During the summer of 2012, I enrolled in a Multimedia Writing course for credits of applying into their Professional Writing Minor. This class was by far one of the most engaging and fun courses I had taken so far at UCSB. Professor Wuebben, who was actually known for participating in the 5,000 cab ride from New York to LA, taught us many skills for various writing platforms. (To see this taxi cab story, click here) Besides all of the cool tools I learned with an introduction to a Tumblr, my first editing and posting of a YouTube video, and my first edited Wikipedia article, there was something even more important that I got out of that class. The very first day of class, Professor Wuebben handed out a questionnaire to every student with various questions pertaining to our majors, favorite activities, and pastimes. My answer to one of the questions put me to so much shame and embarrassment.
I stared at this question for a couple minutes. I glanced at the students around me to see if anyone else had stumbled with an answer. They hadn’t. Everyone I could see had jotted down a book and author.
I tried to think back on the last book I read. It was a Communication and Theory textbook, but that definitely wasn’t for fun. To be completely honest, I think the last book I truly read for fun (at this time) was the Gossip Girl series back in High School. That was over three years ago. I do recall reading every single one of the books though, and let me just tell you there was a bunch.
Being a Pool waitress at a 5-Star resort you see many women coming to the pool in their designer swimsuits and accompanying a book or a kindle for that matter. However, one book that I swear every other lady laying out was holding was the obvious 50 Shades of Summer. I mean this was Summer of 2012, when it truly hit the shelves and made its way into every women’s purse from young adults to the elderly. With so much buzz and popularity about the book it did sound pretty interesting.
(Yes, I lied. I hadn’t even purchased the book yet. However, I couldn’t keep this answer blank. My Professor was going to keep these questionnaires! Plus I decided on reading it at some point.)
I thought my shame was over at that point. Until Professor Wuebben decided to go around the room and have some of us give our answers out loud for various questions. Thankfully, I got to explain what my favorite food was. However, when the other students who answered question #13 all had answers, it made me feel even more guilty. Every student had read a book for fun within the last year.
It was upon that day, that I promised myself I would begin to read again. Growing up I loved reading and enjoyed it so much. However, at some point between High School and College it vanished in my life. Perhaps I had too much reading to do for classes, or because I worked a full-time job while being a full-time student. Whatever the excuse was, it didn’t settle well with me. So I made this promise to myself:
And I am so proud and thankful for that moment of shame in my Writing class. Because had that not of happen, who knows if my clarity and passion for reading would have been rediscovered. Later that afternoon, I stopped by Costco and picked up 50 Shades of Grey. (By the way, Costco always has a great variety of NY Best Sellers)
To this day, I have not only read one book a month, but during some of those months when I have less going on, I have managed to read a couple. After finishing the Trilogy of 50 Shades of Grey, I decided to try a different genre. Perks of Being a Wallflower was next. I began to read myself to sleep rather than stare at whatever reality show was playing on MTV. I started sharing my observations with my housemates and getting more involved in the stories and analysis.
I wanted to start a Book Club. In High School, during my Gossip Girls days, a handful of my girlfriends and I had discussions about the books during lunch in the cafeteria. After a few of the books, when we were really absorbed, we had heard that a TV Show was in the making for the series. We would sit around and try to figure out which actresses and actors we felt they should cast for the roles. Out of all the different characters, it was pretty ironic when the series actually aired and one of the main characters Serena, was casted by “the pretty soccer blonde girl from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”(Aka: Blake Lively)
Anyways, at UCSB I had a close group of girlfriends who were in the Communication department with me. One day when I brought up something about 50 Shades of Grey, we ended up having a two hour discussion about who should play Christian Grey and Anna. It was like the Gossip Girl lunch club all over again. We then began talking about other books the girls had read and we decided to begin a book club.
I had heard of a book that I had seen on Lauren Conrad’s blog called Gone Girl. It had great reviews and was on top of the NY Best Sellers page. We decided this would be our first book. So we rounded up about eight girls. Once everyone had finally received their Amazon orders for the book we set page amount for everyone to read before the first meeting. Every other Thursday night we met, and as old and dorkish as this sounds, we spoke for hours about the books and conversations that trailed off from them. Each week a couple of the girls were scheduled to either bring a snack, dessert or a few bottles of wine. It was such a great time and we were truly having so much fun. Sure a few glasses in and we ended up talking about Boys or TA’s that we thought were cute, and then eventually we got so tipsy that we decided to all go out to the clubs downtown. And this became our ritual.
Thursdays were meant for wine, discussion, and then going out with the book club girls. After much debate we decided on a title for our club, “All Booked Up.” The rest of the week was meant for our regular busy college lives and trying to get to that reading page before Thursday. Or even harder, forcing yourself to stop at the selected chapter so we didn’t go past it, which can be extremely difficult when your reading such a thrilling and addictive book such as Gone Girl.
Anyways, here’s a list of the books we read and loved. After College many of us still keep in touch sharing new books we loved with one-another through a Facebook Group page. Many of us traveled Europe and other areas during summer so we all kept notes on books for the plane and trains. Go ahead and try these, because they are sure to change your reading habits for the better.