ECHO by Nadette Rae Rodgers | {RECEIVED FOR REVIEW}

*** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ***

Nadette Rae Rodger’s thrilling novel Echo continues the story of Addison and Zach as they grapple with their ever-present dreams. Soon these dreams start to transform into living nightmares as more details of the past are revealed. Why is Mitch so determined on seeking revenge? What is Aunt Carrie’s relationship with dreams? How are these two lives intertwined? All is uncovered in this second installment of the Illusion Trilogy.

A major strength of this novel is the way it seamlessly incorporates numerous different perspectives. Though the main narrator is Addison, we also see through the eyes of Mitch and read several journal entries written by Aunt Carrie. Coupled with very short chapters, the constant rotation of different perspectives adds suspense, intrigue, and depth to the novel. Moreover, I appreciate the use of different fonts to clearly indicate when the narrator has changed because it prevents any confusion from occurring. The variety of fonts also makes reading a lot more fun!

Another strength of Echo is its fairly realistic depiction of an average high school experience. Unfortunately, I feel as though the Young Adult genre is notorious for inaccurately portraying what high school is actually like in real life. Of course, no fictional representation is going to be perfect; however, Nadette Rae Rodgers does an excellent job of constantly reminding the reader that these characters are teenagers dealing with so much besides the obstacles faced in their dreams. Addison struggles with catching up with all of the schoolwork she missed, changing friendships, family dynamics, and worries over what to do with her life after graduating from high school. Even in the midst of her nightmarish turmoil, Addison is still a human being like you and me. 

As with Illusion, the first book in this trilogy, I love its focus on dreaming. I’m someone who often vividly remembers what I dream about at night– but I can’t imagine those dreams coming to life! Nadette has taken something ordinary and made it extraordinary with the Illusion Trilogy, which is precisely what makes storytelling so wonderful.

Overall, I was captivated, thrilled, and enthralled by Echo. This trilogy is for anyone looking for suspense, adventure, twists, and even some romance. Nadette Rae Rodgers has wrapped everything a good story needs into this beautifully written package.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!

Do you dream often? Is there something you dream about a lot? What’s the best or worst dream you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: For Outdoorsy Bookworms

Happy Tuesday!! The lovely bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish are back with their weekly TTT themes and we’re starting off with a great one. Since today’s topic is open-ended, I’ve decided to share my Top Ten Book Recommendations for Outdoorsy Bookworms. My love for camping, hiking, and spending time in the mountains tends to be reflected in the books I read. Whether you love quality time in the great outdoors or simply like to read about it from the comfort of your reading nook, here are ten books for the outdoorsy bookworm:

Are you outdoorsy? What are your favorite books about the outdoors? What are your thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Is there more to Jane Austen than romance? (YES) | Discussion

Jane Austen’s works are often lauded as masterpieces of romantic fiction, and with good reason: her winding plots of courtships, engagements, and marriages have managed to captivate readers for centuries. Take the famous Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, for example, who seems to have been placed upon a pedestal as the ideal male love interest (though that’s a problematic topic for another day). Though Austen’s novels are multidimensional works of literature with numerous fascinating facets to consider, the majority of the discussion surrounding these texts (particularly in the online bookish community) focuses solely on the romances they contain. While there is certainly nothing wrong with highlighting the romantic relationships and how they inevitably unfold, I can’t help but feel as though we are missing out on some great discussions by not opening ourselves up to other topics.

For instance, why does no one seem to be talking about the socioeconomic divisions and hierarchies driving these plots forward?  In Emma, the protagonist initially convinces her friend Harriet to not marry Robert Martin because he is not of a sufficient social status and doesn’t possess impressive, influential social connections. Harriet’s eventual rejection of Robert Martin based on a class distinction is what allows her to later grow romantic feelings for Mr. Elton, etc. Towards the end of the novel Emma realizes that she has always thought of herself as the perfect match for Mr. Knightley—and what better way for them to be suited for each other than through their similar social statuses? From this perspective, the entire plot of the novel is in some way motivated and driven by an awareness of class. In fact, it could be argued that many of Austen’s fictional relationships are founded on the basis of class.

