5 Quotes from Authors to Celebrate National Day on Writing

Today you might have noticed the hashtag #WhyIWrite on your newsfeed. That’s because today is National Day on Writing! By using #WhyIWrite, writers across the country have shared why they are dedicated to their craft. Today, I shared why I write:

The National Day on Writing was founded by the National Council of Teachers of English to bring more immediacy to the power of writing and encourage others to get involved in celebrating it. I wanted to share with you 5 quotes from some of my favorite authors on why they love to create and inspire through writing:

  1. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things: read a lot and write a lot.” ― Stephen King
  2. “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” ― Toni Morrison
  3. “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” ―Ernest Hemingway
  4. “I’ve no idea where ideas come from and I hope I never find out; it would spoil the excitement for me if it turned out I just have a funny little wrinkle on the surface of my brain which makes me think about invisible train platforms.” ― J.K. Rowling
  5. “If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” ― Margaret Atwood


How about you? Why do you love to write? What are you working on? Please share in the comments!



5 Challenged Books to Bring Banned Books Week to a Close

Banned Books week is coming to a close, but I hope you had time to take a look at lists on your own and celebrate the freedom to read and the freedom of expression. Throughout the week, I have shared just some of the many books that have been challenged or banned throughout the country and thanked those who work tirelessly to ensure that we are able to read and express ourselves freely.

To close our Banned Books Week, I’d like to share just 5 of the commonly challenged books:

  1. “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
  2. “The Diary of a Girl” by Anne Frank
  3. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  4. “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway
  5. The Holy Bible


Feel free to express your views in the comments. Again, I hope that you took the time to research other commonly challenged books as we wrap up Banned Books Week. Thanks for reading!

10 Commonly Challenged Books to Commemorate Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week. From September 24-30, bibliophiles, teachers, librarians, publishers, journalists, and all readers will celebrate the freedom to read and the freedom of expression (for all; even to those who challenge these books), and ultimately shed light on the harms of censorship. On Sunday, I shared 20 books that have been challenged or banned from libraries and schools. “Challenged” means that there has been an effort to remove or restrict these books from readers. I wanted to continue sharing challenged book titles throughout Banned Books Week to shed light on censorship and thank those who work hard to ensure that these books stay in schools, libraries, and on the shelves to help shape the minds of our youth and beyond.

Here are 10 commonly challenged books (in no particular order):

  1. “A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein
  2. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, 1951
  3. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle
  4. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
  5.  “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
  6. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley
  7. “Native Son” by Richard Wright
  8.  “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey
  9. “Where’s Waldo?” by Martin Handford
  10. “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien


Which titles jump out at you? What are your thoughts on censorship? Share in the comments!


20 Challenged Books to Kickoff Banned Books Week

Did you know that today is the start of Banned Books Week? From September 24-30, bibliophiles, teachers, librarians, publishers, journalists, and all readers will celebrate the freedom to read and shed light on the freedom of expression (for all; even those who challenge the books) as well as the harms of censorship. Throughout the week, I wanted to shed light on books that have been challenged or banned from libraries and schools. “Challenged” means that there has been an effort to remove or restrict these books from readers.  After some research, I found that a lot of the books on these lists were books that I have read and owned, thanks to advocacy organizations, teachers, librarians, and other community members who oppose censorship.

Here is the first installment of the most challenged/banned books (in no particular order).

  1. “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
  2. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
  3. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain
  4. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
  5. “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller
  6. “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
  7. “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell
  8. “Harry Potter” (series) by J.K. Rowling
  9. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville
  11. “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman
  12. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  13. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
  14. “Forever” by Judy Blume
  15. “His Dark Materials” series by Phillip Pullman
  16. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
  17. “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson
  18. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
  19. Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  20. “Goosebumps” (series), by R.L. Stine


Which titles jump out at you? What are your thoughts on censorship? Share in the comments!




Happy Hobbit Day!

Hobbitses, rejoice! Today is Hobbit Day, which means that it’s the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorite literary characters of all time. His bravery, loyalty, keenness for adventure, quirkiness, and good-natured humor is admirable. He passed these traits, including his sense of adventure and heroism, to Frodo, his relation and heir. Both characters are worth celebrating!

Another event worth celebrating is that yesterday, September 21, was the 80th anniversary of The Hobbit. 

To celebrate both occasions, here are some of my favorite quotes from Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” 

“Good morning,” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo. 

“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!”


“I will give you a name,” he said to it, “and I shall call you Sting.” -Bilbo

“Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!” -Bilbo

“If ever you are passing my way,” said Bilbo, “don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four; but any of you are welcome at any time!” -Bilbo

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”  -Bilbo

And just one more for fun…

“He [Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ . . .”
-Frodo, The Fellowship of the Ring


Did I miss any? What are some of your favorite hobbit quotes?



Happy fall! 10 Spooky Books to Read this Season

Fall is here! Fall is here! While the weather is still on the balmy side, fall is definitely upon us!

If you can’t tell by now, fall is my favorite season. I love the cool weather and fall fashion—lots of layers! I love walking outside and inhaling the fresh, crisp air. I love the breathtaking views with its foliage and picturesque images in a pumpkin patch or a nearby lake. I love all of the activities: apple picking, pumpkin picking, hiking, biking, going to fairs (like the Big E!), making fall crafts, and eating delicious fall desserts—like apple crisp!

Another great part of fall is what I call the “spooky season.” Is it just me, or do things look eerier and darker in the months of October and November? With the leaves on the ground and the skeleton-shaped trees, driving past any cemetery or old looking house can send a chill up your spine.

Despite being a big baby, I love being scared. I don’t know why, but I love spooky things: haunted houses, scary stories, and everything Halloween! Granted, while most of the movies I watch during Halloween season are Disney classics like “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown,” “Frankenweenie,” “Corpse Bride,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” I definitely enjoy other classics like “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Sleepy Hollow,” and of course, “Young Frankenstein!”

Along with watching scary movies, I also love to read spooky, horror-filled stories! While the movies may scare me, reading thrilling tales in a book seems to kick it up a notch. Here are some spooky tales/books to read this fall!

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
A classic short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a perfect quick read to give you goosebumps and put you into the Halloween spooky spirit.

Carrie by Stephen King
A different kind of spooky tale, Carrie follows the story of Carrie White, a misfit girl who is bullied by her classmates. She discovers that she has telekinetic powers, which she uses to get revenge on those who torment her.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I know, not exactly scary, but Harry Potter is a wonderful, mild series that contains all of the spooky components: witches, wizards, magic, trolls, and goblins. Dive into the magical world of Harry Potter this Halloween!

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
From “The Tell-Tale Heart” to “The Black Cat”, to “The Fall of the House of Usher” to “The Masque of the Red Death”, Poe will have you spooked! His way of writing captivates you and keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first sentence.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
I remember seeing the cover of this book at the Scholastic Fair and cowering in fear. It is now one of my favorites! Pick up this short book by an incredible author and follow the heroine Coraline in this thrilling and dark tale.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dive in to this novel that established the conventions of vampire fantasy! Count Dracula is indeed a terrifying character, and he will have you checking your closets before bedtime.

IT by Stephen King
Ah…IT. The terrifying Pennywise the Clown. I’m petrified of clowns, so, naturally, I’ve read King’s novel twice and watched the 1990 film a few times. No, reader, I will not be watching the new adaptation. Ever.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a chilling tale about a woman in postpartum who goes mad after being trapped in the attic of a Victorian house by her husband. This was a common practice that men executed in order to “confine” women with mental illness, which is a horror story in itself.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankenstein is one of the first science fiction novels, and it is indeed one of my favorites! Learn how Frankenstein is not the name of the monster, and how he is a creepy, yet endearing creature.

“Macbeth” by William Shakespeare
“By the prickling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!” With apparitions, ghosts, and witches, “Macbeth,” where in the world of theater is believed to be cursed if uttered aloud, will have you spooked!


What horror/scary novels do you enjoy? Please share!

Happy National Read a Book Day!

Happy National Read a Book Day! Today is perfect weather for getting bundled up in your favorite blanket on the couch with a steaming mug of tea in one hand and a book in the other.

book heart

The fall semester has officially started, and I am excited to celebrate National Read a Book Day in my Jane Austen class talking about one of my favorite authors! In honor of such a fitting holiday, I thought that I would have a bit of fun and list my top five favorite books (which was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be!):


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is the kind of book where you laugh, cry, (happy and sad tears) and finish with a sigh wishing it would never end. Every time I read it, I am excited to watch Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy grow up together. Each sister grows up to be different from one another, and I find that each one possesses qualities that I see in myself: Meg’s values in family, Jo’s sense for adventure, travel, and writing, Beth’s quiet, introverted, kind nature, and Amy’s passion for art, quality of life, and helping others. It’s a wonderful book that exemplifies the importance of family, love, and being true to one’s self.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice has been a favorite of mine for some time (I’m actually reading this book now for class)! Every time I read it, I learn to appreciate Austen as an author for shedding light on the domestic realm in the 18th century—something that male authors at that time could not do! I admire the characters, especially the hilarious Mr. Bennet, who I believe to be my spirit animal, and also admire Elizabeth Bennet for her strong-willed personality and overall character.


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit continues to be one of those books that I never tire of reading. Tolkien introduced us to a fantasy world that we all can escape to—from the Shire and its beautiful rolling hills and relaxed, carefree lifestyle to the Misty Mountains and the forest of Mirkwood. While different from our real world, there are similar themes that I resonate with. With all of the darkness in the world, I cling to novels like The Hobbit that share strong messages, including this one: “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”


The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

I love Harry Potter and the themes that J.K. Rowling expresses in her novels. From her messages revolving around mental illness and the strength that love and friendship hold, I find myself feeling true solace while reading the series. Although I have read the series multiple times, I always find myself enjoying Prisoner of Azkaban a little more than the others. At this point, Harry’s maturing, and the plot begins to shift, giving us more of a background on the Marauders and a front row seat to Harry’s emotions and the demons that haunt him. Not to mention, we meet Sirius Black for the first time (who is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters)!


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

There is so much magic in A Christmas Carol! Every December, I make an effort to reread this book, and I am captivated as I follow Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from encountering the three spirits to discovering the true meaning of Christmas. I have yet to read anything else by Dickens (and I desperately need to), but I always enjoy picking this one up and reading in front of the Christmas tree with a mug of hot chocolate! I love getting swept up the overwhelming nostalgia and getting into the holiday spirit!


What are you reading today on Read a Book Day? What are your favorite books? Share in the comments!

Science is telling us to read more—and we should listen

Bibliophiles, rejoice! Today is National Book Lover’s Day!

For someone like me, every day is National Book Lover’s Day! As I mentioned in my post last June, Why I Read, Why I Write, reading and writing is an escape. Reading brings me solace; it helps me put reality on pause and enter a brand new world. Whether it is jumping on Buckbeak’s back with Harry, Hermione, and Sirius, or dancing in the Netherfield ballroom with Lizzie and Jane, I find peace and calm. Not to mention, in a world filled with screens, it is good to take some time away from the flashing, buzzing, and pinging, and open a book.

Reading is something that everyone should do. In fact, science demands it. Recent studies have found that reading books decreases stress levels, improves memory, and more. Here are five reasons why you should read more:

Reading reduces stress

There is nothing better than coming home from a busy day and sitting down on the couch with a book, blanket, and a hot cup of tea! When you’re feeling stressed, sometimes it’s better to put away your phone and electronic devices and dive into a brand new world. Reading will help calm your mind, shift your focus, and even give you the motivation to tackle those challenging tasks or combat your day-to-day stressors.

Reading stimulates your brain

Every time you pick up a book, you have the opportunity to boost your critical thinking, vision, language, vocabulary, and associated learning. Studies have even found that those who read on a regular basis throughout their lives (and even starting in the middle of their lives) experience slower memory and mental decline. So, the next time you want to get a good workout, try exercising your brain with a book!

Reading helps with your sleep

Shutting down your electronics and diving into a ritual of a hot cup of tea and a book before bed relaxes your mind and gets you into the routine of going to bed. Reading before sleeping will help clear your mind and avert your focus from the day’s stresses or tomorrow’s to-do list.

Reading helps you become more open minded

One of my favorite things about literature is the ability to enter an entirely new world filled with different thoughts, ideas, and experiences. As a reader, you are at the mercy of the narrator and characters, who might expose you to new points of view or events that you might not be aware of. Having the ability to read and accept different perspectives helps you become a more open-minded individual, thus a more successful, productive, and happier person!

Reading gives you a feeling of community

There is nothing better than meeting a fellow bookworm! Like any hobby, readers have plenty of opportunities to join different communities and talk about their love of books. From Goodreads to joining or establishing your own book club, books bring people together!

Happy National Book Lover’s Day! Celebrate by picking up a book!