5 Books That I Can’t Wait To Read Now That I’ve Graduated

5 Books That I Can’t Wait To Read Now That I’ve Graduated

I can finally catch up on my extra reading.

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Now that I graduated from my English program in UCLA, I am ready to start prioritizing time towards reading books that I have put to the side for the sake of my class requirements. My bookshelf has become regretfully dusty in the last few years and it's time to start gobbling up all the titles I have within an arm's reach. Seeing as I brought only a few books from home to college, the rest of my treasures are still waiting for me in my desk-side bookcase. Here are some of the texts I mean to consume this summer, in case you might be needing some content on your summer reading list.

1. Catch-22 By Joseph Heller

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The title is a phrase that I use regularly in my daily conversation regarding everything from politics to conversations about social life. However, until this summer, I had not taken it upon myself to read the book. I am fortunate enough to have the 50th-anniversary edition and will enjoy it thoroughly.

2. A Confederacy Of Dunces By John Kennedy Toole

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I actually found this book after Ryan Reynolds tweeted about it being one of his favorite books. This book seems hilarious and I am eager to take a peek.

3. Milk And Honey By Rupi Kaur

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I have been reading a selection of Rupi Kaur's poetry for a while now, but have not actually taken the chance to pick up her book, and experience reading all her work. I have been familiarizing myself with more and more poetry in the last few months and reading her poems seem like the next logical and exciting step.

4. The Beguiled By Thomas P. Cullinan

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Having neither seen the movie nor read the book, I am intrigued by what I understand the plot of both to be. I enjoy reading stories highlighting the fictional and non-fictional accomplishments and achievements of women. Therefore, this book seems right up my alley. After reading it, I bet I'll watch the movie right after.

5. All That She Can See By Carrie Hope Fletcher

Carrie Hope Fletcher's YouTube channel has been my go-to for quite a few years now. So it's no surprise that when her new book came out, and I happened to be in London, that I had to get a copy of it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to read the story yet. However, I am very excited to read her words in her voice.

Carrie has put quite a few books in the last couple years. I recommend them all to you all.

Well, there's all the literature that I see in the coming days ahead of me. Hopefully, you'll find a good read or three within my list, too!

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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7 Dream Vacations That Will Inspire You To Keep Working Hard

Just a list of dream vacations I like to think of going on after I achieve my goals.

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College can be a really overwhelming place to be. You're out of high school where life was planned out for you, but you don't have a job or a career yet. You're stuck in this middle ground of being a child and being the person you have always wanted to be. Because of this, thoughts start creeping into your head about why you're taking the classes you are or if you can even handle the life that you've been dreaming of. When these negative thoughts start creeping into my head, I like to think of dream vacations that I would want to take. Then it reminds me that I'll be able to finally go on at least one of these if I keep working hard for the life I want.

1. Me time at the Maldives.

I swear that I'm a people person, but a dream self-care vacation of mine is to go to the Maldives by myself. I would stay in a little house on the water with a glass floor. I'd bring my books and my phone and a speaker and spend at least three days taking in the crystal clear water.

2. Family vacation on a European cultural cruise.

Viking River Cruises are luxurious cruises where you can discover Europe, parts of Asia and parts of Africa. I always imagined that I would take my parents and sister on one of these cruises and we would spend almost two weeks floating down a river in the middle of Europe, exploring different countries and learning about their cultures.

3. Best friends take on Peru.

Peru has a beautiful Incan history that has always been intriguing to me. Machu Picchu is the most famous tourist attraction in Peru, and it's always been a dream to go there and explore the city with my best friend. And then, explore the rest of what Peru has to offer of course!

4. Lay under the stars and the northern lights of Ireland

The Northern Lights are a collision of gas particles that this girl can get with. Seeing this simple phenomenon with a boyfriend or girlfriend would be one of the most romantic experiences I can think of. And in a country like Ireland, nonetheless!

5. Explore the beauties of Botswana.

Botswana is an African country right above South Africa, known for its beautiful plant and animal life. I always imagined coming here with my sister and experiencing the incredible nature and culture that Botswana has to offer.

6. Gaze upon the pyramids of Giza.

These three pyramids have been a symbol for beauteous Egypt for as long as I can remember. I want to see these structures with my family and learn about the rich history of ancient Egypt and their emperors and empresses.

7. The Galapagos Islands.

As an animal admirer, the Galapagos Islands have always been a dream of mine. I want to see the sea lions and turtles. Better yet, I dream of being to touch one!

Now, it's time to get back to work so I can go to maybe one of these destinations one day!

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