Art

Favorite Fall Reads

The best reading season is inarguably fall. Summer is sometimes nice for reading outside, except that actually it’s super hot and sweaty and buggy and awful. People glorify “beach reads,” but books get all sandy and suncreen-y and warped just from being near the ocean, I guess. (Insert Danny from The Mindy Project shouting “I fear the ocean out of respect” here.) Reading in the winter is terrible because it’s constantly freezing, and if you’re wrapped in a blanket, your hands are exposed in order to hold the book. Unless you’re in possession of a Snuggie, months of suffering ensue. And spring is mostly just Winter: The Sequel.

But fall…fall is the best. It’s a mix of nice days—you can read outside and the trees are pretty!—and brisk days—you can read inside and be super comfy! Also, hot beverages make their triumphant return, and everyone knows that there is no better way to read than with a cup of coffee/tea/cocoa/cider.

Luckily, there are also a ton of books that fit perfectly with fall. Whether they take place during the season, are ideal to curl up with, or just feel cozy and atmospheric, some books just scream “autumn.” (And not just because they’re thrillers or horrors and therefore feel Halloween-y. That’s the coward’s way out of a fall recommendation list. No, we’re going genre by genre.)

Continue reading “Favorite Fall Reads”

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Opinion

In Defense of Young Love

As I packed up my boxes to leave my dorm room for the summer, I felt all the usual end of the year nostalgia. Saying “goodbye” to the friends I’d begun to call family was certainly not easy. But, I also could not help but feel a wave of excitement rush over me. Of course I was happy at the prospect of no more school work or final projects to stress over, but more so I was happy at the idea that for the first time in over nine months I was going to be able to wake up each morning next to the boy I loved. This meant no more FaceTimes with roommates intruding, no more crying simply because he was so far away and no more late night fights about how much we missed each other. Finally, we would be able to return to our in person relationship, and I could not be more thrilled.

This year marked my three year anniversary with my boyfriend, John, as well as the beginning of both our first years of college. We’ve been together ever since sophomore year of high school when our chemistry as lab partners was undeniable. We held hands across the lunch table for weeks before even exchanging phone numbers. We officially became boyfriend/girlfriend after a friend asked if we were “a thing” and both of us just looked at each other and smiled. “I guess so,” was the final decision. Thus, began three years of seeing each other everyday nonstop and falling more and more silly in love. We even spent a summer living together.

However, in the fall of 2015, our college plans separated us by over three hundred miles. John attended a university in New Jersey while I chose a school in Boston. Despite the distance, we knew that we were going to continue on and make our relationship work. Though he now plans to transfer closer in the fall, we always knew that we wanted to stay together no matter what time apart or distance we may have to endure. Many people, especially “adults”, have told us to simply give up, claiming that breaking up would just be easier. Since we are young, they believe our relationship is not something worth fighting for. I have heard one too many lectures on “all the fish in the sea” to ever consider using the hackneyed phrase again. John’s own mother has infamously said that she thinks “high school relationships should stay in high school.” But, for us, from the beginning, breaking up was never an option or even a conversation.

Now, I am not going to pretend that long distance is an easy feat. There were times when the mere fact that we were physically so far apart led to fighting and mental distance. Both of us were having new experiences and changing so much in such a short period of time that we of course had to wonder if we were growing in opposite directions. Still, our relationship stood strong as we texted and FaceTimed and made room for each other even in our ever-evolving new worlds. And, guess what? It worked. Now that we are finally on the other side, I am so happy to be reunited with him.

Though we may be “high school sweethearts,” I would venture to say we’ve been through a lot together already, and our relationship is just as valid as any other despite our ages. We’ve been with each other through some of the most pivotal and life changing moments. We’ve made so many memories together and encouraged each other as we’ve grown. I feel so lucky to have had him by my side these past three years. From holding me up at my grandfather’s funeral to holding my hair back when I’m sick, John has been there for it all. There have been so many tissues and sleepless nights both good and bad. He truly knows me better than anyone else in many ways simply because he’s been there for so much.

Sadly, it is still so often assumed that our relationship’s long standing will only eventually end in tragic heartbreak and the idea that we have wasted these years together. Many family and friends wonder if we’re planning too far ahead, especially as John transfers to a school that while academically more rigorous than his current institution also happens to be geographically closer to me. They think we are too young to allow our lives to intertwine quite so deeply and to decide upon such a definite future. Although I can try and understand this concern, I am dead set on the fact that they are unbelievably wrong.

This is mainly because John is not simply my boyfriend but my best friend. He is the first person I want to go to with my problems and the first person I want to share good news with. No matter what we are doing we always manage to have fun together, we can laugh together for hours over silly things. He is the person I want by my side on my every adventure. Our favorite thing to do; get in the car and just drive. Already, we have seen so many places together from the coastline of Maine to small art museums across the North East. We have admired the Brooklyn Bridge at night and the beaches of Newport at sunrise. Our mission to see all fifty states together began the first time we took a train into Philadelphia. I can not wait to see even more and learn even more. I am so excited to continue exploring the world with him.

But, I also have made a point not to sacrifice other friendships and relationships in my life for him. I have always been a big proponent of the fact that while having a boyfriend who is your best friend is nice it is important not to make him my entire world. It is important to us both that we both have friendships and interests outside of our relationship. Thus, we share our interests, challenge each other, and celebrate the times that we can have adventures hand in hand.

Despite the fact that I am young, I am quite certain that I could never see my current relationship as anything but a benefit in my life. Even if circumstances abound and for whatever reason we go in separate directions, I can not imagine seeing our time spent together as a regret. In addition each choice that we make is ours to choose, and at the moment we are certainly quite happy with my choices. So, let us be happy. We are constantly making new memories and having new experiences because we are young, and at least at the moment we want to experience it all together. It is certainly not easy to be young and in love but, it is definitely worth it. 

The Painted Veil
Art

Romantic Obscura

Hopeless romantics be warned: this article will not cure you of your many issues. It won’t keep you from being overly sentimental. It won’t save you from your ridiculously high expectations. It won’t even offer you comfort that your Mr. Right is out there. But we’re hopeless romantics. Since when did we care about the consequences of a good love story? We’re hopelessly hopeful. So sue us.

We suffer from something much more depressing than a romantic disposition. Our movies suck. Romcoms are trite. Tragedies are pure sap. Dramedies are too busy being artsy to be romantic. Nowadays, a movie presents two beautiful people and says, in its most bored, unconvincing tone, “They love each other.” We aren’t buying it.

So we turn to the classics. Jack and Rose give hope. Harry and Sally are precious. Christian and Satine bring the tears. But we’ve seen these a thousand times. They can’t be the only couples worth rooting for, can they?

I’m an obsessive hopeless romantic, the kind of person who indiscriminately consumes romantic movies by the bucket load. In between Strictly Ballroom and Runaway Bride, I actual found some beautiful, heart-rending romances. Here are some of the more obscure, oddly forgotten romantic movies worth watching. These are some ill-fated love affairs. But those are the best kind, right? You’ll find yourself rooting for Kitty and Walter, Seth and Maggie, and, er, Starman and Jenny.

Mrs. SoffelMrs. Soffel

A prison warden’s wife falls in love with a convicted murderer and helps him escape. It may sound like a trashy paperback but it’s actually a true story, and one hell of a movie. Mel Gibson plays the incarcerated Ed Biddle, handsome and ruthless. Diane Keaton, as the sweet, innocent Kate Soffel, succumbs to Biddle’s charms. As she falls under his spell, the viewer is both sickened and captivated. Then, halfway through the film, it goes from a tale of creepy exploitation to romantic adventure. Gibson and Keaton seem an unlikely pair, but their chemistry is at once tender and believable. Any woman would melt under Gibson’s blue gaze, and Diane Keaton is no different.

StarmanStarman

John Carpenter made one of the most romantic movies of all time. Don’t believe me? Watch this ridiculously sweet movie about a widow (Karen Allen), an alien (Jeff Bridges), and their road trip to Arizona. For a sci-fi film with cheesy graphics, the film packs an impressive emotional punch. When we first meet the widow Jenny, she is grieving over the death of her husband. Then an alien crash-lands in her backyard and takes on the appearance of her late husband. He needs a ride to Arizona. Naturally, she takes him. Over the course of the trip, there is healing love and one of the most romantic goodbyes in the sci-fi universe. And Jeff Bridges is cute. Really cute.

The Painted VeilThe Painted Veil

British romances set in the 1920s don’t always make love an enjoyable experience. It can be cold and stilted, resentment and tension running under every comment. And that’s how The Painted Veil starts. Kitty (Naomi Watts) and Walter (Edward Norton) are strangers who happen to be married, living in the disorienting world of colonial Shanghai. After Kitty has an affair, Walter decides to punish them both by taking them to a rural, cholera-infected village. Sick, right? But then things take a surprising turn. They grow to know each other, then admire each other and finally love each other. It’s a painful, rewarding journey.

SommersbySommersby

I don’t need to tell you that Richard Gere is a romantic god. He’s the cad with the heart of gold, the man who won both Julia Roberts and Debra Winger. Now it’s Jodie Foster as Laurel, the widow of Jack Sommersby, who is presumed dead after the Civil War. Then one day, Sommersby walks back onto the plantation, his demeanor completely changed. He is no longer the callous, abusive husband he used to be. He is a kind and gentle lover. But rumors begin to circulate that Sommersby is not who he says he is. Laurel must face the truth: she has fallen in love with an imposter. While the film may seem like melodramatic fluff, it’s really melodramatic poetry.

City of AngelsCity of Angels

Meg Ryan will always be known for her romantic turns in Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. But she should also be remembered for City of Angels, a deep, tragic love story between an angel and a surgeon. Seth, played by a serene Nicholas Cage, is an angel who spends most of his days hanging around the hospital. Maggie (Meg Ryan) is a tough surgeon, haunted by the people she looses on the operating table. Soon, Seth haunts her too. As their attraction grows, Seth contemplates taking the greatest leap of all—the fall from being an angel. The ending is a sobfest disaster, but you almost don’t regret it because their love was so beautiful. Well, almost.