Book Haul (of sorts)

Good morrow, readers!

Happy Three Kings’ Day! I’ve talked about this Holiday before, during Destination Christmas. It basically works as a second Christmas, which usually means presents. Exciting stuff, I tell you.

Speaking of presents, I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas which I spent entirely on books. They’ve finally arrived and I’m unnecessarily giddy. I love getting things on the mail.

Anyway! I figured I’d share with you the books I got, because why not?

I’m happy because it’s a fairly diverse bunch. Hopefully, they’ll all be as good as I think they’ll be. I’ll make detailed posts about each one as I read them, I just wanted to share in the excitement of getting mail!

I’m keeping it short and sweet today. Family functions mockingly call my name.

Until next time, readers! Have a good one.

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Alphabet Soup: R is for resolutions

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!!!! It’s 2016 what whaaaaaaat

I hate spending Holidays at home, but spend it at home is what I did. People watching tv and munching on random things. Like every other fucking day of the year. Man, what the hell?! Who does that?! Tons of people, I bet. It’s a thing. Gathering, eating, and watching tv while rehashing the same old shit. Bleurgh.

R is for Resolutions

Let’s keep talking about tradition. Probably the biggest and most widely spread New Year tradition is coming up with resolutions for the coming year. Usually we all resolve to do things like lose weight, be better people, eat healthy, be more creative, do more of whatever it is we’re not doing enough. And, each year, without fail, we forget all about our well meant resolutions. Because they’re born out of that end of the year guilt, that looking back and feeling uncomfortable with how little we’ve done. Then the vastness of a new year comes along and we fool ourselves into thinking we have all the time in the world to accomplish whatever it is we’ve written down in our list of ours.

Does the mere act of writing down and coming up with these things satisfy that part of our brain that feels like we should be doing more? We get this burst of productivity that carries us through coming up with ideas, the planning, the initial set up for our new lifestyle. And then. And then. Nothing. Life happens and we put it all off. We push it back and rearrange it and forget that we had plans to change.

Are we doomed to repeat our mistakes every year? Cursed with chronic forgetfulness. Maybe. We should probably start by not romanticizing beginnings. It makes us feel fresh and new to start something when time seems to be starting, as well. Except, that’s a lie, isn’t it? Time never stops. We’re convinced it’s renewing itself, when really it’s us projecting our need for newness onto everything else.

So, instead of writing resolutions, let us make concrete plans. Let us forget about the fact that it’s the start of a new year and instead focus on our desire to be different, to improve. Plans, not resolutions. Let’s try it. What’s the worst that can happen?

Have an excellent year, readers!

Destination: Christmas #21

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 21

The Three Kings

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello again, readers!

It’s been a mildly productive day. Although, if I’m honest, the most shocking part of it was eating a Mac N’ Cheese Hamburger. That happened. Words cannot describe the awesome, so I won’t even insult you with paltry descriptions of what transpired. Aside from that I got paid, which is also a pleasant surprise seeing as I was meant to get my check a little under a week ago. So, you know, shit happened today you guys.

Today’s selection is all about the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus on the day of his birth. Led by the North star, the three kings brought gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. Sometimes I’m surprised when people don’t know this story. Being Puerto Rican, it’s something you learn when you’re very little regardless of whether you’re religious or not. As the world celebrates Christmas, many countries, including Puerto Rico, celebrate the Three Kings’ Day, where children everywhere await the arrival of these Wise men who leave a trail of gifts in their wake.

I remember being a kid and pilfering shoeboxes, so I could fill them with grass. Just as you’d leave cookies and milk for Santa, you leave a box full of grass and a bowl of water fro the Wise men’s camels. Families here in the Island celebrate both Christmas and the Three Kings’ Day, making the Holiday season something to truly look forward to. Especially when you consider the fact that we start our celebrations with Thanksgiving and they end somewhere around the second week of January with a massive street festival that lasts three days. Definitely worth looking forward to.

Although it’s a simple retelling of this age old story, the poem brings to mind all the traditions I’ve grown up with as a Puerto Rican. The things we do here that you don’t find anywhere else. It reminds me that no matter what happens or where I go, this beautiful Island will always call me back like the beating of a very persistent heart. Because, even though shit gets crazy here and there are times when I feel like I’m ready to burst from wanting to leave, I love these traditions. Nothing feels like Christmas in Puerto Rico. And that’s just the way I like it.

Have a good one readers, wherever you are!

Destination: Christmas #15

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 15

At Christmas by Edgar A. Guest

It’s Tuesday. I’ve got bread in the oven. I went on a non date yesterday. I’m reading a book that was meant to be nondescript, but is actually captivating. Consider yourself updated.

Today’s text is another rhyming poem. Poems that have obvious rhymes annoy me, they make me feel uninspired like that one kid who always tries to hard. I’ll accept rhymes from Dr. Seuss, but that’s about it. Anyway, this guy is rhyming about how man is his best at Christmas, almost what god intended him to be. His words, not mine. He’s saying man is kinder and more generous when he is filled to bursting with Christmas spirit and joy.

