Hot Girl Summer? Meet, Grad Student Fall

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post, because as soon as I shared my last post (Sweet Summer Camp Reading), things got really busy, really quickly and they haven’t slowed down since.

I drove 2000 miles from Colorado to Maine to spend my second summer working at Camp Kawanhee for Boys. I got the chance to run the camp library among my many other jobs, and had a great time ordering new books, reading stories, playing games with the boys, and running a reading challenge.

One of the many beautiful sunsets at Camp Kawanhee for Boys

Of course, camp kept me so busy that I didn’t get to every book on my summer reading list. However, I did reread a few great childhood books from the camp library as well as some new ones.

My two favorite books from the summer were The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

The Rest of the Story is about Emma Saylor, a girl who connects with her mother’s side of the family for the first time since she was a young child. This book is set on a lake, and as someone who spent the summer living on a lake, Dessen hit some of the details so well. Plus, Sarah Dessen’s novels are great summer reads and her newest did not disappoint.

As for The Little Prince, this is a story that I’ve been meaning to read since I saw the beautiful Netflix adaptation of the text a few years ago. This book was just so beautiful and a great reminder about perspective. It was a great reminder that books meant for children are often meant for adults just as much.

Of course, summer wasn’t all reading and spending time living it up on the lake (and on the beach a couple of times). I got sick near the end of the summer and spent the end of camp just trying to stay alive and packed in a three-day road trip back to Colorado with my mom. Nonetheless, I had another great summer at camp and there’s a reason why I love my summer job and the kids and counselors I work with.

At the same time that I was working at camp, I was also trying to prepare for a move to Boston to start grad school at Simmons University. Finding an apartment, figuring out the logistics of moving, and trying to pick out furniture aren’t necessarily the easiest tasks when you can put all of your attention on them. They’re a little more difficult when you can only really think about them after a long day of work.

About two weeks after camp ended, I boarded an early morning flight to Boston with two suitcases and a duffle bag and three boxes on the way from FedEx. I had an apartment I’d never see before, roommates I’d not met, and one week to try and figure things out before classes started.

At Simmons, I’m in a dual masters degree program pursing an M.A. in Children’s Literature and an M.S. in Library and Information Science. This semester I’m taking Criticism of Literature for Children, Information Sources and Services, and Organization of Information.

My favorite course is Information Sources and Services. The conversation is great, and it’s really helping me to get in the mindset of a librarian by thinking about the way we work with patrons and try to answer questions in a productive way. I’ve also learned a lot about reference sources and effective ways to work with them (and the semester isn’t even half over)!

I’ve also had a little bit of time to do some pleasure reading beyond my reading for class, and I’ve already read a few great things. Before I dish on the books, I want to express my most sincere appreciation for the Boston Public Library. I live a 15 minute walk from my nearest library branch, and I love being able to go there to study and pick up books. I can’t overstate the beauty of the central branch of the Boston Public Library. I’m on the BPL website almost once a day placing a book on hold or adding something to my list to read for later. I also love to read my books from the BPL near the pond at the Boston Public Garden (of Make Way for Ducklings fame).

Anyways, thanks to the Boston Public Library, I’ve been rereading the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. While The Hunger Games trilogy is great, this middle grade series may be Collins’ best work. She hit great moments with unique world building. Plus, I’ve had more people reach out to me about how good this series is and how much they liked it as a kid than any other childhood book series I’ve ever reread. It’s been an absolute delight to reexperience these stories for the first time since I was 10 or 11.

Not only has my academic life and reading life been great since I moved to Boston (although don’t get me wrong, I still miss home), but my literary life is rapidly improving too. There are far more opportunities to listen to authors speak and to meet some of my favorite authors in a major city than there were in Kansas.

This past week, I attended an event on Rainbow Rowell’s Wayward Son book tour held by the Brookline Booksmith. Rowell talked about her books and writing, read from Wayward Son, and took questions from audience members. After the conversation portion of the evening, I got my copy of Eleanor and Park signed by Rowell and told her about the paper I wrote for my Midwestern Literature course last spring where I discussed Fangirl and The Wizard of Oz as literary compliments of each other. It was an incredible evening, and I had a great time in the middle of the week.

It’s now been over a month since I’ve moved, and I’m getting ready to start my fifth week of classes. I’ve settled into my apartment and have (almost) gotten used to my hour-long commute to campus. So far I’ve spent my weekends exploring Boston and doing a lot of pleasure reading. I’m getting ready to start an on-campus job as an administrative assistant, and I’ve got a lot of exciting (blog-worthy) things coming up. I can’t wait to keep sharing my thoughts on books, my life as a grad student, and my adventures in Boston with you all!

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