A Blogday Celebration

Welcome to my blogday celebration!

gandalffirework

Well, oh-most-awesome-readers, the day has come! I’m so excited for it. While no birthday party can match that of Bilbo and Frodo, I hope to capture some of its excitement and cheer here. *admires the fireworks*  *tosses confetti* *hands out cake* Let’s celebrate!

{ fun facts}

In honor of A Glimpse of Starlight’s second birthday, I thought I’d share some fun facts about it:

  • It’s at 296 followers (email-only included)! Two hundred and ninety-six people with their own stories have taken some precious time to click the “follow” button and share a little bit of life with me. Thank you, every single one of you.
  • My first post on September 21st (the day before Hobbit day, I’ll have you know) was a short story, Worldchanger. It’s still one of my favorites.
  • This is my 248th post, which means I post roughly ten times a month. Yikes. I think, however, that the data is skewed from March 2015 when I posted a NaPoWriMo poem almost daily. I can’t believe you guys withstood that deluge. xD
  • I haven’t gotten any horribly strange search terms, but here are a few odd ones: “isabella morganthal” (not sure who/what she is or when she ever appeared on my blog, but hey); “roger burton beach scene” (this sounds like a painting?); “i’m obsessed with the word miscellaneous” (*cackles* yay for miscellany); “what does ponderful mean” (I love that my blog showed up for this)
  • It’s gotten 12,184 views. I honestly have no idea if this impressive or not (probably not but hey), but I feel like it’s an important piece of data so there.

{Qs and As}

So I was utterly blown away with all the questions I received. Seriously, guys, I was not expecting such a torrent, but I love it. I had bunches of fun answering them. Because I didn’t want this post to become too massive (which, heh, looks like happened anyway), I wasn’t able to answer every single question. I just picked my five-ish favorites from each person (if they gave me more than that). Thank you to everyone for these wonderful Fragen (German word for the day). Let’s hit it!

Abi:

If you could smell one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That autumn scent—the sweet, slightly tangy, fresh, clear scent of crushed leaves and crisp wind. That’s probably my favorite smell in the whole world, and I don’t think it would get old like other scents might.

~
If you could meet a single person of historical significance (dead or alive), who would you choose?

Ahhh. The first person who comes to mind is William Wilberforce, because not only is he my hero and I’d like to ask him about how he did everything he did and tips he has for people who want to emulate him, but he sounds like a genuinely fun, witty, delightful person to hang out with.

~
What is one of your writing quirks?

I never know how to answer this question, but something kind of quirky about me is that I’m a huge morning person—I work so much better and faster in the morning. However, I do my best writing at night. I write way faster then, too. ‘Tis a strange phenomenon.

~
If you had to choose between saving your stash of handwritten manuscripts or your cat (*insert some other pet you might be more attached to*) from a house fire, which would you choose and why?

This sounds kind of bad, but I’m really not a pet/animal person. However, if I were, I’d save the pet because it’s a life. I’m not going to lie and say, “I could always write the story again,” because I know from experience that that’s not as easy as it sounds. But it would still be easier to rewrite a story than, you know, resurrect an animal.

~
What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do before an audience?

Play the piano. I kid you not. I love acting, and I even enjoy public speaking. But playing the piano? Nope. I’m just not naturally gifted at it, so I feel less confident at it, and my first piano recital ever, when I was seven-ish, was a humiliating disaster. *shudders at the thought*

Sarah:

If you could, would you?

Without a doubt. Unless it was eating artichokes.

~
Pie or cake? Whichever you chose, what’s your favorite kind?

My only answer is to this tortuous question can be: Chocolate cake. Red velvet cake. Apple pie. Lemon merangue pie.

(Have you noticed that I can’t pick favorites of anything? It’s ridiculous.)

~
What’s one thing you like about living in Germany?

I love lots of things about Germany, but one special thing that I’ve really been enjoying is how there are gardens and plants everywhere. Even in cities, every house has a garden, and they can fit so many plants and beauty into such small spaces. Stores and office buildings have pots of flowers outside or window boxes. It lifts my spirit to look around and see so much natural beauty.

Would you rather live in Rome during Nero’s reign or Paris during the French Revolution?

I really love this question, for some reason. It’s my nerdiness coming out. In terms of being able to survive, I’d pick the French Revolution because I feel like I could, I don’t know how to put it, play the game and make it through. I could figure out which way the tide was turning and just go with that. But part of me things it would be so cool to be a Christian during Nero’s reign—like, to see the unity between the Christians and the courage they showed in the face of such danger and to really have to stand up for what I believed in. I guess I’d like to see if I could stay strong. So I’m actually going to go with Rome.

If you were given a chance to live in the world of the Goldstone Wood series, or the world of any other fantasy book/series that you love, would you take that opportunity? Or would you remain on Earth?

Ahhh, those places all would be amazing to visit—but that’s it. Visit. I’d want to stay here because, well, that’s where I’ve been put. This is where my destiny lies, to sound all dramatic. This is where I can best make a difference, it’s a place I want to change for the better. This Earth isn’t my home, but it’s where my path lies, and I don’t want to leave that path (permanently. I’d love to visit those other places. =D).

~
Do you know how awesome you are? *hugs*

Awww. Thank you so much. I hope you know how awesome you are. *hugs back*

Elle:

What song(s) would make up the soundtrack of your life?

“You Will Find Your Way” // Andrew Peterson

“Nothing is Wasted” // Jason Gray

“Reaching” // Carolyn Arends

“Sound of Silence” // Celtic Thunder version

“O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” // Selah version

“Penholder” // Flyleaf

“Hold Me Now” // RED

 

What would your lightsaber’s color be?

If we’re going by what the colors traditionally symbolized, I’d be green, used by Jedi who fight more mentally/spiritually. But in terms of just color, I’d prefer purple or blue. Let’s go with purple.

~
Which spren would you attract the most of?

Oooh. Probably creationspren or anticipationspren.

~
What color do you speak in?

Purple, with a tinge of hot pink or spicy red or brown depending on my mood (hot pink for when my inner extrovert comes out, spicy red for when I say things I’ll regret later, and brown for when I’m in the dumps). But ideally and usually just purple.

Do you have a favorite number?

