Book reviews · personal

Revisiting Old Favorites: Matilda by Roald Dahl

matilda roald dahl

2018 is the year I started giving my local library more love. And it’s been amazing. One of the greatest things about the library is that they allow me to revisit my old favorites more easily: books that I once read but (no longer) have in my possession. I don’t always want to spend money on these books because I know the story so well, but I would like to reread them. The library is the perfect solution.

Matilda by Roald Dahl is such a book. Just like so many other children, I loved this book when I was younger. I think Matilda might be one of the first characters I related to. I was also a child that loved reading, did incredibly well in school compared to my peers and thus stood out. Although my classmates weren’t as nice to me as they were too Matilda, it was comforting to know that characters like hers existed and I wasn’t the odd one out. (It’s funny how back then being ‘different’ meant something negative, but now I  love it).

There is another reason why I love Matilda so much. It is one of the very few children’s books I’ve read that deals with abuse well. I’ve read some negative reviews from people saying that kids shouldn’t read about this, and that this book makes it sound like almost all adults are terrible. I disagree. I think Matilda is a great introduction into the tough and often unfair world of adulthood. Although the adults in this book – like Matilda’s parents and Ms. Trunchbull – are completely unrealistic and over the top, the problems that Matilda has to deal with are very real. Emotional neglect and adults that enjoy bullying very much exist, and this book shows us that Matilda is much stronger than them.

Above all, this book values kindness more than anything. Matilda and Miss Honey end up together in the end, which is heartwarming. It’s just one of those books that always puts a smile on my face. And even now, about fifteen years after I first read it, I still love Matilda.

Advertisements
Life · personal

Learning to Love Mornings: Why I Get Up Early And Sharing my Morning Routine

Barcelona3
Fun fact: I took this picture earlier this year in Barcelona, as part of a project where I photographed every bed I slept in. 🙂

You are probably not a morning person. I’ll tell you a secret: I am not a morning person either. Yet here I am writing this, on a Monday morning before 8am, after a morning yoga practice and a shower. I do not have class until 2:00pm today, yet I still chose to wake up at 6:30. Today I’m here to share with you why, and what I do exactly with all that time in the morning.

Why I do it..

Mornings are quiet and peaceful
I don’t like dealing with people most of the time. That sounds harsh, but I’m an introvert and I enjoy quiet time to recharge. Now, I live in a large city, and quiet moments are rare. But when you get up when most of the world is still sleeping, it brings a certain kind of peacefulness to your day. The key here (for me) is to not get my phone out first thing in the morning. I repurposed an old iPhone 5 which is my alarm now, and I let my actual phone charge. As I’m writing this at my desk, it’s 8, I’ve been awake for an hour and a half and I have not checked my phone yet. I have not checked social media, my e-mail, the news, anything. I have noticed how important it is to check in with myself and have a human moment before I let the content of my phone tell me how to feel. It has certainly happened in the past that I woke up and read something completely disheartening, and it does throw off my mood.

Getting up early makes me feel like the day has more to offer
The 24 hours we get each day are equal for everyone. But I’m one of those people that gets less productive as the day goes on, and by the time 5:00pm hits it’s incredibly hard to concentrate on work or projects, my brain just feels fried. Now, if I have to, I will do it. But it doesn’t make me happier. By getting up early I basically extend the time I’m productive, and because I’m in such a nice routine, falling asleep and getting enough rest isn’t hard either.  Continue reading “Learning to Love Mornings: Why I Get Up Early And Sharing my Morning Routine”

Bookish posts

Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-21 om 18.47.12

Anything that goes against the grain immediately grabs my attention; maybe that’s why I love listening to unpopular opinions so much. Sharing them has been a thing on Twitter lately, and it inspired me to write this post!

Katniss should’ve ended up alone
People are either Team Peeta or Team Gale.. and here I am sitting quietly, by myself, in the ”Katniss should’ve ended up alone” team. Before you crucify me, let me explain. Katniss never made a choice. People were pulling at her from different angles, and she was just falling for the person that happened to be right in front of her. I never felt like she was one hundred percent going for either or. Ending up alone would have fitted her independent personality.

Floppy mass marker paperbacks are the best
I know a lot of people don’t like these, but I LOVE a good floppy mass market paperback. Especially the really thick ones that look like bricks. There is something about them that makes them so lovely to read and go through. But then again I don’t mind breaking the spines of my books, so I think that helps a lot.

Highlighting books and dog-earing them is okay
I actually talked about this before, but I wanted to mention it here because I do feel like most people disagree with me here. I love annotating my books, and I love when they look all beat up. It just makes my books look so loved. Going back to books that I annotated ages ago makes me feel nostalgic inside, in the same way that looking at an old journal might do.

Rainbow shelves stress me out
Writing this, I realise that this definitely fits with my previous point. Maybe I’m just not neat enough, but rainbow shelves kind of weird me out. I feel like it’s not how a bookshelf is ”supposed” to look. I like the messy book bookshelves have, and it’s how I prefer mine. But hey, to each their own.  Continue reading “Unpopular Bookish Opinions”

Law school · university

8 Small (But Amazing) Habits That Changed My Life As A Student

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetWhen you’re engrossed in your studies, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself in the process. So many people demand so much from you, and it seems like it takes up all your time. But sometimes we need to take a step back, check in with ourselves and remember who we are.

To be honest, I used to think that sounded like a load of crap. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to the realization that those daily checking in moments are vital to my mental and physical health. So here are 8 small habits that I’ve incorporated in my life, and that have made my life as a student so much better.

Waking up earlier and spending time with myself
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? I know those ”wake up at 5AM and get more stuff done!” articles and books are popular, but that is not the goal here. I used to be terrible at waking up early. If I had class at 2pm, I wouldn’t come out of bed before 9 or 10. And while there is nothing wrong with that – we all have different moments when we are at our most productive – it made me feel less motivated and productive. Even waking up just an hour or an hour and a half earlier allowed me to have so much more time in the morning.

Doing more of what scares me
Speaking up in class, presenting material, volunteering to explain something. It’s all stuff I used to find incredibly daunting. But because I literally forced myself to do it more, it became a lot less daunting and it helped me to feel more confident about my skills. These skills are incredibly valuable and will come in handy at so many points in your life. University isn’t only about getting smarter, but it’s about developing these skills as well. Take on opportunities whenever you can and you’ll notice how much easier those daunting tasks will become.

Being mindful of the time I spend on my phone
We spend so much more time on our phones than we realize. Apple has recently incorporated a screentime feature into their iOS, so if you’ve recently updated your iPhone you can see how much time you’ve spent on your phone recently.. Ready for a wake-up call? There are also plenty of separate apps that allow you to track your time. As someone who is trying to be more mindful of the time I spend scrolling through Twitter and Reddit, it’s perfect. I could do so many more productive things with my time!

Daily cleaning
Cleaning can seem like a huge task if you put it off — believe me, I know. This is why I’ve incorporated daily cleaning into my life. I just sweep through my apartment once or twice a day, picking up laundry, dirty dishes and other random stuff. It takes me five minutes at the most, but it keeps the place clean and tidy. I sweep the floors about twice a week for the exact same reason. I hate dirty floors, so keeping up with them is almost a form of self-care for me, lol.

Spend time studying the material before AND after class
In law school, we need to learn so much material. For tutorials, we need to do a lot of preparing (reading and answering learning goals) and for lectures, we need to read cases as well as material from our textbooks. Although it’s impossible to read everything before AND after each class, I try to spend some time studying the material before and after. That could be rereading parts that weren’t clear, spending time condensing my notes into an outline, comparing my lecture notes to the textbook or even talking about it with a classmate. Continue reading “8 Small (But Amazing) Habits That Changed My Life As A Student”

Book reviews · Bookish posts

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Now that I have started a new degree that’s eating up all my time, my blog has been a little more quiet. And so has my reading.. However, I still love talking about books with you guys, and instead of jumping right into the long, long list of reviews I still need to post, I thought I’d combine them together here to catch up. 🙂

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-14 om 13.51.59.png
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

An emotional rollercoaster, that how I would describe this book. I’m only just dabbling into the genre of magical realism, but this was the first novel I’ve ever read that incorporated it in a way that I loved. It was beautiful, gut-wrenching, realistic and cute. Definitely worth the hype.


Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Schermafbeelding 2018-10-14 om 13.54.39
I recently read, reviewed and LOVED The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. After that, I knew I had to read more of her work. This book had the same suspense and awesome true crime aspects as her other works, but I found this book to be a little more predictable – I predicted who did it way before the actual reveal happened. Still a solid 4 star read though.

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-14 om 14.02.11.png
This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
One of my favorite series this year was the Shades of magic series by V.E. Schwab. So obviously I was excited to read more of her works. The premise of this book really intrigued me, it’s about a world in which monsters are created from crimes and acts of violence, like massacres and murders. But the story left a lot to be desired, especially regarding the world building. So much was never explained, and for me it really took away from the story.

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-14 om 14.05.43

The Rift: A New Africa Breaks Free by Alex Perry
Africa is a continent that’s long been misunderstood – and abused -by outsiders. Correspondent Alex Perry traveled the continent for most of a decade, meeting with entrepreneurs and warlords, professors and cocaine smugglers, presidents and jihadis. I loved how he gave them a platform in this book while also giving the reader historical context as to why certain situations exist in the first place. A book that taught me a lot, but especially to spend more time listening to stories from locals.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I really want to catch up with you guys! Have you read any of these books? If not, what have YOU been reading lately?

