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11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Began: Friday, March 28th 2014

Finished: Monday, March 30th 2014

I have this thing with books. I like owning them because I don't really like library books: they have stains that you don't know where they came from and bent pages and some of them (like this one) have random pages that are missing. I guess that's what makes library books special though: they go from person to person, and no two people had the same experience with the same book. 

I do, however, love libraries. I love the feeling of being surrounded by books that haven't just been sitting on a shelf their entire life. These books have been used and loved and cried over by many people. I think that is why I tend not to like stores like Barnes & Noble, and I instead like online stores like Thrift Books. I like knowing that the book I'm reading has multiple stories: the one written on the pages, the one written in the margins, and the one of the person who read it before I did. 

I say all this because my spring break began Friday afternoon, and I stopped by the library to pick up a few books from my list: this book as well as Jeanette Walls's memoir. 

This was my second attempt to read Chbosky's novel, and I enjoyed it so much more than the first time where it mostly just sat on my bedside table until I had to return it to the library. However, I really did enjoy it this time around. This is one of the many reasons why I am a firm believer in second chances: you may not like a book the first go-round, but when you try it again it's not so bad. 

I love that the novel is written as letters to an anonymous person. It gives the story a sincerity that you wouldn't get with first or third person and a true connection with young adults who are reading this novel because -in a sense- it almost feels like Charlie is writing to us. He's writing to us because we understand these things. We might not have experienced them, but we -Chbosky's audience- are wallflowers: we see things and we understand them and we watch as events unravel before us. 

The perks of being a wallflower are that we are relatable, and we -like Charlie's friend who listens and understands and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though they could have- are always there to listen when someone needs to talk. Before being exposed to this book, I always thought of being a wallflower as a bad thing and that I should become more outgoing and less wallflower-y (and maybe I should but that's not the point), but now I see that being a wallflower isn't always a bad thing. 

But sometimes it is. Sometimes, like Sam said, we have to take action and do something for a change. As wallflowers, we have to allow ourselves to experience the world and feel infinite when it matters most. We can still sit and listen, but the most important thing to be as a wallflower is ourselves.


"So, what's the point of using words nobody else knows or can say comfortably? I just don't understand that."

"I just think it's bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that the way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is. And I think it's bad when the most honest way a boy can look at a girl is through a camera."

" 'I don't want to be somebody's crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don't want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me. And if they do something I don't like, I'll tell them. . . . I'm going to do what I want to do. I'm going to be who I really am.' " - Sam

"I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they're upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad."

34. The Hobbit or There and Back Again

The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Began: Tuesday March 18th 2014
Finished: Thursday March 27th 2014

I was first introduced to Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien as a little girl. I remember watching the Lord of the Ring films with my family and hiding under my blanket whenever Gollum came on the screen because he scared me. I was introduced to The Hobbit when my older sister was in high school and had to read it for sophomore English -they even made their English teacher a hobbit hole to surprise her! I was re-introduced when the Hobbit movie came around, and I put off reading it for as long as I could. However, I couldn't resist picking it off the shelf at Walmart when I passed it after babysitting on Tuesday. I immediately started it when I got home.

This book pleasantly surprised me. I did thoroughly enjoy it, and now I cannot wait for my shipment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to come in so that I can get to work on those as well.

The thing that I admire the most of Tolkien's novel is indeed Bilbo. I admire his unfading loyalty, his cunning nature, and his courage, but mostly the loyalty. When thirteen dwarves waltz into his precious hobbit hole without an explanation, he doesn't force them to leave. Instead, he gives them his food and his bedrooms and his tea all without a question.

While the "races" if you will are segregated throughout the novel, Bilbo -a hobbit- journeys with thirteen dwarves and a wizard. The loyalty between the dwarves is already established because they are of the same "race" while loyalty to Bilbo takes a little more time, but after a while they grow as loyal to him as they are their own dwarves. While the group does have their trust issues, Gandalf brings them together and forces them to coexist.

Another thing I truly admire about Bilbo is his insane amount of courage. He is the least experienced person in the group with stepping outside of their comfort zone, yet he is most often the one who does most of the courageous acts. In fact he goes into the dragon's lair alone! He doesn't know what to expect, but he embraces it.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from Bilbo.

