Saturday, August 28, 2010


Currently residing in Sunriver, Oregon (aka, the last bastion of Summer, seeing as though school starts up again next Thursday), I'm finding it a bit hard to devote enough time to things like blogging while I'm forced to watch my last dregs of summer sun slip down the drain below the horizon. However, I'm taking time now, and here's what I've had the time to read, between floating the Deschutes river in kayaks, and shopping around Bend.

First on my reading list was Glory, Passion, and Principle by Melissa Lukeman Bohrer. It details the lives and accomplishments of "eight remarkable women at the core of the American Revolution", as it proclaims on the front cover. Remarkable, indeed. Judging by how important these women were, I was surprised to have only known three out of the eight, seeing as though the courage, integrity, and ability these women possessed practically outshines their more famous male counterparts. Of course, these women were forgotten soon after they were recognized, because of the simple fact that they were, indeed, women. However, Bohrer does a spectacular job bringing these women out of the dusty pages of long-forgotten history, and into the lives of women today, with no short amount of adventure, and a little modern feminism thrown in for good measure.

The women included are: Sybil Ludington, a practical parallel to American Girl's Felicity, whose long, treacherous journey puts Paul Revere to shame; African-born slave-poet Phyllis Wheatley, who turned the hearts of Americans and Britains alike with her words; First Lady Abigail Adams, who was never afraid to point her husband in the right direction; author Mercy Otis Warren, documenter, critic, and satirist of the war; old, but steadfast Lydia Darragh, who saved her family, while doing her best for her country; legendary Molly Pitcher, whose lore attracts as much skepticism as it does pride; soldier Deborah Sampson, an American Mulan, minus the dragon and the man; and Native American Nancy Ward, who overlooked racial barriers on her quest to save her freedom.

After reading about those historic women, I was up to read another fierce female's story, in a lighter, slightly girlier format. Sunriver Books & Music rapidly provided me with Candy Apple Red, Electric Blue, and Ultra Violet, the first three books in the Jane Kelly mystery series by Oregonian author Nancy Bush. All three solid, bouncy, popcorn reads, with a stereotypical leading lady working as a process server/wannabe private investigator, solving crimes with barely a misstep (until you reach the third book, which was definitely the weakest of the three). It is definitely vacation reading, something you can read by the pool (which I did), and is enjoyable, without being emotionally taxing or dark.

At any rate, I'm here for a few more days, and the inescapable grasp of the American Public School system is reaching ever closer. I wonder what's going to distract me until then.

(P.S. I would have lovely Oregon photos in here, but our vacation home's wifi connection is spotty at best! Sorry!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Literary Sort of Day in Downtown Tacoma

Last Thursday, my sister, father, and I celebrated summertime (as well as the fact that I have finally finished all of my assigned summer reading, YES!) by heading to spend some time in Downtown Tacoma. This family excursion allowed us to have some fun on the Link, swing by the weekly Farmer's Market and get some flowers for Mom, arrange letters in Tollefson Plaza, as well as explore some new places that we haven't been before around the city.
First, we hit up King's Books, because now that I won't be freaking out about my school books, I need some new books to freak out about. I'd never actually been inside the unique bookstore before, but now that I have, I can assuredly say that it is probably the best bookstore I've ever seen. The floor is covered with mismatched rugs covering random spaces, wooden tables and folding chairs afford you places to peruse your new purchases, and bookshelves lean different directions in places (but it's more like they're trying to give you a hug, then threatening to cave in on you!). Best of all, and the part of the bookstore that Dad loved the most, was the wonderful, large, black cat that takes up residence in the store, named Atticus. This cat looks like a miniature jaguar and enjoyed itself immensely when my dad started petting it. The cat is a jewel, much like the bookstore itself. This place was like a humongous scavenger hunt, and finding the coolest old books was the ultimate prize. My sister and father both walked out with two books a piece, while I led the way with five. More information on this spectacular bookstore can be found at:
However, the Link, Farmer's Market, and King's Books had robbed us of the majority of the time we had to spend with our father before he had to get back to work. Before we said our goodbyes, we traveled down the rabbit hole to pick up some tea from the Mad Hat Tea Company. The entire place smelled delicious, and we quickly picked out some tea of our own to take home with us. I grabbed the Mad Snickerdoodle tea, from India, with the flavors of Almond and Cinnamon, while my sister went for Frank's Fancy, from China, a mix of Chocolate, Coconut, and Vanilla. We're going to try both this week to warm up the chilly mornings while we vacation in Sun River, Oregon. If you want to view a complete tea list from Mad Hat Tea Co., or see ordering information for the tea, then check out:

For a day spent in Downtown Tacoma that was completely Hello Cupcake-less, it was a great one. Hopefully we'll get to spend some more time in these fantastic stores, and find even more cool literary-minded places along the way.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Seeing as though later today I'm leaving for a camping trip (3rd one of the summer!), I thought about which books in my "To Be Read" Pile are coming with me. While sorting through various titles and covers, it led me to think, what are my favorite books I've brought with me in the past? Which are my favorite books to go camping with?
After some deliberation, I've come up with my Top 3. All deal with the outdoors, though in different ways, and all are books I'd highly recommend. Though you may think that one or two of them are more for a younger set, I believe that if you haven't read them yet, screw the age limit, and read them anyways. They're that good.


I read this entire book nestled up in a chair in my backyard in the sixth grade, and only when the sun was setting. I felt it lent the book a certain magic. This book isn't about the outdoors the same way the other books are, in the way that it deals with a girl, rather than a boy, and involves mythical creatures, like pixies and sprites and fairies, instead of the all-too-real dangers of the actual world. However, the story does include the woods behind this girl's house, so I feel it is worthy to make this list. The story always reminds me that there are things lurking in the trees that we don't know exist, and that nature has secrets of its own. Perfect things to remember when it's two o'clock in the morning, you're stuck in your tent with only a flashlight and a sleeping bag, and you can't remember which path leads to the camp bathrooms.

BOOK 2: MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN BY JEAN CRAIGHEAD GEORGEI love this book. I originally got it in the second grade, read it, and promptly decided I was going to run away into the woods like the main character, leaving this shallow world behind for a natural lifestyle. The only reason my plans were thwarted were because a) I didn't know where to find any woods, and b) my parents are too observant. These crushed dreams haven't stopped me from revisiting this book series many times in my life, and wishing I could live like Sam. This is a perfect book for anyone going on a camping trip, especially if they are in elementary or middle school. How I envy anyone reading this book for the first time. And do you want to know a secret? Up until last year, I buried this book at the bottom of my camping kit every trip, just so I could use it as a sort of manual if I ever got lost in a forest.

BOOK 3: INTO THE WILD BY JON KRAKAUERIf assigned reading during the school year has the power to ruin books for high schoolers forever, you'd think that a book assigned for summer reading would only double the destructive power. However, this book was assigned to me last year, and it changed my life forever! This book is amazing. Everyone should be required to read this spectacular nonfiction book, the doomed journey of Chris McCandless into nature. This is an incredibly powerful one and I'm only repeating how fantastic it is because I feel like I have to really get the point across. Just, please, please, please, read it.

So there are my Top 3. All three great, and all have journeyed onto campsites with me sometime in the past. Now I've still got to find which books are coming with me this time...

Monday, August 2, 2010


I'm definitely a romantic, in every sense of the word. I know the true value of a happy ending, something Jane Austen has taught me just as well as Walt Disney has. "Love conquering all obstacles" and "happily ever after", however, are not phrases you find popping up throughout your local news program. I firmly rely on my assortment of fairy tale reduxes to give me my fix. If those fairy tales are set in modern day New York, then it's only all the better!

That's where the book Beastly, by Alex Flinn, comes in. I was originally interested in this novel because it was being made into a movie, starring some of my favorite actors, including Vanessa Hudgens and Neil Patrick Harris. Originally set to debut on July 30th, the movie is now set to premiere on March 18th, 2011. This has allowed me time to actually read the book, and now, more than ever, I am psyched to see this movie.

The reworked modern take on the classic Beauty & the Beast story follows young Kyle Kingsbury, as he majorly ticks off a witch, gets transformed into a beast, and, ostracized from his embarrassed father and shallow friends, longs to find his true love. Cue the "aaaaawwww"s. It's an adorable book, and a very quick read (as in, I read it all before I had to drop off my siblings to their a.m. swim class this morning).

So, all in all, great book, can't wait to see the movie. And they lived happily ever after :)