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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Words of Wisdom: July 2

Hello positive people,

For the month of July, I am continuing my slimmed down list of picture quotes. I think you'll like this week's group!



Which spoke to you this week?
Ready to dive in,

Ashley

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Trade: The Book Thief

Hi there,
Today I have a book to share with you.
Death is not nice but “even death has a heart.” As soon as I read that last word, I knew it was time to begin collecting my thoughts about today’s book. I immediately flipped to the beginning and reread the prologue. As the most unique book I have ever read, The Book Thief struck me quite powerfully. It is told in first person by death. That’s right; death narrates this story and what a story it is!
This book is riddled with foreshadowing making it worthwhile to flip back from time to time because at any given point in your journey with this story, you can peek back and discover some clue as to what will happen or perhaps get insight into something so implicitly stated that maybe did not seem so important at the time.
The Book Thief is the story of a young girl during the time Hitler ruled Nazi Germany. There are several important characters including the girl, Liesel Meminger, her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her best friend and partner in crime, Rudy Steiner, a Jew names Max Vandenburg, Ilsa Herman, Frau Holtzapfel and of course death.  
Death and Liesel go way back, all the way to Liesel’s nine year old self with the death of her brother, right before she steals her first book. Death felt a connection with her and couldn’t help but keep tabs on her. As Liesel adjusts to life with the Hubermann’s, she begins to discover the truth about her mother. Meanwhile, Papa teaches her to read while she learns to write at school which proves to be a savior for her in multiple ways. Rudy comes in her life and they become fast friends. Shortly after that enters Max, a young Jewish man whom Liesel cannot talk to anyone about, even Rudy. As Hitler makes more drastic decisions, Death becomes increasingly busy, but he still makes time to see guard Liesel.
This book, like so many I have read lately, will take you on a ride of emotions and make you want to understand how so many awful things would be allowed to happen. The time of the Holocaust was tragic for countless groups of people and devastating to the whole world. I hunger for more information on this time in the hopes of understanding it better. Besides this book, which I wholeheartedly recommend to young (at least ten years) and old alike, I have read The Fault in Our Stars, and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Check out those books if you want more insight into this time. Of course TFIOS gives just a brief glimpse at this time, it is an important one.  
Quick Facts:
Genre- Historical Fiction/YA/Juvenile
Copyright- 2005
Pages- 552
Hunting for Holocaust clues,
Ashley

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

Hello again!
Today I bring you another seasonal bucket list. This is one I came up with myself. I even used my own picture and edited it using the app “Studio” and I think it turned out pretty cute!
Many of the things on my list are broad and generic but there honestly isn't anything too specific that I want to achieve this summer. I have a TON going on right now as I prepare for my big move to Europe. That’s why I want to enjoy this summer by relaxing and spending time with loved ones before I leave. :)
How do you plan to spend your summer?

Ready to soak up some sun,
Ashley

Ps. Happy 4th of July to all the Americans out there! :)