Hi! I wanted to write an introduction so that you know a little bit more about me, and we feel more like friends rather than random people on the internet talking about books. (Even though that sounds very poetic and mysterious) I will touch a bit on who I am, my relationship to books, and pretty much what lead me to decide to actually try pursuing sharing my passion. As you might be able to tell I am sort of long-winded, which is why I chose the name Read and Ramble. I would love for this blog to be as interactive as possible, and I would love to build a community of book loving friends. While I am all for the spice of a heated discussion, the only thing I ask is that this page remains welcoming and inclusive, so you can add a little spice, as long as it is also nice. 😊
Who I am… or my ‘Origin Story’ if you want to pretend I am cooler than I am:
I am originally from California, the Bay Area to be a little bit more precise. As a child I am what you would call the classic introvert, I liked some people but I liked silence and a nice corner to read even more. I think that this became apparent even as young as pre-school. I was on the cusp of being let in as my Birthday fell in September, but they decided that I was advanced enough to be allowed in. I remember pre-school fairly well as there was a cool treehouse like structure in the middle of the main room, which I decided would be the perfect corner for me to read. When it came to be the end of my time in pre-school and my parents had my exit meeting with my teacher, she informed them that while I was well beyond academically ready for the next grade, I made little to no effort socializing and they thought that might be a concern. But to this day my parents remember my response which was simply, “I like books and the other kids are boring”. Fast forward for a second to after High School graduation when I went back to visit my teacher, she was very relieved to find out that while I hadn’t changed much on the opinion, I at least knew how to socialize and talk to others… I mean most of the time. Reading for me was pretty much the equivalent of having a passport and a time machine all in one. I was able to sit down and travel to anytime and go anywhere in the comfort of my own room, I mean a true introverts dream. I also think that reading is what led me to have an overactive imagination and probably a vocabulary that some adults probably found to be condescending and annoying (Actually I know this to be true as I once had a neighbor who informed me that “little girls are meant to be spoken and not heard”… which just confirmed my early statement about books being better than people.) I remember vividly playing with one of my boy friends (the space is important haha), but we would go down to a sand park and I remember in my imagination being transported into the realm of Terabithia, a novel that while destroyed my heart, I think also opened my mind to the ability to create adventure outside the pages of a book. My love of books continued, as the more I read the more promise and magical the world around me seemed to be. I think it also helped that a lot of the protagonists were similar to me in the sense that they kept to themselves and found solace in their own thoughts.
Now I can recognize that I am starting to ramble so I am going to start fast forwarding to my more tween years. I was that 8-9 year old who while at first was not willing to feed into the Twilight and Marked book phases, eventually I did and will say that I am glad I did. Not necessarily because I think that Twilight is amazingly written, I mean I purchased Midnight Sun and can confirm it appealed mostly to my nostalgia. But I do think that that is one of the first times in my life I truly felt like I had a community on something I truly cared about… books. Just so you don’t think I only read as a child (not that that would be a bad thing, I think it would be quite the opposite) but I did do other things such as soccer (which I did not see the point of continuously chasing after the ball, yet I still have the participation trophy from as a joke), Swimming (Which again not my favorite thing, I preferred to test fate and see how long I could sit on the bottom of the pool instead), Art Clubs (this was okay but honestly they always pointed out what I was doing wrong which made it switch in my brain from fun to an assignment), Dance and Cheer, which I did both recreationally and competitively and even though there were some negatives attached to both it was something I stuck by, and eventually I also did Debate, Leadership and Model UN, both of which I did because of a History teacher that really resonated with me and pushed me to do things that my otherwise quiet self would have never done (Thank you Mr. Harris). So as you can see while I did a lot of things, (some my ideas and the others my parents) what I really preferred to do was read. Which there were times where I admit, I became a bit too comfortable locking myself away for a day and finishing a book rather than “acting my age” (not to say I did not have fun because I did).But this is around the time where my relationship with books started to shift.
