on youth

Some friends and I were talking about the common belief that the newest generation is the worst. It was always better back in the day, and kids these days couldn’t work their way out of a wet paper bag.

My generation in particular has gotten a bad rap lately. We are lazy, entitled, and clueless. We live with our parents instead of trying to get a job. We tweet in, like, abbreviations and can’t string together a professional, grammatically correct sentences to save our lives.

I hate this. I feel like I have to fight that impression just about every day in my professional life. Not everyone is as lucky as me when it comes to stable employment, but the idea that my generation as a whole is incapable of hard work just really kills me.

But if I were a trained assassin, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if people thought I was young and dumb.

In Wizard and Glass, Roland and his friends have a huge advantage when the town leaders underestimate them. They leave their weapons at home on purpose, so as to not raise suspicions. But even without their guns, these gunslingers have better odds on just about any fight they’d come across, especially when the enemy is unsuspecting.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how seriously Roland, Cuthbert, Alain and Susan take themselves. They are about 15 years old but each is making decisions that affect the rest of their lives. And each of them takes these responsibilities seriously. It’s everyone else, like Susan’s aunt or the leader of the Big Coffin Hunters, who write them off as foolish youth. But even that, they use to their advantage.

In one of the best scenes in the book, Roland and his friends get in an extreme bar brawl. Cuthbert is only armed with his slingshot, but he refuses to back down or lower his weapon (in fact, I think he uses his weapon and someone almost loses a finger). The men can’t believe children could best them, and eventually they realize there could be more to Roland’s gang than bumbling youth. And through a hilarious and suspenseful turn of events, the boys prove they aren’t the weak idiots they seemed.

Their story is a story of first love, but it’s also a story of adult decisions made at a very young age. And about boys who became men and go to war far too soon. These boys believe in what they are doing and force a small town to take notice. But part of being an adult is knowing that everything doesn’t always work the way you want it to. And unfortunately, they had to live with the consequences of their decisions, too.

If you want to see what else I’m reading, check me out on Goodreads. And don’t forget to browse Rae’s Days e-reader cases and book tote bags. 10% of the proceeds will go toward the International Book Project.

echoes

I have a lot of feelings about this book.

You know how people talk about seeing a movie in their head when they read books? I don’t always do this. I read the words and say them to myself and I can understand what’s happening without necessarily having to see it in my mind. I don’t think that means it’s bad writing or that I’m a bad reader, it’s just how it works best for me sometimes. 

But when I read the fourth book in the Dark Tower series, a movie was playing constantly in my head. It was effortless and it was lovely and I did it without realizing I had begun. I knew exactly what Roland looked like when he gave his cold, Gunslinger stare, and I know the way Susan’s tears fell down her cheeks and the bruise Cuthbert’s punch left on his friend’s face. I can absolutely see their homes and the landscape of the town they spent a fateful summer. And once I saw them, I couldn’t get them out of my head.

I’m attributing this mainly to Stephen King’s writing. When I read Stephen King, he has this way of getting his books to spill over into real life. In Roland’s world (or worlds, I should say), time is very fluid and events have a way of echoing to other characters and times and places. Jake hears of Roland’s quest for the tower and happens to take a walk to Tower Road and meets a Mr. Tower at a bookstore. These things keep reappearing in varying forms and they take is as a sign the world is changing and has begun to move on. But this echoing happens to me, too. I read about Blaine, a monorail the group takes quite an interesting trip on in Book 3, while I was on the subway train. I listened as the airport tram said, “welcome to the plane train, we are departing.” I saw a tour book in our house with a train on the cover. And it’s not just the Dark Tower series. When I was reading Stephen King’s It, I left the subway late one night and there was a balloon tied to the railing. I didn’t run all the way home, but I wanted to. 

The story he’s crafted over the three preceding books contributes to the urgency in Book 4. Before we begin this book, we already know the way Roland ends up. We know he loses his love, Susan Delgado. We know his cold empty fate and the friends that die along the way. But what grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go is how they got to the end. The entire book was exciting, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. This is a lot harder, however, when you are on page 300 than, say, 650. So give yourself some time.

This isn’t the first time someone has told the story of two teenagers falling in love with a tragic ending, and it won’t be the last. But it’s been one of my favorites. I have a lot of things to say about it, as you can probably tell, so I think it will be the subject of quite a few posts coming up. 

hat

I am obsessed with this hat.

This hat is from Target for $12.95. It has a multicolored weave so I can wear it with everything (but let’s be real, I’d probably wear it with everything no matter what color it is). It is perfect for beach hair or bed head or I-don’t-feel-like-washing-my-hair-today hair or it’s-sort-of-windy-out-today hair or it-goes-with-my-outfit hair. It is perfect for this week. Outfits after the jump.

I traveled in this because a long skirt seemed comfortable for the car. Skirt from my mom’s closet, T shirt from Zara.

Hanging out at the beach. Dress from Marshalls.

Hanging out on the beach. Shirt and skirt from Target.

I sincerely doubt I’ll be taking this hat off anytime soon.

If you guys want to keep up with some pictures I’m taking this week, I’m on instagram @raenudson.

25

Greeting from Florida! Right now I am with my family on our yearly family vacation and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s a beautiful day and we are staying in a beautiful house and I got to spend my birthday and father’s day with my family. I turned 25 yesterday. That’s kind of a big number, right? Your excuses start to run out at 25. You aren’t in your early 20s anymore. You are getting close to 30. Other people have husbands and babies and houses (yikes!). So here’s 25 17 things I learned this past year that can maybe help me be a grown up. Or that just help me be me.

  1. It doesn’t have to hurt so bad. So call your doctor or your therapist. Or take some medicine, or call a friend, or whatever. You don’t have to be in so much pain.
  2. Your life will be easier if you just regularly buy the nice paper towels.
  3. One party will not make your life. Neither will one day or one mistake.
  4. You should learn to make a really good cup of coffee in your home. You know, if you like coffee.
  5. If you want to do something, make a plan. It’s easier to get people to join that way.
  6. If you don’t want to do anything, stay in! It’s ok.
  7. If you already pay for cable and love all things HBO, the extra $15 to get the channel and HBO Go might be (definitely is) totally worth it.
  8. Eating enough and getting enough sleep is hugely important.
  9. If you want to do big things, take baby steps. Not only will this get you started, you will also feel infinitely smarter than the people who have big dreams and have taken no steps.
  10. This includes preparing for retirement or home ownership. Save a little! Thats a baby step!
  11. Learn what types of beers (or whatever) you like. Try a lot of them.
  12. If you are feeling trapped or overwhelmed, a walk helps.
  13. There is nothing shameful about liking terrible tv shows meant for preteen girls.
  14. My friends constantly surprise me with their awesomeness. This is awesome. (ok, I knew this one already)
  15. It’s really great to find a make up look and hair style you feel confident in.
  16. Right now in my life, the best part of being a grown up is planning vacations (you can go anywhere! all you have to do is buy a plane ticket!).
  17. The fourth season of the wire is the best television I have ever seen.
Got any tips for me? Any of your own lessons? Let me know, I could use all the help I can get.