An Enormous, Heartfelt Thank You

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Every day I get on here I am simply amazed at the outpouring of people who dedicate time to reading, commenting, liking, and conversing with me on this blog and my new YouTube channel as well.

I have had some personal stuff come up over the last few weeks, making it very hard to convince myself to write and film as much as I have in the past. Mental health is something I have had to work tirelessly towards and it’s harder at certain times than others.

So I just wanted to say, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The fact that even one person gets on here and reads anything that I have to say has been incredible, let alone the many, many readers I talk to throughout the week.

I am doing my best to stay on top of everything and to keep writing as I take care of myself as well as moving my family a few states north over the next month. If a post or video falls through the cracks, as they have over the past week, I am sorry. Thank you again, for reading.

How to Read More as a Busy Adult

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I have seen a viral post going around the internet that basically states ‘I read so much as a child dozens and dozens of books, and now I am lucky if I finish one book a year.’ That isn’t the exact quote, but that is the thought behind it.

This is completely, 100% understandable. I can personally relate to this myself, and it took a while to get myself out of that rut as a ‘grown-up.’

Who has the time? Honestly-between working at least 40 hours a week, cooking, cleaning, taking care of pets, social lives, children, and keeping yourself sane, it really doesn’t seem like reading is or should be anywhere near the top of the list.

For me, it is an absolute necessity. I can’t live without it. Reading and literature are living, breathing life for me. So I make time, no matter what is going on. However, even if you are not quite as involved in it as myself, you may be interested in just keeping up on reading even just a few books a year to keep yourself sharp.

So whether you want to read as much as humanly possible and immerse yourself in literature and learning constantly, or you just want to sharpen up your reading skills slightly in order to read a little more than a book a year, I have some tips to share with you.

This is an important skill, and reading even a little bit is a fantastic way to keep your mind sharp.

 

The first tip I would give you is to always have something to read.

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This is the single best piece of advice my father has ever given to me- don’t ever go somewhere without two things to read. That way if you finish the first book/magazine/newspaper/etc, you will have something else.

Because of this, I get way more reading done, even on busy days. Rather than always pulling out my phone and watching garbage (which I have a tendency to get sucked into), I am able to engage myself in something better.

Now, even if you don’t want to lug around some huge book all day, bring an eReader, a magazine, whatever it is that you enjoy! That way you are never stuck without something to read.

The second piece of advice that I have for you is to keep track of what you read.

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Whether you use Goodreads or just make a list- it can be satisfying to keep track of what you read and see how you progress throughout the year.

If it is just to motivate yourself to read more or to see what sort of material comes up the most, keeping track of what you read can be a great way to inspire yourself to push harder.

My third and last tip would be to engage with other readers. 

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The hardest thing for me as a reader is having no one to talk to about it. If you have people with similar reading tastes, or even just likes reading in general, it’s easier to read regularly and then discuss it with someone.

If you don’t have a lot of people around you to discuss what you are reading with, do what I did! Start a blog to review books or even a YouTube channel to talk about reading and literature. Once I did that for myself, not only did it provide me with a fantastic outlet, but it motivated me to read more challenging works and more often.

Those are three of the best ways I have found to read more. You do of course have to want to read and engage with literature, but if you need a little help-these tips should do it.

What motivates you to read more? 

 

Rewarding Yourself

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This week isn’t really going to be a lengthy post, I just wanted to give you guys a brief life update and some thoughts on being nice to yourself.

Over the past week I got a full time writing job.

In case you don’t know me personally, this is pretty much all I want out of life. I love to write, and getting paid for it is the dream.

Something I struggle with and strive to be better at is patting myself on the back when something good happens. It’s SO easy to punish myself when I mess up, or something goes wrong in my life, but not when I succeed.

Why is that so hard?

Part of me feels that I just don’t deserve it. Another part of me thinks that if something decent happens, it has to be dumb luck. While I know in my part that neither of those things are true, it’s a hard mental block to pass over. This year is about love, acceptance, and forgiveness of myself, so it’s something I am determined to overcome.

Any advice that any of you have is welcome for this.

I worked hard, I went through a lot to get this job, and I got it. Yay! As part of my resolution to love myself better this year, I am finding a way  to celebrate.

Not quite sure how yet, but positive recognition is important and it’s something I will be giving myself.

How do you reward yourself when something good happens? Is it difficult for you as well? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The No Disclaimers Book Tag

It’s me, just complaining about stuff in books. The original questions that I am answering are listed below!

1). Which trope (or tropes) in books, annoy you the most?

2). Which writer or writers do you feel are overrated/overhyped?

3). What are your least favorite books you’ve read, since joining BookTube?

4). A terrible ending, that ruined an otherwise quality book?

5). Which Fictional Character(s) do you wish were not killed off?

6). What are some of your bookish pet peeves?

7). What are some books you feel should have more recognition?

8). What are your thoughts on censorship, and banning books?

9). Who do you tag?

If you agree or disagree with my answers or want to answer the questions yourselves, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

A Letter to Girls That are Younger Than Me

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I recently wrote a letter to women that were older than me. It was a fun, almost therapeutic experience for me, and I wanted to continue the idea with a letter to girls that were younger than me.

To Girls and Woman That are Younger Than Me: 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know there are millions of things flying through your mind at any given moment, so I appreciate the time. 

To those of you under the age of ten, how are you feeling? Life is probably still relatively simple at this point. You wear sundresses, spend your afternoons playing outside with the frogs and the flowers, and eat whatever you want. Don’t forget these habits later in life. There will come a time where you will feel that you need to watch your eating habits and stop playing outside so much. 

Don’t mind those scuffed knees and rosy cheeks. They are signs of bliss. Spend as much time outdoors as you can. Try to show kindness in any form you can to those around you, and avoid those that don’t do the same. 

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You will probably be told by adults that a boy who is mean to you actually likes you. Avoid those boys like the plague. A young man who thinks that showing affection with abuse is not worth your time, even at your young age. 

Don’t be afraid to speak loudly, take up space, and to say no. You have those options. You will need this later in life as well. If something doesn’t feel right, question it and tell a trusted adult. You deserve to feel comfortable – just because you are a child doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be listened to when something is wrong.

To those of you between the ages of ten and twenty, I am sorry. This is most likely not the best time for you. You are dealing with everything from periods and pimples to dating and trying to figure out the rest of your life. 

Don’t forget the advice for the younger girls a few paragraphs ago. It applies to you too. Boys that are mean to get your attention are not worth a second of your time. Find a boy who looks at you like he’s just hit a home run or he’s seeing the ocean for the first time, not one who teases you and pulls your hair. 

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Your body is changing a lot, and constantly. Your weight will fluctuate, your skin and hair will probably be oily, and you’ll grow upright like a weed. I know it’s an impossible task, but try to love yourself through these changes. Keep eating all of your meals, make sure to get enough carbs/calories/vitamins. Wash your face often, use deodorant, and spend time exercising outside. The sunshine and activity will do wonders for your mental and physical health. Try and focus on how you feel, and not so much on how you look. 

You will probably start dating and come across some awful, awful people. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t listen, appreciate, and respect you. No one has the right to make you feel inferior, or to make you do something you don’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with waiting for something better. I wish I had. 

Drinking or drugs may seem really cool, but they aren’t. You will feel like awful the next day and get into trouble with your parents or the police. There will be plenty of mornings to wake up hungover as an adult, why do it now? But if you do, don’t be afraid to ask a trusted adult to pick you up and get you out of the situation. They may still be angry but they will appreciate that you didn’t get in the car and drive drunk. 

One more piece of advice that cannot be overstated- school is not overrated. Do your best. Whether you go to college or not, you will thank yourself later.

Most importantly, don’t grow up too fast. You are going to be an adult for the rest of your life, and you’ll only be the age that you are once. Try and savor things like your family members, free time, and not having to pay bills yet. This time will go by so fast, you’ll wonder why you were in such a hurry. 

Thank you for reading, it means so much to me! Happy Sunday.

Thoughts on My Heart and Other Black Holes

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“I once read in my physics book that the universe begs to be observed, that energy travels and transfers when people pay attention. Maybe that’s what love really boils down to–having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you’re encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy.”

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This past week I stumbled upon a young adult novel that interested me enough to listen to the audiobook. When a YA book makes an attempt to delve into a deep, dark subject, I am almost always intrigued by it.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga talks about teenagers who truly, actually want to die. They have experienced horrible events in their life and are depressed enough to want to end it all with suicide. The story follows a young Turkish girl named Aysel, whose father is in prison for murder. The town looks down on her because of her father and she has no one to turn to. She has a very real depression that I could relate to and understand.

During these struggles, she is in a physics class that teaches her about energy. While wishing to die she struggles with the idea that energy can be transferred, but never destroyed. What happens when she dies? To the energy of her life?

She decides that she can’t kill herself alone, she needs a ‘suicide partner.’ By stumbling upon a forum online, she discovers a young man her age named Roman. Roman also wants to kill himself for personal reasons, and even has a specific date that he wants to do it- April 7th.

Aysel and Roman become closer over the course of the month that they have before April 7th arrives. They discover the horrible, twisted things that have brought them to this point, and more about each other and themselves than they thought they would.

So, initially, for the first 75% of the book at least, I loved it. The depression was extremely brutal and realistic, ESPECIALLY for a book geared towards a young audience. The author tackles tricky conversations about mental illness, crime, and the difficulties of growing up when no one is there for you very well.

*This part of the review contains some spoilers*

For me, the issue I had came in about three quarters of the way through this novel. Aysel very quickly ‘recovers’ from this deep depression she is suffering, and her whole outlook on life has changed. She realizes that life IS worth living, mostly because she has found this boy who listens to her and understands her feelings.

I understand the appeal of writing the story this way. It made the ending a whole lot easier to stomach and it gave the reader hope at the conclusion of this book. However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that Aysel was able to almost completely change her outlook on life overnight without ever having a conversation with an adult or professional, or seeking any kind of mental health advice. It just seems dangerous for such a young audience to read something like that.

While Roman’s mental health issues stayed consistent throughout the entire novel (even throughout the hopeful ending), Aysel’s did not. It did not ring true for me, and I couldn’t understand the immediate and sudden change that this character had.

The idea that this young, depressed girl would immediately ‘perk up’ and get over her very serious issues after meeting a handsome boy who feels the same way is dangerous and I can’t support it. 

Depression doesn’t come and go like this. Mental illness takes hard work, perseverance, and people by your side to help you. I would only never recommend this book to someone younger to me because I thought the ending portrayed the exact opposite sentiment.

If you have read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts and whether or not you agree or disagree!