I love reading books and I love listening to music. For the most part, I try to stick to reflection, intentional living, and college posts on the blog. But every once in a while, I’ll get super into something and I want to share it. I’ve decided to start a new series: books & songs. Currently, these are the books & songs I’ve been reading and listening to in quarantine. I also can’t help but think that since Taylor Swift came out with folklore, I just needed to share my favs. I’ve definitely loved reading during quarantine and even have a Reading Challenge going for 52 books this year on Goodreads. You should try it out!
Without further ado, here are the books & songs I’ve been loving in quarantine.
Chronicles of Avonlea
“He had learned the rare secret that you must take happiness when you find it – that there is no use in marking the place and coming back to it at a more convenient season, because it will not be there then.”
I love L.M. Montgomery’s famous series Anne of Green Gables. I love Anne’s character and the worldbuilding around the small town of Avonlea. I wanted to read more of the stories in the same world and reading Chronicles of Avonlea was the perfect way to do so.
I adored the short stories about families and romance – there was one about a woman whose sister was against her getting her married, a young boy who had a gift for playing the violin, a man who took years to propose, etc. If you like short stories, this is the book for you. I laughed, I smiled, I loved.
Moral of the story: There are so many ways to serve others with the gifts you have.
19 Love Songs
“Words were my tools of creation. And love, I learned, is a constant act of creation, just as creation is almost always an act of love.”
I absolutely adore David Levithan. I have read so many of his books now – from Will Grayson, Will Grayson to Love is the Higher Law. His prose is stunning and clarifying. This book is another book of short stories – however some are fiction and some are nonfiction.
19 Love Songs details love in a thousand different ways – love between a mother and a child, love between friends, love that seems hard to find, and love that’s so easy. It’s so hard to pick favorites – but I love the story of Valentine’s day and the love between the mother and the child is incredible. The writing is so beautifully sweet. There are stories about two high schoolers who are gay and one set of parents isn’t super comfortable with that, there’s a story about a guy who writes Taylor Swift fanfiction (so timely!), there’s a story that’s more like a poem about a high school choir group, and there’s Levithan’s parents’ love story.
Moral of the story: There are a million ways to love, and therefore, to live.
A Realm of Possibility
“i have begun to see things as potential absences. the things i love will become the things i’ll miss. i don’t know how to use this negative sight.”
Yes, it’s another David Levithan book. In fact, if you’ve been hanging around this blog for a while, you would know from my about me page that this book is one of my favorites. The quote above literally makes me ache. I think about how soon the next 2 years of college will fly by and it hurts. A Realm of Possibility is a series of poems written from the perspective of different high school seniors on all sorts of subjects – first love, body positivity, unrequited love, male friendships, high school gossip/expectations, and more.
My reread of this provided me an interesting perspective. It felt like no time had passed since I last read this book. I loved the characters, found the writing so beautiful that I made my computer background a quote from the book, and I did a lot of highlighting from my kindle. Even if you’re a little bit older than high school, you can still relate to the topics being discussed. Relationships with others and ourselves can be fraught with tension even though there is love involved – that’s just a part of life.
Moral of the story: Life becomes a little bigger after high school but the same things remain – love, friends, heartbreak, loss, grief, beginnings, and endings.
The Defining Decade
“When it comes to adult development, 30 is not the new 20. Even if you do nothing, not making choices is a choice all the same. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.”
I’ve been hearing so much good stuff around The Defining Decade for years. When a friend recommended it, I decided to get it. I literally read it in 2 days! If you are in your twenties, run, don’t walk to the bookstore. You need to read this.
This book offers advice based on a clinical psychologist’s experience with her clients about work, love, and the brain. I legit took so many notes that I will definitely do a blog post in the near-ish future about this book. Some major things: 1. Take action for your future even if you are not 100% sure. 2. Don’t let what you think should happen keep you from what you want to happen. 3. Plan for your future when it comes to having a family.
Moral of the story: Your twenties aren’t the time to party. It’s the time to build a future that will last decades of your life.
Songs in quarantine
Peace speaks to me as the moment where you realize love might not be enough. That’s not to say that love isn’t important, but it might not be enough to make someone stay in your life. Taylor recognizes her limits and lets her lover know that. It makes this song beautiful.
Why We Ever was really the song that made me love Hayley Williams’s solo album Petals for Armor. It feels like a continuation of Tell Me How, which is a song about a friendship breakup. This song explores more of that feeling – why people let one another go.
Anna Nalick is honestly one of the underrated singer-songwriters of our time. Her lyrics are so darn clever. At Now is about when people try to tell you how to live your life, which for some reason, people love to do this. It tugs for your heartstrings. I highly recommend a listen.
Gabrielle Aplin just sounds so good. So Far So Good is actually pretty good. This song is about the pleasant things in life that start off not so nice. I hope this song reminds you that there is good in this season that feels isolating. Also, hold the people you love close.
Taylor Swift’s folklore is back on the list. It’s not really going away. Sorry, not sorry. The 1 is everybody’s favorite with good reason. Who doesn’t look back and think about if things were different how they would be living a completely different life? Plus, I love the sound of this song!
Fired Up is my favorite song by Grace Carter. It details finding love that makes you feel safe after a period of heartache. To be able to trust again, to love again. I just love this music video. If you watch one thing, watch this music video. It’s stunning.
Here’s another love song. Love of all kinds is compelling for music and books. I love Oh Wonder sonically. Their music is indie pop, and In and Out of Love is their love song to one another. It’s the song they would sing if they had never met each other. Absolutely sweet!
My number 1 from folklore is This is Me Trying. If you checked my Twitter, it definitely wasn’t in my top 3 but after a few go arounds, I just fell in love with how simple this song is. For me, it’s about a friendship gone wrong. Can you tell a theme here? I can’t relate to getting my heart broken, but I have had a few friendships fade out into oblivion. This song is incredible.
Knots by Anna Nalick is another display of how talented a songwriter she is. The alliteration is unmatched. Her voice, the piano, simple and stunning. The chorus of this song is heaven to my ears. Please go listen!
The best album closer I’ve heard in a long time is Crystal Clear by Hayley Williams. If you’ve stuck around the blog for a while, you would know that I love Paramore and I’ve recommended this song so often. Sonically, this song is absolute dream. Also, this song has a sweet story. Paramore bandmate Taylor York recorded Hayley’s grandfather singing “Friends or Lovers” and it’s at the end of the track.
Well friends, this was a super long post. Let me know if you liked it. Comment down below your favorite songs from the list and which of the books seem interesting to you.