2021 Bookshelf Tour | an overflowing mess

Hello, my loves! Thank you all so much for taking the time out of your day to be here!

Ever since I started this wonderful blogging journey, I’ve been dying to make a bookshelf tour. Somehow or another, every time I tried to write one, it always came out clunky and awkward. I was never satisfied with the pictures, and my words kept failing me.

Alas! The new year has filled me full of confidence and inspiration, and I feel equipped to take on this challenge once again.

Welcome to my 2021 Bookshelf Tour!

I hope you enjoy your stay. x

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The Tippity Top

I have an awful love/hate relationship with the top of my bookshelf, so I figured I’d knock it out first.

The Books

The top of my bookshelf mainly consists of overflow (I’m in desperate need of another bookshelf). Since it kind of acts as a more decorative shelf (does anyone else think this way, or am I just coming up with things?), I decided to place my fancy/old editions of classics and anthologies in a stack on the left to show them off a bit — they really don’t get enough love — and to save some room. Plus, in my head, at least, I figured that if I placed them upright, they were bound to fall off because I never think to buy book ends. At the end of the day, I’d rather be safe than sorry when to comes to my precious book babies!

Next to my beautiful books, we have my original childhood copy of Roger S. Baum’s The Silly Ozbuls of OZ trilogy. Mainly because they are too tall to fit just about anywhere else. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember one thing from these books, or even remember reading them at all. I believe I smell a future review/reaction coming along …

Last but not least, we have my incredible Harry Potter series fancy castle-spine box set that I bought before realizing the author is an actual disgrace and embarrassment to the book community. Nevertheless, I can’t get rid of them because they’re so nice to look at on my shelves. This set was also just hella expensive, so it feels very special to me — or maybe it’s guilt? Either way, they’re staying on my shelf for now!

The Decor

Since the special editions do most of the decorating, I decided to keep the fun knick-knacks to a minimum. Next to the Harry Potter series, I have a couple of shot glasses from my friends and when I previously worked in a liquor store — the only positive was getting free glasses — and a fake succulent plant from TJMAXX.

Perhaps the weirdest thing on my bookshelf, I also decided to throw a pig stuffed-animal up there as well. Why? I have no idea. But one day I threw it up there, and it hasn’t moved since. Will it ever move? Stay tuned.

The Classics

The Books

Now, onto the actual shelves, we have my absolute favorite section of my bookshelf — the classics.

If you’ve been following me for a while, or even my last post, you know how much I adore classics. Ever since I began reading classics in undergrad, I’ve always created a special shelf for my favorite literature. As you’ll see later, I’m not one to organize my books by genre, but classics are so sentimental to me that I create almost a shrine for them on each of my bookshelves.

Other than being grouped by genre, the books are placed purely for aesthetics. When organizing my books, I simply move them around until I like the way they look on the shelf. My brain often groups a bunch of books together, then places them in even smaller categories. For example, this shelf contains all of my classics, but I specifically put together all of my B&N Classics editions because they matched, and then I organized them by color. I also stacked all of my Signet Classics together and organized them by size and color. And, typically, I put heavier/taller books on the ends because I like the way it looks. Plus, it helps with weight distribution so the shelves don’t bend or snap (Legally Blonde, anyone?). As they say, there’s always a method to the madness.

Out of all of the books on this shelf, I’ve read:

  • Jane Eyre
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • Never Let Me Go
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Brave New World
  • The Time Machine
  • Inferno
  • Purgatorio

The Decor

Because my shelves are overflowing, I don’t have much decor at all. But I think my classics shelf has the best decorations out of all of them!

On the left, I set up this cute, cottage-core-esc postcard that I picked up from an annual art sale that my college holds — I always find the coolest pieces for great prices. I’m not sure what this exact style is called (please let me know in the comments if you do!), but it is my absolute favorite. It’s very Renaissance, but with a modern twist. I love it!!!

Next, I have a funky little smoking man made by my boyfriend out of polymer clay. I bought some polymer clay around Halloween with the intention of making some earrings, but we instead made some figures and sculptures like this little dude. I’m now thinking that he might need a friend to chill with …

Lastly, I propped up my Milton Marathon button from when my Milton class organized the event — an all day reading of Paradise Lost. That class was the most stressful, but most rewarding class I’ve probably ever tackled. I like to keep my Milton Marathon button in a place where I can see it to remind me of my journey with the great John Milton.

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The MISCELLANEOUS

The Books

Unlike the last shelf, the miscellaneous shelf doesn’t really have any organization. At first, it did start out as a TBR/currently reading/recently read shelf. The books lined up on the left consisted of my top TBR books, as well as the books I’m currently in the middle of. The books stacked on the right consisted of my recent reads — particularly the ones I’ve featured/want to feature on this very blog. However, I’m a depression-filled procrastinator, so the organization didn’t last long. At this point, I’m just going to wait until I get another bookshelf to re-organize this chaotic mess.

The books I’ve read on this shelf include:

  • 11/22/63
  • Adele
  • The Secret Life of Bees
  • The Rum Diary

And the books that I’m currently in the middle of are:

  • Candide
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • His Hideous Heart
  • Eileen
  • Metamorphoses

These books have officially become my pile of shame, and I need to get them finished ASAP!

I also don’t know why I have a random copy of Catching Fire, but it’s there!

The Decor

The only thing I have for decoration on this shelf is my cute cactus mug filled with my bookmarks. Cactuses/succulents are my absolute favorite, so I had to grab this mug when I saw it at TJMAXX. It even has a cute little flower!! My heart!!

Sadly, the rim of the mug is awkward as hell, so I can’t drink out of it without making a proper mess. Instead of getting rid of it, I decided it was the perfect holder for my bookmarks! It’s perfect because I lose more bookmarks than I do hair ties — which is a fuck ton.

The Black and Red Books

The Books

Once again, my aesthetics have taken over this shelf. I really don’t know what to call this shelf other than the black and red bookshelf, since that’s all they seem to have in common. You win this round, aesthetics.

From this cohesive shelf, I’ve read:

  • all of the Fifty Shades of Grey series
  • The Twilight Series
  • A Stranger in the House
  • Flowers on the Moon
  • V for Vendetta

(Almost the entire shelf!)

The Decor

Not much decoration on this one, but I do have another cool postcard with an add for “Reefer Madness.” I truly couldn’t pass it up when I saw it at the art sale, and the bright red fits perfectly with the red on some of the books!