Another interesting topic within Austen’s works is the position of women in society. Obviously this comes into play when discussing romance, but here it is viewed from a slightly different angle. To use Emma as an example once more (can you tell which of Austen’s novels I recently read?), she makes it clear from the beginning of the story that she does not wish to be married anytime soon. I would describe Emma as an independent, strong-willed, bold, opinionated, intelligent young woman who can certainly take care of herself—that is, until she ultimately resorts to marriage like nearly every female character in the novel. I don’t mean to suggest that marriage reduces a woman’s independence, or that Austen didn’t believe in the resilience of her gender. Rather, I think these inevitable courtships, engagements, and marriages that keep happening in her novels are Austen’s way of showing us how trapped women were during her time. Even a strong character like Emma can’t make it through a novel without a ring on her finger.

This rambling post is merely my way of wishing for a broader, more varied discussion of Jane Austen’s works (and literature in general, ideally). Talking about books is so much more fun and interesting when a lot of new and different ideas are thrown into the mix. So why not start with these old favorites?

What do you think of Jane Austen’s novels? Do you have a favorite? What are some topics that you wish were more discussed in relation to literature? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

What Cats Do | Book Tag

Cats are great. If I wasn’t allergic to cats you can bet that I would be getting one as soon as I lived somewhere without dogs that would torment it. Cats are independent, their purrs are adorable, and they have the prettiest eyes. Knowing my affection for cats, you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered the existence of the What Cats Do Book Tag. This tag was created by Kate @meltingpotsandothercalamitiesThanks so much to Zuky @ Book Bum for tagging me!!

Purr: As cats do this when they’re happy or relaxed, what is the book that makes you happiest or relaxed?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I reread this book almost every summer because it’s such a beautifully told story. I feel like I mention it in nearly every tag I do, but it honestly deserves all the recognition it can get!

Sleep: What is a book that put you to sleep or was just boring?

Last semester I took a course on Renaissance poetry and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) never having to do that again. Not only am I not really interested in that time period, but I just couldn’t take how sexist and repetitive the majority of those sonnets are.

Twitch while dreaming: Have you ever dreamt of a book you read?

YES. I vividly remember dreaming of Hogwarts and adventures with Harry and his friends when I first started reading and watching Harry Potter. I think it had something to do with getting Hedwig back after Draco Malfoy had stolen her…

Seems to play nice…until the claws are out!:  Which book had the biggest plot twist(s)?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The end of this book literally made my jaw drop. I’ve been saying this for EONS, but I can’t wait to continue on with this series!

Cuddles: Which book character would you give a hug to?

Stanley Yelnats from Holes by Louis Sachar. I just feel like this kiddo could use a hug after everything he’s been through. Plus, he has one of the best names ever and I’m so jealous.

Catnip: What’s a book that made you have warm and fuzzy feels?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I love Mindy’s books because they’re honest, hilarious, and always leave me with a new perspective. (Also, shout out to the adorable chapter about her friendship with B.J. Novak!)

Cat breeds: Your favorite book(s)?

One of my favorite books is My Ántonia by Willa Cather (whose grave site I recently visited!). Cather’s writing is beautiful and this story dives into some really interesting ideas about travel, nostalgia, and how we develop our own identities.

Getting the cat: How did you find your favorite book(s)?

In the case of My Ántonia, I was assigned to read it for a Cultural Diversity in American Literature class I took during my second semester of my freshman year of college. I LOVED that class, both because of the professor and the subject matter.

Being in places they shouldn’t: Least favorite cliché?

I think one of the most cliche tropes in books is the love triangle. I can’t even explain how much I dislike love triangles in any form, especially when they’re either the entire basis for the plot or completely unnecessary aspects of the plot. (Unfortunately, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is a great example of this latter point.)

The good old cardboard box: Most underrated book series?

I LOVED the Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch when I was younger, but I only know a few other people who have read it. This series is incredibly clever, creative, and suspenseful!!

Thanks again to Zuky for tagging me! This was such a fun tag! It makes me want to get a cat so badly….