So I have a real bone to pick with teachers, especially English ones. While I did have a handful of teachers that really opened my eyes to books and authors I might not have otherwise read, what I will say is that majority of English teachers distanced me from my love of reading. There was almost a block in my head when it came to assigned reading, not so much because it was assigned, but more so because I did not like the fact that most of my teachers expected to read the book a certain way or taking a specific meaning from the book. What I mean by this, is I am a firm believer that books should be up for interpretation, especially books from authors who are no longer living and had not explicitly said what their story meant. I guess I just had a lot of teachers that would act as though their opinion on the book was the right one because they shared the same lesson plan as every other grade teacher and I had a real problem with it. I mean even when it came to the papers, as you can tell I am very long-winded and while I recognize it would be impossible to sift through page after page on the same book, what I do think is that the structure in which a lot of classes are conducted puts students into a box, and makes them feel as though they are unable to comprehend books correctly (or at least that’s how I felt, when I was called on in class and paid too much attention to a specific detail rather than the detail I was supposedly supposed to catch on to.) Now while some might read this and think okay calm down its just a class, it did make my association with assigned books feel very different from how I felt about books of my choosing. As those books I felt were my escape, and I guess the other books I felt like I was somehow destined to read wrong. Anyways somewhat rant over, I will say that my senior year of high school, I did have two teachers that made school reading fun again. One was my AP Lit teacher, who even though I must admit was a bit scary, did accept my thinking and actually made me enjoy the ever so tedious socratic seminars, and also my Film and Lit teacher. My AP teacher in particular had us read a book that I suppose a lot of you have probably read as it was Hamlet (pretty basic classic I know) but the reason this book stood out to me was simply because of a line within the play, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” I have since simplified it in my head to “thinking makes it so”, because as someone who struggles with overthinking and everything that comes with that, it is truly not just a line in a play for me but instead serves as a reminder that my thoughts have a lot of power, power in which I can either choose to use positively or negatively in my life. Now while I wish I had a long winded explanation for my Film and Lit class, the truth is I don’t have one it was just fun, (when I actually went, sorry I skipped so much high school was not really my favorite) but sometimes fun is just enough to stick with you.
The Road to Undergrad:
Random sidenote, but something that I wish all high school seniors knew, if you are still confused about what you want to do sometimes community college or even a gap year is the perfect way to figure things out. The reason I am saying this, is because I did well in Debate, Model UN, and event my AP Gov class in High School, I was heavily influenced to go the Political Science route in college as I though that would be the logical step to eventually going to law school. While I did minor in History and English, I wish I stuck with the classes I enjoyed which in College unlike high school was actually English. But I did not figure out I would have been okay majoring in English, but as they say hindsight really is 20/20. Random sidenote over lets talk about the Road to Undergrad. So as you might imagine from my previous statement, I was a bit confused when it came to what I wanted to do, where I saw myself and things of that nature. So while I thought I would go to a big school like the University of Oregon, weeks before I was supposed to depart on that adventure I decided to go to a private liberal arts school just outside of San Francisco instead. This is where I took a bunch of classes, but a class in particular that really made me excited was “Children’s Literature” I think it was a mixture of having a really good teacher, and feeling nostalgic from my childhood, but I really enjoyed reading and writing children’s books and even finding myself surprised by how dark some of them are. This is when *ghasp* I also read Harry Potter for the first time. I am not too sure how I spent so long not reading it, but there is something so magical reading a cult favorite as an adult when magic seems reduced to childhood and Santa Claus. I also in this class wrote a version of a little caterpillar who could, but instead made it a story about it being okay to be gay and when you stop worrying about the thoughts of others you will be able to flourish into a butterfly. I was actually inspired by one of my college friends who to this day makes me so proud to be an ally.🏳️🌈
Fast forward towards the end of the year, when I found out my dad was going to move with my whole family to Texas. I was weirdly okay with this idea, because while I had never necessarily dreamed about moving to Texas, I did feel like my small private school was a little too comfortable for me (I think this is what they might call character development in books?) All jokes aside I knew that I needed the change to push myself, so my family spent the summer packing up, and I spent the summer listening and reading books every chance I had. When I submitted my application to transfer only one school was still accepting, which made my application choices very easy. I applied to the Honors college and still remember crying with my mom in the store parking lot when I got in. I was just so convinced that I was finally going to flourish. While this might be true in some regards, in others not so much. I had another situation similar to high school where I had some really good teachers and some absolutely terrible teachers (college is not for the weak let me tell you). There is this course that is essentially required for Honors Students, and because I transferred so last minute I had the teacher that lets just say people wanted to avoid at all costs. But me living by my “thinking makes it so mantra” figured hey it’ll be okay…. let me tell you it is okay now but then it certainly was not okay. I do not want to be a downer but I will just say this, if you are a professor and you spend your entire class period making it a game of reducing students ideas, tearing apart their papers, and making them all together feel stupid and out of place in college maybe teaching just isn’t for you? I think that semester of college was when I felt the most lost and inadequate academically, but thankfully you are only with a professor for a semester usually so I was able to have very limited interaction with this professor after the duration of the class. After this semester I decided to take a break from University and attend a community college near me as I honestly just needed a restart. Let me tell you, the negative connotation surrounding community college is not deserved. While I of course had some classes I was not so crazy about, I also had classes and a community that allowed me to rebuild my self piece by piece and page by page. I read so much during my time away from University, and even enjoyed my assigned readings and writings, not because I was heavily praised or anything, but I think more so because I became more confident within myself and my abilities. This actually carried on into when I went back to University, I was able to take courses that interested me and also relied heavily on rate my professor to try and avoid another semester like the other one. My favorite class in all of college was probably either a course title, “Literature and Alienation” or “Literature and Medicine”, the latter I honestly just enjoyed my classmates and my teacher even though he loved giving random pop quizzes, and then my literature and alienation class I think just resonated with me. There is something so beautiful and heartbreaking about looking through stories with protagonists who are outcasts or struggle with mental health, and it just really made me feel connected to the story. Don’t get me wrong the tests in that class were horrible, and the grades were tough, but there is something so magical about being in a room with about 15 other students who all feel connected to stories that are so sad? Sounds like a real downer, but let me tell you I still have a group chat with a lot of these people and it truly was a pivotal time in my life. A time where for the first time in forever (okay Frozen) I was able to just analyze and pick a part books, and I wasn’t judged for it, no matter how obscure or weird my analyzations might be.
The time in-between school:
While I read a lot during school both for assignments and for pleasure, the truth of the matter is I averaged about 22 hours each semester of courses so my time was tightly balanced between school, work, and an attempt at a social life (I know shocking me attempting to be social?) All jokes aside it was a lot but I finally felt like I was fairly normal. During breaks however I longed to be that little girl in the treehouse again who was tucked away and just read, so that is exactly what I did. I read, and I read, and I (you guessed it) read. It even got to the point when we are on a road trip back to California I had a pile of books stored away in the car and after a certain amount of time I decided to tell a story from memory that I had recently read. Think of if spark notes had an Audible. While my brother and dad were not too keen on this almost 3 hour ramble, surprisingly my sisters and my mom enjoyed it, which has made it so the book is one of my favorites just because of the memory attached to it.
I was one of the May 2020 graduates, where because of the situation of the world pretty much went like this… Finals->wow I received my diploma in the mail! But all jokes aside I am glad to be done, because even though quarantine has been hard, it also has been a time where I truly have been the best version of myself (probably has something to do with the fact that it was so normal to just be tucked away in your house). This is the time when I became a court appointed advocate for foster children, have studied for my LSAT (have cried about my LSAT), but most importantly I have found things that make me happy. Reading (goes without saying), painting (walls), baking, cooking, writing, floral arragements and other odd hobbies (all while I listen to an audiobook). Its truly been a year that while was very hard, I finally stopped overthinking about what other people thought of me, or comparing myself to others. Which I can happily say has led me here.
What is Here?:
The truth is I don’t know. I have learned that plans seem to have a way of finding their own unique paths so I do not really have a plan when it comes to this. In truth it has been something that I have wanted to do for a really long time, but I just kept holding myself back thinking about how I missed the opportunity, it’s too late, or that no one will care what I have to say (so pretty much all the excuses anyone who is scared of anything lets themselves get away with). But there was something in me that wanted to just try this year so that is what I did when I finally posted my first picture on the 3rd of January, 2021 (I hope someday I can look back on this date and be proud of my scared self). My goal is to truly build a community of readers, and storytellers and grow together. While I am introverted I love to talk, and love to share, and would of course love to be friends. ☺️I plan on posting regularly to Instagram, but also regularly on here as well. I plan for this to be my more long winded rambles (hopefully a lot shorter than this however) and on instagram it will be more highlights. My goal is to read 100 books this year, and have at least one post each Sunday on the book that I had read for that week, with other content sprinkled in. While this Introduction doesn’t have everything about me I think that it is a perfect start to what I hope will be plenty of time in the future to get to know each other. If you have any questions, comments or anything to say at all I would love it you messaged either here or on Instagram. But like many of you I am still figuring out my own life story, but in the meantime ill be living my life one page at a time.📚🖤