I have two (surprise, surprise). In my mind, nine is purple and two is blue, which are my favorites colors, so they’re my favorite numbers. They’re also the numbers of my favorite sports players (9, Drew Brees; 2, Derek Jeter). I also really like three because the pattern of three is everywhere, from nature to music to theology.

Sarah II

What are your favorite pens/pencils/journals?

This question makes me happy. =D I just got these new colored pens, and they’re perfect—they write smoothly but don’t run. I also have this really nice purple mechanical pencil (it’s actually Really Nice Purple Mechanical Pencil II, because I lost the first one, to my deep dismay). As for journals, I found this gorgeous Moleskin notebook at Barnes and Noble (I am so in love with that store) with a scene from The Hobbit embossed—in color!—on it, and then Tolkien’s illustrations from The Hobbit (plus quotes) inside. That’s where I write down any random story ideas, scene snippets, lines of poetry, etc. I call it my Conlatio Notionem, which is Latin for gathering of ideas.

dsc_0064

What kitchen untensil are you most like? 

I asked my mom about this one, and she said a spatula because they’re helpful, thorough, and come in pretty colors. =D

~
What’s your goal this year for your blog?

That’s actually something I’ve been thinking about recently. I’d like to branch out and be brave and try some things like hosting a link-up (I actually have an idea for one that I’m really excited about; I’m still working on the details, but hopefully in the next few months I can try it out). If I had to put it in a sentence, my goal for this year is to deepen the community here, continue to write the very best I can, and venture into some new territory.

~
What’s some lessons that God’s been teaching you?

That it’s more important how He views me and not how I view Him—but also that I often think of Him the wrong way. He’s far bigger than I let Him be and far more loving than I let myself believe. That it’s not about what I need to do but what He’s already done. That the Christian life is not a checklist, it’s a relationship. That He’s the only one who can condemn me, and instead, He has declared me innocent.

~
What do you do when you’re stressed?

Go off by myself and either read and listen to music or pray and think. Writing helps, too—I often journal more when I’m stressed, and I tend to write more poetry when I’m stressed too. And I cry too, if I’m stressed enough.

Shoulda Broughta Book:

How do you find inspiration for your posts?

Oh, goodness. I’m always pondering something, and I always have a lot of thoughts about things I’m learning or books I’m reading, so sometimes it’s pretty easy: I just have to take an inventory of what I’ve been thinking about recently and go with that. I also just try to be aware of the world around me and what that triggers inside me. Like, if I notice how the sun makes a pretty pattern on my quilt, what does that make me think of? Maybe the little gifts of God or the beauty of everyday life, which ends up getting turned into a post.

~
Assuming you enjoy writing, do you have any goals or dreams for your talent?

I do enjoy writing, quite. =D Well, I plan to study some kind of writing in college—technical writing/communications. While I love creative writing, I don’t feel that I could make a good living off of it. xP I’ll always continue it on the side, but for a career, I want to write some kind of non-fiction. I’m still trying to figure the exact details of that (someone remind me that I don’t have to have my whole life figured out yet). ANYWAY. Short answer: I want to write for my career, and more importantly, I want it to help people somehow.

Why is reading important to you?

Reading is important to me because it both refreshes me and challenges me. It lets me explore worlds I’d never otherwise be able to, and it teaches me about my own world. It’s a way of connecting with others—both the author and my fellow readers of that particular book. It puts me in the shoes of others and teaches me empathy. It feeds my imagination and nourishes my soul, while also inspiring me and strengthening my brain. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally—it’s one of the most important things I can ever do.

Is there a novel you wish more people would read?

All the ideas I’m getting are books that I feel like lots of people do read. Let’s go with The Dean’s Watch by Elizabeth Goudge because of the characters and everything they learn or Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgumery because it’s a lovely story with many inspiring themes. Go read both of those, guys.

Lydia:

What fictional character are you most like?

Oooh. The first one that comes to mind is Janner Igiby of The Wingfeather Saga, because I can just really relate to his struggles and personality, even his place in his family—and of course his love of words. Leta in Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Dragonwitch also reminds me of myself, with her struggle between wanting to stand out/ pursue her own dreams and wanting not to draw attention/cause tension.

~
If you had to listen to one song on repeat for a whole day, what song would you choose?

Probably Andrew Peterson’s “Romans 11 (Doxology)” because those words of praise set to that peaceful yet inspiring music would be such an uplifting background for my day.

~
What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

When my friend and I were traveling to South Africa, we had a six-hour layover in D.C., so we decided to take the metro to see the monuments. Unfortunately, the bus ride to the metro station and the metro ride itself took so long that we only had time to dash (with our gigantic backpacks) to the Washington Memorial, take an awful selfie with it (and lovely construction stuff) in the background, and fly back to the metro. I was so proud that we figured out how to navigate the metro by our little selves—and that we made it to our flight in time. xP

~
What’s something on your bucket list?

*grins* I’m going to pick a few:

  • visit all 50 states (I’m over halfway there, I think)
  • see the northern lights
  • learn sign language
  • have some writing of mine published

If you could broadcast one sentence to the entire world, what would it be?

Whoa, what a question. Either Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” or something like, “You were meant to live for so much more” (credits to Switchfoot), because sometimes I wish I could just wake people up and show them how fragile and fading the things they hope in are, and how there’s truth out there and real salvation and an incredible purpose for their lives.

Lakunsterlin

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in your travels to Germany so far?

*flails* I guess the Alps. We vacationed in an Alpine village last time we lived here, and just being able to look around me on any side and be surrounded by these massive mountains was incredible. Walking in the mountains was even cooler (literally and in its popular usage), and the town was so quaint, with gorgeous windowboxes on every house.

Would you say that so far Germans have proved to be “unfriendlier” than Americans, “friendlier,” or just “other”/”different”? (this question has come up several times in my experiences, but I don’t know if I’m objective, so I would love to know what your experiences have been so far)

So, you’re walking down the street in Germany, and you pass a strange. I the American smiles at them and says, “Hallo.” And they either ignore me or frown at me like I’ve committed some crime. That’s the type of thing that makes me feel like saying they are kind of unfriendly. But I’ve met many nice, helpful Germans, who, once you start talking to them, are just as “friendly” as Americans. So when I think about it, it’s really not unfriendliness. It’s just, like you said, otherness, a different culture. They might not wave at strangers on the path like Americans would, but if there’s a reason for you to be talking to them, they are very kind and open. It’s just different cultural norms/social customs that make them seem unfriendly. Once you can look past those, they’re no less friendly than Americans.

