Discussion Posts

Inspired by The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


People have been telling me to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for years, and I always knew that I wanted to read it, but something made me put it off.  I finally read it, and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t read it sooner.  It is such a heartwarming, thought provoking, and inspiring story.  As an actor, you always have people telling you that your dreams are crazy, or unrealistic, and sometimes it is hard to deal with.  I am very lucky to have the most supportive family, who have never once questioned my decision to become a performer.  One of my favorite quotes my mom tells me all the time is:

“If people aren’t laughing at your dreams, then they’re not big enough.”

The Alchemist just helped to reinforce that I am on the right path, and I think it is a book that everyone should read, regardless of where you are in life.  I know I am late to the party on this one, but I am so happy that I finally experienced the magic of this book.  While reading, I wrote down a few of the quotes that really resonated with me and I wanted to share them here.

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“I’m like everyone else- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not actually what does.”

“This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.”

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“The secret is here in the present.  If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it.  And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”

“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny.  If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love.”

Do you have any quotes from this magical novel that spoke to you?  What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments ❤

Discussion Posts

Discussion Post: Reading Classics

I have always been a huge book worm.  I was the kid in class who used to get yelled at for texting under my desk, and then would bring up a book instead of a phone.  I just couldn’t help myself.  My favorite class in high school was my AP English class senior year, taught by one of the best teachers I have ever had, Mr. Bud.  This class made me love books I never would have fully appreciated had I read them on my own (Slaughterhouse 5 for example).

Mr. Bud and I used to talk about books all the time, but for all my reading, he always used to nag me about reading more “books of literary merit.”  I used to fight him on it, and stuck to my escapist literature for the most part.  It’s not that I didn’t want to read classics, I just never had outside of school.  I had an association of classic literature and homework, and I read for entertainment.  I was intimidated by the thought that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them.

Mr. Bud assigned a project where we had to choose our own “book of literary merit,” and do an old school book report.  I chose Pride and Prejudice, because I felt it was an easy intro for reading classics, it was pretty short and non-intimidating, and most readers are big fans.  I’m not going to lie, I didn’t love it, but what surprised me the most was that I didn’t hate it.  I was able to enjoy myself while reading it, and I felt good when I finished it.  This first step into the world of classic literature, opened my mind to the idea that maybe I could actually read classics for fun.

I’ve found that the biggest difference is that I have to really focus while reading a classic, and sometimes on a crowded, noisy subway, or backstage with music and scenes playing over the speakers, it can be hard to do.  Because of this, I am still a little hesitant when I feel the urge to tackle a classic book, but I am setting a new goal for myself, and finally marking some off my list.  I’m currently giving Jane Austen another try, and I am half way through Sense and Sensibility, which I’m enjoying.

With how much I read, I almost feel like a fraud for how small a dent I have made in my classic literature TBR list.  I strive to be well-read, and I am finally understanding what Mr. Bud was trying to get me to do.  These books are important, because they are good.  I still have mixed feelings about classics in general, but I have found some that I have LOVED, and have become some of my favorite books (Jane Eyre comes to mind).  I’ve also found some that I haven’t liked at all, and realized that just because it is considered a classic, does not mean that I have to like it.  I might always have a stigma associated with classic literature, but the more of them that I read, the less intimidating they become, and that in itself is a victory in my book.

How do you feel about reading classics?  Are they important to you? What are some of your favorites that you would recommend to a classic-newbie?  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments! 🙂

Discussion Posts

Discussion Post: Abandoning Books

I very rarely abandon a book.  Once I start, I am usually in it for the long haul, even if it’s a slog to get through.  I have a bunch of books that I refuse to admit I have abandoned, always saying, “I’m gonna come back to it eventually…” and three years later I still haven’t picked it up again.  They become like a challenge, and I can’t admit defeat.  Something in me just wants to get through it to say that I have read it, even if I am not enjoying it.

Among all the craziness of work, auditioning, training, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, its crazy to waste my me-time reading something that I don’t love.  Obviously I know you can’t love every book, but there have been plenty of books that are just okay that I finish because they don’t take much out of me.  However; there are those books that I never have the desire or energy to read.  The ones I have to force myself to get through, when all I want is to start something new.  These are the books that I should throw into the Did-Not-Finish pile, and yet find so hard to let go. I give too many books the benefit of the doubt, and hold the hope that they will get better.  Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.  Mostly they don’t.  A lot of the time they are books that I feel obligated to like because they are classics or a current phenomenon.  I keep reading because I feel like I should love it, even if I have completely lost interest.  I keep reading because I WANT to love it.

Recently, I have been trying to tell myself that it’s okay to let it go.  I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t go back to The Beautiful and Damned (oof, it was even hard for me to type that…) and it is OKAY.  There are plenty of other books that I will be obsessed with, and I don’t need to slog through the ones I don’t like just to say that I’ve read them.

Do you abandon books?  What makes you add a book to your DNF pile?  How do you know it’s time to give up on a story?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂


Discussion Posts

How I Saved My Wallet and Got More Books

Thanks to my best friend, and fellow book addict, I recently discovered a website that has changed my life, and my wallet.  As a book addict, I unabashedly buy more books than I can possibly read, and I have never thought twice about it.  Books are my vice, what can I say?  However; bookstores are expensive, and as an artist often between gigs, I have to be more diligent with my budget.  I love the library, I do, but there is something  so special in owning a book and watching your personal library grow.  My best friend, Kaley, told me about Thriftbooks.com and ever since, I find it hard to buy books any other way.  It is amazing and dare I say, dangerous.  It’s like Half-Price books online.  They sell used books of varying quality (all decent, some like new), and deliver them to your doorstep.  The prices are unreal.  I once got seven books for under $20.00, the price of one brand new book at Barnes and Noble.  The selection is huge and they even have new releases (though they are a little more pricey).  They also have free shipping if you spend $10.00, which is usually two-three books.  If you join their free ReadingRewards program, it tracks your purchases, and once you have spent $50.00 you get a $5.00 coupon, which is basically the equivalent of a free book.  I know.  It sounds too good to be true.  It gets better.  Any time you refer a friend, you both get a 15% off coupon for more books!  They also have an app, that has a first purchase discount as well.  There are so many savings, it’s almost impossible not to buy a million books.  I can’t gush about this site enough.  Thriftbooks.com is genius and has changed the way I read and shop for books.  Check it out.  You can thank me later 🙂 .