Danielle’s 2018 Reads

img_2482Before I eventually end up starting the new year with resolutions and realistically set goals, I need to wrap up 2018. Last year was one for the books; no pun intended. All along the way, I finished 30 books in total, and 27 of them are in the slideshow at the bottom of my screen (I left out the three for school). While 30 might not seem like a lot to those of you that can finish a book in a day, after looking at my stats, I’ve found out that I can too! Most of these took under 10 hours for me to read, so while it is possible… I just don’t have the time to sit for that amount of time every day. However, I will continue on my reading streak, and I’ll set the bar even higher for this year!

After reviewing the stats, I’ve noticed that surprisingly, most of these books received five stars from me! Unfortunately, that’s not as realistic as I’d like it to be. So, in this recap of my 2018 reads, I’m going to… in a way… re-rate all of my books (besides the three for school). So, let’s dig in!

(I’m also going to tie in Goodreads reviews to each of the book titles in the mini reviews I provide.)

51rbpshz-ll._sx326_bo1,204,203,200_1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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A Game of Thrones exceeded my expectations. The show is eerily similar to the book… almost word-for-word, and I really enjoyed it. The relationship between Khal Drogo and Daenarys was revealed more in the book than it was in the movie, and it took me a bit to get through, but it was definitely good enough for me to snag the second book.

61wfumgrzzl._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_2. Fight Club and 3. Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk

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Fight Club was one of those books that made me squirm a little, but I can’t talk about it (see: Chucklehead101). So you’ll just have to read this yourself!

51fsjqc2c-l._sx329_bo1,204,203,200_Fight Club 2 was unexpected honestly. It’s a graphic novel, and the narrator’s name was finally revealed as Sebastian. Also, Chuck made quite a few cameos! They gave the book more depth and “broke the fourth wall” in literature. I loved the overall feel of this book and finished it a little less than two hours. I can’t wait for Fight Club 3‘s release this January!

4. Invisible Monsters Remix by Chuck Palahniuk

Invisible Monsters Remix is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

173807115. Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk

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I distinctly remember reading Phoenix in a hotel room in Golden, Colorado. Phoenix was only around 50-pages long, but it stood out enough for me to give it five stars. Even though Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors, I still choose to review his novels without being biased. Phoenix was a quick read, but it was resolved really quickly. The book discussed showed a broken marriage pretty accurately, and even though I’m a cat person… I couldn’t put it down.

51tm0lae0ml._sx322_bo1,204,203,200_6. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

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Whenever I go to pick up any Palahniuk book, I always have semi-high expectations. So, giving this book 3-stars isn’t unusual. Choke was one of those books that seemed to try too hard. I love Palahniuk, but this just wasn’t… it. The narrator was prude and he just seemed like a fuckboy. As someone who doesn’t mind reading things “out of the norm,” Victor Mancini was just too much. He was just frustrating to read about, and while I appreciated his storyline, I just didn’t care for him. However, if you don’t mind reading things about a mans’ “dog” every other page/paragraph, then take a shot at it!

wp-14906283883827. every day by David Levithan

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I’m not one to read Young Adult books as much anymore, but every day really stood out. While it’s only receiving around 3-stars from me, it was still a unique plot line. However, I just didn’t like the ending as much as I hoped I would’ve. I love the concept behind a non-binary character such as the narrator, but the ending is honestly what ruined it for me. I’m still going to buy the next book to see if it’ll redeem itself, but as for just this one? I don’t think it should standalone as much as it does.

8. the woman in the window by AJ Finn

the woman in the window was my all-time favorite book of 2018. I can’t really put more of what I want to say into words, so check out Review: “the woman in the window” by AJ Finn (2018) for my review!

9. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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I’m not one to read romances like this, but it was a book I received from a book subscription I used to have called PageHabit. They’re no longer in commission, but I still have quite a few books that I have to read from them.

The Wedding Date, in particular, wasn’t one that I’d find myself reading again. It was a cute story, but it was definitely a cliche right from the beginning… which is why I don’t tend to read romances anyway. The characters in the book were cute and charming, but Alexa Monroe (the main character), was a little short-tempered. However, after reading more and more about Drew Nichols, I realize why she is. He is more than just a quirky guy in an elevator, but the more she finds out, the more shady he seems to become.

61u0wm7ahdl10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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Before I start in on this one, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of JK Rowling anymore. After following her on Twitter, and after I’ve seen her decide to bring to light new things about old characters just to stay relevant… I’ve decided to no longer support her. I’ll always ALWAYS love Harry Potter (proud Ravenclaw here), but she’s become another author that only discusses her characters if they can create a shock factor. So, even though I’ve come to dislike JK Rowling, I’ve decided to separate her from her work. Just because I’m in love with the world she created, doesn’t mean I have to like her as a person. Similarly to how I’ve decided to buy Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King, just because his son wrote it with him (and we all know how much I love him).

Anyway, I devoured Fantastic Beasts in one day. I found myself falling in love with Newt and his creatures fairly quickly, but there’s just one thing I would’ve changed. The dark side of this novel, should’ve been darker. After watching the movie, the book just seemed light compared to how devious the creature came to be. I loved the entire concept of creating a world before our beloved Hogwarts, I loved the snippet of Grindewald, but since this isn’t technically a YA novel like the Harry Potter series… it just should’ve been darker, which is why it got 4-stars from me.

11. Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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I have to be one of the only people on the internet so far (from what I’ve seen) that didn’t 100% love this book in its entirety. I’m glad that it brought a few LGBT issues to light, but I just can’t do the cutesy romance books at all apparently. This was another Young Adult novel that flopped in my reading conquests, but I will say one thing… the movie adaptation was really cute. Even though Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda wasn’t my favorite, I still appreciate how everyone came together and read it upon its release.

12. the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

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the curious incident of the dog in the night-time was so unique. So, so unique. It’s from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a fifteen-year-old boy on the autistic spectrum, which only made it more significant. In the book, it shows how Christopher lives by patterns, rules, and the diagram that he keeps in his pocket. The way he moves throughout the world, and how he acts whenever he finds a dead dog across the street. While the entire book is filled with Christopher’s quirks and the way he solves and unseen mystery, I still found myself struggling to get through it on its own. So, I downloaded the audiobook, which led me to a reading by someone who gave Christopher his own unique voice; Jeff Woodman. He managed to create a character with even more depth than Haddon intended. Now, I’m not one to listen to audiobooks all the time, but I’m glad I did with this one. So, if you have Audible, I highly suggest it.

13. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk

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I’ll admit, Adjustment Day was not my favorite Palahniuk book at all. While it was still better than Choke, it just didn’t feel right. I love that Palahniuk is back in the world of fiction after four years, but this book just gave me a 1984 vibe with a transgressive fiction twist. Honestly, that’s all I can say about it, other than the fact that the idea behind this was pretty ingenious and it could very well happen with the way society is going. I also find it hilarious that in my logo for my blog, I’m reading Adjustment Day. The cover was too great to ignore, and I found myself reading it for hours on end… unfortunately, it just wasn’t… enough.

14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl was an enigma in itself. Not that it was too puzzling to figure out, but the whole plot line is really what hooked me. From the beginning, the first paragraph stood out for me; when Nick describes the back of Amy’s head. So, even before all of the crazy twists and turns, this book already starts out on a rather, unusual note.

I oddly found myself rationalizing with Amy Dunne, and realizing that what she did really did have a reasoning behind it. Plus, her whole plan was just ingenious. The plot twist in this book was seriously unexpected, and the fact that it has the potential to be so realistic is really what brought this book to life.

15. The Merciless IV by Danielle Vega

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Ahhh, The Merciless IVThe fourth novel in The Merciless series by Danielle Vega… aka a candy-coated horror novel. Honestly, this series has been hit-or-miss with me. I loved the first two, but I needed more insight on a few of the characters. I really liked how this was set in Italy, and it was just as stomach-churning as the rest of them.

Now, I’m not sure if there’s going to be another installment in this series because it’s called Last Rites, but I’m going to stay hopeful that there is going to be at least one more so Vega can round it off more with Sofia.

