Book reviews · Bookish posts

The 6 most disappointing books I (attempted to) read in 2018

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As of right now, I have read 42 books this year. I was on track to break 50, but then law school happened and it all went downhill from there. But hey, 42 books is still great! And many of those books were wonderful. Others, not so much.. Today I want to share the books that disappointed me this year.

‘Disappointing’ doesn’t mean they were the worst books that I came across this year, it simply means I had just such high hopes for them and ended up not loving them nearly as much as I had hoped.

Schermafbeelding 2018-04-30 om 15.03.46The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
In 2018 I finally tried to get into Maggie Stiefvater and it did not go well. 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? I made it halfway through and it’s still not clear. Which made me not excited to pick this back up again.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodSchermafbeelding 2018-12-23 om 16.49.08
I wanted to be blown away by this book SO BAD. But I just wasn’t. A story set in a theonomic military dictatorship formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. But I just felt so MEH about the execution. The first 100 pages or so are kind of slow, and we don’t really learn about much at all. I just felt like I was groping around in the dark, trying to figure out what was going on and how we got there. Continue reading “The 6 most disappointing books I (attempted to) read in 2018”

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Life

I’m Instagram Tired: 5 ‘Pro Tips’ I Refuse to Follow

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I know, I know. It seems like every blogger or ‘social media person’ has been annoyed with Instagram lately. It all seemed to start when the algorithm changed. Instagram went from a chronological feed to a ‘show best posts first’ feed (I’m sure there’s a fancy word for that, but you get it.) This seems to be a trend among social media platforms. And from their standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. Personalize a feed so users see more posts that they actually like. The users will then spend more time on your platform, and (hopefully) generate more revenue.

That, combined with Instagram Stories and IGTV (does anyone even still use that?!?) really did change Instagram. But my beef with the platform is not so much the less likes I’m getting on a picture. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about that. It’s how it changes the content other people upload. The whole platform feels less genuine, and it seems that everyone is catering their content to what Instagram wants it to be now, instead of sharing what they actually want to share. I can’t blame them, but there are a few things I refuse to participate in..

Pro Tip #1: Follow people so they follow you
Follow-for-follow is huge on every platform (Twitter follow trains anyone?) but Instagram is especially bad. I already know that when I’m followed by someone who has a bigger amount of following and does not follow a lot of people themselves, they will unfollow me as soon as I follow them (and if I don’t, they will also unfollow me). I just don’t like this stuff. I follow someone if I like their content, regardless if they follow me back or not. And I would like for people to do the same with me.

Pro Tip #2: Comment on everyone’s posts
A while back it seemed like bots on Instagram became all the rage. For some reason whenever you’d use a hashtag (even one!) you’d get comments that were just ”Cute!” or a random emoji. I think most people know this by now, but these comments are completely botted. People see it as a way to get their account out there but it sucks, especially if someone posts a sad update. A while back one of my friends posted an Instagram post of their grandmother, who was recently admitted to the hospital. The first comment on the post was a heart-eyes emoji.

Pro Tip #3: Post every day around the same time
If I snap a pic I like I want to post it now. That’s just how my mind works. I guess if I have a ton of pics I like, I will keep some in my catalogue for later. But most of the time I’m too impulsive to wait with my pics. If I don’t do that, that just takes the ”insta” out of instagram for me. Continue reading “I’m Instagram Tired: 5 ‘Pro Tips’ I Refuse to Follow”

Life · Running · tips

Run Baby Run: Getting Back into the Swing of Things And Silencing my Inner Critic

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I have fallen in and out of love with running for over four years now. Here’s the thing: running isn’t enjoyable when you first start, but the more I do it – especially combined with some strength training and yoga – the more I love it.

But over those four years, I have pressured myself when it comes to fitness. I constantly had a voice in my head saying ”sure you ran 8km today, but someone else ran 16km at a much faster pace. So you need to work on that.”

And that little voice, that inner critic, is what made me quit all these times. I’m a pretty competitive type A person, and without noticing I was constantly competing. With myself more so than with others. And although that is a great source of motivation, getting myself down because I wasn’t where I wanted to be fitness wise is not healthy. Not if it actually makes me feel worse about myself.

But I’m done with that critic, it does not fit with my 2018 resolution of being kind to myself.

I have been getting back into my running routine for the past few weeks or so. And I’m trying really, really hard to just work through it and have patience, without feeling like I’m never doing enough. I want to be better, sure. I want to improve my PR’s and run races again. I still have the dream of running a full marathon someday, something I haven’t been able to get out of my head in the past few years.

So here’s to actually running on a regular basis. Trusting the process. Being okay with where I am. Being kind to myself.

personal · Personal Development

7 Things Anyone Can Do to be A Better Person (That Require Zero Talent)

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I think most of us want to be a better person – but if we think about it, being better sounds like this huge thing that we need to spend a lot of time on. Like, I might need to go on a ten day yoga retreat or something (that sounds terribly expensive to be honest). But that’s not the case. Recently I’ve made it a point to be mindful about the little ways that I’ve behaved, going just a little further. Here are a few things I’ve implemented in my life that truly – or at least I think so – have made me a better person.

Be punctual and prepared
This one is huge. If you’re the type of person who is always running late, you forget your stuff – haven’t read a file yet that you need for a meeting, aren’t prepared for class, etc – this is probably one of the first things you’ll want to work on. It’s a mentality difference really. Always being punctual and prepared will make you look so much more professional and put together. Not to mention it’s a great way to reduce stress.

Be polite
Saying please and thank you go a long way. If you’re the type of person that dismisses others if they give you a compliment, think twice. Or may be your parents or partner always does something for you, and it’s kind of become a habit, make it a point to thank them for what they do for you. Making people feel appreciated is so important!

Choose to be kind
It’s a bit cliché, but you don’t know someone’s story. This is one I need to be very mindful of and to be honest, I still struggle with it sometimes. It’s not that I’m not kind to people, but sometimes I think not-so kind thoughts in my head or I get annoyed about very little things. I am now actively trying to be aware of this and instead, have more positive thoughts.

Don’t give advice if people don’t ask you for it
You know those people that give you unwanted advice when you tell them something? I know I’m not alone when I say those people get on my nerves. For me, it happens a lot with my back problems. People will tell me not to walk, or not to sit. Or to go for massages or hot yoga, not knowing what actually works for me. At the same time, I realize that they do this with the best intentions. People give advice because they want to help you. If you’re one of those people that gives out unwarranted advice, next time, try to think twice. Not everyone wants your advice, and you’re not always to most qualified person to give it.  Continue reading “7 Things Anyone Can Do to be A Better Person (That Require Zero Talent)”

Book reviews · personal

Revisiting Old Favorites: Matilda by Roald Dahl

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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.

Life · personal

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

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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

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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”