sunday book club: night film by marisha pessl

This past week I read Night Film by Marisha Pessl. After reading Gillian Flynn’s novels and absolutely loving them, I decided to tackle Marisha Pessl next. Her first novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is up next on my list. I just had to get my hands on Night Film once I heard about its plot.

The story is about a journalist named Scott McGrath who sets out to find out the truth behind the suicide/possible murder of Ashley Cordova, daughter of a legendary horror film director. It’s a hefty read–over 600 pages of twists and turns, and an ending you didn’t really see coming.

The thing I liked most about it was how Pessl addressed the battle of supernatural vs. fact-driven logic. It scared me at times. The characters, while not particularly likable, were very well developed. I enjoyed her writing style and I’m looking forward to reading her other book.

If you want a freaky read for the Halloween season, pick this one up.


Happy reading!


sunday book club

In an effort to keep up regular blog posts, as well as read frequently (after all, the best writers are readers), I’ve decided to have my own little book club of sorts. Every Sunday, I plan to discuss the book or books I read the previous week, offer suggestions, and hopefully engage in feedback from you all.

For a little over a month now, I’ve been on an extreme reading binge. My Uncle Buddy passed away on August 16 after suffering with heart and other health issues. This was a particularly difficult time for my family for many, many reasons. In fact, I’d be willing to say that this was the hardest things I’ll ever go through.

Grief is an odd thing. It takes the form of so many emotions: a burning ball of anger in your stomach, a lump of overwhelming sadness in your throat. How we handle grief is even more strange. Being in Atlanta and away from my hometown added another obstacle in dealing with the loss. For example, when I found out Uncle Buddy died, I cleaned our apartment for three hours (it was spotless to begin with) and spent the rest of the day wandering aimlessly and tearing up in Barnes & Noble. I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, and I really haven’t stopped reading since.

Since he passed away, I’ve escaped into amazing stories.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I’d give each one of these books at least 4/5 stars.

I discovered the genius that is Gillian Flynn. I haven’t enjoyed reading a writer’s voice this much since I read Harry Potter. Flynn tends to write about bad women: the women are the ones capable of some truly manipulative and heinous actions. Sharp Objects and Gone Girl left me jaw-dropped and speechless. Dark Places almost gave me nightmares.

Since it’s Emmy night, I’d like to take a moment to COMPLETELY FREAK OUT about the movie adaptations of Gillian Flynn’s novels.

“Gone Girl” will be directed by the same director of my favorite TV show at the moment, “House of Cards.”

“Dark Places” will feature Corey Stoll, who happens plays congressman Peter Russo in “House of Cards.”

I am so unbelievably excited about this.

However, I will be the first to say: READ THESE BOOKS. Most of them are in the process of becoming films/will have a film adaptation in the future. Don’t wait to see the movie. Read the book. Always, read the book. Always. And watch “House of Cards.”


If you want to read anything by John Green, especially The Fault in Our Stars, get ready to cry hard. This book will make you laugh out loud and sob louder. I didn’t enjoy Paper Towns as much as the other books, partly because I couldn’t relate to the characters. It’s still a great book, though.

Divergent and Insurgent are fun, fast-paced, exciting stories that are similar to the Hunger Games, but not really. The third book will be released on October 22, and I may have already pre-ordered it on my Kindle.

I finished Ender’s Game this afternoon. If I ever become an English teacher and have the power to control summer reading, I think I’d put Ender’s Game on the list. There’s a plethora of literary elements in that book…symbolism, foreshadowing, irony, etc. It’s definitely a science fiction novel, but I think anyone would enjoy it.

Happy Reading!

the ultimate job-seeker’s playlist

Friends, Romans, job-hunters and unemployed: lend me your ears.

In my months-long search for full-time employment, I have devised a musical journey to help you through the process of searching for jobs, polishing off those resumes, and filling out page after page of applications.


Editing Resume & Filling out Applications for the First Time:
“Pretty Girl Rock” – Keri Hilson
All eyes on me when I walk in,
No question that this girl’s a 10
Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful…

“Applause” – Lady Gaga

“I Look Good” – Chalie Boy

First Job Rejection Email:
“Forget You” – CeeLo Green
And I was like ughhh… WHYYY?

“Keep Your Head Up” – Andy Grammar

Editing Resume & Filling out Applications for the Second Time:
“Take a Chance on Me” – Abba

“All I Really Want” – Alanis Morissette

Second Job Rejection Email:
“Mean” – Taylor Swift

“Don’t Bring Me Down” – Electric Light Orchestra

Editing Resume & Filling out Applications for the 400th time:
“Jesus, Take the Wheel” – Carrie Underwood

“Misery” – Maroon 5
I am in misery..there ain’t nobody who can comfort me…why won’t you answer me? I’m desperate and confused.

“The Long Way Around” – The Dixie Chicks

400th Job Rejection Email:
“That’s Life” – Frank Sinatra

“They Just Keep Moving the Line” – Megan Hilty (SMASH)
 But for real though, listen to this song when you’re at rock bottom. 

“Roar” – Katy Perry
I am a champion…and you’re gonna hear me ROAAAAAAAAR (editor’s note: you’ll feel much more empowerment if you pretend to be a tiger)

Please feel free to post your musical remedies for unemployment life in the comment section.


quotes from the Pope that rocked my non-Catholic world

Christians, non-Christians, anyone and everyone:

Please take a few minutes to read this interview with Pope Francis published in America Magazine.

I don’t need to write a blog post explaining my thoughts on this or why I think it is crucial for the church–regardless of denomination–to soak this in.

Instead, I’ll share some of my favorite quotes (emphasis added by myself):

“I ​​do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

“…the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.”

The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all. The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax. Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person. The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds.”

“How are we treating the people of God? I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor. This is pure Gospel. God is greater than sin. The structural and organizational reforms are secondary—that is, they come afterward. The first reform must be the attitude. The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost. The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. The bishops, particularly, must be able to support the movements of God among their people with patience, so that no one is left behind. But they must also be able to accompany the flock that has a flair for finding new paths.

“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.”

“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner…preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

“If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.”