The Miscellaneous II

And just like that, we’ve stumbled upon yet another miscellaneous shelf full of miscellaneous books! However, unlike the first miscellaneous shelf, I haven’t read any of these books. I guess you could call this more of a TBR shelf, but I’m really not in any hurry to get to them. Some of these books are my required reading for school — The Children of Men, The Power — and others are gifts from my parents.

Living in Tennessee, Jefferson Bass and his research on the body farm is a local commodity. So, naturally, my dad kindly passed on some of his copies to me. I’m not usually into crime/forensic books, but I might give them a go one day. If anything, they’re always there to remind me of my dad whenever I start feeling home sick.

The Decor

Who could’ve guessed? Another postcard! This postcard reminds me a lot of the first one, but with a more 40’s – 50’s twist to it. The bright yellow grabs your attention immediately, and the dress she’s wearing is stunning.

Along with the postcard, we also have another succulent! My college roommate gifted me this during undergrad, and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. Like the postcard, I love the yellow pot that the succulent sits in, and the cute flower on top matches the cactus cup! Everything comes full circle.

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The Academics

The Books

The bottom and final shelf of this tour contains all of my heavy academic editions and anthologies that I’ve read for school. Even though I love all of my shelves, this one makes me the most proud and happy. These books have been thoroughly studied, analyzed, annotated, and, most importantly, loved. I constantly find myself reaching for books on this shelf because I just adore them so much, and they make me feel so wholesome and complete.

I also think all of the books fit nicely on this shelf: the stacked anthologies, the matching Norton editions, the chunky Divine Comedy books. They just look spectacular to me.

The only book on this shelf that wasn’t for school is The Holy Bible: KJV. Growing up in the Bible Belt is such a surreal fever dream, but my mom gifted this Bible to me a few years ago. I’m not a very religious person — spiritual, yes, but not religious, so I don’t think I’ve cracked it open once.

I have had this idea to start a Sunday Bible scripture/book review from an English majors point of view, but I never get around to doing it. What do you all think? (It’d also have to have a punny name because that’s just me.)

The Decor

Sadly, because this is the bottom shelf where my dogs often wreck havoc, I’ve refrained from garnishing my lovely academics with decorations. Maybe one day I’ll find something that would fit perfectly, but, alas, that day has yet to come.

The Overflow

The Storage Cubes

Even though I’ve shown my entire bookshelf, I figured I would also include where my books overflow. Once I get a new bookshelf, hopefully this won’t be a problem any longer!

Let’s all agree to ignore the never-ending dog hair covering the bottom of these boxes, pls and thx. 🙂

I currently have two storage cubes filled to the brim with more of my childhood books, as well as a small section in my TV stand. I can’t wait to free these little guys from these boxes and let them breathe. It would also make it a lot easier to show you all the rest of the books I own.

Because they’re cramped up in these containers, I truly don’t remember what’s even in here, other than my House of Night series. I wonder what I might find when cleaning them out — it could be a treasure chest, for all we know!

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The End

It is finally complete!

I hope you all enjoyed seeing the chaotic and strange organization skills that I seem to possess!

My bookshelf, much like other readers, holds a special piece of my heart, and I love sharing it with all of you. Once I finally get another bookshelf put up and organized, I’ll be sure to make a part 2 of my 2021 Bookshelf Tour.

Let me know if you saw any of your favorite books, books you’re curious about, or, really, just any opinion on any book!

Stay happy and kind, my sweet peas! I’ll see you in the next one. x

21 Books I Want To Read In 2021

Happy New Year, my angels!! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

It’s my favorite time of the year (the end, that is) where I get to make a gigantic list of books that I may never get to! I’ve loved looking through all of the books everyone is excited for in the new year, and I couldn’t pass up making one myself.

With all of the shit that we have and continue to endure this year, I need some wholesome book discussions to distract me from the harshness of reality. What better way to do that then ranting and raving about 21 books I’m excited to read? (There’s not one.)

Judging from last years 20 Books I Want To Read In 2020, and the fact that I’m starting grad school in January, I doubt I’ll read every book on this list, but this is all about having fun! Plus, I hope making this list encourages me to read books outside of school, which I rarely ever do, and maybe I won’t feel so burned out like I did during undergrad — fingers-crossed!

Now, enough of my incessant blabbering. Let’s get into my 21 Books I Want To Read In 2021!

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The TBR

As you probably guessed, my list contains a ton of classics, but I made it my mission to throw in a few contemporaries and fantasies to: A) spice up my typical reading style and B) have options other than classics in case grad school puts me in the mood to set them all on fire haha!

(Disclaimer: I would never in my life want to Fahrenheit 451 my books — this is an exaggeration.)

Enjoy!

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Much like the foods that look too good to eat, I tend to save the books I’m most excited about for a rainy day. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is a prime example of this.

I’ve been wanting to read Rebecca ever since I discovered du Maurier, but I keep putting it off for the “right time.” What better time will there ever be other than the present? 2021 is going to be the year that I read all of the books I’ve been meaning to for years, mark my words!

Anxious People – Fredrik Backman

Not a specific book that I’ve been dying to read, but an author I’ve been dying to read!

Fredrik Backman is an author I’ve always wanted to try out, mainly based on his beautiful book covers, but, for some reason, I have yet to pick up anything from him. When Anxious People released, I decided it was time to give ol’ Backman a go. As a person who is absolutely riddled with anxiety, I’d like to see what this book is all about. I’ve heard only good things about Backman’s writing, and I’m excited to finally give his books a try!

The Memory Police – Yōko Ogawa

As a lover of George Orwell’s 1984, it would be a disgrace to not include The Memory Police in books I want to read in the new year. From what I’ve heard and read, Ogawa’s dystopian novel resembles and includes a similar state surveillance/mind-altering theme to 1984, which is right up my ally. I am a little scared because I’ve heard a few mixed reviews about The Memory Police, but I’m trying my best to keep it unbiased!

Les Mis̩rables РVictor Hugo

The remarkable and gigantic French Revolution tragedy: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

Future Zoe here. This book is actually about the June Rebellion of 1832 (thank you mphtheatregirl!), not the French Revolution. Always double check your research, kids!

When the film adaptation released in 2012 with Anne Hathaway, I feel like everyone and their mother was talking about this story. To be honest, I never watched the movie (yikes, I know), but I like to blame my ignorant adolescence for that. 15-year-old Zoe was more interested in Breaking Dawn Part 2‘s release, apparently, but I can’t really blame her.

I’ve been studying French and French culture for the past few years, and it’s inspired me to read more French literature (how many times do I need to use the word “French” in one sentence?). I’m not gonna lie, the popularity and hype over the film Les Misérables made me choose this novel as my first French book — mainly because I love comparing the book to the movie (especially if it’s good!). I would really like to finish the book before watching the movie, and it’s a whopping 1400+ pages, so I better get started pretty soon!

Anna Karenina – Leo tolstoy

Are you all tired of seeing Anna Karenina as much as I am?? I feel like I’ve put this book in a lot of TBR’s, and I still haven’t picked it up! I don’t know if it’s the size of the novel — it’s a hefty book, as well — or the fact that I don’t know much about it, but I’m always intimidated to read it. I’m thinking I need to bite the bullet and just start reading it — maybe tonight?

Hopefully, Anna Karenina won’t be popping up on anymore future TBR’s!

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Much like Fredrik Backman, Toni Morrison is another author that I’ve been dying to read. I somehow made it through 15 years of school without being assigned The Bluest Eye, and I feel like I’ve missed out on a ton. Since this is Morrison’s first novel, I decided it would be a good place to start! Hopefully, this will be one of many Toni Morrison reads!

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

I first read Circe by Madeline Miller a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it! — I even wrote a paper on it for school. I’m a mega simp when it comes to Greek mythology, and Miller’s feminist retelling of Circe, the witch of Aeaea, was both beautifully written and thought-provoking. Like, you all seriously need to pick it up if you love classical antiquity retellings — it’s incredible.

Since I adored Circe so much, I have a pretty good feeling that I’m going to love The Song of Achilles, especially since the reviews are fantastic. I think this is going to be one of those books I read in between school readings to relax a little, and I’m stoked!

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The Italian – Ann Radcliffe

I don’t know much about Ann Radcliffe, other than Jane Austen adored her and she wrote Gothic fiction. Apparently she is “the Shakespeare of romantic writer,” so that intrigues me even more — what a title!

I read Jane Austen’s Northanger Abby, a parody of the Gothic novel, last year and adored it. Since I loved Austen’s version, I’m interested to see the work that inspired her. I know The Mysteries of Udolpho is Radcliffe’s more well-known work, but there’s something about The Italian that makes me want to pick it up first. We’re going purely off of vibes with this one, people!

The Farm – Joanne Ramos

Joanne Ramos’ The Farm was pretty popular on BookTube, and it’s caught my eye for the 2021 year. The Farm gives me Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World vibes because it’s about an exclusive amenity-filled retreat that pays you to stay there, but the catch is that you belong to the Farm and are monitored for 9 months while you dedicate all of your time to producing the perfect baby. That sounds fucking bananas, right?? I’m so excited to get to this book!

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

My boyfriend and I recently watched the Hulu adaptation of Catch-22 and absolutely loved it!

Like I said earlier, I usually read the book before I watch adaptations, but I truly never thought I would want to read Catch-22. I don’t typically pick up books about warfare because it doesn’t appeal to me that much, even though I do find the WWII era incredibly interesting; however, once we finished the series, I immediately knew that I had to pick up this book soon. I’m not sure how accurately the series follows the book, but if it’s anything close to it, it’s going to be a stellar novel.

Honestly, the only thing I’m kind of afraid of is the writing. I’m not trying to bash any writers by any means, but, personally, I’ve noticed novels written about war tend to have somewhat dry and dull writing, even though the events and characters are intriguing. Of course, this is simply my own opinion, and I’m hoping Joseph Heller proves me wrong.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath’s life has always both fascinated and saddened me. I’ve been meaning to read one of her works since high school, it seems. My friend, Matthew, read The Bell Jar recently and said I had to read it; therefore, it’s included in this list!

Since The Bell Jar is semi-autobiographical, I’m looking forward to learning more about Sylvia Plath’s life, as well as just listening to what she had to say.

Olivia – Dorothy Strachey

Funny enough, I randomly came across Olivia by Dorothy Strachey on Goodreads, and I knew it was something I had to read. The blurb on Goodreads states that Olivia is “considered one of the most subtle and beautifully written lesbian novels of the century” (yes pls!).

The 1949 novel follows Olivia as she develops an infatuation for her headmistress at a finishing school outside of Paris while also observing the romance between her headmistress and the other head of the school. I haven’t read many LGBTQ+ books, but I definitely want to change that, and Olivia sounds like the perfect start. Olivia is definitely high up on my reading list for the new year!

(Also, pls send more recommendations for LGBTQ+ books — classics, if possible!)

Poems and Fragments – Sappho

Much like Dorothy Strachey, Sappho is another author that I found while precariously scrolling through Goodreads that I immediately decided “I need to read their works.”

Sappho was an Ancient Greek lyric poet, and it could be my ignorance, but I haven’t heard of many female poets of classical antiquity. I’m interested to see how her poems differ from the more common poets, like Homer and Vergil. Plus, I’ve been in the mood to read more poetry lately, so we’re killing two birds with one stone!

Milton in Purgatory – Edward Vass

Yet another book that I found unexpectedly while perusing Goodreads. I think we’re all aware that I’m obsessed with Dante Alighieri and his Divine Comedy, so as soon as I saw Edward Vass’ novella inspired by Purgatorio, I immediately added it to my TBR. It’s a pretty underrated book, with only 69 ratings on Goodreads, but they’re overall positive reviews.

Also, even though it doesn’t say anything about John Milton, I’m curious to see if there’s any allusions to him or Paradise Lost since the main character’s name is Milton. Could be a stylistic choice, but it’s rad either way!

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The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Another BookTube favorite! I’ve heard great reviews about The Master and Margarita, and it’s one that I’m constantly seeing all over Instagram and Goodreads — probably from the stunning cover. I’m not too sure what it’s about, but I’m curious to see why everyone likes it!

Beautiful Boy – David Sheff

In 2021, I’d like to read more nonfiction books — especially memoirs. Reading and learning from others’ journeys through life can be inspiring and so rewarding.

I’ve been wanting to pick up David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy ever since the movie adaptation starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell was released, but I never set it as a top priority of mine. Beautiful Boy is a memoir that follows a father coping with and attempting to help his son’s addiction to crystal meth. It definitely is a heavy topic (trigger warning for drug abuse), but I think it’s an important one to discuss.

Sheff’s son, Nic, also wrote his own memoir, Tweak, about his journey with addiction that I also really want to read. These are going to be some tough reads, emotionally, but I’m still excited for them, nonetheless.

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

I’m going to be honest with you guys, as I always am, and let you know that I want to read this purely based off of the cover. I want this book on my shelves so bad it hurts! It’s just so fucking beautiful.

Cover aside, I’ve heard The Priory of the Orange Tree is one of the best fantasy standalones in the book community. I typically don’t read fantasies because the really good stories are usually super long series, but I finally found a fantasy book that’s a standalone, even if it is still a massive novel. The only thing I really know about The Priory of the Orange Tree is that it has dragons, and, honestly, that’s all you have to tell me.

Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living – Manjula Martin

Trying to break into the writing industry has been challenging for me, to say the least. Since making a living from writing is a weird, taboo concept, it becomes a difficult field to try and navigate. To help improve my overall understanding of writers and their livings, I’m dying to pick up Manjula Martin’s Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living.

Martin’s Scratch combines personal essays and interviews with popular and up-and-coming authors on how writers make their living. I’m hoping their stories and journeys both inspire and educate me for my (hopefully) future writing career. I’m normally not a fan of nonfiction books, but I’m super excited to read this in the new year!

The Stand – Stephen King

Coronavirus completely obliterated 2020, taking hundreds of thousands of lives and ruining millions; there’s no secret about it. The entire process has been chaotic, confusing, and stressful. Naturally, I’ve been finding myself wanting to read books (fiction and nonfiction) that explore pandemics, illnesses, etc. as a result.

Stephen King’s The Stand has been on my radar for a few years, mainly because of the raving reviews, but I’ve never really wanted to pick it up until now — Coronavirus is partially to blame. King’s post-apocalyptic novel follows the world after a weaponized strain of the flu kills 99% of its population.

Like many of King’s novels, The Stand is a thick and hefty bitch — my edition tops out at 1440 pages!!! Even though the size intimidates me, the amount of hype and love surrounding this book motivates me to give it a go! Let’s just hope it doesn’t take all of 2021 to finish it.

The Plague – Albert Camus

Speaking of stories that center around pandemics, The Plague by Albert Camus is another book I’ve had my eye on for the upcoming year. Much like its title suggests, The Plague takes place in the midst of the Bubonic plague as it overtakes France. Not only is this story set during a worldwide pandemic, but it’s also written by a French author, so it hits both of my reading goals! A double whammy, if you will.

At first, I was going to pick up The Stranger by Albert Camus, since it is his most popular work, but The Plague popped up on my Goodreads, and I knew it was fate. Given the circumstances and the state of the world, The Stranger will have to wait.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

Last, but certainly not least, we have the classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë to end this enormous list. Surprisingly, I don’t know much about this book, even though everyone seems to rant and rave about fantastic it is. I think it’s a love story, or maybe a tragedy? Either way, I’m interested to see why Emily Brontë’s novel has captured and adored so many hearts.

Unlike all of the other books on this list, I will be reading Wuthering Heights for sure because it’s part of my required reading for grad school; however, I was planning on reading it in 2021, so I decided to include it anyways. I feel like Brontë’s book is one of those books you have to read in your lifetime, and I’m looking forward to checking it off!

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The Inspiration

2020 has been such a shit year — probably the shittiest year of my life, tbh — but the new year has me excited for new memories, opportunities, and reading!

I hope 2021 feels your life with love, happiness, joy, and the best books imaginable.

Let me know what you’re hoping to read in the new year!

Life Update | I’m a graduate student!

Hello, sweet peas! Long time, no see!

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA recently, but, to be fair, it’s been for a good cause. As you can tell by the title, I got accepted into graduate school and will be begin studying for my Master’s degree in English this January, as well as working as a part-time research assistant for the English department!

*cue internalized screaming*

I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I realize I’m speaking from a place of privilege and luck to have the option to attend school. I wish more than anything in this world for education to be more accessible and affordable. To be honest, if it wasn’t for my research assistantship scholarship waiving my tuition, graduate school probably wouldn’t have been an option — my undergrad studies put me in enough debt as it is. It’s cruel, unjust, and simply absurd to force people to pay thousands of dollars for wanting to further their studies after high school, but hey, that’s American capitalism and oppression for ya!

Anyways, after multiple last-minute e-mails and weeks of anxious waiting, I finally received my acceptance letter. Honestly, I didn’t plan on going to graduate school after completing undergrad, mainly from burnout, but a very reflective and confusing gap year changed my mind.

In the last year, I realized I love literature, the power it has to transform and guide a reader’s life, and gushing to people about it! If it wasn’t for books, I don’t even know what type of person I would be now. Plus, I surprisingly miss school. So, with all of this in mind, I decided to pursue graduate school in hopes of becoming a professor one day.

I’ve had so many wonderful and wise teachers throughout my lifetime, as well as some god-awful ones. However, it’s both the awesome and terrible teachers that make me want to become a professor. Of course, I want to make my previous professors proud and provide for students the same way they did for me, but, more than anything, I want to do better justice to English literature than the awful “teachers” I once had.

I remember all of the literature survey studies I took throughout undergrad that inevitably started with something along the lines of “I know you all don’t want to be learning about stories and are only here for the credit and probably won’t show up…” Can you say heartbreaking? It would infuriate me because the entire purpose of a professor is to get students engaged in their topics and discussions; not admitting students annoyance and pre-failure. I kid you not, almost every literature survey I attended was like that, and I really want to defeat this odd taboo that reading is boring and meaningless. Literature opened me up to a world and mindset that I never thought was possible, and I hope to help someone along that same journey.

But yeah! I’m super stoked to get back into the academic world and feel at home again. I have a lot of blog post ideas planned, as well, so be on the lookout for those!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Stay safe, my love bugs!

My Wintry TBR | more classics & character analysis’s

hello, my loves! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe!

I recently watched Jess from sunbeamsjess’ Wintry Book Recommendations, and it inspired me to create my own wintry TBR. I don’t typically choose my reading lists based on the seasons, but what the hell! It’s never too late to try something new.

I realize it’s not winter for everyone, but I hope you all can still find some decent recommendations.

Without further adieu, onto the books!

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The Books

Since I’m not a seasonal reader, I’m not exactly sure what makes a “winter read,” so I’m kind of winging it. Personally, I’m in the mood to read longer books, quite a few classics, and books set during the winter time, of course, so that’s exactly what this TBR contains.

Enjoy!

A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Much like Jess said, it wouldn’t be a true winter reading list without some Dickens, so I decided to include two!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve never read a Dickens novel — I tried starting A Tale of Two Cities a few months ago, but I ended up putting it down (mood reading, amirite?). Of course, I know the plot of A Christmas Carol thanks to the movie adaptations, but I’m ashamed I’ve never read a Dickens book.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to finally put one of these beauties on my Goodreads “read” shelf!

Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

To be fair, I technically have already started reading Eileen — well, a page or two.

I have no idea what this book is about, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Ottessa Moshfegh’s other book, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Funny enough, I didn’t even realize Eileen was one of her books until I took a double take at the cover — not much gets by me, obviously.

Even though I’m unfamiliar with the plot, I decided to incorporate it into my wintry reads solely based off the cover: the isolated car, the snowflakes falling, the red and black contrast. I love it all!

I’m also super stoked to pick this up simply because it gives off character analysis vibes, which we all know I LOVE. I mean, it’s called Eileen, so what’s this woman all about?

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my blog, you’re probably tired of seeing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina plastered on a ton of my TBRs. Hopefully, this will be the last!

Around the winter time, I always have the urge to read hefty, chunky books or a small series, so what better time to pick up Anna Karenina? Plus, the snowy buildings on the cover, as well as the outfit, screams winter season!

Anyone up for a buddy read to keep me motivated? Or maybe I can host one on my Instagram? Let me know if you’d like to see that!

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess (Reread)

Before I get called out and dragged in the comments, no this is not a very “wintry” read, but hear me out.

I read this last year for my dystopian British novel course, and I completely fell in love with Burgess’ violent British society, as well as our “humble narrator,” little Alex.

I decided to include A Clockwork Orange into my wintry reads because it deals with a lot of reflection, which I seem to do a lot of when daylight savings hits and the days get shorter and shorter. With discussions of free will, violence, and a deep-dive into Alex’s complex character, A Clockwork Orange is a perfect read for my winter season. Plus, it’s a pretty short read.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

Forgive me for my horrid copy of Wuthering Heights — I really need be on the lookout for a single copy soon.

Much like Dickens, I’ve never read Wuthering Heights — cue the “boo’s.” It’s yet another one of those novels that I’ve been meaning to get to, but never got around to it. I always see this book recommended for the fall season, so I’m going to see if that also rolls over into winter (fingers crossed!).

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The End

I’m feeling very hopeful about my reading endeavors for the next few months!

I’ve had a lot more time and motivation to read lately — I can only thank the cold weather. Do you all feel more productive during the winter, or is it just me? I’ve been feeling a lot more creative, and I have so many ideas to do so many things. Tis the season of reflection!

Let me know what you all are excited to read in the next few months! Stay safe!

The Sunshine Blogger and Liebster Awards | holy shit, i’m a nominee!?

Today, we’re killing two birds with one stone, and also freaking out because I got nominated for, not one, but TWO blogger awards!! Is this real life?

I wanted to thank both Cherry Blossom Books for the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination and Whispering Stories for the Liebster Award from the bottom of my heart! You all are such wonderful people with wonderful blogs!

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Rules

To save myself (and my fingers) some time, I’ve decided to squash both awards’ rules together because they’re pretty much the exact same.

  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  3. Nominate 11 other Bloggers.
  4. Ask your nominee 11 questions.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

I, once again, want to thank Cherry Blossoms Books for taking the time to think of all of these questions and nominating me!

The Questions

What is your favorite book?

Only one? This question is not meant for libras — we can’t make a decision to save our lives. See? I’m stalling myself!

Anyhow, I think my favorite book (at the moment, at least) is Dante’s Inferno. The Divine Comedy as a whole is incredible and transformative, but there’s something raw and emotional when Dante first finds himself in the dark forest, the straight way lost. It’s an experience, and I encourage everyone to pick it up!

What is your dream job?

You know, at 23, you would think I have an answer to this question, but I really have no earthly idea.

Being a professional blogger would be a dream, but I don’t want to limit myself to one thing. Some days I wake up wanting to be an author, and other days I’d like to try my hand at book editing or YouTube videos. Hell, I might wake up tomorrow and want to be a painter. The possibilities are truly endless.

What is your most anticipated release of 2021?

To be honest, I hardly ever look into new releases. I get so excited for the book anticipating for its release, but by the time I have it in my hands and ready to read, the sparkle sort of dies. Mood reading, amirite?

However, this question did make me curious, so I looked up some 2021 releases. Nick by Michael Farris Smith has definitely caught my eye. I’m a classics whore, to put it lightly, and a novel about Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby is music to my ears!

Morning or night?

There’s nothing better than a wake and bake with a hot cup o’ Joe.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Effy Stonem from Skins will forever be my ride or die character. Whoever wrote her storyline deserves an award. Effy’s character captures the complexity, and often unbearable, of what it feels to be an unhappy, outcast teen, and, much like Dante, has that raw element that connects so well with the audience. Her fashion and outfits are also iconic. Oh, to be a grunge teen in 2007.

Favorite food?

Japanese steak hibachi with fried rice and vegetables will always hit the spot.

Where do you want to travel?

Where do I even begin? Mainly the Pacific US, France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, Greece. Basically everywhere.

City or country?

I love the serenity of the country, but after 23 years, the city is starting to call my name. The country gets SO. BORING.

What is your favorite object ever?

Probably my PS4 because video games are the only way I can cope with the stresses of reality lol.

Where do you want to live?

My boyfriend and I are hoping to move to Oregon in the near future!

What is your favorite aesthetic?

I’ve been a 90’s grunge baby my entire life, so all of the e-girl, punk rock aesthetics that have evolved over the years make my heart soar.

However, in the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve been loving the bright, soft girl, indie aesthetic, thanks to Clairo and Claire Rosinkranz. It’s just so cute and colorful!

As a lover of fashion and aesthetics, I could go on and on about different aesthetics. Maybe I’ll make a dedicated post discussing all of my favorite styles and looks.

Nominees

Nominees’ Questions

  1. What is you favorite cereal?
  2. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they, and what’s their name?
  3. Who is you favorite author? Why?
  4. What book do you always recommend to people?
  5. What is your favorite part about writing/blogging?
  6. Romance or Horror?
  7. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? If so, which ones?
  8. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  9. What’s your favorite song?
  10. If you could only have bagels or croissants for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
  11. Do you have any tattoos?
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The Liebster Award

Another HUGE thank you to Whispering Stories for nominating me and taking the time to think of these questions!

The Questions

What is the one thing you cannot tolerate in a book?

Forced or unrealistic romances drive me crazy! I have a hard time finding good romances that capture even an ounce of the essence that comes with love. It’s not all giggles and rainbows, people.

What are your hobbies besides blogging?

Reading is probably a pretty obvious one, but I also love watching movies and TV shows, playing video games, painting, and listening to music! All while taking care of my two little puppers.

Some advice for your fellow bloggers?

Don’t try to imitate other bloggers; be authentic and unique!

Also, don’t think about it too much. Write what YOU would want to read rather than attempting to pander to an audience. I promise it’ll be 10 times as better, and you’ll probably have way more fun with it — which is the point of blogging. Don’t ever forget to have fun.

Dogs or cats? Why?

I love all animals so dearly, but I have to pick dogs on this one. Cats are sweet and beautiful, but they’re super independent. The excitement, love and cuddles that a dog provides is simply irreplaceable!

If you had to move to some other country for some reason, which country would it be?

France, baby! The architecture, the food, the scenery, the fashion, the culture. Need I say more?

Your Covid experience in 8 words?

What in the actual hell is going on?

Which language do you want to learn completely some day?

I’ve been studying French for about 3 years now, and I’m hoping I’ll be fluent in it one day! I definitely need to step up my game because I can barely speak it.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

As you could probably tell by my hobbies, I’m a mega-introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hang out with my friends and family, but at the end of the day, I just want to be home alone with my dogs and partner.

When is your birthday?

October 6th! Where are all my libras at?

Have you ever read a play by Shakespeare? If yes, which one and did you enjoy reading it? If not, then do you aspire to read one someday?

I took an entire college course covering Shakespeare’s plays, and it was one of my all-time favorite classes. If I’m remembering correctly, I read Titus Andronicus, Richard III (my favorite), The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a few others. Richard III‘s character development, soliloquies, and obstruction blew me away — I’m a sucker for a Shakespearean tragedy.

Describe yourself in 11 words.

Empathetic. Anxious. Reader. Writer. Feminist. Animal mom. Nerd. Bubbly. Michael Scott.

Nominees

Questions

  1. What made you start blogging?
  2. Favorite candle scent?
  3. What’s your favorite genre to read, and why?
  4. Do you believe in zodiac signs?
  5. Aliens or zombies?
  6. Favorite song?
  7. Do you believe in love at first sight?
  8. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
  9. Are you a morning person or a night person? Why?
  10. Hand-written or typed?
  11. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
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I’m Tired

You guys, this has to be the longest post I’ve made to date, and, even though my brain is fuzzy and my hands are cramped, I’m so honored to be able to create this post! Another huge shoutout and thank you to Cherry Blossom Books and Whispering Stories for nominating me for these awards! Go check out their blogs and shower them with love and support.

As for now, I think I’m going to go take a nap…

The Anonymous Bookaholics Tag

Hello, my darlings! I hope you’re all having/had a wonderful day!

I recently saw Shawshank from Void If Removed do the Anonymous Bookaholics Tag, and it made me want to tag along — get it? (I’m so sorry for the terrible puns, but I simply cannot help myself). Honestly, I’ll find any excuse to talk about books and how much I love them, because why not?

I tried to do some deep-diving to find the original creator, but I couldn’t find them. If you know, please tag them or let me know so I can give them the credit they deserve!

Without further ado, let’s get into the questions!

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1. What do you like about buying books?

Right off the bat, I have to acknowledge my own capitalistic, egotistical desires? Well, let’s dive in.

Buying books, or buying anything in general, often feels like filling an unsatisfied want or void that you may not even know you have. I’m definitely a retail therapy type of gal. When I’m depressed or feeling down, treating myself to a new book or a cute sweater gives me that hit of dopamine that I’m practically begging for. “Treat yourself” is a motto I stand by whole-heartedly — in moderation, of course.

I used to never think twice about buying an enormous stack of books every time I visited a bookshop, but after taking a mind-altering college course covering literary theory (which I’m still trying to grasp, so be gentle with my chaotic explanation), I thought a little bit more seriously about my buying habits.

You see, capitalism is fed by consumers — the main goal is to make you, the consumer, spend as much money as possible; therefore, they advertise their product in a way to make it appear as if that product will complete your life and fulfill that void altogether. In reality, the new excitement for that product will eventually die out, and another product will come along to attempt to complete you of your new desire (at a price, of course). And thus, the cycle continues of feeding into your own egotistical wants while others — specifically huge companies and corporations — profit.

Because of this, I try to purchase from small businesses and individuals so I know the profit is going towards people that need it rather than big corporations that want to rule the industries. I also try not to mindlessly buy books in bulk anymore for the sake of my wallet, as well as trying to not feed into my egotistical “I need to own every book known to man to feel fulfilled and accepted” side.

Now, if you would like a less depressing, more positive answer than my joy-sucking thoughts on capitalism, I guess I can provide that, too.

What I love most about buying books is the excitement that comes with the unknown of a new story. Every book contains its own world, people, adventures, lessons, etc., and there’s nothing quite like experiencing a book for the first time. The anticipation to dive head first into a new book that you’re amped to read is the best feeling in the world.

2. How often do you buy books?

As you can probably tell from my previous question, not very often. I do go through random spells of book-buying and hauling, but I try to remind myself that I already have so many unread books on my shelves that need some love and attention.

If I was asked this same question just a couple of years ago, I would have a completely different answer. I used to buy books on the regular — at least once or twice a month. But, once I took that literary theory course, and it pried into the depth of my own unfulfilled desires, I cut my spending a lot in general.

3. Bookstore or online shopping: which do you prefer?

I definitely prefer bookstores since I buy the majority of my books that way, but I also love online shopping for when I’m looking for a specific edition or title that my local bookshop doesn’t have or carry at the time.

I think I prefer bookstores the most for the atmosphere. There’s something homey and comforting when browsing, what feels like, endless amounts of shelves stuffed and overflowing with books, the smell of paper and ink occasionally wafting across your nose, surrounded by a galore of stories waiting to be heard.

Bookstores are beautiful safe spaces.

4. Do you have a favorite bookshop?

I do! Mr. K’s Used Books, Music, and More is my favorite local, used bookshop. They have an enormous selection of used books, textbooks, video games, music, etc. at amazing prices. The best part about Mr. K’s is that they accept books for trade credit, so it’s not hard to ball out on a budget if you have some books you want to donate!

5. Do you pre-order books?

I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a book in my life. I think it’s because I’m constantly trying to keep up with my overflowing TBR, along with my previous thoughts on capitalism, but I’ll spare you all another rant lmao.

6. Do you have a monthly buying limit?

Nope. I go with the vibes — it really depends how much I’m in the mood to read that month.

7. How big is your wishlist?

Enormous. Never-ending. Infinite. And all the other synonyms.

8. Which three books from your wishlist do you wish to own right now?

Only three??? Are these types of questions super difficult for anyone else?

After taking an entire day trying to decide which three specific books I would want right now (we love being a libra and not being able to make even the simplest of decisions), I’ve finally decided on the following ones:

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

I’ve had this on my TBR for a couple of years now, yet I somehow keep forgetting to pick it up! The recent talk over the new adaptation starring Armie Hammer has bumped Rebecca to the top of my TBR — I might even head to the bookstore after I’ve finished writing this.

Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

Another book that’s growing fictional dust from sitting in my mental TBR for quite some time — really ever since I first read Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Other than Tess, this one seems to be another highly talked about Hardy novel, and I just need more of his stories in my life.

The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison

Yet another read that’s been on my TBR since I can remember. I’ve never read anything from Toni Morrison — somehow my high school completely skipped over her — and I’m ready to fix that! The Bluest Eye is probably one of Morrison’s, if not THE one, most popular and talked about books, so I hope to read this one first.

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Tag! You’re it!

I had so much fun participating in this tag, and now I’m tagging, not one or two, but all of you!

I know you’re suppose to tag specific people, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s all have a turn!

ETSU’S Virtual Milton Marathon (Nov. 19) | experience Paradise Lost all in one day

My dear friends, my amazing and incredible alumni is hosting the Milton Marathon, an all-day reading of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, tomorrow (Nov. 19) from 8am – 8pm! (Or whenever they finish reading the entirety of the poem).

And the best part? You don’t need a Facebook account to watch!

Join ETSU’s 2020 Milton class, as well as myself and others, to chat and experience the Fall like never before!

Why?

I know what you’re thinking, “Zoe, that’s a lot of exclamation points.” I understand. I’ll try and tone down my excitement.

In 2018, I took part in the Milton class, as well as organizing our own Milton Marathon, and it was the most rewarding, as well as the most challenging, class of my college career.

One of my favorite professors teaches this course, and both he and his students always put a ton of effort into making the Milton Marathon happen every 2 years (since that’s the only time the class is offered).

From my own experience, I know how rewarding it felt to interact with fellow literature lovers, and the satisfaction of seeing everyone’s hardworking come together and pay off. Also, it’s just nice to be read to. When’s that last time someone read a story aloud to you? (That’s what I thought).

I’m sure the pandemic has made it even more difficult, especially advertising and getting everything organized, so I wanted to share a unique opportunity for all of you lovely readers to enjoy!

I’m going to pop in periodically throughout the day, and I hope to see and chat with some of you all there! ❤

The Realities of a Mood Reader | books i need to finish

Hello, my loves!

I’m back yet again after a long break — I promise I can explain. Life has been stressful and busy, and my mental health hasn’t been the best. I wasn’t reading anything, and what I did read was never consistent (as you’ll see in a moment). I felt like I had nothing to write about!, and I ended up falling into a self-deprecating abyss. I decided it was time for a little break for rejuvenation purposes, and I think it helped quite a bit, even though I am a bit nervous to be writing again, tbh.

But enough about my inconsistent and hectic life; we both know you’re here for the book content!

A Change in Reading Pace

I’ve always been a read-one-book-at-a-time gal (except while in college, of course), but I’ve now found myself with quite a hefty stack of half-read books. I’m not sure if it’s my habit of reading at least 4 books all at once in college for classes, my poor attention span, or if I’m simply developing into a mood reader.

There’s so many books that I want to catch up on reading, and my reading seems to show that. Why read one at a time when you can read all of them at the same time? At least that’s what my brain has been asking me.

Plus, I’ve been picking up books when I’m in the mood to read them rather than planning to finish a single book before moving on to the next. In all honesty, I’m just experimenting with the way I read to see what works best for me. Of course, it’s a little jarring and stressful trying to keep up with each story plot/characters and the anxiety-inducing feeling that comes with hardly ever finishing a book, but it has helped me read a lot more. If I’m not feeling a book, instead of DNFing it and giving up on it completely, I simply put it down for the time being and pick up something I’m actually in the mood for. So far, this change has been a great way to tackle my reading slump because I’m reading what I’m enjoying at the time rather than forcing myself to finish a book I’m really not feeling.

10/10 recommend experimenting with your reading process!

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The Reading List

This list mostly consists of classics, along with a short story anthology. As you might notice, a few of these books have been included in past posts, but your girl hasn’t read much in the past few months. Cut me some slack!

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (ReRead)

In times of stress, you tend to stick with the familiar. That’s exactly what made me pick up one of my all-time favorite books, yet again, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

I’m pretty sure Tess was the first classic I ever read — thank you, E. L. James, for the introduction — and I’ve held it close to my heart ever since. With the anxieties revolving around the election (thank god we’re finally done with dumby Donnie) and the stresses that naturally come along with being a part of society, I desperately needed a comfort read to distract me, and Hardy has provided yet again! Since I already know and love the story, it’s effortless to kickback and enjoy.

I have a good feeling I’m going to be finishing Hardy’s novel very very soon!

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with this book; because of that, I haven’t picked it up in about 2 months. However, I refuse to DNF it! Even if it sits on my shelf for months, or even years, to come, I have a strong intuition that I’m going to finish The Catcher in the Rye one day.

Honestly, I have no idea why I feel the need to complete this book, but I’m sticking with my gut feeling. Talking about it now makes me want to jump back in and contemplate whether or not Salinger had a bet with his friends to see who could use “goddam” the most in one novel. I quickly understood why this was once banned.

Candide – Voltaire

As a lover of French culture and satirical heroic quest stories, I had to start Voltaire’s Candide, and I’m loving it so far. Since it’s a short book, I thought I would be able to finish it in one sitting, but my slow reading brain said otherwise. I only have about 50 pages left, so I’m hoping to finish it pretty quickly.

The dark humor and Candide, the main character, reminds me a lot of Apuleius’ The Golden Ass (read my review of it). It has the same over-the-top, absurd plot points with an unlucky character as the start, but The Golden Ass made me laugh more than Candide so far. I can’t wait to do a full review of this one soon!

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

You guys, you don’t understand how happy I am to finally start understanding the memes and jokes surrounding Dorian Gray. They’re spot on, honestly.

With the extensive philosophical ideas and conversations embedded in this story, I’m definitely taking my time reading it so my brain can fully digest it. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I finish Dorian Gray, but I’m super excited to discuss it with you all when I’m done!

His Hideous Heart – Edited by Dahlia Adler

Edgar. Allan. Poe.

That’s all you really have to include in a book description and I will eat it up.

