Since January’s booklist was about finding direction, February’s booklist was all about exploring these possibilities. Some of these book choices were directed at travel dreams, others at remembering where the beginning of my interest in the arts was ignited. Eagerly diving into my book choices and tracing my steps with passionate determination, my daydreams were stopped when my grandmother reminded me of why I am in Salt Lake City and that in order to remain here temporarily I had to acquire two things: a job and a boyfriend. Perhaps she doesn’t realize how tall of an order she’s asking for, since these are the two hardest things to get. Still, her pull back into reality hasn’t deterred me, and it’s my book choices this past month that gave me hope and understanding during a never-ending employment search.
Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date
Immediately when I read the prologue to Katie Heaney’s Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date, I felt a kindred spirit and connection to Heaney’s point of view and felt as though she were putting words into every thought about love and friendships I have ever experienced. Just like Heaney, I have over-analyzed every text message, Facebook message, e-mail and phone call. Every. Single. One. Reading this book reminded me of how I often struggled to pursue men and was constantly told I was too picky and that I should give a date another chance, even if I didn’t connect with them on the first go-around. It’s a scenario Heaney writes about when she decides not to go on a second date during her experimentation with online dating. Whether she’s telling the story of her graduate school heartbreak Spruce or lust over a barista, I can’t help but think of my own saddened loss over a Philosophy classmate and my disappointment at a Barnes and Noble Café when I learned my cute and friendly co-worker was married and his wife was even more fantastic. What I connected with the most, however, wasn’t the loss of love, it’s Heaney’s desire to find a best friend she can share everything with and rely on to be around even when her best friend has found a wonderful boyfriend. Finding someone to love is great, but finding a close friend who is as loyal as I am has definitely been an even more immediate priority throughout my life.
Neither Here Nor There
As I’m currently relocating (again), that doesn’t hinder me from thinking about my next great travel adventure, which is why Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There grabbed my attention. I’ve always admired Bryson’s writing and he has always inspired my enthusiasm for travel, history and attention to detail with incredible humor. Since I’ve had eastern Europe on my mind for a long time, I decided it was time to take on this book and I was not disappointed. Although my version of this book was written in the 1990s, many of Bryson’s observations still hold true today. His insights into a country’s political and economical decisions, how the rich and poor are treated and the pitfalls of each system are spot on and resonate with me as we embark on another election season. An even more significant observation Bryson makes is the future of travel and how globalization has taken away some of the authenticity of travel. It makes me think of places like Cuba that will be open to American tourists and how this influx of travelers might take away what makes a place original and unique. It’s a concept I’m taking with me more frequently at each “new” place I visit or add to my bucket list.
Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot
Sketches, photographs and research compiled by Jay Mulvaney opened me up to an icon I always admired and made me realize her significance now even more. Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot showed me a great deal about this sophisticated woman I was continually drawn to for her support of the arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her styles may seem simple, but they were always sophisticated and inspire people today as much as during her time as a First Lady. Even more fascinating is to learn about how often the famous Chanel pink suit with navy trim and collar was worn before JFK’s assassination and how it has become etched in our memories. It seems that no matter what fashion icon may come along, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis’ legacy to elegance in fashion will never be forgotten.
Now that February has come to a close my books have inspired me to explore possibilities and not give up hope. Whether I’m inspired by a classic fashion icon to continually pursue my love the arts or feel the urge to start planning that trip to Croatia or be comforted knowing that another young woman in the world is seeking best friends and doesn’t want to settle, this month’s booklist has reminded me to keep going on the path I’m on. Currently I have acquired one of the two guidelines set by my grandmother. Could the other one be far behind? Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the case may be, I have faith and will exploring more in next month’s reading list.
What books have inspired you want to explore future possibilities? What memoirs have connected with your personal life?