15 til John Green

Hey there!

I recently learned that there is a name for the condition I suffer from. It is tsundoku: the tendency to buy books and leave them on the shelf, unread. I always get so excited about reading books that I’ll buy four at a time and only end up reading some of them. And now that I have a name for this terrible habit, I feel like conquering it. More on that in a moment.

I have also recently discovered the vlogbrothers, the greatest nerds on YouTube. John and Hank Green are two brilliant, immensely thoughtful, creative, and influential brothers who created a YouTube channel to communicate with each other from opposite sides of the continent. A community of nerds, or nerdfighters, has sprung up around the vlogbrothers and their mission to decrease world suck. I bring these guys up because 1) if you’re reading my blog, you will probably enjoy their insightful and silly videos, and 2) because John is an author of a handful of books that I desperately want to read.

However, I couldn’t justify buying four new books with so many unread books already in my possession. So, I challenged myself to read 10-15 of the books I already own before I buy John Green’s beautiful box set. Luckily, fifteen rhymes with John Green and I’d rather read 15 books anyway. Thus, “Fifteen til John Green” was born!

My progress so far:

  1. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood is set in Kingston, the town I live in September to April. It’s based on the true story of a famous woman convicted (possibly wrongly convicted) of murder and sentenced to life in the women’s penitentiary in Kingston. Psychology was a budding field back then, and people didn’t really understand how our brains worked all too well. So, Grace Marks claims to not remember the murder or how it happened, many people believed she was just lying. A young psychologist wants to discover the truth behind it all and spends the majority of the novel interviewing her and listening to Grace’s version of her story. A long, but very interesting novel.
  2. Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert was fantastic. It’s a non-fiction book about how truly bad people are at predicting what will make them happy five minutes from now and five years from now. I’d heard this book mentioned so many times, but I forgot about it after I bought it. I guarantee that you will have a small identity crisis reading this book, and you will most definitely say “Other people may think like that, but I sure don’t!” at least once. It definitely lets you know that you can loosen up a bit when you’re trying to make the ‘right’ decision…because you’re probably making the wrong one either way. It’s not too long a book, and it’s absolutely worth every second.
  3. I also read a small collection of Sherlock Holmes adventures. All I will say on the matter is “WAY better than the movies, almost as good as the TV show”. I can’t wait to read the whole collection.
  4. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books I can’t believe I hadn’t read (or finished) yet, especially since I wrote an essay on it in April. I’d seen the movie and heard teachers analyze it before, so I was always like “Yea Lizzie! Yea Lizzie’s dad! You guys are awesome!” But then my English teacher last year turned the whole concept of the book on its head and made me think about all of it in a totally different way. It is definitely worth it to critically analyze this book as you go through (even if that sounds about as much fun as stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork). It really gives you a new perspective on love and social relationships.
  5. The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman was short and brilliant. I could hardly bear to put it down, so I finished it in one very interesting day. It’s such a weird book that asks you to just let go and accept things as they are told to you, even if they seem really weird. Even as I finished the book, I realized that I didn’t know what it was about, but I had enjoyed every page. I still don’t really know what it’s about. I guess I’ll have to read it again!
  6. I finally finished The Fellowship of the Ring! Some people warned me that I wouldn’t like it because it’s super detailed and historical and geeky, and I was like…do you know me but at all?? It was bloody flippin’ incredible! (I don’t think I actually have to say it was better than the movie, right?) The only problem with it is that I only bought the first one along with The Hobbit (which, to my horror, didn’t even match!), so now I’m dying to buy part 2 and 3. But that doesn’t really go along with my “finish 15 books before you buy four more” thing. Maybe I can do this challenge again. Something like… “Ten more til Mordor”? …okay, I’ll work on it.
  7. And I’m currently reading The Power of Why by Amanda Lang, which, so far, corroborates everything I know about the suckiness of school, but backs it all up with scientific facts! My day is made!

I have really enjoyed all of these books, but if I had to recommend one….I couldn’t do it. I can recommend two though. Read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. It’s incredible. And definitely read The Waterproof Bible. Kaufman is a Canadian writer and the book takes place half in Toronto, Ontario and half in Morris, Manitoba, so it was fun for me to recognize all the street names and the horror of being in downtown TO in traffic. I think that was redundant…downtown Toronto and traffic are synonymous, right?

That’s all for now folks! Enjoy your week and DFTBA,
Kenzie

Quarters, Clubs, and Classics

Well hello again :)

There are three things that interest me this week: living quarters at university, joining clubs, and another classic novel.

First, most importantly, and most relevant, I recently received an email from Queen’s letting me know that the (tentative) date for residence/roommate announcements will be August 3rd…this Friday! (Can you believe it’s almost August???) I’m very excited to find out if I’ll be getting my first choice for room-type and which residence I’ve been put into.

When we were accepted to Queen’s and guaranteed residence, we were asked to list our top five preferences by room-type, not residence building. Honestly, I’m not really a fan of that way of doing it, but I suppose some of the older buildings would never hear the sound of footsteps again if we could pick any residence we want. My top four were all different single room options, and since I ran out of those the fifth preference had to be a double room option. Those of you who know me well know that I’m way too OCD to survive living in such close quarters with someone, so fingers crossed (for my potential roommate’s sake) that I get a single room.

In terms of residence, what I’m most interested in is knowing what my chances are of getting the kind of room I want and if other people have the same ideas as me. Does everyone want a single room? Or do most people want to know what having a roommate is like? Do you want a bathroom attached to your room? Do me a favour and answer the poll below.

Another thought that’s been on my mind lately is joining clubs/societies/groups/associations at university. Other than the usual ‘it’s a great way to make friends,’ I think joining a club that really follows what I’m interested in might be a great way to spend some of my time and even beef up my resume a bit. Does anyone already have plans for clubs they might like to join? Or are you waiting to get to university to check out all your options?

Last but not least, I have finally started another classic: the Lord of the Rings series. I was warned that it’s nothing like The Hobbit and it’s crazy hard to get through, but I’m honestly not finding it nearly as descriptive and detailed as people have told me! Although, that may be because my brain automatically reads a little quicker (you might call this skimming) when I get to the family history sections…which, again, don’t happen as often as I was warned they would!

I must admit though that it is a slow read; the words are very small and there are a lot of them on each page. Overall, I’d have to say definitely read The Hobbit, and really make an effort to read Lord of the Rings. I don’t want to say the books are better than the movies, as the movies did take out a few somewhat unnecessary details of the books, but the books are definitely more involved and rewarding. And if you’ve already watched the movies, that will help you picture the many characters as you read! If you’ve read the books and watched the movies, feel free to let me know what your thoughts are. Is one media better than the other in this situation?

Also, don’t be afraid to comment guys! You won’t be automatically subscribed if you don’t want to be (you can do that too though!), you won’t get a million emails from me or from WordPress, and I promise to respond to your comments!

That’s it for today folks!

Kenz