The Disney Princess Book Tag

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Hey, y’all! Sorry I’ve been so sparse with the posts these last few months. I graduated college (eek), and am currently preparing for my NCLEX, or my exam to become a Registered Nurse. Still, I intend on trying to post at least 4 times a week in the next few months, even if I can’t read/post reviews that quickly – so memes and book tags it is! I’ve wanted to do this tag – the Disney Princess Book Tag – for a while, and it was created by Of Stacks and Cups. So here we go!!
My Disney Princess Facts:
1. My favorite Disney princess when I was growing up was Cinderella, but I think now it really depends on the day and what your definition of “Disney princess” is. (*ahem* Star Wars and Marvel fandoms or nah? – because then the answer is obviously Rey or Claire Temple a la The Defenders TV series)
2. My favorite Disney princess movie of the below movies listed is probably Mulan, although I feel like The Princess and the Frog is vastly underappreciated.

3. Tbh my favorite characters from all of the Disney princess movies aren’t even the princesses. I’m all about the sassy sidekick animals. My favorites include Meeko from Pocahontas, Maximus and Pascal from Tangled, and Mushu and Cri-Kee from Mulan.

Snow White
1. Snow White: Name your favorite classic
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was one of the first “adult” books I ever read. It’s not really adult, but I read it when I was like eight and it’s a little dark for eight-year-olds, so I think I convinced myself it was more intense than it actually was. The story follows a girl named Mary who, after being born to rich British immigrants in India in the early 1900s, suddenly finds herself orphaned and being shipped off to unknown relatives back in England. When she arrives, she finds a beautiful manor housing a lively crew of servants, her mysterious and distanced uncle, her disabled cousin, and a garden full of secrets that once used to be her now-deceased aunt’s favorite place. Mary, who is rather unhappy when she arrives, eventually finds her way into this secret garden, which helps not only her heal but also helps her heal all those around her. It’s still one of my favorite tales and it has an unusually happy ending considering the darkness of the rest of the story, so it’s a lot like Snow White in that manner, too.

cinderella
2. Cinderella: Name a book that kept you reading well past your bedtime
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake
This is one of the books I’ve been seeing popping up on every book review blog that has any YA review on it, and I’ve seen a lot of hype around it. The series follows a set of triplet princesses who, early in their childhood and like all of their ancestors before them, are separated and raised in different villages to hone their specific powers that they will one day use to kill their two other sisters for the throne. I grabbed it at my local library when I saw it on their new book shelf, and although it took me a while to get into it as it was really hard to connect to the three main characters, I ended up being so involved and attached at the end, especially to Arsione. I finished it before realizing its sequel doesn’t come out until September, and never have I been so disappointed.
aurora
3. Aurora: Name your favorite classic romance
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
So I know this book isn’t 100% a romance book, but that’s kind of what I like about it. It’s all about different types of love in the midst of revolutionary France. There’s the love for family, love for friends, love for brothers in arms, love for romance, and love for country – and all of them are depicted perfectly. It’s a beautiful tale of the relationship between the resiliency of humanity and hope. Although most of the book follows a different character, Marius and Cosette’s love story is beautiful and shows how sometimes love is just meant to be, and how it will persist above all else – even distance, even a war, and even death.
ariel
4. Ariel: Name a book about making sacrifices and fighting for your dreams
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This is my favorite book I read last year, and definitely within my top 10 favorites of all time. It follows the story of a Mexican family that has legally migrated to America following an accident that has caused their daughter to develop a mental deficit. Despite the fact that they are leaving behind a good home, all of their family, and everything they’ve ever known, they trade the comfort of Mexico to get a better education for their daughter in the United States as there are no special education programs available in Mexico for her. They end up sacrificing more than they ever imagined, and it is simply just such a beautiful story of what parents will do for their children and for their family.
belle
5. Belle: Name a book with a smart and independent female character
Percy Jackson / The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
So, I had a bit of a hard time finding one book I wanted to choose, but this series is full of incredible heroines and role models for young girls. There’s demigoddesses such as Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; Hazel Levesque and Bianca de Angelo, daughters of Hades; Thalia Grace, daughter of Zeus; and more. There are also other female characters such as the oracle Rachel Dare that show how badass girls can be, and I honestly think that the girls are the ones who really carry the main characters on their backs throughout the stories.
 
jasmine
6. Jasmine: Name a book that challenged social conventions of the world
Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This was one of the first worldly books I ever read, after spending 11 years in a private predominately white Catholic school where what I read was pretty censored. It opened my eyes to whole new cultures and religions, and its story of friendship and the strength of humanity even among such cultural and social differences, always inspired me. It shows how two boys, despite their positions in completely different Afghani castes, still manage to create a friendship that survives throughout the tumult of the country falling apart around them. It is one of the first books I recommend whenever someone asks me what they should read next.
pocahontas
7. Pocahontas: Name a book whose ending was a rollercoaster of emotions
The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3) by Erika Johansen
While I see that a lot of people also doing this tag chose books that made you feel sad and happy and sad and happy again at the ending, I chose this one for a different reason. Throughout the entire series, I was so into this book and the story that Johansen created and told. But within the last fifty pages or so, she destroyed pretty much everything that had made me fall in love with the series, making me feel empty and completely unsatisfied by the end. The rollercoaster of emotions had little if anything to do with the plot; it more so had to do with me expecting one ending, getting another, and feeling totally unfinished when I did so. P.S. I love Pocahontas and am in no way implying that the movie is like the book in how it is unsatisfying; quite the opposite, actually.
mulan
8. Mulan: Name a book with a kick-ass female character
Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Honestly, this was the first book/series that popped into my mind when I read this prompt, and for good reason. There’s more than one kick-ass female character in this series: you’ve got Daenerys, the Stark women, Brienne, Cersei (even though I hate her), Melisandre (hate her, too), Ygritte, Meera, Yara, Margaery… the list goes on and on and ON. What’s made even better by their kick-assery is that they usually pull some shit over on the guys in the story, and I just know that one of these fierce women is going to end up on the throne at the end of the series. All of them are unique characters onto their own, and I love them (even the ones I hate) for very different reasons. Martin has created a slew of incredible characters, but I really think his women are the best of them all.
tiana
9. Tiana: Name a book featuring a hard-working, self-made character
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Trying to mix it up with a little bit of non-fiction here, you see? Of course the first thing I thought when I saw “self-made” was my man, Alexander Hamilton. Am I someone who has fed into the craze following Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical of the same name? Admittedly, yes. But Hamilton deserves that appreciation, especially now, hundreds of years later as his legacy continues on. He did so much for our country without ever being president (despite his wishes), and he did it all despite having a less than auspicious beginning. Born in the West Indies as a bastard and soon enough orphan, he had to fight for every piece of knowledge he gained and every skill he developed. Was he also extremely lucky to fall into the positions he did? Yes, of course; but he also worked immensely hard to maintain those positions and his legacy.
rapunzel

10. Rapunzel: Name a book featuring an artist
Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind by Anne Charnock
Okay, so I’m not even 100% sure how I stumbled upon this book, but it is brilliant. The plot of this book surrounds an artist who is hired by a businessman to replicate one of Paolo Uccello’s legendary pieces, and who uproots his daughter to escape from their own past of family secrets to China. While trying to get in the mindset of Uccello and look at his artwork, they uncover that some of the pieces may not have been created by Uccello, but by his daughter, Antonia. Not only is the story an incredible statement on the relationships of families and father/daughters specifically, especially as it spans across time, but also a statement on gender and how women, especially in history, are/were marginalized and forgotten despite their equal amount of talent. Plus – look at how beautiful this cover is!!
merida

11. Merida: Mother-daughter relationship

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I read this book in the sixth grade after my mom tried to get us to join a mother/daughter book club through my local Girl Scouts that she quickly lost the ability to keep up with because she’s a spazz. Anyway. At this point in my life, I was incredibly sheltered; very few of my friends didn’t have both parents at home with them, and I didn’t have a lot of non-white people in my community. The Secret Life of Bees opened my eyes to the world beyond what was my narrow version of it; it follows a girl who, after losing her mother, is basically all but adopted by a black woman and who has to flee with her after insulting racists in the south in the 60s. They escape to South Carolina and a beekeeping farm where other women of color work and help raise the main girl, and help her resolve her feelings about her mother’s death. I remember being a lot more grateful for my mother after reading this book, as well as a lot more culturally aware.

anna and elsa

12. Anna & Elsa: Good relationship between siblings
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To be honest, I struggled a lot with trying to pick a book for this one, and for some reason this one kept popping back into my head. I think it’s because Jem and Scout’s relationship is so real: they fight, but also protect one another from external threats; they share an exasperation but appreciation for their father; and Jem, the eldest, gets annoyed when his little sister follows in his footsteps. Although the book is definitely not about their sibling relationship, I think that it adds a very important factor and subplot to the book that it couldn’t do without. I still haven’t read Go Set a Watchman though, but I can’t wait to see if there is any more elaboration on their relationship in that novel.
And that’s it for this book post! If y’all have any other book posts/tags/memes that you think I’d enjoy doing, make sure to leave the links the comments below or tag me in them!

TOP TEN TUESDAY: NON-FICTION

For years, I’ve really struggled to get into the genre of non-fiction. I’ve really just never thought much about it, to be honest. Although I love books that tell a beautiful story, I also really enjoy action/fantasy books with a lot of creativity, and those are far and few between in the non-fiction genre. However, after being on a book judging committee this year for my university, I began to read a lot of the non-fiction options… and fell in love. They still don’t capture me as much as fiction books do, admittedly, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t leave almost every non-fiction book reading experience without a strange sense of fulfillment, both for venturing out of my comfort zone and for being inspired by the story within. For my first #TopTenTuesday, I wanted to feature some of my favorites that I’ve read recently. They’re in no particular order; it’s simply a list. Let me know in the comments if there’s any non-fiction book you’d recommend! I’m always looking for new books to read.

hamilton2
1. Anything by Ron Chernow, but especially Alexander Hamilton and Washington: A Life

Ron Chernow primarily writes non-fiction of American historical figures and/or entrepreneurs. His books are pretty massive and definitely aren’t for the lighthearted who half-read things, but Chernow has the ability to write more than just a simple recounting of these different figures’ lives. He always adds his own underlying statement of whoever he is profiling, sometimes referring on a psychological background to do so. Whether it be painting Hamilton as the playboy he was, or Washington as the temperamental leader, he makes those who he features easily reachable through the pages. Definitely worth a read if you can stomach 700+ dense pages of historical recounts.

the devil in the white city
2. Anything by Erik Larson, but especially The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts

Larson is a little bit more across the map with the historical moments that he recounts. For example, while The Devil in the White City is about the 1893 World Fair in Chicago occurring at the same time of notorious serial killer HH Holmes’ murder spree, In the Garden of Beasts follows the American ambassador to Germany and his family in the years leading up to WWII.  Being able to readily discuss events across this wide gap of years is proof to what an incredible writer and thinker Larson is, and his books almost read like fast-paced nonfiction books. I commonly recommend these to my friends who enjoy historical fiction, even though the stories are true.

outliers
3. Anything by Malcolm Gladwell, but especially Outliers

So I was introduced to Gladwell back in 2011, when I had to read his book Outliers for one of my high school classes. While most of my classmates complained non-stop about the book and questioned while we read it, mostly because they were personally offended by some of his statements like “people born in January are the most successful in life”, I loved it. While I understood that Malcolm was highlighting trends among those most successful in life (ex: The Beatles, Bill Gates, etc.), I also understood that he wasn’t saying I couldn’t be successful – just that I had to work harder; this was the lesson my classmates missed out on. His other books are just as incredible. David and Goliath talks about not letting your disadvantages define you and letting them strengthen you instead; Blink talks about the differences in decision making among people; and The Tipping Point talks about the growing influence of social media and commercialization on the spread of trends. His books are relatively short but full from page to page about thought-provoking matters, and I recommend him to many people whenever I can.

hidden-figures
4. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

I’m sure most of you have seen this on all the reading lists for the last two years or so, and especially now with the Oscar-nominated movie of the same name being out on DVD. Hidden Figures follows a group of four black women working at NASA during the Space Race against the then-USSR, and their contributions to getting the first man on the moon. They worked as “human computers”, or mathematicians, to help calculate all the necessary formulas and numbers needed in order to properly launch a spacecraft safely and successfully – which they eventually did. But more than just simply the story of the Space Race and the United States’ decisive win, it is a story about racism and sexism and how these incredibly intelligent and powerful women of color rose above it all to do what they loved and ultimately give back to their country. The movie simply does not do it justice (mostly because it barely discusses the fourth main character at all), so I strongly recommend reading the book instead.

hidden-america
5. Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas

I had to read this book while judging it for use in the University of Florida’s Common Reading Program, which introduces a book to first year students that they can discuss in select classes throughout their first year – and it ended up being a finalist, mostly due to my own pushing for it to be one. Hidden America follows different occupations in each chapter, with the author interviewing those in the occupation and shedding a little light on what they do; these occupations range from semi-truck drivers to coal miners to Bengals cheerleaders to legitimate cowboys and everything in between. She reveals how much goes into each of these different jobs, and how vastly under appreciated the amount of work they do or what they contribute is by the general public. Laskas is an incredible writer, and the stories she tells are heartbreaking, heart-wrenching, and heartwarming all at once. It was incredibly eye-opening, and I recommend to almost everyone I meet that’s looking for a good read.

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6. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

I went to a very sheltered Catholic school from preschool to middle school, and so when I went to public school my first year of high school, I had two pretty ignorant assumptions about the world: that mostly everybody was Catholic and that the only war in the world was the one we were waging in the Middle East. I was incredibly wrong on both fronts, as I realized my first year in public school as a freshman in high school. This was one of the first reading assignments I read, which revealed me to the entirety of the situation in not only Sierra Leone, but various other African and other countries. A Long Way Gone follows the entirely true first-person account of the author’s experience as a boy soldier recruited by the government to fight in the civil war raging in Sierra Leone. In most of the story, he is but thirteen years young, and doing unspeakable things that brings thirty-year-old American soldiers to their knees. It peeled my eyes wide open to not only the situation in Sierra Leone, but in other countries as well, and his haunting story and the harrowing tale of how he escaped when most do not stayed with me, and will stay with me, for the rest of my life.

the fire this time book cover
7. The Fire This Time, a collection of works edited by Jesmyn Ward

In response to James Baldwin’s revolutionary book The Fire Next Time published in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement, Jesmyn Ward has collected various works from various black writers to show that, unfortunately, racism is still alive and real – and that we all have the power to change that. This is the first collection of short stories/essays/poems that I have ever read and thoroughly enjoyed. Although they all talk about different people and memories and subjects and traditions, they all flow together seamlessly and effortlessly as both a celebration of black culture and a cautionary tale against claiming our society to be “post-racial”. To me, someone who tries to be an ally for the black community and the transgressions enacted among them, but someone who at the end of the day is a middle-class, college-educated white girl, this book allowed for me to look deeper into the culture of blacks in America and the slights they receive everyday for the color of their skin and the ancestral blood in their veins. Racism is never something I’ve understood or agreed with, but this book made me want to do more in combating it.

callings
8. Callings: A StoryCorps Book by Dave Isay

StoryCorps is a organization that has set up storytelling booths around the country, for anybody and everybody to enter and share their stories. Usually, how it works is that someone is interviewed by someone else they know – a family member, a friend, a coworker, an acquaintance – about something that happened in their lives. The StoryCorps book that I know I saw all the time was one about a man who had lost both of his sons in the 9/11 attacks. Some of the stories are heart wrenching, but others were hopeful, and Callings seems to be filled with more of the latter. Dave Isay, the creator of StoryCorps, has edited the stories and taken out bits and pieces so that so many people can tell stories about the jobs that they love. There are the expected stories – doctor, teacher, firefighter – but then there are also the unexpected and the extraordinary: bridge tenderers, waitresses, NASA guinea pigs, migrant workers-turned-lawyers, etc. Not only does it inspire the reader to go after what they want and do what they love, but also opens their eyes to many occupations that they either didn’t give a second thought to or previously thought negatively about. Simply put, it’s a beautiful book about embracing one’s passion, and sharing that passion with the world.

the immortal life.jpg
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

While I had the opportunity to read this book as part of my AP Biology class my senior year of high school, it’s been getting even more attention as of lately because Oprah is making a movie about it. The story follows Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer who went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s and received a diagnosis of cervical cancer that eventually ended up killing her and sending her to an unmarked grave – but not before the scientists, without her consent, took samples of her cells and froze them for further experiments. It ended up that her cells were fighter cells, and responded positively to the tests run on them, multiplying at unexpected rates and being so tough that they were used for a slew of future findings, such as the polio vaccine, the atomic bomb, and even some cancer treatments. While it is certainly a problem that all of this was done without her consent and her awareness of the situation, it is even worse that her family today still lives in poverty, while their ancestor’s cells can sell for billions of dollars to laboratories around the world. This story is not only a tale of how the scientists got away from such a grievous insult to their patient’s privacy and rights, but a story of Henrietta Lacks and the legacies she left behind, in both her cells and her family.

born-a-crime
10. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Disclaimer: I love Trevor Noah, so I already knew without even opening the book that I was going to love it. He is incredibly witty and charming, but also amazingly intelligent, and that is what really seals the deal for me. This story is a compilation of eighteen essays by Noah on his life in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa as the product of a mixed-race union, which, at the time of his birth, was punishable by up to five years in prison. He spent many of his early years hidden away by his mother, and even after apartheid was over, was still extremely protected by her and her religious beliefs. As a mixed boy, he never felt he belonged with the blacks or the whites of Africa, and he was frequently reminded about this by the prejudiced words and actions against him, such as nearly being kidnapped and being the subject of racial slurs. However, it is more than just a story of how he struggled throughout his childhood, but how he used it to form the man and the comedian that he is today. The tragic backstory seems almost incongruous with the man we know that sits behind The Daily Show desk now, but it makes me appreciate him all the more every time I see him on TV. Even if you’re not a fan of him, I highly recommend the book; it is inspirational and full of knowledge about apartheid, which was such a dark and relatively recent period of time in our world’s history that many people forget about.