I agree, for the most part. I think man is better when he’s got the spirit of Christmas swirling around in his heart, but he’s better only because of his willingness to have it be so. It’s not feeling the warmth of the season or the desire to share that makes us be better people during the Holidays, it’s opening up ourselves to those feelings. Christmas is a time to be generous and kind, it gives us the freedom to let go of our sarcasm and our cynicism in order to embrace the wonder of the Holidays.

I love Christmas, the decorations, the music, putting up the tree. But I also love the feeling that comes with it, the cool air in the evenings, dim lights shining everywhere. A slight spring in people’s steps as they walk just a little closer. For me Christmas is not about religion or even about the presents (Although, I do love those as well!). For me it’s about that feeling, which swoops in and lands lightly on our heart, warming it for the season to come.

So yes, man is most definitely better during Christmas. But it’s only through his willingness to believe in the feelings of Christmas. It probably sounds naive, but I believe in that feeling. I believe in being enamored by the possibilities of Christmas, seduced by the songs that speak of peace and love. Even if it’s just once a year.

Keep it minty, readers. Pepperminty.

Destination: Christmas #9

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 9

The Burglar’s Christmas

by Elizabeth L. Seymour

Guess who forgot to write yesterday’s Christmas post? This girl, right here! The show must go on, however. So today I’m picking up at #9.

Christmas is that time of year where we allow ourselves to believe in miracles. Small mercies and little surprises that make the season glow with the combined anticipation of everyone who participates of it. We want to believe that we can be redeemed, cleansed under the falling snow to reemerge someone kinder and more capable of love.

The protagonist of this story had such an opportunity. He was surprised out of poverty and the brink of death, only to stumble back into the arms of a family he’d thought lost to him for good. The Holiday season is one where we dare to hope for something better. We hope that the Grinch or Scrooge in our life will see the error of his ways. That come Christmas morning their hearts will have grown three sizes. That they will love us better, love us finally.

We also hope for ourselves. Little miracles that seem small compared to the feat that is making a heart expand. Song after song, begging Santa to leave cushioned boxes full of love under the tree. The wrapping paper concealing so many possibilities. Schrodinger’s Christmas. Except we open the box, we find sweaters and batteries for toys we don’t play with anymore. And we’re still the same people. And all that hope was for nothing.

But every year we open up our hearts to the possibility of more. We hope. And believe. And approach the tree with our hearts on our sleeves. Looking for love in all the wrong places.

I hope you find the love you’re looking for this season, readers.

Have a good one!

Destination: Christmas #5

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 5

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Hello, readers!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a brutal day. The catering company I work for had an all day event today, needless to say my feet are killing me. This whole rest during the weekend thing is proving to be an elusive concept. However, I’m happy because money is coming in and, after my trip, I really need it.

I was honestly feeling hard pressed to read today’s entry in the calendar when I got home, but it turned out to be a Sherlock Holmes story. And, really, who can ever turn down Holmes? All at once you fall into that familiar writing and you forget everything else. For me, reading stories or novels about Sherlock Holmes always carries that familiar feeling. Almost like going back to visit an old friend, for an hour, a few days or weeks depending on the length of the text. It’s always nice, reading something in that very particular style.

I’d never thought to put Christmas and Sherlock Holmes together, but I guess it’s understandable that with such a large number of texts there should be mention of Christmas somewhere. This particular story is about geese and jewels. Also some forgiveness. And a crazy, twisting plot where Holmes solves the puzzle to everyone’s amazement. I kind of wish it’d had more a more Christmasy feel to it, but at the same time I enjoy the fact that it departs from the usual Holiday fare. I appreciate it’s unexpected inclusion into the calendar.

I’m excited to see what else they’ve included in this Literary Advent Calendar! Join me tomorrow to find out what’s next! Stay cool, readers.

Have a good one!

Destination: Christmas #2

This Christmas series is brought to you thanks to Book Riot’s Literary Advent Calendar. It’s a combination of poetry, short stories, and essays. I’ll be posting every day, some days twice to keep up with my regular posts. Click the story title for the full text. Now, let’s get this Christmas show on the road!

Day 2

The Gift of the Magi by O Henry

I’m not going to lie, today’s story didn’t quite blow me over. I’m fairly sure I’ve read it before, so that might have something to do with it. It’s a cute story – the lengths we’re willing to go to for love. They sacrifice so much, but in the end it all gets twisted. Really, the only thing they’ve gained from each other’s sacrifices is the knowledge of just what the other was capable of doing to show their love. In a way, that’s the greatest gift of all, right? Knowing you love someone who’s willing to go to any lengths to make you happy? Maybe. It just makes me sad for them. Who knows, maybe I’m just really tired and projecting. Maybe you guys will like it better!

Read it and let me know whether you enjoyed it or not in the comments below! Stay cool, readers.