Project Emily Advent: Day 3

Project Emily Advent: Day 3

What is something that people often get wrong about you?

I think the thing people most often get wrong about me is my knowledge of books. I had a conversation recently with my dear friend Melody, who is also a reader and a writer, about this very topic. People often mistake my love affair with literature as a vast ocean of expertise, which I simply do not have. They assume that I have read every book ever written, or, at the very least, that I have read “the good stuff”.

The hierarchy of literature is something that bothers me. I find it all nauseatingly arbitrary. There are classics that supposedly reign supreme over all other books. Many are surprised to hear that I haven’t read every novel by Dickens or Tolstoy or Hugo. A lot of the books by those authors are very, very long, and I would much rather read three other books in the same amount of time it would take me to read one of those. (Hot tip: if you want to dip your toes into the world of Dickens, but you don’t have hours and hours to spare, A Christmas Carol is the book for you. It’s such a quick read that I return to it nearly every Christmas season.) Areas of literature where I am especially lacking are poetry and Shakespeare’s plays. Why? They don’t interest me. Some classics are classics because they are the best. Some classics are classics because they are old.

I often hear people say that a piece of literature has “stood the test of time”. But is a test really a test if students have to be forced to read a book instead of picking it up by their own volition?

It’s not as if I haven’t read any of the important classics. I was an English major, after all. I read every book, short story, and article assigned to me, including some important classics. I spent an entire summer class reading Jane Austen, where I read three Jane Austen novels in three weeks, which is kind of an impressive feat, if I do say so myself. The very last course I took in college was on the British Novel, wherein I read nothing but classics. I liked some, I disliked others. Some I thought were good but still boring or confusing or convoluted.

Now, I most often read memoirs, self help, and novels about somewhat ordinary people. I almost never read romance, which is sort of odd considering how highly I value romance in my day to day life. When it comes to modern reads (my personal definition of modern being books that were published in the last forty years or so), my preferences do sometimes align with the accolades. Just this year, my very favorite read was the most recent Pulitzer winner for fiction. If you haven’t read Demon Copperhead, I highly recommend it. From author Barbara Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead is the story of a young boy growing up in a world of poverty, addiction, and struggle in Appalachia in the 1990s. It was very loosely inspired by Dickens’ David Copperfield. So I guess I’m glad someone is reading Dickens.

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On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

My Top 10 Reads from 2023

I read some pretty phenomenal books in 2023— some of which will go on my list of all-time favorites. My top ten is dominated by nonfiction, yet funnily enough, novels hold the top two spots on my list. Five of the ten are memoirs, revealing a particular preference I have for that genre right now. In general, my reading ratios are 1 novel: 1 memoir: 1 additional nonfiction. I want to read more fiction this year.

Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

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This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.