His Hideous Heart is an anthology composed of short stories inspired by Poe’s writings, as well as the Poe’s original works. I started it in October hoping that I would finish it in time for a Halloween-y post, but I had less time to read than I thought and ended up only getting through about half of it.

Even though I thought it’d be a faster read, I’m still enjoying the stories a lot! I love seeing Poe’s classic tales revamped and modernized by talented, popular writers. The fact that you also get all of the corresponding Poe stories in the same book is pretty awesome, too.

Honestly, I have no idea whether to finish this and put a review out immediately after or wait until next October to post my thoughts. Which would you all prefer?

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The Future

As you guys might be able to tell, I have quite a bit of reading to catch up on. I’m in the process of adjusting my schedule to make more time for reading and writing, and I just wanted to thank you all for being patient with me! This year has been a whirlwind of a time, and my life feels scattered all over the place in return.

I’ve been feeling super inspired to write more posts lately, so I hope to have more fun content out soon for you all! ❤

Of course, I’ll be posting my thoughts about all of these books whenever I get around to finishing them. Stay tuned 🙂

11/22/63 – Stephen King | The Multi-Genre Manual

To this date, this is the largest book I’ve ever read!!! (I’m really excited about it, if you can’t tell.)

I don’t know what it is about finishing a long-ass book — a good one, in this case — but it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something great. As someone who reads slow as fuck and never finishes series, I’m super proud to have made it to page 842 (even if it did take me 4 months to do so).

I’m terrible at transitions and introductions, so let’s just get into the review!

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The Details

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is a multi-genre — Sci Fi, Historical Fiction, Romance, and a splash of Dystopian — novel that follows Jake Epping, an English teacher turned time traveler.

After his friend, Al, discovers a “rabbit hole” in his diner that travels back to September 9, 1958, Jake is tasked to try and stop the assassination of president John F. Kennedy. Once Al is diagnosed with cancer, he provides Jake with all of his notes and sends him into the past with hopeful ideas of a better future — specifically one without the death of Kennedy.

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The Review

Why wouldn’t my first Stephen King read also be my longest read? It feels like it’s meant to be.

My first King book ended up being a 4/5, so that must mean I started with a good book. I’ve always heard very controversial opinions about Stephen King, whether it’s his endings or long descriptions, and I was a little skeptical picking this up.

Thankfully, 11/22/63 was the perfect first King read because it had all of the elements I love: marvelous writing, captivating characters, a unique plot, and an alluring, complicated romance. However, I do want to include a TW for male gaze because it made me pretty uncomfortable throughout the narrative, which is the main reason why this novel didn’t get a 5/5 rating (you can only hear so many descriptions of a woman’s breasts).

I now understand the hype surrounding Stephen King’s ability to craft complex characters where you genuinely feel like you know them. Other than Jake’s slight sexism, he has been one of the most 3-dimensional and interesting characters that I’ve ever read. The way he spoke of Sadie was both admiring, yet a little creepy, but I think that harmony is what makes King’s characters so great. He seems, at least in 11/22/63, to be very talented with implementing equally positive and negative elements within his novels. A ying-yang, if you will. As a libra, that is much appreciated.

Speaking of characters, I was shocked and surprised that King had me feeling sorry for Lee Harvey Oswald, the president murderer. This definitely doesn’t help the fact that my family and past coworkers label me as a “communist”, but seeing Lee as a “family man” — I use the term lightly — reminded me that Lee was still a human. Killing someone because they don’t share your opinion is messed up regardless, but I love an unlikeable character, and King portrays him in a light that made me feel bad for the poor guy. King probably made most of it up — he even put a disclosure stating that he’s not trying to explain what happened. Either way, I admire King’s ability to transform a hated man into a, somewhat, sympathetic family man.

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Another aspect that I loved about 11/22/63 is how Stephen King includes multiple genres, like historical fiction, sci-fi, etc. It could’ve been the size of the book, but I feel like I read 5 different types of stories in one. With all the different plots, I feel like I lived a lifetime alongside Jake Epping, and I can truly say that I’ve never felt that way with any book or series. Maybe it’s the amount of description and details or my own personal reading experience, but I care a lot about this story regardless.

To be honest, I put this book down for about 2 months in between reading it — life was busy, as always –, but I didn’t have any problems picking it back up. It did take me a minute to remember the first half of the book, but King was wonderful at keeping me up to pace. Of course, I had moments of “wtf is happening? who is that?” but I usually found/remembered the answer within a few paragraphs.

Let’s conclude with the ending, shall we? No spoilers, of course.

The ending of 11/22/63 upset me so much, but in the best way possible. Now, I know King’s ending are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I admire his ability to catch his readers off guard. It’s something I keep thinking about, and those, to me, are the best types of endings; whether you like them or not.

The way things ended with Sadie and Jake broke my fucking heart, to say the least. I was more invested in their relationship than the main JFK plot, and the way things concluded for them hurt me wayyy more than the state of the world with an almost-assassinated Kennedy. Sadly, the dystopian world was very underwhelming, but I was on the edge of my seat (or bed) to see what happened to Sadie and Jake. Honestly, if Stephen King completely erased the JFK plot, I would probably like the book even more. Then again, it wouldn’t be a King novel without multiple story lines that may not even have any purpose at all? Of course not.

One thing I actually loved about the ending of 11/22/63 was the explanation of the Green/Yellow/Black Card Man. I never really knew what the man represented (I had my guesses, of course), and King impressed the hell out of me with his take on dimensions and time travel. His intelligence definitely shines through his writing and creativity.

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The Show

I watched the Hulu adaptation of 11/22/63 because JaMeS FrAnCo, and I enjoyed it at the time. However, after reading the book, I’m disappointed in the adaptation.

It’s been a while since I watched the show, so I definitely need a refresher to write a thorough review. The one thing that bothers me is the fact that they gave Jake a helper, Bill. Bill’s brought up in the very beginning of the book for a few pages, but they attached him to Jake’s hip throughout the show. He didn’t even need him! I understand that it creates more dialogue since no one probably wants to follow one single guy just waiting for one single day to come up, but I think James Franco could have pulled it off and made it just as good.

I’ll have to rewatch the show to have a concrete review of it, but I don’t even know when I’ll get to it. Maybe one day!

The End

Even though I know King’s 11/22/63 won’t be for everyone — that’s King for ya –, I would 100% recommend it to anyone and everyone. I have always been terrified of larger books, but this book has me goggling at IT for Halloween time. It definitely has some faults and is a little dated, but the characters and writing are enchanting and phenomenal. A super enjoyable read!