June Reading

 

I love to read. When I get hooked into a book, I can sit in the same spot for hours immersed in the altered reality the book provides for me. Here are the books I read in June.

june books

 

-12 Years a Slave-

I borrowed this book from the University library one day while I was browsing their general section. I have yet to see the movie, but I am assuming it is as heart-breaking as the book. This gut-renching tale is of a free man getting sold to slavery in the 1800’s.

According to Goodreads: “Solomon Northup was a free-born African American from Saratoga Springs, New York. He is noted for having been kidnapped in 1841 when enticed with a job offer. When he accompanied his supposed employers to Washington, DC, they drugged him and sold him into slavery. From Washington, DC, he was transported to New Orleans where he was sold to a plantation owner from Rapides Parish, Louisiana. After 12 years in bondage, he regained his freedom in January 1853”

At some points, the written language of the book is confusing to read, but it adds an authenticity to the memoir.

Last summer, I visited a plantation in North Carolina, and walked along the same dirt paths as they had. It was an emotional experience, and I suggest its one everyone should experience.

 

-Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief-

This is my current Textbook for my Creative Writing course. It provides great examples and concrete terms to guide the reader through the text.

According to Goodreads: “How can students with widely varied levels of literary experience learn to write poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama — over the course of only one semester? In Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief, David Starkey offers some solutions to the challenges of teaching the introductory creative writing course: (1) concise, accessible instruction in literary basics; (2) short models of literature to analyze, admire and emulate; (3) inventive and imaginative assignments that inspire and motivate”

I like the ideas the textbook provide; ideas to brainstorm ideas, to methods to write poetry.

 

-Gone Girl-

THIS BOOK WAS FANTASTIC. This physiological thriller was glued to my hands; I could not put it down. My sister is currently finishing this book up. Hayley can you read it faster so we can gossip about the characters!? 

According to Goodreads:On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?”

As a Goodreads 2012 Choice, It’s a prize-winning book full of thought provoking commentary on the psychology  of relationships — and how much you know your partner.

I heard some gossip that this novel is in the works of becoming a film, and low-and-behold there is a preview! Enjoy:

 

I do hope this movie adds up to the emotional outpour of the novel. Although all book lovers know: The books is always better than the movie. 

 

-On Writing-

This was one of my required readings for my Theory of Creative Writing Class during the first 5 weeks of my summer classes. I had read only one of Stephen King’s books : 11/22/63, and loved his style of writing. Although lengthy — 11/22/63 contained over 600 pages, I flew through the story enjoying the writing and the character development.

This book, however was a memoir and writing class all bundled into one. I learned the struggles King endured, and the persistence he had to publish his writing.

According to Goodreads:Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told

I’ll be posting soon an update of my July books soon. I haven’t gone to the library in a few days, and I’m itching to pick up another novel. I am open to  suggestions, and would love to hear your favorite summer reads.

lyndsay paige

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The Snake

Since my Theory of Creative Writing Class has ended, I can finally post some of my work I wrote for the class! I wrote a variety of creative content including: non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. I have a few poems I would like to share, just because they were fun to write

I wrote this poem based on a poem we had to read in class. Unfortunately I cannot look up the author of the original poem because I sent my textbook back to the rental guys. So just imagine it was based on a poem.

 

The Snake

I have to kill the snake tomorrow. He’s conniving, and all around slimy

from head to toe, slicked with oil and the morning dew clinging to his scales.

The cats titter, hanging their paws against the cool concrete, swinging their tails like

a cuckoo clock. Meow Meow Meow. Small bellows of sound escape their windpipes,

producing warlike cries.

Out near the lake sits a banana tree, a pile of weeds in its shade.

That’s where he sits, like a loose garden hose, or better yet a popped bicycle tire,

treaded and worn out.

He slithers though the overgrown grass, plowing each blade with its sharp razor back.

He doesn’t belong here, near the house. Near the cats nor near the dogs.

I cannot go outside and catch him for he will laugh and stick his tongue out at me,

Ha you human.

I could try the shovel, or maybe the broom. Bring the sharped edge to his temple, slicing

through the flesh like an apple. Or perhaps set the neighbors dog on him, a puppy who

loves to pounce at anything that moves.

Alas, I cannot kill the black snake, for once I have killed him, I would have to dispose of

his body. A three foot long limp soy noodle would sit in my backyard, awaiting

the disposal of nature: Vultures. I cannot dispose of him,

therefore I should not kill him in the first place. Instead, I shall join my cats,

place the palms of my hands on the pavement, and shout war cries.

