Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Words of Wisdom: July 5

Hey there,
I hope your week is going great. If not, perhaps this week's words of wisdom will have some guidance for you to get back on track! :)


Which do you like most?
Ready to put in the hard work,
Ashley

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Trade: Anne Frank

Hello there,
How are you all doing on this fine day? If you check My Book Shelf often, you know that I have been reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl for quite some time. I started this book after reading TheFault in Our Stars and The Book Thief, which both mention the Holocaust. After reading these books, I found myself wanting to know more about that time, something a bit more factual.  I thought of Anne Frank’s diary to be an ideal place to start. I have read this book before, years ago and wanted a refresh. 
This book is, as it suggests, the diary of a young girl, as she is in hiding with her family, and four other Jews in Amsterdam during Nazi invasions. She writes- much as we use diaries and journals today- about the everyday mundane tasks of her life, as well as her inner thoughts and problems that she feels uncomfortable sharing with others. She also shares a timeline as she knows it of the happenings of World War II.
It’s no secret that the story of Anne Frank is a popular one. She is in hiding from the ages of twelve to fifteen and so naturally, she does a lot of growing up in the very closed off world she finds herself in. She introduces you to her world slowly, sharing traits of herself, her family, the others she is “stuck” with, and the people aiding the group from being discovered.
She writes sporadically from June 1942 until August 1944. After that time, the book leaves you with what happens to her after her diary ends. It’s no mystery that she and the rest of their group were discovered and the latter part of the book attempts to shed light on the small group and where each ended up.
This book is filled with hope and great wisdom, far behind the years Anne was able to physically live. Anne Frank was able to be a powerful voice for so many struggling during that time.

Some of my favorite advice from her (in chronological order) includes:
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God… nature brings solace in all troubles.”
“Riches can all be lost but that happiness in your own heart can only be veiled, and it will still bring you happiness again, as long as you live.”
“Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!”
“Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”
“Parents can only give good advice or put [their children] on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
From these words alone, you can see the growth this girl underwent.
Quick Facts:
Genre- Autobiography/Memoir
Copyright- 1952
Pages- 283
This book is an absolute must-read and I encourage all to read it, regardless of if you have read it before, regardless of your age. It is honest and thought provoking and urges the reader to reflect on their own lives and values, something we could all do a little more often.
Have you read her diary before? What do you think of her story? 

Feeling strong in a fragile world,
Ashley

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Words of Wisdom: July 4

Hi everyone!

Today we're changing it up slightly and I'm sharing picture quotes I've collected on Pinterest. Some of these tie in nicely with what I said on Monday about regret, but I didn't want to have picture quote overload in that post! Anyway, enjoy!
From Pinterest
From Pinterest
From Pinterest

Which struck a chord with you this week?
Ashley

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reading Challenge #sunathon

Hi there!
I just wanted to inform you all of a reading challenge that is happening right now! It's no secret that I LOVE to read so when I found out about this challenge earlier today, I just knew I had to join in the fun! It's happening on Twitter and @EmmaIsWriting is the host! For those in the U.K., she's giving away a different book daily just for participating. Check out her Twitter account if you're interested!
To participate, you have to share the books you're going to try to read this week and tweet using the hashtag above, #sunathon. It runs from July 21st- July 27, or today through Sunday.
So, here is what I'm going to focus on this week!
Here's the order I plan to tackle these books:
Chelsea Handler- Uganda Be Kidding Me
Melissa Muller- Anne Frank
Tina Fey- Bossypants
Stacey Ballis- The Spinster Sisters
Maria Angels Angalada- The Violin of Auschwitz
Cassandra Clare- Clockwork Angel

I actually have a pretty busy week ahead of me and I'm under no allusions that I'll finish all six of these books this week. However, a few of these should be pretty quick reads and I am behind in my Goodreads challenge, so this is great motivation to get caught up!
This challenge also made for a great reason to stop by my local library. Can you believe I haven't been there since February?! On top of these six books, I also picked up a copy of the movie The Help, which I'll be watching this evening, so be sure to look for a book to movie comparison post soon! :)

Ready to Read,
Ashley

Ps. This morning, before I discovered this challenge, I finished reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. It looks like I'm already off to a great start! :)

Mistakes & Regrets.

