The first month of 2018 is officially complete! Resolutions have been made (and inevitably some have been dropped…), classes have resumed, and the busy bustling of everyday life is back in full swing once again. January through March or April tends to be my least favorite time of year because I don’t have any fun holidays to look forward to, but this year feels a bit different thanks to studying abroad. Here’s what I’ve been up to thus far in 2018:
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- Girl Up by Laura Bates
- The Quartet by Joseph J. Ellis
- The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
- The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
- Frederick Douglass by William S. McFeely
- What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
- The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
- Lit Up by David Denby
- Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith
- Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick
- Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
- The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket
- The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
HOW DID I READ THIS MANY BOOKS?! I definitely expected to read nothing at all this month because I moved back to England to continue the rest of my year at Oxford. The constant stream of essays I write each week means that I hardly have time to read for fun… EXCEPT by listening to audio books. Audiobooks are the secret key to reading way more than I ever expected I’d be able to. I listen to them while walking to lecture and college, cooking, getting ready in the morning, doing laundry, etc. It’s the perfect way to read and be productive at the same time!
I read a lot of excellent books this month, but my favorite is the first book I read so far this year: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I read this novel for my English Literature 1910-Present tutorial and have immensely enjoyed studying it in terms of gender, its treatment of veterans in postwar British society, and its modernist writing style. It as also her 136th birthday this month!
This year I’m adding a new section to my monthly wrap-ups: favorites!
+ MOVIE: Definitely Les Misérables (2012). I had never seen the play or a movie adaptation before this month, so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Let me just say that I was wrecked. I literally cried throughout a solid 70 percent of this film.
+ MUSIC: Is anyone surprised that I’ve been listening to the Les Mis soundtrack on repeat for the past two weeks? (Answer: You shouldn’t be.) My favorite songs include “ABC Cafe / Red & Black,” “On My Own,” “One Day More,” and “Paris / Look Down.” There are so many amazing songs to choose from!
+ FOOD: FALAFEL. Falafel is definitely more popular here in England than where I live back home, so I’ve enjoyed making falafel wraps for lunch and dinner. It’s so good with carrots and cucumbers and sweet potato…
+ PLACE: It’s been hard not to fall even more in love with Mansfield College, where I’m currently studying abroad in Oxford. It’s such a beautiful place and the people I’ve met here are lovely ❤
I did it! I made it back to Oxford all by myself! It was the first time I had made the trip from home to England alone, and it actually went surprisingly smoothly. Every new step I take as far as travel goes makes me a bit more confident about traveling even more in the future. The transition back to Oxford life was seamless and in many ways it feels as though I never even left. Work has picked back up again, reading has commenced, and my typing fingers have already written more essays than I would have written in an entire semester back at Wheaton.
Of course, there’s been plenty of time for fun as well. My friends and I have booked a trip to Spain for our spring break, visited several pubs, played a plethora of board games, and even attended a bop and other college events. I love Oxford because there’s a pervasive sense of routine here despite the seemingly unstructured tutorial system. Apart from tutorials and lectures, there is also a sort of structure to social events: bops in 0th and 8th week, champagne and chocolates on 2nd and 6th week, formal hall Wednesdays and Fridays, etc. It’s nice to be able to plan ahead for fun nights like those!
All in all, I’m really looking forward to what this term has in store!
Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:
- 2017 Resolutions: How did I do?
- What does it mean to be a “relevant” reader? | Discussion
- Feminist Fridays: Augusta Webster
- Returning to Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad
- Feminist Fridays: WHAT HAPPENED by Hilary Clinton
Here are some posts that I loved reading this month:
- Judith provides some… interesting ways to squeeze more reading into your life
- May highlights nine improvements to WordPress that all bloggers would appreciate
- Austine discusses the importance of knowing why you blog
- Trish lists seven “to-don’ts” to keep in mind in 2018
- Shar weighs the pros and cons of giving a book or author a second chance
- Whispering Gums ponders reading pleasures and not being alone
- Krysta talks about feeling like you read the “wrong” books
- Olivia compares emojis to Orwell’s “Newspeak” in 1984
How was your month of January? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!