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What I'm Reading: May 2017 #2

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Reading

Books

I finished The Trespassers by Tana French.  It was good by any other standard, but I just know that French is capable of so much more.  Definitely read it because even on her worst day she's better than most other writers, but I'm hoping she'll bring her A-game for the next book.

Online

Glennon Doyle Melton talks about her rules for posting online

Why does society encourage women to be silent about their miscarriages 

The popularity of surgeons-turned-writers (I've so far only read one, but this article makes me want to read them all)

6 Literary Travel Guides

How to Explain Trump While Traveling Abroad

I'm going to forward this article to every woman I know, including my own inbox: 10 signs you're fooling yourself into thinking he actually cares. Read this the next time you have a crush on someone.

Probably the best discussion of the viral "My Family's Slave" article

Why doesn't ancient fiction talk about feelings? (And why does modern fiction have so many feelings?)

Child marriages in America are still a thing, and they're used to protect rapists

Watching


I need to watch this video on repeat every single day.  "You're only job is to build yourself." (!!!!!!)

Listening

70's and 80's rock.  Harry Styles' debut album made me realize how much I love rock and how I don't listen to enough of it.  I think I made my dad's day when I messaged him asking for 70's rock recommendations.  Listen to: Harry's album (duh), British rock, and Led Zeppelin.

Living

By the time this is posted I'll be in POLAND!  Me!  Little Victoria from Virginia will be on a 2.5 month jaunt around eastern Europe!!!!

Strangely enough, I'm not terribly excited.  But that's also something I do: when I get stressed or something big is coming up my emotions shut down and I go into "just get the necessary things done mode".

Quoting

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.
Oscar Wilde

I'm going to Eastern Europe for 2.5 months and I can't believe this is happening

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Photo by Zachary Staines
36 hours from now I'll be in Lithuania, and by the time you read this I'll already be on the plane.

Why am I so chill about this?  Why am I not freaking out more?  If you told freshman-year-of-college-me this was my plan for the summer of 2017, I would've laughed in your face.

I remember my first college spring break.  I was stuck at home all week because we had a HUGE snow storm, so I had nothing to do except watch Kimmy Schmidt (funnily enough, the 3rd season just came out on Netflix and I'm watching it right now) and toot around on the internet.  I'm not sure what led me there, but suddenly I was sucked into the vortex of travel blogs and the "phenomenon" of solo female travel.  I thought it was the coolest, most badass thing.  I remember reading about post-graduation Europe trips and how 3 months felt like such a long time to travel.  I remember reading about people backpacking around Southeast Asia for 7 months and thinking "what in the world would you do with all that time?".

Flash forward 2 years and here I am, about to be gallivanting around Europe for 81 days.  And before that, I was in Scotland for 5 months, 1 month of which was traveling outside of the UK.  By the time I get home, I'll have been gone 8 months.  The last time I was on American soil, Obama was still president.

It feels very, very weird when dreams become reality.

A Love Letter to Glasgow

Friday, May 26, 2017


Hey, Glasgow.

Our time is coming to an end, and sadly I don't know when I'll see you again.

It's been a wild ride, hasn't it?  I came to you on a cold Sunday in January, when your days were short and depressing, and I loved you anyways.

I waited almost two years to finally meet you.  Little freshman college me stumbled upon a travel blog and realized that wow travelling is an actual option.  Regular people do it!  Whenever I felt suffocated during the dark days of sophomore year, I knew I had to hold on so I could get to you.

On our first day together I cried.  Not because I missed my family, but because I was sleep deprived from my IcelandAir flight and couldn't find my power converter.  (I eventually found it packed away in one of my Bean Boots, but sadly not before I emailed the airline accusing them of confiscating it.  Not my best moment.)

I'm leaving you on another Sunday with the sunrise.  Your sun comes up really early and leaves really late now.  I appreciate it.  When we first met it would be gone by 3:30pm.  Tonight I sat with friends at the top of Kelvingrove Park, leaving at 10:30pm with a little bit of light still left.  I could get used to that.

But I don't have the time to get used to it.  My lease ends next week and summer is upon us.  I'm off to the eastern end of Europe, because even though I've been saving almost every penny for years I'm still a college student on a limited budget and I've been told it's cheaper out there.  I'll come back to you someday, Glasgow, when I have a bit more money to do the things I couldn't do this time around.

You were good to me.  You let me walk into your free museums whenever I wanted to learn something or to just look at art for a bit to clear my head.  You let me learn with teachers who have their own Wikipedia pages (!!!!).  You helped me be unafraid of travelling to France, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland on my own, since I knew I had you waiting for me at home.  You helped me realize what I want in a friend group and what kind of person I want to be, even if I can't seem to reach her just yet.

Funnily enough, my time with you has lasted exactly just as long as my two past relationships.  Five months.  But unlike those, you and I aren't ending on a bad note.  (And I actually love you, which I can't say about those other two.)

I think it's good to end things on a good note, though.  Bittersweet.  My last associations of you will be filled with sunshine and sunsets and lots and lots of fish and chips.  That's all a girl can really want from life, right?

You're the only place outside of Virginia that I can comfortably call home.

I don't know what else to say besides: thank you, I love you, and I'll miss you.

What I'm Reading: May 2017 #1

Monday, May 15, 2017


This is my  bi-weekly series to share with you whatever I’m reading that has either interested, entertained, or angered me.  I’ll talk about the book I’m reading, articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve liked, interesting videos, ect.  This is one of my favorite type of posts to read on other people’s blog, so I hope you will find some links you enjoy!
Want to know what else I’m reading? Be my friend on Medium and Bloglovin’ and Goodreads for more!

Books:

I finished Caitlin Moran's Moranthology and wow she really is one of my favorite writers.

I started reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth since I've heard good things about it and the ebook was on sale for $1.99.  I'm not too far in, but I'm really enjoying the commentary on Christian youth group culture and the complexity of the main character.

In the Dublin airport I picked up The Lonely City by Olivia Laing and The Trespassers by Tana French.  I love Tana French so much and I've barely read any fiction at all this year so reading her feels comforting.  I know I'll never be disappointed by her.

Articles:

Why 'kidulthood' is a gender issue

I'm (still) going through the archive of Anne T. Donahue's newsletter and came across this: a lil essay on how for a while having a "squad" was the end-all-be-all and the complications of that.  (One day I'll write about my personal issues with "squads", but for now just enjoy her writing.)

"The older I get, and the more people I speak to, the further I’m convinced no one has it "together" (quotations very much intentional), even the ones who look like they do on the outside." The ideas you have for your future will probably never work out the way you expect them to, and that's okay.

Why do we imagine working-class people as inarticulate?

I Grew Up in a Fundamentalist Cult: my church growing up wasn't this extreme, but it is eerie to see the parallels between this author's experience, my experience, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Lorde's feature in Rolling Stone was a fun read.  I wasn't a fan of Pure Heroin, but I LOVE the two singles she's released from the upcoming album.

This piece made my blood run cold.  The author's grandma died from an attempted at-home abortion because she couldn't access a safe (or legal) one.

How a dog getting cancer helped this woman come to terms with her mother's addiction

To end this section on a more hopeful note, here are things that 60 year old Jenna would tell her 30 year old self

Videos:


A disturbing trope where grown (hot) women are portrayed as innocent, virginal, simpletons.  And men, for some twisted reason, find that appealing.

Life:

The first half of this month was split equally between Glasgow and Ireland!  I did 3 nights in Dublin, with a day trip to Belfast, and 3 nights in Galway.

My time in Glasgow is coming to an end and I'm not prepared for that.

Quote:

"Even when I try really hard to not see things in very simple ways, those confines do still exist because I'm just so new to living. I'm excited to get older and get better and be able to do it like they can do it."
Lorde about life and trying to express herself

Book Review: All Over the Place by Geraldine DeRuiter

Wednesday, May 3, 2017



So far, in the Year of Our Lord 2017, I've read 15 books, 10 of which have been of the memoir and essay genre.  Of those 10 books, All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft has been my absolute favorite.

Geraldine DeRuiter is a blogger-turned-memoir writer and usually this transition doesn't work out well.  It takes a special type of writer to transcend storytelling mediums; if you thought Geraldine was a talented blog writer then just wait to have your socks blown off when you read All Over the Place.

As you can tell from the tagline, it's a story of travel and love, but the most compelling arc of this book is the story of family.  Geraldine takes you through her family history, from anecdotes about her brother, to her mom, father, and her husband.

You'll laugh, as any reader of her blog will expect, but she'll also make you cry.  A lot.  From discussing her brain tumor to pondering on the purpose of life (in a way that's completely non-wanky), you'll find yourself shocked at the amount of times you'll cry over a book that has been marketed as "hilarious".  (Like, it definitely is, but don't feel guilty for having to use an entire toilet paper roll to wipe away all your snot.)

Wow, writing this review has really made me want to re-read this book.  You go buy your copy here and I'll go re-read my copy and it'll be a great day for everyone involved.


*this review is Geraldine approved
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