Bookish posts · personal

Mid Year Reading Goals Update: How Am I Doing?

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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?”

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personal

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

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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

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It’s kind of clichĂ© 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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Bookish posts · personal

My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books

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I used to treat my books like sacred beings. And it was normal, most other booklovers I know were this way. They are these precious, beautiful vessels that hold a story that we must protect with our lives. They give us so much, so the least we can do is to keep them clean and perfect.

But.. it’s exhausting. The whole keeping your books pristine thing is exhausting. It got to the point where I would feel nervous putting books in my backpack and would have to carry them in my hands so I could keep my eyes on them at all times. I would make sure tables were totally clean before I set them down, and it was just so impractical.

So, I just kind of stopped caring. I started breaking the spines of my paperbacks (it’s much more comfortable to read that way), dog-earing the pages and.. writing in them. And I love the way it looks. Every single page that I read has been ingrained in the book itself. For me, a read book doesn’t only tell the story that’s printed in the book, but also the story of how the reader read the book.

Why I annotate my books

I already mentioned this above, but I love making the book my own. By annotating a book in one way or another, I’m having an active conversation with the author and I’m transferring some of the thoughts I had in a specific moment onto the pages. That way, I can look back and see what I had thought the first time I read something. It’s a way to see how I first experienced the story.

I love seeing how my thoughts have evolved upon rereading the book later. I might think about a passage in a certain way now, but future me could totally disagree with past me! In a way, my book notes are my literary flow chart. It shows how I’ve grown and matured as a person.  Continue reading “My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books”

personal · Travel

Why You Should Visit The MontjuĂŻc Cemetery in Barcelona

I like cemeteries, I’ve always been fascinated by them. Whenever I travel to a new city, I always like to visit at least one cemetery; it’s a way for me to acknowledge significant events of the past related to that city.

When I went to Barcelona, my boyfriend and I visited the Cementiri de Montjuïc, one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever visited.

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The History

The cemetery opened in 1883 and is located on one of the rocky slopes on the Montjuïc hill in Barcelona. The use of the 56-hectare space on the side of Montjuïc Hill was part of an initiative to expand and improve the city, which was growing exponentially at that point. The chief designer of the cemetery was architect Leandro Albareda. There have been over 1 million burials at this cemetery, and there are currently more than 150,000 graves.

Why You Should Go

Many of the more prominent and wealthy families of Barcelona requested the construction and design of their own mausoleums. It resulted in some of the city’s best architects playing a role in constructing some spectacular pieces. Many of the larger mausoleums and monumental tombs have little signs next to them with some information about the architectural style.

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The place is honestly breathtaking. It’s huge, bigger than I could ever show you with photo’s. The monuments and massive mausoleums make it feel more like a miniature city than a cemetery. Continue reading “Why You Should Visit The MontjuĂŻc Cemetery in Barcelona”