"May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks." - Gandalf

"I think I shall be off and wish you like the eagles 'farewell wherever you fare!'" - Gandalf

"It is horrible being all alone." - Bilbo

"I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!" - Gandalf

Book Bucket List

  1. The House Girl - Tara Conklin
  2. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  4.  Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
  6. Mark of the Lion Trilogy - Francine Rivers
  7. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  8. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  9. Walking on Water - Madeline L'Engle
  10. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling
  11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
  12. Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
  13. Les Misérables - Victor Hugo
  14. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  15. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  16. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  17. The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
  18. Everything is Illuminated - Jonathon Safran Foer
  19. Inferno - Dante
  20. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  21. The Pillars of Earth - Ken Follett
  22. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  23. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes (Spanish and English versions)
  24. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  25. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  26. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
  27. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brian
  28. The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
  29. Frankenstein - Mary Shelly
  30. The Known World - Edward P. Jones
  31. Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
  32. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  33. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
  34. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien 
  35. Candide - Voltaire
  36. The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
  37. One the Road - Jack Kerouac
  38. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
  39. Gifted Hands - Ben Carson
  40. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  41. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woof
  42. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  43. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  44. Beowulf
  45. Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
  46. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
  47. The Monuments Men - Robert Edsel
  48. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
  49. Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
  50. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
  51. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
  52. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  53. The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells
  54. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  55. Out of Africa - Isak Dineson (Karen Blixen)
  56. Go Down, Moses - William Faulkner
  57. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
  58. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
  59. Looking for Alaska - John Green
  60. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
  61. The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux
  62. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  63. The Blind Side - Michael Lewis
  64. La Casa en Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
  65. Never Mind - Edward St. Aubyn
  66. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
  67. I'm Proud of You - Tim Madigan
  68. Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson
  69. The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
  70. Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon
  71. Love With a Chance of Drowning - Torre de Rouche
  72. End of Your Life Book Club - Will Schwalbe
  73. The Accidental Creative - Todd Henry
  74. How to be Interesting - Jessica Hagy
  75. The Joy of Less - Francine Jay
  76. Daring Greatly - Brene Brown 
  77. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
  78. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkein
  79. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  80. Tiny Beautiful Things - Cheryl Strayed
  81. The Starboard Sea - Amber Dermont
  82. The Lantern - Deborah Lawrenson
  83. The Woman Warrior - Maxine Hong Kingston
  84. God at Work - Gene Veith
  85. The Tempest - William Shakespeare
  86. The Imitation of Christ - Thomas a'Kempis
  87. The Diviners - Libba Bray
  88. Miss Peregrines's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
  89. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
  90. The Good Luck of Right Now - Matthew Quick
  91. Shotgun Lovesongs - Nickolas Butler
  92. The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld
  93. The Museum of Extraordinary Things - Alice Hoffman
  94. Above - Isla Morley
  95. While Beauty Slept - Elizabeth Blackwell 
  96. The Wives of Los Alamos - Tarashea Nesbit
  97. Redeployment - Phil Klay
  98.  Blood Will Out - Walter Kim
  99. Profiles in Courage - John F. Kennedy
  100. The Giver - Lois Lowry
  101. The Norse Myths - Kevin Crossley-Holland
  102.  Front of the Class - Brad Cohen
  103. We Bought a Zoo - Benjamin Mee
  104. Surviving the Extremes - Kenneth Kambler
  105. Holes - Lois Sachar
  106. The Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
  107. The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
  108. Peter Pan - J.M. Barrie
  109. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
  110. The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot
  111. Crazy Love - Francis Chan
  112. The Queen in Winter - Delacroix, Kurland, Shinn, and Monette
  113. Three Cups of Tea - Mortenson and Relin
  114. Daughter of Venice - Donna Jo Napoli
  115. Drowning Ruth - Christina Schwartz
  116. Girl in Hyacinth Blue - Susan Vreeland
  117. A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare
  118. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
  119. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
  120. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Frank Baum
  121. Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Peterson
  122. Eragon - Christopher Paolini
  123. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  124. Son of a Witch - Gregory Maguire
  125. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larson
  126. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
  127. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathon Foer
  128. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
  129. The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
  130. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
  131. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larson
  132. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
  133. Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
  134. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
  135. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  136. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  137. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
  138. The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff
  139. One Million Lovely Letters - Jodi Ann Bickley
  140. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  141. The Divergent Trilogy - Veronica Roth
  142. 14,000 Things to Be Happy About - Barbra Ann Kipfer
  143. My Life in France - Julia Child
  144. Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 
  145. The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
  146. Ask the Passengers - A.S. King
  147. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Sáenz
  148. Where Things Come Back - John Corey Whaley
  149. How to Lead a Life of Crime - Kirsten Miller
  150. Before I Go to Sleep - S.J. Watson
  151. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  152. Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
  153. East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
  154. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
  155. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  156. Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight
  157. The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
  158. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
  159. The Zoo at the Edge of the World - Eric Kahn Gale
  160. The Silver Star - Jeanette Walls
  161. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler
  162. Four - Veronica Roth
  163. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
  164. The Drowning of Arthur Braxton - Caroline Smailes
  165. Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein
  166. Ashfall - Mike Mullin
  167. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick
  168. What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty
  169. Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple
  170. The Witch's Daughter - Paula Braxston
  171. The Magicians - Lev Grossman
  172. Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close
  173. Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  174. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye Walton
  175. Paper Towns - John Green
  176. The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon
  177. The Archived - Victoria Schwab
  178. The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion