Posted in Sourdough

Sourdough, Part 1

A couple of months ago, I read this book – Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I’d read his Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore previously, and I loved it; it was light, feel-good, yet engaging, and Sourdough was the exact same way. It is about this woman, Lois, who is given a sourdough starter, which proceeds to change her life (my best quick, spoiler-free review).

I was inspired, and I wanted to start making bread, but sort of put it on the back burner, just letting it ruminate in the back of my head. Then, about two weeks ago, I saw a sourdough cookbook on the shelf of the bookstore I just started working at. I went ahead and got it, then took a trip to my local health-food store, where I got some rye flour, which the cookbook says is good for a sourdough starter.

I wanted to do this from scratch – no yeast, no one sending me part of their starter – this was, and still is, going to be an experiment to see not only if I can keep this starter alive, but if I can bake something good with it, too.

To start a starter, you just mix about 60g of the whole wheat flour (in my case, rye) with 60g of water. Then, you let it sit for 24 hours.

Next, it’s time to feed. You discard about half of the starter, then replace it with flour and water again. The cookbook says you can use all-purpose flour at this point, which I tried, but my starter has been responding much better to continued use of the rye flour. You are supposed to continue this for the rest of the week, and then the starter may be ready to bake with. Mine was not!

Apparently, sourdough starters are supposed to double in size, have lots of bubbles, and smell like yeast when they are ready. There is also a trick where you can drop some in a cup of water, and it’s supposed to float. By the seventh day, mine had bubbles, had basically doubled in size, and it smelled heavily of nail polish remover.

The smell thing is apparently very common – I just didn’t know how to fix it so it would finally be ready to bake with. I did some Pinteresting, as one does, and it turns out that smell means the starter is hungry – so, I started feeding it twice a day instead of once. Apparently it’s also important to weigh how much you’re discarding and replace that same amount, which I did not know, either – thank you, Pinterest!

The extra feedings made a difference literally immediately – more bubbles, even bigger starter, and it smells like yeast, not chemicals!

So, I started to bake my first loaf last night! The dough was supposed to rise overnight, but it hadn’t quite gotten there yet this morning, so I’m going to go check it in a minute. Stay tuned for how that turns out!

Posted in Thoughts

Community Gardens, or, Why I Keep Going

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

I’m not going to go in too much detail about my experiences, because this is an internet full of strangers.

Instead, I am going to say why I am alive and why I am glad to be.

Simply put, people make a difference in my life by being there for me. There isn’t some big way they reach out to me; it is the little things, the way a friend would ask me to go for a drive with her, or the time she wanted to go on an adventure, so we walked around campus late at night, at the expense of checking our cell phones for calls from the others at a party who didn’t know where we went. Most of my friends make plans, ask me to do things, actually put in the effort to see me. When I was living in a dorm, I would crash in someone else’s bed while my roommates fought. I got driven around town when I was having panic attacks, and one boy got a ticket so I wouldn’t have to walk home from work at one in the morning. In a more specific sense, I am told I was smart, talented, and deserved better than the way I was treated. When I was really going through it, my family would check in on me daily, and my parents helped me move twice in one week when I decided I’d had enough.

I’m thankful for what I did, too. If I could go back, I would be tempted to make changes. But I like the way I made very specific playlists to get me through the nights, the times I was kind and shouldn’t have been, and the moment I decided, on my own, that I was done self-destructing. I’m proud of how I knew I couldn’t take it anymore, so I asked for help.

I wish more people knew how to ask for help. I wish more college students knew a lot of universities offer free counseling services for them. I wish people were told how much they matter. I wish everyone knew how affected the world would be without them in it. That sounds cliche, but it’s experience. I know how much something similar affected me.

It’s okay to ask for help. I’m not sure what took me so long. I think I was embarrassed. I thought, I have no reason to feel like this. There isn’t always a reason. Sometimes you just hurt.

But it will also stop.

