Four Reasons Why You Should Read The Hate U Give

I'm not a YA reader, but when I learned what The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was about and saw the incredible buzz it was getting, I gave in. I read the book in an entire weekend, sincerely concerned for the main character, Starr, and how she was coping with being the only witness to her childhood friend's shooting by a police officer. There were some definite "YA-y" elements that I am not a fan of (a few instances of dialogue, a few cheesy teenage moments, etc...), but Thomas and Starr were easy to forgive and I am so happy I read it. Here's why you should to (that is if you haven't, since everyone else has):

1. No matter where your political and social opinions lie you need to read this book for a really important perspective on race, police brutality, poverty, the BLM, and gang dynamics. I try to be informed about all of these things and consider myself pretty liberal, but seeing it out of the eyes, albeit fictional, of this character made me feel in a way I haven't necessarily before. 

2. Despite some very real, tragic, heartbreaking moments, there is still hope and optimism for African Americans, race relations, those in poverty, and our society as a whole in this book. If people are willing to work and talk, we can move towards some sort of okay (or better).

3. I absolutely loved Starr's family- her nurse mother, her ex-con turned small-business owner father, her siblings, and even her conflicted police officer uncle. The characters possessed depth, humanity, and were just extremely lovable and real. Actually, all the characters represented important archetypes, which is important because this means pretty much anyone who reads this book can find themselves in it and see how their role might impact others and society as a whole. 

4. Read it so that you can recommend it to people and buy it for them to Christmas. People who are liberal and conservative, who are white or people of color. Everyone needs to read this. I plan to let my students have the option to read it next semester for their outside reading, since their genre requirement is one that deals with a social issue they're concerned about (YA is usually off the table, but again, this book is worthy of an exception). 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Link up, link back, say hey.

Today has been one of those days where a lot of little things have gone wrong and I'm just.... done. For example: today is my late day, so I don't get home until 5:30 (mind you I left the house before 7). I promptly dropped my heavy MacBook charger prong down on my big toe (all the expletives), busted it open and now possibly might have a broken toe, as the swelling, throbbing, and inability to bend it seem to indicate. Fine. FINE UNIVERSE. Then I went to urgent care after Sawyer was in bed for this annoying burning, slightly suffocating, feeling accompanied by an inconsistent cough that's left over from a cold I had over two weeks ago (this always happens when I get it lands in my chest- my asthmatic lungs can't hang) and they decided the only option was prednisone, which makes me crazy. Seriously. I won't be able to sleep and I end up so hyper-aware of everything that I'll be able to like hear my hair grow. I'll get a lot done and my lungs will feel better, but that stuff ruins me. Sleep? Ha! Unfortunately, the doc said it's really my only option unless I want to risk pneumonia. Thanks, sir. I arrived at the pharmacy as it was closing, so now I can't get my mania-inducing prescription until tomorrow. And so on and so forth. 

I'm done. So here we are. 

Let's just say I'm going to go eat a lot of Lucky Charms, ice my toe, read a little bit of What Happened by HRC and hit the hay. This too shall pass. 

I'll be back soon (possibly a lot if I have super fun prednisone insomnia). 

Lemme Tell You a Story (5)

It's been a few months since I've dumped some Instastories on you guys, so here are some to lighten the mood (have you seen the news today? Ugh times a million):





[I won't, I won't]




College: The Rights and Wrongs


This time of the year many of my old students tend to touch bases with me, letting me know what college classes they’re enrolled in, what they’ve changed their major to, what they’re struggling with, and what they’re excelling at. I love it. Not only is it validating that we’ve done something right at the high school level, it’s also genuinely exciting to see the kids that I’ve cared about so much grow as individuals. I also become quite reflective about my own undergraduate career at UCLA, pondering the good along with the bad. If I could go back in time and have a do-over I’d change many, many things, although I also have to give myself credit for not completely screwing up.



Can I Get a Re-Do

Going Abroad- I really, really wish I would have taken a quarter or two and went to Europe. Truth be told, I was worried about my finances and boyfriend issues to make the jump, which was ridiculous. This is hands down my biggest regret. 

Joining More Student Organizations- I was very involved in high school and then hit the brakes on all extracurricular activities in college. It’s such a shame! I almost wish I would have even joined a sorority, just to get me out there more. 

Taking Advantage of Cultural Opportunities- UCLA and the surrounding areas are teeming with museums, readings, exhibits, lectures, etc… and while I got much better about being out-and-about my last year or two, I wish I would have taken advantage of my proximity to so much culture.

Going to More Sporting Events- The Bruins excel at so many NCAA sports and I totally failed at going to watch them. I think I’ve gone to more as an alumnus!

Working Less- I worked a lot as an assistant to the research coordinator at the vascular center at the UCLA Medical Center. It was an awesome job that started as a work study position and extended because we were such a good fit. I worked constantly, though, walking to campus for class, walking back to work, walking back to class, etc… and then working full time for three of my summers. I am so thankful for the opportunity, but I should have worked a little less and played (and studied) a little more.

Ditching the High School Boyfriend Sooner- We were not happy or a good match, and I spent a lot of time commuting from LA to Irvine to see him, as opposed to improving my own life on campus. The relationship made my insecurities so much worse and I wasted a lot of time stressing about it (sorry D if you read this... luckily we are both well-adjusted, married adults now). 

Taking “Random” Classes- I loved most of my English classes, but I wish I would have taken a few off-the-wall courses or ones to enrich my other interests (architecture or nutrition, for example).



But, Seriously. Good Job on This Stuff:

Fiscally Responsible- I left college with less than $1,000 in credit card debt, a reasonable amount of student loans, and a few thousand dollars in savings for an emergency. I was frugal, but I recognized the importance of shelling out the cash for a good haircut, the occasional dinner out, and taking care of my car.

Efficiency- Because I was working a lot and commuting from Orange County to LA for two of the four years, I had to use my time wisely. I was young and my to-do list game was pretty basic, but I learned a lot about prioritizing and multi-tasking (this is something that has it’s pros and cons, but reading for class on the elliptical was always a good idea).

Gym Rat- Because of issues with stress and anxiety that are so common with college students (and humans in general), I took to the gym to get a handle on things during freshman year. I took advantage of the free student membership when I lived on campus and then bought one to LA Fitness later. I will be forever thankful that this habit has stuck with my fifteen years later.

Learning to Cope/Staying- I had a really hard time after moving over five hours away from my family and at one point I started researching how dropping out/transferring would affect my student loans and status. Luckily I sort of woke up and realized that there was no way I’d trade UCLA for Cal State Stanislaus and decided to stay. It was hard and I spent a lot of time feeling lonely, but I am proud of myself for forcing myself to deal with the rough stuff.

No matter what, I'm proud of the fact that I got into a great school and graduated from it, on my own. I figured out how to financially get myself through school and how to manage life in general. My experiences there made me stronger, smarter, and ready for the "real" world. 



Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts


Happy Wednesday (or whatever day you're reading this)! Link up, link back, say hey!

1. I have felt healthier and happier the past few days than I have in weeks- I give credit to the passing of my chest cold, ten or fifteen minutes more of sleep than usual at night, and my increased running over the last week. I ran three miles last Friday, four on Sunday, and three yesterday. Obviously that's not that much compared to when training really ramps up in a few months, but I'm pleased with how things are going so far.

2. Last weekend I took Sawyer to Dana Point to the Tall Ships Festival and we had a really great time. Parking was free offsite and they drove attendees over in trolleys to the dock, which made the whole things so much better. We were able to walk around six ships, explore the oceanography center, and look through the vendors for less than $20 for the two of us. There were lots of pirates walking around and the weather was perfect. 

3. This weekend I'm hoping to get up to the hills, to Oak Glen, for some early apple picking. I've been before, but it's always been later in the season when things are picked over and the warmer weather makes a reappearance. This week it's barely supposed to be 70 degrees and the orchards have just been open for a week or two. Should be fun and will be a good excuse to make a pie. 

4. I love this post from Sally on cupcakes tips. It's always a good idea to review the basics.

5. Fantasy Football is in full swing! I lost horribly last week, but I'm still having fun. There are ten of us, women I invited from work and friends, and I'm hoping to host a big brunch at the end of the season.

6. I really miss bike riding outside. It's such a hassle, though, taking my bike off the trainer, taking the car seat out of my car, detaching the wheel, driving to the trail, and then reversing the process when I'm done. 

7. I started Hillary Clinton's new memoir What Happened last night. I'm about 25 pages in and it's a lot more readable than I thought it was going to be. I was worried it would be dry and too full of facts and figures, but it's not (at least not yet). 

8. I ordered The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas this morning, since I have heard nonstop great things about it for awhile. I don't read YA, but given the fact I teach high school and the way things are socially in our country, I thought I just should. So I will. 

9. I finished Cat Marnell's How to Murder Your Life audiobook and... wow. She was a beauty editor at Lucky and worked at several other magazines over the years, all while being a massive addict. I felt so conflicted while listening to her; I sympathized with her mental health issues, but I was also disgusted by the connection between her privilege and drug accessibility. I rooted for her, but I was also frustrated by her. It was a good listen, and if you've read magazines for ages like I have you would probably enjoy it. 

10.  I am currently listening to The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (clearly my listening choices differ very much from my actual reading choices, but that's for another time... unless I've already written about it...?). I think it's going to keep me interested, if I can get over how idiotic the parents of the missing baby are...

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