What I’ve Been Reading


I’ve been MIA. I apologize. I’ve been a bit of a trainwreck lately. I am a living testament that people really should take their meds… Also, I did this thing called applying to college, and that in and of itself was borderline traumatic, but I’m here and alive (mostly). 

Anyways, as always I’ve been reading. I’ll start with what I’m currently reading. 

Currently Reading

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition): Steinbeck, John: 2015142000663:  Amazon.com: Books

What a classic? Look at me, being all cultured at what not? Who even is she? I find 20th century literature so much more approachable than literature from earlier time periods. I’ve been enjoying this book a ton, but it’s been on the back burner for the past several weeks. I just haven’t been feeling it. 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice - Alma Books

I bought this book for about 4 dollars on Amazon. I mean, what a steal! Anyways, that was literally 5 years ago, and I still haven’t finished this book. Partly because this book was way above my reading level as a seventh grader. Now, I am proud to report that I understand a solid 80% of what’s happening in this book. I’ve been steadily chugging along, reading this book since July. I’ve finally gotten to the good part, so it’s been my book of choice for the past week or so! I hope I’ll finish it before Thanksgiving Break ends. PS: I got the Dover Thrift Edition, and I think it’s so funny that they just slap a random painting from that time period on the cover of their books! It’s always just a totally random photo of a person, not even a character of the book, that is just from that time period! I think it’s hilarious. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The brief was to design two book covers from a selection of books of our  choosing. I had chosen to design the cove… | Umschlagdesign, Buchdeckel  kunst, Frankenstein

I love this book. I’m reading it in my AP Literature class. It’s just so good. Somehow it’s more readable and digestible than Pride and Prejudice even though both novels were published within ten years of each other. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m really enjoying this book. Highly recommend! Side bar: Mary Shelley’s mom, Mary Wollstonecraft, was *such* a BOSS. She was basically the first feminist, and she was just *chef’s kiss*. She’s such an underrated Enlightenment thinker! 

Just Finished

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I love Ann Patchett. I read another one of her books, Commonwealth, and I loved it too! I actually listened to this book using the Libby App. I love the Libby App so much I wrote a whole blog post on it, linked here. The audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks – Tom freaking Hanks! I love him! Ever since I watched Forrest Gump in ninth grade, I’ve just adored Tom Hanks. And after watching Saving Private Ryan, I feel emotionally bonded to that man. Anyways, this book is just perfection. I just warmed my heart and filled me with a blissful, fuzzy feeling. It was just quality literature. I love every minute. I highly encourage you all to try giving it a listen! 

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Amazon.com: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World  (9780525536512): Newport, Cal: Books

While reading this book, I had mixed feelings. There’s a whole 40 minute period (I listened to it as a audiobook) that he spends talking about Abraham Lincoln and how he’d go to a cabin north of the White House to be in solitude and think though, ya know, stuff – like the Civil War (aka the bloodiest war in American history). This excessively long tangent felt out of place and had me thinking “This isn’t a biography. It’s a self-help productivity book. Why the heck isn’t this book acting like it?” But my annoyances were soon assuaged, as Cal got back to the point of the book, it’s namesake, digital minimalism. Now, whether a person who has never had a social media account should be writing a book on digital minimalism is up for debate, but I still found the book moderately insightful. I think the best part of the book were all the recommendations I got for other bloggers. Also this gem of a quotation “The compulsive click cycle is the news equivalent of snacking on Doritos.” I probably ought to have internalized more of this information, but it is what it is. I’m just focusing on only spending time online doing things I enjoy. I enjoy reading blogs, scrolling through pretty houses on Pinterest, and reading articles from New York Magazine’s The Strategist. So I try to do that and cut out the rest. I’m also focusing on spending quality no phone time. You’ll now find me talking walks without my phone – no listening to podcasts while walking. I’m trying to be ~mindful~. I’ll let you know that turns out. 

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms,  Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened: Allie Brosh: 8601401132530:  Amazon.com: Books

I was supposed to read this book as summer reading before my sophomore year of high school. I read about three quarters of it, then didn’t bother reading the rest because I had to read Albert Camus’ The Stranger and The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud. Two books I absolutely hated. Anyways, Hyperbole and a Half was put on the back burner indefinitely. Finally, I set aside 40-ish minutes to just finish it off, partially motivated by the fact that I accidentally marked it in my Goodreads as read and couldn’t figure out how to change its status. That’s all besides the point. This book is legitimately hilarious, and if you’re looking for a laugh, then you most definitely should read this book. It is a classic comedy. If you disagree, please square up (but like not really). 

Napkin Finance by Tina Hay

Napkin Finance: Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less: Hay, Tina:  9780062915030: Amazon.com: Books

My dad made me start reading this book at the beginning of quarantine. His friend from HBS wrote the book, so what better than forcing your firstborn to read it? Luckily, I actually really enjoyed this book. I think it’s a good introduction to personal finance. As I become a semi-quasi-not-really adult, I found it helpful to finally figure out what the heck a bear/bull market was, so I’m like super educated now. I’m basically the wolf of Wall Street now, so suck it! 

Alright! That’s it folks! I think I read/listened to some other stuff, but that’s it for now! Let me know if you plan on reading any of these books. Also, friend me on Goodreads, I’d love to know what you’re reading. 



My Mantras

Times are hard. It’s true. One thing that’s helped me make it through this crazy tumultuous time is reminding myself that I’m a good human, and that I have the ability to be a good human to everyone around me. I’m trying to meditate, go to church, do things that make me happy like crocheting, reading, and blogging. I’ve also been creating these little mantras for myself. 

Sometimes, they just help me to be a bit more centered. If I feel myself spiraling – sometimes into a depressive haze, I’ll try to repeat one of these phrases to myself to anchor down and not allow myself to spiral. This is what my therapist calls interrupting destructive thoughts. I know depression and anxiety aren’t magically fixed by positive thinking, but it has helped me to keep from spending all my time in bed. Even if I sit at my desk utterly unproductive, it’s better than staying in bed all day. 

Anyways, I’m going to get off of my soapbox now and share with you all some phone wallpapers I’ve made based off of some mantras I’ve come up with. 

Nevertheless, be kind. 

When you’re tired, frustrated, and generally just cranky, it’s hard to remember to be your best self, but nevertheless, be kind. I’m still working on this, but at least I’m trying. That’s all you can ask for from yourself – that you try

You are strong. You can do it. It’s true. 

I came up with this one today. I’ve been having a *rough* time with online learning and just quarantine in general. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed. This mantra just helps me to reaffirm that I can do it – I have the ability to handle it. I can do it.

Just Breathe. 

Obviously, I didn’t come up with this one, but it still holds true. Taking a deep breath is the first step, always. 

It’s ok. You’re ok. It’s going to be ok.

This one is near and dear to my heart. It’s reserved for my hardest times and roughest moments. It helps to provide some peace of mind. I’ve been known to say this to myself while taking long walks to remind myself that it’s ok and that it will be ok. 

Hey, You’ll be okay. You’ll make it through this.