Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Finalizing Freshman Year

In approximately an hour and a half, I'm headed off to my final Final of Freshman Year. Whew! The year really did soar by quicker than I thought it would. Can you believe that as of 4 pm today, I've finished a full quarter of my college experience?

Over the past year, I've met a lot of amazing people - like my Sigma Kappa ladies! - experienced some great things - like passing on my Daffodil title! - made some stupendous opportunities for myself - like writing for College Fashion! - and learned a lot of important things, beyond just what they've taught me in class here at the University of Washington in Seattle. I've learned more about open hearts and minds, standing up for what you believe in, and making your own dreams come true, in the past year, than I've ever known before. I am so blessed to be able to call these women my sisters; this city, my home. I wouldn't have it any other way.

That being said, I am one million decibels beyond excited to be heading back to my beloved Tacoma tomorrow afternoon. ;) 

Now, while we're reminiscing, why not reflect on some of the best books I've read over this past academic year?

{Click on Underlined titles for a link to my reviews of each!} 

Best Voice: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman 
I just reported on this one, but I just wanted to re-emphasize the extraordinary voice of character with which this novel is narrated: Nate is an expertly crafted mash-up of the best of pretentious literary genius and conflicted, still-learning thirty-something, and his voice carries not only throughout the book, but through the page, into the mind of the reader. Bravo!

Best Story: Poison, by Bridget Zinn 
So, so, so, so good. Just a really solid, light-hearted fantasy, that manages to pack in quite a few jaw-dropping surprises into a really adorable and awesome narrative. I'm sharing this one with both of my sisters, because it's totally accessible to all ages. So, so good.

Best Style: A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Assigned for ENGL 111 fall quarter, this was probably the only good thing to come out of an admittedly, expectedly sucky entry-level English class. The style of this novel - one that is currently confusing the hell out of the Cheerleader, as she hasn't gotten past chapter three - fluctuates constantly between time periods, characters, and formats, and I can't even express to you how awesome that is.

Best Cover: The Selection, by Keira Cass
God, was this a let down, though! Still, kudos on the deceptively gorgeous cover.

Best Reread: The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
Sometimes, you just need a reminder not to take things so seriously. For me, this book - one my Dad first read to me when I was too young to understand the impressive and hilarious wordplay enmeshed throughout the story - was a well-needed and well-loved passport to a simpler time, as well as a necessary kick in the pants that was desperately needed while I was languishing in Washington's dismal weather Winter Quarter.

Best Nonfiction: Will in the World, by Stephen Greenblatt
Technically a part of an assignment for my Shakespeare class, but I honestly would have read it anyways. It's a past, but still recent, Pulitzer finalist, and that title is more than worthy of being associated with such an involving account of the Bard's biggest influences. (Review to come soon!)

Best Lasting Power: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford
This was the very first book I read this year, and out of everything, this is the story that I still bring up in conversation pretty regularly. I love my home state, and the emotional narrative, married to already enthralling history, made a completely captivating novel. If you are a Washington native, this book should really be something to read this summer, if you haven't already.

Best Assigned Material: The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
One of the many works of the Bard that we were assigned throughout my Spring 2013 Quarter's "Shakespearean Literature Post 1603" class, The Tempest stood out to me for its classical-based composition. In status, it's a comedy, but in practice, a emotionally-driven tale that runs much deeper, and it really captured my heart with its interesting and involving characters, particularly its lead, Prospero. Not my favorite - that title forever belongs to Hamlet - but definitely close.

Best Overall Book of Freshman Year: Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
God, this one took forever: I think it was the better part of a month and a half to get all the way through this marathon novel. And yet, I kept reading. The intriguing differences between Russian style of writing than my typical English - more descriptions of action than descriptions of visuals, interesting differentiation in portrayal of love and lust, juxtapositions in moral goodness and societal vision of goodness - have me scouring next year's time schedules for a good World Literature class, and I'm glad I took the time to make it through this novel (as well as make it my first College Fashion post!).

And just because I'm an eternal optimist, and am much lamenting the passing of Summer without the companionship of some of the most amazing people I've ever met, here's just a look forward to Fall, as well... :)

Most Anticipated Book of Sophomore Year: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2), by Sarah J. Maas

Technically it's supposed to come out at the end of summer (August 27th, can you come any faster?), but sometimes you just really need something to look forward to!

Thanks for a truly great year, everyone! See you again come September! 

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