Tuesday, September 29, 2015

If you liked ______, you should read _______.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I put my own spin on the theme this week--instead of recommending books, I'm recommending poems! I'm a little late to post this because it took me forever to come up with an idea, then forever to actually find a list of books and poems that relate to each other.  So I chose some popular books and matched them with a popular poem that has a similar theme or feeling to it. I also chose a different poet for each recommendation, which was incredibly difficult because I would have liked to put Sylvia Plath literally everywhere (seriously, just go read all of Sylvia Plath). 

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, as the plot of the book is heavily driven by this poem.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green // 
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
               And how should I presume?
Again, a little self-explanatory because Hazel quotes this in the actual book, but also because both Prufrock and Hazel are living a monotonous life when we meet them and wonder if it's worth it to "disturb the universe."

Looking for Alaska by John Green // 
Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I'm not sure how to explain this one without spoilers, so you'll just have to connect the dots yourself.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak // 
Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –
The personification of Death as a kind and somewhat caring creature.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn // 
Prophyria's Lover by Robert Browning
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
       Made my heart swell, and still it grew
       While I debated what to do.
Passion gone wrong, basically. From the perspective of a crazy person.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman // 
When I have fears that I may cease to be by John Keats
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
   Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
   Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
Both of these narrators are having a life-crisis and are worried about what they might miss out on if they die too soon.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
(or The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger) // 
I go by Taniguchi Buson
I go,
you stay;
two autumns
This haiku can be applied to so many stories, but I feel like it goes especially well with these two.

Atonement by Ian McEwan // 
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
and we are here as on a darkling plain
swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
where ignorant armies clash by night.
This one is hard for me to explain because it's more like a feeling that both book and poem gives off. War is a factor in both of these, with the overall theme of the world being a terrible place and the need to cling to the one you love. This explanation doesn't really do the book/poem justice, so you should just go read them both.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie // 
Birches by Robert Frost
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
Both of these focus on boyhood, imagination, and the struggle of growing up.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart // 
The Widow's Lament in Springtime by Wallace Stevens
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they,
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Although the circumstances in both these poems are very different, they both focus on the speaker's immense grief.

Have a happy Tuesday! And tell me if you've ever read any of these poems. Can you think of any more that I didn't list? I tried to match up The Hunger Games with something but couldn't find a great fit. 


Saturday, September 26, 2015

5 Things You Should Know About Tiger Exhibits

Over the past few years, many of my friends on Facebook have had posts about how they got to feed a tiger, or a had their photo done with a tiger cub. As an animal lover myself, I understand the desire. Tigers are magnificent creatures—they’ve always been my favorite big cat. So why would anyone want to pass up the opportunity to hold a tiger cub?

On the surface, you think you’re paying to hold/feed/be photographed with a tiger cub. Surely, you think, this shows that I support big cats. I know it’s tempting, but what you are actually doing is the opposite—instead of supporting conservation efforts, you are supporting a terrible breeding industry.

Tiger cubs that are used for display are not bred so that they can be reintroduced to the wild. They are not bred to spread knowledge about tigers to the public. They are not bred to preserve the tiger population. They are bred to make money by exploiting the animals.

I think that there are many misconceptions about the tiger shows and the breeding industry, so I created a list of a few things that you should know:

1) Paying to pet/hold/feed/have your photo taken with a tiger cub does not support wildlife conservation.
Wildlife conservation seeks to help preserve the tiger population in the wild. Roadside shows and exhibits do not breed cats for conservation efforts. These animals will never be reintroduced into the wild; they will spend the rest of their lives in a cage. The infant cubs “ are torn from mothers prematurely, their sleep cycle –necessary for healthy development-- is disrupted, and they are placed under stress from continual public contact and transportation” (The Big Cat Handling Crisis). These shows are not teaching the public about conservation; by allowing their tigers to be handled by the public, they are sending the message that these animals are the same as housecats, not wild animals, and can be treated like photo props. The reality is that these shows are breeding these animals for profit with little concern over the consequences of their actions or the inevitable fate of the big cats.