 What would you say is the best way to keep yourself focused while reading? How do you not drift off into your own imagination whilst trying to enter an author’s own imaginary world? 

Hmmm. I’m often so engrossed in the book that my own imagination doesn’t interrupt me that much. However, when it does, I sometimes just accept it. Like, clearly my brain needs to imagine and consider all these things, so let’s roll with it. Reading becomes a vehicle for my thoughts to soar. Sometimes I welcome that. Other times, when I really want (or need) to read, I do a lot of underlining/writing notes in the margins. Interacting with the book on the physical level helps me ignore my rowdy brain, and because I’m on the lookout for good quotes or places to converse with the author, my mind stays more focused on it. If I’m getting story ideas from the book, I write them down in my Contatio Notionem. I find that after I’ve done that, my imagination rests because it knows I’ve catalogued whatever it so desperately wants me to know.

Victoria

Would you rather live in Rohan or in Gondor?

By the Valar themselves, what a question. I love hills. Rohan in the movies stirs my heart. But Gondor has mountains and ocean, which I love even more. So, Gondor. With a vacation cottage in Rohan.

~
The doorbell rings. You answer it. Sherlock Holmes and Lord Peter Wimsey are standing on the doorstep. Each one wants you to come help them with cases they’re on. With whom do you go?

*squeaks* Help? But no, I know which one. Lord Peter Wimsey.

~
Favorite ice cream toppings?

Chocolate fudge. Whipped cream. NO CHERRIES EWWW.

~
Waffles or pancakes? (Or more importantly, TONS ON MAPLE SYRUP OR NO?)

PANCAKES. And ABSOLUTELY NO MAPLE SYRUP. That stuff makes me sick. And also, only my dad’s pancakes. They’ve ruined me for any others.

~
You’re walking down a street, and a girl with a knife runs out of a house in front of you and looks wildly around. Your first impression is most likely a) AHHH SERIAL KILLER RUN FOR MY LIFE b) is an horror movie being filmed here? c) oooh how can I write a story about this? d) I was too busy daydreaming to notice anything.

B & C, with a combo of both, like “Whoa, is one of my favorite books coming to life?”

{party favor}

You asked for a short story, so here you go! I wrote it for a contest, so the first paragraph is the prompt. 

sunsetoceanpainting

Oliver stared at the ground as he walked swiftly through the hallways toward the office. He was aware of the whispers and snickers directed at him. The students’ stares bored into him like tiny needles. He felt his face flush. Did they know his secret?

All the lies he’d worked so hard to build around the truth were about to come crashing down. His hand trembled as he grasped the doorknob, the plaque above, engraved with “Office of Ms. Arnolds, Vice Principal,” glaring down at him.

~

Lynette Arnolds stared wearily out the window at the tall prairie grasses undulating in a dance that reminded her of ocean waves—oh, dear! She shouldn’t think things like that!

Shaking her head, she rose and paced across the room. Just the other day, she had been secure in her job, confident that she and this whole institution were involved in a noble task. Now?

Now, Oliver Olsen had ruined everything. She’d found his painting that morning, cleverly hidden behind a shelf of books in the mustiest corner of the library. She should punish him, she knew—in fact, she should not even be seeing him at all. Mr. Heisman should, as head principal. Everyone knew how he would handle the situation.

But that was precisely why she was meeting the boy first. Because, bother it all, his painting was beautiful.

~

“You know why I have called you,” Ms. Arnolds said to Oliver, safe behind her desk.

He shifted, unwilling to sit down. “Yeah.” He opened his mouth to say more and then shut it.

Ms. Arnolds raised an eyebrow at him.

“Well,” he said. “I just—it’s just that, why not send me to Mr. Heisman? Isn’t this offense worthy enough for his attention?” The sarcasm in his voice pooled in the air.

She shifted her eyes away. “Nothing artistic—literature, music, movies, none of it—is allowed here. Why?”

He answered by rote. “The arts entangle our feelings and distract us from reality.  Only  math and science provide us with the practical tools necessary for—”

“But do you know why,” she interrupted. “The real reason.” Her eyes bored into his.

He shrugged, uncomfortable from her strange mood. “I could guess. For some personal reason, Mr. Heisman doesn’t like art.”

She nodded. “I knew him before all this,” she told him, softly. Then she began speaking quickly, nervously, her hands fiddling with papers on the desk. “He and his wife—she was everything to him—lived by the ocean near the art school where he taught. One awful day, she got caught up in a rip tide. She was never seen again. He moved here, started this school.”

The art school where he taught? Oliver shook his head. “I don’t know what to …” He tried again. “Did his wife like art?”

“Yes. They met because of their love of art and the sea. She’d sing to him, he’d write poems to her. I remember stopping by their house one evening to find them painting on the beach together.” Ms. Arnolds stopped suddenly and glanced at her watch. “Listen, I can keep our meeting and your transgression from him until tonight.”

He frowned.“What do you mean?” What did this all mean?

In answer, she asked, “Have you ever seen him cry?”

“Never.”

He was about to snort at the idea of Mr. Heisman crying when he noticed the expression on Ms. Arnold’s face. She was frozen there, behind her desk. Her eyes bored into his, begging, and he had no idea what she wanted.

“Ms. Arnolds…?” He faltered as she suddenly came around from behind her desk to grip his hands.

“He needs to cry. It’s the only way to save him. He’s never grieved for her. He just bottled up all his feelings, stuffed them in a cave along with anything that reminded him of her. Please, you must make him cry.”

“What—how?

“Beauty,” Ms. Arnolds told him. The pressure of her hands hurt. “Reveal your truth. Save him.

~

After lunch, Oliver entered a small study room. All sound and motion stopped. Sweat coated his palms, and he contemplated turning tail and running. But Ms. Arnolds’ words echoed in his mind, and all he could think of was Mr. Heisman’s stone cold face, never smiling, never crying.

Jeff, the math geek, glanced up from his calculator and asked casually, “So, Jacobs. What did you see Ms. Arnolds for?”

Oliver swallowed, stepped forward. His walls were about to collapse completely. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears, his heartbeat and Ms. Arnold’s save him.

“She found a painting of mine.”

“You … paint.” Jeff’s eyes had grown huge.

Oliver lifted his chin, feeling strangely free.“Yes.”

