The Nightmare For All Readers: The Reading Slump and How to Get Rid of It

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Building on my blogging slumps post from a few weeks ago, this year I’m going to discuss how I try to get out of reading slumps. In my opinion, reading slumps are the worst evil that can ever befall a person. For me, reading is a way to destress, so being in a reading slump both increases my stress at not being able to read and takes away my method of taking away that stress. 🙂 No bueno. Therefore, may I present my attempt of helping you avoid this situation. Continue reading

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The Terror of All Book Bloggers: The Blogging Slump and Possible Solutions to Get Rid of It

thinking-thursdays-bannerHello my pandas! Today’s Thinking Thursday blog post might seem a little hypocritical given the amount of times I’ve gone on hiatus. I get it. However, this is more a list of things I’m trying out right now, right as I’m slowly coming out of a blogging slump. Thus, I don’t really have a guarantee of whether any of these methods work. Let’s go test these out together, shall we?

1. Set aside a chunk of time, get rid of all distractions, and force yourself to write. 

Sometimes all you need is a little motivation, and purposefully creating a space to write your posts can help. I’ve already found this helpful, especially since I tend to procrastinate if I don’t actively tell myself to do something. I know a lot of authors do this especially when they feel stuck in their book, so I think this would probably be applicable to book blogging as well.

2. Write reviews right after you finish the book, not much later.

This is especially tricky for me because I read at such a fast rate and typically read while I’m on the go, not leaving much time for reviews. I’m going to slowly try to integrate this method into my schedule, especially since my list of backlogged book reviews is especially alarming. Seriously, I still have some books I read last June that I’ve been wanting to review. Anyway, by creating this sort of policy, it might be easier to ensure that you a) don’t forget the book or any important details/thoughts, b) have more motivation to share what you thought about the book with the internet rather than boring your uninterested family/friends (at least in my case), and c) have a list of ready-to-go material (see number 4).

3. Just keep reading.

Sometimes, the creative juices really aren’t flowing. You probably need some new material and artistic inspiration to get you going, so pick up those books. I find this simultaneously helps me relax and find the motivation to keep going. Again, try to use method number 2 to help keep on top of things, but the focus here is to really try to rejuvenate your inner writing dragon. (Yep, I hear it. Yep, it sounds weird. Yep, it’s staying in.) HOWEVER, if you are in a reading slump, disregard this method. In my experience, you’ll just lose even more motivation by trying to push yourself to read books you really don’t want to. Next week’s post, I’ll trying to cover how to get over reading slumps.

4. When you have an idea and extra time, write a post and save it for a rainy day.

Right now, I’m on spring break and am slowly starting to get back into blogging, so I’m trying to write as much as possible while my blogging muse is alive. I find that sometimes blogging slumps are caused by the stress of not writing, which makes me not write, which puts me in a blogging slump, which just turns into a vicious circle. By having a stash of ready-made blog posts, you can just use one as your post for the day and not stress about it. This in turn may give you the room to create more rainy day posts or even just plan for the week or take a breather.

5. Take a hiatus. Preferably a planned one.

If all of the above fails, use this method. If you feel like you are desperately clinging on to the edge of a precipice, about to fall into the abyss of blogging slumps, cut it off. Take a planned hiatus. It’s ok. Everyone will still be there for you. If you feel like the pressure is just too much at the moment, taking a break from blogging and maybe even social media may be the key to resting and eventually getting back in the writing mode. We all get how stressful and high commitment book blogging can be. Nobody’s going to judge you for taking a hiatus. (At least I won’t.) Do try telling people you’re on hiatus though. That way they won’t think you just suddenly dropped off the face of the Earth. I definitely need to work on that.

 

Anyway, I hope this was helpful to you guys. I myself am trying out some of these methods and finding it useful. Here’s to no more blogging slumps for at least a year! Also, last update: I was planning to do an unboxing of my March FairyLoot yesterday, but decided to postpone it to next week just case someone hasn’t gotten theirs yet. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone!

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The Catalogue: How I Organize the Books I’ve Read

img_8212Short Thinking Thursday post today because I’m still at the theatre for almost the whole day and I have almost no time besides now. I thought that today I’d do a post about my books organization. I know many people use Goodreads as a way to catalogue what books they’ve already read, but the problem is that I only started actively using Goodreads this year. I haven’t really managed to figure out how to add previously read books without messing up my yearly challenge. Thus, my spreadsheet is the solution.  Continue reading

May I Return to the Beginning?: 6 Month Blogiversary!

IMG_7852.JPGThree days ago (Monday) was my 6-month blogiversary. I can’t believe it’s already been six months!!! How time flies. So for today’s Thinking Thursday, in celebration of this “momentous” occasion, I shall be telling you the story of how this blog started. By the way, that blog title is in reference to a fantabulous musical called “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” If you haven’t listened to the music yet, I highly recommend doing that now. It’s amazing!

I guess it probably all started with me finally reading The Mortal Instruments about a year ago. Continue reading

Dear America: The 2016 U.S. Election

american-flag-in-booksFor today’s Thinking Thursday, I’m going to talk about an event obviously very important to me: The United States 2016 election. I have decided to write an open letter to basically all Americans as well as our friends of America. I know it’s very long, in fact the longest post I’ve ever written, but please stick with me because I feel that this is crucial to discuss and I spent a painstakingly long time crafting this.

Dear America,

On November 8, 2016, I waited with the rest of America, and indeed, the world, to see what the outcome of our election would be. Many of my peers and my friends were certain that Hillary Clinton would win, but I myself was more unsure. I was filled with anxiety the whole day, and watched with mounting horror as Donald Trump gained more and more votes. I still held out hope, but after Trump won Florida, I began to lose faith. I started to panic. By the end of the night, I was in shock. The whole experience just felt surreal. I watched as my Twitter feed, my text groups, my Twitter chats, and even a dormant Facebook group chat began to explode with mounting horror. In the end, Donald Trump won and I just sat there for a few moments. I sat there wondering, “How could America do this?” I couldn’t even cry. I was just speechless.

I started getting angry, and I just felt like raging at everyone and everything. At the third party voters, at those who didn’t vote, at those who wrote in fake names, and of course at the Trump supporters. I couldn’t decide who I was angrier at. I have some very close friends and even mentors who I knew for sure were pro-Trump, and I couldn’t even think about how I would face them. Along with much of book Twitter and just Twitter in general, I retweeted, angry, terrified, and horror-stricken, tweet after tweet.

As the night wore on and the outcome began to truly sink in, I began to cycle through a variety of thoughts. What else could we have done? There were so many people working tirelessly to promote justice and equality, to promote the candidate they thought would be the best for America at this moment. She may not have been perfect, but she was the best option, and I do believe she could have done some truly wonderful things. I wondered if many people could have changed their minds if we had only talked them and had more conversations. This election was so full of hatred and division, and I wonder where we would be if only people really listened to one another. One of my best friend’s parents voted for Trump on the basis of his economic policies. I understand supporting Republican policies, but were those policies truly compelling enough to vote for someone with no political experience? One of my mentors voted for Trump because she doesn’t think that women should be running the country. I don’t understand this at all, but on top of that, was a female leader so “backward” that you could vote for someone with such hatred in his heart? Next, I pondered how bad Trump would really be for this country. Could he or would he even get anything done? Immediately, I answered my question. For the first time since 1928, Republicans control or will control every branch of the American government. This means that Trump will most likely be able to get what he wants with ease. Side note: 1929 was the start of the Great Depression just putting that out there. Finally, what have we done, America? What have we done? I don’t even know how to answer that question, and quite frankly, I am almost too scared to even try.

Yesterday, and even today, I walked around an extremely shell-shocked school. Yesterday, almost everyone at school was crying and terrified. It broke my heart.  I go to an all-girls school where the majority is rich and white. If we are feeling this way, I can’t imagine what those in less privileged situations are feeling. Is this truly the reality of the America we must now face?

Yesterday, in my ballet class, actually a surprising amount of people were pro-Trump. I didn’t know what to do or say. As I’ve said above, one of my best friends and her family voted for him. I felt very uncomfortable because I love my friend dearly but I didn’t feel like I could talk to her rationally. I just couldn’t understand how people as lovely as her and her family could vote for such a horrible person. I actually felt kind of bad for her because she was crying, saying she felt very attacked. At the same time, I was struggling to reconcile how great of a friend she was with how she could support such a man. It saddens me that I have to question such things because of political beliefs, because of people who are Republican and feel they have no other choice but to vote for Trump. I honestly just felt so confused and drained. In the end, I decided to just not engage in political conversation because I didn’t want to say things that I would later regret. Does this make a coward? Maybe. I honestly don’t know anymore. This is the America we now have. Divided and contentious, even among friends. As I write this, there are millions filling the streets and protesting Trump. I wish I had the courage and time to do that too, but I applaud you to the fullest. However, it shouldn’t have to be this way. I don’t know if protests about presidency have ever happened on such a large scale in recent American history, but the fact that this has to happen is extremely sobering.

