Book review: January 2018

Book review: January 2018

I plan on reading 20 books within 2018. So, to keep myself on track, I decided to make posts about the books I read during each month. 20 books broken down into 12 months is about two books per month. I’ve found myself sucked into so much technology (i.e Netflix), I want to replace that with books.

Over the years, my appreciation of books and reading has expanded tremendously; I thank my college best friends for that. They brought me to this bookstore down the street from campus on one cold Saturday during the spring semester. Before I knew it, I started grabbing multiple books at a time off the shelves. There wasn’t enough room on the counter for all the books I was getting. Now, I visit every chance I get.

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To start us off, I read “Between You and Me” by NYT Bestselling Author, Allison Winn Scotch, published on Jan. 9, 2018. Coming in at 349 pages we follow partners Tatum and Ben on their journey of meeting, falling in love, getting married, having a child and leading success in both of their lives. On it’s own, by what I described, sounds like an ordinary love story, right?

The difference in this story is that we follow Ben recalling their relationship at the end and moving backwards to their first time meeting. Tatum, on the other hand, starts at the very beginning while working our way to the present. If you’re a familiar with musical theatre, it has the same structure as JRB’s, “The Last Five Years.”

When I first read synopses of “Between You and Me,” I thought it was going to be a small copy-cat of this beloved musical. I was very, very wrong.

Every twist and turn is unexpected, the imperfections are more prevalent. There are so many beautiful and tragic moments of doubt, sacrifice, heartache and happiness. The power of love and priorities makes you think; was it only one person in the wrong? When traveling through this journey of Tatum and Ben’s relationship, you don’t necessarily gather all the information in one person’s point of view, which makes you want to keep reading. Sometimes, there were word jumbles but each chapter got you turning the page. There wasn’t a moment I was invested in; 4/5 stars.

Nine days later, I finish my first book. I travel to my college town 45 minutes away to 21 E Main Bookstore in Dunkirk, NY, the bookstore I mentioned before. I thought I would peep in to browse the shelves, see if I could find anything intriguing. Low and behold, there was a book sale happening and, well, I bought another twenty books to my never ending pile on my bookshelf.

Whoops.

But here is where I find my second book, one I’ve wanted to read and dive into since watching this year’s Golden Globe awards. Book number two is “Big Little Lies” by author Liane Moriarty published in July 2014. My copy of the novel comes in at just under 500 pages.Image result for Big Little Lies novel

As I wrapped up January, I haven’t finished “Big Little Lies,” I am roughly an eighth of the way through the book, but this novel will be added to my January and February book log; I will add a more thorough description of it at the end of the month for February’s review.

Here is what I do know:

“Big Little Lies” follows three women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane, who all meet in this town from all walks of life prior to a mysterious murder in town.

Like I said, I haven’t even made a dent into the novel to give more information on the book.

What I can say is that it’s a little difficult to get into; the first chapter takes place in the present and then six months later before the infamous night of the murder is where the second chapter begin.

The novel, written in third person, can be hard to keep track of who’s who when all the main characters are female and all use the pronouns she. It’s a book that needs to be warmed up to, you can’t rush into the novel with this idea that it’s going to be a simple read.

It’s a complex story so, therefore; reading it will be complex. I haven’t read any summaries online, I have not seen the HBO limited series and I am still very new to this journey so anything I’ve said it what I know thus far. And I am excited to keep reading.

New Year, 2018, Reading, Woman, Learning, SittingAnd for my next novel in February after “Big Little Lies”? I’m not too sure which novel I’m going to pick up next as February settles in. I have a couple book series I got when I was at 21 E Main; my entire bookshelf is filled from top to bottom, side to side, with books so the possibilities are endless.

Eight days into 2018

Eight days into 2018

The first few days of 2018 have been absolutely insane. I turned 24, I officially moved to a new city, I saved a man from a fire, I’ve got those “new year goals” underway and I’ve witnessed the environment reach negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I know, Happy New Year to me!

To be quite honest, it hasn’t been all that bad. Actually, it’s been really great. I’ll give you a quick synopsis of each point above.

Turning 24

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Yeah. 24. I’ve been living on this Earth for over 24 years. I’ve seen and done a lot over these past few years alone and I’m just starting to see where my light is heading. I’m started to fully grasp the direction I should be heading in. It doesn’t mean I understand where exactly this light is heading or why I’m going this way but I feel moving in forward. 2017 made me have so many “Ah-ha” moments, I’ve had some of my largest revelations. After having those moments, I’ve looked at life in a complete different focus and point of view. “Her dreams went out the door when she turned 24,” from the hit song “1985” by Bowling for Soup is quickly proving to be quite accurate. Because the dreams I had at 23 are certainly not the dreams I have going into my 24th year. And I hope those dreams keep changing and happening.

Moving to a new city

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I’M IN BUFFALO! On Dec. 30, I packed up almost all my things from my parent’s house in Ithaca, NY, and traveled 121 miles West to Buffalo: “An All America City.” And yes, that is the sign that welcomes those on the New York State Thruway into the city. All my things are slowly and surely settling into place in my apartment. It’s spacious, tons of storage, great water pressure, (literally) seconds away from everything in town and an array of stores that can’t be found in Ithaca. I’ve been living here for almost a week and the things I miss the most are (in this order:) my dog, my family and friends, the local restaurants and Ithaca’s natural beauty. I started the job hunt and I am optimistic that the city will lead me to a job and money in the bank!

Saving a man from a fire

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Yes, I did help save a man in a fire. And yes, Wonder Woman captures how I feel looking back on that moment. During the second night of 2018 my mom and I were playing cards at our dining room table when I was about to stare aimlessly outside the window, at what I thought would be my reflection, turned out to be a fire starting on my neighbor’s porch. I yelled out, “FIRE!”, to my mom, running towards the phone to dial 9-1-1. A trembling in my chest lingered as I waited until an operator answered, my mom rushing out to her car to drive across the street (our house sits back ways from the road) to save anyone who was in the house. I ran up to the top of our driveway and just watched. The smell of debris flew through the air, the clouds of smoke filled the sky, and the illuminating light of yellow and orange colors pierced though me. A man is going to see 2018 because my mom and I saved him. An honor of a lifetime.

New Year, new goals

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I’m not one for the whole, “New Year, new me” mentality. In actuality, the “new” entails new beginnings, new adventures, new experiences. We should be continuing to change and grow as humans. That’s an inevitable part of life, change, but the change we endure shouldn’t make us into necessarily “new” people. We’re just discovering who we’re meant to be in every moment of our lives. I’m also not prone to keeping goals; I’m ambitious and capable of a lot of things and unfortunately, keeping goals is one I’m just not capable of (yet.) So that’s why, in 2018, I am going to be keeping some goals. I don’t find them out of reach or one’s I won’t be able to keep throughout the next 357 days remaining in 2018.

  • Use a planner every day/week
  • Plan a trip for 2018 and 2019
  • Save $5,500
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Experience more theatre
  • See my student loans under $30,000 (or as close to that as possible)
  • Live a healthier lifestyle
  • Blog more (I bought a domain, I should use it more.)
  • Take a photography class (and pursue photography more in general)
  • Live life with more fulfillment

Negative 20 degree Fahrenheit

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Shit was cold. It was crazy insane. Yeah, that’s all I got on the weather. Buffalo weather is really cold and changes almost as much as the weather changes in Ithaca.

So with 2018 settling in on all of us, I hope to find this year with lots of successes, failures, lessons, goals, changes and experiences. From the classic musical written by the late Jonathan Larson, “Rent:” “It’s gonna be a happy New Year.”

NaNoWriMo starts in less than 27 hours!

NaNoWriMo starts in less than 27 hours!

Have you ever tried to commit to something for an extended period of time and when you’ve actually done it, you’re impressed you even got that far? Same for me too. I’m the kind of person who becomes very particular in what I invest in. I give 100% or none at all. So during the month of November I, along with my close friends, will be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).

Apparently, this is a huge event.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days, give or take. There are no restrictions; the author can have the novel be in any genre with however many chapters and can (of course) be longer than 50,000 words. Each day you track your word count and earn badges along the way. You can chat with other writers in your area for support, help, advice and everything in between.

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Last year I took a step back from almost everything in theatre to focus on my journalism classes and writing for the school paper. I’ve gotten insanely better in just a short period of time but even though I’ve improved I can always improve. That’s how we get better, with practice and experience. That’s why I am challenging myself to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.

I’ve never been a writer let alone would I picture myself participating in NaNoWriMo. English class and writing overall was never my forte in middle school, high school and even in college. Let’s put it this way; growing up I couldn’t articulate on paper a cohesive sentence. That was my reality but overtime I have battled mountains in order to get to this point as a writer.

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With all of that being said, I decided to title my young adult novel as “One Last Chance.” I’ve named my main character Jaclyn, a 22 year old college student who has survived an attempted suicide just six months prior. We will follow her journey into self-acceptance, heartbreak, devastation, triumphant victories and difficult choices as she gives her life “one last chance.” I have begun writing my prologue to this story which brings us to that moment six months ago where everything almost ended. We pick up the story to the present time as she begins her senior year.

I don’t know what direction this novel will necessarily take me even after making a rough outline. I know where I would like the story to go, which I will be keeping to myself, but realistically it might not be the same as what will ultimately be written. I am currently at 446 of this post which is already a great start; I want to have the prologue completed before Nov. 1. That’s where I am currently at with my NaNoWriMo endeavors.

My friends who inspired me to do this have really great novel ideas that they will be either writing from scratch or will be continuing further in just a few short days. No matter what, we’re committing to a 30 day challenge which we will all accomplish.

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Will my novel be good? … Maybe? I don’t know yet!

Will I become a better writer? All of the yes.

Will I reach my goal? I am sure as heck going to try.

Bring it on National Novel Writing Month!

If you’re reading this and want to be buddies on NaNoWriMo, zoedkiriazis is how you’ll find me.