16. Providence by Caroline Kepnes

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Providence was a very unusual take on a monster story similar to Frankenstein. This book was equally terrifying as it was mind-bending. It left me wanting more throughout the whole thing, and I was filled with hope that Jon would find justice in the end. Kepnes seriously created a masterpiece filled with illusion, self-destruction, love and obsession. I found myself reading it outdoors in my hammock, falling more and more in love with the relationship between Chloe and Jon, but I just wish it could’ve ended in a better place. To prevent spoiling this piece of art, I won’t go any further, just know that if you haven’t read ANY Caroline Kepnes books. You should pick up this one, and then continue onto YOU and Hidden Bodies (there’ll also be a review on these soon!).

17. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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Sharp Objects was definitely not a favorite. Going into a Gillian Flynn novel after Gone Girl, I was hoping for it to just have more depth to it. instead, I stumbled in upon characters who were tricky and a little cringy. Honestly, the whole idea behind Camille visiting her hometown, definitely reminded me of whenever I’d visit mine. The quaint little town, the drama, the family, it was all surreal how Flynn captured it in this. Yet, I still wasn’t drawn to it. I ended up taking a while to finish it, and I couldn’t focus on it for too long before I got annoyed. However, I did love the show adaptation of it, even though I’m a little biased towards Amy Adams. I just couldn’t grasp onto reading about the characters that were brought to life. The plot twist at the end wasn’t enough for me to grab her books The Grownup and Dark Places, but I know I’ll inevitably end up buying it on one of my bookstore conquests.

18. I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciuliano

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I Could Pee On This was one of those books that only a true cat lover would love. It felt as though my cats actually wrote each one of these poems, and I found myself actually laughing at the thought. Throughout the whole book, it shows pictures of the “authors,” so not only do you get cute, quirky poems, but you also get cute, quirky photos of the cats themselves. Even though this was an extremely quick read, it still made quite the impact, and instead of having it reside on my “finished” shelf, it now has a place on my desk among a few others.

19. Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

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Talking As Fast As I Can was such a hilarious autobiography. While I read it, I heard Lauren Graham’s voice, and shortly after I ended up watching Parenthood and Gilmore Girls. This book really brought to life how difficult it can be to get to where Lauren Graham has gotten. She created a quirky novel that came off as though Lauren Graham was Lorelai Gilmore while she was writing. I got through this autobiography as quickly as she talks, and I’d recommend this to anyone who loves her. Even though there are spoilers to the Gilmore Girls reboot, she does warn about them. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it! Then check out this book! As someone who doesn’t read very many autobiographies, I found myself so attached to this one that I finished it fairly quickly.

20. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Even though Coraline is a children’s book, it was still written very well. I only gave it 4-stars because I didn’t finish it. Before you jump on me for this though, I only didn’t finish it because it was TOO close to the movie. Even though it would’ve been a quick read, I couldn’t imagine my own characters. I love the movie adaptation, but once I already know what the characters look like… the books are almost ruined for me. However, if you like creepy stories, or if your kids like creepy stories, I highly recommend this. Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer, so only you can use your better judgment on this one.

21. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is going to have it’s own review here shortly!

22. Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

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Tell Me Lies was extraordinary and filled with a ton of relationship issues that many authors don’t tend to discuss. Written from both the perspectives of the relationship; the gas-lighter and the “gas-lightee,” this book is unique on its own. I actually found myself uncovering more about Stephen in the beginning chapters than I realized. As someone who’s been a victim of gas-lighting, I was surprised I was able to catch the signs so soon. Stephen was an expert in his craft, and it was frustrating to read about Lucy falling for it over and over again, but I couldn’t put it down. Overall, it was a great read, and definitely one of my top five of 2018.

23. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

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First thing first, if you’re going to read Rosemary’s Baby – don’t; LISTEN TO IT. Like I said before, I don’t really love copping out of “manually” reading a book, but this one was worth it. Mia Farrow herself reads this and incorporates all of the screams and different voices. It really created a world that was just as intense as this was 50-years-ago. Dare I say, it was scarier in the audiobook version than it was in the film adaption or the book itself? Next is Son of Rosemary, and one can only hope she recorded that one as well (update: I just looked it up and it turns out she doesn’t… which is unfortunate).

24. Saving Red by Sonya Sones

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Even though Sonya Sones is a YA writer, Saving Red was a great story. It was unique on its own, and I can say I’ve never read a story like this before. In this story, a 14-year-old named Molly decides to help a homeless woman named Red. She had to have been only a few years older than Molly, but she ended up on the streets. I read this around Christmastime, and surprisingly it was set around the same time. This book was really cute and heartwarming and, even though I don’t read YA novels, I’ve always found that Sonya Sones’ books will always have a special place on my shelves.

