Whenever I pop away from the blog for a bit, I love to come back with an update on my latest reads, happenings, and posts. As I type this, I’m sitting in one of my many café haunts in Asheville, North Carolina during my day off. I fully plan on getting a ton done today while I’m away from my campers, and so I’m looking forward to some caffeine. While I wait for my cold brew to kick in, here’s the latest.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani | Goodreads
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund | Goodreads
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver | Goodreads
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon | Goodreads
The Big Picture by Sean Carroll | Goodreads
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro | Goodreads
Art Is the Highest Form of Hope | Goodreads
Some of these have been pretty quick — the short story collections and the quotes about art — but others were steady pursuits. Like, I read about a hundred pages of Outlander a day until I finished it, and about fifty of The Big Picture (slower when around the children.) In Canada, I read at least a book a day and I was there for almost two weeks. So I hoped to knock out at least 10-15 that have been on my to-read lists forever.
I’ve been rather excited about what I’ve managed to put up lately. I reviewed a stellar collection of short stories about passive aggression. I featured some lovely coffeeshops I’ve discovered lately. I just started a book-club type feature about “big idea” reads — those books I read about philosophy and psychics and other aspects that just fascinate me. I created mood boards for some quiet summer contemporaries that deserve way more attention. I fell head over heels for a Sherlock Holmes-inspired YA series that filled the void Gallagher Girls left behind. I, like so many others, raved about The Hate U Give, a book inspired by police brutality and the black community. I featured some contemporaries I’m dying to read.
June was a blur, in a good way. I lost my journal partway through the three week session so I unfortunately wasn’t able to capture all the funny camper sayings, moments, happy times, low times that I would have liked to be able to remember. I love camp, and it was an absolute pleasure. As we like to say about camp, the days are long but the sessions are too short. I had a fabulous cabin of entering ninth graders who kept me on my toes. I taught archery and woodworking. Fun fact: I’m actually about five 50s away from my Illahee Archer, which means I’ve filled my scorecard at every distance in the range. There are a lot of esoteric traditions and special details that make Camp Illahee such an incredible place. I’m still a little shellshocked that I’m spending (practically) my whole summer there. I like to describe it as a place where I’m constantly fielding questions from twelve-year-olds and I only feel like myself if I’m weighted down by friendship bracelets, covered in clay, and hitting the mattress exhausted at the end of the day.
After June session, I spent two weeks at my family’s cottage in Ontario, and I settled in with about twenty books that I’ve been stockpiling for the summer. For one, I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked during my freshman year of college, and fully plan on making that a priority for my sophomore go-round. For another, I always save the thick reads for summertime because I can set aside a day or two reserved specifically for them, as opposed to slugging through them over months and getting tired out. Exciting times, are they not?
It was pretty gray up there. Choppy waves, storms. As lovely as it was to wake up to rain pounding the tin roof, I was aching for some sunshine. (Although curling up inside with some cocoa and a nice read is great too.) We haven’t even had one pretty day, which is disappointing since normally we lounge around by the lakefront and get some sunshine under our skin.
So I’ve been reading a ton. One of my close friends from school came to visit, which was fantastic. And I enjoyed my break from Illahee, as much as I love it. I also spent a ton of time writing, which was refreshing. Although I write often — and for different purposes — it’s nice to be back in the habit of just letting it flow.
Around July, I start to get itchy for the upcoming year. I start mapping out certain details. What I’ll do, what my routine will be like. In college, what my dorm room will look like. After more reflection, I think I’ve figured out my major combination (which is exciting) and approximately what my involvement will be like. I even got my fresh, shiny 2017-2018 planner and I already have it scattered with notes.
This session, I have a rowdy cabin of sixth-graders, which was quite the adjustment.
I love that age, but they definitely ask more questions than my high schoolers do! One of them woke me up from a nap to ask if Abraham Lincoln was born in Illinois. What a time to be alive, my friends.
I do love my age group, and I’ve had an absolute blast. They’re absolutely precious. I also have a brilliant JC (junior counselor) named Mary, who definitely keeps me sane. In the past week since I’ve been back, I’ve already had a ton of Taylor Swift dance parties, “love circles” (a.k.a small children interrogating me about my love life or lack thereof,) and “girlfriend, did you slip and score that piece before you put it on the ready-to-fire shelf?” I’ve centered lots of clay, inhaled lots of sawdust, and chugged lots of Cheerwine. Good times in the Heavenly World.