2015 Nonfiction

5 Essential, Inspiring Quotes From J.K. Rowling’s ‘Very Good Lives’


When I found out J.K. Rowling had a new book coming out, you know I immediately had to pre-order it. I had my “confirm order” finger so ready to go, that I didn’t notice that I was ordering a copy of Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech. I was expecting something more along the line of The Happiness Project. I hadn’t read the speech before, so it wasn’t a problem, I was just surprised when the package that came in the mail was so small. 

But inside the tiny box was something only J.K. Rowling could make so magical. As tiny as the book was, it was filled with so many inspiring words about the future, and life and making your imagination do everything it can.

The illustrations going along with each page just brought it to life, and I highly recommend giving this a read, even if you just listen to the address or find a copy online! If you do decide to purchase it yourself though, proceeds go to the Lumos Foundation, which J.K. Rowling founded.

On Taking Control: “There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

On Living On Your Own Terms: “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.”

On Failure: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

On Moving Forward: “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

On Life: Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

Have you read J.K. Rowling’s speech? What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stock Your Shelves: February 2015 Releases

Happy (almost) February! We have one major snow storm under our belts, and I’m pretty much ready for spring, I’m not sure about you guys. At least while we wait there are books to be read, including these five February releases that I can’t wait to check out!

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Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman: Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. (Goodreads, February 2)

Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder: Girl Runner is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind. When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario and her struggles to make an independent life for herself in the city. (Goodreads, February 3).

Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries by Ander Monson: An exuberant, expansive cataloging of the intimate physical relationship between a reader and a book.
A way to leave a trace of us, who we were or wanted to be, what we read and could imagine, what we did and what we left for you. Readers of physical books leave traces: marginalia, slips of paper, fingerprints, highlighting, inscriptions. All books have histories, and libraries are not just collections of books and databases but a medium of long-distance communication with other writers and readers. (Goodreads, February 3)

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson: Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming. (Goodreads, February 10)

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman: In the ruins of a future America, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star and her nomadic tribe live off of the detritus of a crumbled civilization. Theirs is a world of children; before reaching the age of twenty, they all die of a mysterious disease they call Posies–a plague that has killed for generations. There is no medicine, no treatment; only the mysterious rumor of a cure. When her brother begins showing signs of the disease, Ice Cream Star sets off on a bold journey to find this cure. (Goodreads, February 10)

What are you looking forward to reading this February? I’ve been dying to read the third installment in Maureen Johnson’s Shadow series forever, and I can’t wait to finally find out what happens.