What are your answers to these questions? Do you have a cat? Are you more of a cat person or a dog person (or both!)? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

HARD TIMES by Charles Dickens

Hard Times by Charles Dickens is the first book I was assigned to read over the summer to prepare for the English Literature 1830-1910 tutorial I’ll be taking during my first term at Oxford. I was thrilled when I saw this title on the list because I’ve been meaning to read more by Dickens since reading A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations during my senior year of high school. While doing a bit of research I found that Hard Times is often considered to be his least successful and least read work. This surprised me: What was it doing on my reading list, then? Determined to come to my own conclusions, I set out to read this novel in a single weekend.

If this is Dickens’ “least successful” text, then I’d say he’s done pretty well for himself.

I imagine that the primary reason we’ve been assigned to read this novel is its focus on the “social problem” in England during the nineteenth century. The factory workers of Coketown are known as the “Hands” and are nearly always viewed as a homogenous, ungrateful, lazy group by those in the upper classes. Mr. Bounderby, an owner of a mill who prides himself on being a so-called “self-made man,” believes that all Hands have one object: “to be fed on turtle soup and version with a gold spoon”. (In other words, to live lives of luxury without earning it through hard work.) We see how entrenched this ignorant opinion of the Hands has become when Louisa visits Stephen Blackpool’s room and realizes that not only is it the first time she’s visited the house of a Hand, but it’s also the first time she’s thought of them as individuals rather than as a single group. Prior to this visit, Louisa “had scarcely thought more of separating them into units, than of separating the sea itself into its component drops.” On the whole, Hard Times exposes the unjust gap between the rich and the poor and criticizes the way the lower classes are treated as less than human.

An important and fascinating theme that runs through the entirety of Hard Times is the duality of “Fact” vs. “Fantasy.” Thomas Gradgrind impresses the importance of Fact on his children, essentially brainwashing them into believing that fairy tales and imagination deserve no place even in the lives of children. On the flip side of this rigid mindset are the zany circus members that thrive on creativity, spontaneity, and fun. As Louisa Gradgrind grows older she begins to realize that she can’t live a happy, fulfilling life without the emotion and passion that comes with “Fantasy.” I think this theme is incredibly interesting because it’s both connected with and disconnected from the socioeconomic issues of the novel. The coldness of apathetic “Fact” is what allows people like Mr. Bounderby to treat the factory workers like they are mere numbers, whereas Louisa’s internal struggle mainly revolves around her own emotional dissatisfaction. The message here is overwhelmingly clear: a balance between Fact and Fantasy is key.

At the core of every Dickens novel is his undeniable gift for storytelling. I can’t help but become incredibly invested in his stories once I begin reading them. His characters are carefully crafted with unique struggles, desires, eccentricities, and beliefs. Hard Times has been criticized for its “puppet-like” characters that sometimes said to be mediocre representations of actual “Coketown” residents (much of the novel was constructed from Dickens’ observations of a manufacturing town rather than personal experience living there). Whether or not that criticism is warranted, I wish to highlight an important redeeming quality of Dickens’ characters: they evoke emotion and human connection. I found myself holding my breath whenever a plot twist occurred (and trust me, there are many), anxiously awaiting to see how it would affect the characters involved. At one point while reading I actually gasped out loud when something bad happened to one of the characters I particularly liked– needless to say, my family members in the next room were pretty confused. The fact that readers can connect so easily and deeply with Dickens’ characters is a major strength of his work and abilities as a writer.

Though Hard Times is not my favorite Dickens novel, I still believe it deserves to be read widely and often. Definitely don’t let a misleading reputation keep you from reading this gem!

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! I think this is an excellent read whether or not you’ve read Dickens before.

What are your thoughts on Hard Times? What’s your favorite Dickens novel? Which one should I read next? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookstagram Process

Happy Tuesday!! We’ve made it to the last week of TTT before the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish come back with their great themes. As a last hurrah I’m going to share something silly and fun: 10 steps of my bookstagram process.  I started my bookstagram account (@nutfreenerd) over a year ago and I’m so glad I did! Not only do I love looking at everyone’s gorgeous photos, but I also love interacting with other bookworms.

