with my nose in a book and my head in the clouds

AS I CATCH FIRE

I can count the number of times I have attended midnight movie premiers on one hand. In fact, I can count them on two fingers: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

 The key to going to these midnight premiers is to go with people who are as invested and dedicated to the experience as yourself. For me, this meant going to see Catching Fire with some fellow English majors and future English teachers. We waited for a solid hour in a line wrapped around the theater. We watched as the line filled with Katniss Everdeens in leather and braids, Finnicks with make-shift tridents, and Capitalists in the most extreme articles of clothing movie-goers could find in their closets at home.

I was first introduced to The Hunger Games during my summer internship at The Literacy Council. As I sorted and shelved boxes of donated books, I came across a copy of the first book in Suzanne Collins’ series and set it aside rather than on the shelf. During my lunch break, I read the first few chapters, and I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t stop. I went home and finished the book that night.

As I prepared to see Catching Fire, I had trouble getting my hands on a copy of the second novel in The Hunger Games trilogy. I went to three public libraries, and everyone was out of Catching Fire. Finally, I gave in and purchased a copy of my own. And it was well worth it.

Catching Fire

I love comparing and contrasting books to their film adaptations, and this one compares pretty well. The script of the film is faithful to Suzanne Collins’ novel in many aspects: the characters, the dialogue, the frustratingly abrupt ending. But there are some significant differences; a main difference being that the novel is written in the perspective of Katniss, while the film is not limited to one character’s point of view.

And speaking of the characters, the cast has finally grown on me. I’ll admit, I was not a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss Everdeen in the first film because I thought she was too pretty to play Katniss. But her talent on screen and her quirky personality off-screen have won me over. In her interview with InStyle, Lawrence ate kettle corn out of her pockets and joked about being “the richest couch-jumper ever,” feeling too young and unstable to settle down right now but jokingly considering retirement after filming the final Hunger Games movie.

InStyle

You can find more of Jennifer Lawrence’s interview with InStyle at http://www.instyle.com or in the December 2013 issue on shelves now.

The well-chosen cast does not stop with Lawrence. She is joined by Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale, who put her in a romantic dilemma not unlike that of The Notebook. The familiar faces of Woody Harrelson as the always-intoxicated Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as the innocently-sweet Effie, and Stanley Tucci and the outrageous Capitalist TV host Caesar all return in the second film, more drunk and extreme than ever. The addition of new characters like Sam Claflin as Finnick, the District 4 Tribute and ally with a killer smile and a equally dangerous trident, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee, the new game-maker, add humor and excellence to the cast.

While I applaud Debra Zane for her casting, I still always tend to prefer the book to the movie because of the details. While this film touches on some of the details in the book, every written detail cannot be portrayed on screen. Catching Fire, the book, contains small details throughout that add to the romance and revolution. The characters in the woods searching for District 13, the repeated occurrence of the mockingjay, the comments about the pregnancy, and some intimate scenes between Katniss and Peeta were all absent from the film. These details act as clues while reading, and their absence from the film make each new scene more shocking than the last.

Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire succeeds in both forms. The film brings the world of the Capital, the Districts, and the clock-like arena to life, while the novel provides the most intricate details that keep you turning each page.

If you have read the book, go see the movie. If you have seen the movie, read the book. If you have not experienced either, take your pick.

– Hannah Faye

AS WE PICK A SOUNDTRACK FOR THE SEASON

Kadie

I am happy to introduce you all to one of my best friends and one of our favorite pastimes. Kadie and I have built our friendship upon a foundation of music, books, and coffee. From high school to college to post graduate life, music has been an amazing way to maintain our friendship. It has allowed us to remain connected despite the differences and distances. Even though the most recent distance between Texas and Alabama has been tough, our old and new traditions have kept us close.

A song of the day became an easy expression of what was going on in our life at that particular time. Every now and then, these songs contain a theme and turn into a playlist. So here is a playlist of our “fall picks,” with a hint of Halloween.

A Soundtrack for Fall

1. Tessalate / alt-j
2. Scare Me / New Beat Fund
3. Afraid / The Neighbourhood
4. Your Bones / Of Monsters and Men
5. Apples / Neulore
6. The Stranger / Lord Huron
7. Smoke Breathing Monsters / Desert Noises
8. Shake / The Head and the Heart
9. Orange Sky / Alexi Murdoch
10. Half Moon / Blind Pilot

Kadie is not only a kindred spirit. She is also an incredible, creative encouragement. She keeps me motivated and accountable when it comes to finding inspiration and being creative. Kadie is an unbelievable graphic designer. From hand written letters to album covers (like the one above), Kadie has filled my life with her talent and beauty.

So if you followhannahfaye, follow Kadie Smith too at designbykadie.com.

– Hannah Faye

AS I DISAPPEAR TO READ GONE GIRL

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has had a lot of hype recently, and I finally decided to pick up a copy of the book and see what the fuss was all about. Within the first few pages, I was hooked. From the moment the wife went missing, I too disappeared from the world around me as I delved deeper into the mystery of Gone Girl.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

There is a heavy emphasis on the psychological in this novel. Both Amy and Nick, the main characters who should be celebrating their five-year wedding anniversary, offer different characteristics that cause readers to stop and think.  From the italicized internal thoughts of Nick to the personality quizzes that Amy includes as evidence of her prior writing career, readers are drawn into the minds and mystery of the characters.

Along with the psyche of the characters, the structure of the novel adds interesting psychological twists. Similar to the stages of grief, Gone Girl is divided into three parts, or stages, each including their own intense reaction. There is an extreme shift of emotion between part one and part two and, without spoiling the ending, part three is completely shocking.

The shock factor of this novel makes it a talking point. It has been talked onto the New York Times Best Seller list, and it has been talked into an upcoming film adaptation. It has been a personal talking point amongst friends, college professors, and even strangers. Wherever I carried this book, I was asked, “How do you like it?” or “Where are you so far?”  Just a simple question between two strangers who had read the same book.

This is what I love about literature. It has the power to bring people together in the most surprising, and often simple ways. So next time you see someone reading a book you enjoyed, ask them about it, have a conversation with them, make a friend.

– Hannah Faye

AS THE LONGSHORES SAY “I DO”

Last weekend was a wonderful blur of delight as I travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to witness the marriage of two friends, Colter and Rebecca. The adventure began on Friday morning as I drove to Tennessee with my boyfriend and two other groomsmen. I’ll admit, I felt pretty special carrying what seemed like a significant portion of the wedding party in my car.

While everyone in the wedding party spent quality time with the bride and groom and prepared for the ceremony, I spent some much-needed personal time with myself, exploring downtown Knoxville with just a camera and a book. No school work, no deadlines, no schedule. A friend of the bride, and a local to Knoxville, gave me the name of a coffee shop downtown called Coffee & Chocolate, two of my favorite things, so I decided it would be a good place to read and write.

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To my surprise, and enjoyment, the streets of downtown were filled with outdoor vendors of local produce, flowers, and talented artists. As if this was not enough, right around the corner from my coffee shop was a little new-and-used bookstore.

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As great as my morning was, it held no comparison to the beauty of watching Colter and Rebecca say “I do.” Their story is one of sweet pursuit, beginning with strictly friendship in Rebecca’s eyes while Colter quickly fell head over heels. Now, they have an incredible relationship and have become one of my favorite couples to be around. Colter’s laughter is contagious and Rebecca is a kindred spirit. From the setting, to the ceremony, to the people, everything about their wedding was absolutely beautiful.

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Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Longshore.

– Hannah Faye

AS I FIND MY NEW ROAD TRIP ALBUM

 The Wild Feathers self-titled debut album came out last month, and it is a must have.

One of my new favorite songs that I find myself listening to on repeat is The Wild Feathers’ “The Ceiling.” I listen to this song while I run, while I shower, while I study, while I drive. Especially while I drive. My favorite time of day for a joy ride is at dusk because everything looks gold. Riding with the windows down and the volume up can immediately transform the way I am feeling and make me forget about the world outside of my car.

I often feel as though a road trip and a good CD are the cure to everything. To me, it is the emotional equivalent of the ice and Advil remedy. It can help ease the pain of an argument, a breakup, or just a bad day. To me, The Wild Feathers debut album is the perfect soundtrack for any road trip.

