Life Update: June 24, 2017

Hello all! It’s been literally two weeks since I posted anything. I’m sorry about that. I just wasn’t very motivated to write for the blog, and I’ve been anxious about finding a job. I have had several promising interviews, so let’s hope I find something soon.

I have been posting videos over on my YouTube channel, the most recent one being a review of Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. I meant to also post written reviews here, but obviously that didn’t happen in this case. If you enjoy bookish videos, feel free to check out the channel.

I also enjoy Tumblr and I run this blog dedicated to all things period drama and fantasy. I enjoy making edits and gifs for it. So, again, if you’re into that, feel free to check that out.

Other than that, I’ve been playing video games and reading. Not much else to report on, honestly. It’s almost the end of the month, so at the beginning of July I’ll have several new posts coming. I love the beginnings of things.

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Life Update: June 10, 2017

I haven’t been around this past week, and I’ve made zero posts since my last life update. That’s all due to my mental health. I just haven’t felt like participating.

What have I been doing instead? Reading a bit (by listening to audiobooks), playing video games, and watching YouTube.

This past week I did get an in-person interview, and they said they’d let me know in a week. I hope I have a job the next time I do a life update post! That would be awesome.

At the end of the last post, I promised I would start a bullet journal, and I did!

bujo

I found a cheap one at Michael’s that even has the dot graph. I also got a great collection of colorful pens. I’ve been updating my trackers and other things daily. Maybe in the future I’ll go into more detail on how I use it, but right now it’s brand new.

Another exciting thing that happened is the publisher sent me a copy of Hunger by Roxane Gay. This is one of my most anticipated books. I can’t wait to read it. It comes out on June 13 and I highly recommend you pick it up. I know it’s going to be awesome.

hunger

I did go and see Wonder Woman in theaters and I adored it. I love superhero movies in general, but the last few Marvel movies haven’t been great to me. I’m getting bored with them. I feel like the DC movies are darker and grittier, and that’s what I like.

The audiobook I’ve been listening to almost nonstop is The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I finally finished it! You can read my immediate thoughts on Goodreads, but I ended up giving it three stars.

The next audiobook I’m going to focus on is Tears We Cannot Stop, and I’m also trying to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on ebook.

Life Update: June 3, 2017

Hello all! I hope you’re doing well. This past week has been a better one for me, at least regarding my mental health. I was feeling pretty good all week and didn’t even need any depression naps! I didn’t do much that can be listed here. I went most of the week without reading anything, but I did manage to film several videos. I also didn’t apply to many jobs, but I did have a phone interview. So it was a pretty average week.

One of my relatives gave me a graduation card with a gift card to the Olive Garden, a favorite restaurant of mine.

margarita
a strawberry-mango frozen margarita

I’ve gotten some other cash, but no real big gifts. I wasn’t expecting any, either, since my family doesn’t have the money for that. With the money, though, I really want to purchase an expansion pack for The Sims 4. Right now, I just have the base game. There are so many expansion, game, and stuff packs for it, but I’m going to wait until they’re on sale. I love playing The Sims and listening to an audiobook or podcast.

Another game I’ve been playing a lot this week is Skyrim. I have a pretty big game library for my PS4 (about 15 games), but I like to just play one game at a time until I finish it. However, Skyrim is so huge that I don’t know if I’ll ever finish it. A friend told me they played it for 6 years!

I started a new writing project more than a week ago and I’ve failed to do anything with it again. I’ve also failed at walking everyday, or reading often enough, or generally feeling organized. That’s why I’m going to start a bullet journal this week. I have tons of empty notebooks. Unfortunately, they’re all lined, but all just have to deal with that. I also know nothing about starting a bullet journal, but I’ll learn. Hold me to this! If I can get organized, I can do more. I believe that.

I watched the entirety of season five of House of Cards. No spoilers here! I enjoyed the season just like I enjoy the show overall. However, I did feel like the pacing and editing got a bit messy in the second half of the season. It was distracting for me.

It seems like I usually end these posts with a reading update, so here it is now! I have finished two books since my last post. Woo! I talked about all the books I read in May in my wrap up post that went up the other day. Now, if you look at my Goodreads, I’m “currently reading” seven books. I need to finish some of these.

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is on Overdrive, but it expired. So I have to wait until I can get it again. That one is at the forefront for me. As soon as I get it, I’ll be listening to it non-stop!

I also want to get a non-fiction book in before the end of June (and the end of my spring season), so I chose the audiobook of Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson. I bought this one on Audible.

A third audiobook I started a while ago is The Two Towers. I struggle a bit with the LOTR books, but I would love to finish this series either this season or next season.

The oldest book on my currently reading is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There’s no reason I can’t get through that quickly. I’m reading it on my ereader.

I also have started both Gods Behaving Badly and No One Can Pronounce My Name. I haven’t gotten far in either of these, but I would like to finish them.

Finally, the next NetGalley book I chose to read is What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons. I have yet to start it.

Generally, I like to read three books at a time: an audiobook (either on Overdrive or Audible), an ebook/hard copy book on my TBR (meaning books I’ve bought), and a NetGalley book. Seven is way too many! Maybe by next week I’ll have gotten through a couple.

beach
a local beach I visited on a sunny day this past week

Reading Wrap Up: May 2017

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This month I managed to finish three books, which I feel okay with. In my reading plans post, I stated that I want to read 3 to 4 books each month. I was really hoping to get at least 4 in during May, but it just didn’t happen. The first half of the month was spent in school since I was wrapping up my final semester, so I guess I can blame that. But also, my depression has been kicking in because it’s so hard to find a job. I’ve felt good the last week or so, though!

In the future, I may write out some new thoughts about the books I finish, but today I’m just copying and pasting what I wrote on Goodreads. I’m doing this because I plan on doing full reviews on each of these books.

sharp-objects-book-cover

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – ★★★ – I struggled a bit with this book because I found it predictable and still surprisingly disturbing. I think the characters are intriguing with so many issues unique to them. The characters make this story special. The mystery itself was rather full of tropes and, like I said, I predicted most of the surprises.

difficult women

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay – ★★★ – I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Opinions are my own. I never rate things half stars or quarter stars, but I’m going to make an exception for this book: It’s a 3.5 stars from me. The first third or half of the book I really struggled with and almost DNF’d it because I felt like I was just watching women get beat up. Then, in some stories, it seemed as though the reader was meant to sympathize with the abusers. I was getting rather frustrated. But I kept going, and eventually the stories came around to the emotion and meaning of relationships. These relationships were mostly romantic ones between men and women. I don’t think there were any homosexual relationships in the book, and that does annoy me because there was story after story after story that focused on a male/female romantic relationship. Enough seemed like enough. As you can tell, I have some issues with the book. However, the writing is wonderful and moving and powerful. It pulls you in and makes you really understand what these characters are feeling. My favorite in the collection is “North Country.” I also wanted to mention the fact that there are a few fantastical stories in this collection, but I think they fit because, on the whole, this collection seems to be about relationships, either good or bad ones. That’s why I’m also annoyed with the title of the book. Yes, we have some “strong” women in here that may make life “difficult” for men, but that doesn’t seem to be the focus here. I’m left wondering why this title was chosen, and part of me believes it’s because Gay is known to be a feminist and a feminist-y title would sell well.

the end we start from

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter – ★★ – I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions are my own. I can’t say much about this book because it’s so short, and therefore I’m not sure what’s a spoiler. But it’s a story about a woman and her baby and how they’re surviving in a dystopian type of future. The writing is good and very descriptive at times, but it surprisingly lacks emotional depth. There’s also no big, overarching plot points or character descriptors. For example, none of the characters have complete names. They’re just referred to as letters – R, Z, O, etc. For the first third of the book, I thought this may be because the author wants the reader to latch onto the emotions of the story, which center around a woman trying to survive with her baby. But without anything of substance to hold onto, the story came off as shallow and underdeveloped. I have a lot of questions that I can’t pose here because they may be spoilerly, and the story just fails to answer any of them. After the first third, I thought the book was hitting its stride, and I was really enjoying it. I read the entire thing in two sittings, which is rare for me. But as I was reaching the end, I realized I wasn’t going to get any answers, and became annoyed and frustrated. I think this is one you can skip.

Most Anticipated New Releases: June 2017

I put this short list of books together rather quickly because I didn’t really plan on doing this sort of thing on my blog. But then I realized that I am paying attention to new books and publishing now that I’m out of college, so why not start talking about it?

borne

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer – Science Fiction – June 15
hunger

Hunger by Roxane Gay – NonFiction: Memoir – June 13

lost history

The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling – Historical Fiction/Cultural: Africa – June 6
too fat

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen – NonFiction: Feminism – June 20

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

incidents book cover

This review is going up just as my video review is going up, too! If you like watching book reviews (aka, BookTube!), feel free to check out my channel.

With this book, I had to read and explore its contents for a lengthy paper over the last few months in my final semester of my Bachelor’s program. I, therefore, gave this book a lot more attention than I think is normal for me. While we didn’t discuss this one in class, I personally pulled out themes and issues in order to write a cohesive paper. (I got an A on it by the way!)

Incidents was written in the 1850s by Harriet Jacobs after she had escaped slavery, and the majority of the book centers on her desire to protect her children from slavery. She has to deal with lurid propositions and threats from her master, which start when she is just 14. I don’t think she is ever physically beaten, though her master slaps her a couple of times throughout the book. She does describe seeing what other slaves go through, and she’s of course in constant fear.

This story is a memoir, though when it was published no one believed a slave, let alone a female slave, could really write her own story. It was commonly accepted that a white person wrote this story as abolitionist propaganda, and for decades people considered this a work of fiction. However, in the 20th century, researchers connected the names of the characters to real life people. (Jacobs changed everyone’s name in the book, including her own.)

I must admit I’ve never read a narrative written by a slave before. In fact, I believe my only direct experience has been watching the film, 12 Years A Slave. That is a brutal movie that depicts slavery as I had always imagined it. Incidents, however, depicts it in a different way. Jacobs is in constant contact with her grandmother, who has her own house near Jacobs’ master. Jacobs even sleeps there most of the time. This was confusing to me, that a master would give a slave so much, well, freedom. But I suppose it happened because her master favored her, and wanted her to do certain things for him. I trust what is written here, but it was a new depiction of slavery that I didn’t expect.

Additionally, when trying to secure her freedom, Jacobs does something that I think is nearly impossible. However, considering what slaves faced daily, I do believe she actually did it. What I’m talking about is the fact that she spent years hiding in a small attic, unable to stand up right for most of that time. It’s shocking that someone could go through that.

Because it was difficult for me to really connect with the story Jacobs was telling though I wanted to believe her, I sometimes felt she could have been embellishing the truth. Even though this story was her autobiography, it was also a work of propaganda to help people understand what slaves went through, and therefore to help abolish slavery. Could she have made things seem a bit more over-the-top in order to help her cause? I’m not sure. Many times she addresses the reader directly, telling them they cannot understand her situation because they’ve never lived as she has. It’s a very emotional piece.

I guess I still struggle with how true it is, but I’m inclined to believe it. I also enjoyed reading it. I wanted to know how she would get to her freedom, turning the pages quickly even though it was an assignment. I rated the book 5 stars, though it’s somewhat difficult to rate and review memoir. I fall back on how good the writing is, I think. I know some people would disagree because someone’s personal story shouldn’t necessarily be boiled down to that. But if I find, as subjectively as possible, that the story is written well, then I enjoy it, and I rate it higher. However, each memoir must be considered separately because one topic can be so different from the next.

I would recommend this one to just about anyone. It’s not very graphic because Jacobs was aware of her audience. She didn’t want to offend them. Instead, she pulls on their heartstrings, hoping for an emotional response to her story. Like I said earlier, this is a very different slavery story than I’m used to, and I think it’s better to have various narratives out there. Read it!

(There’s also a video review up on my YouTube channel if you’re interested!)

The E-Reader Book Tag

I’m back today with book tag! I liked the questions in this one since it’s all about e-readers, obviously. I love my e-reader and the fact that I can get such cheap books for it.

What support do you use to read your e-books? An e-reader, a tablet, or the PC? I have a pretty old Samsung Galaxy tablet, and on that I mostly use the Google Play Books and Amazon Kindle apps.

How many e-books have you read since you started the new “digital fashion”? Hm, including all my re-reads and such, I’d guess around 40 or 50. That doesn’t seem like a lot to me!

What is the language of your ebooks? English. I can’t speak or read anything else!

Buy them or take advantage of free promotions and books? I’ll buy books from Google Play, but mostly when they’re on sale, like around $1.99. I follow a bunch of newsletters to discover deals on ebooks. I also get free advance copies of books from NetGalley.

Do you enjoy reading classics or new authors? I’ll read the occasional classic, but mostly I’ve been reading recent books.

How many e-books do you have? I’m not sure of the exact number, but I keep a Google Doc of all the books I own that I haven’t read, including ebooks and physical books and audiobooks. I have 268 total books, and most of those are ebooks.

What is your biggest supplier of ebooks? Definitely Google Play.

Did you completely adhere to the Digital Reading or do you still live in the Age of the Physical Book? I think I live in both worlds, and sometimes my attitude towards ebooks differs. I’ll be really into them for a while, and then I’ll really want to just read hard copies.