I am UIC: Things I’m reading

“So he ate an orange, slowly spitting out seeds. Outside, the snow was turning to rain. Inside, the electric stove seemed to give no heat and rising from his writing table, he sat down upon the stove. How good it felt! Here, at last, was life.”

— Ernest Hemingway, “Banal Story”

Finishing out the semester feels like a desperate crawl to the finish line. Since Thanksgiving I have been desperately trying to submit all of my final projects, impatiently waiting to hear back from internship sites, and scrambling to send in as many scholarship essays as possible. Will I ever make it? I feel like Ernest Hemingway’s character in his short story, “Banal Story.” Bored by the present condition, the character spends the cold days reading of faraway places, the “Romance of the unusual.”

I, in the same way, have been “living a life of the mind” lately, through the marvelous escape of reading. The I-Share website is literally incredible, and you simply must use it (all colleges share books through I-Share, and you can check them out from any Illinois College’s library). Currently, I have checked out these books:

  • “The Portable Frederick Douglass,” a collection of memoirs and letters by Frederick Douglass. Currently I’ve been reading many memoirs by ex-slaves, because it relates a lot to the conditions of the criminal justice system today. Frederick Douglass, in particular, has an incredibly powerful story, and his letters on the need for slavery abolition are, I believe, still very important to issues of freedom today. Great book.
  • “The Unpublished Poems of Emily Dickinson” is a lovely collection of poetry. I have always been a fan of Dickinson’s articulations of life and death, love and loneliness. Perfect for a rainy day and an aching soul.
  • “The Poisonwood Bible,”by Barbara Kingsolver. This is a story about a missionary family that moves to the Congo. Super deep and insightful story into postcolonial Africa and the ironies of missionary work.
  • “Stargirl,” by Jerry Spinelli. I did not get this book from the library, I just felt like rereading it again over the holiday. This is a beautify story about individuality and conformity, and it touches and softens my heart in a way only certain stories can. Love, love, love this book, so please read it if you get the chance.
  • “The Last Battle,”by C.S. Lewis. I love each of the individual books in the “Chronicles of Narnia”series, but this one has always scared me a little bit. About the “end times” and the end of that world, I am rereading this book for the first time in a while. I hope that now that I am older, it will make more sense.

So, there you have it. I offer you five means of escape but know that there are thousands more out there. Books are fantastic, and if I find time to read in the midst of my incredibly busy schedule, I know you can, too. I wish you the best of luck on this adventure into the “Romance” of the unusual.


Abigail Floresca is a junior majoring in criminology, law and justice with a minor in professional writing. Writing is how she connects, processes, expresses and relates to the rest of the world. Increasingly aware of the power of storytelling in bringing about change and reform, Abigail earnestly seeks to find a way to incorporate a perfect blend of writing and social work within the criminal justice system — she dreams of bringing about a positive change, one story at a time. At UIC, she is involved in campus ministry; conducts research with the criminology, law and justice department; interns with the Chicago Justice Project, and loves exploring new places downtown. 

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