Let Summer Begin

It was 2 am when I first decided to write a new blog post, just after I finished turning in all of my assignments and papers for my last ever spring semester of college! (Dancing lady emoji). To celebrate, as we all would have guessed, I am now sitting outside of a Starbucks, sipping a vanilla blonde latte, enjoying the weirdly muggy/breezy Tulsa weather. A lot of my friends will be graduating tomorrow, and it hasn't really hit me yet; I met most of these friends during my sophomore year, two years ago, but it just seems like we've been friends forever. And soon, this December, I too will be done with college! (Another dancing lady emoji). So crazy.

This summer, I will be taking two classes at a local community college back home and working at a bookstore until it's time to come back for the fall semester. What do I plan on reading over the summer? Well, funny you should ask! I really want to read books that I'm not used to reading (i.e., nonfiction). I mean, obviously I will be reading some fiction books, but I wanted to broaden my horizons this summer. 

Fiction reads:  

  • The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth. I mean, I have to find out what happens to Cyra and Akos. Although, I'll probably have to refresh my memory on all the Carve the Mark lingo. 
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. I read the first six books last summer (and don't worry, I've seen the movies, so there are no such things as HP spoilers for me).
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This is one of my required readings for a class in the fall, and I wanted to get a jumpstart on the readings. 
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. This is another required reading for the same course I'm referring to above. I'm especially excited to read this one, because (this may sound like a weird reason to be excited to read a book) the last line in the novel is so beautiful
  • 1984 by Geoge Orwell. Classic. And it's a classic.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I read about half of this book pretty quickly for a book club, but I want to read it again and take my time the second time around.
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I know, I know, how have I not already read this? 

Nonfiction reads: 

  • The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. This book looks incredible, and Marina sounds like she was an amazing person. This book is a compilation of essays and stories written by the Yale graduate that was published after she died. 
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I know, I'm late to the game. 
  • Rising Strong by Brené Brown. I've already started this one and am only in the introduction (it's a long introduction, mind you), but I already know that it'll be a good read. 
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Again, I've already started this one, and it's kind of a tough read so far. But, I've really enjoyed her podcast and think her writing style is beautiful. 
  • On Writing by Stephen King. I have maybe 50 pages left of this book and it's SO GOOD.
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Well, I'm an introvert, so I'm interested in knowing more about my personality type. 
  • My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. I recently watched a documentary that featured an interviewed with the author and activist, and I think this would be a very interesting read. 


As you can see, I have my work cut out for me this summer. I'll keep you all updated on which ones I actually read and what I think about them. Have a happy summer!

Reagan Fleming

Rainy Days + Rereading Books

It's raining, I'm in a coffee shop, and I'm tapping my feet along to a Spotify station. It's a Sunday, post-church, and I'm looking out of the huge window-wall at a Starbucks while I write this, drink and phone to my right. Outside, I can see people hiding under their umbrellas, making a beeline for the coffee shop; they're on a mission to simply find shelter and a warm beverage. Dustin Tebbutt is singing "Plans," in my headphones, and the rain outside along with Dustin's beautiful voice is making me feel so at peace right now. I have been under a little bit of stress lately - self-inflicted as well as the inevitable kind - so to be able to write a new post with this newfound calmness is refreshing.

The reason that things have been a little on the not-so-peaceful side, is because I am making the transition from "taking a semester off" to "going back to the U and finishing up my degree." I'm so stoked that I get to finish my last year and a half with my friends. However, it's kind of stressful getting from point A (home) to point B (at school and enrolled in all the proper classes). There are a lot of processes involved, guys. Who knew. 

Let me update you all on what I've been reading/listening to/coffee beverage I've been drinking this March. I'm really good at focusing on one topic at a time, as you can tell.

  • Current coffee drink: Double shot on ice with 2 pumps of caramel instead of the classic syrup, and a little bit o' soy. Hint: there are three shots of espresso in a grande, so you're welcome. And it's the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Current album: American Teen by Khalid. Some people say, "I've had this song/album on repeat!" and they've played it maybe three times. But seriously... I've had this album on repeat (minus when I was listening to Dustin Tebbott a few paragraphs earlier). I've listened to this album many many times - PS: it's great to listen to while writing. PPS: "Winter" is my favorite track. 
  • Current read: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. It's my 2nd time reading one of my favorite novels, and it's almost better the second time reading it; I'm noticing little things that I didn't before (or at least I'd like to think that I have been), and it reminds me why I love Dessen's books so much. I've been listening to the audiobook while I clean, and last night, I listened to it and read along while drinking a cup of tea - it was a crazy night. Let's take notice that this book is making me drink TEA now. This book changes you in ways you never thought possible. #CoffeeDrinkerTurnedTeaDrinkerSometimes

Below is a picture from when I met Sarah Dessen on her book tour for Saint Anything in 2015. There's something about seeing and being able to talk to an author whose books have played such a big part in your childhood/young-adult-hood and overall development as a writer. It gave me that boost of hope and and comfort, knowing that what I've chosen to do with my life isn't a waste.

Books matter. Words matter. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.
— Sarah Dessen, Saint Anything

Reagan Fleming