Top Ten Tuesday: Changes in My Reading Life (that I’m Thankful for) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Okay, so I know “Changes in My Reading Life” was last week’s prompt, but since this week’s TTT topic is a “Thankful Freebie,” I figured I could still make it work by altering my list to “Changes in My Reading Life that I’m Thankful for”.

Wow, reflecting on all the semi-recent changes to my bookish life was easier than I thought? And kind of refreshing and calming? I didn’t realize my reading had changed so much over the last few years!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.


1. Book Blogging (of course!)

I didn’t start blogging until August 2017 and I cannot imagine my life without participating in the book blogging world now. You all have made me so much more aware of and educated on the book world, and I couldn’t be more grateful. (wow, look at that cheese ๐Ÿ˜) Lol, I’ve added way too many books to my TBR because of you guys, but I guess we’ll still call that a plus ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Goodreads (another given!)

I didn’t have a Goodreads account until my freshman year of college (and I only created one at the encouragement of my roommate). Now, I’m the one always pushing others to make accounts. Goodreads is such an amazing tool–I don’t know how I would keep track of all of the books I’ve read, my bookish thoughts, and my TBR. Not to mention, I quite appreciate the giveaways ๐Ÿ‘Œ

3. Online Bookish Friends

It’s so great to find other random booknerds online and to scream or rant about books together. I’d be so alone if it weren’t for all you amazing people!

4. ARCs!

Thank you Netgalley and Goodreads Giveaways for occasionally granting me access to ARCs! I don’t get approved super often, but when I do, reading and reviewing ARCs makes me feel so cool ๐Ÿ˜Ž

(I promise, the rest of this list is more unique)

5. Branching into Different Genres

During my teenage years, I primarily stuck to YA fantasy, but because because of blogging and my college literature classes from the last few years, I’ve started branching into contemporary, historical fiction, romance, Middle-grade, adult books, and more! I still not super well-read in all of these categories, but I’m improving with every book!

6. Exploring Different Book Formats

This is a more recent development, but I’ve begun listening to audiobooks (okay, only 1 so far, but still). I’ve also been getting into graphic novels more and more. In fact, I’m actually doing a portfolio project for my Children’s and YA Lit class involving graphic novels.
Oh, and I can’t forget the webcomics! I’m so obsessed; I read so many, guys
(someday soon I’ll make a post about it, I promise)

7. Reading More than One Book at a Time

As a kid and teen, I generally stuck to one book at time. But now, out of necessity from my many English classes, I’ve gotten a better handle on juggling many books at the same time. It’s still not my preferred method of reading, but I do find it satisfying when I finish like 3 books within a couple days of each other!

8. Jotting Down Thoughts While I Read

What started as mere note-taking for class books has become a routine in all the books that I read nowadays, whether I’m reading the book for class, for review, or for fun (which is nice, because it gives me the option to write a review for any of the books I read). Though most of my note-taking isn’t very intelligent (a lot of it is just writing “OMG LOL” or “FRICK YES, you go girl”), it definitely helps me collect my thoughts about a book.

9. Founding a Book Club

During my sophomore year of college, my friend and I founded our college’s first official bookclub! This has been my first time participating in a book club and I LOVE IT. Our club is still pretty small, but I’ve made some great IRL friends because of it. It’s so heartwarming to find other students/readers who love the same type of books as you. โค๏ธ

10. Being an English/Creative Writing Major

In case you guys didn’t know: I’m an English (with a Creative Writing emphasis) major! This means I take a bunch of literature and writing classes every semester aka I’m reading and writing all the time (which is quite helpful for my GR Goal tho). I’ve taken so many amazing classes because of my major: Ethnic American YA Lit, Novel Writing, Jane Austen & Pop Culture, Memoir Writing, and Children’s & YA Lit. I’ve never regretted this decision and I’ve benefited from it numerous ways: it’s helped encourage me to branch into new genres, develop new perspectives on literature and writing styles, and allowed me to form meaningful discussions and relationships with my professors. Y’all, I just love being an English major soooooo much.


What are some changes to your reading life that you’re thankful for? Do we have any that overlap? What was the theme of your TTT list this week?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments belowโ€“I would love to check them out!

October Wrap-Up: Can You Guess? Lots of Homework & Very Little (and Belated) Blogging

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(Let’s see, can I get this posted before November is almost over?? Update: I sorta did!?)

Dang it, I took another unexpected and unannounced hiatus. Sorry guys! Let’s see if we can get a couple regular posts in before the end of this semester, hmm?

Okay, to wrap-up October…ahhh, all these months of the semester are becoming blurs. I barely remember what I did this past week, let alone the last month. But I do know that I finished more books in October: a total of 6 as compared to the 4 I completed in September. And I completed my Goodreads goal, so that was cool! But other than that, it was homework…and more homework…and if not homework, stressing about homework…

Eek, let’s just dive into the books, shall we?


BOOKS READ:

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Books read in October! Not pictured: The Vine Witch.

1. The Vine Witch by Luanna G. Smith

BOOK COVER

Rating: 2.5 stars

I binge-read this book in a couple of days before a participating in a blog tour for it. At first, when I was originally tired after finishing the book and scrambling to write a review for it at 1:00am, I thought it was fairly decent, but looking back at it, I’m gonna have to lower my rating to (at most) a 2.5 stars. The book was not at all what I expected it to be and I wanted to see it fleshed out in so many more ways. You can read my original review here.

2. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Rating: 4.5 stars

Such an insightful look into “Hillbilly” (Appalachian white-working class) culture and social class, which J.D. Vance relays through historical facts, family history, and instances from his own personal life. This book was fascinating: both hilarious and saddening. Vance has a great ability to bring his family to life among the pages.

3. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Rating: 3.5 stars

It’s been a long time since I read a John Green book (I read The Fault in Our Stars about 6-7 years ago) I loved the prose, the focus on Aza’s mental illness, and the inside look into Aza’s thought process, but I really struggled with the plot?!? Probably because there wasn’t much of one.

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Rating: 3.75 stars

This was my first time ever listening to an audiobook!
Good lord tho, this book was so looooong. But I’m surprised to say that I’m glad that I read it? Tartt’s excessively descriptive writing style is infuriating, yet beautiful and impressive.ย  I would gladly read a companion novel about one of the side characters and I’m definitely intrigued to try one of Tartt’s other novels.
If you love long novels, descriptive writing, and/or character-driven novels, I recommend giving this try, but if you don’t like any of those things, you’ll probably be bored out of your mind with this book.

5. The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang

Rating: 4.5 stars

Before picking up this memoir, I don’t think I had ever heard of the Hmong before. In this family memoir, Yang doesn’t ask for pity as she lays out the never-ending and brutal trials of the Hmong, a people without a country. Yang’s book weaves between cultural legends, family history, and personal experience, specifically her relationship with her paternal grandmother. I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a memoir-reader.

6. Mile Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds

Rating: 4.25 stars

So many powerful books this month, and this book did not deviate from the trend. Jason Reynolds takes an in-depth look at both Miles Morales as a teen and a superhero, and I was ASTOUNDED! Everyone should read this it, especially if you love superhero stories and/or books like The Hate U Give.


November TBR:

  • Normal People– My bookclub’s final read of the semester! (Technically, I started this the other day, but shhhh, we’re gonna keep it on here).
  • The Poet X– My college’s diverse YA book club is reading this book this month, and I’m hoping I can find the time to join them!
  • The Queen of Nothing– If possible, y’all know I’m gonna try to drop everything to read this one when it releases.

Random Life Updates:

  • Fall break was at the beginning of the month and I got to go home and see my dog! (and do laundry–the only reasons I go home on break ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  • The following 3 weeks after fall break were hella crazy with all the projects due across all of my classes.
  • As I mentioned above, I listened to my first ever audiobook! It was The Goldfinch and guys, it was 32 HOURS LONG. I haven’t completely converted to audiobooks now, I will def give more of them a try in the future.
    • Also, please appreciate this actually (for once) pretty book pic I took:

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  • My bookclub met a couple times to finish discussing The Goldfinch and then to begin discussing Howl’s Moving Castle!
  • I completed my Goodreads challenge! I’ve now surpassed my goal of 50 books.
  • I attended my first college writers event as an intern for the series! I got to meet, talk, and eat food with Heather Sellers and Mira Bartok!
  • Even though I didn’t technically wear my costume until the day after Halloween, I actually dressed up for Halloween this year! Because I’m a low-effort gal, I chose Jessica Jones, since all I need to do was buy a gray scarf!

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  • My housemates and I marathoned the Hunger Games and Twilight movies, which was honestly great.
  • Again, there’s probably other things I did, but I’ve completely forgotten?!

How was your October? Are you also crazy busy now with the end of semester/year approaching? What have you guys been reading and doing lately? Again, please update me on all the happenings! ๐Ÿ˜†

WWW Wednesday: October 30th, 2019

WWW Wednesday

Squeezing in another post before the end of the month so I can pretend I’ve been at least somewhat regularly posting this October! These past 3 weeks have been super busy with a bunch of projects and papers due back-to-back, but I think I’ve finally hit a lighter period in the semester (at least for the next 2-ish weeks), so expect to see some more regular content and activity from me! (I will finally finishing responding to comments on my Fall TBR, I promise!)

Also, happy almost Halloween! I’m so excited for Halloween this year; this is gonna be the first time in a couple years that I’ve dressed up! I’m going as Jessica Jones, mostly because it required minimal effort in putting together the costume (all I had to do was go out and buy a gray scarf–I already had a black leather jacket and boots), but also because I’m trash for superheroes (super-heroines)!

Also, for those of you who donโ€™t know: WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer 3 โ€˜whatโ€™ questions about your reading.


What are you currently reading?

  • The Storm Crow– Yeah, technically I’m still reading this book, but I haven’t touched it since the middle of September. Hopefully I can find the time to finish it soon tho??
  • Howl’s Moving Castle– I’m reading this for my book club and I’M LOVING IT SO MUCH!! It’s such a light, fun, and whimsical read. I can’t wait to discuss it with my friends and then re-watch the movie!
  • Gabi, a Girl in Pieces– Started reading this book yesterday for my Children’s & YA Lit class! I love the journal-entry style and how it interacts with so many relevant issues for teens (e.g. body-shaming, teen pregnancy, sexuality)

What did you recently finish reading?

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Last week, my Children’s and YA Lit class finished reading Miles Morales: Spider-Man and it was so good! Jason Reynolds is such a real, raw, and hard-hitting writer, and I definitely need to read more from him in the future (the only other book of his that I’ve read is Long Way Down). In Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Reynolds takes you down an intricate and complex look into Miles Morales’s life. This book is definitely a character-driven story about Miles Morales, not his alter-ego, Spider-Man, but don’t let that dissuade you! There are so many important messages in this book about standing up for what’s right and the necessity of fighting systemic racism and white supremacy. Books like these are the reason superhero stories are so great.

What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

  • The Poet X– One of my favorite profs just started a diverse YA bookclub at my college and this is their next read! I don’t know how likely I am to pick this up, since I’m already in 3 English class and running my own bookclub, but I downloaded the audiobook of this book (right before cancelling my Audible free trial, lol), so hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze it in!
  • Normal People– MY bookclub’s final read of the semester! I’ve heard mixed things on this book, but I’ve been eager to read it ever since I heard about its release in the US in the spring. Fingers crossed I enjoy it!

What are you all currently reading? Discover any new favorites recently? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

Are you doing anything fun for Halloween? Dressing up? Binge-eating candy? Let me know!

Also, if you participated in WWW Wednesday this week, feel free to drop the link in the comments; I would love to check it out!

September Wrap-Up: Another SUPER LATE post & College Busyness

monthly wrap up

Ahh, once again, I am VERY behind in posting my monthly wrap-up (lol, even more behind than last month). I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since I last posted?!? Sorry for randomly ghosting ya guys! Also, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on my Fall TBR post back at the end of September. I’m still working my way through the comments and I promise to respond to you all eventually!

Honestly, September is kinda blurring together with October for me, so I promise this won’t be a super long post! Reading-wise, I read 4 books, but they were all for class. I did a pinch of fun reading on the side, but I wasn’t able to finish any of those books. Luckily tho, all the books I read for class were incredible reads–nothing below a 4 stars!


BOOKS READ:

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(wow, I kinda had a color scheme going on in September, didn’t I?)

1. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Rating: 5 stars

OMG, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!?!? Louise Erdrich is an amazing writer, and that doesn’t change in writing kid lit. Many believe this book to be a better alternative to Little House on the Prairieย (whose descriptions and treatments of Native Americans is appalling).
Regardless, this book is so cute, pure, funny, and emotional and I highly recommend it if you’re trying to add more kid lit to your life! (trigger warnings for death of a loved one and depression tho).

2. Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Rating: 4.5 stars

This book was a reread for me (yikes, my first reread of the year, I really need to be rereading more…) and I enjoyed it even more the second time around! Julia Alvarez is another must-read author–I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future.
This book takes place in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s and gives insight into Trujilloโ€™s dictatorship through the eyes of Anita, a 12 year old girl. This book is so hard-hitting as you slowly watch Anita shred her naivety and tackle the realities of her situation.

3. Educated by Tara Westover

Rating: 4.25 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. I really liked it as a story, but I’m not surely how highly I value it as a memoir. Westover’s writing and plotline is completely captivating, but I wanted to see more of her internal struggles and her time at school. I wanted less focus on her family and her brother, and more focus on herself as an individual.

4. Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Rating: 4 stars

Another memoir, though this time I read it for my “Children’s and YA Lit” class as opposed to my memoir class. It was simultaneously fascinating and hard-hitting to read more about Japanese internment in America (I’ve previously read When the Emperor Was Divine).


OCTOBER TBR:

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I don’t know why I’m bothering to include this section with 5 days left of the month, but I hate to change my routine so… *shrugs*

  • Howl’s Moving Castle– I’m so excited to finally be reading this book (and I’m loving it so far)! I’ve seen the movie twice now and adored it, so I’m curious to see how the book compares (I’ve heard they’re a lot different!)
  • Gravemaidens– This isn’t going to happen, but let me dream, okay?

RANDOM LIFE UPDATES:

  • I failed the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I thought for sure I could achieve this without much stress, but school came upon me faster than I expected. I managed 16 books of my goal of 20. ๐Ÿ™ƒ
  • My bookclub had their first meeting and discussion! We discussed the first half of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (though of course I was behind and only like 20% of the way through the book, whoops)
  • My friends and I began this great weekly tradition of going to Applebee’s every Friday night for cheap drink and half-off appetizers. It’s been soooo fun, and I can’t wait till we go again!
  • I got to visit my grandparents for a weekend, and after many years of trying to plan accordingly, my roommate was finally able to come with me!
    • Sadly, it was kinda gloomy and rainy, so we weren’t able to go into the water, but we had a fun time walking the beach!

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  • Uhhhh, what else did I do??? I don’t even remember anymore. Lots of homework and stress-eating, ya know, the usual college life… ๐Ÿ˜…

How was your September? (lol, if you can even remember it) Are you also crazy busy with school/work/life? What have you guys been reading and doing lately? Please update me on all the happenings! ๐Ÿ˜†