Not right away. You have to do some work. Once you start working, your eyes open, little by little. First, you see the bird that likes to sit on your windowsill. Then, you notice there’s a blackberry attached to a stem the bird brought back for its nest. You wonder, and you go outside, and by the trees at the back of the yard, you find a briar patch and wonder how the bird avoided the thorns. You decide to plant a garden, and every day you weed it a little bit, so it never gets overgrown. The first thing you harvest is a cherry tomato. Just one. But it’s alive, there on its plant, alive because you nurtured it with water and sunlight and love. And you realize–that’s how you came back to life, too, through hard work, weeding out the dead leaves so new ones could grow, and loving yourself a little more each day. You’re a community garden, one in which people poured out their love like water, and therapists sprinkled wildflower seeds that brought in butterflies to keep you growing, growing, growing. It’s good to have a community. But you had to decide to let them in. You had to decide you want to be here.

I am thankful for every person in my life who has told me I am worthy. I am thankful for those who told me I am not, because those words showed me I needed to move my garden plot somewhere sunnier. I love eating strawberries or feeling peach juice run down my arm. Nothing compares to wandering Barnes & Noble with my friends, even if I don’t buy anything. When I do buy a book, I bring it home and put it on my To Be Read shelf, the one hanging honorably above my desk. I get coffee and do homework in the same shop as a friend, because even if we aren’t talking, we are companionably stressed. I write words I think are pretty, even if no one else reads them. I listen to music that’s soft, then loud, just like me. My dogs look at me like I make the sun shine, which is exactly how I look at them, too. There are paintings, books, new foods, and flower petals I haven’t pressed yet.

Here is what I want to do with this life I have. I want to be kind, to help people, to write things that make people cry, not because they’re sad, but because they feel understood. I want to give treats to every dog I meet and love everyone I meet.

I want to get all the time I can to do those things. I hope everyone reading this gets to that point, too.

It’s hard. I know that. But I also know it is so, so worth it.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Posted in Thoughts

To Take Up Space

Sometimes I get the urge to spill my guts–I have something to say, and I need somebody to pay attention.

The problem with this urge is I don’t always know what I want to say. I just want someone to listen to me. I want to know the words I’m saying or writing are reaching somebody, not just going up into the atmosphere like a forgotten balloon. When I speak, I want it to be important.

I hate small talk. I will engage in it, but I’d rather get to know somebody. I had a classmate a couple semesters ago who didn’t seem capable of small talk, and I envied him for it. Upon being put in a group together, he didn’t just talk about the papers we were reviewing for each other. He asked why. He asked why I chose my topic, why I am an English major, and he listened to my answers.

I have another classmate, a girl. She was talking to me in the hallway once–it was our second class taken together. When she was done speaking, she apologized. “I’m sorry if I’m bothering you.” I wanted to cry. What is it about being a little vulnerable that makes us feel guilty?

I want other women to know that we don’t need to apologize for taking up space, for making people listen.

It’s okay to need things. I’ve been trying to get better about that, telling people when I need something. I went through a prolonged experience where it felt like I was being punished for needing things, so it’s a mental block I’ve had to work on recently. It’s not wrong to need support. It’s not wrong to express your hurt. It’s not wrong to ask a person to fix what they broke. Easier to say than to believe though, right?

I’m also learning I’m not wrong to still be healing from the experience, even though it was a while ago. I can be over it one minute and then hear a song, which will fill me with the remnants of the past. I find that’s what happens most often.

This is why it’s important to find people who want to take up space with you. You should not exist in someone else’s space. But–you can coexist. You can take up space together, like reverse mitosis. And I’m talking about friends (or family), people who don’t mind when you make them watch the Mary, Queen of Scots movie or drone on about how you accidentally bought two planners. In fact, they want you to do those things, because they want you to take up space, to be the best version of yourself. I used to say all the time, “I’m not living my best life,” and a friend would ask, whenever something good happened, “Are you living your best life now?” She would ask this excitedly because she wanted it to be true, for no other reason than she cared about me.

So where do we find these people? I have no idea. I’ve been lucky with the ones I have–they are either family or were just in my life one day. Maybe that’s the way good friendships happen. You don’t know how you got there, but one day you realize you can’t imagine life without them in it.

I think it’s vital to tell people that, that you can’t imagine life without them in it. Other people need things, need to know they’re special, too. If everybody told each other the good they feel, maybe nobody would be worried about taking up space.

There are a lot of things I want for myself. I want to be happy. I want to be heard. I want to be sure of myself. But most of all, I want to be kind. I want to listen, really listen, when people talk to me. I’m working on all of those things.