The problem with all this hatred is that it didn’t drop from the sky. It has always existed in America, and we pretended that the problem was going away, gone even. While our discrimination certainly wasn’t gone, it was getting better, slowly but surely. With the arrival of Trump, all of the hatred that was simmering beneath the surface seemed to bubble up again and began to balloon. It basically feels like we’re right back to square one. So much of this election was based not merely on Trump himself but on his platforms of fear, hatred, and anger. We need to realize that these problems of hatred were already here, disasters that have already happened, are happening, and will happen. The amount of hatred on display is staggering, and it’s only day 2. I can’t help but wonder if these wounds will ever heal.

I decided not to post this letter until today so that I could make sure that I was thinking rationally. As my history teacher said, “You are allowed to mourn. You are allowed to grieve, and be angry, and be terrified. Those feelings are valid and important. But there will come a time, sooner than you might think, when the mourning period will be over. You must not just sit on the sidelines hopelessly, but fight. Fight for others, and use your privilege to produce change in the world.” I may still be mourning, but I am consciously making a decision to fight even harder today and for the rest of my life. No matter my identity, I will fight. But who exactly am I?

I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I am an ally. I have many friends and even teachers who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, and I stand right by their side. I am honestly very scared on their behalf given not just the stance of many Republican government officials but especially Mike Pence, the man who thinks that electrotherapy can “shock gay people into being straight.” This is absolutely sickening, and I just don’t understand how people can think that way. If I’m this scared right now for the LGBTQ+ community, I can’t imagine how terrified members must be feeling. I know it’s inadequate, but I sincerely apologize to LGBTQ+ members for all that you must be going through. As an ally, it is my duty to fight for those who can’t, for those whose voices are being ignored.

I am a practicing Roman Catholic, but I stand with all religions, especially Muslims and Jews in these trying times. As a Christian, I am appalled by what so many do “in the name of Christ.” The hate and bigotry of so many people who use religion as an excuse to commit horrifying deeds is just completely and utterly sad. I want someone to point me to the section of the Bible that condones hatred because I seem to have a different version. As for those who are Muslim or Jewish or anyone condemned by their beliefs, I’m so sorry that you have to live in fear because of what you believe. To Muslims especially, I’m so sorry that you can’t wear your hijab for fear of your life, and I’m so sorry that many automatically assume you are terrorists. I know this can in no way fix the magnitude of the problems you are dealing with, but I tell you this: I support you. I stand with you.

I am a woman. Women make up about half of this planet, and yet we are still not treated equally. There are still many people who think women cannot lead. There are still many people who think women are inferior and not capable of thinking for themselves. There are still many people who think that women should not be paid the same amount as men. The list goes on and on. This is why we need feminism. Feminism is defined as wanting equal rights for men and women. It is not, as many people incorrectly believe, wanting women to replace men or something. No. If you are a feminist, you are for equal rights. Period. So I will say it again with pride: I am a feminist.

I am a person of color (PoC). I am half Chinese and half Filipino. Asians may not be as targeted as Mexicans and African-Americans, and I fully understand that. There will always be someone more oppressed than me. And while I have heard stories of Chinese being called “Chinks,” and to go back home, there are undoubtedly many, many more horror stories about the oppression of other PoC. Everyone’s story of abuse is valid. It’s disgusting that kindergartners are telling their Mexican classmates that they can’t wait until they are deported. It’s disgusting that PoC are being told to sit in the backs of buses. It’s disgusting that PoC are being threatened at even higher rate than normal. So while as PoC, my voice may not be as noticed, I still advocate for all those PoC who are being oppressed.

I am a teenager. As I am 16, I did not get to vote in this election, and I don’t know what’s scarier. Knowing that you couldn’t do anything, that you couldn’t vote, and just had to watch everything unfold out of your control? Or knowing that like parents, you did your piece, you voted, and that still wasn’t enough? I’m not quite sure. However, as a teenager, this means that during some of my most formative years, including my senior year and the majority of my college experience, we will have one of the most inexperienced, hateful, and volatile presidents ever. I almost don’t even want to think about this, but I have to face it. This will be my reality. My job now is to educate both myself and others as much as I can about politics and what is actually happening so that when I vote, I am making a fully informed decision. We teens are the future of America, and we must hold the line. Change starts with us.

I am the daughter of two immigrants. My parents came to this country seventeen years ago from the Philippines. They are some of the hardest workers that I know. They don’t fit a lot of the negative and almost completely incorrect immigrant stereotypes. When they became citizens, it was one of the proudest moments of our lives So many people that I know, so many of my loved ones, are either immigrants or children of immigrants. The American government was built by immigrants. Some of our greatest inventions came from immigrants. Einstein, anyone? Immigrants are the backbone of our nation, and to say that they are unimportant, that they are horrible for the country, just does not compute with me. For what it’s worth, I stand by with some of the most crucial unsung heroes: the immigrants.

I am an American. As President Obama so eloquently stated in his moving speech yesterday, “We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.” On the night of the election, as people began to see that Trump was winning, the Canadian immigration website crashed. The “If Trump wins, I’m moving to ____” joke has been around for about a year now, but the reality is we cannot do this. We have to stay for our country. We have to become even more involved, not check out. Let us do our duty to our country, and help make it a better place, day by day.

It is our duty as bloggers, as Americans (or friends of America), as human beings, to speak out for what is right. We must listen. We must support. We must fight. Even if you can’t go out on the streets and protest, or make donations, just listening is the first step. Just telling people you’re there for them can go a long way. Just supporting marginalized groups and those who work towards peace, who stand up for what is right. Just calling out those who discriminate against others is a big step forward. We can fix this America. We are stronger together, so let us fight the good fight.

Sincerely,

A Concerned American

I’m Running Out of Time To Save the World: The Age of YA Protagonists

ya-heroines-collageI know that I’ve been writing a lot of reviews recently, so I thought I would try something new for a change. I’ve seen a lot of other blogs do discussion type posts, so here’s my go at it! I’m hoping that this will encourage more people to interact and comment their opinions. I love talking to you guys! Also, what do you think about calling these posts Thinking Thursdays posts? Or is that too mundane, shall we say?

I turned sixteen yesterday, and I had a great birthday. There’s something about the number sixteen that just makes me really happy, and I felt wonderful until I started thinking about YA books. Okay, this is going to sound super nerdy and weird, but I kind of freaked out for a few minutes. Why? Okay, look at the ages of all the heroes and heroines in YA lit. Obviously, basically everyone is in their teens; that’s why it’s called “young adult literature.” But if you think about it, it actually feels really unrealistic. Putting aside the fact that there is currently no magic available to me, it makes me think about what I’ve achieved in these past sixteen years. I’m definitely no Clary Fairchild, who has saved the world twice (give or take), or Magnus Chase, who died a valiant death to save Boston from a fiery giant, or even Violet Markey who is so strong and open-minded. I’m just plain old me, who occasionally struggles with her calculus homework and whose biggest worry is where she’ll go to college. And you know what? That’s okay. YA heroes and heroines are born to inspire, to send a message of hope and strength and persistence to their readers. It’s relatable and enjoyable to read about people my age. I get that, and that’s one of the reasons why I love YA literature so much.

At the same time, I sometimes wonder if YA books are somehow yet another thing adding to our stress levels, even subconsciously. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve said it about five times and I’ll say it again: I LOVE YA LIT! There, I’ve even enthusiastically screamed it. Anywho, I think that society just places so much pressure on teens today, even compared with our parents’ time. I get it, the times are changing. But there is really just a constant drive for the next generation to do everything better and earlier. Yes, it means that society is not as likely to stagnate. At the same time, stress and anxiety seems to be increasing exponentially. I don’t know, I just feel like reading 100 books a year about people my age or even younger saving the world can maybe get to my head a little bit.

Okay, I’ve rambled on for far too long, but seriously, what do you think? Am I just crazy? Or does YA literature really sometimes feel unrealistic and a little panic-inducing? Let me know!