books & songs at the beginning of spring 2021

Last week I thought I was sure of my class selections, and then yesterday, I made the switch again. I refuse to take classes that I can’t balance well alongside my other ones. Today we’re bringing back the series of books & songs with books and songs at the beginning of spring 2021. At the end of my first week of classes and being back at UVa, Ms. Hayley Williams released her second solo album. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m not mad about it. (Actually, it would be kind of nice to have a new Paramore record. Just saying.) So that inspired this post! Here are some things I’ve been reading and listening to lately. 

Books at the beginning of spring 2021

Poor Folk

“His downfall was predetermined by fate…”

I read Poor Folk for my Dostoevsky class, and it’s the first of Dostoevsky’s novels. It wasn’t a favorite for me. I think the Brothers Karamazov makes everything else Dostoevsky wrote feel pale in comparison. But this novel goes into themes of shame and discussing the role fate plays in the lives of poor folk. It’s not a read for you if you’re looking for a fun read. But if you like analyzing character interactions and intentions, Varvara and Makar are a lot more than meets the eye. You’ll definitely have to tell me what your thoughts are. I find that my opinion of men in Russian novels is not the general consensus. I just tend to view most people in a favorable light but men in Russian novels can be patriarchal in the sense that they expect women to please them. Just something to consider.

Moral of the story: I will always be drawn to this question of free will vs. fate when it comes to the course of our lives.

Recent Post: Why I Journal + Journaling Prompts

The Next Right Thing guided journal

“Good decisions require creativity, and creativity requires space.”

So this isn’t actually a book to read. I know it kind of ruins the books and songs during the spring of 2021 thing. But I highly recommend it! As you know, I write about reflection and journaling A TON on the blog. I just believe in the power of slowing down enough to notice all the things going on in your life and moving forward with the knowledge you’ve gained. This journal goes into the details. It’s not for daily reflection but it is for the weekly, monthly, and seasonal noticings of the goings-on in your life. What kept resurfacing for? Activities you enjoyed? Did you walk through anything hard? Best memories? Things you learned? I also have a blog series on that! We could all be a little better at reflecting in our lives and this guided journal can be a part of the story.

Moral of the story: What your eyes lingers on, notice that.

Recent Post: Weekly Reflection Guide

Premarital Sex in America

“The problem is that we have purchased the expensive idea that security is not found in human relationships but in personal accomplishments and appearances.”

I know what you’re thinking. What the dang heck? Why are you reading this? Well, I am taking a class called Sociology of the Family and this is our first book for the semester. It’s only been 2 full weeks and a few days but I think this class might go down as one of my favorites in my college career. No one talks about this stuff – I mean, maybe some people’s parents sat them down for “the talk” but not how to date well and what it means to prepare for marriage in today’s relational landscape. He lets students offer their own viewpoint – liberal, conservative, centrist. 

The thing is people do want to be married. We just think it’s this elusive goal for our 30 year old selves. No one ever sat us down (like this class is doing) and said “Hey, in order to get prepared for marriage, you’ve got to do some work and reevaluate your priorities.” We’re given guidance for our careers but no guidance whatsoever for marriage. It’s no wonder young people are so terrified of commitment and the possibility of divorce. This class brings all the ideas to the forefront – hookup culture, sexual relationships, cohabitation, the way different priorities shape the way we date (religion, higher education, our own ultimate beliefs). This might just be the most practical class I’ve ever taken. Our relationships, platonic and romantic, are a huge part of our lives. If we’re not taught to manage them well, we will make costly mistakes. 

Moral of the story: We could all stand to learn a little more about how to do relationships well.

Recent Post: When Love is Worth Keeping Around

Songs at the beginning of spring 2021


This was the first song I heard off of Hayley’s new album. There are only 4 lines but this song speaks in a way that words can’t. The piano is stunning alongside Hayley’s voice, and I can’t wait to hear her sing more songs like this.

Today I saw the Whole World

I’ve been revisiting Pierce the Veil. They’re a band my high school self loved. I gotta be honest. My high school self had taste! Misadventures is a great album in the post hardcore world and this song doesn’t disappoint. PTV has been on my mind lately. I did laundry this morning and started singing Bulletproof Love – just acapella. 

First Thing to Go

Again, I’m in love with Hayley’s voice. As much as I try to figure out who this song is about – I’m thinking Jeremy Davis, I just feel for her in this one. When we lose people – friendships end, people pass – it aches and hurts. All we have left is memory. And even that goes. That’s the crazy thing. Is that even when the memory goes, the love is still there. The grief touches everything.


This is just a fun jam I stumbled onto by The Ready Set turned electronic/synth onlychild. I am not always in a jamming mood but when I am, this song is good. Also Chardonnay and Tangerine!

Just a Lover

This is the most rock like song on her new record. It makes me miss Paramore. Hayley is unique in this one – declaring herself as a lover and she’s not moving from this declaration. There will be no more music made “for the masses.” This album is for her. And she has offered it as a gift to all of us. I’m thankful. I can’t wait to hear what you make next, Hayley Williams!

Hope your week is as beautiful as you are! I hope you like this post at the beginning of spring 2021.

Signing off, 


3 thoughts on “books & songs at the beginning of spring 2021

  1. I’m delighted you and others are exploring what it takes to create good relationships. I believe a lot more of our education should be focused on life skills rather than simply academic ones.

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