Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Empowering Reads

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic asks us to share ten favorite books from our favorite genre. Usually I would say that my favorite genre is classic literature, but lately I’ve been going through a bit of a tough patch with some personal things and have been trying to immerse myself in books that are empowering and inspiring to read. There’s nothing like a good book to get you amped and excited!

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House by Audre Lorde

This collection of essays was gifted to me by one of my friends that I met at Oxford and I am so grateful that it was. I remember reading this book in a parking lot waiting for an appointment and actually tearing up because Lorde’s words are just so moving and powerful.

“We have the power those who came before us have given us, to move beyond the place where they were standing. We have the trees, and water, and sun, and our children. Malcolm X does not live in the dry texts of his words as we read them; he lives in the energy we generate and use to move along the visions we share with him. We are making the future as well as bonding to survive the enormous pressures of the present, and that is what it means to be a part of history.”

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This little book is like a breath of fresh air. There are so many little nuggets of truth here, ones that deeply resonate with me as things that should come as a given in life but are often hidden and distorted by society. Such as: “Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.”

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

As someone soon entering law school, I found this book to be a really interesting insight into the challenges women face in male dominated spheres like law, government, and politics. This memoir is also just inspiring in and of itself: Hillary has gone through so much in her life, much of it under the harsh, unforgiving, scrutinizing gaze of the American public. While she has certainly made mistakes along the way, she has also experienced a lot of turmoil in her life that was out of her control. Some may say that this book is sad because she ultimately did not achieve her goal of becoming president of the United States, and that is true; however, I think it’s also really empowering because she is still here fighting for what she believes in and telling her story in this memoir, despite the public failure that she recently endured.

“For a candidate, a leader, or anyone, really, the question is not “Are you flawed?” It’s “What do you do about your flaws?” Do you learn from your mistakes so you can do and be better in the future? Or do you reject the hard work of self-improvement and instead tear others down so you can assert they’re as bad or worse than you are?”

Girl Up by Laura Bates

Although this book may have been written with a younger audience in mind (around high school age, it seems) I still think it’s so worth a read at any age! Like Adichie’s book, Girl Up emphasizes some ideas that should be common sense but that are often obscured by gender inequality in politics and society today. Plus, this book has such fun and colorful graphics!

The Truth About Style by Stacy London

Stacy London has been an icon in my life since I was a kid and would watch What Not to Wear every day at lunchtime when I was home for the summer. This memoir is both personal and universal in a way, with London offering wisdom that can be taken and applied to so many different situations. Not only is it empowering from a fashion standpoint, but it is also empowering from a lifestyle standpoint. London discusses everything from relationships to body image to aging, so there really is something for everyone here.

“A whole life can go by being too busy and waiting for “when.” Living in the future means barely existing in the present. If you can’t enjoy things now, when will you magically develop the tools to enjoy things in the future?”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

As someone who adores hiking, I was really excited to read about someone’s adventures on a trail that I know very little about. But this memoir is so much more than simply an account of one woman’s trek along the Pacific Crest Trail; rather, it’s an emotional story of Strayed’s journey through loss, grief, and a sense of purposelessness.

“I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?

The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.”

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Sometimes it’s empowering to remember that even those people we admire don’t have it all figured out one hundred percent of the time. Kaling is open and honest in this essay collection, discussing her childhood and the tumultuous road she took to get where she is today. Besides, it’s downright hilarious!

Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature by Shelley DeWees

What’s better than a book about books? I love this book because it makes you look at British literature and writers in a different light. Sometimes when learning about the Western canon in classes it can be easy to forget that literary fame has a lot to do with circumstances and privilege. In some ways, it’s arbitrary chance that we read the books we read today. However, there is a sense of empowerment that comes from reading about these remarkable women who wrote despite their unfortunate circumstances and the traumatic hardships that they endured. It’s also a great source of reading inspiration: so many new texts to explore!

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Although some people criticize this book for not being as feminist as people make it out to be, I think it’s nevertheless an important starting point and a lovely little source of empowerment. Women can do anything we put our minds to, and we deserve the opportunity to have a room of our own to do it in!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Ahh, such a classic! I adore Matilda, even though I just read it for the first time a few years ago and don’t have the childhood nostalgia towards it that many bookworms have. Even just thinking about Matilda’s strength, perseverance, optimism, and kindness makes me feel empowered to go seize the day!

What books empower you? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? What’s your favorite genre? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

 

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Tackle that Reading Slump

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share books that pull us out of reading slumps. We’ve all been there: for some reason the mood just won’t strike us, and any book we open up inevitably seems off-putting. Reading slumps are a bibliophile’s worst nightmare, especially when your looming TBR pile is staring you in the face. Today I’d like to share a list of ten books that have helped me break through reading slumps in the past.

What books have gotten you out of a reading slump? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Buy for the College Student in Your Life

copy-of-foodie-facts-about-me

Happy Tuesday! The holiday season is fast approaching, which means it’s time for The Broke and the Bookish’s holiday gift guide freebie week! Since I’m currently a college student, I thought I would share some of my expertise about this terrifying, tumultuous, and exciting time of life in the form of the Top Ten Books to Buy for the College Student in Your Life. Let the festive spirit commence!

is everyone hanging out without me coverIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I feel like I have included this book on countless Top Ten Tuesday lists, but I just can’t help but mention it once more. When I read this collection of personal essays I was inspired by Kaling’s wit, wisdom, and perseverance in the face of numerous obstacles throughout her life. Besides, it’s a hilarious book that’s perfect for getting you to laugh in the midst of stressful final exams!

