Organization, Productivity, Time Management

How to Survive a Busy Week

Can I tell you a secret? Recently over a 10-day period, I had 46 deadlines, assignments, and meetings. This included 3 papers (including 1 group paper), 37 job applications, checking and correcting over 200 legal citations, work deadlines, and school deadlines. On top of that, my car broke down.

While I’m normally pretty good at managing high levels of stress, I really struggled. I had to employ new stress-mitigation techniques just to survive. Along the way I realized that my productivity wasn’t at all optimized. I thought that today I could share with you some of the things I learned.

So, go ahead and take a breather. Give yourself 5 minutes out of your hectic day and ask yourself if you employ these techniques, and what about your productivity could be optimized.

The To-Do List and Calendar

These are non-negotiables to help manage your life efficiently. When you’ve got tasks in all different directions, you need to know exactly what’s on your plate and what’s coming next.

As for myself, I’m kind of the queen on the to-do list. I make lists everywhere. Sometimes it’s a sheet of paper, a notebook, in my phone, or on Trello. Since I make so many lists, a few may or may not get finished – but when you have a week of non-stop deadlines, that list becomes your best friend.

With every list, I recommend that you add the deadline of the task. This can help you prioritize your list and keep you moving on your next deadline.

Change Your Routine

This is going to sound a little crazy, but when you have a busy week, you’re not exactly yourself. When it gets so busy, you almost have to go on auto-pilot. Don’t be afraid to change your routine during this time to accommodate for everything you need to get done.

If you don’t work out, strongly consider adding a little bit of movement, like a morning walk. This can help clear your head and get you focused for the day.

I really warn against changing your sleep schedule. Late nights aren’t efficient and let’s be honest, they suck. For me, late nights are almost a guaranteed mental breakdown and I avoid them at all costs. If you really need more hours in your day, try waking up earlier. You’d be surprised at how efficient you can be before the rest of the world wakes up.

Breaking It Up Into Smaller Tasks

This is what helps me survive massive deadlines. Your focus during a busy week should be to keep your mental state pretty solid. Giving yourself mini-breaks is the most effective way, at least for me, to get things done.

For example, if I have a paper to write, I might tell myself that once I make it to the end of this page, I can check my phone or watch a YouTube video. Since I only have a small task, I’ll power through it knowing that I have a reward waiting for me.

You can take breaks as often as you need, but I don’t recommend taking many breaks longer than an hour. I get it, sometimes you need it, but really, only like one or two hour-long breaks a day. You need to stay productive during your busy week.

Good Takeout

I get it. During a busy week, you’re not really thinking about self-care. If you cook, you’re probably not cooking as much when you’re busy. That’s okay. This week you can get takeout.

I strongly recommend that your takeout be somewhat healthy. Eating something not so great for you can often leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy. You’re not going to get much work done after a meal that slows you down.

On the other hand, getting something that’s a little healthier keeps your body moving. My mother was such an angel this last week and made me some home-cooked frozen meals. To have a veggie soup in the midst of Hurricane Jacqueline was so comforting. It was quite literally a taste of home. It grounded me and kept me moving.

Turn Off Your Phone

If you can’t think of a good reason to have it on. Turn it off. Period.

One Hour of You Time

I know most of these tips have been focused on moving forward, but one thing I really suggest is taking one hour a day just for yourself. I like that time right before bed. If I want to lay down and stare at the TV, I can. If I want to go for walk, I go for one.

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean that you have to give 100% at every moment of every day. Relax a little and your body and mind will thank you.

Follow the Momentum

At the tail-end of a busy week, I take the weekend off. However, this time when I took my weekend off, my body felt like it should be doing something. Harness this energy with smaller tasks like dishes or checking your email. Don’t go into anything crazy, but if Newton’s Third Law applies to you, capitalize on it.

That’s all that I’ve got for you today! I’d love to hear how you survive busy weeks – I know I’m still learning when it comes to managing your time efficiently! Let me know down in the comments what I got right and what I still need to learn!

And, in the spirit of moving forward, stay productive!

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Entrepreneurship, Finance, Motivation

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Is the Book as Life-Changing as People Claim?

Robert Kiyosaki’s 1997 bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad seems to be a cult-classic in the world of financial literacy. As I was learning the basics of finance, this book popped up everywhere. Every blog, YouTube video, and Google search kept pulling up Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

So I conceded and bought the book. (It’s only $6.69 on Amazon!) In the spirit of the book reviews I’ve done on this blog previously of classic book, I thought I’d review this one as well. Turns out, I think these recommendations were warranted. Was it life-changing? Yes… but

Kiyosaki explains his basic financial principles in short stories. As a child, he grew up with a PhD-educated government-employee father who made just enough money to survive. He spent quite a bit of time at his best friend’s house where his father was a dropout-with-financial-intuition business owner. He juxtaposes their advice to show what we all can learn about financial literacy.

Before I continue, Kiyosaki poses this us versus them sort of mentality when it comes describing the “rich” and the “poor.” While I know these terms are for shock factor, they’re most certainly stereotypes. What he really means when he says “poor” is “a person who isn’t good with their finances” and when he says “rich” is “a person who is good with their finances.” Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes.

Kiyosaki divides his book up into lessons which are useful in getting you to think critically about your financial position. He focuses on basic principles like accumulating more assets than liabilities and learning to look for financial opportunities. He sprinkles in anecdotes (that may or may not be true) to make the book read like a story.

Love him or hate him, Kiyosaki is a good storyteller. He weaves the words of the rich dad with the poor dad to create a cohesive narrative that learning to have your money work for you, rather than working for someone else is the key to amassing riches.

And quite frankly, he’s not wrong. If you’re capable of it (and most of us are), accumulating wealth is learning to have your dollars be your employees. However, is there any real advice for how to start that? Not really.

This book is nothing short of a gateway drug. It’s not meant to teach you how to get rich, it’s meant to teach you to be money-minded. As long as you keep your notepad at the door, this book can be life-changing.

Have any of you read this book before? And for those that haven’t would you pick it up?

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Entrepreneurship, Start-Ups

My Entrepreneurship History

In the spirit of switching my blog over to new content, I suppose I should with begin with explaining why I’m so interested in entrepreneurship and finance.

It was only a few years ago when I was introduced to the idea that I could create my own career. As a good student, I grew up under the assumption that I would get good grades, get a good job, and climb the company ladder. The only problem? I didn’t want to do it at all.

The First Idea

During my second year of undergrad, I was studying chemical engineering. I knew I didn’t want to be an engineer, but I was getting my degree so I could go to law school. I told myself I’d change my major if I could come up with a better idea. I never did.

One day, for my Thermodynamics II class, we had to go to an oil and energy event. It was a panel with a few speakers from the oil industry talking about their careers. Since it was mandatory, I went alone, sat in the very back, and didn’t speak to anyone. I didn’t want to be there, I had lost my entire evening on this event that I wasn’t even interested in.

Event, Auditorium, Conference, International Conference

While they we talking, it became crystal clear: I didn’t want to do this. The audience seemed engaged with these speakers, enamored by the way these three were changing the world. I saw them as what they were: people who were overworked. In a fit of frustration, I turned the page in the notebook I was taking notes in and drew a line right down the middle. On the left side, I made a list of the classes I had taken that I enjoyed and on the right, I made a list of my hobbies.

Desperate, I stared at the words I had scribbled down and tried to connect the dots. I was so focused on coming up with an idea of how to escape the rat race. I felt certain it was the only way out of the reality I had set up for myself. After thinking and thinking, I came up with my first idea.

It was a foreign language learning program. I’ll spare you the details, but it had me firing on all cylinders. Alongside my chemical engineering, I studied international studies. I was passionate about different cultures and languages. As an engineer, I loved algorithms. Putting the two together made sense. For months, I carried around a separate notebook where I planned out the idea.

Meeting the Sharks (and the Bait)

Having my idea just felt like a little secret that I was carrying around. I fantasized about the code on the backend and sketched logos in my spare time. I became obsessed.

A few months later, a friend that I had told my idea to came up to me with a strange proposition. She was working for an economics professor and they were doing a shark tank event for start-ups to get funding from investors in the city. She asked if I wanted to help out. Of course, I agreed.

As a volunteer at this event, I was in the room with the sharks timing people as they pitched. I heard bad pitches about good businesses and good pitches about bad businesses. I watched the sharks tear some people apart and some praise and give offers. I have never learned so much in an afternoon. I was caught under the spell of entrepreneurship. I wanted to learn everything I could.

Work, Office, Team, Company, Internet, Business

Inserting Myself in Places I Didn’t Belong

After the shark tank event, I felt my passion in my bones. I didn’t have money (or the ability to code a website), so all I could do was make lessons for the foreign language program. I kept working, but I knew something would have to change to get it off the ground. I got my opportunity, but not exactly in the way I had imagined.

Over the holidays, I went home to visit some old friends. While catching up, one of my friends mentioned a mutual friend of ours who had a start-up. Something about a phone app. Something about social media. Amidst my slightly tipsy evening, I focused all my energy in getting more information about the status of his company.

I called him the next day and asked him if I could help out. He immediately said yes. All of a sudden, I had a start-up I could be a part of. He told me that if I helped him with his idea, he’d help me with mine. And just like that, I was in business.

Paper, Business, Finance, Document, Office, Analysis

This was during the final semester of my senior year. My law school applications had already been sent in – school didn’t matter now. I shifted all of my energy to launching his app. The app had already been made, so it was all-hands-on-deck to get this thing to the public. I met with local bars, came up with a crazy marketing strategy, brought a few friends with a few targeted skills to help, and things were looking great. My house had become the unofficial HQ. Some days, I was working more than eight hours.

With the help of the team I had put together, we had opportunities networking with some pretty serious and established people. I was getting to know that economics professor who did the shark tank events (I brought on the friend who worked for him). We found ourselves building a reputation as people who had marketing intuition.

However, the longer I worked on this business, the more I started to realize that something wasn’t right. There were investors behind the scenes. Every time I asked about them, I didn’t get much information. A few months later, I discovered that they owned most of the company and had some strong opinions about things.

Without getting into it all, I had to leave the business. I was able to spare my relationships with my friends, but I walked away with such a gift. I now had actual experience working on a start-up.

Weaseling My Way In Further

I landed a job with the economics professor, largely due in part to my friend. I had two roles with him: to plan events on campus with investors and to consult start-ups that he had invested in at his firm.

Office, Business, Colleagues, Meeting, Computers

I won’t get into the details since these are real companies and real investors. But I was able to now see the other side of the business: what a start-up looks like to an investor. I only worked with him for a few months – law school had just begun and I was crumbling under the workload. However, these positions indicated that there was a spot for me in this community if I wanted it.

My Path Forward

If you’ve been here since the early days of my blog, you know what happened next. I started this blog. I wanted something I could call my own and wasn’t intertwined with personal relationships. Something where I had all of the control.

Now here we are.

I’m excited for this journey forward. I look forward to writing about entrepreneurship and finance and learning more myself. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for being a part of that experience.

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Motivation, Productivity

What’s Next for This Blog

Hello! I know it’s been a little while, but I’m back! I’ve taken my time returning because I was processing changes that were happening around me. I’ve written this post several times over. But I’m okay and so is everyone around me. Let’s talk.

Reflection

Over the past month, I’ve been thinking. Like really deeply thinking about my happiness and my future goals. A reflection period I’ve put off for so long – thinking that one day my plans would just fall right in to place. I suppose in some way that was right since I fell into this growing period seemingly unprovoked.

It was then that I realized that a lot of the projects that I had created on this blog gave me short-term happiness. I was happy to do these things because I had a work product to share, but quickly realized it didn’t progress me anywhere besides acquiring a new skill.

In my self-induced hibernation, I realized what this blog has actually meant for me. I realized that these projects I was doing were setting me up for my next big thing. I was learning valuable skills like how to create a website, how to write, and how to schedule my day to be most productive.

As someone who is extremely career-oriented, I realized that while these projects weren’t wasting my time – I was learning new skills and gaining confidence in myself – but they were a huge opportunity cost. If I spent time working on my future career(s), I could have put myself a little farther.

While you all know me as a law student and aspiring lawyer, that’s not entirely who I am. I’m not actually sure I want to be a lawyer. I’ve put myself on this path to become a lawyer since I was a kid, not actually thinking about what that meant. I don’t really see myself as a 9-5 kind of person. Not that I don’t respect 9-5 jobs or think less of them, I just think I want to own my own business and accrue my own wealth. The problem I’ve always had is what business?

I realize that my primary interest is learning how to be self-sufficient. To me, self-sufficiency is owning my own business, growing wealth, and chasing actual goals. I hop from idea to idea because I am naturally curious and value consistent self-improvement.

This has been growing in me for years. I’ve mentioned before that I have a background in start-ups. I started this blog with the idea of trying many projects. I chase a career in patents and gravitate towards those who innovate. All the puzzle pieces were there, I just wasn’t able to connect them until now. This is what lights my fire: innovation and creation.

What’s Next

So, where does that leave this blog? I mulled it over for a while because I didn’t want to rush into something I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) maintain. But this blog has been a strong source of accountability and motivation for me. I share ideas and thoughts on here that only those in my innermost circles know. I like that.

