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 · personal

Mid Year Reading Goals Update: How Am I Doing?

mid year reading update.png

Does anyone else LOVE reading about other people’s reading goals? It’s just so fascinating to me.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about my (somewhat unconventional) reading goals for 2018. Since we’re halfway through the year, I thought I’d update you on every single goal to see how I’m doing. I thought I was doing pretty well, but I’m not so sure now..

Goal 1: Stop worrying about how much I’ve read, or haven’t read
In 2018, I wanted to get rid of the feeling of competitive reading. As I said in my original post, I sometimes feel pressured to read ”x amount of books” and it can stress me out. I’m really trying to let this go, but it’s hard. I set my GoodReads goal for 52 books at the beginning of the year, with the idea that this was a ”loose” goal. But now if I look at it and I see I’m ‘only’ two or three books ahead of schedule, I want to read more because I don’t want to fall behind! This is stupid, because I should be proud I already read 29 books this year. In short, this is something I’m still working on.

Goal 2: Read more classic novels
This goal is going pretty well! So far, this year I read the following books that could be considered classics:
– 1984 by George Orwell
– Animal Farm by George Orwell
– The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
– Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I’m quite happy with this list, and for the second half of 2018 I want to try to expand this to at least 10 books. I’ve found it very valuable to (re)read these classics now that I’m a bit older, as I feel like I can grasp the symbolism and meaning of the story much better. Continue reading “Mid Year Reading Goals Update: How Am I Doing?”

personal

HUGE Life Update: Moving to Rotterdam, Getting Out of my Reading Slump and Law School!

dalindcy life update

If you are among the people that read this blog semi-regularly, you’ll have noticed that the amount of posts have plummeted in the past two or three months. This dip in posts usually happens to me at least once a year, and I have come to the realization that it’s just how my cycle of inspiration and creativity works: rather than one continuous stretch, it comes in BURSTS. Churning out content in between isn’t impossible for me, but it comes less natural and I enjoy the writing process a lot less.

With less blog inspiration usually also comes a reading slump. And BOY was I in a reading slump the past few months. In June, I read ONE book. Kind of a big one, but still. The previous months I had read six to eight books. It’s fine, I don’t pressure myself to read because it is a hobby and it should be enjoyable. Instead, I picked up a drawing hobby! If you follow my Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of my artsy projects!

Luckily I’m getting out of my reading slump now. And that has everything to do with the fact that I have finished school for the year! I managed to get 60 credits this year, the maximum obtainable, which means I’m getting something called a propaedeutic diploma – and this is making it possible for me to fulfill a big dream of mine: I’m going to law school in September!

Something else that helped me get out of my reading slump is the fact that I have finally moved to the city of Rotterdam. I grew up in a small town south of the city, and had a two hour commute every day just to make it to my college. But hey, that’s finally over now! This also means I’ve moved out of my parent’s place, and I’m on my own for the first time ever. It feels weird, but I also know in my heart that it was time to get my own place. I needed the independence. I’m currently writing this on my balcony, and if I look to my left I see my new, beautiful bookcase you can also see at the top of this blog post. If that doesn’t make you excited to pick up a book, I don’t know what will. 🙂

Since so much has been changed in my life the past few months, I really felt the need to update you. It just doesn’t feel right to resume my usual blog post scheduling without letting you know what has been going on and why it has been a little more quiet on here. But now, I am reading again! Which also means I’m writing again.

personal · Wrap ups

April Wrap-Up: The Books I Read, My Favorite Blogposts And Life in General

IMG_2244.JPG

It’s kind of cliché to start wrap-ups with ‘I can’t believe the month is already over!’ but that’s really how I feel about April and about 2018 in general. I only have three big classes left of this school year , and then that’ll be over as well. Spring is here (although in The Netherlands, that means mostly rain…)

I used to never do wrap-ups, but I would like to change that. I enjoy reading wrap-ups that go a little deeper, like how Through Prose Tinted Pages does them. Their wrap-up includes a life update as well as awesome blog posts they enjoyed this month. So that’s what inspired this post!

dalindcy april 2018 wrap up.png

I read six books in the month of April, and I DNF’d one.

extremely loud & incredibly close
The first book I read was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. This book, which is about how a 10-year old boy deals with the loss of his father, was a reread for me. And once again, my heart was crushed. This book is a little jarring and confusing the first half, but everything wraps up nicely in the second half. Four stars.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 14.46.58

 

Then, I finished A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. This is the third book in the Shades of Magic trilogy (I reviewed A Darker Shade of Magic here). I LOVED THIS BOOK. I loved the characters. I loved the writing. I loved the romance. The story wraps up really nicely and the ending is very satisfying. I cannot wait to try more of V.E. Schwab’s books. I gave this five stars.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 14.51.13.png
Then, continuing my spree of reading emotional books, I read Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng. It’s about the death of Lydia, the favorite child of the Chinese-American family this is about. It’s beautifully written and it deals with some very interesting and important topics. Such as interracial relationships, racism, sexism, grief, neglect, etc.  I gave it three stars because I felt like an observer in the story, and could never really connect to the characters.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 14.53.46.png

Next I read and reviewed Chatterbox by Sandy Day. This is a self-published poetry collection that the author sent to me for review. The poems in this collection explore a world of bewildering emotions ranging from sadness and terror to anger and enlightenment. The collection, divided in four different parts – Chattering, scattering, craving and knocking – guides you through all of these emotions. My full review can be found here. I gave it four stars.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 14.57.22.png
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas had been on my TBR for a while. This book takes an incredibly important subject matter – racially motivated police violence – and makes it digestible for a YA audience. I gave it three stars, which means I liked it. I thought the main character was very well done, her reaction to things seems very realistic to me. My main issue was with the writing. It felt very typical for a YA contemporary and therefore didn’t have much identity or distinct voice for me.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 15.01.27
The last book I finished in April is The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. This book is part memoir, part true crime story. We follow the author as she begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder. While working there she becomes obsessed with pedophile and murderer Ricky Langley, seeing parallels of her own life in his. This book was absolutely breathtaking, and I’m planning to write a full review about it very soon.

Then, there is one book I DNF’d..

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 15.03.46.pngThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This was my very first Stiefvater book and I DNF’d it around the halfway point. It’s not that I absolutely hated the story, it’s just that I couldn’t be bothered. I always say that I need to understand the motive of the characters to care about the story and that’s where this book completely fell flat for me. Some rich spoiled private school kids search for a Welsh King and somehow it has to do with psychic energy but like, why?  Continue reading “April Wrap-Up: The Books I Read, My Favorite Blogposts And Life in General”

Bookish posts · personal

My Reading Routine: Picking a Book, Actually Reading And my Review Process

I love reading about other people’s reading routines, or watching videos about them. So I thought I’d share my own!

Picking what I read
I know a lot of people have set monthly TBRs, but I’m actually a huge, HUGE mood reader. I’ve tried the whole monthly TBR thing, but I never really stick to it. I’ll be in a contemporary mood at the beginning of the month, only to dive into fantasy halfway through and then I just want to binge on that genre, until I burn out on it and move onto the next thing.

I have a shelf with almost all the books I have yet to read (or want to reread). It’s kind of a mixed bag: non-fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, classics, etcetera. When I finish a book, I’n often already eyeing one or two books on this shelf I’ll want to pick up next. When it’s time to pick up the next book, I browse, pick up a few books, maybe read the first page or so and then I decide what I actually want to pick up.

my TBR shelf.jpg

When I’m reading
On a good day, my reading can start at 6 or 7AM. That is, I wake up early after a good sleep and I feel like picking up my book. When that happens, usually a few times a week, I make myself a cup of coffee and prop my pillow up against my bed.

After I’ve gotten ready in the morning, I pick my book up as soon as I get to the bus stop. I have an hour commute to and from college every single day, and I always read, while listening to music or white noise with my phone. I’ve come to really appreciate this time for reading. Before I started doing this, I considered my public transport time to be stressful, and ‘wasted’, now I actually look forward to it.  Continue reading “My Reading Routine: Picking a Book, Actually Reading And my Review Process”

Bookish posts · personal

Why I Love my Ugly & Beat up Books

IMG_1535.JPG

There are a lot of aesthetically pleasing, pristine looking books out in the world. Some people get very passionate about keeping their books is amazing shape. And I get it, because I used to be exactly like that. Never breaking spines, dog-earing writing on the pages.

But I did a complete 180 on that front. It’s not like I deliberately ruin my books, but I completely stopped caring about ‘keeping them pristine’. It made me stressed and sometimes even pulled me out of the story. Today, a beat up book means a well-loved book for me.

I’ve been wanting to talk about this subject for a while now, but I was quite hesitant. The reasons is that on BookTube and in the book blogging community, I constantly see people judging others for how they treat their books. People leaving hate comments on videos of my favorite BookTubers because they fold the corners of their own books, or drop a book on the floor at the end of a video. Of course, if you want to keep your books pristine, go ahead, it’s your book, but don’t judge others for not doing the same thing!

In my opinion, books are meant to be read. To be enjoyed. To be devoured. And I enjoy the experience more when I don’t keep my books pristine. For me, my most ragged books are also my most loved ones.

My copy of The Shadow of The Wind has coffee spilled on one of the pages, dirt on the edges and the color of the cover is wearing off on one side, because that’s where I’ve rested the book while reading it. I put tabs in the places of my favorite quotes, and often go back to them.

My copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has writing on the first page, because I wrote down what date I got it. (I was eleven, my mom bought it for me for Christmas). I love that I wrote that down, and now cherish that memory. It also has lots of page folds in it from all the times I’ve read it. One time I accidentally dropped it while I fell asleep reading it in the middle of the night, and there is now forever a crease in the book to remind me of that. And I love that.

My beat up books are my most loved books, and I like it that way.