I Failed My 2016 Reading Challenge

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It seems a combination of the 40-hour (sometimes 48-hour) work week, extra freelance work, and putting some really thick books on my reading list took its toll on my ability to complete my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge.

As you may remember from last year, I wrote a post about my 2015 victory, which included a list of books I wanted to read in 2016. In 2015, I successfully read 12 books. For 2016, I pledged 15.

I knew this challenge was going downhill when I realized I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to finish reading a page while riding in the backseat on road trip vacations with my parents.

Of the 15 books I pledged, here are the ones I actually got to finish:

2016 goodreads reading challenge

From top left: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer, The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Coffee Girl by Shanna Hatfield, How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo, China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.

Yeah, 6 of 15. I failed hard.

My favorite of the books I got to read was Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’d heard such great things about it, and it definitely lived up to all the praise. I’m a sucker for a good romance novel, and this one made me want to read more of Rowell’s work.

For my 2017 Goodreads Challenge, I’m just going to pick up where I left off. I’m still in the process of reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (a book of over 700 pages that I’m trying really hard to finish by the end of January) plus 8 other books that are carrying over from last year equals 9 books.

Sounds doable.

Here’s the list:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (started at end of 2016, currently on pg. 109 of 773)

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sutlan

What Pretty Girls Are Made Of by Lindsay Jill Roth

The Unexpected by J Sheley

Taming Cross by Ella James

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Subject to Change by Alessandra Thomas

If you’d like to, feel free to add me on Goodreads to see my progress, and please scold me in the comments on my recent activity if I’ve spent more than 30 days on one book!

Valentine’s Day 2016: Nicholas Sparks Style

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nicholas sparks valentines day

What do you do on Valentine’s Day when it’s 21° F but feels like -10 ° F outside and you don’t want your Valentine to get frostbite?

Stay inside with a book or a movie!

Although his personal romantic life may be a bit of a mess right now, Nicholas Sparks is one of the most romantic storytellers of all time. His romances will warm your heart, whether in book form or on the flat screen TV in your living room.

So grab a blanket for two, a bottle of wine and cuddle up with your Valentine, because it’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2016, Nicholas Sparks style. Here are four books and movies by the author that’ll put the sap in sappy romance.

1. The Last Song (2010)
Starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth as Ronnie Miller and Will Blakelee.
For those of you who miss the old Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth pre-Gale Hawthorne, this one is a must watch. Animal lovers reading the book or watching on screen will fall in love with the sea turtles they rescue on the beach.

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2. The Longest Ride (2015)
Starring Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood as Luke Collins and Sophia Danko.
If you love all things rodeo, fine arts, vintage love stories, and city meets country romance, this one’s for you. I dare you not to see Clint Eastwood every time you look at Luke!

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3. A Walk to Remember (2002)
Starring Mandy Moore and Shane West as Jamie Sullivan and Landon Carter.
This one is a tear jerker. Gentlemen, if you’re having trouble figuring out how to ask her dad to let you take her out on a date, pay attention to the scene where Landon asks the reverend the big question.

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4. The Choice (2016)
Starring Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker as Gabby Holland and Travis Parker.
Spend some time reading The Choice and take a rain-check on seeing it in theaters. Warning: beware of Travis’ obsessive southern hospitality.

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Watch in theaters starting February 5th!
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Have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day 2016!

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Books I Want to Read in 2016

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It’s a new year, so I’ve got a new list of books I want to read!

Honestly, one of the best things about being out of school is the fact that you can read every and any book you want by choice. 

In 2015 I challenged myself to read 12 books, which I documented on Goodreads. I got really close to not completing my goal, as I strayed off my schedule of one book per month, but I got back on track by cramming two books a month in the fall.

Also, I think Jennifer E. Smith is one of my new favorite authors. The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love at First Sight was such a great read that I’ve decided to make it my business to read every single book this woman has written.

I’m actually quite proud of myself because I managed to finish three book series’ and start two new ones that I plan to continue this year.

My list for 2016 features 15 books I plan to read in order to fulfill my new reading challenge. A few books on this list are coming out as movies this year as well, so let’s see if I can finish them before their release dates.

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sutlan

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo

What Pretty Girls Are Made Of by Lindsay Jill Roth

The Unexpected by J Sheley

The Coffee Girl by Shanna Hatfield

Taming Cross by Ella James

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Subject to Change by Alessandra Thomas

If you’d like to, feel free to add me on Goodreads to see my progress!

6 Favorite Mamrie Hart ‘You Deserve a Drink’ Episodes

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I’m finally 21. I have walked this planet for 21 years. How is this real?!

Turning 21 means a lot of things for The Whisper Box. I can now officially gain entry to 21+ concert venues without asking for an artist interview beforehand. This means that even if I can’t sit down with a performer, I can still enjoy the show and review it for any publication.

Oh, yes, and let’s not forget the best part:

I CAN FINALLY ENJOY THE OPEN BAR.

Mamrie Hart’s new book titled You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery comes out in six days! It’s time to celebrate another year with a few YDAD videos on YouTube!

1. COLLEEN BALLINGER’s Can’t Elope Martini

2. Lilly Singh EsCAPE (aka iiSuperwomanii)

3. Chris Martin’s Sad Apple

4. It’s Grace’s Leave of Absinthe

5. Chester See’s Spice Guy

6. Leonardo Dicaprio’s Slumber Par-Tea!

Preorder You Deserve a Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart!

finally 21

$18.88, Burton & Burton on Amazon

New ‘Hunger Games’ Course Available at American University

Now we know where all the Hunger Games fans in the class of 2019 will want to go to college!

Professor Stef Woods at American University in Washington D.C. is set to teach a new course titled The Hunger Games: Class, Politics and Marketing.

The course description reads:

The Hunger Games trilogy is a publishing phenomenon that has dramatically impacted American popular culture. Using the series as a case study, this course examines the interplay of class, politics, ethics, and marketing. Topics covered include oppression, feminism, food deserts, rebellion, the publishing industry, and social media marketing. The course also relies on academic texts, online resources, videos, and guest speakers.

The course materials? All three books of the Hunger Games trilogy!

Students will be able to analyze the character Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and her role as a symbol of feminism in the trilogy.

“Is Katniss just someone who happens to be a female who led when she needed to, or is she a true feminist, and if so, how does she fit within history?” Professor Woods asked in an interview with Teen Vogue. “I’ll pick a few key female leaders and we’ll look at how she fares.”

I can’t say I wouldn’t sign up for this course.

Professor Woods also taught a course back in 2013 titled Contemporary American Culture: The 50 Shades Trilogy.

This woman is amazing.

For those of you at American University who would like to take the Hunger Games course, the code is AMST-320, and the class will be offered for the Fall 2014 semester.

 

 

Directioners Threaten to #SuspendAnnaTodd Over 1D Fanfic ‘After’

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And the Directioners strike again.

Seems like fans of the popular UK boyband One Direction aren’t too happy about Anna Todd’s 1D fanfic After.

The 25-year-old writer from Texas got a publishing deal for the fanfic, which hit over 900 million reads on Wattpad, and talks of a movie version have also surfaced.

Anna Todd (imaginator1D)

“Oh my gosh I’m kind of floating on a cloud right now – I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” said Todd in an interview with Sugarscape.

When asked about her inspiration for the fanfic, Todd said,

I read a lot of books and i’m a One Direction fan – in case anyone hasn’t noticed [laughs]. It really started when I was on instagram one day, and I saw these little mini stories people were writing about Harry Styles, which was crazy to me. Then one of the girls I had followed on instagram put her story on Wattpad. I had no idea what that was, but I followed the link and it was this whole world of 1D fan fiction. I started reading all kinds of it, and then decided that I wanted to give it a go myself. I didn’t think anything would come of it though – it was just for fun!

The fanfic portrays band member Harry Styles as a womanizer, which isn’t sitting very well with Directioners. #SuspendAnnaTodd became a trending topic on Twitter August 8th.

It really doesn’t look like Anna Todd should step out of her house anytime soon. The Directioners might attack.

Read the first installment of After here.

Barnes and Noble Dream Class: Comedy Writer Alida Nugent’s “Crucial Info for Surviving Your 20s”

Alida Nugent
From: togather.com

On October 1st, I received an email from the Hofstra Barnes and Noble Bookstore about a Dream Class that students could vote to bring to campus.

Ask me again which courses were available or which one I voted for. I honestly can’t remember, but I do remember claiming my free ticket when I read that we won the BNC127 course “Crucial Info For Surviving Your 20s.”

The first 20 students were able to snag free tickets to the event with speaker Alida Nugent, a 25 year old blogger and comedy writer from Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse and the genius behind the blog The Frenemy.

Alida Nugent had quite the list of tips for us that night.

She’s very serious about helping 20somethings not screw up after college. She told us that one night, as she was typing up a paper with some alcohol in hand, she accidentally spilled it all over her computer causing her to lose all of her files.

So her first tip, of course, was backup your computer.

    Event page for BNC127 "Crucial Info for Surviving Your 20s" on Nov. 20th

Event page for BNC127 “Crucial Info for Surviving Your 20s” on Nov. 20th

There were a few other tips that were worth noting from her speech:

1. Throw away some of your clothes after college. When you move into a NYC apartment, half of your clothes won’t fit, and more than half of them are no longer appropriate for your age.

2. Learn how to cook a meal under $10. “Just put sh*t on starch,” she recommends.

3. Get a plant before you get a pet and see if you can take care of it.

4. Keep a list of at least 5 phone numbers in your wallet. (She left her phone and keys in her apartment once, and ended up having to ask her boss to Facebook message her roommate to let her in. “How professional,” she joked).

5. Don’t think that being in your 20s means you can’t still be a kid sometimes. “So eat ice cream for dinner, stay on Facebook all day, and go up to the roof and scream your heart out” if you want to.

20 is just the beginning. Apparently, it gets worse!

Follow Alida Nugent on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram.