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books

read this, read that

Read This, Read That

Welcome to “Read This, Read That,” where I invite friends, bloggers, and bibliophiles of all sorts to share some of their favorite books or writing with Mode and the Like. From novels and poems to cookbooks and art tomes, you’ll find a diverse selection of recommended reading in this feature.

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The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery / The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
recommended by Hannah

As the call of adulthood intensifies, I find myself yearning for the fragile, beautiful world of a child. Icons of a gentle childhood come and gone are invaluable to those living in a world of college textbooks and career planning manuals. I savor the occasional conversation with my peers spent passionately recounting Disney movies. I still remember long summer afternoons stationed in the children’s section of the local library. Amidst busy semesters of philosophy and Old English, the endearing characters and stories of children’s literature remain an oasis, warm and comforting.

This lust for childhood days recently led me back to two of the most well-loved books of my youth—The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I adored them in a vague, dreamy way as a child, but it was not until reading them as an “adult” (if I can call myself that) that I unearthed much deeper, significant meanings. What I found was just as meaningful to my life as the canonical literature of my studies, lessons that just happened to be delivered in the form of a porcelain rabbit doll and a little prince from another planet.

Both The Little Prince and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane unfold like epics, following the characters as they travel and encounter new friends. The little prince speaks of his travels from planet to planet, remarking on the quirky character of the inhabitants and the way in which each befriended him. He learns that even the memory of great friends makes life worthwhile; the stars are no longer only stars, but the beacon of many profound experiences of love. Edward Tulane, a toy rabbit, is tragically lost by his first owner and finds himself handed from home to home. Readers follow Edward as he loves and leaves family after family, learning to both embrace and let go as time inevitably tears them apart.

I found myself smiling through my tears at the touching portrayals of friendship in both stories. The characters may be innocent, and their ways of loving may be simplified, but it is that kind of love that adult readers need reminding of. While everyone must inevitably leave childhood book collections behind, one need not forget the way of living portrayed in their colorful pages. I am surprised to find that children’s books contain the secret to a storybook adulthood lived both whimsically and lovingly.

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Hannah Bendiksen

Hannah Bendiksen is studying Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys scribbling in journals, aimlessly daydreaming, and people-watching through tinted sunglasses.
citydwellerstoryteller.blogspot.com

Would you like to contribute to “Read This, Read That”? Send me an e-mail.

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life etc.

101 goals in 1001 days

Starting New Year’s day, I resurrected a long-forgotten project that had always interested me a great deal: 101 Goals in 1001 Days. In 2009, as a hopeful high school senior transitioning to a college freshmen, I created my very first 101 Goals list. The first time around I basically forgot about it and in the end crossed off only 26 of the 101 (most notably seeing The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson live and getting my hair dyed blue and pink) since I did not actively pursue these goals. Now I’m dedicated to following through, posting monthly updates here about my accomplishments, and checking every box by September 29th, 2015.

Curious about the list? Read on to find out where I’ll be traveling, what I’ll be making, what books I’ll be reading, and more!

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books

on the shelf

My favorite part of summer vacation is the chance to sit back and catch up on my extensive reading list (which includes poetry collections, novels, non-fiction, literary journals, and magazines). I probably have a hundred books sitting at home that I’ll eventually get to, which doesn’t include all the books I haven’t even bought yet. The task of reading all the classics and keeping track of contemporary literature is quite daunting, but summer always gives me hope that someday, I’ll only have one more page to read.

I’ve been getting my fix of era-specific fiction with On the Road by Jack Kerouac (late forties), and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (sixties) which I finished in about two days. SF literary magazine Zyzzyva has also been keeping me riveted with its exceptional stories and poetry; the publication is defined by its contributor limitations of being a west coast writer. I’ve been glued to the pages of its Spring 2012 No. 94 volume (not shown above) and can’t wait to get my hands on back issues. I’ve also been reading the likes of Frank O’Hara and Anne Sexton lately, since I’m currently on a poetry-writing spree and can’t seem to write anything else.

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