Tag Archives: Summer

Summer pleasure reading wrap-up.

31 Jul

It’s hard to believe that my summer is almost over (though I still have about 2 weeks left). However, since I spent as much time as possible reading as many books as I could, I thought I’d do a summer/pleasure reading wrap-up for the months of May, June, and July. Also, since I love quotes, I thought I’d include quotes from the books that I could find quotes from on Goodreads. 🙂


  1. The Life All Around Me by Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons: “I believe that anything is possible if you have the combination of love for what you’re doing and the will to sit down and not get up until it’s done.”
  2. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver: “In a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is make things as right as we can.”
  3. Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
  4. Pigs In Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver: “No matter what kind of night you’re having, morning always wins.”
  5. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks: “Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are in which the ending is a surprise.”
  6. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver: “I thought I wouldn’t live through it. But you do. You learn to love the place somebody leaves behind for you.”
  7. How To Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward: “When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.”
  8. Beyond The Waves by Miranda Marek
  9. A Soft Place To Land by Susan Rebecca White
  10. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”


  1. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson: “That is what literature offers—a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.”
  2. Fifty Shades Of Grey by EL James: “Laters, baby.”
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: “Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else.”
  4. If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland: “I found that many gifted people are so afraid of writing a poor story that they cannot summon the nerve to write a single sentence for months. The thing to say to such people is: “See how *bad* a story you can write. See how dull you can be. Go ahead. That would be fun and interesting. I will give you ten dollars if you can write something thoroughly dull from beginning to end!” And of course, no one can. ”
  5. On Writing by Stephen King: “Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”
  6. The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank: “Sometimes you’re loved because of your weaknesses. What you can’t do is sometimes more compelling than what you can.”
  7. Fifty Shades Darker by EL James: “You’re the only person I’d fly three thousand miles to see.”


  1. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos: “But sometimes, a boat needs to rock; a boat needs to head straight for the heart of a storm and come out on the other side, weather beaten but with flags flying.”
  2. Fifty Shades Freed by EL James: “I want your world to begin and end with me.”
  3. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: “Listen, sometimes when you finally find out, you realize that you were much better off not knowing.”
  4. Sam’s Letters To Jennifer by James Patterson: “What are we but our stories?”
  5. The Map Of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
  6. The Tenderness Of Wolves by Stef Penney: “It just goes to show you can’t leave anything behind. You bring it all with you, whether you want to or not.”
  7. Harvesting The Heart by Jodi Picoult: “Perhaps he d always known that the truth of a person lies in the heart.”
  8. Belong To Me by Marisa De Los Santos: “You know what he said? He said that being away from me is less like being away from a person than being away from other people is. I don’t know anyone else who would say something like that. And he was right. When we were apart, I missed him all the time, but he didn’t feel faraway. He felt closer than the kids at school.”…Certain people are like that, I guess. They’re together no matter where they are. They just belong to each other.”

Total: 25 books. Not too shabby, especially considering I was studying abroad for 5 weeks and going to my internship for 5 days a week. 🙂

What have you read this summer that you’ve really enjoyed?

Photo Friday: Books.

1 Jun

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”-John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

30 May

In continuing with my “Barbara Kingsolver kick,” I read Prodigal Summer. It was a bit different from the other Kingsolver novels that I have read because of its strong focus on nature and the natural world that surrounds us, but I think that is one of the reasons that I really loved it (since I am a mountain/nature girl at heart). Here’s the synopsis according to Amazon.com:

Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.

Of the three “stories” that made up the novel (Mr. Garrett, Lusa, and Deanna), I was most drawn to the character of Deanna. She is a wildlife biologist that lives alone in the southern Appalachian mountains who observes coyotes that live in the surrounding wilderness that she calls her home. I think I was most drawn to Deanna because of her satisfaction with living alone and isolated from the world, content to live among nature rather than humans. That is not to say that I would isolate myself that severely with no contact with the outside world. However, I understand the fact that Deanna is content with living among the wilderness. In that sense, she is not alone. She’s surrounded by woods and creatures that she has a strong connection with than she does with humans. Don’t get me wrong. I’m social. However, I love the mountains. Numerous times this past semester, I left campus and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway (only about a 7 minute drive from campus). I’d bring along my camera and a book, and I’d be perfectly content. There were times when I did bring along a friend or two, and that was fun. However, I was most content when I went alone. I think that is because when it was just me, my camera, and a book, I was able to move at my own pace, stop at whatever overlook I wanted, and sit gazing out at the Blue Ridge mountains for as long as I wanted. I could just sit and appreciate the beauty around me, and most of the time, I left the Parkway with a clearer head and a stronger love for the Blue Ridge Mountains that I am so happy to call home.

Therefore, if you love nature, I highly recommend this book. It’s amazing!

Photo Friday: Florida!

25 May

Here are some artsy shots I took while in Florida. Enjoy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Goodbye Sunshine State.

24 May

Well, I’m back from Florida. It was a wonderful trip, and I loved that I got to spend a few days with my best friend in her home state. It was so much fun to meet her friends and hang out with her family and get to know them all better. Though I loved going out on the beach and soaking up as much Florida sun as possible, I’m a mountain girl at heart, and I’m happy to once again be among the Blue Ridge Mountains that I’m fortunate enough to call home.

I thought I’d post a few photos from the trip. Enjoy!

Day 1 of the Florida trip. At Disney for a boat ride and lunch.

Group shot at Disney.

Malia and I.

Before going out to dinner for my last night in Florida.

Check back tomorrow for Photo Friday where I’ll be sharing some of the more artsy shots from the trip!

Monday’s Musings!

21 May

It’s Monday again, and day 3 of my time in Florida. Saturday was spent driving 9 hours to Orlando, meeting Malia’s mom and sister at a hotel for dinner, and then staying with Malia’s friend, Chris, and his girlfriend, Meagan. Saturday Malia, Chris, Meagan, and I rented a boat and drove it around Walt Disney World to look at the Disney hotel. It was so much fun, and I loved meeting Malia’s friends! Yesterday we went to Malia’s dad’s house (aka I met more of Malia’s family/friends).


  • Drove to West Palm Beach (where Malia lives)!
  • Went out to lunch with Malia and some of her friends. We went to this place called Field of Greens, and I got a really amazing chicken salad sandwich!
  • Then we headed out on the beach. We weren’t there long, but it was definitely the perfect day for it with lots of sunshine!

Alright well Malia, her mom, her sister and I are about ready to eat dinner of spinach artichoke dip and salad, so I better go. But it’s been such a fun trip so far. I will be sad to see it end on Thursday morning, but I’m planning to soak up as much sun as I possibly can before I leave.

Here I Come, Florida!

19 May

By the time most of you read this, I will be on the road to Florida! A friend of mine from UNCA, Malia, lives in Florida, and she’s just now heading home for the summer. Since she had her car with her in Asheville, I have offered to ride down with her. Who doesn’t love a road trip?! Granted, I think after 8 hours of driving, we will be more than relieved to have made it to the sunshine state! Plus, this finally gives me a chance to see Malia’s home and meet all of her friends back home. I can’t wait. It’s going to be so much fun!

From what I can tell, I’m prepared. I’ve got 3 books for me. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout which I’m reading now, The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (since Nicholas Sparks books are definite beach reads), and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I’ll only be in Florida until Thursday morning, but I’ll be flying back so I’ll definitely need something to read while I’m in the airport/on the plane. Hopefully three books will be enough.

I love road trips. However, this will be the first time EVER that I’m taking a road trip with a friend of mine. I’m so excited. Thankfully we have an audiobook that Malia downloaded so we won’t get too bored in the car: The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (the author of The Secret Life of Bees). That being said, Malia and I have been debating how long it will take before we’re bitching at each other. She guessed 10 minutes. I guessed 5. But Malia and I have the kind of friendship where we can bitch at one other and banter back and forth until we have a stomach ache from laughing so hard. Needless to say, it’s going to be a really interesting car ride, and I’m so excited!!!

Our first stop will be in Orlando since one of Malia’s friends lives there. From what he’s told us, he’s rented a boat for us to enjoy on Saturday/Sunday which allows you to see all the Disney parks, but from a boat (which I think is super cool because you don’t have to deal with the crowds of people). Anyway, I’m really excited for the boat, and it’ll be so much to finally (maybe/hopefully) get some sort of tan before I go to Ireland! On Sunday night we’ll head to Malia’s house in West Palm Beach and spend the rest of the trip there (at least in my case). I’m excited to see where Malia grew up and hear all the childhood stories that you only really hear in full when you are in the place where they all happened.

And, of course, the beach! Even though I’m definitely a mountain girl, I really love the beach too. It’ll be so great to be able to lay out on the beach with a book and just soak up the sunshine. Granted, it’ll be pretty hot (since it is Florida, after all), but that’s what getting in the ocean is for…to cool off for a little bit before heading back to the book that holds characters that you silently wish you could just sit down with and talk to right then and there.

Check in tomorrow for a review of Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, Pigs In Heaven.