17802957A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland

What can I say? I’m an English major and a sucker for any book that discusses how literature evolves over time. This book is a concise, well-written, and fascinating read for anyone interested in how the literature we read today came to be. It also helps with adding books to your TBR list (which is both a good and bad thing at the rate that mine is currently growing!).

3109The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Let’s face it: us college students are not always the healthiest of eaters. Not only is this book often discussed in college classes (I’ve talked about it in three of mine so far, and it wasn’t even assigned for the class!), but is also contains really interesting and eye-opening information about where our food comes from. It might not make you change what you eat completely, but it will definitely make you think twice about some of the food on your plate!

438353-2The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Though living with friends on campus and being able to study what you’re passionate about is an amazing experience, college can also be an incredibly stressful and scary time. We all could use a good laugh now and then, and The Princess Bride is the perfect medicine! Plus, you can also watch the movie adaptation after you read the book for double to hilarity.

The_BFG_(Dahl_novel_-_cover_art)The BFG by Roald Dahl

I don’t know about other college students out there, but I’m often hit with waves of homesickness and nostalgia while living away from my family back home. Any childhood favorite would fit on this list, but The BFG is my personal go-to pick-me-up whenever I’m feeling down. I mean, just look at that Big Friendly Giant’s adorable ears! They never fail to make me smile.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger converThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Sometimes we just need to know that someone else understands what it feels like to be a frustrated teenager. Look no further than Holden Caulfield, folks! Though some people think he is unbearably irritating, I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since first reading this novel in English during my freshman year of high school. If nothing else, it will certainly cause those high school memories to come rushing back!

the opposite of loneliness coverThe Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Written by a college student who died in a tragic accident, this collection of short stories and essays will make you think, laugh, and want to pick up a pen and write some of your own. I felt a connection with Marina while reading this book, as though she understood what it felt like to be young and confused but determined to push onward.

1984 cover1984 by George Orwell

There’s nothing like this terrifying, disturbing, unsettling dystopia novel to open your eyes to what the future could look like if we let it– and perhaps what the present is already beginning to resemble in some ways. 1984 is perhaps one of the best fictional wake-up calls or warnings that could possibly be delivered. (Orwell’s Animal Farm would also work for this!)

fangirl coverFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

If you’ve read Fangirl, then it’s pretty obvious why it’s the perfect addition to this list. Cath and Wren’s experiences as freshmen in college did wonders to ease my fears about what college would be like. I think it would be so fun to reread this since I’m now a sophomore in college! Oh, how times have changed…

the hobbit coverThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I’ve read this book so many times that I honestly cannot give a specific number. Besides being a captivating and entertaining story, The Hobbit carries an important lesson that college students (and everyone else, really)  can benefit from reading: Though the road is long and there’s an uphill climb at the end, eventually it will all be worth it. Don’t give up!

What books would you buy for a college student? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Quotes

QUOTE: Mindy Kaling

“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”  ~ Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling offers this as well as other wonderfully witty tidbits of brilliance in her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), which I read recently and really enjoyed. I love this quote in particular because it encompasses exactly what I love about Mindy Kaling’s writing: she’s not afraid to speak her mind frankly and honestly.

What quotes have you discovered recently? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

Book Review: IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? (AND OTHER CONCERNS)

is everyone hanging out without me coverAuthor: Mindy Kaling

Number of Pages: 222

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Release Date: November 1, 2011

“Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!”

– Goodreads.com

The Office is one of my favorite TV shows, so of course I had to read this book! Mindy Kaling plays Kelly Kapoor on the show, but she is also one of the writers. This was a light, quick read that I gobbled up in only a few sittings- perfect for reading on the beach!

I absolutely love Mindy Kaling’s writing style! Her personality shines through her words, and it almost feels as though you are having a conversation with her. She’s funny, quirky, witty, and honest. That’s one of the things that struck me the most about this book- Mindy Kaling is so honest in her opinions, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. Her views of certain people, situations, and institutions are not always positive, just as they are not always positive in real life. The stark authenticity in her voice makes the reader view her as an actual person rather than simply a face on a TV screen.

The first seventy pages or so was my favorite part of this book. In this section, she discusses her childhood, adolescence, and transition into the “real world” beyond college. The stories she tells are hilarious and honest, and they definitely helped me relate to her more as a reader. Personally, I found it so reassuring to read about all of the troubles she faced growing up, from being bullied to feeling insecure about her friendships and where she was going with her life after high school. As a teenager it’s certainly nice to hear that even very successful people struggled and overcame obstacles like these in their lives. The rest of the book was entertaining, but I did not find it as interesting. I felt like I could have found out much of the information about her more recent career working on The Office from researching online, whereas stories about her childhood are hard to come by. The second half of the book never quite matched the first half in my mind. However, it was enjoyable nonetheless!

More than anything else, this book has made me realize what an amazing person Mindy Kaling is. She has worked so hard to get to where she is today, and she is a lovely person with a hilarious and endearing personality. I’ll definitely be on the look-out for more of her work in the future!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! Whether they like The Office or not, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read!

Have you ever read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY