It’s time for the 2014 YA Reading Challenge!

2 Apr

Alice is in the mood for a YA book reading challenge! I have qualifying exams to study for, exam questions to write , work to get done, barre classes to attend, but sometimes…at the end of the day, a girl just needs an escape! I found this list on mashable here that I thought was perfect to get me reading (and I can just file this away as part of my Ph.D studies, no?). I’ll let you know if Alice has read them, if they are worthy of roses, or if they are worthy of heads rolling! If you have read any of these, let me know what you think so I know which ones to start off with!

In Darkness

1. In Darkness
Author: Nick Lake

This is the story of “Shorty”-a 15-year-old boy trapped in a collapsed hospital during the earthquake in Haiti. Surrounded by the bodies of the dead, increasingly weak from lack of food and water, Shorty begins to hallucinate. As he waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, a mystical bridge seems
to emerge between him and Haitian leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, uniting the two in their darkest suffering-and their hope.

A modern teen and a black slave, separated by hundreds of years. Yet in some strange way, the boy in the ruins of Port au Prince and the man who led the struggle for Haiti’s independence might well be one and the same . . .

Ask the Passengers

2. Ask the Passengers
Author: A.S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives—and her own—for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything—and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Code Name Verity4. Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Seraphina5. Seraphina
Author: Rachel Hartman

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

6. Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Alice’s Take: We know Alice likes this book. Yes it has some plot issues, and yes– its ANOTHER dystopian novel. But it is worth a read. Also, it lacks a love triangle. I love the lack of triangle. The simple love story kinda rocks my world. Lack of werewolves + the linear (hell, I would have taken trapezoid over triangle) love story = worth a read. And honestly, Tris is more likable that some of the other heroines we have met recently.  Read Alice’s entire review here. 

This is why I hate love triangles….



7. The Book Theif
Author: Markus Zusak

A New York Times bestseller for seven years running that’s soon to be a major motion picture, this Printz Honor book by the author of I Am the Messenger is an unforgettable tale about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Alice’s Take: This book has pacing issues and some serious racial issues that as a grad student I can not overlook, but as a children’s book– it is a good read, almost a great read (and defiantly better than Number the Stars). Any introduction to the Holocaust and the world we live in is good in my book. It is an easy way to talk about very hard issues. Alice says give it a try. We (as in, those of us who are out of training bras and fully embracing adult acne) can talk about the “german people saved the jews” problem in Children’s Lit (ERMAGERD) later.  Over some wine and cheese, ok? For now, you can enjoy Hermione’s face. 

We will deal with this LATER

8. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. And she’s more than a little startled when the body disappears into thin air. Soon Clary is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. And Clary is introduced with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster. How could a mere human survive such an attack and kill a demon? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Alice’s Take: I hate this book. Kill it. KILL IT WITH FIRE. I hate the THREE book incest plot line. I hate the Harry Potter plot line rip off. I hate all of it. Alice says: OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

Actually — this is how I feel about it.

How I Live Now9. How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

The Fault in Our Stars10. The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Alice’s Take: Ok. Full Disclosure– you know how I feel about Harry Potter (ok- maybe you don’t. You know how I feel about my dogs? Ok- I LOVE MY DOGS LIKE I LOVE HARRY POTTER– to the ends of the cosmos). I love this book more than I love Harry, guys. This is, without a doubt, my favorite YA book. I don’t know why. It isn’t as creative as HP. It is clearly heartbreaking. I think what I love is that Green writes the most realistic teens I have ever read. I love his writing. I love his teens. I could live in his world forever. I recommend this book to anyone. 1000 red roses and then some…

Don’t even think for a hot second you are emotionally ready for this book. You are not. But read it anyway

The True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 11. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie’s YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, recieving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Monster12. Monster
Author: Walter Dean Myers


Steve (Voice-Over)
Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady prosecutor called me … Monster.

Where Things Come Back13. Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley

Just when seventeen-year-old Cullen Witter thinks he understands everything about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town, it all disappears. . . .
In the summer before Cullen’s senior year, a nominally-depressed birdwatcher named John Barling thinks he spots a species of woodpecker thought to be extinct since the 1940s in Lily, Arkansas. His rediscovery of the so-called Lazarus Woodpecker sparks a flurry of press and woodpecker-mania. Soon all the kids are getting woodpecker haircuts and everyone’s eating “Lazarus burgers.” But as absurd as the town’s carnival atmosphere has become, nothing is more startling than the realization that Cullen’s sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

While Cullen navigates his way through a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young missionary in Africa, who has lost his faith, is searching for any semblance of meaning wherever he can find it. As distant as the two stories seem at the start, they are thoughtfully woven ever closer together and through masterful plotting, brought face to face in a surprising and harrowing climax.

