Monthly Recommendations: Auto-Read Authors

This month’s category is Auto-Read or Auto-buy authors. I don’t buy myself a lot of books I typically wait until the holidays, but these are some the authors I always ask for or pick up when I see at the library.

Tamora Pierce: One of my favorite authors and I am only half way through all her work.  I try and pick one up every time there is one I haven’t read at the library. She always writes such compelling characters and all of my favorite book boyfriends.

Ellen Hopkins: Poetry. Heart-wrenching. Quick. It’s such one of a kind books that I can’t help but pick it up.

Rick Riordan: I feel like this is an obvious one that’s going to show up on a lot of recommendations. His books are so immersive and accessible to all age groups. When looking for a really fun read or I want to learn something about mythology I always try to find one of his books.

Anne McCaffery: One word: Dragons. I love Pern and every McCaffery book I’ve read. It is growing hard to find one I haven’t read in libraries but when I can I read it.

Soman Chainani: So this is the newest author to me, I’ve only recent read his only published Trilogy: The School for Good and Evil. It blew me away I devoured the entire trilogy in under a week. I already have a hold at the library for his book coming out this fall and I know I’m going to be reading whatever else he publishes.

 

Complacency

I’m in a slump. It might be obvious I haven’t posted on here in almost two weeks. I’ve settled in to a pattern. Granted it’s a pattern of not doing much. I go to work and do what I need to do. I go home and sleep, eat, occasionally read or watch Netflix. On days I don’t work I go grocery shopping and on Fridays to a museum. The library has become almost a twice a week trip not to get more books I just like being there.

It is all a lot of the same thing again and again. I don’t post on social media it’s just a lot of scrolling through the noise. Books are taking me longer to read, which for me is saying a lot because long used to mean extra hours now it means extra days. I’m not doing extra work for classes or lobbying to get more responsibility at my internship.

Everything is even and level. I have a schedule for everything. Nothing is technically wrong. I’m just getting bored. Its weird at the beginning of the summer I wanted things to settle down and now I can’t wait to shake things up.

Reading Away From Home

So I love to read. I don’t really know about anyone else but for me a good book always feels like home. Unfortunately, when I’m at college or living far away from my parents house I cannot take my whole library with me. Finding a way to read someplace new is really important to me.

Libraries- aka one of my favorite places on the planet. Every city and most towns have at least one. They are great places to do work or hang out. Also they have really cool books, music, and movies. It is really easy to get a library card anywhere, you just need a residence or permanent address or if you are me just look really sad until they give you one.

OpenLibrary- This is the easiest app to use. It only requires the downloading of one application on to any device, also a library card to a home library. However, it is used by less home libraries so there is a chance you can not access books through this. It super user friendly and has most best sellers and some really top rated books that anyone would want to read.

OverDrive- This is probably the most commonly used by home libraries. However, this means that a lot of books are already checked out. It also is a little more strict about returning deadlines. It does have a larger variety of books and often has audiobooks as well, some even have video files. The one draw back to this application is that it requires additional apps to actually use and view the content.

I am sure there are other options but I hope this helps others keep their nose in a book.

One month

I’ve been here around 4 weeks now. I think I’m settling in but I’m not totally sure what I’m settling in to.

Boston: Is beautiful. I have taken a myriad of pictures while canvassing. The T is getting easier and easier to navigate and sometimes I even get to sit down. Free Fun Fridays at museums are a part of my plan to explore Boston and leave the house more. Never been in New England in the Summer, since I was very small. NOT a fan of the weather and I do live in New England over the winter.

Internship: is going well. I really like going in to do something everyday. It feels like I am doing something with and for a purpose. I think I am starting to make friends there or at least someone to talk to while making coffee and sometimes at lunch. I do like most of the people I work with so it’s nice relief.

I, personally: am in the Doldrums (I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Phantom Tollbooth but it’s where I live now). I am getting better at feeding myself, I even bought chicken this week. I spend a lot of time reading, and I have even started writing again, but I am lonely. I see my apartment-mate maybe every other day for never more than a minute at a time. I don’t hear from many people back home or here for that matter. Keeping myself busy just trying to push off the feelings of isolation.

Hopefully it gets better.

Monthly Recommendations: Retellings

So this has nothing to do with learning to be an adult but I love reading. This is a Goodreads group I have been apart of. This month recommendation category is retellings or re-imaginings of classic stories or fairy tales.