2) A cub used for tiger exhibits will be used for 4 weeks and spend the rest of its life in a cage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned contact with cubs under 8 weeks old while their immune systems are still developing, and there is a court-affirmed prohibition on contact with cubs over 12 weeks old because they are dangerous to the public. This means that there is legally only a 4-week window that cubs can be on display (though cubs are often taken earlier and kept for longer). Because this window is so small, cubs must be rapidly produced, then tossed aside after they reach 12 weeks. This results in overpopulation, which leads to the cats living the rest of their lives in poor living conditions.

3) Handling a cub is dangerous for you and dangerous for the cub.
Many cubs are taken away from their mothers too soon, meaning their immune systems are not prepared for the intense handling and exposure to germs they will receive during their 4-week window. Their immune systems do not fully mature until they reach 16 weeks. These cubs can also transmit diseases to the public. Cubs are also sometimes kept over the 4-week period, even though the USDA has stated that they are dangerous to the public after this time period.


I’m going to switch gears here and talk specifically about white tigers. They’re beautiful animals, sure, but there are a lot of misconceptions about them that need to be brought to light.

4) White tigers are produced through severe inbreeding.
Photo Credit
White tigers are not a separate breed of tiger. They have a genetic mutation that results in their unique coloration. This mutation can only be achieved through severe inbreeding. Because of the inbreeding, many of these big cats are plagued by terrible health problems. For starters, “ALL white tigers are cross eyed, whether it shows or not, because the gene that causes the white coat always causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain” (The White Tiger Fraud).  Other defects include “immune deficiency, scoliosis of the spine (distorted spine), cleft palates, mental impairments and grotesquely crossed eyes that bulge from their skull.” The inbreeding also commonly results in stillborns and early deaths:  “Only 1 in 4 tiger cubs from a white tiger bred to an orange tiger carrying the white gene are born white, and 80% of those die from birth defects associated with the inbreeding necessary to cause a white coat” (The WhiteTiger Fraud). This means that 95% of all tiger cubs attempted to be white do not satisfy a breeder’s needs. Many of these die in the process, and the orange cubs are called “throw away tigers” and often killed at birth because the white cubs make the most money. Of the 5% that are white and survive past infancy, many will have other defects or disfigurements that lead to their extermination. In the end, the public only ever sees the very few that meet expectations, while all of the others are eliminated.

5) White tigers cannot survive in the wild.
White tigers are not an endangered breed. Every white tiger is bred for a life in a cage. Even if they were to be released into the wild, they would not be able to survive because of their white coat. In order to blend in with their surroundings, a tiger’s orange hue is essential. Therefore, the breeding of white tigers is not done to preserve a species or to help conservation efforts. They are bred simply for entertainment purposes.


If you pay to see these roadside exhibits, you are supporting an industry that rapidly breeds and inbreeds animals to satisfy customers. Since cubs can only legally be handled for a 4-week period, they must be constantly bred to produce more, which results in thousands of adult tigers that spend their lives neglected and in cages (there are currently more tigers living in backyards in the U. S. than in the wild). For white tigers, this means inbreeding until an acceptable cub is produced, while eliminating the undesirable ones. There is not enough funding or enough sanctuaries for these discarded animals to be offered a protected home, so they are often left in the hands of backyard breeders.

Supporting this industry means supporting the disregard for an animal’s health and well-being. It means supporting the rapid breeding of animals, only for the cubs to be taken from their mothers prematurely and cast aside when they reach 12-weeks. It means supporting severe inbreeding, leading to health issues that the big cat must live with throughout its life. It means supporting the extermination of the hundreds of cubs that don’t meet the breeder’s standards. It ultimately means supporting the exploitation of these animals instead of supporting wildlife conservation. In fact, by supporting this industry, you are acting against all attempts to protect these animals in the wild.

If you care about the welfare and protection of tigers, please do not support roadside shows and exhibits. Even though these are beautiful creatures, you are ultimately hurting them by paying to see them. Instead, put your money towards accredited sanctuaries and conservation efforts.

For more information, please visit bigcatrescue.org.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

in which I apologize for grad school eating my life and soul.

You guys, I've missed you! So much. You don't even know.

I've been gone for the past two weeks. I've wanted to post, I really have. I scribbled a few drafts down. But this semester is uncommonly tough and I'm literally doing homework from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. And I'm still behind!

And all of my somewhat-spare moments have gone to the job search. I graduate after the Spring semester and have no idea what I'll be doing afterwards, so I'm a bit desperate to find something. Missouri S&T has a huge job fair every semester that Deacon and I went to yesterday, but I didn't have much luck. There were over 300 companies there, but most of them were after engineering majors. Only four of them were looking for technical writers, and none of them seemed very interested in me.

But it's still really early, so I'm confident something will come up in the near future.
(In other news, Deacon did really well at the job fair.)

We're in week 5 of the semester right now, and after my eight-week course ends, I'll hopefully have more spare time. So don't forget about me, okay? I promise that I'll come back soon.

currently listening to: Holocene by Bon Iver

Monday, September 7, 2015

Series I've Yet to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

New to Margins? Let me sum up all my bookish rants for you: I HATE SERIES. I'm not even sure why! I was thinking the other day of all the series I've started and finished, and I think I've actually only completed two (Harry Potter & Twilight). I just never seem to like them, but I always want to be part of the fandom, so I usually read the first one to see how it is. Sometimes I read more, but very rarely do I get through all of them.

So this list was pretty easy for me to come up with. Prompt: Ten Finished Series That You've Yet To Finish.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
WHERE I STOPPED: a few pages into book three, Titan's Curse
WHY I STOPPED: I'm actually going to finish this series--I promised my husband! I just needed a break.

Divergent series by Veronica Roth
WHERE I STOPPED: After book one, Divergent.
WHY I STOPPED: I didn't really like Tris and wasn't interested in the story.

The Giver series by Lois Lowry
WHERE I STOPPED: a few pages into book three, Messenger
WHY I STOPPED: Everything felt so removed from the first book that I just couldn't do it. The magic was gone.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
WHERE I STOPPED: After book three, Girls in Pants
WHY I STOPPED: I remember being so bored and really struggling to finish book three, so I was done after that. I loved the first book, though.

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater
WHERE I STOPPED: after book one, Shiver
WHY I STOPPED: I did not like the story.

The Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card
WHERE I STOPPED: After book one, Ender's Game
WHY I STOPPED: I absolutely hated everything about it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
WHERE I STOPPED: After book one, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
WHY I STOPPED: I actually really enjoy this book, I just never got around to reading the sequels.

Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison
WHERE I STOPPED: After book one, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging
WHY I STOPPED: It seemed too juvenile to me.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
WHERE I STOPPED: After book one (publication), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
WHY I STOPPED: I should have read these when I was younger. I can't really get into them now.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
WHERE I STOPPED: Somewhere within book two, The Reptile Room
WHY I STOPPED: I loved the first book, but I really struggled with the second and lost interest.

So, tell me: Did I give up too early on any of these? Are there any that I MUST finish or give a second try? Also, tell me which series YOU haven't finished! And tell me if you love series, hate series, or like them occasionally.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Summer 2015 Photos // Part Two

I finally have some free time to finish part two of my summer photos! If you missed part one, you can see it here.

So Deacon and will be attending a wedding next weekend, but we haven't been able to travel back and forth to our hometown very much since we've had Rex. Basically, we don't know anyone who could watch him while we're gone and we don't have many options of where to stay once we get here. The obvious choice would be at my parents' house, but they have a dog and an inside cat. We weren't sure how Rex would do, but we wanted to know before the wedding, so we decided to visit for Labor Day weekend.

Rex has been doing pretty well, actually. There's been a couple spats between him and Romeo (the dog), and Willow (the cat) is terrified to go near him, but overall it's worked out rather well.

Downside: I was too preoccupied with getting him ready for the trip that I forgot to pack my camera. And even worse! I FORGOT TO PACK AN EXTRA BOOK. I finished reading Wintergirls on Friday night and didn't bring my Kindle with me, so I've been sifting through my sister's copy of Prisoner of Azkaban even though I was planning to put it off for a little while. I have Throne of Glass on audiobook but I'm seriously struggling with it. I find it so boring! I would have quit long ago if I wasn't determined to see what all the hype was about. So far, I'm unimpressed.