Law school · university

Five Thoughts I Had in my First Five Weeks of Law School

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

If you read this blog, my tweets or Instagram captions recently, you’ll know that I started law school at the beginning of September — honesty I feel like I talk about it so much that some people might be sick of it at this point, but I love talking about university and studying on here, so that’s what I’m going to do.

I worked towards going to law school for so long and now that it’s finally here, I am diving right in. Law school is very all-consuming, and I really want to talk about it more on this blog, so here are five thoughts I had in the first five weeks of law school to start out with this new ‘law school adventure’ blog post series. 🙂

These law books are SCARY
Law school is pretty much synonymous with ‘big, heavy, dense books’ and lots of reading, and my degree is no different. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty daunting at the start, especially because we also read a lot of jurisprudence. I also needed to learn how to work with our law books. I live in a civil law country, which means – unlike common law countries – we work with law books that have all the important laws you need and casebooks are completely separate. Formal precedents are not a thing, so the actual written text itself is super important. I’m getting muscles from carrying around all those heavy books, at least.

I don’t know what the heck I’m doing
I think anyone who starts law school – or any degree for that matter – will suffer from imposter syndrome in one way or another. Although my classmates are very nice and make me feel like I belong, I’ve definitely had moments where I had no idea what was going on or how I am doing, nor that I deserved to be in law school. I’m the first person in my family to attend University, and it’s all still a little surreal to me sometimes!

This is amazing
I went to journalism school, did a course in social work and now I’m in law school. But until now I have never felt truly challenged in high school or college. I always did well on tests without doing much work, and I sometimes felt like the class would dwell on things that I already understood. Law school demands a lot more from me, and I LOVE that. The work load is much heavier and the material much more challenging.

I’m going to fail this test
If you haven’t noticed already, the first five weeks of school were a rollercoaster. I only take one class at a time, which means I have a serious exam every five weeks. I just did the first one this Friday, and leading up to it I had multiple anxious moments in which I was scared I would fail and had to drop out. I don’t consider myself to be a very insecure person, but regarding school.. It’s something I still work on.

I have never felt more at home
Like I mentioned earlier, I have never felt like the education I got really fit me as a person. That also reflected in the interaction I had with my peers. I liked different things than them, and although that has never been a big problem, it did mean that I was always a bit of an outsider, just doing my own thing. Law school has changed all that, my peers make me feel at home and I can have super interesting discussions with them about all sorts of things. I feel at home!

Life

The Future of Blogging: Views From Someone Who Has Been Blogging For Nearly 10 Years

Morning person routine coffee tips

What was the hayday of blogging? Many people don’t know that I’ve been blogging on different platforms for close to 10 years. I used to write stories on Livejournal and Blogspot, and later I started writing a personal blog. Throughout the years I have rebranded, repurposed and renamed everything. It always made sense to me, because I like my blog to be a reflection of my personal life, and – obviously – my life has changed a lot in the last ten years. I’m 22, currently in law school. In the past I got a degree in journalism, did a year-long course in social work and worked as a freelancer on the side.

When I have this conversation about blogging with people, they often ask me about the past and the future of blogging. Does blogging content even have a future outside of SEO? If you go follow bloggers on Twitter, you’ll notice a trend of ”omg the blogging world used to be so much better and more kind. Nowadays it’s all about follow trains and getting brand deals.” I both agree and disagree with this statement. 

Making money blogging
Throughout the years, blogging has definitely become more commercial. If you started a long time ago, just like me, you probably never made a blog with the idea that you were going to make so much money. Here’s the thing, there used to be no money and blogging. Now, there is money in blogging, but almost every niche is also very oversaturated. So now you could argue that making money is even harder, because you have to be in the top 0.1% to even have your content read by a large audience, let alone make money with it.

However, this is not why I blog. I have made some money from my blog in the past (plus I still get free books semi regularly because I review them) but it is not my aim. This is why after ten years, I’m still here. I always enjoyed the community aspect of blogging. But is that community aspect holding up?

Comment threads and follow trains
I hate to go all ”everything used to be better!” on you, but I do really miss the time where other bloggers would comment on my posts because they truly enjoyed them, and not because they were trying to grow their own audience. I know those people are still around and I appreciate each and every single one of you, but they aren’t as common as they used to be. If you are among the latter, please know that there is nothing wrong with commenting to grow your audience. We all want to grow our audiences and you are not at fault for wanting to grow your own.  Continue reading “The Future of Blogging: Views From Someone Who Has Been Blogging For Nearly 10 Years”