It is hard to choose my favorites from The Wild Feathers album, because to be honest, I could listen to this album on repeat without ever skipping a song. But if I had to choose three favorites, I would choose:

  • The Ceiling – for obvious reason already stated above. This was the song that first caught my ear and led me to their album.
  • Left My Woman – I choose this song as a favorite because it so clearly portrays the voices of each of the band members. Not only can every member of this band play an instrument, but they can also all sing. They can sing individually as a lead vocal, and they can sing together and a beautiful harmony. Their harmonies actually remind me of one of my favorite bands, The Eagles.
  • Hard Times – It’s just so relatable. Everyone goes through hard times. And not to mention, the melody is lovely.

The Wild FeathersAnd just in case you are worried that this band will let you down in their live performance, which many bands do, rest assured that they sound just as good live as they do on the album. If you don’t believe me, head over to their YouTube page and check out their “Truckstop Cover Series.” As you can imagine, many bands spend a lot of time on the road, and I often wonder how that time is spent. The Wild Feathers give some insight into life on the road by posting covers recorded in the van as they drive down the road, in the parking lot of a fireworks pop-up shop, or a on random park bench. These covers not only allow fans to see the band’s pure, unplugged talent, but also give them a sense of the band’s influences, including Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

Also, in case you want to give the album a run through before purchasing, you can currently stream their album at Rolling Stones. I think you’ll enjoy what you hear.

– Hannah Faye

AS I EXPERIENCE THE WHIMSY OF LOVE DOES

“Words can launch us…I believe it’s true that
the right people can say words that can change everything.
And guess what? We’re the ones who can say them.”

As I read these words, I felt like Bob Goff had written Love Does specifically to inspire me. I am passionate about words and believe that words have the power to shape our lives. That is why it is a dream of mine to become a writer. And Bob Goff’s novel is full of inspiration for everyone who reads it and everyone who has a dream.

I found inspiration from the beginning of the introduction to the end of the epilogue. I don’t know if I have ever read a book to which I can relate so closely and laugh so heartily with each chapter. Bob Goff has a powerful way of telling the stories of his life to his readers as if each reader is a close friend sitting on his living room couch.

LoveDoes

Find out more about Bob Goff and his secretly incredible life at bobgoff.com

“…I’ll never just write down facts like what I had for lunch or who I was with or where I was. Instead, what I’ve been writing down are all of the things I can remember that have shaped me, all of the words or phrases that have pinged me, all of the stories that have happened in my life.” (p. 187)

With each chapter of Love Does, I too felt like I was being shaped by Goff’s stories and pinged by his words. His book now sits on my bookshelf as a constant source of encouragement to live a fully engaged life.

I have been encouraged and challenged by this book to be more active and intentional with my life by doing the things that I love. I talked about wanting to start a blog for about a year before finally sitting down at the computer a few weeks ago and putting my words into action. Now that I have, I am ready and excited to pursue more of my dreams, no matter how hard the journey may seem.

Bob Goff not only talks about doing, but also about loving. He paints an image of God’s love for us that is overflowing and contagious, a love that should be shared with others. Throughout the book, I simply wanted to wrap my arms around the people who love and encourage me to chase my dreams.

After reading Love Does, I find myself using the words “whimsy” and “caper” more often. If you have already read it, you will understand. If you have not read Love Does, then I highly recommend it to people looking for a little whimsy and adventure in their own lives. In fact, those who buy and read this book join Bob Goff in his caper to make a difference in the lives of children in Uganda by giving all of the proceeds to his organization called Restore International. Now that’s a book worth reading.

– Hannah Faye

Tune back in to this little caper of mine for some new music this weekend!

AS I GO THROUGH A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS

As I enter into my senior year of college, I find myself asking a lot of questions about the future. Even though I’d like to think that I have it all figured out, many of my friends and family who are several years older than me are entering into the real world and experiencing huge life changes that make me wonder about my own future. They are sending out resumes, applying for graduate school, getting their first official jobs, and moving to new cities. In the midst of their differing choices, they are all learning more about their own interests and identities. They are realizing that the decisions they make now are the foundations of their futures.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of conversations with those who are several steps ahead of me in life. I sit and listen as they talk through their thoughts and concerns about the future, and I often don’t know what to say.