As the sun sets on today, let us reflect but not dwell on the past.
Hello,
Today’s topic is an important one. At some point in each of your lives, we say, “I wish I would (or would not) have done x,” or “If only I could go back and change y,” or “Why did I think z was a good idea?”
The latter is the one I have been struggling with for close to two years now. It deeply saddens me that I have allowed such a substantial part of my life to be spent regretting a choice (or in this case a series of choices) I made and to allow it to affect my mood and outlook on life! To be clear, I don’t think my choices should be given more than a moment’s time to be regretted, but that’s much easier said than done. We all have doubts and we all make mistakes. But, we also make choices for a reason. We make them based on what we know at that moment and at that time, we are making a choice we want to make!
For instance, if you take a job offer and have a bad experience with it, you might come to regret it. Or maybe it’s about a bad relationship that didn’t work out, or you took a big risk and it didn’t pan out. Here’s the thing: even though it SUCKS to go through, and might make your life really difficult for a while, in the end, that thing you saw as a huge mistake could lead you to the most incredible life experience ever!
You had to date that awful person to met and fully appreciate the awesome person you have now. You took that job because the money seemed great but you end up learning that money isn’t all that important and that it’s impossible to please everyone, but you now know how to deal with those people. You took that big, life-changing risk and while you ended up sick and broke because of it, it taught you to stand on your own two feet and who your true friends are.

You are strong. You are resilient. You will bounce back. You will thrive!

Let me add to that:
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are brave.
You are worthy.
You are good.
You are kind.
You are special.
You are important.
You matter!

Life is a series of tests. It will constantly challenge you. You will often feel unprepared for those challenges, but as long as you take them head-on, knowing you’re making the best decision you can at that moment, with little stress, you will pass life’s tests. You’ll come to understand that you’re wasting precious time worrying about mistakes or regrets and that life doesn't stop for anything. 
From "Humble The Poet" on Facebook, posted 6/19/14
I’ve finally come to accept my choices and am moving on the best I can. Hopefully this helps you to do the same whether you’re struggling with something now or in the future.
From "Humble The Poet" on Facebook, posted 7/3/14
How have you dealt with past regrets?
Feeling lighter than ever,
Ashley

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Words of Widsom: July 3

Hey everybody!

I hope you're all having a great week so far! Please enjoy this week's Words of Wisdom! :)



Ashley

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Trade: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Hello again,
Today I have another book to share with you. It may seem like an odd choice, as this book has been known to be required high school reading for many, but it was not a book I had to read, and I have been interested in looking at books required for that age, whether they are ones I had to read or not. On that note, you can expect future reviews on books like The Great Gatsby, and The Outsides, as well as works by the likes of Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, and Jane Austen, all in due time of course.
Now onto today's book:
This is a very odd book. I’m really not sure what else to say!
I picked it up for its slim size, hoping for a quick read, and like I said, I have an interest in reading books I read or could have read back in high school. This book was not required reading for me, and so I had not notions as to what it was all about.
Of Mice and Men tells the tale of two ranchers, George and Lennie, as they scout out work by moving from ranch to ranch in California a midst the Great Depression. George is “the brains” of the pair and Lennie is “the muscle”. Lennie is referred to as “crazy” and "ain't bright" several times in this novella but it is never made clear what causes his limited mental capacity.
Lennie’s strength and mental state often get the two men in hot water as Lennie’s curiosity and desire to touch pretty or soft things seems to unintentionally scare or harm others. Likewise, if Lennie feels threatened or scared himself, he reacts by grabbing, squeezing, patting or pulling whatever he is near, which may be a living thing.
The main theme of this book, as evidenced by the author John Steinbeck’s journals, is to “try to understand each other”.  Lennie is misunderstood too often in this short novel and that leads to a lot of trouble for him and his counterpart, George. Like everyone else, these two have dreams, things they want to accomplish in their lifetime, things that seem within reach and unattainable at the same time. Everybody dreams. Everybody has desires, goals, things they want to do. These two men share a dream that is not violent or malicious in any way, and yet they are misunderstood as having poor intents throughout this book.
At a “whopping” 107 pages, there is no reason not to pick up this book and see what lessons it holds within it. This book has a lot of criticism surrounding it, for being offensive and racist and I definitely understand why it has those labels. I doubt I’ll read this book again, but I am glad that I read it once.
Quick Facts:
Genre- Fiction
Copyright- 1937
Pages- 107

Trying to understand,

Ashley