I had a really hard time deciding what to write about for my first non-book review post, because my life is just so exciting. Not really, but I do have a lot that I want to talk about, and I couldn’t narrow it down. But, eventually I decided to write about something that’s been on my mind recently because I just turned eighteen, meaning I’m officially an adult. Exciting, right? Yes! But also terrifying.
   I started watching The West Wing a couple months ago, and I love it, but it’s also made me realize how much of a task is ahead of the next generation, and every generation for that matter. I always knew that politics were horrible and the government was big and complicated and whatnot, but I never really had an idea of just how hard it is for anyone in the government to accomplish anything because there is so much ideological opposition. I find it shocking and discouraging that the problems they were fighting over fifteen years ago are the same problems we’re fighting over today, and that it seems as though nothing has changed since then.
   Now, I’m not very knowledgeable on this topic, and therefore have no authority to suggest ways of fixing the system, and I honestly have no idea how we would even begin to do that. But I do know that I have to play my part in this issue, no matter how small it may be. That’s why I’m going to be registering to vote in the very near future, and I’m going to vote in every election that I can, at every level of government.
   So many young people don’t vote at all because they don’t think their vote will matter. They think their one vote and their one voice won’t make a difference in the world, but that’s what’s killing us. When we all have that attitude, no one votes, and then none of our voices are heard. But there are a lot of us, and if we used our numbers wisely, we would have a lot more representation, and we’d probably see the change we want.
   A lot of people say the political system in the United States is broken, and maybe it is. I don’t know enough about it to say, and I’m not claiming to know anything more than I do. What I do know is that my generation is about to take on the weight of the world, and if we approach our task with the mindset that we can’t do anything, we won’t do anything, and that’ll end up being a pretty big problem later on.
   So, what can I do? I can learn about what’s going on, for one thing. I can seek out information about what’s going on in the world around me, even if that means just scrolling through journalistic websites or having the news on in the background while I’m getting ready in the morning. Of course, I should go deeper than that, because there’s so much to learn about our world, and it’s constantly changing, but everything helps, because understanding the problem is half the battle.
   Once I’ve gathered this information, I can make informed decisions for myself, and vote for the things I believe in, not just in presidential elections, but in state and local ones, and about the issues that matter, rather than just the people. And then I can share what I’ve learned with others.
A lot of people my age say they hate hearing about politics on the radio, television, social media, and even in person. And many of them go so far as to voice their disdain for people who talk about the issues on the Internet, which serves only to frustrate others because they don’t want to hear about someone who doesn’t want to hear about politics. It’s a vicious cycle, and it causes a lot of people to turn away from this stuff completely.
   That’s not the way we should be thinking, though. We should be learning everything we can about the things happening around us and sharing what we think, so that we can try to help others make those informed decisions for themselves.
   I don’t know what needs to be done about the unfortunate state of our political process, but I do know that my role in fixing it consists of paying attention and making sure my voice is heard, even if it’s quiet. So I will read the news, and I will keep up with politics, and I will share my thoughts, and I will vote, because I’m an American, and that’s my job.
 
 
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   I actually read this book about three months ago, but I never wrote a review because I’m a huge slacker, and also because I had too many feelings clouding my honest thoughts about the book. So, I decided to come back now, after I’ve read several other, less emotional books, to talk about how I felt about it. However, I went and saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, and I now remember why I loved the book so much.
   Most of the people that have read this book seem to love it, and I definitely fall into the majority on this one. I devoured this book and recommended it to everyone I knew, and I was super excited to see the movie when it came out. Honestly, the movie didn’t even disappoint, as movies have a habit of doing. It was great if you’ve read the book, and even better if you haven’t.
   A lot of people liked this book because it had an adorable love story, but I loved it because it showed exactly what it is to love and to lose, and how some of the feelings associated with those things overlap. The main character, Louisa Clarke, didn’t think she had lost anything, but she’d lost the ability to be free and be an independent person, simply because her family relied on her. Will Traynor’s losses were more obvious, as he was paralyzed from the neck down. However, they both had to come to terms with what they had and figure out how to proceed as the people they didn’t necessarily want to be.
   One of my favorite aspects of the relationship forged between these two characters was the fact that Will only wanted more for Louisa, because she didn’t realize how much more there was. It was clear from the beginning of the book that she was trapped, but she was blinded by the love she had for her family, and so did not realize it. Meeting Will, though, provided her with someone to see what she was lacking, as her family and boyfriend were unable to do. Even though Will knew that he would never be able to do the things he wanted, or perhaps because he knew it, he was determined to make sure that Lou lived her life to the fullest.
   The book was obviously sad, due to the subject, but I appreciated the story because it was a realistic description of the feeling of hopelessness in your life, no matter what it is derived from, that leaves you feeling as though you’re at a dead-end. It also showed how to escape that feeling, though, and that’s the important thing to take away.
   We all sometimes find ourselves feeling like things are bleak, but we must remember that the world is open to us and full of opportunities, if we are only willing to take them. Will’s advice to Lou to see the world and experience things is great, but it’s even better when applied more generally. You should always do things you’re not sure about because sticking with what’s in your comfort zone is boring, and in the end, won’t fill you. I admire Moyes’s presentation of such a simple, yet powerful lesson, wrapped in a great story, and would recommend this book for anyone who wants a sad, yet adorable story with a great message.

 
 
   Hello! Welcome back, or just welcome for the first time if you’ve never read my blog before. If you’re one of the few people that read my blog back when I posted regularly, you probably know I’ve been away for about five months. The only explanation I have for that is that I’ve been busy. 
   Since January, I've danced at a professional basketball arena, watched my home team win the Super Bowl, decided where to go to college, gotten new glasses, performed in a student showcase at my school, taken a pie in the face from a teacher, gone to prom, done a bunch of homework and projects, graduated high school, registered for college classes, and taken a family trip to California. All right, so when it’s written out like that, it doesn’t seem like much for five months, but I promise I’ve been super busy, and I just haven’t really had time to pursue my creative endeavors. 
   However, I’m finished with school now, and I have no summer homework, so I’m back! I’m going to return to reading lots of books posting reviews every Thursday (assuming I’m able to do so). There are also some other things I’m going to be doing, though.
   I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and talking about this blog recently, and I’ve decided that I need to do some different things in terms of what sort of content I’m posting. I don’t feel like simply writing reviews will fulfill my desire for creativity. As seems to happen with many bloggers, I want to write about other things that are important to me. I’ll continue posting book reviews on Thursdays because I love talking about books, and that’s why I started this blog in the first place. In order to feel more creative, though, I will also be posting other content on Mondays (usually) that is not necessarily book-related.
   I’m definitely not moving away from books; on the contrary, I have an ever-growing list of books to read, and another (slightly less impressive) list of books I’ve already read that I need to write reviews for. However, I’ve recently been feeling like I need to write about other things that matter to me if I’m going to be able to write at all. So, my first solution was to write in a journal, like a well-adjusted person, but after about three days, I realized that I needed to be putting it somewhere because I need the Internet to keep me accountable. Plus, I want to make sure I’m writing things that aren’t boring or useless, but things that might actually be interesting or helpful to someone.
   I can’t say exactly what form these new posts will take, but I can guarantee that they will be my genuine thoughts based on experiences I’ve had and the things that I believe to be important. Unfortunately, some days may end up as my crazy ramblings about things that are not at all relevant, but other days may end up being insightful evaluations of things I notice about the world. For posts of the former variety, I’m sorry. For posts of the latter (which will probably occur less often), you’re welcome. Either way, thank you for reading.