Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda

Let me just preface this by saying: I fucking love Alan Alda. I loved him on The West Wing. I grew up with his voice always on in the background when my mom was watching M.A.S.H. I don’t know what it is about his voice, but I just love listening to him talk.

So he could have written a terrible book, and I still would have loved it if he was the one reading it.

Luckily, he also wrote a great book! Sure I may be a bit biased. But I really enjoyed this book.

I guess I would rate it on par with many of the other celebrity memoirs I’ve read. He kind of talks about his early experiences in acting, his family, and his life, but that isn’t really the focus of the book. It’s mostly just some reflections on life, of which he has many, rather than a biography. There are a lot of funny stories in here, but there are also sadder and more serious parts.

He also gives a lot of sage advice. A lot of the book reads as if he’s giving a speech to graduating students, which for part of it he actually is as he repeats a commencement speech he gave.

Also, while he was talking about acting, he just drops this advice about controlling anxiety, which really spoke to me, as someone who struggles with an anxiety disorder:

“Anxiety is a powerful toxin. You can think you’re calm, in command of the moment, and be undergoing an anxiety attack as big as the Norman conquest. Learn what makes you anxious, learn how to control it, or it will control you. You’ve probably already developed defense against anxiety that seem useful to you. They may even seem attractive — little smiles and perky gestures — but you’ll feel better when you can drop them. There’s no power like the power of the calm and confident. Jack Nicholson said acting is 90 percent nerve. Sometimes when I’m anxious, I remember that and it helps. It helps, as I go to sleep sometimes, simply to say to myself, I can do it. I’ve done it before, and I can do it now.

Though I said I was a fan of Alda’s, I never really realized just how good of a person he is. At one point, he talks about how he put his family in debt for some acting job, and was offered a role in a cigarette commercial, the pay ($50,000) for which would have brought him out of debt. And he turned it down for ethical reasons. Like damn, Alan.

He also talks about helping out in the aftermath of 9/11. Like not just donating a bunch of money, but actually being there, keeping up morale, and organizing various things to help out.

I’m definitely much more of a fan of his after having read this. Maybe it’s time to actually watch through M.A.S.H. in its entirety?

This book feels like it’s meant to inspire, and that it does. Plus, 6 hours of listening to Alan Alda’s weirdly soothing voice is a good time. But maybe that’s just me?

My Favorite Movies of 2018

Last night I saw On the Basis of Sex, and with that, I’m pretty sure I’m done seeing movies that came out in 2018. So here is a list of my favorite movies of the last year.

There are two additional ones at the end of the list that wouldn’t fit in the picture: Ready Player One and Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald.

I honestly feel pretty equally “meh” about all of the movies after Tomb Raider, so the last eight aren’t really in any particular order, I suppose.

And if I could include 2017 movies that I saw in 2018, I, Tonya would be number 1.

Anyway, I know I make fun of MoviePass a lot for their somewhat questionable business practices, but they paved the way for other movie subscription services, without which, I wouldn’t have seen most of the movies that are in my top. And ironically, 5/8 of the movies not listed are ones I probably would have paid to see individually, and probably would have been more disappointed in them knowing I spent money on them.

I’m excited to see even more movies in 2019. And I’m going to try to make it a point to review every movie I see this year on Letterboxd, so if you want to add me, my username is jsargey.

What was your favorite movie of the year? Do you agree or disagree with these? Please talk to me about movies!

10 authors that I discovered in 2018

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

The topic this week is 10 authors that I discovered in 2018. This one is super easy for me because in 2018 I read more books than I ever have before and was introduced to so many new authors. So here are my favorite newly discovered authors, along with the books I read:

  1. Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything; The Sun is Also a Star)
  2. Lauren James (The Loneliest Girl in the Universe)
  3. Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven)
  4. Marissa Meyer (Cinder)
  5. Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere, Everything I Never Told You)
  6. Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl, Carry On, Eleanor & Park)
  7. Mur Lafferty (The Shambling Guide to New York City)
  8. Stacey Lee (Outrun the Moon)
  9. Patrick Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here)
  10. Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove)

My Favorite Things #1

I’ve always been a bit on the negative side (especially on Mondays). Sure, I’m a bit of an optimist in certain scenarios, but for the most part I’m always envisioning the worst-case scenario for any given situation.

I’ve also grown a bit cynical in the past few years. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been complaining more and more about things that are less and less important. And that’s definitely affecting my mental health.