I have decided to pivot this blog to follow my hustles and side-hustles. I want to show the ups and downs of me learning to be self-sufficient. My ultimate career goal is passive income from multiple income streams. I want to learn about options that don’t involve a cubicle or eight hours of my day, and I want to learn together.

I’m not talking about writing about motivation and creating “hustle porn.” You’re not going to see cheesy inspirational quotes or anything. I want to focus on the realities of exploring and experiencing these ventures. Motivation is irrelevant if you don’t capitalize on it. I want to talk about where this journey actually takes me: through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I also want to continue projects that acquire skills. These can be used in later business moves. It’s always relevant to learn something new. I have a Slumdog Millionaire kind of perspective on things: everything always comes back to help you in some way. However, some of the projects I’ve begun on this blog will probably be paused until later notice. They may come back in the future, but not until I get a few other things going.

Expect to see some changes in this site over the next few days. I’ll be shifting into its next phase. I know that this isn’t necessarily the content that you came for, but if you’ve made it this far – thank you. No hard feelings if this isn’t for you and you don’t want to read this new content. I know it’s kind of a 180. But thanks for the support to get me here.

We’ll talk again soon.

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Project 7

Doing Calligraphy Out in the Wild

There’s been an underlying theme this week of writing about things that actually happened last week: making Law Review, Abbey’s birthday, and a reflection of some of the books I read last week. Today’s post doesn’t fall into that category. Instead, this happened two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend with my parents. My mother, in her endless pursuit to make her life easier, was reorganizing the pantry and had some labels. She asked me to do my magic and make them all cute. After all, she’s a frequent reader of the blog, so she knows what I’m up to – hi mom!

So I gave it a go. Here’s what we ended up with:

Minus my test stickers, I was pretty happy with the execution. It’s always going to be difficult to write in white on a slick surface, but I was patient.

This was also my first attempt at doing my own thing. Because I am a beginner, I pre-space the sheets I do calligraphy on and really focus on consistency. Calligraphy isn’t really a font, it’s a way of writing. It’s focused on letters that are spaced evenly and sized the same.

I did prepare my sloppy little font ahead of time.

Now, I was running out of ink (let’s call it an ink explosion from the hot, humid weather), but you can see what a difference the surface can make.

My font ended up being something similar to the font I had been learning:

But I think I added a little personality from that. All in all, it was exciting that someone trusted me enough not to mess it up. I’m not sure what my point is today, but maybe one day I’ll get to do wedding invitations?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: next up is learning a new more cursive-heavy font. Stay tuned!

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Project 4

Reflecting on My First 20 Books

As a former engineer, data and numbers speak to me. Being 20% of the way through my reading project, it seemed as good a time of ever to reflect on the journey thus far.

I had gotten this idea from Jenni at SprainedBrain who chronicles her book statistics often. She does a great job at it – you can see the statistics she looks at here! I didn’t base my statistics off of hers, so check out which data points she takes too! Thanks, Jenni!

Word Counts

Of my 12,327,956 word journey, I have read 2,041,953 words. A mere 16.5%. It’s mind blowing to think that I’ve read the two longest books on the list – Atlas Shrugged and Les Miserables – and I’ve still got so far to go!

Of those books, I wanted to look at a distribution of the word counts of each. Looking at this data surprised me, I definitely have a preference.

In my defense, the two books over 150,000 words were both over 500,000 words… but I digress. I have a problem. Maybe it’s because I know that shorter books are less of an investment and I can get them done faster. Either way, I’m hoping to read some longer books in these next 20.

Readjusting Ratings

Over the past 6 months, I’ve noticed that my opinions on certain books has changed. Having a little more perspective on my reading preferences, I feel like my ratings, particularly for the earlier books, were not so great. I thought I’d take a moment to adjust my ratings.

Book Old RatingNew RatingChange
Lolita6.55-1.5
Treasure Island98-1
The Prince54-1
The Call of the Wild8.58-0.5
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde87.5-0.5
Atlas Shrugged99.50.5
The Arabian Nights5.55.50
Murder on the Orient Express990
A Clockwork Orange3.53.50
The Time Machine5.55.50
The Art of War76.5-0.5
Animal Farm990
All’s Well That Ends Well54-1
Alice in Wonderland660
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory76.5-0.5
Fahrenheit 451660
Les Miserables990
Journey to the Center of the Earth550
Beowulf660
Of Mice and Men550

The reason I find this so particularly helpful is because I really want to be able to put a larger spread to differentiate between books. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy a book with a rating under 5, it just means that I believe it’s not a groundbreaking book.

Taking this data and cute little Excel chart, I was able to split hairs to really figure out which books I feel are necessary to recommend to others.

My Favorites

Looking back, I have clear favorites. Allow me to share.

Atlas Shrugged: Okay, I’ll be outright here. You probably won’t agree with all of the thoughts and ideas Ayn Rand shares in this book. But it is going to challenge you to ask yourself why you disagree. On top of that, the story itself is really wonderful. I think this is a book everyone must read.

Les Misérables: Please, whatever you do. Read this book someday. It’s such a profound story with characters that will leave you so attached. If you’ve seen the musical or any other adaptation, you’re missing the essence of the story – the motivations, the desires, and the thoughts of these characters that are so real they follow you for days. (Besides, my favorite scene in the book is not included in the adaptations because it involves so much backstory).

My Least Favorites

My least favorites are far less clear. I wouldn’t say I really disliked any of these books. I mean, I finished them, right? But if I had to pick, these are the two that just didn’t do it for me:

A Clockwork Orange: I still feel the same way I did about this book when I finished it: I personally didn’t like it, but I can understand why someone would. The teenage angst on a forgettable character is a little off-putting to me. Plus, the book uses it’s own slang which makes it difficult to follow.

All’s Well That Ends Well: I think I was a little too nice with my original review. This story is forgettable to me. In fact, I had to read the plot that I wrote just to remember it. I completely understand why this is one of Shakespeare’s lesser-performed plays.

With that, the first chapter of my journey comes to a close. But there’s so, so much more ahead. Looking forward to my next reads – and sharing them all!

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School

Exciting News Alert!

I’ve been keeping a secret.

Last week, during Reading Week, I was given the opportunity to complete one of my biggest legal goals: making Law Review.

Law Review is a journal that most law schools have where students draft legal articles for publication. Getting accepted to Law Review is a really prestigious honor. These articles are seen by alum, potential employers, and even judges. I could be cited in a real court case or even be given job opportunities I didn’t have before.

I’ve brought it up briefly here on the blog, but not extensively (so I didn’t look like a fool if I didn’t make it!). While there are other journals at the school, almost every school has a Law Review. There’s literally a button on the journal application process that says “If I make Law Review, withdraw my application from the other journals.” If that’s not favoritism, I don’t know what is.

There are two paths to making Law Review: being the top of your class or winning a write-on competition. Seeing as I was not the top of my class, I was left with competing.

I wrote a post about what it was like to compete – and the high levels of stress I’m not used to. You can read that here.

As I say in that post, I thought I made a strong effort. I wasn’t sure it was enough to get me on Law Review since my classmates are all hyper competitive.

But I did it.

I also want to thank all of you that read this blog. As I wrote in the competition post:

Maybe it’s a byproduct of this blog – because since starting this journey I’ve just wanted more for myself. Not handouts, but I wanted to earn every bit of satisfaction. 

My desire to achieve is partly due to those who have supported my journey. Without all of you cheering me on, I wouldn’t have felt accountable. Before my blogging (quasi-)career, I felt like if I couldn’t accomplish something it didn’t matter since no one was watching. Now there are a few eyes I feel I have to make proud.

I sincerely hope that each one of you reading this one day feels that satisfaction I felt from making Law Review. If you ever need someone in your camp, I’m there. Tell me, what are your goals? How are you actively pursuing them? Let’s talk about our next chapters together.

P.S: My boyfriend will also be writing on a journal! He is currently choosing between several offers. Power couple?

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Resources

Projects Before the Blog – A Look at My Antics with Abbey

Saturday was my cousin Abbey’s birthday. She’s a regular here on the blog, you’ve probably read a book review or two by her.

I’ve alluded to the fact that we’re no strangers to doing projects together. Hidden away in a shared Google Drive folder named The X Files, we have projects we’ve done for the past five plus years. I thought in honor of her big 2-5, I’d share some of the projects in The X Files that were completed before I made the blog.

The Cocktail Book

I’ve alluded to this one before, but we wrote a cocktail book a few years back. Our Christmas parties tend to get a little out of hand – we have themes and everything. One year our theme was “You Are What You Drink.” We all dressed up as our favorite drinks. Abbey had the cutest champagne costume and as a broke college student, I was a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

We like giving a gift to our large extended family each year as a way to say thank you to our parents and the aunts and uncles that make for such a special holiday. That year, we wrote a cocktail book with a different drink for each member of the family.

The book turned out real cute and with lots of yummy recipes. We have a few hardcover books lying around that come out around the holidays each year.

The South Park Animated Video

Another Christmas gift: we turned everyone into South Park characters.

As if that weren’t enough, we created a rendition of “Christmas Don’t Be Late” and changed the lyrics to correspond with each of our family member’s secret Christmas wishes. Unfortunately, my chipmunk singing was not the best and using Windows Movie Maker made it a frame-by-frame mess. But we certainly all made cute South Park characters.

The Trivia

Continuing in the Christmas spirit, last year’s theme was Disney Christmas. This year, paired with Abbey’s growing love of trivia, we made an epic Disney trivia. There were deep cuts and the slideshow was beautiful. Most of the slides relied on gifs, videos, and music, so posting pictures almost doesn’t do it justice. But here’s a few to give you an idea:

(My parents, brother, and I made a fantastic Incredible family, by the way.)

Other Projects

Aside from these, we’ve built board games, created a (horrible) podcast, and many more dumb ideas. Maybe someday I’ll tell those stories, but for now, a big happy birthday to Abbey – here’s to the next wave of our projects!

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Book Reviews, Project 4

Of Mice and Men – Book No. 20

This book review is a part of Reading Week. To read more reviews, click here!

84. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

Dates: 7/16/20 – 7/17/20 (1 day)

Plot: The story of two migrant ranch workers with no one but each other.

Experience Before Reading: I had to read it in high school 8 years ago. (Woah, sudden realization that I’m old…)

Takeaway: I’m actually very lost on this one. The first time I read it as a teenager, I felt very sorry for Lennie. Today, I don’t know how I feel. My perspective of disabilities has changed. As a child, I felt sorry mentally disabled people were unable to see the world in the way most people do. Today, I realize that disability doesn’t equal inferiority.

That being said, Steinbeck complicates the matter by writing Lennie in some unflattering, yet sympathetic ways. The nuances made me uncomfortable, which maybe is the point Steinbeck was trying to make. I struggled to figure out what I really felt.

There’s an overwhelming aura of hopelessness with all of these characters which makes it tough to read. Although they do all have dreams and ambitions. I’m not sure if that makes it a happier or sadder story.

Regardless, I’m left torn with every piece of this novella. I’d love to hear other thoughts – have you read this book? Let’s chat about it. I’m open to other interpretations and ideas.

Would I Recommend It?: Maybe. It seems like it’s a story most people know.

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Book Reviews, Project 4

Beowulf – Book No. 19

This book review is a part of Reading Week. To read more reviews, click here!

2. Beowulf from the Cotton MS Vitellius A. xv (c. 975-1010 AD)

Dates: 5/18/20 – 7/16/20 (59 days)

Plot: An epic poem telling the tale of Beowulf who slays the monster Grendel (and also a dragon).

Experience Before Reading: None.

Takeaway: I kept thinking about how this story is over 1000 years old and yet, so modern? The hero’s journey is a beloved story that has been around much longer than we have. To think that this is one of the first (that we know of) is pretty wild to wrap your head around.

Personally, I prefer the historic context and the impact of this work to the actual poem. The poem itself is hard to understand. You can get a sense of what is happening, but get lost in the details. You might have noticed the actual poem took me 59 days to read – practically a hero’s journey worth just to get through. It’s short too, so I don’t really have an excuse.

Without Beowulf, it’s unlikely works like The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones would have been made. The impact of this work is something to be admired. The fact that the story is one we all inherently know shows how it’s radiated into our cultural zeitgeist.

Also, I mentioned yesterday that I was a fan of Scandinavia in general. Bonus points from me.

Would I Recommend It?: To those who like epics.

Abbey’s Review

Dates: 3/9/20 (2 hours)

Experience Before Reading: I read this book when I was a Junior in high school and was actually quite fond of it. I am a massive Tolkien fan, and The Hobbit is largely based off of Beowulf. 

Takeaway: The main takeaway from this story is that it’s better to go through life and to die young with courage, than to die cowardly at an old age. Beowulf is the quintessential warrior that we read about in nearly every adventure book. It shows that even at the time Beowulf was written (somewhere between the 8th and 11th century) honor, loyalty, and courage were admirable traits. 

Would I Recommend It?: If you enjoy The Iliad and The Odyssey, you will like this work.  Beowulf is an epic poem orated in ancient Anglo-Saxon

Look at this video of it being spoken it’s totally crazy! So it has the same feel as those works.

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