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer

cress

Cress is a retelling of Rapunzel. So the Lunar Chronicles are probably the most popular modern retellings but it has well earned the hype. The whole series is really wonderful but Cress is by far my favorite.  I think that Meyer uses the structure of the original fairy tales to create such new and cool stories that is just so engrossing.

 

  • Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

outlaws of sherwoodThough technically Robin Hood is not a fairy tale, this re-imagining is on one of my favorite books. This book delves much deeper into the origin of Robin Hood and his companions. It’s really funny but also is one of the only books that talks about the fact that characters need to eat and use the bathroom. It’s just a really fun character based adventure.

 

  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

fairestThis strays more from the origin fairy tale than most retellings but is an excellent Snow White retelling. Its much darker than I had expected when I picked the book up. While the romance is not my favorite it is still quite sweet. The magic system is so cool and like with all Levine’s writing the language simply feels magical.

 

  • Grendel by John Gardenergrendel

After reading this retelling of Beowulf for class I was surprised at how much I loved it. It was as a whole a discussion of what it means to be a monster. There was no question that Grendel was a villain but the development of him and of Beowulf that you get through a change in perspective is amazing.

 

  •  Spindle’s End by Robin McKinleyspindles en

I love, love, love this book. It is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that has stuck with me for years. While one of the romances has a questionable age difference, the main aspects of friendship and family are so strong it didn’t matter to me. It’s so magical and focuses on a very naturalistic version of fairies and magic. This book has one of my favorite friendships of all time and would recommend for anyone looking for a deeper fairy tale.

Canvassing

One big part of my internship and the part I was the most scarred about is canvassing.  This is basically means going around a neighborhood going to doors and talking to people, trying to get anyone to take literature or sign-up or give money to a cause.  Luckily in this case we aren’t asking for money we are just asking people to take literature and maybe sign-up for a mailing list.  We also aren’t going to every house but have a set list of people and addresses.

It is honestly very mentally and physically exhausting, but not as anxiety inducing as I had expected. I really don’t like talking to people but it’s not too bad because most of the time people aren’t home or they shoo you off. Sometimes you even get to have nice conversations with people, that has happened once or twice. The physical exhaustion is worse, I am still sore from Wednesday. We went to a little town outside of Boston. One of the streets I was assigned was on an extreme hill. The front doors were two to three flights up from the sidewalk, just for them not to be home 95% of the time. It was exhausting and also hot. Most days that we’ve been canvasing we’ve clocked in between 4-6 miles and it’s been 85 and humid. Not ideal days for me type people.

Moving forward. I don’t really have a choice about whether or not to continue because it is you know my internship also potentially a big part of the field I want to go into. But I think for now I’m working on focusing on the bright side. A) I do really need exercise so it’s not the worst thing and B) I’m getting to see more of Boston which is nice it’s like I get to explore through my job. In the future though I really need to figure out a way to bring water with me. Also to start planning my route before I start walking.

Hopefully as I get used to it, everything will get easier.

Feeding myself

So one of the hardest things coming into this summer is the idea of having to make 100% of my own meals, plus food shopping though I like that part.  It’s been a lot more fun and easier to cook than expected. Meal planning has not been as such. I have lots of food but figuring out when to have what when, also packing for lunch at work.

So obviously I stocked up on the non-perishables at the beginning of the summer. A lot of soups and noodles and rice to fill the stomach at any time. The standout was however Stovetop stuffing. It is so cheap and delicious and easy to make that it’s become a huge staple for me. You can also eat or add a lot to the basic mixture or have it by itself.

The rough thing is protein. Meat is ridiculously expensive and I am on a shoestring budget. However, eggs are great and actually you can make a lot with them. Not going to lie I have been eating more french toast than I had previously expected. Tuna is also really good and really cheap (also keeps forever!). Sandwiches are good but what I really like to do is add it to leftover Mac&Cheese with a little bit of mayo, spices, and extra cheese. It’s kinda like a makeshift tuna casserole. Any suggestions for new ways to get protein in my diet would be suggested? (Do not suggest peanut butter I am eating that everyday for lunch at work.)

The hardest part is figuring out when to eat everything and how to have a “balanced diet.” But food is so good and sometimes it’s hard to decide if I want pasta or a grilled cheese. Adding non-bread based foods is also rough, produce is expensive! Spinach has been a blessing in disguise, but fruit is so expensive and does not last that long. Fresh frozen is good but the bags are so small that I don’t want to have to keep repurchasing them.