9780062878649_p0_v2_s550x40625. A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

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Eerily similar to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, A Simple Favor just wasn’t as appealing to me as I hoped it to be. While I think it was a good standalone book on its own, without comparing it to another book, I think the rating I gave this book was pretty accurate. A Simple Favor, was filled with just the right amount of plot twists, but it was still predictable. Although, as someone who reads thrillers frequently, I’ve found that this is the case for most thrillers at this point anyway. I loved the unique point-of-views, but I still wish it was a little more intense. However, I think this would be a great book for people who are new to the thriller genre. I’ve talked to several people who have loved it, and several who didn’t think it was the best, but if you’re just starting out with thrillers, try this!

26. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado

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Her Body and Other Parties received the lowest review of the year, not only because it was a schoolbook… but because it seemed as though it was written purely for shock factor. I couldn’t even make it through some of the chapters, but I had to for school. This book was another that I needed to download the audiobook, and while a few of the chapters were clever, they weren’t good enough for me to rate this any higher.

27. Bait by Chuck Palahniuk

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It’s not unusual that Palahniuk has presented us with a collection of short stories. It certainly isn’t his first collection, and it won’t be his last. However, what makes Bait unique is that there are photos you can color along with.

While I was reading it, I couldn’t put this book down at all. A few of my favorite stories were: Conspiracy, Let’s See What Happens, and Bait. Even though they were all unique, those three really stood out among the eight in the whole book. Plus, the illustrations really rounded it off.

 

 

 


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Chapter One: Commute Home

Before reading, see: Prologue//Flashback: Maddy’s 

Disclaimer: This is a revised version of chapter one! I workshopped the hell out of it in one of my classes this semester, so I thought I’d update it here too. Thanks for reading! I hope you guys like these characters just as much as I do and that this is the start of something worthwhile. 

Chapter One: Commute Home (Revised)

Today, I decided to walk home a little lackadaisically. It wasn’t my usual speed, but I knew it would get me to where I was going — especially since I wasn’t in much of a rush. For some reason, this particular Friday just felt different. It was nicer outside than it had been this past week, so I decided to take it all in. The cool spring air was slowly caressing my bare legs with each step. It was chilly and almost unbearable, but I didn’t mind. After all, it’s my fault that I woke up with hope that the Texas weather would stay consistent throughout the day. The mornings were always deceiving compared to the afternoons.

With each step, I noticed the trees were coming back to life, the grass was slowly becoming greener after each watering, and the animals were thriving off it. It’s sort of ironic to see all of the animals coming out of hiding, as if Texas knew what the winter season was. Here we just get a handful of freezes and a bunch of cold wind. We barely get any snow. Most birds even come here from up north to avoid their states’ weather, as if the sunny beaches of Cancun were too far of a flight.

As I walked, I counted the steps between each sidewalk crack. “One-two-three, one-two, one-two-three-four,” it was almost like a dance, albeit an unusual one, but the counting came naturally. I started to imagine a polka band playing at each step. The casual “oom-pah-pah, oom-pah-pah,” that was filling my brain took me down my path. I took this course home every other day, so I was bound to get there eventually.

After quite a few “oom-pah-pah’s”, I turned the corner next to my family’s old diner and knew I was almost home. Or rather… I thought I was, until I bumped into something sturdy. I should’ve looked up, god damn it, I thought to myself as the man I bumped into started to turn red.

“Shit! Watch where you’re going!” he exclaimed, holding his cup away from the damage I just caused. He didn’t notice I was watching him until he started wiping off his laptop bag and flannel with his hands. With just a quick glance, this man really had a lumberjack thing going on. Beard and all.

“Oh my god, I’m so, so sorry. Please let me help you,” I said to him, while I opened up my backpack to find my pack of wet wipes.

“Thanks, but I’m fine. It’s fine,” he said kind of aggressively, but his expression softened when he finally looked up; his light brown eyes pierced my greens. “Ugh, I’m sorry. I’ve just had a long day,” while he held his hand out, “My name’s Alexander, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

I didn’t expect him to take such a turnaround, but I closed my bag and shook his hand anyway, “Maddy, my name’s Maddy. I’m so sorry.”

“Please, just stop apologizing. It’s okay. I said it’s fine, and I meant it,” he said more calmly while he put his hand on my shoulder.

Almost immediately, I shrugged his hand off, “Okay, are you sure you’re okay? That coffee had to have been really hot. Please, let me buy you another one.”

“Alright, alright, you can buy me a new cup. Is the diner fine?”

“Actually, would it be okay if we went down the street to Starbucks instead? I don’t really want to set foot in there.” Immediately, I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped he wouldn’t ask why. Especially since Gordon and I haven’t had time to fully evaluate it.

“Umm, yeah. That’ll be alright. I’d actually prefer it if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. Just lead the way,” he said.

* * * *

On our way to Starbucks I realized that there was more to this guy than I thought. He wasn’t just a tall, rugged man, but he had quirks of his own. Not only was he avoiding the sidewalk cracks as he stepped, but he kept the same number of steps between them too.

“What on earth are you looking at?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I laughed nervously. “I just noticed that you never step on any cracks. I do the same thing.”

“Were you counting? I try to keep at least two to four between each crack. I’m not superstitious or anything,” he chuckled while he rubbed the back of his neck, “I just kind of kept the habit from when I was a kid.”

“Oh, I suppose I was,” I blushed, “I do the same thing… except I imagine polka music playing.”

“Polka, huh? Care to elaborate?” he asked, and I reluctantly let him in on my little secret, because he let me in on his. And to my surprise, we ended up walking my weird, and quirky way all the way to the coffee shop.

* * * *

When we got to Starbucks, I ordered my usual iced green tea latte; the matcha was my favorite part. It made me feel as though I was actually taking a step towards something healthy. I didn’t even know Starbucks had this drink until a few weeks ago, but I fell in love at first sip.

“Your total is $5.75,” the barista said. So, I quickly went to search my backpack, but noticed my wallet was missing. I could’ve sworn I had it earlier, and it wasn’t long until I started shaking in panic.

“Um, Alex? Do you mind getting this?” I asked nervously, “I can pay you back later. I promise.”

“It’s Alexander, and are you asking me to pay for your coffee after you spilled mine all over me?”

I couldn’t read if he was serious. All I could get out of my mouth was, “Oh, yeah… I’m sorry. Um, I might have some kind of cash in this bag somewhere,” and I started to search again.

“Nooo, stop! I’m kidding,” he smiled and put his hand on mine. “It’s really no problem, I swear. You can get the next one.”

We went to a table in the back corner of the cafe to wait for our order, and I still couldn’t stop thanking him. He even pulled my chair out for me, and suddenly I couldn’t remember the last time I was ever out with a guy. Clearly, I wasn’t used to this kind of chivalry.

“Maddy, it’s fine. Stop thanking me,” he said. “But, if you don’t mind me asking, what was that back there?” he asked.

“What was what?”

“Why couldn’t we go into the diner? I mean, I prefer Starbucks, but you seemed a little reluctant to go in there.”

“Oh, it was nothing.” I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t believe me, so I quickly added, “I just have a few bad memories there, that’s all.”

“Yeah? If you don’t mind me asking, what are they about?”

“That depends,” I said, “Why Alexander? Why not just Alex?”

“I just don’t like shortening my name. My mom gave me my whole name for a reason, ya know?” he said, while he messed with the straps to his bag. He was fidgeting, just like what I do when I’m talking to new people. This is insane. We really were so similar.

“Oh,” I said. “So, I suppose you’ll just call me Madeline then?”

“Madeline, huh?” he winked, “Would it be alright if I called you that? It’s so beautiful.” Suddenly, I could feel my cheeks turning red, this guy really had an effect on me. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for him to make me blush.

“No, I suppose that wouldn’t be a bad thing. So, now I guess I have to tell you my story then,” I started, right before my order was shouted out to the whole café.  “Well, that’s me,” I moved to get up, but Alexander stopped me.

“I’ll get it, they just set mine on the bar as well.”

“Uh, alright. Thanks.” I shot him a smile and he went for our cups, but on his way back, I noticed that he was looking at my drink like it was a foreign object.

