By Jensen Argyle
Confession: I was terrified of picking up Twilight again. It’s been approximately six years since I last read it. Now I know what you might be thinking, and no, I was not terrified of reading it because people have come to recognize it as awful. I have heard so many criticisms of the writing, the characters, and the romance.
That is not the reason I was terrified of it. I can read a “bad” book and not be affected by it. Some people seem to get so offended by this book, thinking that if they read it they will become a Bella or become one-dimensional characters sucked in a very unhealthy romance. Please. So does reading Lolita automatically make you a pedophile?
Anyways, that is not the reason I was afraid of re-reading this book. I was afraid because this book means so much to me, and I was afraid that the knowledge and growth I have now would taint this book for me. Yes, I know it has its flaws. Yes the writing, and the characters, and the blah blah blah. But Twilight means so much to me because it made me fall in love with reading again. It made me remember how fun reading could be, like when I was a kid staying up all night to finish Junie B Jones. I hadn’t read a book like Twilight, aka a book that wholly sucked me in, in a long time.
After I finished the first book I read the next two in a matter of forty eight hours. That is how much I loved them. And to this day, I will still defend them to all the nay-sayers. Because no matter what you have to say about them, you can’t deny the fact that Twilight was a cultural phenomenon that got people reading and talking about books.
Picking it up again, I surprised myself. Because Twilight is still enjoyable. Maybe I was wearing my nostalgia goggles, but it was like reuniting with old friends. I still found Bella relatable. I still found Edward handsome and Mike obnoxious. My heart still got pounding at all the intense scenes, as well as the swoon-worthy ones. Yes, it has its flaws, but knowing them funnily enough made the book that much more enjoyable.
It’s really hard to go back to the things we once loved. For example, when re-watching Quest for Camelot, you realize that the songs don’t match the scenes at all. Or when your re-watch Blues Clues, you find that Steve has just become tedious now. We have to face the fact that we are older and wiser now and those things that we once loved are tainted with our age and knowledge.
While re-reading Twilight, some of the scenes just made me cringe, like when Edward watches Bella sleep (shiver); however, like I said, I still enjoyed the book as a whole. And that is what I learned from this experience. That we can still enjoy the things we once loved even if the experience isn’t quite the same. Did you once love Twilight? Maybe you should try reading it again yourself and maybe you’ll discover the same things I did. May Twilight still always hold a special place in our hearts, and as always, happy reading!
By Danielle Gorman
If you’re anything like me, then you watch a LOT of Netflix; after-all, our generation invented the whole concept of binge-watching. And while you’ve been spending your hours watching and rewatching Orange Is the New Black episodes, I have an alternative for you.
My alternative has something to do with Megan Follows. If you’re younger than twenty, you might only recognize her from the hit T.V. show Reign. She plays the mostly hated, sometimes redeemed, Queen Catherine de’ Medici. However, if you’re lucky, you might’ve grown up watching a well-beloved, much-loved series of movies based on the popular Anne of Green Gables.
Want to know a secret? Netflix is making a reboot.
That’s right, you heard me. Anne of Green Gables is coming to Netflix next year!
Originally filmed in Canada, where the story takes place, this addition to Netflix (which is being filmed in Ontario) is one I’m actually looking forward to, and I have two reasons for that: Anne and Gilbert.
Anne is the epitome of the sensitive, imaginative, and passionate child. She is moved by things as simple as flowers blossoming amongst weeds and as complex as the poetic verses of Tennyson. She is as dramatic as they come, which leads to the hilarious scene where her boat sinks and she has no choice but to let Gilbert heroically save her.
Excuse me while I sigh—Gil does that to me. And that’s why Gil’s irritating charm is one of the reasons I love this story.
I feel I need to make a confession though. I didn’t see the original movies until I was in my twenties (you may feel free to gasp in disbelief). I never had a chance to see them in my childhood, but someone mentioned them to me two years ago and I decided to rent them and see what all the fuss was about.
At first, I found Anne to be high-maintenance. I pitied Matthew and Marilla. Anne seemed like a handful! She was reasonably optimistic, for a recent orphan, but the melodrama was a bit much for me. However, as the films went on I began to relate to Anne’s sense of the Romantic and literature. Her independence and passion also inspired me. Yes, she could be impetuous. But she made up for her short-coming is beautiful ways: her kindness, her loyalty to friends like Diana, her belief in all that is good and moral.
The absolute delight I experienced by watching the films led me to the books. I read the first one and was enchanted by the characterization which shows people at home in Avonlea and also bursting to try new things.
My hope is that the reboot accurately follows the characters; I’m less concerned about plot points being covered. I just want the characters to be authentic and realistic and not too modernized. Regardless, I’m sure the new cast and crew will do an exceptional job bringing these much-loved characters to life.
But as LeVar Burton would say: Don’t take my word for it! Grab a copy of the book, or watch it on Netflix to see for yourself that Anne of Green Gables is a story worth knowing.
By Danielle Gorman
Yesterday marked the four-week anniversary of my giving up Facebook. And I’ll be honest, I’m glad I can stop talking about it after today. The irony isn’t lost on me—for someone who gave up Facebook, I’ve been talking about it an awful lot! Stepping away from it has allowed me to see the negative affects it has had on my life. And I can honestly say that the negative aspects of Facebook outweigh the positives in my case.
As I said, however, it’s not all bad. Facebook kept me in touch with people when I moved away from all my friends and family and no longer saw them in person. It was great for me when I graduated from college and moved back to Texas, leaving all of my friends in Idaho. And then when I left Texas to move to Utah last year it helped to keep me in touch with family and the new friends I had made there too.
However, keeping in touch with people is a double-edged sword. If I truly cared about keeping in touch with them, I would get phone numbers and addresses so I could text or email or write letters. I realized that Facebook is really good for keeping you in touch with people you don’t care very strongly about.
Take a look at the contacts in your phone; everyone you seriously love and care about is in there. But the 500 friends on Facebook? A very high percentage of those people are made up of acquaintances—people you met at parties, old coworkers, people you had crushes on who moved on and married other people…it just doesn’t make sense to keep in touch with them when you know you’ll never call and chat.
Now, when I started this journey I made a few predictions (which you can read here) about what I thought would happen to me, or what I wanted to happen.
There you have it. My experiment has come to an end. Except, it hasn’t. I think I’m going to keep myself off Facebook for the foreseeable future. And it’s not like I’m going to miss out on important milestones in my friends’ lives. My family is still on Facebook and if there is anything truly newsworthy to report (we’re talking engagement announcements and births, that sort of thing) then they will relay the information to me.
I only have one regret: I’ve never had the chance to change my status to “In a Relationship.” That was always something I wanted to do. But in the grand scheme of things—WHO CARES? If and when I enter into a relationship, I don’t need to parade it in front of the world because a relationship only involves two people.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. I hope you’ve learned something, like I have. And maybe it’s time you took an assessment on your Facebook situation. If you find yourself scrolling through feed for seven hours straight, maybe you need to take a break too.
By Jensen Argyle
Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and Gelato is the summer read you have been looking for. Set in Italy, it follows a young girl, Lina, who has come to live with the father she never knew she had after her mother dies. Then she is given a diary that belonged to her mother when she lived in Florence, and this diary aids Lina as she discovers the wonder and beauty of Italy.
Yes, this premise sounds rather sad, but there are enough moments of sweetness to make up for that.
Lina is an interesting and fun character. I liked how interesting and multi-layered she is. She is not just the rebellious, sulky teenager as is often the case in stories such as this. She is sassy, kind, and wonderfully awkward. You can’t help but relate to her, she is so real she leaps right off the page.
Ren, her romantic interest, is charming and funny. His antics will have you laughing out loud. And you will fall in love with his family, who are quirky and laid-back. They will make you want to be a part of their family.
Welch writes about Italy as if she has an intimate knowledge of it, which in fact she does. She lived there for two years and her experience with Italy aids the story, making it come to life through this wonderful country. Her understanding of Italy transports the reader to that place, so you can vacation there without leaving the comfort of your living room. And who wouldn’t want to vacation in Italy?
Jenna Evans Welch crafts a delectable YA novel that will have you smiling, laughing, and crying till the very last page. At the very last sentence you will sigh in contentment. So be sure to pick this one up, you will be glad you did. And as always, happy reading.
By Danielle Gorman
It has now been three weeks since I gave up Facebook and I’m loving it. The only social media I still currently use is Pinterest and Instagram (in fact, having no Facebook to fill this hours has helped me step up my Insta-game and I’m posting more frequently than ever!).
I’m glad I’ve got you to follow in this journey with me, a journey of self-discovery if I’m being honest. I can now see how dependent I was, and to some degree still am, on Facebook. The urges to post or less frequent, but still there. It has made me wonder if there are other people out there struggling with the same thing I am. It’s called Facebook Addiction Disorder.
Yeah, it’s a real thing. And they cutely call it F.A.D. for short, because that is what Facebook is, a fad that will stick around for a while longer and then be replaced by something “better,” a.k.a. more addictive and destructive than the previous one. But F.A.D. isn’t some new discovery. People have been showing signs of it since the late 2000’s, only a few years into Facebook’s inception. To learn more about it, I went to the web in search of some facts.
There are physical and mental signs that you’re addicted to Facebook. I’ll lay them out for you here:
1) Tolerance– like any addiction, the more time you spend with it the more desensitized you will becomes, which then leads to you using it more and more and more. Eventually you cannot function without your fix. And in this case your fix is non-stop scrolling through home feeds.
2) Withdrawal– Just like an alcoholic gets the sweats and the shakes when they try to give it up, chronic Facebook users may feel similar feelings of withdrawal when they attempt to give it up. While I haven’t experienced any symptoms that bad, I have noticed that my focus—in general—has had to be retrained. At first, I constantly wanted to go back on and couldn’t focus on other tasks until I satisfied the urge, but I held strong and slowly my ADHD-like tendencies have gone away.
3) Reduced activities– You will begin to stop going out. It’s as simple as that. Or you will go out and spend the entire time on your phone, scrolling through messages and trending topics. Either way, reduced, normal, social outings is not good for your brain. You need interaction with actual humans, face-to-face not screen-to-screen.
4) Virtual dates– I can’t believe this is even a thing, but like the section above you won’t actually go out on a physical date but stay in, at your respective homes, and only talk through messages. It’s as bad as texting someone for weeks and then petering off and never actually going out on a real date to see if something is there. Only so much can be said with text and emojis, guys. Actually make an effort.
5) Virtual friends– This is a biggie. Everyone has that friend who is so determined to amass as many Facebook friends as they can, even if they reach the limit Facebook puts on the amount of friends you can have. This is extremely unhealthy for you. Like dating, friendship relationships need to be cultivated in person otherwise they will remain brittle and unstable.
6) Severe addiction– The final stage of the addiction is when you say “Hello I’m _______, I’ll see you on Facebook.” Your pet will have a Facebook page and any ding! from notifications will give you a little high, a thrill, like you’re gambling.
What do you think? Are you going to have to do some reassessing in your life? The article I got these facts from state that you may suffer from F.A.D. if you have 2-3 of these symptoms.
The cure is simple. Limit your time on Facebook. Delete it from your phone and only allow yourself certain times of the day to get on. Like any addiction, you must approach it with sensitivity, determination, and strength.
(I found my facts here, so feel free to go read more on the subject at your leisure. Also try this article. This one is pretty good too.)
By Alex Doria
Netflix always finds a way to have in me in tears by the end of a blissful night of streaming. And nothing quite gets me all splotchy and rosy in the face than Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince.” Netflix exclusively released the highly anticipated animated film of our favorite prince from outer space on August 5th and it’s everything you could hope for.
It has beautiful contrasting animation between the “real” world and the story of the little prince. Jeff Bridges voices the Aviator, along with a stellar cast of actors including Rachel McAdams, James Franco, Benicio del Toro, and Paul Rudd.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Little Prince, let me just warn you that it will break your heart. But in a good way. The story is about growing up, but most importantly, it’s about love and caring. The line from the book that is reiterated throughout the movie says this perfectly: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The story is this: there is a little prince who once lived on the asteroid B-612, and he has travelled across space and found himself on Earth in the Sahara Desert. The Aviator has crashed his plane in the Sahara, and this is where he meets the little prince. After all of his travels and all that he has seen, the little prince longs to return home to his asteroid which he cares for, and most importantly, to his rose.
The Aviator learns about all of the little prince’s travels as they wander the desert together. Through the little prince, the Aviator learns that while the little prince is a little boy, he’s not just a child. He knows what it means to love. But he had to leave it to understand it. And unfortunately, sometimes you’ve travelled too far to find your way back.
The film provides a lovely frame narrative around the story of The Little Prince; the Aviator in his later years shares the story of the little prince with the young girl who lives next door to him. The ending to The Little Prince’s cosmic love affair with his rose and the meaning of life has befuddled and perplexed readers for decades, but through this additional narrative, that in every way celebrates The Little Prince, we have a way of grasping at the essential truths of this beautiful story.
So grab your tissues, because the little prince, like he does to everyone who encounters him, will make you love him, cry, smile, laugh, and most importantly, feel.
By Jensen Argyle
We book lovers know what the best gift in the world is: Books! (duh). What if I told you there was a way to gift yourself books every month in a very affordable way? That’s right, you can treat yourself to books every month with book subscription boxes. And best of all, most of these boxes include wonderful bookish items to feed your book addiction. So without further ado, here are a few book subscription boxes you should take a look at:
Uppercase Box This subscription box is for YA lovers. Every month you get a signed YA novel and cool exclusive bookish items for just $23.99/mo. Want just the book? You can get the book exclusive plan for $17/mo.
Bookcase Club If you want just books, then this box is a great deal. You get two books every month for just $9.99/mo. Best of all, the books are handpicked and curated to your taste, so you will be sure to love them.
Owlcrate This is another YA focused box, so if you love YA literature as much as I do you’re in luck. Each month you get a new YA novel as well as bookish goodies, and they all go with a theme such as mythology, diversity, etc. And it is all just $29.99/mo.
The Bookish Box For just $18.99/mo you get a new book along with bookish goodies that go along with that book. Possible goodies include cute mugs, jewelry, and exclusive fan items for you to squeal over.
Beautiful Reads This box is for those who love chick-lit. Each month you get a new chick-lit novel as well as 1-2 cute bookish items.
Bookishly’s Tea and Book Club For those who like tea and books, this is the box for you. Each month you get a classic book, a package of tea, and stationery for just $12.00.
And the Story Begins Receive two books every month that have been specifically selected for you based on the genre of your choice for just $9.99.
These are just a few of the many, many book subscription boxes out there in the world. Feel free to check one of these out, or if none of these suit you try finding your perfect match at cratejoy.com. And as always, happy reading.
By Danielle Gorman
As you may know, I recently decided to go on a sort of Facebook cleanse; meaning, I’ve given up Facebook for the month. It’s been 16 days and I can already feel the difference. My feelings are lighter and instead of stressing about how a post will be received I can stress about normal things like work and finances.
However, my weeks away from Facebook have helped me to see that there are certain things I shouldn’t post online. I’ll have the thought “Oh, that’s funny; I wish I could get on Facebook and post it.” But since I’m not allowing myself on, I automatically get the chance to second-guess my desire to post whatever I originally thought of. It brings up the important concept of social media etiquette, the “Should-I-Or-Should-I-Not-Post-That” concept. To help you in your quest for never offending your friends, here is my advice:
By Alex Doria
The movies of today have all of the bells and whistles to make the movie-going experience quite magical. CGI does wonders for tales of far-off planets like Pandora, or wizarding duels in the Harry Potter series, or even costume dramas with ornate, period accurate settings like in Shakespeare in Love.
However, there is a special kind of magic reserved for the classic films of the past. Even though these movies don’t have much in the way of technology, they have a unique charm and originality since they are the foundation for the films of today. Without further ado, here are five classics that you can watch for your streaming pleasure:
1. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962): This is one of the rare occasions where the film is quite nearly as fantastic as the book it’s based on. The glorious Gregory Peck is the perfect Atticus Finch, and gives a truly moving performance that will give you shivers.
2. Laura (1944): Most of you probably haven’t heard of this one and I honestly hadn’t either until Netflix listed it in my recommendations. But it’s AWESOME. If you are looking for a classic film noir with murder, romance, and intrigue, this is a must!
3. To Catch A Thief (1955)I would be remiss if I didn’t list an Alfred Hitchcock film in a list of classic movies. While this film is heavier on the romance than the suspense, this tale of thievery in the French Riviera features a suave and funny Cary Grant alongside the poised and ever beautiful Grace Kelly.
4. Roman Holiday (1953)Gregory Peck strikes again! But the real star of the show is Audrey Hepburn, this being her first feature film. This movie is full of iconic moments, such as Audrey getting her famous pixie haircut and riding through the streets of Rome on a Vespa.
5. The Seven Year Itch (1955)Of course, the classic film world is nothing without Marilyn Monroe. Especially since this film features one of the most famous scenes of all time: Marilyn in her white halter dress standing over a subway grate.
By Jensen Argyle
Do you believe in second chances? I do, and I believe that everyone deserves them. Even books.
Remember those boring, antiquated books we were once forced to read in High School? Remember how incomprehensible they were and how we all eventually gave up trying to read them? Because let’s face it, who likes to be forced to read?
Thank goodness those days are over. However, some of the books we were forced to read in grade school were actually quite good and worth revisiting at a time in our lives where we are free to pick them up without being forced to read or analyze.
Here are some of the best books we were forced to read in High School that are definitely worth taking a second look into:
The Odyssey by Homer: This epic was so boring when I first read it. I found it weird and I could not sympathize with any of the characters. When I picked this book up last summer, my reading experience was quite different. I found a rich story of adventure, romance, sex, revenge, and heroism. This is definitely worth re-reading for a satisfying and engaging adventure tale.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: If you didn’t like this book in High School I strongly encourage you to read it again. This book is wonderful. It has warmth, heart, laughter, and timeless themes. Scout and Jem are hilarious and will have you laughing out loud on every page. This book is as sweet and inviting as a glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day in the south.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Yes, the characters will be just as awful as you remember them. But nothing outshines Fitzgerald’s beautiful and masterful writing. This book is worth re-reading just so you can have your breath taken away in awe of Fitzgerald as a writer.
Beowulf: Because it’s awesome. Beowulf literally pulls off a monster’s arms with his bare hands. Need I say more?
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Shakespeare is clever and hilarious, and in my opinion this is one of his finest plays to showcase his talent as a writer. You could read it merely for the banter between Beatrice and Benedick, which is always delightful no matter how many times you re-read it.
Never be afraid to give a book a second chance if you didn’t like it the first time. Sometimes we just have to read a book at the right time in our lives. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to re-read 1984. I hated it the first time I read it, but I am a much different person from who I was in High School.
So be sure to give one of the books that you were required to read another chance. You might just fall in love. And as always, happy reading!