So, I’m trying to make an effort to be more positive. My blog literally has the word “happy” in the title. To help me be a more positive person, I’m going to keep a list of things that made me happy every month (or multiple times per month if I can). So to start out the year, here’s my first group of things.

Jonathan Van Ness learning to skate

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness has been posting videos on his Instagram of him learning how to skate and it is so inspiring. He’s getting really good, and it makes me so happy to watch his progress.

Taylor Swift’s Reputation concert on Netflix

I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift since her first album came back out. I was a teenager in high school and related to her songs so much.

She had one of the concerts on her last tour filmed and it was put on Netflix and I am so in love with it. I’m much more into her being up on stage with a guitar in hand as opposed to dancing around, but I still loved the entire two hour show.

And I’m happy that it seems to be getting other people into Taylor Swift. I feel like everyone is freaking out over this show, which is a welcome change from the past few years where it seemed like everyone hated her for some reason.

Spotify’s “This Is …” playlists

I’ve always struggled to get into new music, especially for bands with larger discography. Either I would get stuck just listening to a band’s greatest hits album over and over (if they even have one), or I would download their discography and get overwhelmed with the mass amount of music and never listen to any of it.

But Spotify has generated playlists for pretty much every artist with about 50 to 100 of their popular songs. I’m not sure what the criteria is for what songs get put in, but based on a few of the ones I listen to the most, it seems to be based on popularity.

I’ve gotten to explore so many new artists this way, and I love this feature.


My new water bottle!

I just bought a new water bottle for the first time in what feels like forever. For the longest time I’ve just been living off of free water bottles I got in college. They always leaked or made weird noises or had some other problem.

But now I have a fancy new one! It has a button that flips up the lid, which is oh so satisfying. It also doesn’t leak, so I can throw it in my bag without worrying about it spilling all over my stuff. It’s the little things, you know?


I’ve been eating Chipotle at least once a week for the past few months. Sometimes it’s even two or three times a week. I know it’s not super healthy and it’s expensive, but it’s just so good. Plus they seem to be more focused on sustainability / the environment / actually caring about their employees than most food places. Even though I don’t eat meat, from what I’ve read / heard, they responsibly source most of their meat when they’re able to.

Anyway, I love it because they have two vegetarian options that are both delicious. As most of these types of places, the only way to make it vegetarian-friendly is to just not put meat in it, but Chipotle offers a tasty tofu blend and I also like their grilled veggies / guac option too. I usually don’t like tofu, but I think because it’s so finely chopped up it doesn’t have the texture of tofu that I’m so averse to.

Writing this has made me very hungry… (I’ve already promised myself Chipotle for dinner as a reward for getting through some stressful deadlines at work)

IKEA food

Speaking of food… Eating at IKEA! Everytime I go to IKEA, I always get a cinnamon roll. That’s just the way things are. But lately I’ve been going to IKEA specifically to buy cinnamon rolls, even if I don’t need furniture. There’s an IKEA 10-15 minutes away from where I work so I forsee a future full of cinnamon rolls and lingonberry flavored beverages.

As an added bonus, IKEA always plays lots of ABBA music, which you can’t go wrong with.


I took a bit of a break from running after my last half marathon in April and getting back into it has reminded me of how great running makes me feel. I’m excited to make new running achievements this year!


I mean, just look how happy!

Rami Malek being just the most genuinely nice person ever

Do I even have to explain this one…? Talk about a delightful human being. Since the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek has suddenly gotten much more famous, and I’m so happy for him. It’s so nice watching him be recognized for his talent. But also it’s so nice just watching him talk about Freddie Mercury with such love in every interview. He just seems so intelligent and passionate about his work. And he just seems like the most genuinely good person.

He makes me very happy, and definitely inspires me to try to be a better person. The world needs more Ramis. And don’t even get me started on Mr. Robot, which is definitely in my top three TV shows of all time.


What things have made you happy lately? Any recommendations of things to check out?

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Nonfiction
Publication Date: March 9th, 2010
Format: Kindle
Length: 317 pages
Description from Goodreads:

The Story of Stuff focuses on the environmental and social issues caused by our current society. It was apparently based on a documentary the author made, which I have not seen, but may want to watch.

The book describes how consumerism is impacting our planet and the people on it. It tackles our overconsumption problem at every step of the “stuff-making process,” from manufacturing to use to throwing something out.

I was a bit concerned about picking it up at first when I saw that the release date was 2010. I thought that it might be too outdated and that I might be misinforming myself by reading it. But I really feel that the issues in this book are still relevant. So much of what’s in this book is still happening today, and some of the scenarios she describes are probably actually worse, given our current administration. I can’t really speak to what has changed since this book was written, but I am interested in learning more now.

I’ve always considered myself to be pretty on top of environmental issues. The environment is always something I’ve cared deeply about. I even majored in Natural Resources in college for crying out loud. But despite having spent 4 years learning about this stuff, there was so much more I learned in the book.

Reading this book has inspired me to work on changing some of my own personal habits. I always give myself a mental pat on the back for not eating meat, but there is so much more that I can be doing.

But it also mad me feel pretty helpless, because a lot of the issues she describes cannot be fixed by individuals. A lot of the problems in this book are cause by corporations trying to make as much money as possible, no matter what. And it seems like that’s only getting worse these day.

I really recommend everyone give this book a read. It’s super important that we be aware of what goes into the process of making the things that we own. I hope it’ll inspire someone else as well.

How many of the 339 books referenced on Gilmore Girls have I read?

Since moving from Connecticut to a region that I hate, Gilmore Girls has been my solace.

It’s one of my favorite shows of all time and I feel a pretty deep connection to Rory, having grown up in a small town, raised by a single mom, book lover, etc. Up until she becomes a terrible person of course (I mean, I’m bad, but I’m not that bad).

I got the idea for this post from Perfectly Tolerable, who found a list on Buzzfeed of all of the books that have been referenced on the show, so I thought it would be fun to go through all 339 of them and see how many I’ve read.

Here goes! The books I’ve read are in orange, but since the WordPress Reader doesn’t care about formatting, I’ll also bold them (though I don’t know if it even handles boldness, now that I think of it).

1. 1984 by George Orwell

2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

9. The Archidamian War by Donald Kagan

10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James

11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

13. Atonement by Ian McEwan

14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

16. Babe by Dick King-Smith

17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi

18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

21. Beloved by Toni Morrison

22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

23. The Bhagava Gita

24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy

25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel

26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy

27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali

29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner

30. Candide by Voltaire

31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (I’ve only read a portion of the tales, but I’m still counting it)

32. Carrie by Stephen King

33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (I don’t have vivid memories of reading this, but I vaguely remember this book, and think that I must have read it as a child)

36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman

37. Christine by Stephen King

38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

41. The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty

42. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

43. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell

44. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton

45. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker

46. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

48. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac

49. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

50. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

51. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

52. Cujo by Stephen King

53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

54. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

55. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D

56. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

57. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown

58. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

59. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

60. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

61. Deenie by Judy Blume

62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

63. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx

64. The Divine Comedy by Dante

65. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

66. Don Quixote by Cervantes

67. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv

68. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

69. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe (again, I’ve read a lot of these, but probably not all)

70. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook

71. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

72. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

73. Eloise by Kay Thompson

74. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger

75. Emma by Jane Austen

76. Empire Falls by Richard Russo

77. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol

78. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

79. Ethics by Spinoza

80. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves

81. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

82. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

83. Extravagance by Gary Krist

84. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

85. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore

86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan

87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

89. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

90. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein

91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

92. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce

93. Fletch by Gregory McDonald

94. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

95. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

96. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

97. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

98. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger

99. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

100. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

101. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

102. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg

103. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner

104. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

105. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

106. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo

107. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky

109. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

110. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford

111. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom

112. The Graduate by Charles Webb

113. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

114. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

115. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

116. The Group by Mary McCarthy

117. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

121. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

122. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

123. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare

124. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare

125. Henry V by William Shakespeare

126. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

128. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris

129. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton

130. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

131. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

132. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

134. How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland

135. Howl by Allen Ginsberg

136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

137. The Iliad by Homer

138. I’m With the Band by Pamela des Barres

139. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

140. Inferno by Dante

141. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

142. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy

143. It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton

144. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

145. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

146. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

147. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain

148. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

149. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito

150. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander

151. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

152. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

153. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence

154. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal

155. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

156. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield

157. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

158. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken

160. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

161. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

162. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway

163. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

164. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

165. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton

166. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

167. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

169. The Love Story by Erich Segal

170. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

171. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

172. The Manticore by Robertson Davies

173. Marathon Man by William Goldman

174. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

175. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir

176. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman

177. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

178. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer

179. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken

180. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare

181. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

182. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

183. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson

184. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

185. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin

186. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor

187. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman

188. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret

189. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars

190. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

191. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

192. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall

193. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh

194. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken

195. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest

196. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo

197. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

198. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

199. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

200. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

201. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin

202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen

203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

204. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

205. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

206. Night by Elie Wiesel

207. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan

209. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell

210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

211. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

212. Old School by Tobias Wolff

213. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

215. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

216. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan

217. Oracle Night by Paul Auster

218. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

219. Othello by Shakespeare

220. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan

222. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson

223. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

224. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan

226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

227. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious

228. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

229. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington

230. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain

232. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

233. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

234. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche

235. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind

236. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

237. Property by Valerie Martin

238. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon

239. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

240. Quattrocento by James Mckean

241. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall

242. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers

243. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

244. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

245. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

246. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

248. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

249. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman

250. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

251. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton

252. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King

253. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert

254. Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton

255. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

256. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

257. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

258. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

259. The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition

260. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi

261. Sanctuary by William Faulkner

262. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford

263. Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James

264. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum

265. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

267. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

268. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

269. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman

270. Selected Hotels of Europe

271. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell

272. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

273. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

274. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill

275. Sexus by Henry Miller

276. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

277. Shane by Jack Shaefer

278. The Shining by Stephen King

279. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

280. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton

281. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut

282. Small Island by Andrea Levy

283. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

284. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers

285. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore

286. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht

287. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos

288. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

289. Songbook by Nick Hornby

290. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

291. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

292. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

293. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

294. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

295. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

296. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

297. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams

298. Stuart Little by E. B. White

299. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

300. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

301. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett

302. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

303. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

304. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

305. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry

306. Time and Again by Jack Finney

307. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

308. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway

309. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

310. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare

311. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

312. The Trial by Franz Kafka

313. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

314. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

315. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

316. Ulysses by James Joyce

317. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath

318. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

319. Unless by Carol Shields

320. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

321. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers

322. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

323. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard

324. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

325. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

326. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

327. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten

328. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

329. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker

330. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles

331. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell

332. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

333. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

334. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee

335. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

336. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

337. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

338. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

339. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion


I got 39 out of 339, which is only 12%. Yikes! I’d say I have some catching up to do, but honestly, most of these books don’t really interest me, so reading them is definitely not a top priority.

2019 running goals + a running community for bookworms!

I know I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I’ve barely read any books in the past two months, and two of my last four blog posts have just been about the movie Bohemian Rhapsody.

I’m finally getting back into reading, but I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction, so I don’t know if I’ll even end up reviewing them here.

But I did want to share something cool in the book blogging community. Kaleena at Reader Voracious has set up an online community for readers that are interested in running. I’ve become less involved with some of my other online running communities in the past few months so I’ve been looking for a different source of nerdy running motivation. And luckily now I’ve found that.

I used to have a running blog, but deleted it before starting this one. I didn’t really like the pressure I felt to have to write about every single run I went on, or think about what I’m going to write about a race as I was running it. I just wanted to run. Combine that with hitting a running slump after my last half marathon, and I just didn’t want to keep the blog open. I probably shouldn’t have deleted it entirely, but it was kind of an impulse decision.

Anyway, as I get back into running, I may post about races / running every so often on here because I do kind of miss having an outlet to share running stories on.

As for my running goals this year, I’ve got a few races tentatively lined up. The big one is the Hartford Half Marathon. Seeing other people run that race is what got me into distance running a few years ago. But their 3 hour time limit always felt like a barrier to me. I ran my first half in over 3:30, but ran my second in 2:42. Now that I know that it’s possible for me to run a half in under 3 hours, I’m ready to tackle that race.

I’m also eyeing a 5 mile run in April and a 15K in May. After half a year of not running, I’m excited to get back into it.

If you’re interested, check out Kaleena’s post to get involved.

Defending Bohemian Rhapsody is the hill I’ll die on

If you follow me on Twitter you know I’m all about Bohemian Rhapsody. You probably also know that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the movie. I’ve seen it five times now, and alternate between loving and hating it each viewing. But it’s still my favorite movie of 2018. It’s fun, it celebrates one of my favorite bands, and the performances are fantastic. Plus, you can’t do better than that cast, especially Rami Malek.

