Back to School Books

The beginning of September means it’s time to go back to school and there’s no better way than reading books about going back to school. These books should get you back to feeling like you’re at school again.

1. Looking for Alaska-John Green–In this John Printz Award winner, Miles Halter heads off to Culver Creek Boarding School to get away from his ordinary life at home and meets the beautiful but mysterious Alaska Young. She gets him involved in school pranks, the social life of the school, and certainly turns his life around forever. When she dies in a tragic car accident, he and his friends work at unraveling the circumstances of her death. This is truly a great book that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

2. Gossip Girl series-Cecily von Ziegesar-In this series set in Manhattan’s exclusive all-girls and all-boys private schools, the characters engage in sex for the first time, smoke, try drugs, and engage in the social life of the Upper East Side. If you’re into the lifestyles of the upper class, then these books are for you.

3. The Sixth Form-Tom Dolby-In this book set in a Massachusetts prep school, Ethan Whitley leaves his California home to attend Berkley Academy. He wants to find out more about himself. He becomes involved with the seductive and mysterious Hannah McClellan, one of the teachers at the school. Becoming involved with her means trips to her house where he can drink wine and try to learn more about her complicated past. This is a book worth reading if you’re into books about sef-discovery and forbidden relationships.

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On the Road to San Antonio

This past week I went on vacation  to San Antonio, Texas for five days of fun and relaxation. It was a great vacation with plenty of good memories to share and interesting places I visited that are definitely worthy places to recommend. So without further ado, this is my vacation to San Antonio.

Last Saturday I arrived in San Antonio at around 2 in the afternoon and headed to the Embassy Suites Downtown-Riverwalk which offers guests amenities such as a free continental breakfast buffet in the morning, a pool and hot tub, and an exercise room. After settling in I headed out to walk five blocks to the Alamo. The Alamo is a piece of history worth admiring not just for the architecture but also for what is inside. Inside the Alamo you can read the names of the men who died trying to defend the Alamo and see the rooms where the women and children were hidden along with weapons from the battle of the Alamo. After checking out the Alamo and the beautiful garden in the complex I walked one block to the Rivercenter Mall which features over 60 typical mall stores and gives visitors the opportunity to go on a river barge where a guide discusses the history of the Riverwalk and places along the Riverwalk that could be explored.  The Riverwalk is 8 miles of restaurants, shops, and museums and is something that every visitor to San Antonio should explore.

On Sunday I went to Sea World San Antonio. I recommend getting to Sea World around the time the park opens at 10 just to try to beat the heat. The park features exciting rides, such as the Great White roller coaster; a children’s area called Sesame Street’s Bay of Play; animal areas such as Penguin Encounter and a tank with harbor seals and sea lions; and shows featuring animals such as sea lions, dolphins, and whales. Eventually I got too hot and headed back to the hotel.

On Monday I took a scenic drive along Highway 16 to see Bandera, the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Bandera is quite a small town and is home to only 957 residents. In the Bandera area are antique stores, Western-themed stores, and restaurants. I went to an antique store that featured many interesting items and a nearby guest ranch where I went horseback riding for the first time. I also drove through the larger town of Boerne which has natural caverns such as the Natural Bridge Caverns.

On Tuesday I went to the San Antonio Zoo, one of the top zoos in the country. The zoo is quite large but beautiful with both indoor and outdoor areas such as the Reptile House, an aviary, a butterfly garden, and African areas with hippos, gazelles, and zebras. The zoo is located in Breckenridge Park, which is also home to the Japanese Tea Garden. Later in the day I went to the San Antonio Museum of Art which is home to collections of Latin American art, modern art, Asian art, Greek and Roman art, and ancient sculptures. These two places were two of the major highlights of the vacation because I loved seeing the different animals in the zoo and of course admiring the sculptures and artwork in the art museum.

On Wednesday I first explored La Villita, an historic arts village that features different stores and art galleries including stores devoted to beads and jewelry, a clothing store, and a cafe. It was a beautiful area that was interesting to browse and see different pieces of jewelry, clothing, and things you could only find in Texas. I also took a long drive to Fredericksburg, an area known for its German heritage and is home to a large Oktoberfest celebration. Fredericksburg is not only known for its history though. It is also the  home to great shopping along Main Street and side streets. Featuring restaurants and several stores including stores with dog apparel and toys, boutiques, candy stores, a general store, and a music shop, it is an area where you could perhaps spend hours shopping.

What was great about my vacation is that I ventured beyond San Antonio to other nearby towns where I could see places like the Texas Hill Country which shows just how beautiful Texas really is. It was hot, but with periods in air conditioning it was certainly manageable. Going to Texas was an amazing experience and one I definitely recommend.