Posted in Thoughts

Spring is Coming (8/29/2020)

This was originally created as a book review site. However, I’m in such a reading slump, and as I’m sure no one has noticed, I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year. I’ve only read a couple good books since then, including Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen (I recommend highly). It was assigned to me by my bibliotherapist, which, if you haven’t heard of, drop a comment or Google it, because it’s incredible. I actually just emailed my bibliotherapist and asked for help to get out of this reading slump. We’ll see what she says.

So, I may post book reviews when I have the time, but I think I’m going to use this as more of a blog space from now on. Blogging was recommended to me by a new friend today, and I told her about my failed attempt at posting book reviews, but I felt the urge today to get some thoughts out. I journaled for the first time in a year, and it felt incredible. Still, I felt the need to put the thought out there, into the void. I figured, since no one ever really got into this site except for me, I could try out writing about my feelings.

Introduction time: I’m Riley, I’m in my senior year of my English – Creative Writing degree, which I have gone for at two colleges – one in Alabama, but I ultimately transferred back to the university in my hometown in Florida. It was cheaper to switch, and I like the school more, but there were also extenuating circumstances that the void doesn’t need to know about quite yet. Writing is my favorite thing to do, and I’ve been doing a lot of creative non-fiction lately, so blogging is kind of a natural extension of that.

Today, I journaled. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. Most of my journal is from my time in Alabama, when I was extremely lonely, depressed, anxious, you name it. Hindsight is so 20/20 though, and I’m realizing that so much as I get older. I thought the problem was me, that everything bad in my life was my fault, my depression’s fault. But it’s so important who you surround yourself with – I had the option to be around good girls who cared about me, but I chose to devote myself to this group of a couple of people who claimed to care about me. The problem is they never showed that they cared about me. I expressed my regret to one of those good girls recently, told her how much I wished I had chosen that group over the other. I’ve been struggling with that, trying not to be regretful. Now, at 21, I really like where my life is going. So it shouldn’t matter what bad choices got me here, right?

I went through my journal, just to see where I had been. I found some amazing quotes that I’m surprised I had the insight at the time (ages 18 and 19) to write. Some highlights include “How very like society to only be attracted to tragedy,” and “I want to be alive, like, Big Alive.” My favorite though is from just a few days before I packed up and left that Alabama school:

“Spring is coming.”

Now, when I wrote that, it was February, so my timing was correct. That was hope, simple hope, because in February of 2019, my life was falling apart. I had no confidence, no self-esteem to speak of. I had no way of knowing that I would be so pleased with who I am today in 2020. Of course, I still have a ton of anxiety about the future – my latest obsession is grad school applications. I think finding that quote, written in my own hand, was a great reminder for myself that no matter how anxious I get, no matter how terrible my life seems, it’s going to get good again. Even when it seems like it never will. It will.

So, those are my thoughts for 8/29/2020. I will update when it suits my whims. If anybody at all reads this, please leave a recommendation in the comments about how to deal with a reading slump caused by the inability to focus on anything for more than literally ten seconds at a time.

Posted in books

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Recently, I’ve become very obsessed with Sally Rooney. At the the very end of December 2019, I finally got around to reading her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, and I was immediately hooked. I went out straight-away to get Normal People, which is even more critically acclaimed. I truly could not tell you which one I liked better; I think that Normal People left more of an impact on me, simply because I read the two books back to back, and Normal People was second in the line-up.

Normal People is about Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron, beginning with their lives prior to going to university. The two engage in a secret relationship, which ultimately falls apart. However, both attend Trinity College Dublin, and it’s not long before they run into each other again. Ultimately, Marianne and Connell are unable to stay away from each other, and their relationship spans friendships and countries as their lives diverge on different paths.

Rooney’s character development drove the story in a strong way, allowing Marianne and Connell to experience life in a way that was incredibly real and believable.

This sophomore work asked me the question, “how important is it to keep a person in your life who seems to ultimately understand you more than anyone else?”

One of my favorite quotes (I dog-eared the page, underlined it, the whole nine-yards) is:

“Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was or become part of it.”

