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Date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Date a Girl Who Reads was written by Rosemarie Urquico in response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date an Illiterate GirlI actually found this essay a while ago but only now for some strange reason I started thinking about it again. So here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Photo courtesy of Портрет

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

Photo courtesy of Dave Makes

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

 

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Because we all have stories we’d like to pretend never happened.

The book for intellectual misfits.

Remember when I was so excited because I started reading the book that’s like laughing at a funeral? Well, I just finished reading it. If I were to be honest, I could have finished this book a few days ago, but I wanted to take my time, to savor it. I was never one to enjoy reading something too fast. I believe part of the fun in reading a book is when you catch yourself pausing at a random sentence in the book to think about what’s in there. And this happened a lot when I was reading this book.

No, I never found myself with my arm stuck inside a cow’s vagina, or got a bathtub full of baby raccoons for my birthday, but I had my fair share of embarrassing moments in life. But I think we all do, right? Can’t you think of one single moment of your life that if told someone would make you feel like a weirdo?

I could tell you about the time I was dressed as a homeless person as a child and was blinded by stage lights on someone’s shoulder. I was on that person’s shoulder, not the lights. Why would someone have stage lights on their shoulder? That’s just ridiculous.

Or I could tell you about waking up before the sun to drink carrot juice. Okay, maybe that’s not so insane, but it was this orange thing that had a hard time leaving the glass, since my grandmother refused to add water to it, so it was almost like baby food in a glass. And she’d wait for you to drink it all before she’d let you fall back asleep. My uncles had perfected the skill, and would drink without even waking up. I had to fight the urge to throw up. Fun times.

Or I could tell you about when I ran through a glass door and only realized what had happened when I saw all the blood. Best seventh birthday in the history of ever! It involved broken glass, stitches, a broken key, and popping balloons under my dress while this strange guy fixing our door had birthday cake with us.

Hey, remember how I started talking about a book and all of a sudden changed it to talking about myself? Yeah, that’s how that book goes. Well, it won’t talk about me, but it does talk about the weirdest things and at moments makes you wonder if she’s still talking about the same thing she was in the beginning of the chapter. If you’re ADD you’ll love it! It’s just like an ADD mind works. Or maybe you’ll get even more lost than usual, hard to tell. It worked for me, though.

This book made me laugh so loud my neighbors probably wondered what was wrong with me. Especially when I’d cry a few minutes later reading about how she saved her daughter from being attacked by potentially wild dogs. By the way, that chapter gave me nightmares. I had a dream where my mom was bitten by animals and then they found a tooth inside her foot and I yelled at her for not telling me about it and letting me find out about something like that through my half-brother, who’s not even her son to begin with. Insane! I mean, I’d never yell at my mom. Ever.

Anyway, if you want to laugh, and cry, and basically find out you’re not the weirdest person alive, buy the book! Now! To me, the message of the book is: we all have our own embarrassing stories we’d like to forget about, to erase from our memories, but the truth is, we are who we are because of them. Cherish them, don’t hide them.

 

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The Hunger Games – Mich’s review

Ever since I posted my review on this book I’ve been searching around for other reviews. I even talked about a really good one I read and re-blogged a post about the whole dystopian trend. Then I thought people would get tired of reading my posts if I started posting links to other blogger’s reviews, so I stopped. But today Mich posted hers, so I just had to share this with you.

Now I’ll stop. Probably. Unless you want me to talk about the movie. I’m thinking about writing a movie review. We’ll see.

 

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Because you don’t have to burn books if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers

I decided to read Fahrenheit 451. I got the 40th anniversary edition with a new foreword by the author, Ray Bradbury. I always liked this little glimpse to the author’s mind. Bradbury, however, gave me more than I would’ve expected. Here’s what he wrote:

(…) a prediction that my Fire Chief, Beatty, made in 1953, halfway through my book. It had to do with books being burned without matches or fire. Because you don’t have to burn books, do you, if the world starts to fill up with nonreaders, nonlearners, nonknowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs and -footballs itself to drown in MTV, no Beattys are needed to ignite the kerosene or hunt the reader. If the primary grades suffer meltdown and vanish through the cracks and ventilators of the schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or care?

All is not lost, of course. There is still time if we judge teachers, students, and parents, hold them accountable on the same scale, if we truly test teachers, students, and parents, if we make everyone responsible for quality, if we insure that by the end of its sixth year every child in every country can live in libraries to learn almost by osmosis, then our drug, street-gang, rape, and murder scores will suffer themselves near zero. But the Fire Chief, in mid-novel, says it all, predicting the one-minute TV commercial with three images per second and no respite from the bombardment. Listen to him, know what he says, then go sit with your child, open a book, and turn the page.

I couldn’t agree more. What good is it to have books and not read them? I never understood people who say they don’t like to read. It makes no sense at all to me. It’s like saying you don’t like to breathe.

I’ve heard kids saying they don’t like to read. I can understand that. But that’s only because they haven’t found the right books yet. We all go through reading books we don’t like, but for little kids, because reading is a skill they have not yet mastered, they struggle more. They don’t know yet what genre they like, and they are not well equipped to understand all that’s in between the lines. They can only see what’s on the surface. They haven’t learned to look at a book with critical eyes and see what’s not so obvious.

Adults, however, have the skill to analyze a book, to get the hidden meaning of it, to use it as a tool to make them ponder about bigger issues. Adults have the ability to discern what they do or do not like about a book, and they understand the true value of it.

So go, grab a book and read it. Go to your local library or bookstore and get a new book. Set a goal for yourself to read a certain amount of books and do it. A book a month? A book a week? A chapter a day? It doesn’t matter. What really matters is to read something. And if you need recommendations, ask the librarian, ask the internet, ask me. There are millions of books out there just waiting to be discovered, to be devoured.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Ray Bradbury (photo courtesy of pcorreia)

 

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It’s not always easy to translate our ideas into words

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck. I can’t move forward, I can’t move back. I stare at the blank page in front of me and nothing. The words just get stuck in my head and refuse to pour down the paper from my fingertips. When that happens I usually google the internet for inspiration. I collect quotes upon quotes that can relate to my characters or the story itself. But after all the research, I feel even more lost.

I was talking to a friend about that and we decided to meet every Thursday, being that the only day we both could afford to do it, to discuss and share ideas. It certainly helps to have someone I trust listen to my ideas. Not only I get instant feedback, but it forces me to put my story into words. I feel my stories. I know them, I have them inside of me, but until they can be put into words that can reach someone else, it is as if they are just asleep. They need to be awaken to become alive.

Today my mind is full of ideas. They are buzzing inside my head. I hear them, but not clearly enough to allow my fingers to translate them into words. They fly all around, bumping into one another, trying to feed me the information, trying to make me understand, but I can’t.

If only today were Thursday…

 

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