Sunday, September 3, 2017

War and Peace and the Great Comet of 1812

Over the past two years, I've gotten really into Broadway musicals. Of course, I end up listening to the same ones over and over and I can't keep up with how many good shows are playing at the moment... but that's a story for another time. 

This is a story about one of my favorite musicals. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful pieces of musical theatre I have ever heard. It's also funny and sweet and sad and bold and everything mixed up into one. My family knows that I can gush about this show for hours. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.

It's an electric pop opera based on War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Hear me out:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Little Something Different

I've been pretty absent from this pretty underdeveloped blog lately. I've written about my busy life and my struggles with finding time for reading, and don't worry, I won't rehash that here.

But I do want to share some of the important things in my life. I am an English major and a Women's Studies minor. I am figuring out who I am. I watch Netflix too much. I am a feminist. I read classics and I read stereotypical YA fiction that I sometimes hide when I'm in public so people don't see the titles (I love Sarah Mlynowski, but her latest book is called I See London, I See France, and I wasn't exactly thrilled to tell people that). I love writing, but I haven't written in a long time. Some days are better than others. I am a college student who still has braces and if you think that isn't rough, think again. I am a girl who wants to blog but is terrible at keeping up with it. 


I took a Women Writers class last semester, and one of my favorite things I learned was that Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote that "America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public is occupied with their trash."

That's right, Nate, so you'd better get started on another book where you get to punish a woman for having sex outside of marriage. 

Anyway. Since I don't always have coherent thoughts about the books I do have time to read, and I do have thoughts about a lot of other things in my life (these thoughts' coherence are to be judged at a later date), I'm working on a couple changes with this blog. 

First of all, the title. Welcome to "Ramblings of a Scribbling Woman." 

So, I'm still going to have book reviews and ramblings, but I'm also going to write about other things--things going on in my life, things I've been thinking about for a while, things about television or movies, things about college. 

I have a week and a half until I go back to school, and I am spending time developing new posts and ideas. And then? We'll see where it goes. 


Sunday, July 2, 2017

June Wrap-Up

Is June really over? How did that happen? The month absolutely flew by--but don't worry, I did manage to read several books. And there was a pretty good mix this month: nonfiction, fiction, YA, adult, graphic novel, contemporaries, and sci-fi. Let's talk about the stories I got through this month!

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
A+. This book of essays was laugh-out-loud funny, as well as serious and vulnerable and true in parts. Koul wrote about everything from her relationship with her parents to an embarrassing dressing room incident to roofies and sexual assault. This book had been hyped a lot, so I went in with high expectations, and they were met. Recommended for fans of Roxane Gay and Laura Bates. 

It's Not Like It's A Secret by Misa Sugiura
B. Sana Kiyohara moves to California, meets a girl named Jamie Ramirez, thinks she might be into her--there's your romance. Sana's dad also might be having an affair, if the mysterious number texting him kissing emojis is any indication--there's your mystery and family drama. Meanwhile, Sana's new friends are more diverse than anything she knew in her old Midwestern town, and she's dealing with interracial and intraracial racism, and coming to terms with her own internalized racism--there's your social justice story. Also sprinkled throughout: Sana's poetry journal for her English class, as she shares her favorite poems and poets (but the poems are never actually printed in the book, leaving the reader to look them up). I'm all for any of these storylines, but when it came down to it, this book was just trying to do too much. After finishing it, I didn't feel like I had closure on any of the storylines, because they were all squeezed into a 300-some page book. (A+ for diversity, though, and for Asian American #ownvoices). Recommended for fans of Nina LaCour and Jenny Han.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I did it, you guys. I finally read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I've had it on my shelf for about a year now, and I even brought it with me to college, only to pack it up again in May, unopened. But now I have done it--I finished this 771-page beast.

And...I'm having several feelings, some of which are good and some of which are bad. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with a quick synopsis.

So Theo Decker is 13 years old, and he and his mom are in an art gallery when there's an explosion and his mom is killed. Theo survives. As he leaves the rubble of the gallery, he grabs and takes a painting of a goldfinch that his mom had mentioned loving. His dad had left his mom before the accident at the art gallery, so Theo's basically on his own...with a stolen painting.

Okay, after the jump, we're going to be in spoiler-y territory, so be warned.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Life Update: I Survived My First Year of College!

I recently got home from my first year of college (still feels really weird to say that). And I enjoyed it. I had some trouble adjusting to things (roommates, homesickness, anxiety, etc.), but for the most part, it was a great experience. And I know I made the right choice for me. I found a college with an amazing community (I especially love the English and Women's Studies departments, which is handy, since I'm majoring and minoring in those, respectively). I made friends, I got jobs, and I managed my courseload well.

The one thing I didn't do too much of this year? Reading. I mean, I am an English major, so I did a lot of reading, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't reading just to read.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Reading the Sad Books

This week was my spring break, so I was obviously excited for all the reading I could get done. I asked my family to grab a few books for me at their trip to the library, so I'd have a few specific ones ready for me the night I got home. And then I read them. And let me tell you... they were all pretty sad. I mean, they ranged from "oh, wow, that was shocking, I'm tearing up a bit" to "I HAVE NOT STOPPED CRYING IN 200 PAGES".

Obviously, I didn't mean to read all sad books over break. I tried to get light ones, I really did. I needed a break from the school books (the last one I read for my English class was The Bell Jar, but that seemed like a laugh riot after this week of reading). Here, I'll prove it to you--

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Sarah Dessen's new book, Once and For All (It comes out in June). In this book, Louna helps her mother with her wedding planning business. Good old lighthearted Sarah Dessen summer fun, right? WRONG. Something happened the summer before this book takes place that will break your heart, and then just when you think you're over it (it is in the past, after all), those already shattered pieces will crumble even more as you finish the book.

Look, it's not for everyone. Sarah Dessen does what she does well, and I welcomed it. But fair warning: it's sappy stuff. It's shameless in pulling out all the emotional stops. I just thought the emotions would be of a happier variety.

Sadness rating: I didn't actually cry at this one. But my eyes were red enough that my mom asked what was wrong. Final rating: Once and For All gets 4/5 stars.

I have to admit, I saw this next one coming. I read History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. If you read Silvera's debut, More Happy Than Not (which, if you haven't, get on that), you know he's good at the gut punch. And this synopsis doesn't really promise a bucket of laughs. Griffin's ex-boyfriend Theo dies, and Griffin had kind of thought that they would get back together eventually. Now he doesn't have anyone to talk to, except for Theo's new boyfriend.

I know, I know. But I love Adam Silvera, and I really did love this book. The characters just come to life, and Adam Silvera has that fantastic writing style that makes you feel like you're actually there, in that world. It had been awhile since I'd felt that about a book, and so I loved having that feeling of a world to escape to again. I just wish the world weren't so sad.

Sadness rating: Lots of hand-over-mouth-to-cover-up-what-might-have-been-either-a-gasp-or-a-small-sob-but-either-way-you're-having-trouble-breathing-normally. Final rating: 500/5 stars.

Then I read Kids of Appetite by David Arnold, and I swear, I had no idea what this book was about. I just knew I loved David Arnold's Mosquitoland, and a friend who has good taste in books said this one was good. Little did I know the main character, Vic, has to deal with his father's death throughout the book. And the sadness continues.

This one did have funny moments. I laughed out loud a few times. And then I went back to my stomach hurting from how much I felt bad for these characters. The group Vic hangs out with, the Kids of Appetite, are one of my favorite friend groups in YA literature since the Six of Crows peeps, and I would read anything about them hanging out some more. Prequel? Sequel? Short story about them buying furniture? Give me something happy, David Arnold. These kids deserve it.

Sadness rating: I had a dull sense of sadness throughout the whole thing, and then there were chapters where the sadness just burst out and screamed, "look at me!!" But again, the laugh-out-loud moments made it bearable. Final rating: 4/5 stars.

I think there might be time for me to read one more book this break. Good thing I have another book checked out from the library. It's Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is about the Biafran War in the 1960s. Oh, good, so that'll be another sad one, then.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Anticipated 2017

When I want to read, but can't, I just add more books to my TBR. So, as you can guess, I've built up quite a list of books being published in 2017 that I would love to read. And, yes, it is February, and thus maybe a bit late for this, but I'm reading slower these days, so it's fine. Here's some of the books I'm most looking forward to in 2017:

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Release date: January 17, 2017)
If you read YA, you've probably heard fantastic things about Adam Silvera's novel More Happy Than Not. And you're going to hear the same from me. I absolutely loved it, and I can't wait to see what Silvera does next. I don't even really know what it's about, I just know I have to get my hands on a copy.

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World by various (Release date: January 24, 2017)
According to Goodreads, this is a "scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist." And while I've probably got the basics down, you can't learn too much, and the authors contributing to this are fantastic, so I'm excited. Authors include: Courtney Summers, Malinda Lo, Daniel José Older, Siobhan Vivian, and Amanda Stenberg.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (Release date: May 2, 2017)
I loved Redgate's debut novel, Seven Ways We Lie, so I'm especially excited for this one. It's about a girl who decides to audition for her boarding school's all-male a cappella group. I love music and I love Riley Redgate, so this one's a no-brainer.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (Release date: May 2, 2017)
Yes, I am getting tired of trilogies. Yes, I think the stories can often be told in fewer than three books, but they get dragged out. YES, I WILL READ THIS THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES. I loved Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before duology, and I'm incredibly excited for this book. It's got lovely characters and it makes me happy. And that's exactly what I want in a book this year.

Sorry again for the lack of posting lately. I have been swamped with college things, job things, and other things. But I'm working on my time management, so hopefully I'll be able to read more soon! Have a fantastic week, everyone.