Any longtime reader of this blog knows one thing has remained constant throughout my years on WordPress. My stance on recommending books. For those who may not know, I’ve always said I’d never recommend books because I really have no idea what another person will enjoy. I still believe that to be true. But any time someone asks me to recommend a book going forward, I always will. Why? I’ll tell you.
I’m 25. I don’t claim to have a pot of knowledge unavailable to others. Heck, I don’t even claim to have answers to some of the most pressing questions we face. But I know the lessons I’ve learned from books. I know firsthand the power the written word can possess. I still haven’t answered my own question.
I’m most often asked to recommend books in a general category. A book that’s sad. A book that’ll cause a laugh. A book with a strong message. Those sorts of requests. I feel like I’m able to meet those requests much more than trying to guess what someone will like.
For instance, if someone asked me to recommend a book with a strong message I could come up with dozens. Different messages. Different authors. Different topics. I’m not telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t believe in. I’m telling them what I was able to take from an individual story.
What’s changed isn’t the ability to learn from books. What’s changed is my increased desire to spread messages of positivity, inclusion, and the consequences of decisions made by generations before us.
I told someone new into my life recently that I want to help as many people as I can during my brief time on earth. And I believe books are my greatest asset in achieving that constant, lifelong goal. If I can open just one person’s eyes to an event or topic, then I’m content to do so.
This post is pretty self-explanatory. Every picture in this post was taken by me.
The flag hanging at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
The view from the Museum of Science, Boston
What qualifies as contemporary art
Early human skull
This is what qualifies as fine art. Also, I fell inside.
They really love their Dr. Seuss.
Where the armed resistance we know as the American Revolution began!
I also jumped on a spaceship and landed on this thing.
This qualifies as wearable art.
Okay, guys. This is just a tiny snippet of the pictures I took during my trip, which I’ll be sharing on my Instagram account over the coming days and weeks! Follow for more!
I could write a 10,000 word post about everything I loved during my trip to Boston. I could. I won’t.
Boston was simply magnificent. There are 300 year old buildings next to modern hotels. There is history on every corner. And there is water everywhere. Several of the museums and places I visited were on the water. The best view was probably from the JFK Presidential Library. I wasn’t able to do anything out on the water, but that’s okay! It was more than enough to just get a glimpse of it.
The beauty of this whole thing is I know for certain I’ll be going back. I’m not sure if it’ll be in 2017, 2018, or beyond. But I know it’ll happen. And I’ll be just as excited for round two as I was for the first time.
Again, I cannot encourage you enough to visit as many places as you possibly can. Austin, DC, and Boston have been first on my list. What’s on yours?
Over the next few days I’ll likely be posting a wrap up of my vacation. But first I wanted to post once more about why I want to travel to cities all over the world and visit their museums.
It comes down to one thing, but this one thing is as important as any other thing in my life. Learning. I understand that some people kind of give up on learning new things once they’ve earned their degree and gotten a good job. But there’s so much out there I’ll never get to experience. We like to think 70-80 years on earth is an eternity. But it isn’t. Not even close. My primary purpose is to learn as much as I possibly can during my brief time on earth. That’s it. There are other things I’d like to do, but learning trumps them all.
I’m one person in a world of billions. I only know one life experience. Mine. Is it so unbelievable to want to learn about the experiences of other cultures, people, and geographic areas? I don’t think so. Museums work to preserve. And I work to learn.
I began my day by making the short drive to Concord, MA and visiting the Concord Museum. Though relatively small, the museum had some great information and exhibits. I didn’t know so many prominent authors had ties to the small city. Louisa May Alcott. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Henry David Thoreau. And others.
I followed with a trip to Minute Man National Park about a like away. The park is rather large, but the focal point for me was the Old North Bridge. This was the site of the battle of Lexington and Concord. There’s a statue of a minute man, a statue to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle, and an English gravesite. One of the more interesting places I’ve been to on this trip.
I then made the short drive into Lexington, MA to visit Buckman Tavern. This was where members of the rebellion waited for the British to arrive just prior to that first battle. It’s very small, but on the second floor there’s a new exhibit on 18th century social media. It gives such great perspective because we think we have so many advancements in how news is spread, but in reality all we’ve done is speed up the process a bit. The exhibit compares Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and even fake news to the different methods used during the 18th century. A great exhibit. And that was my day.
I planned on visiting the Louisa May Alcott house and Ralph Waldo Emerson House, but one was closed and the other closed very early in the day. Too bad.
When I was much younger (nearly 20 years ago) I went on the vacation of a lifetime. Disney World. For something like three weeks. The experience was nice, but I was so young that I was limited in what I could actually do. And no roller coasters.
Today the vacation of a lifetime happens a second time. Eight days in Boston. As you can see my interests have changed as I’ve grown into an adult. Disney World is about magic. It’s about enjoying being a kid. It’s about escape. Boston? To some those things may also apply. To me it’s about history. The birth of this great, flawed nation I love with all my heart. It’s about growth. Learning. And Red Sox – Yankees doesn’t hurt anything. ☺
In the few short years I’ve been an adult I’ve wanted to travel the world. What better way to learn than from other people, cultures, and places? There’s so much the world has to offer to stay in one place all the time.
So I’m not. I’m not a multimillionaire. I don’t have a bank account with $50k in it. But I have a good paying job with a company that encourages its employees to take time away from work. I make more than enough to take one big trip a year, and if I really focus on my finances I can squeeze two trips out of a single calendar year without changing much of what I already do.
Last year I went to DC for only four days and it was INCREDIBLE. Guys, who cares what I say about books? If there’s one thing you take from your time reading my blog let it be this:
There are few things we’re able to do in our short time on earth that are as rewarding as traveling. I cannot encourage you to travel enough. Your reasons may be different than mine, but there’s really no reason not to take a trip every now and then. Cost. I know it’s expensive. Buy tickets way in advance. Save for months. It’ll be a sacrifice. But it’ll be worth it. I promise you.
Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday about topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today I’m discussing museums.
I think if you’re reading this you likely know about my trip to DC last year. For four days I went to every museum I possibly could. After the conclusion of the trip I still have a lengthy list of museums in and around DC I want to visit. A month before I went to DC last year I went to Austin for two days. It was the first time I visited one of the presidential libraries. In those two days I went to four museums and the state capitol of Texas. Next month I’m spending eight days in Boston.
As you can see I’m just about obsessed with museums. Quite honestly I’d like to visit every museum I possibly can during my brief time roaming Earth. But the question I often get is “Why?”. Why do I want to travel to different cities of the world just to go to museums?
I’ll tell you. That’s where all the history lives. I’m not saying there aren’t bits of history scattered throughout cities and historical places, but for what is typically a nominal admission fee you’re granted access to hundreds, thousands, and in some cases millions of pieces of individual history. How great is that!
You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the opportunity museums give us. We’re allowed to learn about cultures, eras, wars, and movements because people behind the scenes have usually devoted their lives to preserving history and historical artifacts of all shapes and sizes.
I love museums because I’m only one person in one era living one life experience, but I’m so eager to learn about the things I haven’t and won’t be able to experience. Museums are time machines. And who doesn’t love those?
Photo Credit: Apples for Your Eye
School is just now beginning for most of the country, and with the start of a new school year comes the start of many new careers in teaching. More than 500 new teachers are starting this year in my former school district and many of these new teachers face similar challenges. But one that I’ve happened to see article after article written about is the struggles that come with trying to have a small assortment of books within the classroom. I’m not talking textbooks or workbooks, I’m talking books. Books for the students to read.
I am fully aware that there are new teachers starting out this year that don’t teach English or ELA at all who may not have as many books in their classrooms, but I can remember just about every elementary school teacher I had having some books in the classroom. And my future English teachers in middle and high school definitely did. But let’s be real, new teachers have limited resources to outfit their classrooms with the proper supplies needed for their students. Especially books. Teachers are now utilizing crowdfunding websites for this specific purpose. Most I’ve read about are attempting to raise $500-$900 for supplies for their classrooms. This is for ALL supplies, but think about how much it would cost just to buy maybe 30 books, which isn’t many.
There’s an organization in my area that provides new teachers with $100 for supplies, but we all know they need a bit more than that. This is where you likely expect me to tell you about a new teacher I know personally who could really use your help this new school year. I’m not going to ask you to give your money away, nor should you feel obligated to do so. But I will say that I think it’s great seeing so many new and longtime teachers going to such lengths to get books in the classroom, because a classroom without books seems inadequate. I would be surprised if you disagree.