 

 

This poem is quite relevant because I saw two snakes yesterday; one in my backyard and another while I was riding my bike. I’m getting better around them– I didn’t scream when I saw it, but I did jump on top of my patio chair.

I’m thinking of putting together a monthly book review, or list for this blog. Like a online book club! I’ll post my July picks tomorrow, the first of the month.

The Devil Wears Prada

I was so excited to read this book because let’s face it, the movie is a total chick flick. Two words: Meryl Streep. Even though I watched the movie before the novel (Gasp!) I loved all of the similarities of both the book and the film. “The Devil Wears Prada”, pokes fun at a recent college grad who lands a job with the devil of the fashion world, Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway Magazine. Weighing in at a mere four hundred pages, this book is fast paced, and a great beach read. I admit it only took me three days to finish this fashionista novel.

Andrea, the narrator in the novel, picks up Miranda Priestly’s coffee from starbucks every morning, Which I took as inspiration for my “Devil Wears Prada” Cupcake. This Devil’s food cake is rich with hints of coffee and topped with Starbucks’ signature whipped cream twirl and green straw.

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Devil's Coffee Food Cake topped with Whipped Cream Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

For the Cake
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Cocoa
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Instant Coffee (Or Espresso)
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
For the Frosting
1/4 Cup Water
1 teaspoon unflavored Gelatin
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
For Decor
1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips, melted

 

Instructions

For the Cake
Preheat Oven to 350 Degree and prep cupcake tin
Sift dry ingredients together (Flour, Sugar, Cocoa, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Instant Coffee)
Mix wet ingredients together EXCEPT Water (Egg, Milk, Oil, Vanilla)
In bowl combine wet and dry ingredients until mixed.
Add Boiling water and mix. The batter will be runny.
Measure out batter into cupcake tins and bake 20-25 minutes until bounces back to touch
Cool Completely.
For the Frosting
Bloom Gelatin in water and let soften for ten minutes.
Heat mixture in microwavable bowl, in microwave for three minutes to dissolve gelatin. Let stand ten minutes or until room temperature
With cold beaters, You can achieve this by placing your mixing bowl and beaters into the freezer for a few minutes, Beat the cream and while beaters are still mixing stream in gelatin. Beat until stiff peaks.
Use immediately

 

The Queen will wait for coffee no longer. – The Devil Wears Prada

 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Ahh, the wonderful wizard of Oz. A classic novel penned by L. Frank Baum in 1900. I decided to base a flavorful cupcake off of one of my favorite novels.

I adore Lemon Poppy Seed anything. It’s a fantastic flavor profile with the hints of crunch, and the earthy undertones in the cake.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

For the Cake

1 Cup sugar
7 Tablespoons butter (Room Temperature)
2 eggs (Room Temperature)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1/2 sour cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

For the Frosting

1 Cup Cream Cheese (Room temperature)
1/4 Cup Butter (Room Temperature)
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Zest, Minced
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

For the Cake

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and prepare cupcake tin
  • In Bowl, mix together dry ingredients ( Flour, Poppy Seeds, Salt, Baking powder, baking soda) Set aside.
  • With mixer, Cream together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time scraping bowl between each egg. Mix until incorporated and emulsified.
  • To eggs, add half of the dry ingredient mixture and mix until just incorporated. Over mixing will result in tough cakes.
  • Add Half of the sour cream (1/4 cup) and mix.
  • Add the rest of the flour and sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  • Measure out batter to cupcake tins and bake for 25 minutes or until cake bounces back when touched. Cool on wire racks until completely cool.

For the Frosting

Cream Butter and cream cheese until smooth, and air has been incorporated.
Add sugar, zest, and juice. Decorate Cakes Accordingly.

Besides great clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brilliant in color they almost dazzled Dorothy’s eyes – The Wizard of Oz

I am Malala

This past week I have been reading, “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, and Christina Lamb. I was intrigued by her message of education and self-sacrifice for women’s rights.

As a girl, Malala followed her father’s footsteps in fighting for equal rights in education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Malala was shot by the Taliban. Before reading this book, I had very little education about the Taliban and the limitations women have in Pakistan. This book opened my eyes to the problems we have in our world. The cruelty that these people face on a daily basis is mind boggling.

Malala is a hero. As one of the youngest nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, I believe more young girls should learn about her and look up to her as a role-model. As Americans we take education for granted, and cut vital funding each year. We must all learn from Malala and stand for the purpose of education.

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