Paper Towns: The Novel

Hello, World.

I just finished reading Paper Towns by John Green! Though it took me a while to get through, I ended up really really enjoying it. Part of the reason I struggled to get through it is because it starts a little slow, gets really interesting, then slows down for most of the book. I wasn’t a huge fan of the middle portion, though I did enjoy it when I just sat down and read. I think part of what make it a bit of a harder read for me was that I’m used to being sucked into John Green novels, and I usually finish them in a day. This novel was different. It felt like a less-hot-version of Looking For Alaska in the middle, which I struggled to get through. All in all, however, I enjoyed the read, and I’m super excited for the movie to come out.
Most people adore John Green, and that’s probably because he’s easy to read, but says some of the most profound things that are fundamental parts of life. I think he also treat teenagers’ problems like they’re actually serious, which I appreciate. He really taps into what being in love or just being a teenager feels like.
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This book was super interesting, and gave me a lot to think about in terms of perceptions. High school is kind of based on perception: how do we see others? How they see us? Is any of it accurate to who we are? It can be really hard to decipher what it fact or fiction in high school, especially because most people just want to be liked. If you’re looking for an interesting read this summer, something light and intriguing, I’d suggest Paper Towns or another John Green novel (though The Fault In Our Stars is pretty heavy).
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My favorite quote from the book is above. Seriously, so accurate!

What are you reading?

Truly,
Callie leigh

What I’m Reading: An Abundance of Katherines

Hello, World.

I’m slowly working my way through my summer reading list. What’s funny is that when I got home for summer, I read a 400 page book in two days, and then I read This Is Where I Leave You. Both the novels I read were good, and I wanted to continue reading, but I got a little busy and wasn’t making the time to keep reading. I’m actually working through an LSAT study book, and reading articles about various law schools I’m interested in each morning, which cuts down my daily reading time. It makes for interesting reading as far as “this is my future here” reading, but I’m excited to announce that I finished reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. For the record, I absolutely love John Green. He’s one of my all time favorite authors. I read The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska during spring break of 2013, and fell in love. His characters are so memorable, always. Anyway, when I was creating my Summer 2014 reading list, I knew I had to read at least one John Green book. Given that I had read Paper Towns as well, I figured An Abundance of Katherines was the next logical choice.
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After seeing the movie adaption of The Fault in Our Stars (which I loved and shed too many tears during), I decided to read An Abundance of Katherines next. Compared to other John Green novels, this novel took me a little longer than just one or two days. I’m not sure why, but the storyline was hard for me to relate to, but then all of the sudden, around page 100, I got hooked and finished the rest of the novel in one sitting. I really enjoyed the novel. The jumping off point for the novel is simple: a child prodigy that’s been dumped by 19 girls, all named Katherine. Katherine XIV, the latest Katherine, leaves Colin Singleton (said child prodigy) heartbroken and distraught when she breaks things off just before the novel begins. Following the nineteenth dumping, Colin has little motivation to do much of anything other than wallow in self pity (like most heartbroken people). His best friend, Hassan, however, decides the two of them should go on a road trip to an unknown destination to help Colin get over Katherine XIV. While on his road trip, Colin hopes to complete the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, believing that he can use the theorem to avoid future heartbreak, as it will be able to predict the outcome of future relationships. The story does take a few humorous turns, such as two Chicago natives trying their hands at Southern-style hog hunting. That was a laugh-out-loud moment. Colin’s demeaner was similar to a way more romantic as well as self-questioing, but still socially awkward version of Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory.” As a fan of the show, I, of course, found this humorous and interesting and cute.

When someone dates nineteen people who all have the same name, spelled the same way, you can’t help but think they either are more interested in dating the name, and therefore don’t actually care about the person who bears it, or they never quite recovered from the first heartbreak with the name. In this novel, I held the second view for a while, but as the story progressed, I realized each Katherine was distinct, thought certain details do imply that the name itself holds weight. Alas, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I found it quirky, funny, and raw at all the right times. There is something about John Green’s delivery that makes you feel you’ve participated in something greater than just the everyday mumbo jumbo some novels cover. The novel may focus on a seemingly outrageous storyline, but I felt like there were aspects to all characters that you could relate to on some level. If you like John Green, I suggest reading this! It’s available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound if you wish to support your local booksellers.

As always, here are some quotes I found particularly compelling:
“Ergo: girls should always make the first move, because (a) they are, on the whole, less likely to be rejected than guys, and (b) that way, girls will never get kissed unless they want to be kissed.”

“He liked the idea of coffee quite a lot-a warm drink that gave you energy and had been for centuries associated with sophisticates and intellectuals.”

“Colin often thought about this in relationship to the monotony of dumping: we have thirty-two teeth. After a while, having each tooth individually destroyed probably gets repetitive, even dull. But it never stops hurting.”

“…Eventually he stopped thinking about the Theorem and wondered only how something that isn’t there can hurt you.”

“You’re not boring. You’ve got to stop saying that, or people will start believing you.”

“It’s just that I learned a while ago that the best way to get people to like you is not to like them too much.”

Perhaps my favorite: “The thing about chameleoning your way through life is that it gets to where nothing is real.”

“I don’t think you can ever fill the empty space with the thing you lost…I don’t think your missing pieces ever fit inside you again once they go missing.”

Sorry for the overload on quotes, but I find John Green rather quotable, like Mean Girls, but for a more intellectual setting. Okay, maybe not, but you understand (hopefully?). What are you reading at the moment?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Judgment Day

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Hello, World.

The other night I was curled up with a cup of tea, listening to the Mumford and Sons Pandora station, and perusing Pinterest. I know there a lot of people who use Pinterest, and I know there are a lot of people who don’t, but seriously, if you ever need a little inspiration or words of wisdom about anything (and I do mean anything) you should really think about opening a new window (after you finish reading this, of course), and browsing the pages and pages of…stuff on that site.

Anyway, while going through the quotes page, I stumbled across a little gem that read, “Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.” At first I read this quote, then kept scrolling, but about ten seconds later, I was scrolling back up, re-reading the seventeen or so words beautifully written by John Green (naturally).

Initially, a bunch of people rushed into my mind. People that I could easily show this quote to, and say, “you shouldn’t judge me.” But then, as I continued to stare at the quote, I started thinking about the people I’ve thought things about before actually knowing them. Judgment is part of everyday life, and even though we learn to “not judge a book by its cover” when we’re little, I’m pretty sure everyone eventually learns that is just an ideal. Honestly, we make presumptions about people within five minutes of knowing them. Actually, we make presumptions about people within five seconds of just seeing them. Just take a moment to think about the people who hadn’t even spoken to you, but that you had ‘all figured out’ right away. You may look at someone wearing expensive clothing, chatting on his or her iPhone, and think that he or she is a pretentious person that can’t possibly be compassionate. You may see someone who you deem unattractive, and assume he or she is just an idiot who doesn’t deserve your time. Sure, these are nasty assumptions, but human nature has a funny way of putting a dark spin on our immediate reactions to people.

People can say that they never judge people, and they’re the kindest being in the world besides Mother Teresa, but maybe those people just aren’t very vocal about their judgments because judgmental thoughts cross their mind at some point, some how, some way. The thoughts may not even be considered judgmental, maybe they seem more like ‘observations,’ but let’s get real; that’s just a culturally sensitive way of admitting to thinking judgmental things. While I admit that I judge people, and that it is wrong, I feel people probably think I judge others a lot more than I actually do. For years, I’ve battled what I call “the disinterested face syndrome.” With this ailment, I often come across aloof or disinterested in people, especially because I don’t really have a super inviting face. Usually, though, I am interested in people, I just take a while to warm up (maybe because I’m an introvert?).

Since I’m not the friendliest person right away—unless I’m completely alone and am forced to be outgoing—a lot of people assume I dislike them or just don’t care to get to know them. These assumptions are judgments, and they are things that people think about me, but aren’t how I actually am. It is a little ironic, though, because if I meet someone who is reserved or closed off toward me, I assume the same thing. Judgments exist in a vicious cycle, where people judge each other, one judgment gets vocalized, and the other person judges again even more harshly.

I’ve made silent judgments that have turned out to be completely untrue once I got to know someone, but that’s the thing: you have to try to get to know someone in order to be proven wrong. I’ve encountered a lot of people who make an assumption about someone, and then don’t care to get to know that person because they’ve already made up their mind. This isn’t fair, though, because people really should be more open minded, and have a desire to get to know new people. Everyone, including me, should aspire to live a life that is as close to judgment-free as possible. To borrow a quote from Sarah Dessen, the next time you meet someone, “Don’t think or judge, just listen.”

What are your thoughts on judgment? How can we become less judgmental?

Truly,

Callie Leigh