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Book #2

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This book could be successfully compared to a good concert, and not just because it’s a book that centers around the New York City music scene (and the teenagers that inhabit it). It’s a fast read. I was hooked from page one by the conversational and intimate style of the two narrators, the fast-paced story, the typical tangled teenage relationships that are universally familiar.

If you have seen the movie that was based on this book, don’t think that you already know what happens–you don’t! There are some relatively significant plot discrepancies.

For the unfamiliar, I would say this: it’s about a (very unconventional) first date. It’s about discovering that losing something means you’re free to find something much better. It’s about how chance bring people together, and the power of music. It’s a fun, funny book that has a lot of nice things to say about the song “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.

I will caution that this book falls into the PG-13 category for language and…various situations that arise from teen dating.

Book #1

I was honestly starting to forget how satisfying it is to read a good book that has nothing to do with my classes. It took me almost a month to finish, and it’s not quite summer yet, but I’m starting my summer book list with:

Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players by Stefen Fatsis

First, it must be addressed that reading this book probably is just as nerdy as it sounds. Having accepted that, I loved this book. The set up: a sports journalist for the Washington Post takes an extended leave of absence to immerse himself in the sub-culture of competitive Scrabble. The result is part memoir, part history of the game and part character study–a truly fascinating read.

If you love Scrabble, I feel safe in saying that you will enjoy this book. But its more than just a book for die-hard fans–this is a story that can be appreciated by anyone that has ever loved something that they took it from a hobby to an obsession; this is a story that has just as much suspense and struggle as a great sports game. I promise. I guarantee that you will learn new words, new ways to think about words, and new ways to think about people that love board games.

Next to come: a book I read in less than 24 hours.

This week is the musical equivalent to an opening band–

The summer is almost here. I can feel it, both in the weather (80 degrees, humid, sunny) and in the faint buzz that is starting to fill the air everywhere I go. Campus is both coming alive and stalling to a halt–we’re playing frisbee, we’re sleeping under the trees, we’re securing jobs and vacations and one last time to meet over coffee–and then we’re in the library, we’re cramming for the three finals in one day, why-oh-why would there ever be three finals in one day?

Today, there was all of this. It was muggy, but cooled off into a beautiful evening for an outdoor concert–a great concert, Augustana–and I just had to smile and tell myself that in a week, the feeling of relaxed victory that I have now will be completely earned.

It would be nice to say that I’d be writing from some slew of exotic locales this summer, or that I had just landed the perfect summer employment situation. None of that is true, but I still feel like the approaching season will treat me pretty well. If nothing else, I’ll be reading a lot, and sharing the good, bad, and ugly of what I’ve read. Maybe I’ll get through all 16 DVDs of my Monty Python’s Flying Circus collection. Maybe (hopefully!) I’ll break ground on many new poems that are worth reading and (dare I say it?) worth publishing.