Guest Post: Really Reading, by THE Elm

I CAN’T EVEN STOP SMILING RIGHT NOW.  I have Elm, THE Elm, on my blog today.  I’m still not sure that this is really happening.  Since I first found her about a year ago, she has been one of my biggest blogging idols, and now her writing is going to be on MY blog! Elm is a 17 year old blind lifestyle blogger, self proclaimed rebel, singer, writer, talker (I hope lol) and, most importantly today, reader.  It may seem strange to some people, a blind reader, which is exactly why the post that you’re about to read is so special.


“Reading”, by Elm

As a child, I was a voracious reader. Similarly to any other bookworm, I was lost in the stories and characters of authors who spun their tales to be understandable to a younger audience. I’d spend hours pouring over a good book, delighted and enthralled in equal measure. That feeling sounds familiar to anyone who loves to read.

However, I have never read a paperback or hardback book. I have never browsed the shelves, looking for a good title in my local library. Why, you may ask? I’m visually impaired, registered as blind; I read in braille or through audio books. It’s all I’ve ever known or will know: does that mean my experience is somehow separate, apart from those who read so-called “conventional” or paper books?

Braille books are, ordinarily, huge. I used to get them from the RNIB Library in bags, 3-5 volumes for each book. As a little girl, I could sometimes barely lift them: I’d heave them onto my knee and whenever they came in the post, I’d shriek with excitement. I used to sit in a little chair beside the CD player, listening to my favourite books that I got from the limited selection in my local library or, for my birthday or Christmas, bought from Waterstones. That, instead of computers or the TV, was what truly interested me. It was different, yet it was my world.

Now, instead of ordering from the library, I read eBooks – either by connecting a Braille display to my phone or by using the text-to-speech technology on my phone. I prefer the former because it lets me feel more connected but when I don’t have as much energy, I use the speech. As I’ve been blogging and now have more online friends who read, I’ve realised that my childhood experiences – even the way I read now – is quite simply separate from how people who can easily pick up a book can read.

I sometimes come across the argument that to read an eBook, or maybe even an audiobook, is not as enriching or is not the same as reading a book from the library or from a bookshop. To tackle this, you have to ask yourself: “What is reading?” Is it the ability to rest in the quiet spaces of a library, head bent over a book until nothing exists but the characters and stories? If so, I have not had that experience; then I haven’t truly read. However, I know that I have absorbed just as much as any other person. I’m not dissatisfied without the weight of a supposed “real” book in my hands – real being in quotation marks – and I am no worse off. I feel absolutely no sadness that I’ve never been able to see words on a page. Listening to an audiobook, for me, is still reading as it was how I could connect with such beloved characters.

It isn’t “a shame” that I can’t experience the wonder of print on a page. The methods by which I read are different – I may read differently – but the emotions I feel are the same. I’m still able to cry over books – which I do often – and I can still feel utter fury at what a character does. It neither decreases my enjoyment nor makes me feel somehow worse off. When I was little, it never crossed my mind that I was at a disadvantage.

This is just my story. There are a myriad of other people who, for whatever reason, cannot read print books. Some may not be able to afford to buy the books they would like in paperback or hardback; some books may not be available in their country; they may not have a library or good bookshop near them.  For some, ⠑⠠⠃⠕⠕⠅⠎ may be a “last resort” but it doesn’t mean that they are somehow less. I don’t know their stories and so I won’t try and speak for them. If others can’t access the same materials as some people, there are so many other ways to read than the traditional.

Reading can be subjective. In the same way that human thoughts and behaviour can’t be assigned to different boxes, the way that people read and react to what they read can’t be categorised so easily. Some people, for instance, will prefer eBooks to Print books and vice versa; nobody should be shamed for that. However, those that can’t access one or the other aren’t necessarily unhappy with it, in the case of myself. Just because an idea is different doesn’t mean it’s somehow less.

If information is subject to interpretations in books, surely the way in which it can be read can also be different? To that effect, if different interpretations are as valid as each other, can’t that be applied to the way people read?

What do you think – what is reading to you? Is there a definition of “reading”, or may that idea be up to the reader who interprets the words?


Love this post? Make sure you go visit Elm @ Just Call me Elm or Something and jump into her world.

 

August Intro: TBR and Future Goals

I actually cannot believe that it’s August, because that means I’M LEAVING FOR COLLEGE SOON. WAY TOO SOON. WAY WAY WAY TOO SOON.  Don’t get me wrong I’m super excited I’m just freaking out too. And you guys should be too, because gods only know how much I’m going to be able to blog in college.  It’s a whole new world out there and I’m not sure if I’m ready to experience it.  Time management? Like WHAT? Remind me what that is again?  Since it’s the last month of summer, I’m going to try to make a reasonable* TBR and set goals that I think I can genuinely reach.  Here we go.

*yes, yes, I know reasonable isn’t really my strong suit.  But I’ll succeed this time, I PROMISE (cue awkward laughing)

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Ebook / eARCs

Not the Only SkyThe Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendSelect (Untitled #1)

  1. Not the Only Sky— Yes, yes I know I’ve been reading this for three months and so shouldn’t be putting other books on this list too since I really need to finish this one, but I promise I’ve been putting work in on it recently.  It’s not that bad, really.
  2. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend— I got this book from JellyBean, they finally opened it up the the US (YAY), and I can’t wait to read it. It looks adorably fun and the ultimate bookish book so CAN’T WAIT.
  3. Select— This is an October ARC that I desperately want to finish before October, which is why it’s on the chart in August. That should mean that I’ll finish it by late September.

Physical Books

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1)The Valley of Horses (Earth's Children, #2)Big Little LiesThose Girls

  1. Clan of the Cave Bear— I’m already about halfway through this one (it’s only the 26th as I write this, so maybe I’ve finished it by now, but I’m not gonna update my July Wrap or this post, so let’s pretend and it’ll all be okay) and I FREAKING LOVE IT.  AND IT’S A SERIES.  My mom sort of forced me to start, and it’s so well written it makes me work to read it but yet is actually a great story I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this beauty.
  2. Valley of the Horses— The Clan of the Cave Bear Sequel, ya’ll (i’m not sure what’s gotten into me).  I’m not sure if i’ll read these both one after the other or interject one in between, but I can’t wait.  Can’t wait at all.
  3. Big Little Lies— This has made several appearances on my TBR, but this is gonna be the month that I will truly do it.  I like Liane Moriarty books, they’re predictably constant in their 4 star-ness, and plus I want to watch the TV show, so it’ll be a double win.
  4. Those Girls— I got this book at the library for 50 cents, and it looks incredible, and is in perfect condition.  It’s a light paperback, so I’m putting it on the TBR solely to bring to the beach with me.

Audiobooks

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

  1. Strange the Dreamer— This is 18.5 hours, so I think it’ll be the only one I’ll finish this month, but it’s also something I’m VERY VERY VERY EXCITED to read.  I can’t believe it finally came in on Overdrive.  now I just have to finish it before it expires.

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Blogging

Reach 450 Followers– I have so much trouble setting this goal every month, because either I dream wayyyyy too big or I don’t dream at all and assume that literally only 1 person will find me and want to follow me, because let’s be honest who would really want to follow me.  I think 450 is a solid goal, and it’ll make me super happy to get there!

Post a Review Every Friday– I think that this will be an easy goal, it’s just a matter of sitting down and actually writing the posts.  I already have 2 scheduled, and I’ve read enough books to have one for every Friday, it’s just a matter of writing them.

Find 3 New Blogs to Follow– I haven’t “gotten out” into the blogging world in a long time, and it’s sort of stalling me out in terms of new followers and also just enjoying the blogging community.  I want to make sure I follow at least 3 blogs that I GENUINELY ENJOY this month, and comment consistently on their posts.

Comment on Blog Posts More– This sort of relates to the last one, but I want to make sure I’m commenting on my current bloggy friends whose posts I already love and enjoy, because I need to KEEP UP MY FRIENDSHIPS.  Yes, Joce, this takes work.

Writing

Finish outlining Chemical Capitalists– I set this aside for a long time now, but I’m starting to get the feeling where I NEED to work on it again, and so hopefully August will be the month where I crank through and write my outline.  I epically failed camp nano and so this will be a good makeup month to get me on track for real NaNo in November.

Decide what I want to do with my Calipso story and Walk story– I wrote a half outline for Walk, and I’ve been thinking about this other story for a while, and I just want to think and figure out which one I want to work on first, or if I want to put CC before either of them.

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What are your plans for August? Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What do you think?

joce-sign-off


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July Wrap: A Slow Month Where I Bought A LOT

I can’t believe it’s already the end of JULY and as of right now, I haven’t even gone to the beach.  Once.  Like, who even am I? I’m not sure anymore and I’m having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS about it because the beach is actually my favorite place in the whole world and I’m… not going!?!?!  Not that that has anything to do with books, or writing, meaning that you guys don’t care at all, so to the real post (which is markedly shorter than my normal wrapups but idk):

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Physical Books

Lola

  1. Lola (4/5)— This was an ARC that I won from LibraryThing, and I was super excited to finally get around to reading it.  The plot lived up to expectations and beyond, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the actual style of writing.  I would recommend, but I’m not sure I would run out to buy something else by the author.

Audiobooks (weirdly there’s a lot of these)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai UndercitySave Me

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian (4/5)— I listened to this book in the car on the way out to Colorado with my family, and thought it was the perfect family read.  The narrator was the author, which was cool because then you knew it was being read exactly as it was supposed to be, and although it took me a bit to get into the Native American Accent, once I did it was really enjoyable.
  2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers (4/5)-– This book took me FOREVER to read just because I kept forgetting about it, and you need to listen to it for long periods of time in order to get into it/understand, but I adored it once I got into it.  There’s so many characters and you hear lots of different people’s stories all intertwined, but if you’re willing to pay attention it’s worth the read.
  3. Save Me (3/5)— wtf happened to this book.  It started off SO STRONG and I was going to give it a much better rating, but then it went all magical unrealistic mom save the world big conspiracy that only she can uncover save the world.  Like, ummm, no.  just no.  So 4/5 for the first half, 2/5 for the second. Hence the three.

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This is a new section that I’m adding to the wrap up, since I realized it’s kind of weird that I didn’t have it already.  Basically, “New books” just means all the books that I’ve gotten, one way or another, over the course of the month.  This month especially was a really good one for book collection!  Of course, that only means that it’s been especially good for drowning in my own TBR, but yanno, you can’t win everything.

Kindle / eARC

Until It FadesCarnegie's MaidThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

  1. Until it Fades, by KA Tucker
  2. Carnegie’s Maid, by Marie Benedict
  3. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald

Physical Books

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children, #1)The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4)Those GirlsFirefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1)

  1. The Girl In the Spider’s Webm by David Lagercrantz
  2. The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M Auel
  3. Those Girls, by Chevy Stevens
  4. Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah

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  1. July 2017 Book Releases— There were SO many good books coming out this month, and although I didn’t have the chance to read any ARCS (I’m still behind from June) I can tell that I’m going to be scouring bookstores for months for cheap copies
  2. Genre Shaming Discussion— I wrote a post about why we shouldn’t shame people for reading genres that they enjoy, and I was happy to say that most people agreed with me! Make sure you weigh in on the discussion!
  3. Books that Need Sequels— For one of the BroodyBFF challenges, I wrote about books that I want to have sequels, but that don’t currently.  All the books I chose will probably never have sequels, but I WANT THEM SO AUTHORS ARE YOU LISTENING? but in all seriousness, it was a fun post to write.
  4. One by One Book Tour— I brought book tours back to the blog for this month, since they are quick and I didn’t have time to write a lot, and I really liked the sound of One by One, by Robert Germaux!

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Posts from around the blogosphere that you totally need to head over and check out

  1. May has been blogging FOR 6 WHOLE MONTHS. And it’s life changing.  And there’s a survey you need to fill out.
  2. Apparently July is a popular blogiversary month, because Teacher of YA had her 1 year blogiversary and wrote a post about it!  I’m super happy for her!
  3. Isla (formerly known under another name that I will not say because I don’t know if I’m supposed to) launched her brand new blog and said hi to everyone and I’m super excited.
  4. Nia compared some books and movies and told us what books to read if we like that movie and vice versa which is super helpful to all of us TV and movie nerds out there!
  5. Sarah wrote an interesting perspective on “reading” audiobooks, which although I somewhat disagreed with I loved reading.

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How did your July go? What books did you read? Have you read any of the books that I just got? Let me know all the thoughts

joce-sign-off


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June Wrap: It Means Summer Lovin’ and Readin’

This month was not nearly as productive as I was hoping, in any sense of the word, but nonetheless I did decent, and have some exciting accomplishments to share with you all.  I think what I’m most proud of is that I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL and so that’s like 12 years of my life* that have finally come to a close.  Also, it’s the first summer in my memory where I literally have no summer homework to do, which is awesome, and as you read this I am on my first of 2 major vacations that I’m super excited about.  So this month is good, I just haven’t read quite enough yet.

*I’m counting Kindergarten-High School… it did not, in fact, take me 12 years to get through high school

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If you don’t remember, I put 7 books on my TBR for this month, which is more than I have ever ever read in one month before.  I’m proud to say that I’ve finished 4/7 books on this list, as well as 5 total books.  Once again I’ve had trouble sticking to the TBR because BOOKS are all so good and I’m an easily distracted individual.

Kindle/Ebooks

The Darkest LiesThe Handmaid's Tale

The Darkest Lies (3/5)– I’ve written a review of this one, although it won’t be published for a couple of months, and yet I still don’t have all of my thoughts in order.  First off, the beginning was terrible, but the end was good.  Second, I hated the MC but liked some of the others?? I don’t know how to explain it, the whole thing was just confusing.

The Handmaid’s Tale (5/5)– DAMNNNNN this book was so good.  It was one of the first dystopian books ever, and the scary part is that everything it talks about feels so so so real like it could happen next week which is a horrible thing but reality could still go this way.  It’s super women-oppressive but the MC is super smart, and I love the way everything plays out.  You would never know that this was written in the 80’s, and I HIGHLY recommend to everyone.

Physical Books

The Glass Castle: A MemoirHarry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)

The Glass Castle (5/5)– This was a memoir so I was super nervous about it going in, but honestly it was so so so amazing, read like fiction, and was thoroughly enjoyable.  I have such a hard time believing any of this is real just because of how extraordinarily difficult the author’s life was.  She is remarkable and I have so much respect for her, her story, and her writing.

The Cursed Child (??)– I’VE FINALLY READ IT!!! It was super good, and I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how to rate it because I have the HP thing that makes me want to give everything remotely related 5 quick stars, but on the other hand the story wasn’t that good.  And plus it’s super hard to judge a play when all you’ve seen is the script.

Audiobooks

Orange Is the New Black

Orange is the New Black (5/5)– This is another absolutely incredible book.  I started watching the TV show and fell in love, and so I had to read the book, because although I heard they were so completely different, I liked the general concept, and the fact that OITNB book is a true story drew me in.  It did not let down.  Piper told the story in a way that drew me in and made it felt like fiction while giving true details and enlightening me as to how the prison system works.

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Goodreads Challenge (22/30)– I’m going to have to update my reading challenge again because I’ve gotten through SO MANY BOOKS.  This is making my entire year, I haven’t felt this good about how much I’ve read for so long.

What’s In a Name (2/5)

Read Harder Challenge (11/24)

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  • June Book Releases— I wrote about all of the most exciting-sounding books that came out this month! There’s so many good ones especially in the thriller genre, so if you like that you should check it out!
  • I’ll Give you the Sun Review— For the first time in practically ever, I had a review get a ton of views!! IGYTS was sooooooooooo good and I recommend it to literally everyone, and so if you haven’t read the review or the book you should get on that.
  • Midyear Update— Since this is the halfway month of the year, I wrote a post on all of the books I’ve read, and all of my best posts for the entire year!  It was really cool to reflect on everything that I’ve read and how awesome this year has been so far.
  • Using the Word “Said”— I wrote a discussion post on whether or not you should use the word “said” while you write, and I loved all of the feedback and comments that people gave to add to my own thoughts.
  • Interview with Nia— Nia is an AHMAZING blogger and I got to interview her which was super awesome because she’s really funny and great and you should read this interview (can you tell I’m EXTREMELY overtired as I write this post? It’s all rambling and messy and gross so I’m sorry)

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  • Blogging and Reading Confessions by Lauren— I just followed Lauren recently, and I loved reading about her true reading and blogging style!! I related to so many of the reading confessions and although the blogging ones didn’t really apply much to ME, I still enjoyed reading them.
  • Mid Year Book Tag by Nia— I really enjoyed hearing about all of Nia’s favorite books, and I had a lot added to my TBR!!!! If you’re looking for recs or just to catch up on Nia, this is a great post to read.
  • Elm took Blogging to the Real World— Taking your blog from purely internet to “real” life is a huge step and one that every blogger dreams of, and I’m super proud of Elm (but not really surprised) about the fact that she was able to make a difference in people’s lives and take her wonderful perspective out into the non-internet world.
  • Developing Characters by May—  May wrote a super fun, relatable af post about how to develop characters for your novel, and I found myself nodding along for literally the entire thing.

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Blogging

I had wanted to get really ahead on blogging for the next month, but instead I was a serious slacker who did absolutely nothing to do with blogging besides write this single post and one review.  Which is certainly not going to get me through the rest of the summer.

As far as followers go, I had wanted to get to 400 this month.  It was a really close call, but I managed to do it with WP and email combined, although not with just WP (as I originally wanted to).

Book Buying

I decided that I was going to get a book at every vacation I went on this year, and so far I’ve been to Block Island, where I bought 2 books from the library sale rack.  And it only cost $1!!! Bargain shopping!!!

In Pennsylvania I didn’t get a book because all I could find was Amish romance (oops) and I wasn’t really feeling it.

Right now I’m in Colorado, and although I haven’t bought a book yet, I’m planning on it.  I’m praying that I can find a cheap little second hand store around Denver to buy one.

Writing

I’ve written about 15 pages thus far in the book I’m working on, and started working on my outline much further.  I need to outline the entire thing before I start writing, and I know that, but sometimes outlining gets boring so I just start writing anyways.

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Overall, it’s been a decent month, but nothing to brag about.  I mean, reading half my TBR is decent, but my blogging has been weak and in general I don’t really like the fact that I haven’t been moving very quickly through what I need to get done.

Maybe if I watched less TV I would be blogging more often.  I mean, right now I’m writing this post and watching OITNB (SEASON 3!!!!) at the same time so excuse any stupid errors or repetitiveness… But like it’s okay because the show is amazing and I’ll eventually figure out how to do both because blogging is beautiful.

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How did your June go? Do you have any plans for this summer? What are your favorite books that you’ve read?

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May Wrapup: A Good Month For Blogging and Somewhat For Reading

This month has, surprisingly, been really good for reading and just life in general!! I’m super proud of myself because I’ve gotten wayyyyy ahead on my blogging, scheduled out the whole month of June, am participating in 3 blogger projects, and still managing to get everything done in a reasonable amount of time.  I feel like I’m one of those people with crazy productivity that I’m jealous of, and I don’t understand how this is happening.

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This month I read 3/5 book on my TBR, and 4 books total.  That’s because I forgot to put a 2nd audiobook on my TBR, so I was held at gunpoint needed to stray from my list. I haven’t posted reviews for any of these books yet, so all of the links will send you to Goodreads.

Kindle/Ebooks

I'll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give you the Sun (5 STARS)— This book was INCREDIBLE.  I was hooked from page 1, and couldn’t put it down.  I also read this with my mom and we talked about it the whole way through, which made it amazing and gave me different perspectives on the book than I would have had otherwise.

Physical Books

The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls (5 STARS)— This book was so twisted and messed up but I loved it and couldn’t put it down.  It has a lot of triggers so I recommend researching before you read it, but if you can do it, you NEED to.  It will leave you feeling sick and twisted and amazed and wanting more.

Audiobooks

The Orphan Master's SonGo Set a Watchman

The Orphan Master’s Son (2 STARS, DNF)— Ugh.  I was so excited to read this book when I first heard about it, because I’m semi-obsessed with crazy dictators and what it does to people in a country, and North Korea doesn’t exactly have its own section in the library.  But this just didn’t do it for me.  I think I’ll write a review eventually, but overall my main reasoning is just that it was boring.  I found myself NOT LISTENING for the first time ever, just because cleaning my room was suddenly more interesting than a book.  Which has never in my life happened.

Go Set a Watchman (3 STARS)— Hmmm, this is a tricky one.  I loved this book because I enjoyed hearing about Scout again, since I have such a deep attachment to her and her family, but the story itself just wasn’t that good.  There were tons of 1 second flashbacks that threw me off a little bit, and the whole thing felt sort of forced.  I mean, another white-black court case, for real? and the whole thing with Scout and her boyfriend just didn’t really work for me.  Plus, the Atticus character was so twisted that it wasn’t really Atticus at all.  This isn’t a sequel, persay, since it was written first, and it’s obvious that Harper Lee changed her mind on a lot before TKAM went to print, and you need to take that into consideration.  So, although I loved Scout, the story and the rest of the characters weren’t my favorite, which is why I had to give it just 3 stars.

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Goodreads Challenge (17/30)– If you’re confused by the fact that my Goodreads challenge is suddenly out of 30, the reason is that I upped it by 5 since I’m doing so well, and 30 seems far better than 25 as a goal.  I’m hoping to maybe even reach 50, depending on how much I read this summer.

What’s In a Name (2/5)– I can’t believe that it’s taking me so long to read 5 books.  My problem is that I’m not going out of my way to find any of them, and I’m going to need to if I expect to even get close.

Read Harder Challenge (11/24)– I seriously need to put more work into this.  The rest of my categories are all outside of my comfort zone which will be tough to cram into the last few months, so I need to start now.

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Followers

Last month I gave myself a goal of 275 followers, and I KILLED IT.  I’m so happy to say that I now have over 330 followers, which is absolutely incredible considering the fact that I ran my 200 follower giveaway about a month ago.  I’m so thankful to you guys and the fact that you let me feel so good about myself and my writing.

Book Buying

I really wanted to make my bookshelf a little bit bigger this month, because it’s been a long time since I was able to put a new book on the shelf.  Although I didn’t actually buy any books, I book hauled Lola (from LibraryThing) and Vanishing Girls (from Molly, who was kind enough to give away her books and send them to me, and whose blog you should head over and follow asap)

Posting

I wanted to schedule more posts this month, as well as catch up on reviews.  I managed to do just fine scheduling posts and now have a fairly good buffer.  But, I haven’t been writing my reviews and so that’s fairly disappointing.  I want to eventually post reviews in the month that I read the book, but as of right now I’m posting like 2 months behind.

Editing

I really wanted to get a new client for this month, but that has proved impossible, so I’ve failed on this front as well.  If you need an editor or beta reader PLEASE CONTACT ME!! I have time for you 🙂

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This month has been a fairly good one for reading, but not so hot for writing and editing.  My blog growth is astronomical, and I’ve almost hit my year goal of 50 views per post, which is making me super excited.  It’s happened on roughly every other post in the past 2 weeks, which means that I AM SO CLOSE.

This was the last full month of high school for my whole life, and it’s basically over.  That’s a weird feeling, and I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to accomplish.

Let's Talk

How did May go for you? What books did you finish? Link your wrap up posts so that I can find out!

 

April Wrapup: A lot of Reading and the book blogger awards

April is over, and that means that I’m starting to look forward on the very end of the school year.  Because April was CRAZY I wasn’t able to keep up on blogging as much as I would have liked, and so I’m sorry to you guys for that, but I’m worried that the next few months will get even worse, considering summer and finals and everything combined.  Anyways… there was actually quite a bit that got done this month (even if I wasn’t as active in the blogging world), so I’m excited to share!!!

The Book Blogger Awards…

There’s only a couple of days left to submit your nominations for the book blogger awards!!!!  I haven’t gotten as many submissions as I’d hoped to thus far, so I really need your support to spread the word, and actually nominate people.  Even if you only have good responses for a couple of categories, that’s better than nothing!!!!!!!  If you need a link back to the post with rules and category nominations, click HERE

Books Completed…

I had 5 books on my TBR for this month, and finished 3 of them.  One, The Host, I just stopped because it was terrible and I hadn’t even added it to my Goodreads “reading” list yet so it didn’t seem worth it to push through.  I plan on coming back in another throw of boredom later on.  The others I’m still reading, just slowly and steadily.  The ones I finished are below!Smugglers & Scones by Morgan C. Talbot

  1. Smugglers and Scones– I can’t remember if I finished this in actual April, or just right after I published my March wrap, but either way I finished it recently and it was really good!! It was marketed as mystery, but I’d advise that this is a light, warm, curl up by the fire mystery read, with more interest in falling in love with the characters than catching the culprit.  That being said, I loved it.518855
  2. The Constant Princess– It took me a long while to finish this book, but I loved it, I just didn’t have the time.  Philippa Gregory’s writing is amazing, and I loved hearing more about Katherine, now forever known as Catalina to me.  It was so amazing and you really felt like you were seeing inside of her head.30095464.jpg
  3. The Bone Witch– I received this book for review, and was a little nervous about it, but it had an INCREDIBLE plot.  The descriptions in the first 1/2 were a little overdone for me, but they relaxed somewhat as it went (or I got better at skim-skipping them) and then I was able to fully enjoy it.  plus, it’s a series with a sort of major cliffhanger.Image result for hamlet book cover
  4. Hamlet– Yes, I know this isn’t technically a book, but it was a 5 act play, and it was Shakespeare, so I think it counts.  I personally enjoyed this way less than other Shakespeare plays, which is odd since it’s one of the most popular.

The Best of the Blog…

  1. Book Blogger Award Nominations-– Obviously the book blogger awards are getting a lot of attention, even if you all aren’t actually NOMINATING people, and so the rules, and then the nominations, were my most viewed posts all month.  If you haven’t read my nominations yet, make sure you do to find some great blogs.
  2. Books That Would Make Great Video Games— This was a really fun t5w post to write, and I think a lot of you agreed with me!!
  3. Book Haul— I got 7 books this month, which is a ton for me, and so I wrote a book haul! I’ve gotten even more excited about all the books since then, because I’ve heard amazing things about the ones I hadn’t heard of.
  4. Reading Above your Grade Level (Discussion)— I’m so glad I wrote this post because I’ve gotten so many interesting perspectives on what their opinions are, and a lot of them agree with me, so *pats myself on the  back*… but seriously, everyone who commented had something I hadn’t thought of quite that way before, which is what I love about blogging
  5. Book Reviews– This month, 2 book reviews went live on the blog, none for books I actually read this month.  In no particular order, Scrappy Little Nobody (4 stars) and The Fourth Monkey (3 stars).  Okay, fine, yes, there was an order.

Challenge Progress…

What’s In a Name– I’ve read 2 books for this challenge, and wrote my review for the 4th Monkey, so I’m really excited about that!!! 2/5 is right on target

Read Harder– I’m 10/24 here, which is really really good, but I finished all of the easy ones first, meaning that I’m going to have to work a lot harder to get the last 14, since they’re not genres or books that I would typically read.

1/3 Goals Update…

  1. Reach 500 followers– I’m at 250 now, and it’s not even halfway through the year.  I think my growth of 150 in four months puts me behind anyways, but I knew this was a stretch and I’m proud of where I’m going.
  2. Post a minimum of 2x a week all year long– I’m at 3x and haven’t messed up yet!! It’s getting harder though and I’m thinking of scaling back, or potentially bringing on a guest blogger, for the future.  Would you guys rather only have posts 2x/week, or would you like me to try to find a guest blogger to post on Wednesdays?
  3. Make more blogging friends– Done!! I’ve made so many amazing friends recently, especially Emma ❤
  4. Get involved in more challenges, memes, and big blogger events– well I’m running the bookish awards so that’s a good blogger event, but other than that I haven’t been doing much on this front.
  5. Go to a IRL blogging or bookish event– not yet but I’m going to college in Boston so that should help
  6. Read and review a total of 50 books– I’m at 32, which is well on my way to 50
  7. Get enough of a following so that each of my posts receives 50 views– I’m averaging over 30, so that’s not bad
  8. Reach 500 followers on Twitter– I’m 80 away as of right now.  I have no idea how up or down I go normally, so not sure if it’s a feasible goal lol

IRL Updates…

  • I finished my physics class for the year, which is huge because it means wayyyyy less work for me and hopefully more time to read!!
  • I officially signed the paper committing to college, which means that I’m officially going, and that’s always something to be happy about!

Reminder….

VOTE IN THE BOOK BLOGGER AWARDS!!!! THERE ARE ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT.  2 DAYS TO SHOW OTHER BOOK BLOGGERS THAT YOU LOVE THEM!!! Rules and categories are here

THE BOOK BLOGGER AWARDS

I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a blogger awards exclusively for book bloggers for a while now, and I decided to finally just bite the bullet and do it.  This winter, I realized that the majority of awards go to lifestyle and beauty bloggers mainly because they have the biggest followings and we don’t have categories tailored to what we do, so I wanted to do something just for us!

I’ve decided to do it as a midyear awards thing, which will happen in two phases, the first starting now and going throughout April, and the second which will go throughout May.  Depending on the turnout for part 1, I may end up cutting out part 2, but hopefully we will get enough attention to make it worth it!  Read on to find out how to participate:

The Rules…

  1. Everyone who is nominated for the award MUST BE A BOOK BLOGGER.  However, anyone is allowed to vote and nominate their favorite book bloggers.
  2. You may nominate up to 2 people for each category.  Any more than this and it’ll be overwhelming.  If you can’t narrow it down, (I guess) you can do 3.  BUT ABSOLUTELY NO MORE I SWEAR IT
  3. One blogger can be nominated for as many categories as you see fit, but try not to nominate bloggers for categories which they are not qualified for.  This will save me time and inconvenience of making sure the people who win are actually deserving of the award.
  4. In order to nominate people, include their username and A LINK TO THEIR BLOG.  That step is crucial, otherwise I won’t know which “Jane” you’re talking about.  (I don’t even know a blogger named Jane that name just seemed pretty common)

How it Works…

Part I (April 5th-April 30th):

  • Today, voting officially opens.  In order to vote, read the categories below and create your own blog post in which you nominate everyone that you wish to win.
  • Make sure you have your blog post pingback to this blog, or provide a link in the comments so that I can find it.
  • Tag your posts with #bookbloggerawards so that it is easily searchable from the reader.
  • If you don’t feel like writing your own post, then feel free to just comment below with all of your nominations.  Just think it through all the way and keep everything in one post please!

Intermission (May 1st-May 7th):

  • During this time, all nominations will be closed, so I’ll go back through and count up all the votes for each category and figure out who is winning each
  • Those who were nominated will be narrowed down to a maximum of 5
  • All those who were nominated but not in the top 5 will receive a recognition post

Part II (May 7th- May 31st):

  • A new post will be uploaded to this blog with a Google Form that will allow you to vote among the finalists
  • At the end of this voting period, the winner from each category will be announced, and a post put together to recognize them!!!!

The Categories…

These are grouped into sections in order to make it easier.

AGE OF BLOGGER:

  • Best Teen Book Blogger (13-19)
  • Best PreTeen Book Blogger (Younger than 13)
  • Best Adult Book Blogger (20+)

GENRE MOST BLOGGED ABOUT:

  • Young Adult
  • Middle Grade or Younger
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction / Dystopian / Fantasy
  • New Adult / General Adult
  • Literary Fiction / Classics / Poetry
  • Mystery and Thriller
  • Does a little bit of everything

THE BEST OF BOOK BLOGGING:

  • Best book reviews
  • The Master of Weekly Features (top 5 wednesday, waiting on wednesday, top 10 tuesday, etc)
  • Best Book Recommendations
  • Prettiest Bookshelf
  • Best bookish discussions

THE OTHER STUFF:

  • Most Engaged in the Community
  • Blog Aesthetic
  • Most full of personality
  • Best Friend ever

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

  • Best New Book Blogger (created blog after July 2016)
  • Best Overall Book Blogger

How You Can Help…

In order to make this successful, we need a lot of publicity.  WTTN isn’t the biggest blog by any stretch, and so it’s going to be up to you guys to make this work.  Reblog this post, post it on twitter and instagram, and make sure everyone knows about it!  Also, when you post your own nominations, make sure to promote that as well and provide a link back to this post.

Thank you all so much for participating and I can’t wait to see who you all chose!!!!!!!


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Stop! Did you actually think about that URL first?

A post about helping people plan BEFORE they even start blogging.

When I created my blog, my first blog name/URL was Live Love Reads.  After about 2 weeks, I hated it for being cliche and gross, so I deleted the site, despite the fact that I actually kind of liked the content I posted.  Then, I made another one– Read and Write Through the Night.  Well, this was annoyingly long, so I changed it to Write Through the Night, editing both the URL and the blog name.  I’m still not in love with that title.

For those of you who haven’t created your blog yet, thinking of a title is the most important part.  In both cases above, I just wrote down the first thing that popped into my head (I started blogging on a whim) and then hit “Create Blog”.  Many of you probably don’t think it’s that important, since it’s just a free URL anyways, but it’s actually crucial to create a quality blog that you love.

Sure, you can just edit the title and URL later, but then it makes it harder for people to find you.  Once you get a following, and people around the blogosphere know your name and blog, they might get confused if they see and different one, and are less likely to check it out.  That’s why now, even though I’ve thought of better blog names since, I’m stuck with Write Through the Night for my book blog.  Before you start your blog, you have to make sure of three crucial things surrounding the blog title.

The 3 Keys of URL Creation…

  1. You have to love it— this step is crucial, because if you don’t really love your blog name, you are going to be less likely to stick with it.  why would you want to write quality content for a crappy sounding blog?  You wouldn’t.  Blogging is about YOU first, so you have to do it FOR YOU.
  2. Relate it to your content— If you’re running a book blog, don’t create a blog called runninginthetrees.wordpress.com.  Because you know who’s going to find you?  Athletes, runners, maybe even people with tree fetishes.  But not your fellow book bloggers and people interested in reading.  That means you’ll have less google search traffic, or accidental stumblers along the path.  This is a bit harder with lifestyle bloggers, as they typically blog about a lot and therefore have some pretty creative and/or strange names, giving them slightly more freedom.  But still, even as a lifestyle blogger you don’t want it to be athleteshaven.com if that’s just a joking reference to the fact that you once walked a 5K, and then you never mention athletics again.
  3. Check your length— You want people to actually REMEMBER your blog, especially those who aren’t WordPress members and therefore don’t follow, but might want to check back in.  So make it something memorable.  Even if you have a really catchy slogan, people aren’t going to be able to come back to it if it is Jinglebellsfromthe5thc0rnerofthestreet.net because they won’t remember exactly how it is spelled (there’s a zero instead of an O in there, but you probably didn’t notice), or maybe they’ll accidently forget that it’s the 5th corner and write 5th street instead.  The shorter it is, the more likely people will remember it, and type it into their search bar when they want to go back to a post they read earlier and loved.  It’s the WORST when you have someone who could be a loyal reader but they don’t remember the blog name and therefore only visit once.  Along this vein, make sure you aren’t substituting random letters for numbers, or doubling a letter that’s difficult to pick up on.  Yeah, mylife.com might be taken and my1ife.com might not be, but if readers can’t find their way back to your site, there’s no point anyways.

A Little Wrinkle…

Now, maybe we have the clever people in the audience who are pointing out that your URL does not have to be the same as your blog name, and that’s true.  But you want people to remember your URL to get back to it, and if it’s different than the blog name it’ll be harder.  A positive example of this is Just Call me Elm or Something, whose URL is justelm.wordpress.com.  The URL is shorter, but still related.  This way, people who search “Just Call me Elm” will be able to find the website, because Google sees the URL and finds it relevant.

Hopefully people who haven’t created a blog yet actually read this and find it useful.  If so, when you finally do create it, comment the link to your blog below and I’ll check it out!

Do any experienced bloggers have other tips for creating a better URL?  Do you still have questions you want to ask? Comment!


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Favorite Part of Blogging Collab

Sorry for a bit late of a post today, but I’m doing a super awesome, Favorite Part of Blogging Collab, started by Shania!  I’m so excited to have the opportunity to take part!  I’ll mention everyone who took part at the end, so make sure you check it out 🙂

This question is really, really hard for me to answer because honestly, I love pretty much everything about blogging. It’s one of my favorite past times, and I do it way too much to be good for me.  But if I have to pick one thing, here it goes.

The Best Part of Blogging…

This is going to sound really cliche, but my favorite part of blogging is interacting with other bloggers, especially book bloggers, and getting the chance to see what books they’re interested in, and what’s going on in their lives in general. When I first started this blog, I genuinely didn’t think there were that many people who loved reading as much as I did, and now that perspective has completely changed. Plus, if you look at some of my first posts (that was a rhetorical comment please don’t actually look) I have ZERO personality. It’s like I’m writing a paper for school. It was only after reading other amazing blogs and getting to talk to so many bloggers that I realized that it’s okay to share my personality and have more fun with it.

So I guess that’s two things. I’m in it for the book recommendations, and getting to know everyone’s personality (which has helped me feel comfortable in my own). Just talking with everyone has honestly changed my life soooooo much, and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop blogging, and that’s just because it makes me so happy to read everyone else’s posts when they’re so filled with great information, humor, and real life drama that makes me feel so connected to everyone around me. This is getting vaguely emotional, so I’m going to tone it down.

Some other Secondary Reasons to Blog…

  • Free books before they even come out!
  • Awesomely amazing friends
  • People actually read what you write
  • If you get big enough (unlike me) you might be able to make some money
  • More great friends and memories

Don’t Forget Everyone Else…

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I can’t think of what right now so we’ll leave it at that. I want to give a huge shoutout not only to Shania, but to all of the bloggers who are participating in this collab!  Make sure to read their posts, give them a follow, or at least like the post and leave a nice comment.

Shania @ Life As Shania

Mahriya @ My Bookish Life

Vivian @ Writing with Style

Evelynn @ Evelynn & Nathalia’s DIY Corner

Elm @ Just Call Me Elm or Something

Amethyst @ My Life as Amethyst Extrovert

Flawed Silence

Closet Readers

The Stylish Dreamer

Emma @ Book Emma

My Crazy Obsession with Books

FarahEdz @ The Girl with Coffe

Lucia R @ Hangout with Lucia

Pixey @ My xStar Blog

Brookie aka Ellyn Kim @ Brookie Soars

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka) @ Midnight Ranter

What is your favorite part of blogging? Do you think I’m missing anything important? Am I shallow for liking book recommendations almost as much as people? Let me know!


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Wow, January Actually Wasn’t That Bad!

Header Image credits to Pastor Dave Online

It’s the first month of 2017, and I can already tell that this is going to be a huge year for me.  It has started off on such a positive note, I’ve been keeping up (somewhat) on blog posts, and I’ve managed to find the time to interact with so many of you!  Since it’s the last posting day of the month, it’s time to talk about everything good, and bad, that has happened.

Books Completed…

  1. Girl out of Water– You can read the review here, but basically I absolutely loved it.  It was a great reintroduction to YA, and it kept me hooked almost the entire time.
  2. Final Girls– I cannot even tell you how excited I was to get approved for an early copy of this thriller.  I flew through it, but unfortunately won’t be posting a review until May 😦

I made it through 2 this month! That’s pretty on track with my goal of 25, so that’s good news 🙂 I hope to beat my goal, because 36 would be awesome, but we’ll see.

Currently Reading….

This section is a little better.  I’m currently reading a physical book for school, and am listening to my first ever audiobook!!  It’s going a lot better than expected, and I think this is going to become a regular thing.

  1. Invisible Man– this could have been finished a month ago if I didn’t have to read one chapter every 3 days because of school requirements.  It’s pretty good, but I hate it being dragged on so long
  2. Little Bee– This is my audiobook!  I’m only about an hour into it, but I really enjoy it so far.  It’s about a Nigerian refugee in Britain.  I think it’s cool to listen to because the narrator speaks to you, the reader the entire time, which makes the listening effect even better.

Challenge Progress…

You can find the complete list of challenges, and what I read for each one, HERE

Read Harder Challenge– I’m 1/24 right now, but Invisible Man will count for one as well, which means that I’m essentially on target.  I’m going to need to start selecting books specifically for that purpose soon or I won’t finish

Goodreads– Like I said earlier, I’m on track at 2/25

What’s In a Name– I’m 0/6 so far, but I think that’s okay?  Like the RHC, I’m going to need to go out of my way to find books soon

Best of the Blog…

  1. Blogging Advice Post— I wrote a 9 step process for better blogging, and it seemed like people liked it! I’ll have to think about doing more along this vein for the future.
  2. Interview with Mahriya— The reason this post is on the list is because I had SOOOO much fun writing it and making it with her.  Thank you again for wanting to do the interview! If you haven’t already read it, it’s worth your time (I promise)
  3. Fictional Characters I would love to meet— After writing this post, I was reaffirmed that literally everyone loves Hermione.  Not that I was surprised, but it’s ironic that the main character doesn’t get nearly as much attention as she does
  4. Author Interview with Hugh— Another interview makes the list!  This one was really cool because I learned so much about Hugh’s inspirational story, and how it played into him writing his first ever book.  And…. 60 freaking comments!?!!? I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m not complaining 🙂
  5. Girl out of Water Review— I adored this book, and it’s not coming out for a little, but you guys should totally check it out if you enjoy YA!

JanuarYAY…

Sorry for the bad pun I was trying to be creative while writing about the good things that have happened in January.  Ugh, I hate myself now, so let’s please pretend that didn’t happen.

  1. I reached 128 followers, had my blogiversary, and learned just how many incredible people actually read my posts
  2. I had my signing for college, and it was super fun!  I’m so grateful to know where I’m going, be able to play the sport I love, and have such an amazing group of friends and family
  3. I started using Netgalley.  I know that this isn’t really that interesting, since I said I used it earlier, but after no approved requests I had stopped completely.  Now, at least, I’m using it and getting approved!

A Bit of Bad (to be improved upon at a later date)…

  1. I missed almost every single Twitter chat.  I even had them in my calendar and still managed to forget.  I guess I can blame it on the British and their 5 hour ahead time zones
  2. I had to take midterms, but they’re over now!! They’re probably my last standardized test in all of high school, since seniors with an A don’t have to take finals.

So Yeah, January…

Overall, this month was pretty great!  We’re expecting a nor’easter as I write this (yes, I’m writing early, and yes, that means a blizzard in New England) but that’ll be the first bit of snow we’ve gotten in a longggg time.  Even when it does snow, it stops/melts super quickly, and we’ve had more 50 degree days than ones below freezing!  Who knows what global warming February will bring.


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