5 Podcasts You Should Listen To Right Now

Over winter break, I ended up having to commute an hour every day for a class I was taking and that left me with a lot of time spent in the car. In order to fill some of this time, I began listening to podcasts for the first time ever. I have begun to really enjoy them and I think they are fun to listen to if you are looking for something to do.

Here are some of the podcasts that I ended up listening to and enjoying. No matter if you are just getting into podcasts or have been listening to them for awhile, these are some great ones to check out:

1. “Hurry Slowly”

Hurry Slowly logo from podcasts on iPhone

This is a podcast series talking about different ways that you can learn to slow down in your life and actually increase your productivity and creativity. Sounds perfect—who wouldn’t want that? If you are interested in self-help type stuff, then this is a good one for you. Some recent titles include, “Walking Is The Best Way to Go Slow,” “Prioritizing Rest and Reflection” and “The Science of Sleep.”

2. “What Should I Read Next?”

What Should I Read Next logo from podcasts on itunes

This would be a great podcast for you if you a giant book nerd like me. It basically talks about all things reading-related and is pretty laid back. Some recent titles include, “Your Best Reading Year Yet”, “Reading Slumps Are The Worst”, and “The Anatomy of an Excellent Reading Experience.”

3. “The Heart of It” with Estee Lalonde

The Heart of It logo from podcasts on the iPhone

This is a podcast series that explores a different subject with a special guest for each episode. The topics of season one include travel, identity, mothers, strength, feminism, makeup, tattoos, and protests. I found this series to be very enlightening, but also very calming to listen to. There should be a season two coming out sometime soon in 2018.

4. “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin

Happier logo from podcasts on the iPhone

This is another self-help type podcast that deals with topics related to your happiness. The topics are very diverse, but all very interesting and thought-provoking. Some recent titles include, “Don’t Know What Will Happen in the Future? Try to Understand Now,” “Keep a Running List of Your Favorite Things,” “Introduce a Note of Whimsy.”

5. “The Daily”

The Daily logo from podcasts on the iPhone

This is a podcast put on by the New York Times that gives a news update in twenty minutes for five days of the week. This is a good one to listen to if you are like me and don’t have much time in college to watch the news, but still, want to keep up-to-date on things that are going on.

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Books About Strong Women For Strong Women

Christmas is coming up very soon and if you are trying to find a last minute gift idea for a strong woman in your life, then why not get her a book? When I think about strong women in my life, I think about my mom and my grandma because they inspire me to work hard. I’m sure whoever you think of in your life, would love to read about inspirational women like themselves.

Here is a list of books with a strong female character that is brave, resilient, and everything in between. This list contains nonfiction and fiction because even fictional women characters can be inspirational. I have read some of these, but not all of them. Some of them are ones I hope to read in the future.

Books I’ve Read

1. I am Malala- Malala Yousafzai

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This is a powerful biography about Malala’s life before and after she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out for girls’ education. I got a lot out of this book and learned a lot about Malala’s activism and about the history of Pakistan. Malala was the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate at age sixteen and continues to advocate for the right for girls to get an education. She also has a movie called I am Malala that was very good.

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” ~Malala Yousafzai

2. Americanah- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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This is a story about two Nigerians named Obinze and Ifemelu who are in love. It chronicles each of their journeys as they leave a military dictatorship in Nigeria. Ifemelu heads to America, while Obinze goes to England. In Ifemelu’s part of the story, we are able to see her adjustment to life in America as an immigrant and the adversity that she faces. Ifemelu’s dialogue throughout the story is smart and witty and she is a very lovable character. I love Chimamanda’s writing style and will definitely read more of her books. She has also given some great TedTalks that I will link here…

The Danger of a Single Story

We Should All Be Feminists

“How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives we imagined.”~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

3. Wild- Cheryl Strayed

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This is Cheryl Strayed’s story about how she hiked The Pacific Crest Trail alone in order to deal with her mother’s death. This book chronicles all of the challenges that she faced on her hike and how it ultimately healed her. I actually watched the movie before reading this and it made me want to pick the book up so I would definitely recommend the movie as well.

” The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” ~Cheryl Strayed

Books I Want to Read

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini

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This is about two women living in Kabul, Afghanistan who form a close fond. It deals with their struggles with family, war, and loss. I have seen a lot of really good reviews for this, so I’m expecting to like it a lot. I also read Hosseini’s other book, The Kite Runner, and loved it.

“One could not count the moons that shiver on her roofs or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” ~Khaled Hosseini

2. The Diary of A Young Girl- Anne Frank

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This one is pretty obvious. I think everyone has heard of Anne Frank and at least a little bit of her story with the Holocaust. I feel like it’s about time that I finally read her diary. She was definitely very inspirational.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”~Anne Frank

3. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou

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This book follows the life and struggles of a girl named Maya who has to deal with the feeling of abandonment from her mother and an attack from a man much older than her. This is a story of personal growth and how Maya learns to love herself. This would be the perfect gift for any Maya Angelou fans.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” ~Maya Angelou

Hopefully, this list gave you some good ideas about what to gift someone in your life who has inspired you!

ARC Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

My Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: September 5th 2017

Page Count: 372

Description

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Overall

This is a creative, fairytale retelling of a combination of Snow White and Frozen. Doesn’t that sound awesome! It markets itself as a feminist fairytale and I would agree because I found the two leading female characters to be quite strong and empowering. I generally enjoyed this story, but I couldn’t give it a higher rating because I did have a few issues with it. Mainly, it was because the middle of the story seemed a bit slow. It didn’t seem like that much action was going on and the plot kind of dragged. However, when I began to reach the end, it started to pick up and I was able to get more engaged in the book. I also thought that the writing was a bit simple and didn’t leave much for the reader to assume. Overall though, I liked the concept of this book and the creativity behind the retelling.

Creativity

To be honest, I didn’t know that this was a snow white/frozen retelling going into the story, but once I realized that it was, it was nice seeing all of the connections that were made. I appreciated how clever and creative the storyline was. It seemed like all of the details fit together well, however, I would have liked to have had a little more detail on the magic in this world and the rules behind it. I think to compensate for the lack of magical background, the story tried to stay more centered around the development of the characters. Character development is something this book did very well. I liked how none of the characters were all good or all bad. They each were flawed and complex people in their own way. If you like books with good characters, then this is the book for you!

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Mina

Mina is the stepmother of the princess, Lynet, and the queen of the kingdom. I really enjoyed Mina’s character. I thought she was very complex and well thought out. Throughout the story, she was forced to grapple with either becoming evil and letting her father win or letting love win. I really liked the relationship between Mina and Lynet because we get to know their backstories and how they came to be so close to each other. Mina was a refreshing spin on the classic evil queen.

Feminist Fairytale

The book has alternating points of view throughout the chapters from both Mina and Lynet, and this was definitely the way to do it. Both of these characters were able to show their growth and how they became stronger from their setbacks. A feminist fairytale is a great way to describe this because there was no prince sweeping in to save the day. Everything was up to the cleverness of the two female characters. There was a romantic relationship between Lynet and another girl and I thought this was quite nice because you don’t see that represented very often in books. Nonetheless though, romance did not take over the plot.

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Conclusion

If you are looking for a retelling story to read, then I think this would be a good one. It didn’t blow me away, but I appreciated its creativity. Even though I probably wouldn’t pick it up again, I have a feeling that other people might really enjoy this depending on their reading tastes.

I won this arc in a giveaway from Flatiron Books, but all of the opinions in this review are my own. 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass releases on September 5th 2017 so be on the lookout for this book soon!

Book Tag: Reading Habits

I have never done a tag before and they looked fun, so I found the Reading Habits tag. Hopefully, with this tag, you guys can get to know me a little bit better. I know that every reader is different and has different reading habits so here are mine….enjoy!

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I have three places at my house that I always end up reading and they include my bed if it is at night, the living room couch if nobody is home (otherwise it can get loud), and the front porch if people are home and it’s not freezing.

Bookmark or Random Piece of Paper?

I would totally use a bookmark if I had some and they were easy to grab when I needed them. However, in reality, I use anything from scraps of papers to old rubber bands to mark my books. I just use whatever I can find and don’t give it much thought!

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?

I sometimes like to try to finish the chapter I’m on before I stop, but its not a big deal if I don’t. The exception to this is if I am in a really really good part. Then I don’t want to stop for anything!

Do you eat or drink while reading?

I really like having tea by me to drink while I read, but I can’t eat and read at the same time. That is too much multitasking for me to handle!

Multitasking: Music or TV while reading

Anything with words being said will distract me and I won’t be able to read. I do occasionally like to listen to music without words while reading though. I actually have a post called Beautiful, Wordless Music for Reading and Studying that has some of my favorites for when I want to read with some background noise.

One Book at a Time or Several at Once?

A lot of the time I’m only reading one at a time, but on occasion I will pick up two.

Reading at home or everywhere?

I can read anywhere! I don’t know how else I would be able to get a lot of reading time in.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I can honestly say that I don’t do this!

Breaking a spine or keeping it like new?

If the spine is broken so much that its hard to read, then no. But if it is only broken a little, then I think it has just been well loved!

Do you write in your books?

Not in library books or e-books of course, but sometimes I make notes in the books I own. I don’t mind people writing in books. I think its fun to get used books and see that somebody else has written a little note about a line that they liked/disliked. Its kind of like a secret message system.

 

I had way too much fun making this tag! If you think you would have fun doing it too, then consider yourself tagged. I’d love to see what other people’s responses are to these questions, so let me know if you decide to do it!

 

How I’m Bringing Books to College

As a book lover, I know that it is expected of me to be taking at the bare minimum, at least a handful of my favorite books with me as I begin college. However, due to the small cramped space that I will soon be living in (a college dorm), I have decided to take a more minimalistic approach when it comes to bringing books. Listed below is what my plans are for reading in college. Hopefully this will give you some ideas for what to bring to a small dorm if you are in the same situation as me!

My Kindle

A Kindle (or any other e-reader) is the perfect thing to use if you want to carry a lot of books with you without taking up too much space. With my Kindle, I can have tons of books with me on one small device. It is definitely coming with me and is already loaded up with some titles that I am looking forward to reading!

My Laptop

This has kind of the same reasoning as to why I’m taking the Kindle (space issues and its already coming with me anyways). However, I thought I’d mention it because a lot of people probably wouldn’t think about it. I recently finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by reading a lot of it on my laptop. I have never read a book on my laptop before, but I kind of enjoyed its convenience. I definitely won’t use it to read all of my books, but I can certainly use it for some!

The Library

Since I’m not bringing a ton of books with me, I will definitely be utilizing the library for a lot of my reading. I love the convenience of reading books on a device, but I also need to have physical books to read. I love both ways of reading, however, I would never be able to sacrifice holding a book and turning the actual pages!

1 or 2 TBR Books

I figure that whatever books I am currently reading at the time of my move in will be coming with me to stay. I don’t think this is going to be too much of an issue since I can always send them home if I want. I have to be honest though… I’m sure over the course of time, I will accumulate more, but this is what I’m starting out with.

I really hope this list helps give you some ideas about how you are going to take books to college. Or if you aren’t going to college, these could be good ideas for taking a more minimalistic approach to how you store books in your home. Either way, I would love to know whether or not this helped you and what you think of my plan!

 

Beautiful, Wordless Music for Reading and Studying

    If you are anything like me, then you find it hard to concentrate on things such as reading or studying when you are listening to music with words in it. I don’t always have music on in the background when I read or study, but sometimes I think it makes things more exciting. Here is some of my favorite music for when I want to listen to something and not get distracted.

 


Lindsey Stirling

    I first saw Lindsey when she was on America’s Got Talent and I have loved her music ever since. This girl is crazy talented. She plays the violin and dances at the same time. I love so many of her songs and I think you should definitely check her out!

Here are some links to Youtube videos of her playing the violin:

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The Piano Guys

    These two guys (one is a pianist and the other is a cellist) are fun to listen to because they play a lot of popular music with just their instruments. They also have really cool youtube videos of their covers.

Here are links to Youtube videos of their covers:

Paradise (African version) by Coldplay  (This one has words, but I can’t understand them so they aren’t distracting to me)
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Ludovico Einaudi

    Ludovico is a talented pianist who I found a long time ago. I haven’t listened to all of his work, but that is because I have a lot of my favorite songs of his on repeat (that’s how I usually do things haha). He is one of my favorites (his songs are amazing). I would really recommend listening to them!

These are three of my favorite songs of his:

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Helen Jane Long

    Helen plays the piano and I only just recently found her music. I think I had heard some of her songs before I knew who she was (they seemed very familiar). I haven’t listened to too much of her music yet, but I really like what I have heard so far!

Here are some Youtube videos of her songs:

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Mozart in the Jungle Soundtrack

    I have also started watching the show Mozart in the Jungle and I am really liking it. I think it is just so hilarious and addicting. Since the show is about the New York Symphony, it is not surprising that it features a lot of really good music. I have found myself playing the soundtrack from time to time and I would definitely recommend listening to it as well as watching the show!

Here are some songs off the soundtrack:

Lisztomania  (This is the show’s intro music)
Veridis Quo by Daft Punk  (Not really classical, but it was played on the show an
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