Tagged: reading

The Girl Who Loved Reading So Much That She Died

books

Here was a girl who loved reading so much that she got a set of light up ice cubes for her ninth birthday and used them to illuminate the way as she read chapter books late at night.

Here was a girl who loved reading so much that she stole a tiny little battery-operated Chinese lantern from a show display so she could break her curfew under the sheets to sneak a few more chapters of Harry Potter in.

Here was a girl who loved reading so much that she angered her parents, who were confused about their daughter who just couldn’t put a book down, even at dinner, reading day in and day out, stuck in another world 24/7.

Libraries Are Magical Too

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I went to the library the other day. In fact, I went to a few different libraries trying to sign up for a card but repeatedly got denied the chance because “you don’t live in this county” and “here’s a brochure listing all Georgia library locations, I think it might help you.” 

I finally found one and signed up for a card; as I strolled around the tiny little building, I remembered one of the very first posts to ever appear on my blog, called: “The Magic of Barnes and Nobles (or bookstores in general)

I was reminded of what I said about libraries, that they “depress me” to the extent that I have “grudgingly decided to stand by and watch libraries become more and more scarce,” as if I were witness to a slow extinction of sorts. Continue reading

Second Time Around: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

There’s rarely a time when I feel compelled to reread a book. The majority of fiction books that I have read in my recent years have been teen romance novels, as you would expect the stereotypical high school girl to read. Although I don’t often read for pleasure anymore, I try to make time during school breaks. But each time, it will be a new book that someone has recommended to me. In my opinion, there’s not usually a plausible reason to reread a book. I know the plot, it was “nice,” but I didn’t take much away from the book except for perhaps wishful thinking about boy behavior (I found out that I was woefully wrong).

But this book? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith? I’ve reread it time and time again, discovering something new every time. I’ve written about this before, but not particularly extensively. I think the concept to take away from my previous post can be summed up by the following:

They say that one of the best ways to understand a person as well as their morals and priorities is to read their favorite book. This book touches me because Francie’s character exemplifies how I would like to approach my problems, and the society that I grow up in. Since she first went to school, she’d wanted to be a writer.  Her family was comprised of immigrants, and they had endured many hardships and economic struggles to rise out of the poverty that they had continually been confined to. The story follows her from her childhood to the beginning of her adulthood, and depicts changes in perspectives as she becomes continually more mature, and gets increasingly globalized in perspective. These changes build character. I take her personal revelations in consideration, accepting my ultimately infinitesimal role in society. Francie expressed a strong interest in writing, and the method that Betty Smith utilizes to explain why help spark my interest in literature as well. The lessons that I take from the book guide the way I deal with overarching problems.

I can reread this book over and over because it’s so different from the books that I have previously read. Because Francie grows up around 1900, there’s no phones or computers. All the character interaction is personal. Moreover, there’s very little romantic interaction. And even if it does occur, it does so between Francie’s parents, who, although relatively immature, didn’t have to deal with their young love in high school, where they had to worry about college or parents or something like that.

I feel as though rereading this book teaches me a new lesson every time. It seems as though if people made a conscious effort to take something away from a book’s plot besides the plot, which is quite shallow without much analysis, they would feel very enlightened reading a book like this.

The fact that this story takes place 100 years before the time period in which I currently live makes me feel nostalgic for a time that I’ve never encountered. I won’t claim that I regret technological developments that have occurred since then, but I abhor the social situation that technology has put us in. I long for a time where the social interactions were much more personal, where everyone was comfortable looking each other in the eye without feeling the need to grope for a phone.

Again, as previously mentioned, I enjoy rereading this book because of Francie’s personality. Following it evolve as she grows up, watching the temptation appear to her, observing her decisions and emotions, these all teach me how to it is possible for people to be humble, to accept who they are and to find a balance between being practical but passionate about something that inspires them.

The story itself is wonderful in itself; the book has five separate parts that follow different time periods not only in the life of Francie, but also her parents Katie and Johnny when they were young. No matter how outdated the book is, it will still be much more realistic than anything else that I’ve ever read.

I’ll come back to this book when I’m feeling lost in character and motivation. It will provide a comforting story with astoundingly profound underlying themes, guiding me on my way to college – and beyond.

– Daily Prompt

The Daily Routine

She sits in a movie theatre and watches the main character die
from the last row 
from the left most seat
a tragic death that seems to shake the entire audience
except her. The movie ends and she descends the steps
   one by one
      impassive
         stoic
            her face is dry.