So I'm sorry I don't have any new photos to share with you guys! These are all from scattered parts of the summer. I will have more photos of Kyle and Jenna soon(ish) though, which I hope you guys will love as much as I do.


I'll try to keep posting regularly, but this semester has me crazy so it might not be as frequent. Hope everyone is doing well, and please tell me: Am I the only person alive who doesn't like Throne of Glass? AM I MISSING SOMETHING?


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Characters I Didn't Click With

First off, happy Hogwarts day!
Second, I'M SO SORRY I'VE BEEN M.I.A. LATELY. I know a lot of bloggers have gone back to school and balance the two wonderfully, but this semester is already kicking my butt. I'm taking three courses and teaching two, but the main problem is that one of my classes is an eight-week course, so there's twice as much work. I'll have a lot more free time around October, though. So please don't forget about me. =)

(I've still been trying to keep up on reading posts, though, so know that you are loved!)

Also, I have some beautiful photo posts coming your way soon(ish), so be on the lookout for those. In the meantime, it's time for Top Ten Tuesday! This week's prompt is ten characters you just didn't click with.

 Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)28187

Scarlet // Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I like the idea of Scarlet. Kind of. She's sassy, but I felt like she was just a more high-strung version of Cinder. Most of the time, she just got on my nerves.

Amy // Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Oh, Amy. I felt like her character was defined by the always-feeling-sorry-for-myself attitude, which got on my nerves. She didn't feel like a real person to me and I honestly could not care less about what happened to her.

Percy Jackson // The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Like Amy, I feel like Percy is always whining about his life, while I'm over here screaming YOU ARE THE SON OF A GOD AND YOUR MOTHER IS THE MOST PRECIOUS WOMAN ALIVE GET OVER YOURSELF. I've only read the first two in the series, so hopefully he gets more mature in later books. Please oh please.


Cadence // We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
To put it simply, Cadence's problem is that her family is too rich. At least, that's what it seemed like to me. I get that a lot of bad things happen and she has brain injury, but other than the huge climax at the end, why is she complaining for the rest of the book? I don't even know.

Tris // Divergent by Veronica Roth
Even though I don't always agree with Katniss from The Hunger Games, I remember wanting to be her when I was reading it. I thought she was so cool. I read Divergent last year and did not feel anything for Tris. She just seemed like an empty vessel to me.

Mia // If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like Mia. But something about this fell flat for me. I like that she has cool parents but she is kind of opposite of them since she plays the cello and wants to go to Julliard. It's a nice change from the overprotective-parents-troublemaking-kids dynamic that stories normally have. I just really didn't click with Mia for some reason.


Helen // A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
I hated this book, which was really unfortunate because I waited forever until I was able to get it from the library. The premise sounds sooo interesting. But I found myself not on the side of the ghosts. In fact, I was kind of put off by them. The way they possessed the bodies of young people felt...well, wrong. Maybe a little rape-y. It's been awhile since I read it, but I don't think I'll ever pick it up again.

 Trixie // The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
This is by far my least favorite Picoult novel. In fact, it's one of my least favorite novels ever. Trixie is upset about a boy and then some bad things go down, and she ends up running away to Alaska. Yeah. The thing is that I never felt sympathy for her, even though I should have. I'm not saying that what happened to her was her fault by any means, I'm just saying that I did not have a connection with her, so I really couldn't understand what she was thinking or how she felt.


Grace // Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Grace is obsessed with a wolf and then has a romance with that wolf when it turns out to be a boy. *rolls eyes* Also, something about being left in the car as a baby? I have no idea.

literally everyone // Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Why do so many people like this book? Better question: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER THIS ONE OF THE GREATEST ROMANCES OF ALL TIME? Even better question: HOW IS THIS A ROMANCE?
People think Heathcliff is misunderstood. And, granted, he's not treated very well as a child. But that's no excuse for how evil he turns out to be. And Catherine is probably his half-sister, so it's an incestuous relationship. And then he goes and digs up her dead body. Because he's romantic psychotic.