a reader's life · book posts · Challenges · Uncategorized

Reads of Fall 2018 (and the reading challenge)

65110Well, I did end up reaching my goal of 60 books this year (I actually read 70)! I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it since I didn’t have time to read during my practicum with grade one this year, but as soon as Christmas break hit, I hit the books. (Well, maybe a week in.) I read a bunch of kid books these months, but it was either something I read to my kids (to save my butt in this read-60-books thing) or some fluff because A. my mind is still recovering from the past semester and B. I need to finish A Series of Unfortunate Events before the last season comes out on Netflix and C. ASOUE is an amazing series so you don’t even get to judge, heathen.

I’m not going to do a top books of this period since I didn’t read many really amazing books, but kudos to the paragraph above because I absolutely love A Series of Unfortunate Events and how these books are not only great for kids, but also pretty great for adults as well.

I did not do the Books ‘N Tunes challenge because none of the books I read this year really gave me any musical inspiration. Except Patrick Melrose (listen to my short playlist here). I even made some music videos for this book/tv series. You can see them here and here (pssst the second one is my personal favourite).

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country music · Lady Antebellum · Uncategorized

Anna’s Favourites Day 16: Lady Antebellum

2. Which is my favourite album or EP from this artist?

My favourite album would probably be Own the Night, although Need You Now comes in a close second.

3. What is my favourite song from this artist?

“Love Don’t Live Here”“Need You Now”“Hello World”“Wanted You More”  (I would avoid watching the video for certain sections) … “Love I’ve Found in You” … “Goodbye Town” … “All For Love” (below) … “Bartender” (ignore the wacked up bartender haha)

I don’t have too much description for the songs below because I think they’re pretty self-explanatory – since they’re so spot on.


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classical crossover · country music · Uncategorized

Anna’s Favourites Day 14: J

Out of all the J artists I have on iTunes, Josh Groban would probably be my favourite for just the Beauty of his music, with Josh Gracin coming in for a close second since he’s a great country artist. However, since I have so many singleton favourites, I’m going to let this post just be a mismatch of them all and focus on the last few questions from my questions list. This post shall be a mixture of classical crossover, country, and a few others which I don’t know how to brand.


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alternative music · Anna's Life · Fall Out Boy · music · pop(ular) music · Uncategorized

Anna’s Favourites Day 6: Fall Out Boy

Just for warning, there will be at least two more days with the letter F. (Seems like a lot of my favourite bands start with the letter F.)

Tread carefully now. This is where Anna opens up her heart and talks about the past and gets all poetic.


1. What draws me to this particular artist’s music?

I discovered Fall Out Boy two years ago during the spring, just in time for tragedy to strike in my own life. I’m not going to go into details, but looking in retrospective, I realize how good God is.  This band grew very close to my heart, the songs sometimes being the only comfort I have. I’ve never met Pete Wentz, but from reading his lyrics and closing my eyes and listening to the words, he really knew just how I was feeling. During the worst times, I imagined Pete and Patrick to be two sides of my guardian angel, being my little cheerleaders. You can do this, Anna, they’d say. You can get up and go to class. or I know it’s cold, but you can get off the train and make it to school. It’s okay. You can do this. (Definitely incorporating this into one of my novels.)

While I don’t listen to this band anywhere as much as I used to, they’re still quite close to my heart. I absolute detest the sound of their latest song, but that’s okay. I’ve moved on from Fall Out Boy and they’ve moved on, too. I still like their older music better than their newer, anyway. Those are the songs that will always stay with me.

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Current Events · Educate Yourself · Milo Yiannopoulos · People · The Bad & Ugly · Uncategorized

A few words concerning the latest drama…

First they called him a “white supremacist” for expressing views different from those of the mainstream media. But I suppose any of us who’ve had the guts to express our own opinions have gone through similar over the last few months.

But then they called a man who was sexually abused a child a PEDOPHILE. I knew something was fishy when I saw the news headlines (I mean, come on, it’s the mainstream media). But when I learned the truth, my heart fell.

And now they’ve cancelled his book, as a last attempt to kick him as he lies on the ground. I know the “Dangerous Faggot” isn’t one to care what other people think, but no human can go through that much without becoming disheartened. Like Donald Trump and Paul Joseph Watson, you have me hope that things can get better and that the SJWs and establishment won’t defeat us. My heart goes out to you.

To use the words of that scumbag Shia, but with a twist, THEY will not divide us. We will not be beaten down. No more.

You said at Cal Poly last month that you want your listeners to know the truth so that as many of them as possible will go to heaven. You’ve been fighting for us. We’re here for you, Milo.

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Anna's Life · Educate Yourself · Uncategorized

The Truth About Haters (And Why They Don’t Really Bother Me Anymore)

For anyone who has known me for an extended period of time, I used to be a very sensitive soul. I desperately wanted to please people and I would change my opinion quickly in order to be liked. And while that girl isn’t completely gone, I’ve realized that over the past year, I’ve become much more confident… and less willing to deal with crap.

“How do you live with yourself after getting broken once again?” a tumblr poet asks.

Answer – you don’t. you pick up the shattered glass of the version of you that was too weak, throw away every single piece you don’t need and create a new one. you reinvent yourself, build it up from dust and bones, glue it all together with hope, and stand up taller. you forget all the lies and heartache, leave behind everyone who ever dared to lay a hand on you and start anew. you come back to life as someone who will know better, as someone who knows they deserve better and step lightly into the world again. ready or not, you gather your strength and go, for the new version of you has still so much to learn [sic].

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5 stars · Book Reviews · Books · Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Most books I read aren’t new releases, but I thought I’d do my own list of my favourite books that I read this year. Some are new, others not. I decided to stick to books that I read for the first time this year, so that rules out favourites like Hamlet and The Lord of the Rings. I chose books that made me fall in love with them because they are clever, well-written, and just add to the literary discourse of the human heart.

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American Literature · Christian/Catholic · Emily Dickinson · Literature Analysis · poetry · Uncategorized

The Catholicity of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry


One of the major themes in my American Literature class this semester has been that of Providence and the conversion narrative – our major example being that of Mary Rowlandson, who trusts in God and sees Him as “weaning” her desires from life, family, even the skin on her own back to more fully “convert” her to a purer form of Christianity. I find the theme of trust in Providence very interesting – and perhaps a little more real – in the poems of Emily Dickinson.

Many of Dickinson’s poems have been called blasphemous by critics such as Helen Vendler. While it is true that Dickinson’s poetry does suggest that she fell often into the sin of Despair (e.g. #320 – “There’s a certain Slant of light”), the fact that religious elements are in so many of her poems, I argue, illustrates that while she struggled with faith, she did not entirely give up hope.

These are the days when Birds come back -
A very few - a Bird or two -
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies resume
The old - old sophistries of June -
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the Bee.
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear -
And softly thro' the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf.
Oh sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze -
Permit a child to join -
Thy sacred emblems to partake -
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!


In poem #122, Dickinson writes of looking back not only to the “old sophistries of June,” but also the innocence and belief of childhood. Back then she was unable to “partake” of the “consecrated bread,” but then, at least, she had stronger belief. Dickinson wishes that she could experience that longing again. She realizes that having religious fervor is much better than being able to receive Eucharist with no belief, and perhaps this is why she never took Communion (x). I quite enjoy Ashok Karra’s analysis, in which faith, like a mustard seed, has not yet been planted in the ground. However, it is floating about in the air, ready to be grasped. Perhaps Dickinson is unable to reach for faith yet, but the fact that she is staring at it with wonder and longing is much more hopeful than one who rejects it and turns away.

Perhaps it is due to her church community, which viewed Dickinson as not yet “converted,” that she questions her lack of faith with such despondency. A more accepting community, in which Dickinson’s smaller faith would have still been appreciated as faith, would have produced much different poetry, that is certain. She knows that “This world is not conclusion” (#373), but apparently, according to her church community, she is excluded from the glory of the next. Therefore, Dickinson’s “Faith slips” as she sees only empty “Gesture, from the Pulpit” where they claim that their faith is superior to hers. Their joy in the Lord only makes her stumble (#312), and so she scorns their happiness because it makes them weak – only preaching, not practicing. In fact, perhaps it is Dickinson who has had the true conversion, for her hardship gives her a strength (#861) beyond any of theirs – it is an “imperial affliction” (#320) which leads her to God. She, like Mary Rowlandson, and unlike the hypocritical people of her church, “can wade Grief – / Whole Pools of it” (#312).

On days when her despair becomes too extreme, Dickinson wishes for “[t]he privilege to die – ” (#588), thereby provoking her theme of depression throughout her otherwise lighthearted or cynical poetry. With such a lonely life, it is not hard to see why Dickinson makes God her “Inquisitor” (#588).  However, Dickinson knows all too well that a person needs the pain of the “Augur” and “Carpenter” to become a properly-formed “Soul” (#729). She is “the vivid Ore” who, after being purified by her religious experiences, no longer needs “the Forge” of her Protestant church – “the designated Light [has] / Repudiate[d] the Forge – ” (#401). Therefore, even though her church has not deemed her to be “converted,” Dickinson has actually weaned her affections – or at least she claims to in her poetry, such as in #782 when she “let[s] go” of her love for  a person because she knows that the “Great Progenitor” (God) will not reject her, like human beings inevitably will. The words of those of her church are merely the “Contempts – of time – ” (#830).

Interestingly, Arthur McMaster believes that Dickinson’s poetry seems to express an interest in Catholicism. The Protestant, anti-Catholic environment surrounding Dickinson could explain why she struggled so much with faith – not faith as a whole, for she did seem to believe in God, but rather, which kind of faith she should choose. McMaster believes that Catholic ideas of free will and salvation would have appealed much more to Dickinson than the predestination of her upbringing. One can see Dickinson struggling with the idea of predestination especially in #706 (“I cannot live with You”), for she is unable to wean herself of her affections to her lover (and therefore opposing #830, but who says that one cannot change one’s mind later on??). Therefore, he is one of the Elect and she knows that she is “condemned to be / Where You were not.” Sarah Klein, however, states that Catholicism was foreign to Dickinson and therefore such theories seem incorrect. Whichever is the truth, it is unquestionable that her themes of faith are Catholic in essence.

For example, in poem #124, the question is raised whether “the meek members of the Resurrection” will rise to be with their Maker, but this is because all are nothing in the sight of God. When people on the earth are nothing but “Dots, / On a Disc of Snow” to the majestic Deity, one’s high status does not matter: “Diadems – drop – / And Doges – surrender – .” Life will go on (“Grand go the Years, / In the Crescent above them – “) when a person dies – all that matters is whether he or she will awaken to be with Christ.

In #232, Dickinson wonders whether to forgive the person who “forgot” her. Her mind wanders back to her Biblical background and she remembers how Jesus forgives Peter for denying Him three times. Therefore, she must follow her Saviour’s example – “Could I do aught else – to Thee?”

a reader's life · Anna's Life · Uncategorized

The Man Who Spoke

Due to the fact that I hardly ever blog on here (since I feel like I have to have long, intellectual posts in order to make blogging worthwhile), I decided that I’m going to try something new – short, little posts about my day, what I’m reading, etc.

So, without, further ado, here is my little happy moment of the day. [originally posted here – with grammatical mistakes and all]


This morning on the train on the way to school, there was an older man with a cast. Despite his injured leg, he moved from bench to bench, talking to people about how he was trying to quit smoking, how he was going to the doctor’s, about Calgary in general, etc. I was slightly annoyed, but more amused.

I was immersed – or trying to be – in reading short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. I hope the man wouldn’t try to come and bother me after all the other people left the train (I get off at one of the last stops, and it often happens that I am the only one left in the car). He didn’t try to initiate conversation, however, and I felt almost…. disappointed?

As he got ready to leave the train a few stops before me, I looked up and gave him a smile. He smiled back.

“That must be a good book you’re reading,” he said. “You were so into it. Have a good day.”

Just thinking about it now makes me smile.

Anna's Life · Uncategorized

New Mornings

Some mornings you wake up and it’s like a brand new day in a life that is an exciting journey. Other mornings, when you wake up, it’s kind of the worst thing ever. My morning was (is, it’s still 8AM) kind of like both of those moments.

One of the adjectives that I hear most often to describe me is sweet. Another is caring. I guess that’s not a big surprise as I love to spread love and help people as best as I can – even if that’s just through a little message saying, “hey, how are you doing? I hope you’re having a morning as lovely as you!” However, those who know me better (like my family) know that I can also be quite difficult and moody at times. I like having things my own way – and if events or people are not perfect, then let hell be unleashed in my mind that it’s not that way. I don’t think I used to be quite as bad, but I guess it can be expected when I went through a very tough last year. I’ve let the troubles of life and the poor Anna, poor Anna to influence me more than I realized, I think, however.

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