She comes back and sits in her bed
She sits in the silence and watches another movie
whose screen exists between pages of a book
a spine whose binding is flimsy.

sniffle sniffle

She starts to cry
for people she's never met
whose faces she has never seen
whose parents she has never met
whose hands she has never held

That's compassion for humanity.

Her hands are bloody
the skin are her nails is destroyed
from stress and agitation.

He holds them firmly and says
I love you despite your flawed hands.
hesitates, backtracks, and recants his words
I love you for your flawless hands
and your capricious emotions
and the way you deal with your feels
that your hands display the message
receive the clemency.

She goes back to the kitchen
tea or coffee?
glass or mug?
pinky or no?

Suddenly, she remembers the war
Anguish and fury rush back to sting her
Her hands are warm and she watches the color slowly disperse.
Placidity counters the fury.
Sympathy balances the anguish.
Her hands are warm, but her heart is worn.
Her mind is lethargic

She lets it all go
imagines it floating away 
                                      this way
      that way
                                                           out of sight, out of mind
All of her efforts are spent
wasted on impotence and structural barriers
She wants to care, but she just can't afford to anymore.

- inspired but not really much more aligned with the Daily Prompt

A Book Grows on Me

Betty Smith is actually one of the most strikingly beautiful women I’ve ever seen. 

 

Daily Prompt: What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

So, I suppose that you could say that I’m still a child. Does 16 constitute being a child? Is being a teenager mutually exclusive with being a child? Who knows.

When I was in middle school, I read a book series called, “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter.” It takes place in the twenty first century, and follows the adolescent life of a girl who loves reading. The greatest part about the series was not that actual story, but the fact that the author provided a list of suggested reads at the end of the book. After I finished the book, I skimmed the reading list for a title that caught my eye.

 

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith 

 

Isn’t the title at least a little bit intriguing? Not many people agree with me, but I personally became very interested with title. What kind of tree, and what’s so special about Brooklyn? Perhaps that wasn’t my train of thought. Maybe I just asked a friend or did a quick Google search for a summary.

Either way, I ended up reading the book in seventh grade or so. At the time I just really liked the book simply because it had a wonderful story. And that was it, for the time being.

But then as the years went by and my English teachers taught me year-after-year about literature analysis, symbolism, and motifs, I realized that there was no doubt more to the story.

I checked it out again sometime in high school. Ninth grade, perhaps? Eventually I had checked it out enough times for me to decide that I needed an actual copy.

And you know how people operate. You go to new events and they need icebreaker games to introduce themselves, and one of the most commonly asked questions is: “What’s your favorite book?”

In those days, I’d probably say something like the Harry Potter series or some book that I had recently read. While HP and plenty of other books were fantastic, the one that kept coming back to me and calling to me personally was “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

So now, I don’t even hesitate when people ask me for my favorite book. I recall childhood memories of hiding under the covers with a flashlight trying to finish this book. Yes, these things actually do happen!

Since learning about literary analysis and the once-alien concept of “annotation,” my favorite book has become all the more personal, filled with markings indicating my favorite passages, with arrows and lines, with explanations of why a certain passage is important.

I also just learned about World War One in my AP Euro class. Although I knew generally what had happened, I hadn’t known the exact position of the United States, but now all of that has been much more contextualized for me. And it helps! I am able to more easily relate with the sentiments of the families who had to send their men to war.

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A quick summary: The book plays out in many flashbacks, covering the background story of Frances Nolan’s parents, following Francie through her childhood, all the way to her first year at college. She is born right around the turn of the twentieth century, and as a young lady she sees the indirect effects of World War One on the people that live in her city.

^That summary does not even suffice; I heavily recommend that any girl under 21 who has the ability to read, read this book.

They say that one of the best ways to understand a person as well as their morals and priorities is to read their favorite book. This book touches me because Francie’s character exemplifies how I would like to approach my problems, and the society that I grow up in. Since she first went to school, she’d wanted to be a writer.  Her family was comprised of immigrants, and they had endured many hardships and economic struggles to rise out of the poverty that they had continually been confined to. The story follows her from her childhood to the beginning of her adulthood, and depicts changes in perspectives as she becomes continually more mature, and gets increasingly globalized in perspective. These changes build character. I take her personal revelations in consideration, accepting my ultimately infinitesimal role in society. Francie expressed a strong interest in writing, and the method that Betty Smith utilizes to explain why help spark my interest in literature as well. The lessons that I take from the book guide the way I deal with overarching problems.

 

Keep On Writing, Everyone

Some can pick up a microphone and demonstrate their natural talent for singing.

Others can indicate their affinity for dance as a method of self-expression.

Me? I can sit down for hours and write non-stop.

It is 2:07 AM. Continue reading

Getting Lost in a Book