This line resonated, and really, the whole book, resonated with me in a way that literature hasn’t been able to in a while. I get this feeling as well, sometimes, that life is something non-tangible, that if you let it, it will escape through your fingers like shifting sand. I’m of the firm belief that good books will hold a mirror up to you, that they will cause you to recognize a fundamental truth, without the author knowing anything about you previously, and Normal People had that effect on me the whole time I was reading it.

I know I’m waxing poetic about this novel, not even offering critiques of any sort. I never really do in my book reviews. I think that looking at a book for its strengths is more beneficial than picking it apart, looking for any errors on the author’s part. And the strengths Sally Rooney displays in Normal People are some of the best I’ve ever seen, especially for an author not that much older than I am.

As of the writing of this review, Rooney is only 28 and has two novels under her belt, and she was also the editor of the Irish literary magazine, The Stinging Fly. You can read The New Yorker article on her here. It’s a great read, one that makes me want to be more like her, if I’m being completely honest. I just ordered her short story, Mr. Salary, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Posted in books

My Year in Books

2019 was a very dramatic year for me, and I think that the books I read reflect that. My goal this year was to read 35 books, but I only made it to 20. However, I enjoyed the time I spent reading this year, and, according to Goodreads, I read over 6,000 pages. So, here are all the books I read, along with a brief review of three of my favorites.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

I’ve reviewed Sweetbitter before, but it was truly one of my favorite reads this year. Tess’s journey through the underbelly of New York City’s world of fine dining is captivating, as are the tense, almost masochistic relationships Tess develops with Simone and Jake.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This book is a classic, and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. I had previously read Hemingway’s short stories, along with The Old Man and the Sea, but The Sun Also Rises really cemented Hemingway as one of the best writers of the twentieth century in my opinion. Jake’s navigation of love and the ritual of bullfighting make for an incredible story, boosted by Hemingway’s unmistakable prose style.

Conversation with Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends is a book that I think is going to stick with me for a long time. Frances is a 21 year old living in Dublin when she is thrown into the world of an older writer and her husband, an actor. I’m a firm believer that when one reads a book matters, and I think the reason I connected so much to Frances was because we are the same age, both college students, both worried about how the world views us, and both trying to make it as a writer. Sally Rooney’s characters are vivid, alive, and their development is incredible. I am about to start reading Rooney’s second novel, and I can’t wait to see what she does with those characters, as well.

This year brought a lot of personal changes for me, and I am pleased to say that I am much happier now, on January 1, 2020, than I was on January 1, 2019. 2019 was hard, but I don’t think I would change anything about it, and I’m glad I had these books to walk me through it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dark Places

For a while, I was in a reading slump. I have been so busy with work and school, I’ve barely had any time for reading for pleasure. And when I did have time, I just couldn’t seem to find a book that fit my mood. That was, until, I picked up Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, of Gone Girl fame. One of my all-time favorite books, Sharp Objects, was also written by her, so I knew that I would be in for good storytelling and an intriguing plot.

Dark Places follows Libby Day, the sole survivor of the killer who left the rest of her family dead in rural Kansas in the ’80s. As a seven-year old, she testified that her brother, Ben Day, was the murderer. She is an adult in present day, depressed and running out of money – fast. So, when she is approached by Lyle of the Kill Club, who offers her money to come to a meeting, Libby is more than happy to oblige. However, the followers of the Kinnakee, Kansas murders are not so convinced that Ben is guilty, and this sends Libby on a quest to discover who is truly guilty, sending her all over the Midwest as she encounters people from her past, people she never would have dreamed were involved.

Gillian Flynn does not disappoint. This is the second book I’ve read by her, and I was just as pleased with Dark Places as I was with Sharp Objects. I love a good mystery, especially with a plot twist. And this novel had two plot twists. However, the twists were not out of the blue. There were clues early on in the book, which I did not see until the end. I enjoyed Sharp Objects more, and I think it was maybe because the main character was a little more likable than Libby. Libby is harsh, has sharp edges that are easy to get cut on. But that is to be expected, based on what she’s been through. Gillian Flynn does not write conventionally likable female characters, which is one of the things I like about her as a writer. I just found it a little hard to feel sympathy for Libby based on the way she treated people. The excellent writing and incredible plot were what kept driving me to keep reading – this was a page turner, for sure, and it makes me want to finally pick up Gone Girl, because Gillian Flynn’s writing can not by over-hyped.

Posted in books

Sweetbitter

This week I read Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. It follows 22-year-old Tess, who moves to New York City in the summer of 2006. She walks into a random restaurant, the best one in the city, and lands the job. She quickly becomes consumed with the lives of the other servers, joining their active night life. But two coworkers, Simone and Jake, have her utmost attention. Jake is the bad boy that Tess can’t have. Simone is the older, wiser waiter who takes Tess under her wing. What follows is the awakening of Tess’s palate, her coming of age, and her realization of what she deserves from the world. She does this through drinking, partying, and falling in love. Her good decisions may be few and far between, but her bad decisions cause her to grow as a person.

This quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. I read this over a period of three days at my local Barnes & Noble, and when I wasn’t reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. For someone who has worked in food service for years, I thought that Danler really nailed what it’s like to work in a restaurant, even if I’ve never worked in one as fancy as the one Tess lands in. This book made me want to drop everything and take a road trip, to have new experiences and summon my own coming-of-age. I found Tess to be an incredibly real character – she messes up, is unlikable at times, but in the end tries to better her self. One thing she seemed to struggle with was self-respect, almost until the very end of the book, when what I found to be her worst mistake was made. But through it all, you can’t help but root for her, want her to discover that she deserves more than she’s allowing herself to have.

Sweetbitter doesn’t have some mystery, something sinister going on in the background, or even a real plot. What it does is simply follow Tess’s life, and it was still interesting! I think what we all want is for our lives to be interesting enough for someone to want to read about it, to have someone root for us as we go through our life’s adventures, even if we don’t know they’re adventures while we’re having them. And it was refreshing to have a female character who was allowed to make mistakes and be unlikable, while still allowing us to want her to come out on top.

Stephanie Danler crafted a novel with gorgeous prose, incredible sensory detail, and a beautiful aesthetic that’s hard to top. I think it will be a while before I find a book that resonates with me as much as this one did.

Posted in books

Bookstore Mysteries

Recently, I picked up a bookstore mystery – that is, like the name suggests, a mystery that surrounds a bookstore. It led me to another book like it, and now I think I’m obsessed.

The first bookstore mystery I came across was Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan. Lydia Smith is a book clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore in Denver, Colorado, which is populated by the affectionately named BookFrogs. They are patrons, generally men, who frequent the bookstore, seemingly with no other lives to be had. They all have stories to tell, and more often than not, are all too eager to share them. One midnight, though, at closing, Lydia finds her favorite BookFrog, Joey, hanging from a rope on the third floor. He has a picture of Lydia, from her tenth birthday party, in his pocket.
Lydia is suddenly confronted, not only with death, but also with the past she has worked so hard to bury. What happens next is that Lydia has to deal with her demons while following the clues Joey left behind as she tries to figure out why he has killed himself.

I absolutely adored this novel – mysteries were what got me into reading, so finding one that focuses on a bookstore felt like hitting the jackpot. The story line was on just the right side of plausibility, and all the pieces fit together in the end. We are left grieving for Joey, but Lydia gets the closure she so desperately needed, both for Joey’s death and for her own past. Sullivan’s characters are also interesting to read, each one with defining characteristics that make them seem all the more real. One of my favorites is named Plath, a chain-smoking book clerk who consistently lends Lydia her car. Sometimes Lydia could be a little unlikable, like in the way she treats her boyfriend, but female characters should not be likable all the time, so it makes her character all the more real and developed.

Next up is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. The story follows Clay Jannon, a young guy living in San Francisco, looking for a job. He stumbles into Penumbra’s one day, and suddenly, he is hired. But this bookstore isn’t typical. For one, like the name suggests, it is open 24/7. And Clay works the night shift. His customers are unusual – generally, they come in returning books and checking out new ones – not buying them. And these books are all mysterious, kept separate from the normal books. When Clay opens one, he is surprised to find it written in code. He finds all the other books written that way, as well. With the help of his army of friends and Mr. Penumbra himself, Clay sets out to figure out this mysterious code and what it means. This adventure will take him across the United States, underground, and even into the depths of a secret society.

Though I liked Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore more, I did really enjoy this novel. I found Clay’s narration to be funny at times, which of course makes the read more fun. Each of his friends has an eccentricity, like Kat, who wears the same t-shirt every day, or Mat, who is building his own city. Mr. Penumbra was the most endearing character, a sweet old man you can’t help but root for. My favorite part of the book was the ending, when the mystery is solved and friendships are solidified and life goes on for the characters. Though Sloan’s book was sometimes heavy-laden with tech jargon, he did his best to explain it in layman’s terms. Overall, this read was actually more fun and light-hearted than Bright Ideas. For two books I would put in the same genre, they are two totally different experiences, both offering a great escape for the reader.

Posted in books

Favorites

The hardest thing for a bookworm to do is pick their all-time favorite book. So, I’ve compiled a list of several of my favorites, along with a short summary and why I love them. In no particular order:

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray is an impressionable young man, the muse of a talented painter named Basil Hallward. Basil’s friend, Lord Henry, takes quite a liking to Dorian, and takes him under his wing, showing the young man the Hedonistic ways of the world. Trouble comes when Basil finishes his portrait of Dorian – Dorian takes one look at it and wishes that he could stay that young and beautiful for the rest of his life. But is there more to this wish than Dorian intended?

The main reason I love The Picture of Dorian Gray is because of Wilde’s incredibly beautiful prose. Lines like “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic,” and “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope,” showcase the aesthetic movement that Wilde was trying to represent in his only novel.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This series opens with Blue Sargent, a teenage girl in a family of psychics, pondering the many readings she has gotten that all say the same thing – if she kisses her true love, he will die. So, she has simply decided that she will never fall in love, thus avoiding the issue all together. But when she meets a group of boys from Aglionby Academy, everything changes. She joins them on their epic quest, looking for the grave of a Welsh king, the reward being a granted wish. This is a very simplified description of the first book in a series of incredible adventure, all-consuming friendship, and true loves.

Maggie Stiefvater really does it with her prose. Perhaps the most iconic quote in this book, in my opinion, is “‘Is this thing safe?”
“Safe as life,” Gansey replied.'” The lines can be quick, quippy, but they carry a heavy weight with them. Stiefvater is also a master of characterization. The characters seem real, like they’re your best friends instead of words on a page. She has heavily influenced my writing as I try to emulate that.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Emily Hughes is a regular seventeen year old – she loves her family and her best friend, Sloane Williams. Sloane has a habit of sending Emily lists when she goes on vacations, different things to do in each new locale. But this summer, things are different. Sloane has disappeared with her parents to some unknown location with absolutely no warning. All she leaves Emily is another list, with things like “Hug a Jamie” and “Ride a Horse.” Emily dutifully follows this list, hoping that it will magically bring Sloane back into her life. Along the way, she meets new people, makes new friends, and has an all together unforgettable summer

The reason this book made it into my favorites list is because from the beginning, I really connected with Emily. In fact, my best friend and I call each other Emily and Sloane because of this book. At the start, Emily is a shy girl with no penchant for adventure, and Sloane is her only friend. By the end of the book, though, she is able to push for what she wants, speak up for herself, and has had the summer of a lifetime. When I first read this, I was fifteen or sixteen, and I felt exactly like Beginning Emily, and I wanted desperately to be like End Emily. I am now. And I’ll always list Morgan Matson as one of my favorite writers for giving me a character to look up to.

Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav

This collection of poetry and prose actually just came out last month, and it quickly worked its way into my heart. It’s harder to do a summary for a book of poetry, so I’ll skip to why I love it, including some snippets.

I think the reason this book resonated so deeply with me is because I was going through a heartbreak when I read it. The book focuses on love, but different kinds, especially self-love and platonic love, with less of a focus on romance. My favorite line is “The most beautiful thing is not when you learn to live without something; it’s the moment you realize you never
needed it in the first place.” And this is so true – if you’ve lived without something before, you can do it again, and you can, in fact, be better off without it. Leav’s words really struck a cord with me, and I’m very thankful I found this book when I did.

For now, these are the books I’ll leave you with. They have meant a lot to me, and I’ve read most of them several times. I’ll add books to this list as I come across more that reach favorite status. As a closing, have one last quote from Love Looks Pretty on You,

Don’t stay where you are needed. Go where you are loved.