But I know that it’s not everyone’s favorite. Sure audiences (especially Queen fans) love the movie, but critics were really harsh on it. I almost didn’t see it because the scores were so low. I’m glad I ignored them. The movies is currently sitting at 98% of Google users liking it, but 62% on Rotten Tomatoes and 48% on Metacritic (the latter two scores are critic-based).

The Golden Globes were last night and I stayed up way later than I should have waiting for Rami Malek to win best actor for his performance. I refreshed my Twitter feed countless times, waiting for confirmation of a win since I don’t have cable. I was about 90% sure he would win, but you never know with these award shows, so I still wanted to stay up and find out the result. A few moments after I found out he had won, I discovered Bohemian Rhapsody won best drama. What? I was shocked. Not in my wildest dreams had I imagined that happening.

It was up against so many good movies, and while I love the movie, it’s not like a perfect film. As I said in my review, it has some flaws. I really thought that A Star is Born would take home the award. Or Black Panther. Or BlacKkKlansman. All fantastic movies. And movies that seem like they would be critic favorites. But instead, a movie that was hated by critics won? I felt like I was in some sort of alternate universe.

I’m not sure why it won, but I’m glad it did. But people on the internet are mad as can be. Everyone is up in arms about this movie all of a sudden. And while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions, I feel like a lot of the hate is misplaced. And a lot of it is coming from people who claimed they haven’t even seen the movie, but still hate it. What?!

Most of the arguments I’ve seen online are that it shouldn’t have won because of Bryan Singer. And while, yeah, Bryan Singer is literally human garbage, his terrible actions shouldn’t cost the rest of the cast and crew recognition for what is a pretty great movie (though not typical awards ceremony material) and a big undertaking that they’ve managed to pull off.

Had Bryan Singer not been fired halfway through, my feelings would be different. If he was still attached to the project, I would feel gross supporting it. But he was literally fired and replaced. The only reason he is credited as director is because of some dumb SAG rule. And yeah, while it’s true that Fox shouldn’t have even hired him in the first place given what was known about him, Hollywood in general is pretty scummy, and this crap happens all the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should be complacent when terrible things happen. But recognize that movies are a collaborative effort among hundreds of people. And even though this movie was made under iffy circumstances, hundreds (thousands?) of people worked hard on it and deserve recognition for bringing Freddie’s story to the big screen.

Bringing Singer into the conversation around the movie only gives him more attention. Instead of tearing down the movie because of one terrible person, we should be lifting up the rest of the cast and crew and praising them for putting together such a great film despite having to deal with Bryan Singer.

Hate Bryan Singer, don’t hate Bohemian Rhapsody.



My 10 Favorite Books of 2018


Long time, no see. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I got swept up in NaNoWriMo in November and didn’t really get much reading done at all that month, and I’m still in a bit of a reading slump. But I finally feel like I’m getting back on track, so before the year runs out, I wanted to share my 10 favorite books of the year. These aren’t necessarily books that came out this year — in fact most of them are probably from previous years. But these are the books that really stood out to me when I read them this year.

I’m not really going to go into detail on why I like each book, but I’ll link to the book’s review if I’ve written one.

So, in no particular order, here are my 10 favorite books from this year:

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

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Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald

Radium Girls by Kate Moore

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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Top 5 books that drained my emotions

Some weeks I struggle to even come up with five books to match the week’s Top 5 Tuesday category. I skipped out on the past two weeks, like 80% because of NaNoWriMo, but also because I just couldn’t think of any good answers. But this week I could easily name 10 or 15 books that left me broken.

I guess I gravitate towards heartbreaking books?

Anyway, here are the five books that got to me the most when I read them:


This book is so sweet. I listened to the audiobook recently, and while I really recommend it, I do not recommend listening in a public place like I did.


There’s a really sweet conversation Christopher and his wife have after his accident that really got to me. Plus the whole story is pretty tragic.


This one was a tough read because I was so into their relationship the whole time, but the first page indicates that the relationship doesn’t last, so I was so torn the whole way through.


I think this was the first book I ever cried during. I just can’t handle sad animal things. In fact, just looking at the cover almost made me cry.


The Fault in Our Stars. Just thinking about this book makes me start to tear up. I was a wreck after reading this for the first time.

Honorable mentions: