As the year comes to a close, I want to share my favorite books I read this year. In 2016, I read almost nothing. When 2017 rolled around, I was determined to do better. I set a goal for 30 books and then managed to read 42!
I sense Last Jedi spoilers below • 2:35 min read
The Force Awakens closes with a spine-tingling moment: Rey handing the mythic lightsaber back to its original owner, Luke Skywalker. The Last Jedi picks up where Force Awakens ends, then tosses it all behind.
Lewis and Tolkien were both geniuses, but these two friends could not have approached their craft more differently • 3:00 min read
I love the podcast “Revisionist History” by Malcolm Gladwell. In Episode 7, Gladwell describes the creative processes of two artists: Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne. If you’re anything like me, those artists’ names don’t mean much, but Gladwell’s observations had me spellbound.
The shocking truth behind all my stories…and the closet door in my bedroom • 3:30 min read
I have lied about my creativity, inspiration, and originality. It’s all false, a pack of lies to hide a sinister truth. The truth — hiding behind a closet door — is something I’m not sure you’re ready to hear. But confess, I must. The moment you walk into my room, you might realize something is off. There is a standing desk, an all-purpose desk for storage, and a minimalist writing desk by the window. ”Why three desks,” you ask? Because it requires a lot of space to accomplish what I’ve been doing in the cover of night.
A tongue-and-cheek examination of America’s dreadful — and virtually non-existent — tea culture • 4 min read
Steam rises from a green mug of lemon ginger tea on a New Zealand morning. To my right, bumpy green feijoas, also known as pineapple guavas, fill my plate. To my left, ginger cookies wait to bathe in warm, gingery liquid. And it leaves me wondering: why do Americans not participate in this glorious routine known as tea time? Ask the average American if they know what an electric water kettle is and receive a blank stare in return. How did America fall to such a pitiful state of ignorance?
That guy there is Faramir, Boromir’s brother and son of the Steward of Gondor. Remember, Boromir is the guy who got shot with all the arrows in the first movie?” A frozen frame from the final Lord of the Rings movie illuminated the room as I explained the history of Gondor to my dad.
I’m suffering from a condition called S.O.B. (SOcial media Burnout).
This condition is a result of my brain obsessing over “the next thing” to put out on social media. What is something funny and creative I can share on Instagram stories? A cool angle or intriguing shot to post to my Instagram feed? A witty snippet to tweet on Twitter?
And it has left me burned out. Sharing and scrolling are not fun anymore. Is it time for drastic measures?
Kill the Beast!” cried the villagers. The mob brandished their torches into the hollow darkness, Gaston at the lead. In this scene, the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake captures a deeper darkness than its animated predecessor. Because this time, the provincial people are real people — an unsettling reminder that outrage is an everyday reality.
In Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, the runaway niffler creates some of the best scenes in the movie. Set in the expanded universe of Harry Potter, Newt Scamander is traveling with a suitcase of magical creatures to New York City. Seventy years later, Harry studies a textbook, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, by none other than Newt Scamander.
Why was I (really) going to Kenya? The trip ends with a surprising answer • 20 min read
Mystery murders stalk candidates.” I stared at the bold headlines of the Nairobi magazine, Saturday Standard. The murder story engrossed a woman waiting for the same flight to Kisumu as I was. After trying to disentangle meaning from the awkward phrase, my fogged brain gave up and appealed to my friend sitting next to me. Anthony shrugged his shoulders.