The word reverberated through the room.

Then Jeff shrugged. “Hey, I read fairy tales. Got a whole book of ‘em under my bed.”

Oliver stared at him, bewildered. Trying to speak and finding that he couldn’t, he glanced around the room at the sea of wide eyes. Then, above his pounding heart, he heard them: other confessions tumbling out. It was as if his and Jeff’s confessions were daggers hurled into the glass barriers between them all.

“I’ve written poetry.”

“When I’m alone, I dance.”

“I found a way to listen to music. Guys, it’s amazing.”

This last revelation captured the attention of the others, who clamored to learn the secret. As they did so, Mary, a quiet chemistry whiz, turned to Oliver.

“I love colors,” she said, and he knew what to do.

~

Mr. Heisman’s hands were clasped behind his back as he surveyed Mary, Oliver, and Ms. Arnolds entering his office. Behind him, the fading sun slithered through always-closed blinds. Oliver tightened his grip on the shrouded package he carried, and by his side, Mary shivered beneath the principal’s steely stare.

“What brings you all here?” Mr. Heisman’s voice was a blank page.

Stepping forward, Oliver said, “We wanted to show you this.”

Mary and Ms. Arnolds took the each side of the package so he could remove the covering.

Mr. Heisman folded his arms rigidly. “I really don’t have time for any frivolity. Is this at all useful?”

Oliver lifted the cloth. A last ray of sunlight fell through a slot in the blinds and bathed the painting in a golden glow.

Beneath a rosy, fiery sky, waves danced in a thousand swirling hues of blue and green and gold. Mary had chosen the colors perfectly, Oliver thought, grateful. One wave in the foreground was tossed into a light spray, silver specks glittering across the canvas. In the center at the horizon the sinking orb of the sun blazed a brilliant benediction on the day.

Oliver felt himself gasp at his own work. How could someone want a life without this beauty? Then he glanced at Mr. Heisman. For one horrifying moment, the man’s face stood cold and chiseled like an icicle. Oliver felt bare, naked, with this child of his soul—this vehemently forbidden child—exposed before strangers’ eyes. If this doesn’t work, if this was all for nothing …

Then, through the door, came a sound Oliver hadn’t heard in years. One of the students, freed from their fear by his example, was singing.

My love has gone across the sea …

A strange tightness filled Oliver’s chest, and Mary’s hands holding the painting trembled. Then Mr. Heisman’s face crumpled, and he turned from them and wept.


And there we are! Thank you guys for being such fun, faithful followers (alliteration, yayyy). You’re the best. Enjoy the refreshments, and let’s chat!

Slight Change of Plans

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to write you a brief note and let you know that I’m going to have to push back the blogday post. I really, really tried to avoid this, but it looks like my only option right now. I’m struggling with tendonitis again, so by the end of the school day, there’s little to no “fun” typing that I’m able to handle. Again, I am terribly sorry about this—I hate disappointing you guys, and I hate not being able to fulfill what I said I’d do. However, hopefully it won’t get pushed back too far—the end of this week to the beginning of next, if all goes well. I’ve also identified some things that will hopefully prevent these flare-ups in my arms, but right now I just have to work on healing them. Thank you all so much for your understanding and for being such faithful readers. I can’t wait to celebrate with you—it is going to happen, just a little later than planned.

See you at the party!

~ Aberdeen

Coming Home

belltower

I wasn’t prepared for this feeling of awkwardness, for the insecurity not knowing a language would bring. Last time we were here, I was young, too young to be self-conscious or care what people thought of me. Now I care. Now I want to have it all together, to say just the right thing. But of course I can’t. Of course I’ll make mistakes, ask for a table when I mean a bag. No one even expects me to be perfect—except me.

We enter the room filled with all the other newcomers, and I feel even more out of place. Now it’s not just German, it’s Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch. There’s even a Norwegian family. I feel bad, because they can all speak my language, at least a little, and I don’t know anything of theirs. I hate feeling pampered, like I owe something to everyone. Here they all are, bilingual, and I’m here stumbling along with my dankes and entschuldigungs. It’s my pride, I know, and it smears over everything in its putrid black haze.

But as we begin to tour the city, as we all experience things together, laugh about the city’s legends together, I begin to relax. To realize that they don’t have it all together—the Italians especially, they struggle with my language, and that heartens me. We are all new together, and few of us (except the Dutch, who seem to be fluent in everything) speak any German. I feel bonds strengthening between us, small ones because we still cannot really communicate—but then, what is language when you meet each other’s eyes and smile and laugh at what the tour guide says?

Yes, we can do this.

And I begin to realize too the beauty of the differences. The sound of the different languages sing in my ear, these varied tunes blending together into a rich harmony. Look around, look around, I tell myself, as I walk with Italians and Spaniards and French through the cobblestone streets of a German town, at how lucky you are to be alive right now. Who else gets to stand at this intersection of cultures, this gathering of people from all over, united in purpose, laughing as one under the sun?


As we leave the restaurant, the bells begin to ring. 7:00. They toll on and on, some deep fairy tune, constant like the strength of the cathedral’s old stones.

In Kansas, there was a bell tower right near our house, less than a block away. We called it the bell clock. I remember when it broke and stood silent for months on end. I mourned it. It was like the loss of a beloved friend. When they finally fixed it, I couldn’t stop smiling.

And here, now, here it is again. The bells are singing to me. The song of the bell back home mingles with the bells here, and I can almost see it, a trail of gold glory, of divine love, crossing the ocean, from home to home, and that is it:

This is home.

Home is where the heart is, they say. For me, home is where He is, and He is here. He is proving that to me in every garden I pass, in every breath of clear wind, in every delicious chocolate.

The bells ring, and I hear Him sing: I am here. I am with you.

Come home.

You’re Invited!

Something very exciting is happening here at A Glimpse of Starlight next week. *drumroll* Yep, that’s right—it’s my blog anniversary! Two years ago on September 21st I posted for the first time. Two years. That feels like a long time, a big deal. I didn’t do a first-year party last year because I was still figuring out this blogging thing and hadn’t really been introduced to the custom of celebrating blogoversaries (spelling?). This year, however, I’m super excited to celebrate with you guys.

