"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What Happens When People Ask Me About Books

Yesterday my parents and I were in this beautiful place for the wedding of a family friend:

That doesn't have a lot to do with what I'm about to tell you except that I started thinking about it while I was in this beautiful place, and for some reason places are usually linked with thoughts in my mind, so I figured I should include a picture. 

This thought train actually started a while back at a party held by the family friend who's wedding we attended. My parents and I were chatting with a drama teacher and somehow we got onto the subject of "kids not reading anymore" and then my mom mentioned that I was into writing/reading and the drama teacher asked if I had any book recommendations for teens. I don't know what happened. Suddenly I was listing off book title after book title, the first being The Goose Girl of course, but then branching out into whole other genres. I think she appreciated it, even if she might have been a little overwhelmed by the time I stopped talking.

 I thought this little outburst of bookish enthusiasm was a one time thing until yesterday, when the subject of conversation moved to the Texas Book Festival, which as you may recall, is happening next weekend (!!). As expected I went into hyper drive and gushed for five minutes about how excited I am. (Which is ALOT.) Obviously I can't speak for the other person, but my enthusiastic outbursts are always a little strange for me. I'm usually a pretty quiet person. I speak when I have something meaningful to say...or when the conversation turns to books. And it's usually not until the end of my rant that I stop to think about wether the person I'm talking to is actually interested in what I have to say. What is it about reading that makes we want to yell book titles from a hill top?

Despite the occasional awkwardness, I think I've finally made peace with my little outbursts. Books are something I'm passionate about. I enjoy talking about them, especially with people who share my passion. Sure I may seem a little weird to people who aren't reader types, but I'm sure if I got them talking about their passion they'd want to shout about it on a hill top, too. Well...maybe. 

So next time you're at a party, find someone and get them talking about something they're passionate about. Chances are you'll learn something new, and maybe you can then steer the conversation back to books, which is what you really wanted to talk about. ;)

Photo by Jeff Mills.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Books, Fall, and Cool Buildings: Ohio Recap!

Well, I made it back from the dream-like state that is fall in rural Ohio, only to be greeted by humidity, fall temps that feel more like summer, and a very stressful week. After being welcomed back into my life by mounds of homework, those four days in Ohio almost don't seem real. But, dream or not, I want to share them with you anyway.

 Our first stop was Oberlin, both the name of the college and the town that it's in.

 We saw some absolutely stunning fall foliage. (It may actually get better than this, but we Houstonians take what we can get!)...

 Some really cool architecture...

 And LOTS of bikes!

The above picture is slightly ironic, since the name Oberlin is actually my grandmother's maiden name, and her father owned a Ben Franklin. How freaky is that?! Also, half of this Ben Franklin was a used bookstore, and I sat in a comfy arm chair for about 45 minutes reading a book called Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell. I'm still not exactly sure what it was about, but it was intriguing. Have any of you heard of it/read it?

 Next we visited Kenyon College, which is in the adorable town of Gambier (actually it's more of a single street with businesses along it) and saw more stunning foliage along Middle Path (shown above)....

We ate lunch in a room that could have passed for the Great Hall at Hogwarts...

Experienced more beautiful architecture...

And visited another bookstore!

I think what I loved most about this trip was not just my beautiful surroundings, or bookstores, or even getting to check out two really interesting schools. I think it was something deeper than that. It was taking in the crisp fall air and listening to the crunch of leaves under my feet. It was watching college students interact, and realizing that I will be one of them in less than a year. It was a breather from the cyclical nature that my days have begun to take on lately. I felt free. I felt myself embracing each place that we visited, and everything was fresh and new. Since then, I've been trying not to let that feeling slip away, but it's hard with school and college apps bearing down. Either way, I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and overall it was a great experience.

If you've been enjoying these travel posts, stay tuned for more, because I'll be in Austin, Tx for the next couple of weekends, first for a wedding and then for the Texas Book Festival! Let me know if you're going to be there! (The book festival, not the wedding...unless of course we know the same people...weird. :)

Photos by Jeff Mills.