Complex but truly extraordinary, tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, this novel finds wonder in the ordinary and emerges as ultimately hopeful. It’s about a lot more than what Cullen calls, “that damn bird.” It’s about the dream of second chances.

14. When You Were Here
Author: Daisy Whitney

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny’s mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn’t know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom’s property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother’s memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

Second Chance Summer15. Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson

From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Beauty Queens16. Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, a desert island classic.

Survival. Of the fittest.

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

Shatter Me17. Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi

“You can’t touch me,” I whisper.

I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.

He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

Alice’s Take: I really liked this book. It has an X-men-ish vibe that I enjoyed, especially amongst all the weird crappy dystopia that has been coming out after the Hunger Games success. I just started the sequel so we will see if it falls pray to sequel sadness, but this first one, Alice approved. I mean, lets be frank here. There is a fair bit of whining and dress talking in this book, but I’ve become fairly use to that by now with this genre. There was enough badassery (yea- I made the word up) to keep me going.  Read my full review here

Close enough to keep me reading…

The Selection18. The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Alice’s Take: OH GOD NO. If I wanted a dystopian novel set in the Miss America Pageant (oh yea– the lead character’s name is ‘MERICA) well…no. I would NEVER ASK FOR THAT. Come on now. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!!!



















The Raven Boys

19. The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater

An all-new series from the masterful, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them-not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all-family money, good looks, devoted friends-but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys.

Alice’s Take: SKIP IT. Or don’t. I just was really disappointed with it. It just was not anything to write home about after her wonderful Scorpio Races. It has a gothic feel to it that I was really hoping to love, but just fell flat. Looking for something to both chill you bones and make you read like a mad person, read her Scorpio Races. Alice’s Review is here


Delirium20. Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Alice’s Take: Ok. Here is my initial review. Time has softened me on this. As politics has gone loco about sex and all things love related (or mostly having to do with women’s bodies– lets be frank here), I think this type of dystopia grows on me more and more. Im going to go with YES. Read it. 

The perfect gif for this book. BOOM.

The Moon and More22. The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?

Sarah Dessen’s devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

Eleanor & Park23. Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.
I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.


So…..are any books here missing for a YA book challenge? Have you read anything that Alice needs to read? Paint the roses red with your comments!!!


Young Readers

1 Apr

Young readers…

I get asked more about young readers than anything else. What are good books for young readers (mostly for boy readers– which I will get on my soap box in a second about…)

So I did a little bit of research about what the world of books is recommending in regards to the very people we need to reach out to in regards to reading- the tiniest of people! The early readers! If we get them reading, we get adult readers in the future!!

So, the Guardian has some good recommendations here.

Some highlights include:

The Man on the Moon
Simon Bartram

man on the moon

Bob, the man on the moon, keeps the place swept and tidy for the tourists, who he entertains with a bit of moonwalking before selling them souvenirs to take home. Having checked that all the visitors are gone, Bob packs everything up and heads for home. But there’s one thing that Bob doesn’t know anything about – aliens! Readers do, and they love the joke that is going on in the illustrations behind Bob’s back. Ages 5+

Why not include reading with some science? I wanted to be an astronaut so bad when I was little. I would have devoured this book up! 

And remember my soapbox? There is really no such thing as a boy or girl book. Astronauts do not equal boys. Amelia Bedilia is not a girl book. Gender stereotyping books does not benefit kids…it just limits them. The Witches, a Dahl book, was my 5th grade class’s favorite book EVER. It was so funny and sarcastic and dark that we actually asked my teacher to read it to us 3 times in one year. Branch out. See what works for your kids! See if there is something in a book you did not think they would like that might just spark their imagination and make them tick. 

The Wrong Pong
Steven Butler

the wrong pong

Delight in the disgusting in this hilarious story of what happens when Neville gets yanked down the toilet to the land of Under. There he ends up as part of the Bulch family, trolls whose idea of a good time includes feasts of rat patties and earwax brownies. But Under is also a place of new friendships and Neville quickly adapts to his unusual surroundings. Ages 7+

Toilet humor? A boy named Neville? I’m sold. 

Ottoline Goes to School
Chris Riddell

ottoline goes to school

An entertaining and frothy confection of a story, this spoofs familiar school themes. Ottoline takes up her place at the Alice B Smith School for the Differently Gifted, accompanied by her unusual dog, Mr Munroe. While others develop their particular gifts, Ottoline begins to worry that she doesn’t have one. Luckily, there is something special Ottoline can do, as the illustrations help to show. Ages 7+

So, I am a sucker for a school day books. The day in and day out of school is not only familiar, but charming for readers (think Harry Potter) and this one especially charming and funny. 

For a bit older readers (ages 8-12), Spokesman has some great links here!

Highlights include:

MISTER MAX: The Book of Lost Things

Cynthia Voigt

Front Cover

Max is one of the most fetching characters in recent children’s fiction, so let’s rejoice that “Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things” is only the first installment of what promises to be a delightful detective series. The pseudo-Victorian setting gives Voigt license to deploy a bit of Dickensian melodrama as well as a slightly formal style, which gives the intelligent reader a satisfying sense of having stretched.

Detective stories are always good for imagination work. They encourage readers to PLAY and playing is the best thing kids can do (maybe even more than READ. My brother and I LOOOOVED detective and mystery books when we were young and this one has an amazing reputation. 


Meg Rosoff

 It has become unfashionable to write about children discovering the adult world; we prefer teenagers on their own island, with parents dead, gone or irrelevant. “Picture Me Gone” is a throwback, a reminder that every child, eventually, has to learn to deal with grown-ups, even if those strange big people are hopelessly incompetent at running their own lives, let alone the world. In this novel, Mila’s remarkable powers of observation make her a character you’d love to have as a friend at any age.

Navigating adults is an important topic in the young reader world. With so many popular dystopian books eliminating parents in their first couple pages, this book is a welcome change of pace, allowing children to deal with  their most lovable advisories– parents. 

Hello New Year, New Posts!

3 Feb

Hello! Hola! Bojour!


Well…it has finally happened! I am free! Free to blog. Free to work! Free to obsess over my internet/interwebs/culture obsession! I am officially done with my Ph.D. coursework. Let the blog entries and blog actually begin. Also- I just turned 28 and feel like this is a good beginning for the RHR!

Let’s Paint the Roses!!

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge!

13 Sep


This isn’t entirely Children’s Lit/ Young Adult lit– but because so many of us watched Gilmore Girls in our teens, I could not help but post this completely ridiculous list that someone has so nicely compiled of every book that Rory Gilmore mentions while the show was running. It is a challenge. It is a challenge for young readers, old readers, good readers, bad readers, braver readers, and not so brave readers. This is ONE HELL OF A LIST. Rory– you still inspire me today. I can’t see a Yale sweatshirt and not kinda/sorta think of you.

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire – read – June 2010
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger – read
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daisy Miller by Henry James
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown – read
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (TBR) – read
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – read
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – started and not finished
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – read
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (TBR)
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (TBR)
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III (Lpr)
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare – read
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby – read
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I need a break……. ok…..keep going….

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien (TBR) – read
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Small Island by Andrea Levy – on my book pile
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee – read
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Well…..I’ve read everything in red. I have a WAYS to go…..

This looks like a Qualifying Exam list for a Ph. D. I applaud you Ms. Gilmore! Anyone want to take on this challenge? How many of these books have you read?

Jana Riess, Molly Weasley, and how hospitality saved the world!

13 Sep

A Weasley Christmas

(this gem is from Loleia at

Over at, Jana Riess has written a lovely little blog piece on Molly Weasley and hospitality. Everyone knows I can’t resist a blog post on Harry, especially when focused on the ever lovable and controversial Molly!! Enjoy!

Everything I Need to Know About Hospitality, I Learned from Molly Weasley

Jana Riess

The first time we meet Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter books, she welcomes the stranger. At King’s Cross Station, she patiently teaches Harry the trick of finding Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, not because she knows he’s famous — she has no idea who the scrawny boy before her might be — but simply because the very core of her person is suffused with hospitality.

And when, later in the scene, she does discover his identity, her immediate thought is not that he is famous but that he is alone in the world and needs a little mothering. She cautions her daughter that Harry won’t want to be gawked at like some creature in the zoo.

A few months later, she sends Harry a homemade Weasley sweater for the holidays, much to Ron’s chagrin. But to Harry, who has never received a Christmas present, the hand-knitted sweater signals belonging. It brings a message: You are part of us now.

As I explore our spiritual practice of hospitality throughout September, I keep circling back to Molly as the hospitable person I want to become. She’s not a perfect person by any means; she has a fierce temper, succumbs to a dubious Author Crush, and has lousy taste in music. But she is always, always one who welcomes the stranger. In Book 2, when Harry visits the Weasley family, Molly immediately treats him like one of her own children. He’s given a little extra food to fatten him up, but he’s also allowed to go out and de-gnome the garden, doing household chores like everybody else.

She regards him as both special and not special, which is just about right, I think. One trick of hospitality is treating people not as you would want to be treated yourself, but as they want to be treated, which is usually much harder.

Treating people like we would wish to be treated ourselves is great in theory, but in practice it can be an extension of our own ego and selfishness. Molly and Harry butt heads a few times in the later books over his growing adolescent need for independence, but she ultimately respects his need to not be, quite literally, mollycoddled.

It’s not just Harry who benefits from Molly’s open-handed generosity. The Weasley home is a safehouse for all sorts of flawed humans (Mundungus Fletcher, anyone?), not to mention assorted creatures that others might censure, such as werewolves. Molly feeds everyone her famed cooking, despite the fact that it’s not like her family is drowning in cash. The Weasleys are perpetually short of money with their own large family, but you never see either Molly or Arthur turning guests away because they’re poor. She refuses to accept Harry’s Triwizard Tournament prize money when he attempts to press it on her, even though a thousand galleons would go far to alleviate her own family’s poverty.

Molly’s no saint, except when she is; her fierce love for her own family extends outward to create an entire community with bonds of love. Until the end of the seventh book, we only see her magical power in terms of housewifely arts — she can make potatoes jump out of their jackets (please, please teach me how to do that) and knitting needles clack amongst themselves. But in the Battle of Hogwarts, we get a glimpse of a different, powerful Molly Weasley — a strength that has informed her character all along, but is galvanized into action when her daughter is attacked. “Not my daughter, you bitch!” Molly hurls, singlehandedly dueling Bellatrix Lestrange to the death in order to protect the Weasley family.

But that’s just it. Molly’s protectiveness has never been reserved just for her own seven children. From that cocoon it has ever extended outward to include the stranger and build community. In a fantastic twist of irony, the woman who is best known for welcoming the stranger kills the woman whose very name means “the stranger”; Bellatrix has spent a lifetime as the anti-Molly, and she is about to pay.

And so it is that Molly Weasley, housewife, deals the penultimate death blow to the Death Eaters.

Her hospitality helps save the world.

Any thoughts? Hospitality vs. Love? Is it the same? Lets get talking here!  Paint the ROSES!!


YA Highway: Road Trip Wednesday

15 Aug

It’s time for a ROAD TRIP AGAIN!! We are heading over to YA Highway for their weekly question!

This Week’s Topic is: In honor of the end of the Olympics, share your favorite sports book!  The Olympic Ceremonies have come to a close, but there are some amazing sports books out there to keep the competitive spirit alive—at least until the next Olympics in 2014! List one or more of your favorites. The Road Trip Song of the Week:  “Rocky’s Theme” by Billy Conti. So–I don’t think it would surprise anyone that I am not a sports girl on a day-to-day basis, but I am an AVID Olympics watcher. I have even been trying to figure out if it is too late for me to make it to the games (archery? equestrian sports? shooting?). Is it too late??? A girl can dream. This was a hard ROAD TRIP WEDNESDAY! I did however come up with a couple of books I read when I was younger that were somewhat sports oriented, though the actual topic might surprise you….Lurlene McDaniel…QUEEN of the Cancer TEEN Books.
Seriously, the title is Someone Dies, Someone Lives. My mom would have to hand me tissues while I read. Each of McDaniel’s books had a story about an athletic kid who gets cancer, falls in love, either lives and goes on to win a race, or dies tragically and their loved one goes on for them (or some variation of this). It was morbid, romantic, amazing cheese–and I ate it up during my tweens like it was ice cream (I also learned way too much about teen terminal illness–I was depressed for weeks after a book).
This is the best this non-sporty girl can do. It really is shameful but kinda laughworthy. Both the books and the fact that I can’t come up with anything more sporty is humiliating. Does Hunger Games count? Archery??? Flour-bag throwing?ur
I think there was enough of a sporty edge and training to count for something 🙂
Maybe you guys can do better??? Paint the Roses!!!!

George R. R. Martin is ALRIGHT by ME! Comes out swinging against injustice!

13 Aug

I don’t usually write about politics (or do I? I am pretty vocal about my feminist, democratic, liberal ways right?), but my love for Martin knows no bounds. A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones for those who don’t know it as a series of books) is one of my favorite reads. Seeing an author come out fighting for what he believes is pretty great, especially when everyone is so afraid of judgement and crucifixion in the media….


According to the Huffington Post:

“George R.R. Martin, author of “A Game of Thrones”, has slammed “Republicans and their Teabagger allies” in so-called swing states for what he calls “voter suppression.”

In a recent blogpost on Martin’s website, he refers to recent voter purges in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, saying that “The people behind these efforts at disenfranchising large groups of voters (the young, the old, the black, the brown) are not Republicans, since clearly they have scant regard for our republic or its values. They are oligarchs and racists clad in the skins of dead elephants.”

Martin, an avowed Democrat from Bayonne, N.J. who has described President Obama as “the most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter”, doesn’t often write about politics on his blog, but when he does, it is usually to speak about something he feels strongly about, be it TSA screenings or the Affordable Care Act.”

(Via Huffington Post)

I like a man with conviction (stares off into the sunset dreaming of John Snow and Rob Stark). Wait…I also like his fearless women Arya and Dani. This man KNOWS FEARLESS!!!!!!