On a side note (because I can’t refrain from noticing patterns and theorizing about them #infjproblems), it seems like a lot of people have had blog anniversaries recently, like within the last month or so. I’m wondering if it’s this time of year—maybe some people have to set up blogs for school, or maybe it’s the last hurrah of their summer? You know, those last few weeks in August when you realize that you had all things you wanted to do this summer but ohmystorms I haven’t done a single one of them let’s get going! Who knows. But I find it an interesting phenomenon.

Anyhow. On to the fun stuff. As the title says, you are invited to celebrate my blogday (like birthdays. but for blogs. it’s easier to spell than blogoversary, so we’re going with it.). The main festivity is a Q & A time with me. I’ve seen a lot of blogs do this, and while I’d love to be original, I think it’s a great idea. It’s really fun to get to know you, my awesome readers, by reading your questions, and I’ve found it delightful to get to know the blogger through their answers.

So, please comment with questions you’d like me to answer by this Saturday, the 17th, so I can get together my celebration post by the 21st.

I’m open to anything (as long as it’s respectful and appropriate, of course)—books, music, hobbies, memories, facts about me/my life, hypothetical situations, politics, religion, writing … the sky’s the limit! From random trivia to what I believe about certain issues, from life tips to future dreams—ask it all. I can’t wait to chat with you guys.

But that’s not all. I don’t want it just to be all about me. I want it to be about this blog, a huge part of which is you, my readers. You’re the reason I keep doing this, and I want to give you something on this special day. Consider it a party favor. Ideally, I would have done a giveaway but since I’ve just moved to another a continent (and since shipping stuff from Europe is expensive), it’ll have to be in the form of words. As for what kind of words, you get to pick! Please vote in the poll below about what you’d most like to see in the celebration next week.

Plus, I’m going to list some fun facts about my blog. It’s going to be awesome. Let the questions flood in, and see you then!

{Fireside Fridays} Stories That Must Be Told

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Can history disappear if it’s written in blood?

Some stories just need to be told. And if it’s true that every human life is a story, then all stories need to be told.

In Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys tells the stories of millions of souls, stories that are in danger of being lost. I think all of us know what Hitler did to the Jews. That atrocity has become common knowledge, a familiar stain on the tapestry of history. But we do not hear a lot about what Stalin did to the Poles and the Baltic people. Those tragedies are just as horrific.

The daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, Sepetys has a passion for telling the stories of those whose homes—and, all too often, lives—were taken by the Soviets. She does so through historical fiction, intended for young adults but read widely by adults as well. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect: All the reviews made her books sound so dark and meaningful and deep, so I wondered how they could be labeled as young adult. Then as I read the first chapter of Salt to the Sea—first person narration, sparse language, short—I questioned that this was as rich as the reviewers claimed. But when I finished the last page, heart racing, aching, sobbing, I understood.

Her use of teenaged protagonists enhances her message more than any other age could, because they are old enough to understand all the evil around them and the forces at work in their ruined worlds, and yet they are young enough to muster the strength, hope, and resilience to survive. They remember what life was like before the war, and yet they still dare to dream of a life after it.


My husband … says that evil will rule until good men or women choose to act.

In Salt to the Sea, Sepetys tells the story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the German ship carrying thousands of refugees out of the Soviets’ path of destruction. German Florian is betrayed by the Nazis; Polish Emilia is longing for home and fighting for life; Lithuanian Joana uses her medical training to care for others while trying to forget her own   scars. Their paths cross as they all attempt to board the ill-fated ship, each carrying deep secrets and facing almost impossible odds.

In Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys travels in the opposite direction as she chronicles the journey of Joana’s cousin, Lina. Taken from her home by the Soviets, she, her mother, and brother are separated from their father as they travel across all of Russia to frigid Siberia and struggle to survive in the fatal cold with little to no food.


“Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give.”

I could talk about her writing—simple yet powerful, its sparseness making the painful truths she shares hit your heart harder than a hammer. I could talk about how in Salt to the Sea, she uses the first person for her four main characters and yet each sounds different and unique. There’s no question that her mechanics and style are praiseworthy. But there’s so much more to admire.

There’s the fact that she avoids the major pitfalls of young adult fiction: adults that are portrayed as weak, stupid, or non-existent; and too much romance based on emotion and physical desire. In Salt to the Sea, an elderly refugee nicknamed the Shoe Poet is, as Joana puts it, their light, their source of wisdom that they cling to and rely upon. In Between Shades of Gray, Lina’s love for her parents is beautiful, and her mother is portrayed as a heroine. While both books contain some romance, it is both clean and realistic. Both romances occur because the couples undergo incredible struggles together, and Sepetys demonstrates that while they might not have been attracted to each other had they met under normal circumstances, they grew to love each other after working together and building trust in terrifying times.

Then there are her villains. I can describe them in one word: masterful. In Salt to the Sea, she gives us a glimpse into the mind of a young Nazi sailor, Albert. Due to his ego, he ends up helping Florian, Joana, and Emilia, but his self-centered, propaganda-saturated thoughts are sickening and repulsive. That’s why he’s such an amazing villain: He makes you hate him. I was so disgusted by him that I wrote furious comments about him on my Kindle, something I’ve never done before. I’ve never felt so repelled and infuriated by a character, which is a testament to Sepetys’ talent.

In Between Shades of Gray, she twists the whole concept of villains on its head by portraying a Soviet soldier, Nicolai Kretzsky, sympathetically. As the story progresses, she reveals his humanity, his compassion for the prisoners that he is too afraid to show, and ultimately, his hatred of himself. The pain of his own story as a half-Pole rejected by the other Soviet soldiers and the despair he feels at what he has become pierced me. All villains are, at their hearts, humans.


War had bled the color from everything, leaving nothing behind but a storm of gray.

So, maybe you want to read this story now. Maybe you feel the pull of great writing and beautiful stories, of unforgettable characters and ringing truths.

Don’t give in.  Don’t read these books.

Why? Because they hurt. These stories hurt. They are dark and painful and horrifying. I am not exaggerating in this: Not everyone could handle them. The atrocities Sepetys recounts with brutal honesty are sickening. The sufferings endured by the Baltic people are gut-wrenching. The tragedy of the sinking of the Wilhem Gustloff is horrific.

I closed both books feeling shaken, shattered. I felt a deep sob bottled in my chest, too large and too raw to be let loose. These kinds of things really happened in our world? Less than a hundred years ago? In the continent in which I know live? Dear God, why?

But it wasn’t despair. Had the stories ended in the hopelessness, I would have been less shaken. What shook me is that all this did happen and still, people lived. They made it through. Furthermore, they loved. They even laughed. That there could be hope in the face of such devastation, that there could be a future in the face of such irreparable loss—that is a truth Sepetys boldly confronts too. And this truth is so bright it blinds.


Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived? I was sixteen, … [imprisoned] in Siberia, but I knew. It was the one thing I never questioned. I wanted to live.

That is what resonated so deeply with me about these books: They are true. Not only that all this—the mass murders and the survivals—actually happened in history, but that it is true that humans are capable of mind-boggling evil and also incredible love and bravery. It is true of this world, too, that there is a God in control of it who can give life and love and laughter in the midst of horrible travesties and enable humans to survive unthinkable hardships.

You have to decide for yourself if you can handle the darker aspects of these novels, but if you can, and if you choose to delve in the world of Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Lina—a world of shattering brutality and brilliant courage—you will be well rewarded. Don’t let these stories be forgotten.


Every nation has a hidden history, countless stories preserved only by those who experienced them. Stories of war are often read and discussed worldwide by readers whose nations stood on opposite sides during battle. History divided us, but through reading we can be united in story, study, and remembrance. Books join us together as a global reading community, but more important, a global human community striving to learn from the past. ~ Ruta Sepetys

{Fireside Fridays} The Two Ways Books Are Magical

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Books are magical. I think we can all agree on that. You open up the cover of a book, and you can almost see the fairy dust floating up from its pages.    The shiver down your spine when you finger a new tome or reach the climax or discover some startling revelation is much akin, I’m sure, to what you might feel if you watched Gandalf show off his dazzling fireworks. When you get sucked into another world, when you make friends with people who don’t exist (except that, of course, they do), when you are made to laugh and weep by sorcerers who weave words—what else is it but magic?

As with other things in this world, like love and friendships and sandwiches, there are different kinds of magic. One is the magic of reading alone. You know what I’m talking about: You’re lying on your bed, the door closed, book in your hands. You’ve decorated your room with posters and quotes from your favorite characters, but you don’t see those now, don’t register anything except the words flowing through you in an anthem of adventure. The world around you fades away (see? magic), and you are absorbed into the book. You are no longer reading the story, you are living it. You don’t notice it, but your face changes in reaction to the emotions the characters are feeling. The characters—what am I talking about? They are your friends now, your enemies, your acquaintances, populating your world. Your heart races during seemingly hopeless battles, and your skin prickles in mist-cloaked dungeons. You laugh out loud when that witty fellow makes a joke, and you positively beam when your sister (even though you don’t have a sister in “real” life) is happy. You throw you arms around her in joy even though you’re still lying on your bed. And you weep. You weep when your beloved friend dies, when your sister is hurt, when the little boy on the street is mistreated.

And then the magic wears off. The potency of the potion fades. You close the book. Slowly, reluctantly, you return to your room, to the world you were born into. You notice the crick in your neck from sitting in the same position too long. You hear your stomach rumbling or the screams of the kids outside your window. You’re back. But part of you isn’t. Part of you is still in the story world, and part of you will always stay there. You will always relive that adventure, always enjoy reuniting with those characters—those friends. They call this world the real world, but somehow the so-called story world has bled into reality and transformed it.

That is one kind of magic. It is a special treasure that you carry close to your heart, a haven you run to when the world seems set against you. Though others have had similar experiences, they have not shared that exact one with you. You walk among people with a glow in your heart, the secret of your adventure singing in your mind for hours, days, years after it finishes.

But there is another kind of magic. I have been exposed to it since I was little, since before I can remember, and only recently have I begun to realize what a blessing it is. Only recently have I begun to realize that it is magic, probably because it embedded itself into my veins early, and I have come to unconsciously depend on its power.

It began, as I said, before I can remember, but I’ll start with what memories I do have. One of the first is The Lupine Lady, the lady who traveled the world and lived by the sea and made the world more beautiful by planting fields of lupines—lush, stunning, every shade of purple you can imagine. I don’t know how many times my parents read that one to me. But now, whenever we see it in a store or on the shelf, we look at each other and smile.

Doesn’t sound like magic, you say. Wait. There’s more.

Skip forward a few years, and I can read now. I can read! Not very much or very well, maybe, but I can do it. But even so, my mom does a strange thing. Well, not strange to me, because I am used to it. The magic is already a part of my life. You see, though I can read, she keeps reading to me. I read to her out of my beginner book, and then we set it down and settle into the couch cushions, the stress of school forgotten. This is the best part of the day for both of us. She picks up Little House on the Prairie and picks up where we, reluctantly, let off yesterday. I am swept away to a small house under a vast sky in an age so very different from my own—much like the first magic. But this time, my mom is swept away too. With me. The minute she opens the book, it as if we grab hands and stand on the edge of a portal, prairie wind reaching through and rustling our hair. Then she reads the first words, and we are through, together, still holding hands as we watch Laura and Ma make cheese. We marvel at their ingenuity and brace ourselves against the fierce, cold winters. We discuss Laura’s jealousy of Mary and how we both have brown hair too and how we’ve felt like Laura but how she should have responded differently.

As we read and as we talk, look at us. Maybe you can see the gold threads starting to form between us, growing stronger and thicker and brighter with each word read. The letters on the page seem to float up and join the dazzling bonds that link us together forever. This magic is less of a secret and more of a celebration. It is not a glow inside one soul but a path of light between two.

When I grew older, the magic just grew and deepened. Look back on your childhood: What were its most magical hours? For me, they were with my dad, lying on my bed at night, as he read me The Chronicles of Narnia. Through two moves and many years, we journeyed with the Pevensies, with Digory and Polly, through that enchanted world I will never forget. I would beg him not to stop, and he would usually give in, finishing the chapter or starting just a little bit of the next one. Or he would say, “Well, this is the end of the chapter, so if Mr. Lewis thought it was a good place to stop, it probably is.”

Now we grin at each other when Narnia references come up and say, “Do you remember when we found out such-and-such? or when that scene happened?” I felt safe, listening to his low, strong voice, wrapped up in my blanket and in the wonder of the worlds we were walking through together. I felt loved, that he would come read to me every night that he could for years. Years. Imagine how strong those gold cords were between us after that. Together, we rejoiced when the White Witch was defeated, mourned as Reepicheep left, and laughed at Lewis’ dry humor and colorful characters (how we loved Puddleglum!). We unravelled his allegories and decided in which order we thought the books should be read.

