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!

Why I Love Reading

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I have no favorites for this week, yet again. There are several books that I am in the middle of that I LOVE, but nothing I have finished. Between moving, travelling, new jobs, etc. I just haven’t had the time I normally do.

So instead, I am going to share some benefits of reading for you all from my perspective. Now I’m not here to preach to you or act superior if you DON’T like to read, I’m just sharing what I have experienced and why I love it so damn much.

Every since I learned how, reading has been my absolute favorite hobby. It runs in my family, and anytime I am at a reunion we are usually talking about whatever books we’re into at the time. When I was in elementary school I read everything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorites included E.B. White’s books, Harriet the Spy, and Harry Potter, and while my taste has advanced somewhat, my love for it has never gone away. Here are some of the reasons I have always loved spending my time with book!

1. You Always Have Something To Do

If your phone dies, the power goes out, you’re stuck in a waiting room, etc, having a book or magazine can save you from monumental boredom. Whenever I leave the house I have two things to read with me at all times- you never know when you might need them. This has helped me in so many situations, I am always amazed at how much extra waiting time I have when I go out.

To be safe I normally bring whatever physical book I am currently reading as well as my Kindle. That way I can’t run out of things to read.

If you aren’t sure how much free time you will have, bring something short! It doesn’t have to be a 1300 page Russian novel to be a decent way to spend your time. Find some short stories that you like, or a magazine article that piqued your interest.

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2. Your Vocabulary/Learning

One of my absolute favorite things about reading is learning new words. No matter if it’s a book for a younger audience (for example, A Series of Unfortunate Events has helped my vocabulary immensely), or a classic work of literature (The Count of Monte Cristo is a good one for vocabulary expansion)- there are new things and words to learn.

I am no longer in school and I miss it horribly, so I often read solely to learn new things, and improving my vocabulary is a definite advantage to that as well.

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3. Escaping/Stress Relief

My main reason for loving reading as passionately as I do is the freedom from everyday life. Nothing is more of a stress relief than entering a fictional world for a few hours and letting responsibilities melt away.

No matter what you are interested in, there is a book out there for you. I’ve yet to find a subject that doesn’t have at least one wonderful book written about it.

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What are your main reasons for reading?

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! 

Vine in the Attic

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April is National Poetry Month! I wanted to share something I wrote recently. It’s definitely not great, but I am just excited to be writing poetry again- it’s a passion of mine that really helps my stress levels.

 

I am twisted like gnarled hands

Dusty, clenched in defiance.

 

Left behind in an old flower pot,

I have forgotten how to thrive.

 

I climb, slowly

Looking for the comfort of light.

 

While it is not quick work,

I steadily make my way to a more hopeful place.

 

Up the attic wall, leaves quaking

Through cobwebs and memories,

 

I make my way to the cold window pane

The light steely, harsh even, but rich in comfort.

 

I have found a new kingdom for myself

Dancing with the dust on this windowsill.

Being Honest About Struggling

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I’m making this post because I couldn’t bring myself to type up and complete my Weekly Favorites yesterday. It may seem unimportant, but to me it seemed to be masking a bigger issue.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may know that I suffer from some mental health issues. It’s a part of my life that I am working very hard on, and constantly. Different medicines, schedules, diets- these past few years have been full of trial and error.

It’s not a perfect system, but years of hard work have paid off. I get enough sunshine and exercise to make my days better. I take a combination of medicine that does it’s job. Some days are wonderful, and some are not.

The past month or so has been more bad than good. The combined stress of moving to a different state in a month, working 3 different jobs, keeping up with creative projects, etc. have really taken their toll. I have been gaining weight, losing sleep, and dealing with a variety of moods. Because of this, I just haven’t been able to read enough for this week’s favorites post.

My first inclination was to just ignore the lack of a post all together. It doesn’t really matter right? This blog isn’t being read by thousands of people and my book posts are probably not the most popular ones, and yet I want to share this with you all.

If I am going to talk openly about mental health, then I have to talk openly about all of it. I can’t romanticize it and I can’t hide any of it- even the ugly parts. Gaining weight rapidly because I overeat when I’m stressed or upset is shameful to me, something I would never want to openly admit, but it shouldn’t be. If we are going to make any progress with the awful stigmas that surround mental illness, we have to be open. We have to be honest and willing to share our thoughts and feelings.

So here it is. Working hard on your mental health and taking medications is not an instant cure or easy in the least. There are days where I can’t convince myself to go outside or to bathe or even to make breakfast. Sometimes I wake up with anxiety so intense I have to practice breathing exercises to calm down. Mental illness is hard, horrible, and can even seem disgusting.

I am okay with these issues. I remind myself that I am not giving up, I attempt to be kind to myself, and I go to bed knowing and hoping that things will get better. They always do.

I have to love myself. Not so others will, but because others do.

Forgive my personal detour in the middle of the week, I just wanted to be completely honest about what is going on. My weekly favorites will return next week, and hopefully a happier, easier time will as well.