Anyone who posts bookish photos knows how ridiculous taking them can feel sometimes (especially in busy places!) but that’s also what makes it fun. Whether you’re inside, outside, or somewhere in between, one thing is certain: taking photos can definitely be a process. Here’s my bookstagram photo-taking process:

1. Choose a location.

This is a beautiful park near my house that’s my new favorite photo spot.

The first thing to do it decide where you’ll be taking pictures. Inside? Outside? Outside in your front yard or somewhere else? Lately my account’s feed alters between inside and outside pictures so I end up doing a fair amount of both locations.

2. Choose books.

SO MANY BOOKS. This step usually takes me a long time and results in a tornado of books on my bedroom floor.

3. Pack.

Can I fit my entire bookcase into a backpack from middle school? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. (And ultimately failed…)

4. Transport and set up. 

Sometimes this step is easy, particularly if I stay inside and decide to take photos using my phone. However, it can get tricky when I go to the park with my camera, tripod, and bag of books. There’s so much to lug around!

5. Choose a few different angles.

Finding new angles is one of my favorite aspects of taking photos. Just when you think you’ve exhausted them all, a new one jumps out at you!

6. Actually take the photos.

When you realize the lens cap is still on the camera *face palm*

Here it is, folks: the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Bust out those cameras and say CHEESE.

7. Take even more photos.

I’m always afraid that my camera is out of focus or the lighting isn’t good enough, so I make sure to take WAY MORE photos than I’ll ever need. Chances are that at least one of them will be decent, right?

8. Resist the urge to photograph Watsky’s book for the billionth time.

Note: This step nearly always fails.

This is a hard one– perhaps the most difficult step of them all. If you look at my account you’ll notice that How to Ruin Everything appears in SO MANY of my photos… it’s just such a beautiful cover design!!

9. Sort.

Jumping in the air looked way cooler in my mind, I promise.

Taking a million photos at a time means that there are a million photos to sort through later. Sorting is key because you inevitably end up with ridiculous photos like the one shown above.

10. Post!!!

Finally, it is time to post your photos. I love reading and replying to everyone’s comments!!

Are you part of the bookstagram community? (Let me know so I can follow you!!) What is your bookstagram process like? Do you have a favorite book to photograph? Do you follow a posting schedule? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

“Well, at least you’re reading something…” | Discussion

Have you ever heard someone say to someone else: “Well, at least you’re reading something…“?

I hate that phrase.

I’ve usually heard it said in reference to a “fluffy” romance or young adult novel (Twilight often falls victim to this). It bothers me because it appears to come from a place of supposed superiority, as though the person saying it is somehow “more literate” or “intelligent” simply because they read different books. This phrase automatically categorizes certain books as being “better than nothing… but barely.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Reading is reading.

We talked a lot about stigmas attached to certain genres of literature in my Approaches to Literature and Culture class last semester and it all ultimately boiled down to a socially constructed divide between high and popular culture. This divide has been around for centuries in some form or another and it boggles my mind that people still get righteous and uppity about it today. For instance, we read this article written by Ruth Graham that was published by Slate in 2014. In the article, Graham argues that adults should not read books like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because “if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.” She asserts that young adult novels are inherently less complex than novels written for adults because the plights of teenagers are also inherently less complex than those of adults. In her mind, “great” literature and “complexity” are inextricably linked, though how she measures this enigmatic characteristic of “complexity” is yet to be explained.

To me, Graham seems like the kind of reader who has likely said “Well, at least your reading something….” at one point. The idea that there is some sort of hierarchy of “great” literature is incredibly frustrating, especially when people are just reading for fun. Who cares if I read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars? I’ve enjoyed both novels immensely and see nothing wrong in being able to do so. This is one of the main reasons I try to read a wide variety of literature and reflect that in the book reviews I post on this blog. Reading is reading is reading and there’s nothing wrong with reading what you enjoy.

I might be preaching to the choir here because most book bloggers I’ve interacted with are wonderfully accepting of what other people read. Nevertheless, I think this is a really important topic to keep in mind.

Do you agree or disagree? What are some things people say about what people read that frustrate you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

JULY 2017 | Wrap-Up

July was a blur of hot days, air-conditioned office spaces, lakeside reading, and time spent with friends and family… not a bad way to spend the bulk of summer! Here’s what I was up to this past month:

thank-you-14

In July I read a total of 9 books:

  1. Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  3. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  5. George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl
  6. Echo by Nadette Rae Rodgers
  7. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
  8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I honestly can’t believe I read so many books this past month, especially since many of them are LONG (I’m looking at you, Middlemarch). Picking a favorite is difficult, but I think the best book I read in July has to be Tuck Everlasting. This short little read was absolutely adorable, charming, and insightful. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! I never read it when I was younger but I wish I had– I feel like it’s something I would have loved.

thank-you-15

It happened, people: I finally visited Willa Cather’s grave!! This is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I learned a few months ago that it’s located a little over an hour away from where I live. Willa Cather is one of my favorite authors, so standing at the foot of her grave was absolutely surreal. I went on a rather dreary day, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every second of it. You can read more about my adventures in this graveyard here. 

My family and I were also able to spend a few days by the lake in July, which means I had plenty of reading time by the water. And who can pass up the opportunity to take some bookish photos in such a beautiful place? (Not me!)

The majority of July was spent trying to plow through my required reading for Oxford, finishing up paperwork for studying abroad, spending time with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and working. It’s strange to think that we’re already more than half way through summer… September will be here before we know it! Also, I started watching the TV series Fargo… is anyone else obsessed with this series?!?!?!

thank-you-16

This past week I also had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Booktube-A-Thon. As you can tell from my initial TBR post, I really wasn’t expecting to get through much reading in a single week. However, in twist that I never saw coming I was actually able to complete almost all of the challenges and read even more than what I had put on my TBR!! I’m so happy with the progress I made and I actually miss the Booktube-A-Thon already. There’s just such fantastic positive bookish energy during those intense seven days of reading! ❤

Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there are so many!!):

How was your month of July? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

GO DOWN, MOSES by William Faulkner | Review

As my summer of reading Faulkner continues, I’ve found myself continually stumbling upon some under-rated, under-discussed gems that deserve more time in the bookish spotlight. Though a large amount of literary criticism has been written about Faulkner’s works, it’s relatively rare to see his works being discussed beyond the usual classroom studies of As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, etc. But what about the rest of his novels and short stories? Why is no one talking about these thought-provoking, masterfully crafted works of literature?

Well, I’m here to start the conversation– or at least to continue it from where it apparently fizzled out at some point. I have so many talking points that I’d like to bring up, but here are the ones I think are the most important to highlight:

+ Structure. Interestingly, this book spans the gray area between novel and short story collection. These stories are all closely interconnected and almost read like chapters of a single novel, though older editions of this book have often been titled Go Down, Moses and Other Stories. Such a title suggests a sharp distinction between the stories, when in actuality they tend to blend together into one long narrative. I like to think of them as sections rather than individual stories because they really do belong side by side. I also think it’s fascinating to think about the order they appear in Go Down, Moses. Each section reveals slightly different information about the tangled web of this family throughout several generations, unfolding a complicated history entrenched in slavery, war, and pride of property. One’s reading experience of this book would be vastly different if the sections were placed in another order.

+ Inheritance. The idea of inheritance plays a major role in this book in a myriad of ways, from inheritance of land and money to slavery, family legacies, reputations, and beliefs. Generations of characters are linked through so much more than just the blood that runs through their veins, and it is this interconnected web that creates such embedded conflict within the family. It’s really interesting to see how some characters try to shake loose from this inheritance while others embody it as part of their identity.

+ A changing South. One of the reasons I love Faulkner’s work and find it so interesting is that his stories straddle that gray area between the “Old South” and the “New South,” the rocky transition from slavery to supposed freedom. You feel that constant tug of tension between the two in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, a reflection of the pervasiveness of this dichotomy throughout the actual South during this time period.

