Reading List 1: Quarter Life Crisis

I love reading, and I love having free time to read, which is actually happening this summer!

When I was younger, I would wander the teen literature section of my library, picking up whatever looked new, shiny, award-winning, interesting, or romantic.

But somewhere in the intersections of trying to figure out the direction of my life and Pinterest(which is what everyone in college is doing nowadays), I decided that I should start reading some books were more depth and less vampires. So I started reading not one, but two reading lists in December 2012. 2012 was not a fabulous year in my life and I don’t really want more like it, and I’ve heard that one of the best ways to invest in my future and myself is by reading.

I’ll include when I finish each novel, and color code them for you. Black equals unread, red means in progress, and blue means read. I’ll also try to post thoughts and/or a poem about each book read. Please forgive any strange color happenings, this is the first time I’ve used HTML coding for text colors since MySpace photo captions.

Reading List 1

A Quarter Life Crisis Girl’s Reading List,” found on Pinterest.

1. Confessions of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella

2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (February 2013)

3. Girls in White Dresses – Jennifer Close

4. The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing – Melissa Bank

5. Bitches on a Budget: Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Times in Style – Rosalyn Hoffman

6. What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self – Ellyn Spragins (reading through it now. I can get about 10 pages in per bus ride)

7. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan (read some excerpts in women’s lit class, June 2012, but haven’t had a chance to read through the whole thing yet)

8. What Did I Do Wrong? – Liz Pryor

9. 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction – Christine Hassler

10. Single: The Art of Being Satisfied, Fulfilled, and Independent – Judy Ford

11. The Awakening – Kate Chopin (June 2012, women’s lit class)

12. Daughters of the North – Sarah Hall

13. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

14. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

15. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera

16. The Portable Dorothy Parker – Dorothy Parker

17. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

18. The Edible Woman – Margaret Atwood

19. A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life – Bethenny Frankel

20. The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd (I don’t remember exactly when, sometime in high school. I will consult my mother to see if she remembers, she owns the copy I read)

21. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling

22. Bossypants – Tina Fey

23. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) – Jenny Lawson

24. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

25. Night – Elie Wiesel

26. Heartburn – Nora Ephron

27. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

28. Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea – Chelsea Handler

29. Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut

30. The Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Pop Culture Took Us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild – Susan Douglas


“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
-Fran Lebowitz

“That perfect tranquility of life, which is nowhere to be found but in retreat, a faithful friend and a good library.”
-“The Lucky Chance, Or, the Alderman’s Bargain” by Aphra Behn


‘I Miss the Summers of Nothing'(new poem)

So as it’s summer, I have a little more free time(little being the operative term), and I’m spending it by working my way through two reading lists. I started working on them both during Christmas break, but I fell off the wagon Spring semester.

I’m going to post about Reading List 1 on Monday, and keep updating it as I read through books. In the meantime, I’m sharing this poem I wrote last night while I was getting reading for bed. I’m not sure why, but bathrooms in the middle of the night are where I do at least 80% of my writing.

Anyways, enjoy!

I Miss the Summers of Nothing
By Maggie McGinity

I miss the summers of nothing.
Not even the drummers drumming
While I marched beside my peers.
No, much further back than that,
Back when nothing was old hat
And no movement stirred my ears.

When I could hole away
Waste a droll and doldrum day
Discovering more words like doldrums
Could hold, and hear, and see
Characters with clarity.
No lesser love could fold them.

When I had to go to see(to sea),
I’d still carry with me
One book
(Or two)
(Or three!).
Consumed so readily,
Cherished so steadily,
Harbored so headily.
Welcome to my soul.

I write more than I read
Little pieces
To show people things
They’ve never seen
Am paid a pittance
For these (humble) offerings

Nowadays, I miss
That simple, summer bliss
Needing nothing to exist
But my book

And the next
On the list.”


“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
-Oscar Wilde

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

‘(Back to) My Ocean Blue’ (new poem)

I wrote this poem while I was falling asleep. It refused to let me sleep until I wrote it down.

At first it was about reading. Now it could be about anything. Enjoy!

(Back to) My Ocean Blue
By Maggie McGinity

I got swept away with the tide
Left beached inside
These sparkling grains of white

The waves laping over my skin
This sand nuzzling up to my chin
Wishing for a flipper or fin

To stir me from this place
This shallow, soggy pace
I’d drown in so little sentient space

But don’t follow to fall
I’ll gather up my all
And to my deep blue crawl

Back to my ocean blue
Back to my ocean true
Back to the depths and darks
And dreary, draining dreams of you

For water is like peace
And waving is like sleep
Letting go of something you
Were never meant to keep

For bottomless and bold
I want my story told
Foraging for gold
In the unknown

And though these lemon lessons
May my populace lesson,
These groans are worth the pain
In which I’ve grown.”


“The problem with introspection is that it has no end.”
-Philip K. Dick

“How shall I ever learn who I am when there is so much of me that belongs to someone else?”
-“The Lune and the Poppet,” by Madeleine Claire Franklin

‘Sometime(Give Me a Chance’ (new poem)

Hello again!

I’ve been a nomad this last month, setting my suitcase down one place just to pick up and move on to another. I’ve been in five different countries within two weeks, including the United States, and called so many different rooms home. I’ve learned how to carry with me only what’s important, to leave the rest behind, though I own so much more than I could ever carry.


I’ve gotten very good at leaving things behind and not giving them a second glance. I’ve gotten very good at only being the places I’m expected to be, and only being there when I have to be. I’ve become excellent at sleeping, at sloth, and at forgetting my other endeavours without a second thought.

For this I apologize. I’ve left my words, and this blog, out to dry. But I’m finally beginning to feel not jetlagged and only slightly exhausted, and I’ve been writing. I hope you’ll find my words not as easily abandoned as most things in my life.

Sometime(Give Me a Chance)
By Maggie McGinity

Give me a place to lay my head
On a floorboard, on a bed

Give me a break, to rest my soul
Til I gain some sensible control

Give me a shot to settle down
Lose this crowded, crammed crown

Give me a chance to find my mind
Before I’m driven blind

So close to my prime
Just give me
(Please) Give me
Some time.”


“What else should I be? All apologies.”
-“All Apologies,” by Nirvana

“And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away, but it’s a great escape”
-“No Rain,” by Blind Melon