“How on Earth do you drink this stuff?” he asked, while holding up my drink and inspecting it. He looked like he was looking at an undiscovered object. Like matcha was the strangest thing ever.

I laughed and asked him, “What do you mean?”

“This dark green stuff… it looks like there’s dirt in your drink.”

“Uh, have you ever tried matcha before? It’s ah-maaaze-iiing,” I informed him.

“No, I haven’t. I don’t tend to drink or eat food that looks like dirt,” he said, and I immediately felt myself start to shut-down. We just met, and he was already criticizing my drink.

“Well, it doesn’t taste like dirt. I’d ask you to try it, but you probably don’t have fantastic taste buds considering you got a grande black coffee at Starbucks of all places,” I snapped.

“Woah, woah, woah… calm down. Madeline,” he grabbed my hand, “I was just kidding.”

I quickly pulled it away from him. “Well, it’s really hard to tell if you’re kidding Alex. I don’t read sarcasm very well with you apparently and I don’t know how to deal with it.” I slowly started to scoot my chair away from the table, “Maybe I’m overreacting, but you’re not great at being facetious.”

He threw his hands up in defeat and said, “Okay, okay, okay. I’m sorry. I’ve been told that my face isn’t very great at expressing itself.” I could see the remorse in his face, and I felt horrible. I really need to stop doing this to everyone. “So, what is it about the diner? I know we just met, but I wish you’d talk to me. There’s just something about your eyes that resonates with me. I want to know everything about the girl who spilled coffee on me,” he said, while rubbing his finger along the outside of his coffee cup lid.

I could feel a wave of warmth wash over me, I seriously needed to interact with more people, I thought to myself. It shouldn’t be this easy for him to make me feel this way. Reluctantly though, it was only fair I told him a little bit about myself, so I decided to tell him, “Okay, well since you told me your weird name thing, that diner actually used to be my parents. The place was originally named Maddy’s after my grandmother, who was also my namesake. At first, it was awesome. They bought it when I was around eleven-years-old. I spent all my summers there, my first job was there, and it was great… until they sold it. Now it’s just a run-of-the-mill restaurant. I’m just glad the new owners kept some of the nostalgia intact even though my parents’ menus aren’t there anymore.”

“I’m really sorry to hear that, it must’ve been hard having to adjust. Have you gone in there since?” he asked, and this time I let him grab my hand. First, this man is everything. He was complex, but I could still understand his quirks at the same time. Second, how did this all come out of a spilled coffee?

Before answering his question, I decided that it was time to leave before things got a little too personal. “Actually, I hate to cut this short, but I should probably get going. Swanson needs me. We can always dig into this later, if you want?” I scooted away from the table.

“Wait, who’s Swanson?”

“My cat. He’s very particular about when he gets his food,” I said while I stood and started to put my backpack on.

“Oh, you have a cat? That’s another interesting note on Madeliiiine… what was your last name? Mine’s Woods,” he said.

“Alexander Woods, huh? That sounds fitting,” I told him. I almost had to stifle a laugh to cover up the irony. This man looked like a lumberjack, and his last name was Woods. He was definitely going to hear about this later; if there is a later. “I’m a MacCarthy. Not like Melissa, more like the usual Scottish last name.”

“So, Madeline MacCarthy. That explains your hair and eyes. Are you Scottish?”

“You know what Alexander, seriously. Let’s save this for another time. I really need to get home to Swanson.”

“Alright, alright, alright. Let me give you my number and we can meet again? Maybe next time you won’t get my shirt dirty,” he joked.

I pulled out a scrap of paper from my backpack and a pen, “Sure, actually, here’s mine. Don’t lose this,” I grinned.

“Oh, trust me. I won’t.”

 

Podcast: Fiction

From the time I learned how to read, I’ve always read fiction. I could get lost in Wonderland or Hogwarts, just by opening up a book. The simple stumble into a couple hundred pages could result in many hours, or even days, spent entwined in the content between the cover pages. Yet, one of the best parts is the smell. Oh, the smell of a book. If you’re an avid book reader who’s in love with printed literature, describing the smell is almost impossible. It’s easy to get lost in it. Just picking up a book and sniffing the pages, old or new, it’s enticing. A digitally printed book doesn’t even compare to a hard copy, especially since a hard copy could be placed on a shelf. Personally, I love having my books on display.

Ah, the display. IKEA really has some fantastic bookcases even though they’re cheap. Alphabetically organized and divided between read and unread, the books give off a floor-to-ceiling library effect. Now, let’s not forget about the people responsible for my aesthetically pleasing case.

There are currently 266 books, or rather 178 authors that are alphabetically aligned on my shelves, but let’s get down to the authors I have the most books from. Off the top of my head, there’s JK Rowling (who we all know and love), Danielle Rollins (a, as she puts it, candy-coated horror novelist), and Chuck Palahniuk (who you might know as the man behind Fight Club).

These three authors have the most books on my shelves, and here’s why:

For one, all three authors write in some form of fiction. Whether it’s considered fantasy, horror, or transgressional, fiction is always my go-to.

Joanne Rowling, or JK Rowling, is the writer behind the entire Harry Potter franchise. Naturally, I have more books of hers than I do anyone else’s (besides Chuck’s) and I’ve been reading and rereading her books since 2006.

The Harry Potter series has had such a big impact in my life. Right from the start, my mom read me 60 pages a night so I could get through them before the big AR tests we had. Now, for those of you who don’t know what AR tests are, they’re Advanced Reading tests we used to have to take in elementary school. We got points for each one depending on our grade and I was number 2 in all of the fourth-grade class of Martin Walker Elementary, all thanks to JK Rowling and her magical books. Immediately, I got hooked on Severus Snape (RIP Alan Rickman), Mad-Eye Moody (may he rest in peace, as well), and all of the mythical creatures throughout the books. While the series may be finished, Rowling still continues to produce widely-loved novels even to this day. I’ll always appreciate the boy who lived under the stairs, and I’ll always appreciate the woman behind it.

Danielle Rollins is a different story. She’s a fireball with her words. One minute I’d connect with a character and the next I’ll start feeling queasy due to some gory scene she slipped in. Her books are like roller coasters and if you go under her pseudonym, “Vega,” they just get gorier. Now, I’m not talking Saw-gory, because she is technically candy-coating some of the scenes and the books are for young adults. Yet, somehow, someway, I can’t read them all the way through without taking a few breaks. Rollins, or Vega, has published a total of six books, and I barreled through them in a matter of weeks. Now, let’s get into my all-time favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk.

From this point forward, for the sake of not mispronouncing his last name, I’m going to refer to him as Chuck. Chuck is a trangressional fiction novelist who refers to his fans as Chuckleheads. All of his books plotlines were written so that the main character broke out of societal norms. For instance, in Fight Club, the main character got tired of working a nine-to-five job, so he started doing illegal activities after hours. Which, coincidentally, I can’t talk about due to the number one rule: “Don’t talk about fight club.”

Chuck has published a total of 21 books and I have 17. Alphabetically, by book title, there’s Beautiful You, Choke, Damned, Diary, Doomed, two copies of Fight Club, Fight Club 2, Haunted, Invisible Monsters, Invisible Monsters Remix, Lullaby, Make Something Up, Phoenix, Pygmy, Rant, Snuff, Survivor, and Tell-All.

Surprisingly, there’s actually a story behind one of the copies of Fight Club. On Black Friday, my fiancé and I woke up at 7am to go and get a signed copy of it. Now, we didn’t meet Chuck because he wasn’t there, but we now own a signed first-edition copy of Fight Club and we’re planning on putting it in a shadow box. It’s become one of our prized possessions and we don’t let anyone touch it, which sounds obsessive, I know, but the Chucklehead in me can’t resist.

Anyway, I think that’ll be enough for this podcast. I hope each and every one of you go out there and find a good book, get lost in the pages, and have the same experience I do when I find a new favorite. Make sure to keep up with me to find out more about the vast world of literature, multimedia topics and the study of writing.

Reflection

My composition process changed by switching to a more audio approach because I had to think about how I’d say it while I typed it. I included commas where I’d usually take a breath.  On Microsoft Word, I typed up the blog so I could read it easier. That way, I could double-space the text and increase the readability. Overall, this was an interesting and fun experience and I’m glad I finally did a podcast.