Top 10 books of 2013

Posted on Updated on

Happy New Year’s all!!! As we enter 2014 I’m going to try (note:try) to use this blog more. Especially as I travel the world (Scotland here I come!!) and consume lots and lots of media. In 2013 I read a total of 55 books. I got past my goal of 50 but I did read a lot of graphic novels and plays which are shorter, so that helped. But anyway, with tons of amazing reads these, in order, were my favorites.

10. Divergent – Veronica Roth

Set in a dystopian Chicago, Divergent is a YA book packed with action, adventure, mystery, romance, and thrill. For me, it was the definition of a page-turner and is a fun book with some good things to say about bravery and selfishness. Avoid the sequels if you can but join Tris for this one book at least!

9. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

I don’t read many classics. The language can be hard for me to get into and the pacing is a little slow but Jane got to me, granted slowly but surely. About halfway through the book I found myself in tears because I wanted everything to work out for plain little Jane. A feminist book that’s way before it’s time, Jane is worth it.

8. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

  In this vision of the future social media has turned into more of a virtual reality that you can log into and go to school, or get a job, or explore made up planets. It seems completely plausible but I’d also crazy imaginative and epic. Is packed with tons of fun pop culture references and doesn’t get too dystopian. It’s crazy addictive – just like the world it describes.

7. Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Join Pi, religion lover and animal lover, as he tries to survive months lost art sea in a small lifeboat with a giant Bengal tiger. It’s captivating and the ending gave me all the chills.

6. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

I’m late to the game with this one but this book is just as good as it got talked up to be in my head. It’s both dark and light, ridiculously silly and somehow very thought-provoking. If you’ve ever questioned the meaning of life, the universe, and everything read this.

5. Princess Bride – William Goldman

This classic tale of true love and high adventure is perfect. If you love the movie you’ll love the book. If you love the book you’ll love the movie. How often does that happen?? That says something about the power of this epic story.

4. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

This world war 2 story is told from the perspective of death. That’s right. The narrator is death. And through him we hear the story of young Leisl and her love of books, as well as the power of words to hurt and to heal. I needed some tissues for this one but I’ll never forget it.

3. Scott Pilgrim series- Bryan Lee O’Malley

  I’m even surprising myself that this is so high up the list but this series of brilliant graphic novels is storytelling genius. With amazing characters, fight scenes, songs, and hilarity, books don’t get much more fun to read than this. I tore through all of them in the span of a week and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

2. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

This is one of those books that I didn’t know as I was reading how memorable it would be. It’s the simple story of an English Butler whose work spanned two world wars. He takes a road trip across the English countryside reflecting on his career: the good memories, the bad, missed opportunities, regrets. I didn’t get it until the end. Then everything clicked and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Remarkable read.

1. Dandelion Wine – Ray Bradbury

We all have one of those books that is so precious to us. Each page is a treasure. Each sentence perfectly worded. Capturing your feelings on life so perfectly that you return to it again and again just to feel a little more full. That is Dandelion Wine to me. It’s one summer in a young boy’s life – each chapter a different anecdote, a different memory. But somehow, it captures summer perfectly – feeling free, wanting to stay in a moment forever, searching for happiness, growing up too fast. The fleeting summer is our fleeting life. If you can’t tell this is my favorite book. Absolute perfection.

Check out all 55 books on my goodreads:

And finally!
My reading resolutions for 2014.
1. Read for at least10 minutes a day.
2. Read 50 books. (again)
3. Challenge myself to read longer and more difficult books (even if that means it’s harder to complete number 2)

Happy New Year’s all!
Read any of these?
Any suggested reads for 2014?
Let me know! Dftba!


Fear of Flying – Original Song

Posted on

I’ve been flying in airplanes since before I can remember. Two reasons.
1) My parents have the travel bug and that’s the only way to get across the world.
2) My parents both work for Boeing so they have an interest in and a knowledge of flight.

From as young as I can remember our family was getting in a plane to fly to Alaska or Africa. OR my parents would borrow my grandpa’s tiny plane and fly my brother and I themselves. Yup. They had pilot licenses. But I never enjoyed these trips the way the rest of my family did. The destination was always awesome but the airplane ride itself made me anxious, nervous, and jumpy. On many a domestic or international flight a slight bounce or minor turbulence would have me quickly glancing up at my parents to see if anything was wrong. They were always unperturbed, seeing those things as completely normal. Meanwhile, I was picturing all of us spiraling to our deaths. My parents explained in every way they could how safe flying was. The told me it’s safer than driving which I don’t have a fear of. My mom explained that even if an engine died, which is highly unlikely, the airplane is prepared and a large mishap would not be the result of it. Despite all of these facts, I can’t help the fear. It sneaks up on me when I tell myself I’m fine, I’m safe, I’m courageous. I consistently try to fight past all of my fears, at least the irrational ones. Because of this, I will be flying in planes for the rest of my life.  I’ll always want to travel and see the world. I don’t think writing this song made all of my anxiety vanish but I think it helped, at least a bit. Sometimes my songs are like self-therapy. I’m encouraging myself to be a better person and a stronger person in the future. Writing this was a way of  inspiring myself to push past the fear and enjoy the airtime. I’ll remind myself each time I step on a plane.

I thought of the first line when boarding a plane from Seattle to Dallas. I filmed the first line when flying from Dallas back home to Seattle. I didn’t have any other clips. Thanks to David, Nicole, and Jacob – who responded to a tweet and second channel video – I was able to compose a video that I’m quite proud of. Thanks for reading and watching!

Magic & Mayhem: This Week in Review

Posted on

i’m late posting this. oops.

You may call me an easy 5. Perhaps you are correct. My reviews are mostly positive. This is partially because I’m a positive person but also because I try to avoid things that I think I won’t like and end up reading amazing books and watching incredible films.

This week I bring you 2 books and 1 movie that were all incredible.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
by Douglas Adams

In the sequel to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the crew members’ craving for tea and a good meal get them into lots of trouble all across the infinite universe. I thought this sequel was just as good as the first. Once again Adams mocks humanity, jokes about the meaning of life, and imagines complexly other galaxies and people. Not to mention that every page is full of jokes that range from clever to silly, snarky-smile-of-amusement to pee-your-pants-funny. I really cannot praise it enough. 5/5 stars

by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a little child genius and when her parents and her headmaster take her completely for granted mischievous and extraordinary things begin to happen. Before you make fun of me for reading a 200 page chapter book with pictures, I will say that the musical Matilda has been getting some publicity and looks spectacular which is part of the reason I picked up the book. It only took me a couple hours to read and although it is definitely a children’s book, it is a perfect children’s book. The characters are funny, lovable, and outrageous. Matilda is the perfect little protagonist in every single way. 5/5 stars

The Remains of the Day
directed by James Ivory

Stevens, the perfect English butler, worked for Lord Darlington through two great wars and now, with a new employer and times changing, he takes a road trip across the countryside which makes him contemplate his past. This is the best book to movie adaptation I have ever seen. While every movie has some differences from the book, all the minor changes in this movie were thought out so that the heart of the story was always preserved. There were some parts that even felt more real because you could see the world of the characters. Anthony Hopkins and Hugh Grant definitely deliver and Emma Thompson is captivating at every moment. This may be a rarity but I do feel like reading the book enhances the movie-watching experience as it could feel slow without first understanding the slower moments. 4.5/5 (Only cause