Looking forward to making myself more and better food in the future.

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Starting to work

I’ve now spent two weeks at my internship here in Boston. While it’s not my first job it is my first foray into the field I want to be in. Though technically I did politically fund raise it was more just a call center and the client was a political organization.  The organization is a new GOTV or Get Out The Vote organization, by new I mean within the first two years. Honestly, I like it a lot more than I had expected.

First impressions: waking up at in the morning is easier than I expected, mostly because I really want to make a good impression and have a fear of being late. Secondly working a full day at an office makes me much tireder than a day running after kids at camp, which was surprising. Thirdly, I actually am really invested in this field of work. It’s a lot of research and calling and canvassing but I feel good about it.

So the biggest thing I like most is the people I work with. I have two bosses that are exceedingly kind and working to give us every opportunity they can. Both go out of their way to make sure we are comfortable and confident in our tasks, which in the end make us more efficient I think. I was very nervous about my fellow interns, I’m not great at making friends or trusting people (strangers make me nervous). Everyone has been super nice I’ve even gone out for lunch with them twice. I did get sun burnt both times. But they are cool people.

The biggest piece of advice I was given was to grab any chance I could when I started working. This internship has given me lots of chances to do that and I’ve tried my best. I jumped on a research project that seemed tedious to everyone else but I get to do research on local governments and learn how to better use political databases. Next week I’ll be volunteering for the fundraiser my organization is holding allowing me to meet people involved in the field.

Hopefully the rest of the summer stays productive and my internship stays good, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Learning to explore

Boston. So mostly a new city, but I’ve been here a few times for commuter rails, airports, a date, and one time a Model United Nations conference. It is in fact very different to live somewhere versus travel through in it. It’s both a huge city but seems less hectic than the other large cities I’ve been too, NYC and DC, more in the vein of Chicago (at least what I’ve seen of Chicago). However, it remains endlessly confusing.

The people seem less rushed but not necessarily friendlier, not to say that everyone I’ve interacted with has not been exceedingly kind. The transport system while easy to use in practice makes very little sense when one is actually trying to figure out where to go. After my first day literally put me on a subway car and told me to get off when they said a stop name. It totally worked but as an outsider it was hard to understand. Especially with all the turns and crossovers, the Green line has % subsections of lines within it!

The confusing transportation is not the only reason it is hard for me to go out and explore the wonderful city I am in. For the most part I’m by myself and it’s hard to put yourself into somewhere you do not know with out a safety net of at least a friend. On Thursday I had a friend who had just finished a day working in the city and he came out to visit for a while. It was wonderful not only to have a friend but to feel comfortable walking around. It let me find out that the reason there are so many sirens at night is because I’m living ridiculously close to a fire station. It also led to me having one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while (Prosecution and fig with goat cheese).

I loved exploring but going by myself is hard. It makes me nervous, I think justifiably because exploring implies the unknown. I’m working slowly on learning how to explore, today I found a market. It’s technically more like a convenience store and deli but there’s also a nice produce section. It was a good and useful discovery. Tomorrow my plan is to find a bookstore, I do well with bookstores and bookstore people. Though it is small exploring I am going for progress.

Fingers Crossed.

The beginning of being an adult, also summer

In the past three days, I have moved into my first apartment, began a season in a city where I barely know a soul, and have started my first professional internship in a career I someday hope to be in.  This is not my permanent situation just the summer before my senior year. A trial run of my life to be next year, now is the time for trial and error. As I begin to enter this very scary new phase of my life I thought it could be cool to document my adventures, that may not be so adventurous but new.

My apartment is small it is two bedrooms a bathroom and a tiny kitchen. I don’t have a roommate so the only person living with me is the stranger just across the kitchen. She seems so nice but I haven’t seen her at all since move in. I had hoped we would become friends. My internship is nice, my bosses seem to genuinely want to give us experience and skills to enter the field.  My fellow interns seem very nice but I have a hard time with new people, but two of them helped me navigate my way home so hopefully it could be something great. The city is big and confusing. I don’t totally understand the transportation system (also it’s slightly possible I walked in front of train this morning). My internship provides me a Charlie Card, but truthfully I don’t know where I would go. I don’t really know anyone except a couple people from college who live on the outskirts of Boston.

So far the two biggest problems I think I will face is feeding myself and being lonely. I really want this summer to be good and for me to grow more as a person and learn about how to be a real adult.

Fingers Crossed.