+ “Was.” Putting this story as the very first section of this book was a brilliant move on Faulkner’s part (assuming he decided the order of the stories for this edition). “Was” explains why the marriage between Tomey’s Turl and Tennie was arranged and introduces several of the key characters in the book. The reader has no way of knowing the incredible significance of the marriage at this point in the text, but providing information about it allows Faulkner to slowly let the details unfold in later sections. Also, I think the title of this section is brilliant because it emphasizes how important the past is to this family. Their heads and hearts and identities are so deeply entrenched in the past that they never seem to make it past what “was” to what now “is.”

+ “The Bear.” THIS STORY. HOLY COW. Not only is this the longest section of the book, but in my opinion it’s also the most interesting, important, and revelatory of them all. I became unexpectedly invested in the bear hunt and fascinated by the inner workings of the camp for those two weeks in November each year. This section also brings up the important Native American perspective, particularly in regard to land ownership and how his mixed race identity has been controlled by slavery. If you read one story from this book (though I don’t know why you would– just read the whole thing!!) definitely read this one!

Overall, I was sometimes confused, sometimes surprised, and always fascinated by Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses. This is a text I foresee myself reading many more times in the future as I endeavor to understand all of its layers, nuances, and implications.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely!! Though I would probably recommend they start with another text by Faulkner first (maybe Sartoris or As I Lay Dying) to get used to his style of writing before diving into this more confusing work.

What are your thoughts on this book? What’s your favorite work by Faulkner? Any recommendations for what I should read by him next? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: MUGS

Happy Tuesday!! There’s still some time until the bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish return with their weekly Top Ten Tuesday themes, so I’m back with another one of my own. Today I’ll be talking about things that are incredibly near and dear to my heart: MUGS. If you know me, then you’re probably aware of my mug problem. I own SO MANY mugs, it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s hard to explain what I love so much about them… they’re just so cozy and comforting and cute. In no particular order, here are my top ten favorite mugs that I own:

1 || The Blue One.

I got this mug at Bennington Pottery a few years ago when I drove up to Vermont to tour Bennington College. Though I ended up not going there for school, I would definitely take a trip back up just to check out that pottery store again. This mug is the perfect size and the stuff it’s made of keeps the heat of steaming tea in for so long.

2 || The One with Quotes.

I received this mug as a Christmas gift from one of my best friends during our freshman year of college. As you can tell, it didn’t take her long to realize how much I love books! This mug is covered in famous first lines from classic novels.

3 || The One with the Cool Handle.

Isn’t this the niftiest mug handle you’ve ever seen??? It’s perfect for when your hands are really cold because you can rest your hand right in there and absorb all of the heat from the tea. I don’t remember where I got this mug, but I love it.

4 || The Figment One.

I got this mug on my first trip to Disney World when I was younger because I LOVE Figment the dragon. Come to think of it, this might be the very first mug I ever owned?!

5 || The Wheaton One.

I adore this mug so much. It’s simple, it’s the perfect round shape and size, and it holds just the right amount of tea. (It’s also great for eating ice cream out of…) I got this at the Wheaton bookstore when I first decided I wanted to go there.

6 || The SGA One.

Being part of the Student Government Association is one of my favorite things about Wheaton. This mug was a Christmas gift to all of the Senators during my freshman year and now I use it as a pencil holder on my desk.

7 || The Pizza John One.

I was SO HAPPY when I got this mug back in middle school because it finally made me feel like an official Nerdfighter. I love this mug so much that I use it to hold my toothbrush and toothpaste when I’m at school. (I bet I’ve freaked out some people in the bathroom that way…)

8 || The Big One.

Shhhh! I don’t actually own this mug!!! Technically this is my brother’s mug, but it holds SO MUCH tea that I can’t help but steal it on chilly mornings.

9 || The One from White Lake State Park.

My family has gone camping at White Lake State Park every summer for the past twelve years. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, so naturally I had to purchase this mug.

10 || The Oxford One.

My amazing parents recently surprised me by ordering this mug from the actual Oxford University shop in England. You should have seen my face when I opened the package—I was ECSTATIC. Just look at this adorable mug! I love the small size, the simple design, and the fact that it’s specific to the actual college I’ll be studying at within Oxford.

Do you have a favorite mug (or mugs!) that you like to use? What do you think of my mugs? Do you have a collection of random things? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY