Top Books to Read This Summer


With school having ended for most, and a bit more free time, some of you may be looking for a new novel to get your hands on. Below are some of my own personal favorites, curated especially for you.

A quick disclaimer: I don't consider myself a purveyor of modern literature, and very rarely do I venture into the depths of young adult fiction, so all of the novels I have listed were published at least 75 years ago. If you are a fellow reader of classic literature, these books are for you. If you aren't, expand your horizons and try reading one or two of the stories below. New isn't always better.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

"Francie, about a year ago he gave me that card all written out and two dollars. He said, 'when Francie graduates, send her some flowers for me - in case I forget.'"

In last year's English class, I was required to pick and read a coming of age novel from a provided list, and subsequently write a couple essays on it. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the book I chose, and ever since, I have been so grateful that I did.

It is a bit slow to start, but was a heartbreaking novel following the childhood and adolescent years of a Brooklyn girl living in poverty with her mother, brother, and father. Sort of like a 20th century Little Women - but with less sisters and no fashionable pickled limes - the reader is able to form a connection with the characters and watch them grow up.

The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka

"When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin."

A novel that was on my TBR list for seemingly eternity, my copy sat on the shelf collecting dust on its pretty cover for months before I finally cleaned it off with the intention of reading it. I found the way it was written to be somewhat odd; definitely not what I was used to, since the first sentence of the novel begins with what might already have been considered as the climax of a novel.

However, since first reading the novel almost a year ago, I have reviewed it again several times, rereading some of my favorite chapters and quotes. Personally, I think it to be an absurd (in a good way, of course) and brilliant book on isolation and existentialism, and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic literature and modernist fiction. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

"Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cave-man had learned to laugh, History would have been different."

I picked this book up on a whim, partly because I had some leftover money on a gift card to Barnes and Noble, and partly because the elegant designs on the cover attracted me. I had heard from a friend that Oscar Wilde was an incredible writer, and after reading his only novel and a few of his poems, I think I can safely say that that is a marvelous understatement.

I've always been one for psychological novels that leave you a tad bit mind blown, but The Picture of Dorian Gray goes above and beyond with its artistic (if you get the pun let me know) cruelty and narcissism. The book follows the life of a vain young man who makes a wish to stay young forever, and the ultimate consequences of his actions. The novel is a profound message to all that it is our actions that define us, not our beauty.

Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie

"He played the part of the devil too successfully. But he was not the devil. Au fond, he was a stupid man. And so - he died."

A little fun to lighten the load. I don't know about you, but I've been an avid reader of Agatha Christie and her iconic literary detectives for a few years now, and am always eager to pick up another Poirot novel in order to use my "little grey cells." Cards on the Table was originally just another detective novel to help pass the time, but it is now one of my all time favorites (along with The Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; both worth a read).

If you've never encountered Hercule Poirot, he is essentially a slightly more Belgian version of Sherlock Holmes, but with more moustache and less deducing (to sum it up). It begins with a man who was quietly murdered in a room with only four other people, and it is up to four detectives to solve the crime; though of course, it is Poirot who is the hero in the end. Filled with suspicious characters and surprise clues that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the very end, this thriller is one of the best that Christie has written.

The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck

"Hunger makes thief of any man."

The last novel on this list is coincidentally the one I read first. Recommended to me by my mother - someone who never seems to have read the books she suggests and yet is always right about the quality of them - for an Autumn read.

The Good Earth is a peaceful story, and takes you through the life of a poor farmer and his family living in China after the fall of the Qing dynasty. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, and the whole book in itself represents the land; specifically, respect and piety for the land. It also deals with the corruption that wealth often brings, as well as the oppression of women during that time period. Since I read it, The Good Earth has been one of my favorite novels, mainly because of the author's ability to convey the emotions and thoughts of nearly every character.

Well, there you have it folks. I know this post was a bit longer than what I normally write (ahem, nothing at all), but I wanted to - and hope I did - convey not only the plots of these novels, but the themes, characters, and everything in between.

Have any of you read the books above? If not, will you? What are some novels that are on your Summer TBR list?

Hello + Ikea in Black and White


Ahem. It's been so long I hardly remember how to begin a post. I hope a simple hello will suffice.

Hello. Some friends of mine were taking turns googling each other, and I happened to be in the room at the time, so they looked up my name as well. Buried among other links, a dusty old blog appeared that I realized had turned 4 in August, and I hadn't even been around to say happy birthday to it. I realize now Indigo Ink is now closer to being 5 than it is to being 4, but I feel like I have commemorate the many, many years of hard work my younger self put into these posts. So, I'll say it now. Happy birthday.

Now, I'm not going to make any promises, since there seems to be a continuing pattern of my making promises related to this blog, and then breaking them almost immediately. No excuses, either, since there are plenty of those here as well. Scrolling through my archives a few days ago, I felt a pang of nostalgia, and wondered whatever happened to that girl obsessed with books and her blog. Since then, I haven't been able to get blogging out of my head, and so to be able to sleep with peace of mind, I am bent on writing a post before I lay down, no matter how long it will take.

I think part of the problem is that I seem to have run out of all my creative inspiration for this blog. Perhaps, most people would move on to a fresh start and create a new website, but I am determined, that after so many years of hard work, this blog will continue to exist, and that I will continue to post, even if it will not be often. To quote Gloria Gaynor, "I will survive."

So, since I have absolutely no idea what I should post, other than my classic ramblings of course, I'll just share some photos that I took a few months ago. My poor old camera has been sitting on my nightstand since then, gathering dust, but I hope you will enjoy these. I tried to be a bit different and original when I took them, attempting to find beauty in the oddity and wildness of IKEA stores, so they might seem a bit unusual, for lack of a better word, to some, but I do hope you all enjoy them.

 Also, two more things before we part ways:

(1) Blogger always seems to lower the quality and clarity of my photographs whenever I upload them; does/has anyone else experienced this and/or know how to fix it? It has been going for years, and I can't seem to find anyone else online who has had the same problem.

(2) Did you all enjoy the life update and a random burst of photographs above? Would you like to see more photos of my odd little outings? And please, I beg of you, let me know if you have any ideas for posts on the blog, or if there is anything you would like to see more of on here; I am absolutely desperate for any suggestions.

I suppose that is all. I've missed this blog, and all of you, and sorely hope that you have missed me.

finding inspiration: blog posts


It can sometimes be difficult to create new and exciting content that your followers will enjoy reading. I often struggle with this. One of the biggest reasons I've been away from this blog for so long is because I simply cannot come up with any ideas I feel are worthy of posting. And so, when in doubt, write a post telling people how to find inspiration on writing posts.

Let's take a look into my mind, shall we?

+ Read the posts of others
When I read the posts of my fellow bloggers, I sometimes think of something similar I could write that might appeal to my followers. Often times, I either simply admire what my peer has written, or come up with something entirely different for my own blog. However, I never steal content from others, but if I like an idea so much that I'd like to recreate it, I simply ask for permission from the original author to do something similar. 

+ Ask for ideas
If I'm feeling particularly stumped, and need to produce some creative content, I often ask for the ideas of friends and family. More often that not, they give me a lovely idea for a new post, such as this one. Don't be afraid to ask for help; the ideas that sparked many of my favorite posts have been from my loved ones.

+ Photography
Sometimes, I have no ideas for new content but I'm itching to write something up and post it. The first thing I turn to is my beloved flash drive that holds most of my photographs. It doesn't take long to edit a few of my best pictures from my most recent adventures and jot down a few sentences to accompany every other photo. In the end, I am left with something that didn't drain me or take days to write, but I am still proud of. Often times, my photography posts are my most popular.

+ A part two 
What you are reading right now is an excellent example of what I mean. Two years ago, I wrote a post called Finding Inspiration: Poetry, where I shared things that may inspire me to write poems in my day to day life. This week, I found I was too occupied to come up with something more original, but since I am fond of irony, the idea for this post came to mind. I try to not write many similar posts, as I like everything I publish to be as original and creative as possible, but sometimes it may be a good idea to recreate an old post.

What do you do when you need an idea for a blog post? Let me know if you try anything suggested above.