#AnnaReadsThis, brilliant reads, poetry, read it love it, recommended reading

National Poetry Month // 2017

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When I’ve found myself in moments of pure heartbreak — which is to say there have been many moments in my 27 years of existence — I have so often found solace in poetry. Last year, in the throes of a wee heartbreak, I loved this poem by Andrea Gibson.

Heck, I have even found myself brought to prose as a result of particular heartache — (see this poem) — I genuinely don’t even remember putting the words down. I just remember feeling utterly numb but in dire need to write. To put the feelings I wasn’t feeling down in words.

What I’m getting at, ironically, not so eloquently, is that poetry is powerful. It’s no secret that I’m a bonafide word-lover, so this too should come as no surprise. But even for those not so “into poetry”, I’d argue there’s a poem, poet, or poetry style for them. That’s the beautiful thing about poetry.

So, when I saw this list from The Strand Book Store of “11 Writers Bringing Poetry to Life,” you best believe my bank account took a hit.

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But I need even more! What are your favorite poets, poems, etc.? Let me know! I love it alllll. 

 

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feminism, instagram, october 2016, read it love it, recommended reading, social media, words from wise women

#WordsofWomen

I stumbled upon Words of Women one night during my nightly instagram perusing. I instantly fell in love with their feed. Then I learned they have a daily newsletter. Then I fell in love with finding a new article everyday in my email after lunch.

Because personally, I feel, the only way to be a peace with taking up space as an independent, 21st century woman, is to learn from those who came before me, and to fill my mind with words that carry us further.

Some of my favorite instagrams from W.o.W. //




Plus a few of my favorite articles… //

“A woman at a certain age who is unmarried, our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure. And a man, after a certain age isn’t married, we just think he hasn’t come around to making his pick.”

If Zelda Fitzgerald Was Crazy, What’s That Say About The Rest Of Us?

Zelda’s writing debut began with a review of her husband’s book The Beautiful and The Damned, in which she alluded to the fact that he got most of his material from her. This led to multiple offers to write for other magazines. Over the course of a 6 week stay at a psychiatric clinic, Zelda wrote an entire novel. When Scott read it, he viewed it as a semi-autobiographical account of their marriage and made her remove parts that drew on shared material he wished to use. The book would be published, yet who knows what missing parts could have brought the book to literary greatness.

Advice To Girls Starting High School (This Will Apply For The Rest Of Your Life)

The thing about high school is, you do learn a lot about the real world (even if it’s nothing like the real world). You learn what it’s like to be betrayed, lied to, confused and completely lost. You learn you can’t trust everyone and people who say are your friends can actually be the first to stab you in the back. You learn that the real world is a scary place and if you don’t start getting your act together, it’ll walk all over you. So whether you’re in high school, entering high school or can’t remember the name of you high school, these lessons will apply throughout your entire life.

And of course, sign up for their newsletter. I can say, without a doubt, this is the only newsletter I have ever be genuinely elated to receive daily.

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february 2016, Links of Love, march 2013, read it love it, recommended reading, singers, wise words, writers

No. 5

Only three years later… 😉

Dating is a minefield of opinions, philosophies, and personalities… and that’s just when it comes to what people are saying, not the actual dating itself. As someone with terrible anxiety and OCD, there are a million things that make dating emotionally exhausting just from my side. Add in the other party and the heaps of advice thrown my way on the regular, it’s enough to make me want to retreat to my Netflix nest forever, never to leave again. This piece by, Maris Kreizman (the same author of Slaughterhouse 90210), was an interesting take on changing yourself for love and whether or not it’s all really just a matter of luck.

And one of the most dismal parts of experiencing this kind of longing is that I was the victim of a certain brand of single lady concern trolling disguised as friendly advice. Everyone had words of wisdom (often unsolicited!) about how I should fix myself, as singled was an ailment for which I could find a cure if only I tried hard enough and took the appropriate steps to get healthy. 

I’ve been realizing more and more the importance of having a strong tribe of women with whom you feel you belong. I don’t know why exactly it took me so long to recognize the strength that comes with such support  in life, but I’m glad that I finally have. It’s incredible to me that so many of those friends with whom I connect the most have been friends I’ve made through this blog. Some of whom I’ve yet to meet in person. But among those I call my closest friends nonetheless. That’s why I especially loved this piece from Femsplain.

What do you do when you feel like you’ve lost yourself? Be with the person who can put you back together again, who knows what’s broken but not how to fix it. Who reminds you that things are not always perfect, but they are not meant to be. 

On the topic of anxiety, this piece from Artparasites really spoke to me.

Most of all, please don’t give up on me. Even though I even drive myself insane and get frustrated with myself sometimes, I hope you don’t. I hope you can still love me more each day and not resent me for a mental disorder I never wanted.

Jealousy rears its ugly head more often then not these days for me. Maybe it’s social media envy. Maybe it comes with your twenties. Whatever it is, I don’t like who it makes me. And I don’t like how quickly it can eat away at my heart. But it’s there. And when something is there pulling at you from all directions, it’s best to try and understand the cause before you can understand the cure. That’s where this brilliant TED talk comes in. It made me feel less alone. Less guilty. But hopeful.

When we feel jealous, we tell ourselves a story. We tell ourselves a story about other peoples’ lives, and these stories make us feel terrible because they’re designed to make us feel terrible. As the teller of the tale and the audience, we know just what details to include, to dig that knife in. Jealousy makes us all amateur novelists.

And lastly, from Madame Clairvoyant herself, a horoscope that is relevant always, to everyone.

Sometimes it can be easy to feel that you’re less than you are, rather than accept the huge challenge of living your fullest, truest life. Sometimes it can be easier not to want anything at all, rather than accept the deep ache of desire in your bones. It can be easier to deny your real self, demanding and golden and made of so many things. Try, this week, just to sit with the knowledge of who you really are and what you really need. Don’t tell yourself, not even once, to accept anything less than this.

xo-

 

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books, brilliant reads, life lesson, read it love it, recommended reading, the book thief

Recommended Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read this book, The Book Thief, when I was au pairing in Germany. We were driving from Northern Germany to Venice, Italy, and I read as we zoomed through the alps, while the children dozed in and out of sleep. I’d flip through the pages in between passing out various snacks to pacify the inevitable hunger that strikes when you are bored, and four, and on a road trip. It was the perfect book, for the perfect time in my life. It’s a remarkable story that touches on themes of life both from the time period and setting in which the book is set, WWII Europe, as well as the world today. I highly recommend it, and without giving to much away, have compiled a few of my favorite quotes below. (Tonight I’m finally watching the movie version… I’ll let you know if it lives up to the book! Fingers-crossed.)

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.” 

“I like that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It’s probably what I love most about writing–that words can be used in a way that’s like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around. They’re the best moments in a day of writing — when an image appears that you didn’t know would be there when you started work in the morning.” 

“The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.” 

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.” 

“I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.” 

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.” 

“I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.”  

“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant…I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.” 

“The point is, it didn’t really matter what the book was about. It was what it meant that was important.”  

“Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.” 

“I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

“She was a girl with a mountain to climb.” 

“At first, she could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him?” 

“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread on top of it. It was the best time of her life.” 

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books, brilliant reads, goodreads, ku history, quotes, read it love it, recommended reading

Your new favorite suspense author, Gillian Flynn

First things first… she (Gillian Flynn) went to my alma mater, the University of Kansas. Second, she grew up in the same area I did. I found this out after fawning over her writing, so these revelations are in no way causing a bias in my review of her books. Only extreme pride. Excessive fangirling. And excitement that the Kansas City area is now a bit more on people’s radars, if even just the slightest bit.

Last year I first read Gone Girl. I was skeptical, as I am not much of a crime/thriller/suspense fan when it comes to my choice of reading. But… it was part of the buy-two-get-one-free deal at the bookstore I was wandering around in London. I was visiting my friends for New Year’s, a quick jaunt from Munich, and spent much of my time perusing while they were at work. I knew I needed to load up on English books, my mind having become mush in the past six months from having read so many German books. It doesn’t matter how fluent you are in a language, your active translating, 24/7, takes its toll. It’s mentally exhausting…

Anyway… I grabbed Gone Girl and two other books (you guys, I’m far too embarrassed to admit what they were. Let’s just say they were not worth toting back to the States when I moved home. And that’s saying a lot, considering books are like my children).

I began reading it on my flight back to Munich, then on the subway, then raced back to my apartment, hardly throwing off my bags, definitely not taking off my winter layers, and I sat on my couch and finished that puppy by morning.

I couldn’t not read it. I had to know. Right then. Sleep was for the weak. 

This book had taken control. I won’t delve into the details of the plot, you can find reviews of that and the like anywhere online, trust me. I just want to suggest you go out and grab a copy now. It’s phenomenally written with a remarkably hard to predict plot. (And I’m notorious for guessing the ending of movies, books, plays, you name it. I owe that ability to my years and years of watching TV, paid off!)

But here are some quotes to give you a little taste of both the writing and the plot. Consider this your appeteaser (see what I did there, heh.) and go ahead and order the chef special. Someone you know has a copy, trust me. In fact, mine’s currently making the rounds in my family. 😉 

I don’t know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.

Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But also who kinda likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and “playfully” scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only…and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.

Because you can’t be as in love as we were and not have it invade your bone marrow. Our kind of love can go into remission, but it’s always waiting to return. Like the world’s sweetest cancer

’My gosh, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: ‘You deserve it. I love you.’
But he said,’Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Why?’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.’

Ironic people always dissolve when confronted with earnestness, it’s their kryptonite.” 

Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?

It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

Men always say that as the defining compliment: the Cool Girl. She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means that I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
 
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see these men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’)


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 like 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. Men believed she existed – she wasn’t just a dreamgirl one in a million. Every girl was supposed to be this girl, and if you weren’t, then there was something wrong with you.

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Also, Gone Girl is becoming a movie. It has a trailer and everything. It’s going to be good. I feel it in my bones. 

And Gillian Flynn did a Reddit Ask Me Anything. Flavorwire did a recap of her best answers.

Just finished the second two of her novels, both qually intriguing. Definitely recommend. Will write more on that matter later, though…

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