The magic grew to include our whole family. When my dad was deployed, we kids would grab blankets and cuddle up on the floor of my mom’s room while she introduced to All of a Kind Family. The hours walking through New York City behind this bustling family of girls, learning about Jewish customs, made a fortress around us to protect us from the cold, empty place where Daddy should have been. When he came back, we continued the tradition. We debated—rather fiercely at times—whether the Little Scout was a boy or a girl in The Bee-Keeper and urged Heather and Pickett on in The Green Ember. Now we’re in Germany, but the magic has followed us, because the memories of all the adventures we’ve gone on together will never leave us. The magic will forever run from heart to heart on its gleaming path. We like to predict what will happen and stop and marvel at revelations when they occur. References to the books we’ve read together come up at dinner or during everyday conversation. When someone else mentions a family read-aloud, we look at each and grin, and the gold between us shines like the sun.

This magic is warm and strong and dazzling like the happiest smile, and as cozy and comforting and familiar as a fire on the hearth. It builds together and binds together, it strengthens and heals. You may not notice it as much as you do the first magic, but you know, painfully, when it is lacking. It runs through your days in a subtle undercurrent of peace and trickles into real life through laughter and inside jokes.

So: books are magic. Whether a treasure or a fortress, a secret or a family song, they will add beauty to your days and strength to your soul as surely as any wizard’s fireworks or concoctions.


Hey! Just a little house-keeping note: I won’t have wifi next week, so there won’t be a Fireside Fridays. However, I am scheduling one or two posts, so this place won’t be totally silent. I (obviously) won’t be able to respond to comments then, but please do leave them, and I’ll get to them when I get back! Keep on dreaming, friends. 

the stars, they miss you // a story

One of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Please, please read it, and listen to the music with it. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

The Wanderer

Well hi guys. *waves awkwardly to anyone who happens to still look at this* Summer’s finally come to an end. It surprisingly didn’t go very fast this year, which I’m quite pleased about. Though I’m still not ready for school to start (but a creative writing class, so that’ll be fun. and psychologyyy.). Anyway, I’m going to have a lifey update post in a bit, but I decided to start my bolg up again with a story.

A friend and I did a story exchange. What happened was she made a collage just using interesting pictures, but then once she finished it she realized how it looked like a story. So I used it as a writing prompt while she wrote a story that I would make a collage for afterwards, and we exchanged them. It was quite fun.

My story was mostly inspired by her collage (which you should…

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{Monthly Miscellany} August

What a month, folks, what a month. I began it in Kansas, spent parts of it in various states in the East Coast, and am now ending it in Germany. But more on that later. Let’s start at the right place—with books. Of course.

{reading} 

I’m still trying to refine how I want this section to go, and because I didn’t read that many books this month (better than July, though!), I figured I have room to write a little summary of each. Here we go:

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Amazing Grace // Eric Metaxas

This is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read. Ever. I’d skimmed it once before, but actually reading it this time was incredibly rewarding. William Wilberforce is one of my heroes, and his story actually helped me make some big decisions as I looked at my future.

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Rise to Rebellion // Jeff Shaara

Rise to Rebellion was fantastic, as all Jeff Shaara books are. Plus, it was amazing to be reading about the American Revolution while I was visiting places like Boston and just after I’d read Alexander Hamilton’s biography.

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Originals // Adam Grant

Originals was another top-notch non-fiction read. Its subtitle is “How Non-Conformists Move the World”—right up my alley, with tons of fascinating stories and practical advice about how to literally change the world.

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To Get to You // Joanne Bischof

This doesn’t look like a book I’d normally read, but after I blogger I respect enjoyed it, I decided to give it a try. It was a great vacation read and so much more than just romance. I loved seeing the main character and his relationship with his father grow and heal.

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Two From Galilee // Marjorie Holmes

This is an old book I picked up at my grandparents’. It’s the story of Mary and Joseph. Like many Bible retellings, some parts made me uncomfortable, but I did enjoy journeying with them through the crazy adventure God set them on.

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Stargirl // Jerry Spinelli

Ah, Stargirl. It’s about being yourself, being different, being shackled by desire for people’s approval. It’s challenging and beautiful and inspiring.

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When You Reach Me (reread) // Rebecca Stead

Here’s an old favorite of mine, and if any of you have not read it yet, you must. Simple as that. It’s mind-bending and fascinating and powerful. I love the humanity of the characters and how it challenges the way we think about time and how the world works.

And the million-dollar question: Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

{writing} 

*maniacal laughing that fades away as I flee this question*

Okay, I did do one thing: I created a Stuff-to-Keep-Track-of-So-I-Stay-Sane document for Phoenix and listed characters, places, and words/phrases that I made up for that world. I also wrote down some notes about things I want to change or include when I go back through it and edit. Although, now that I think about it, that might have happened at the end of July. I’m not sure. Heh.

Anyway, I did enjoy blogging on here, and I’m thankful that I was able to keep it up while traveling. I love interacting with you guys, and sticking to my blogging schedule helped me feel more stable and normal in the midst of the craziness.

{music}

Oh, it was a good music month, folks. I discovered two amazing new songs (look below), plus Switchfoot came out with a new album. Ahhhhh, so much happiness. So much goodness. I may have to devote a whole separate post to it later. We’ll see. Anyhow, you gotta love friends who introduce you to masterpieces like these:

“To the Dreamers” // For King & Country

The music is catchy and the lyrics are perfect—what more could you ask for?

“Saturn” // Sleeping at Last

This song, guys. This song. Oh my storms, I love it so much. I’ve played it on repeat basically this whole vacation. The cello + piano sound is absolutely gorgeous, and the lyrics literally stopped my heartbeat when I first listened to them. Please, please listen to it. Look up the lyrics. And watch its amazing video.

{life}

Whoo, boy. Okay. So my family is moving, which I’m pretty sure you all know by now, but just to clarify. From Kansas to Germany. Yeah. I’m terribly excited, but it’s been crazy and a tiny bit stressful all the same. Thank God for bringing us out safely on the other side.

We left Kansas early August and spent several weeks touring colleges, visiting friends and family, and—most importantly—going to the beach. The colleges thing was super exciting and also a little freaky, like ohmywordthisisreallyhappening?! It also stressed me out a little, but I’m trying to remember that I don’t have to make any decisions until this spring—and you never know, God might make it easy for me by not letting me get in to some places. Anyway, I’m so thankful for those opportunities.

And the beach! The beach. I’m in love with the beach. The ocean, the sand, the horizon, the shells, the waves … the beach. I saw God’s love for me so clearly in letting me go back and have several good days there.

And now? Now I’m in Germany, a little majorly jet-lagged, overwhelmed, and excited. I can’t wait to live in a house again, ditch the suitcase, and settle into normal life.

{blogging}

Hello and Goodbye and All the Moments in Between // on moving and relationships

{Fireside Fridays} My Favorite Settings in Fiction Books // basically … that

Star-making // a haiku

{Fireside Fridays} The Book That Terrified Me // art and faith and terrible choices I might face

I Am the Girl With the To-Do List // and why that isn’t a good thing

{Fireside Fridays} My Five Favorite Books for Teen Girls // book reviews

Into the Mist  // a memoir musing sketch thing

{Fireside Fridays} 5 Reasons Why Ebooks Help You Read More // pretty self-explanatory

{quotes} 

Ooh, let’s see. Several of the books I read had some great quotes. Here’s a sampling:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

~ Margaret Mead in Adam Grant’s Originals 


She’s alone, they kept telling themselves, and surely she danced in no one’s arms, yet somehow that seemed to matter less and less. As the night went on, and clarinet and coyote call mingled beyond the lantern light, the magic of their own powder-blue jackets and orchids seemed to fade, and it came to them in small sensations that they were more alone than she was.

~ Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl


[George Whitefield] saw that the Bible didn’t teach that we must work harder at booming perfect and holy, but that we must instead throw ourselves on God’s mercy. Moral perfection wasn’t the answer: Jesus was the answer. Jesus had been morally perfect and we weren’t supposed to save ourselves—we were supposed to ask him to save us.

~ Eric Metaxas, Amazing Grace

So, good readers—how was your August? What does September hold for you? What did you think of the songs? Let’s have one last summertime chat!

{Fireside Fridays} 5 Reasons Why Ebooks Help You Read More

Wait a minute, you say. Didn’t she post something a while back about why ebooks will never replace paper and ink ones? Indeed I did. But that doesn’t mean ebooks have no value. As I’ve been traveling this month, I’ve come to realize how useful and even delightful they can be. I’m a sucker for real books you can hold and flip through, and I love adding to the array of colors and shapes on my bookshelf. But I’ve begun to appreciate ebooks more, too. In fact, I’ve realized that they can actually help you read more than you would if you only had paperback books. So, reluctant readers, listen up. And you bookworms—maybe this will convince you to give ebooks a try.

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{ 5 Reasons Why Ebooks Help You Read More }

 

1. Ebooks are (usually) cheaper than paper books. 

Which helps you read more because when each individual book is less, you can afford to buy more books. I can attest to this from personal experience. On this vacation, I was browsing Barnes and Nobles and came upon a book that looked really interesting. But it was twenty-something dollars. Gulp. So I went online and found that the Kindle version was only fourteen—still pretty expensive for an ebook, but considering that this particular book had just come out, it’s a good deal. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than the paper version. A few days later, I read about a book that sounded like something I’d enjoy. Instead of having to save up for it, I found that the ebook version was a mere five bucks. Because of ebooks’ cheaper prices, I was able to get two more books than I would have if only paper books were available. Doesn’t that just make your bookworm heart happy?

2. Ebooks can help you find other books. 

I had a Nook, and now I have a Kindle app on my iPad, and both have Other-Books-You-Might-Like-type features. In all honesty, sometimes I waste too much time browsing through them, but they have really helped find great books that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. Plus, Nook and Kindle also let you sample books, which has often convinced me to buy a book that I wouldn’t have if I had just read its blurb. With huge libraries at your fingertips and services that figure out your reading preferences, ebooks are vastly helpful in discovering new reads.

3. You don’t have to worry about forgetting to bring a book. 

Have you ever been somewhere and wished you had a book with you? Maybe the wait at the doctor’s office is long or the pool is too cold, and you wish you’d brought a book. You probably had your phone or tablet with you, however. Here’s the awesome thing about ebooks: You can get Kindle and Nook apps so you can read ebooks on your phone or tablet. It may not be the most fun way to read, but reading is more fun than being bored and better for your brain than scrolling through Facebook. Ebook-reading apps provide access to books wherever you are. If you’re a bookworm, you’re probably thinking that you carry around a paper book more often than you do a phone, but if you’re the type that struggles to find time to read, this can be so helpful. When books are so easily accessible, you’ll be more likely to read.

4. Ebooks don’t get lost. 

This ties in to the point above. You’re much less likely to lose an electronic device than some ol’ paper book. I know, I know, we’ve all lost electronic devices before, too. But still, most people take more care of them because they’re more expensive and valuable. So, if your books on an electronic device, you probably won’t lose them. Paper books, on the other hand, are relatively easy to lose. We just don’t keep tabs on them quite as carefully as we do phones—because, no matter how much you love books, you have to admit that phones are much more expensive and more necessary for daily life (though that’s arguable).

5. You can get books quickly. 

Right here is one of my favorite parts of ebooks. I love being able to get a new book instantaneously. Of course, there’s a very special thrill of paper books arriving in the mail—anticipating them, flipping them over and relishing their shiny covers and fresh smell. But sometimes I’m so impatient for a good read that I’m willing to forgo the aesthetic appeal of paper books. You’re also more likely to buy books if you can read them right away. If you have to wait, you might lose the motivation to spend money on a book, or you might have lost your excitement for it by the time it arrives. This is especially helpful for people who aren’t quite as into reading. If you can dive into a book when you’re at the height of your excitement about it, you’re much more likely to finish it and buy more books in the future.


Again, I’m a huge fan of paper books, and I don’t believe they’ll ever be obliterated. But there are many benefits to ebooks, from their lack of size to their easy ways to highlight quotes. They can be especially helpful for reluctant readers or people who struggle finding time to read. For voracious bookworms like me, they enable you to read even more books—and who doesn’t want that?

What do you think about ebooks—are you forever against them or have you fallen in love? Do you have any reasons to add to this list? How have ebooks helped you?