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!



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!

Beyond the Page

In January, I began my exciting journey in earning a Master’s Degree in English. I jumped back into academia to not only boost my communication, writing, and research skills in my current professional role but to also reach my ultimate goal of becoming an English professor. Last summer, I found myself doing some intense soul-searching, and finally decided to take the plunge and apply to graduate school. While the road to Dr. Mangione will be a challenging one, it will also be rewarding, for English is a passion of mine, and I hope to inspire others to love and embrace literature and the freedom and serendipity of expression. The world of literature is a tremendous place, and everyone should have the opportunity to escape their surroundings and explore it.

From an early age, I have always enjoyed reading books. While other children my age were exploring the outside world, I was indoors with a book in my hands. While others were on the jungle gym, I was opening the wardrobe to Narnia or fighting the Basilisk with Harry Potter and his friends. Even now as an adult, there’s nothing I love more than sitting on my couch with a steaming mug of tea and cracking open a new book, diving into a different world and going on endless adventures.

As I continue this journey in academia, I also continue to read for leisure. While I am doing so, I thought it would be fun to write book reviews and reflect on whatever I am reading. So, literary buffs out there, I hope you follow along and comment on my reviews!

I have kept my blog, KeepItKassual, for over 6 years. This is an incredible feat, although I write this with uneasiness. Keeping a blog is very hard, but I hope that this new
“rebranding” will help me write more and engage more with my followers. Thanks to all who have stayed with me throughout it all, and I look forward to hearing from more of you!


Why I Read, Why I Write

Ever since I could remember, I’ve had a book in my hand. I remember being in kindergarten and sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor with a sea of books in front of me. I still experience that exciting, greedy feeling as I took in the pile of books in one huge gulp.

I love reading. In the summertime, I have fond memories of lying in a hammock with a stack of books at my side checking off my summer reading list. The library was never a chore; I would scurry into the children’s section with an impassive wave to my mother and get lost in Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and E.B. White. I’d check out books with my library card and surprise my mom a week later letting her know that I finished them, and wanted to go back to the library for more. Bookworm was and still is, a loose term to describe my crazed obsession.

With the help of books, you are always on an exhilarating adventure. With wide eyes, I have made my way through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia with Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund. I journeyed through Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins and eventually made the same trip with Frodo and Sam. I pushed my trunk and other belongings through Platform 9 3/4 and hopped on the Hogwarts Express with Harry and his friends. With literature, anything is possible, and that’s a beautiful thought, indeed.

Ever since I was little, reading has always been my escape. When times were tough, I would open my books and tune out the sound around me. I would cling on to its bindings and flip its pages in hopes that I would find solace, and I almost always did. As an adult, I still find myself clasping on to stories in the hope that I can find peace in myself.

Literature is something that is sacred to me. With literature, you are able to jump into entirely different worlds. You meet characters you can relate to, and they become real to you. Sometimes, you like them more than those you meet in real life (sorry, it’s true!)

That’s one of the most precious things about being an author: you create characters who become timeless. With the help of female characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Nancy Drew, Jane Eyre, Sara Crewe, Hermione Granger, Anna Karenina, Portia, Katniss Everdeen, Offred, and so many others, I have role models I can look to for strength and courage. I take what I learn from their stories and mold it into my own life, hoping to carry the same levelheadedness and grace that some of these characters exhibit through hard times. Because of their timelessness, so many other individuals get to read their stories and learn more about themselves through these characters. As an author, you have the power of immortality with the characters, and worlds, that you create.

In my life, I plan to continue to read and write. It’s what keeps me sane; it’s what makes me feel whole. My one goal in life is to leave an imprint somehow. I want to help people through a hard time. I want to be that same escape that I reach for when I need it most.   Even if it’s one person, I want to make a difference.

I am excited to continue my journey in writing. I am hopeful for the future and know that my dreams to become a writer will become a reality soon. In my eyes, I already am a writer. My plan in the next few blog posts to come (I have been very busy with work/wedding planning) I will be posting some book reviews on a few books I’ve been reading in the last three months. Exciting stuff to come.

Your turn: What are your hobbies/interests? Why do you continue to do them? I’m interested to learn your stories.