Et fin. Thursday, May 18 2017 

I finally finished Game of Thrones. Finally. It took me about forever, and I never thought I’d get through it, but I did it. And do you know what helped? Jillian Michaels.

Weird, right? Yeah, I agree. But last month she started this plank challenge. Participants of it would start off the challenge by planking for 10 seconds. Then you increased your planking time by 10 seconds each day until you reached 300 seconds on the last day. That’s 5 minutes. And if you know planks, you know that’s a long time to torture yourself.

When I got to about minute 2, I needed something to help pass the time. That’s when I started reading my book while planking. This way I wasn’t just staring at the timer. It sounds crazy, but it helped so much. Because staring at a timer for that long will drive you crazy. It even helped me surpass the challenge and get to 6 minutes and 20 seconds (as of last night).

So YAY! Reading and exercise?! It works!

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The Trouble with Time is: Monday, Feb 1 2016 

I haven’t read in ages, and I blame Game of Thrones.  Okay, so maybe part of it is that I feel like I don’t have enough time.  But I used to make time.  I used to read.  A lot.  So much so, that when I was younger my parents would worry I was depressed or something and to the point where my parents even asked my sister to find out if I was okay.  I was okay, though granted, I hated working at my parents’ restaurant when I was a teen, so I liked to read, especially fantasy novels, to forget about work.

But recently that changed.  I have been trying to read Game of Thrones, the first A Song of Ice and Fire novel, but for some reason I just can’t get through it.  My sister keeps telling me to just skip it, but I can’t just skip a book.  Though I haven’t finished a book in forever, I still follow my rules of reading.  But to be honest, I think a big reason, is that yes, it’s tedious because it’s all politics at this point, but also, I haven’t had a lot of time lately.

Since beginning my weight loss journey, I’ve been working hard on exercising, and my workouts have been taking a lot more time now than they used to.  And maybe reading so much is what encouraged my heaviness when I was younger.  I had to finish this chapter, this book, so I couldn’t possibly go and maybe walk or something.  Maybe subconsciously, I worry that I’ll fall into old habits?  Maybe now I’m reading too much into things.  Obviously I’ll continue doing both, I just need to get past this book, and I’ll be back to my old self.

Hell, it kind of happened with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and I both loved that book and didn’t exercise then.  Maybe I’ll love Game of Thrones, even though it’s just another fantasy novel, and in my opinion not as gripping as the ones I used to read when I was a teen inadvertently scaring my parents into thinking I was depressed. Hey, maybe that’s the reason I haven’t been able to get through it?  Maybe on a subconscious level I resent the fact that it is doing so well, when the books I loved as a teen did not reach my television screen?  Okay, maybe definitely now I am reading too much into things.

Books for ‘women’ Sunday, Feb 27 2011 

It may surprise you to hear that, before a few months ago, I had never read any Jane Austen. This fact may surprise you as I am 26 years old, and an English major who focused on early modern literature. I had even taken a course on women in the early modern period (aptly titled Early Modern Women’s Writing). Now knowing this, the obvious question to ask is: “How could I have not read a lick of either Bronte or Austen?” Easy. My professors all professed that seeing as Bronte and Austen were such popular subjects, we must have already read them. But in my case, they were wrong.

Jane Austen

And so my women writer’s class focused on other women writers, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Wroth, Anne Clifford, Aphra Behn, Kathrine Philips, and Margaret Cavendish. Those women were my scholars. And while my college literary career was filled with the likes of Shakespeare, Whitman, Marlowe, and Doyle, who were popular male authors, not once did I read Bronte or Austen.1 And so I graduated college, having not read two of the most influential female writers of the time.

When I told my friends of my feat, they gasped and guffawed. I felt an outcast among my peers. Okay, I may be exaggerating a teensy bit: there had been some gasping, no guffawing, and no shunning. But I did feel a wee bit foolish. Feeling foolish is part of what spurred me to finally read these novels now, even though in all honesty I don’t think I could accurately describe what made me think, “read this now.” There were no voices saying that ‘If I read them, they would come,’ or anything like that, but I did feel like it was time I read them. What also encouraged me to start reading these classics now, is that I finally finished the book I never thought I’d finish (the aforementioned Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell). And so I thought to myself that I should start reading the books I should have read ages ago.

And so I read Austen and Bronte and fell in love with the characters (particularly Mr. Darcy). And finally realized why so many lauded these novels. I grew so enamoured with these characters, that after reading these great works, I started watching them on screen. Period dramas were suddenly the norm on our tv and our choices on the silver screen. This is not to say I wasn’t a fan of the period drama before, far from it, it was just that on reading these great works, I rekindled my love of them. I’d finally realized what I had missed out on all these years. Now if I watch a modern day romantic comedy, I can’t help but notice how much these have been influenced from the books of the past.

In the end, what did I learn from this experience? Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing. Shh. Don’t tell any parents I said that.

1Some may argue whether Bronte was a writer of the Early Modern period, but as her reign was on the cusp of that period, I would give it to her. Austen however, was most certainly in the period and so she should have been covered.