So, I give them books.

The Quarter Life Crisis Reading List

The Defining Decade Love Does

Start Something That Matters Just Do Something

101 Secrets for your Twenties Outliers

        The Last Lecture  Wild                 Man's Search for Meaning  The Alchemist

These books have words of advice, warning, and encouragement about the future that I seem to lack. I have found ten books that deserve to be included on what I have deemed my “quarter life crisis reading list.” I myself have found comfort as I read through these books even though I have one more year of security in school. So as I continue through my last year of college and prepare for the real world, I plan to read through this reading list and share the lessons I learn.

I have already learned that it’s never too late to start thinking about the future, and it’s okay if you don’t always have all the answers. In fact, most people don’t have all the answers. How boring would life be if we knew the answers to all our questions? Sometimes the search for the answer is the most exciting part. (Although knowing some answers would be nice.)

I hope you all can enjoy reading through these books with me, and figuring out life one book at a time.

– Hannah Faye

AS I EMBARK ON THIS NEW JOURNEY

It's fun being friends with people who take phenomenal photos. Check out more of Cameron's work at http://cameroncarnes.tumblr.com and http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameroncarnes

It’s fun being friends with people who take phenomenal photos. Check out more of Cameron’s work at http://cameroncarnes.tumblr.com

This time last year, I made a decision that changed my life in a huge way: transferring universities. For two years, I attended Auburn University, enjoying some parts but disliking others. My excitement about the possibilities and opportunities that stood before me grew during my first few months there, but over the next two years, my reasons for being there and being excited slowly began to disappear.

I was unhappy with the activities I was involved in, I didn’t enjoy what I was studying, and some of my friendships fell apart. I did my best to make changes and make the most of my time there, but I still wasn’t content. I applied for new activities with leadership positions, but didn’t get them. I changed my major, which helped my happiness inside the classroom, but I was still unhappy in the other areas of my life. I made a strong effort to spend time with the people who mattered: my true friends, my kindred spirits, my family, my boyfriend. Some of them were near, but many were hours away. Unfortunately, our schedules did not always allow for that quality time, and instead I was left surrounded by people that were insincere and unkind.

With all these small changes, I only found fleeting moments of happiness when what I was truly seeking was a steady sense of contentment. I wanted to thrive in life rather than simply try to survive.

So I decided to transfer to the University of Alabama. I decided that these small decisions helped only in small ways, and a big decision would lead to a big change in my life. This change also involved risks. I risked giving up the financial stability of a scholarship. I risked losing the friendships I had made. I risked starting over.

But I was willing to take that risk. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I wanted to start over.

So I did.

And it has been such a blessing. This past year has been one of the best years of my life, because I took a risk and made a change. It took a lot of courage to admit that I was unhappy with my life and to make the decision to change, to search for happiness, to be happy.

 I am finally happy with the activities I am involved in. I’m happily tutoring kids, spending time with international students, and writing for the campus newspaper. I am finally happy with my major, which I changed to English Language Arts. I am beyond happy with my friendships and relationships, including my family and the love of my life. I  am surrounded by the most amazing people who encourage, love, and support me. Despite the distance, I have also maintained the true friendships from Auburn through daily phone calls, book swaps, and coffee Skype dates.

It is because of all these people, both near and far, that I have been inspired and encouraged to start this blog. I hope to be able to share my love for words through this blog, whether those words are written, read, spoken, or sung. I believe that words have the power to change lives and open doors to worlds and experiences that one would otherwise miss.

Thank you to those of you who decide to follow my blog and follow my journey. It truly means the world to me.

– Hannah Faye

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Here’s a poem that I wrote for a class in which the professor asked us to rewrite a poem into our own words. I chose Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” and not only rewrote it into my own words, but also rewrote it through my own personal experience.

Two Roads Diverged

You can find Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and other great poems from other great poets at http://www.poetryfoundation.org

*Just to clarify, Auburn University is a really, REALLY great school. Once I found myself in the right major, I actually loved my classes and my teachers. And I thought the campus was beautiful. I have friends who still go to Auburn and they love it. Unfortunately, it just was not the right fit for me.