The next book I plan to read is a non-fiction book. I have a couple possibilities for that non-fiction read, but I haven't decided for sure, yet. Although, I am thoroughly excited to try out this genre!

So far, Room has been exceptionally impactful on me through it's thought provoking, simple words of Jack. Jack is a five-year-old boy who lives in Room with his mom. All he knows is the eleven-by-eleven-foot space in which he was born in. While his overall knowledge of the world is skewed, his mother strives to give him as normal of life as she can and shield him from Old Nick, "the bringer". As Jack's curiosity builds, it becomes increasingly harder for his mom to shelter him from everything. 

WARNING! Spoilers up ahead! The idea of only knowing the contents of one room is incredibly shocking. Jack has no utter clue about all he is missing out on by being confined to Room. His mother  knows what the outside world is like causing a constant desperation to get out. While Jack is curious in many ways, like about the concept of seasons and where his poo goes, he also shows an underlying fear and uncaring attitude. After their intricate escape plan (which I won't reveal because I find it incredibly clever), Jack gets a taste of the outside world for the first time in his life, and he expresses his feelings by saying, "Yeah. I've seen the world and I'm tired now", and his mother replies, "Oh Jack, we're never going back"(155). Their feelings on leaving room are drastically different because his mother knows what Jacks missing and how living in Room is effecting him, but Jack doesn't. Jack would be perfectly fine to stay in Room because he doesn't know how much better his life can be. By only being exposed to Room, you would think Jack would love the idea of the world, but because he's so young, he finds it hard to even grasp the idea of things beyond the contents of Room like Plant, Rug and Ma. He may be curious, but he also doesn't want his life with Ma to change. This is an exceptional example of how experiences shape people, and we might often not understand the yearnings of others. Jack's skewed but simple ideas on life have made me take less things for granted, too. Unlike Jack, I have a house, a formal education, friends and so many other opportunities that he doesn't and doesn't even know he could have. I feel beyond blessed that my entire world isn't a single room. While Room has negatively impacted him mentally and his understanding of the world, I've come to realize there are some positives on how it has shaped his personality, and he has some qualities that others could benefit from. Jack is incredibly kind and sweet toward all living things, he sees the good in all, has a simplistic outlook on life and has an imagination beyond belief. Jack is an incredibly complex character, and even though he has a beautiful and sometimes conflicting relationship with his mom, I have extremely high hopes for the end of the book and how it will change my thoughts even more when its done. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Reading Like Hermione

Hey there! I'm Makenna Chamberlain; my friends call me Mak and like a billion other nicknames. They come and go, but Mak has always stuck. Anyway, I'm an only child of two insane parents that are way too involved in my life, and I have two dogs and a kitten. My life is hectic, but when I'm not doing homework, studying, or having mental breakdowns over WHAP, I like hanging out with my friends, dancing in the car, playing with my pets, traveling, singing, watching Disney and Marvel movies, and shopping. I'm in theatre and have been acting and trying to sing since I was 8. Around that age, I hated reading and always dreaded it. However, I was introduced to Harry Potter by a friend and fell in love, and I have enjoyed reading ever since (and have been OBSESSED with the Harry Potter, too). I realized that it just takes the right book and author to connect and enjoy a book. The genres I tend to read are fantasy, mystery, and of course, romance because I'm the ultimate hopeless romantic, but I hope to reach out and try other genres this year. I try to read new books often, but most of the time all I want to do is reread the Harry Potter books over and over again till I can recite them all.

My goal this year is to read 10 books this year, and I want to become better about reading before I go to sleep everyday. This semester I plan to read Lord of the Flies because it's required and a nonfiction book which I have yet to decide on. I also plan to read two books from the AP reading list; although I'm unsure on which two books I will read, I am interested in reading To Kill a Mockingbird and The Color Purple. I will also read personal, leisure books throughout the year. As of right now, I am reading Room and so far, it's proving to be very good, and of course, I will more than likely be reading some of the Harry Potter books as well.  Overall, I strive to improve my relationship with books and become a better reader with effort and dedication to reading this year, and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will be reading like Hermione.