Planners vs. Bullet Journals

If there is anything that I’ve learned about bookish people in the past two and a half years, it’s that we LOVE journaling. And plannering. And coloring. Anything that allows us to express ourselves and be organized, and if we get to include books, all the better.

I’ve noticed that there are two camps. The bullet journal camp, and the planner camp. I’ve done both, and I am firmly in team planner. But I thought it might be fun to look at the pros and cons of each.

Bullet Journal

Pros

  • If you’re artistic, they are soooooo pretty
  • You get to have exactly what you want because you design every page!
  • Flexibility
  • Doesn’t have to be pricey
  • Pretty picture on Insta!
  • Improve your handwriting and calligraphy skills
  • Great online community
Continue reading “Planners vs. Bullet Journals”
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Maybe I Should be Reading with Cliff’s Notes…

So there I am, reading a classic like Bless Me, Ultima or something. And I’m reading it, and it’s gorgeous, and I can tell that it’s amazing, and I can tell that the author is trying to tell me SOMETHING, but I just. can’t. figure. it out.

I can’t be the only person this happens to, right?

I don’t know what it is about 20th century literature, but I always feel like I’m missing something. I know enough about literature to be able to tell that something is going on, but not enough to tell what it is. Maybe it’s that the literary elements they teach us in school like metaphor and symbolism are more relevant to Romantic literature than Modern and Postmodern. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really know all that much about literature, and I can’t figure it out without a teacher holding my hand.

I really want to like these books. I feel like I almost like them. I just don’t understand them well enough.

Continue reading “Maybe I Should be Reading with Cliff’s Notes…”

I Didn’t Know I Was Reading Wrong

It has come to my attention that apparently other people don’t audiate when they read.

I can hear the voices in my head now. Half of you are going “wtf is audiate?” and the other half are going, “hold the phone, you DO THAT????” Okay friends, let’s take this one question at a time.

Audiation is hearing the words in your head as you read them, as if you were listening to an audiobook or someone was speaking to you. Most people audiate when they are first learning to read. However, it has come to my attention that for many people, as you learn to recognize more sight words you stop “hearing” them when you read them. This allows you to read more text very quickly.

Next. Yes. Yes, I do audiate when I read. Even (apparently) when reading a stop sign or text message. Always.

Continue reading “I Didn’t Know I Was Reading Wrong”

How Reading More Books Has Changed the Way I Remember Them

When I first started book blogging, I remember I would see people say things like “I can’t remember the characters’ names” and I would hardcore roll my eyes. I would think things like, geez, are these people even paying attention to what they read? How can I trust their review of a book if they can’t even remember something as basic as character names!

These days I find myself forgetting character names all the time. Sometimes immediately after finishing a book I can’t even remember the MAIN FREAKING CHARACTER’S name. So I’ve got a lot more sympathy for bloggers who forget. (And for the record, no I can’t always just go check because I get a lot of books from the library!)

So what changed?

It’s not hard to pinpoint. Prior to starting a book blog I averaged around 20 books each year. Last year I read more than 60 books.

There’s a couple obvious reasons that reading more books would cause you to not remember them as well. If I’m reading more books, it obviously means I’m reading them a lot faster. So theoretically if I’m reading faster I might not be reading as deeply as I used to. (I truly don’t think this is the case for me personally, but might totally be a thing for other people.)

Continue reading “How Reading More Books Has Changed the Way I Remember Them”

How I Use the Library to Buy Smarter

In the last 12 months I have become a much more regular library user than I have been in the past. It’s been some combination of getting really into this book blog, reading more, and *finally* running out of unread books on my bookshelf.

I find a lot of book bloggers (and especially bookstagrammers) are surprised when they find out that I get most of my books from the library these days. Library books look a lot less gorgeous on your bookstagram (stupid plastic covers…), and they offer very little re-read value. Not to mention I can’t snap any more pictures of them in a themed post for my bookstagram after I give them back.

Mostly, I think, people are surprised because book bloggers buy A LOT of books. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t hear about somebody who accidentally cheated on their book buying ban.

But guys, here’s the thing. I do still buy plenty of books! I’m just using the library to help me buy smarter.

Let me explain.

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More Religious Characters, Please

Today I’m going to talk about something that a lot of people are going to disagree with me about. This is something that has been quietly bothering me for some time, but came to a head in recent months, and I hope you’ll give me a chance to have my say.

There’s a lot of talk about representation in literature. Most often in 2019 we talk about diversity in terms of race/ethnicity and sexuality, however there is a growing movement calling for positive representation of mental health and people with disabilities. You don’t hear much about diversity in terms of religion. And if you do, you expect to hear about Muslim characters.

However, I am here to tell you, friends, that in 21st century literature, religious characters are highly underrepresented.

Continue reading “More Religious Characters, Please”

Discussion: Problematic Content in Historical Fiction

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day, and they started talking about Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, a book which remains the only Steampunk novel I’ve actually enjoyed. I admit I was a little taken aback when the hosts mentioned that they had a problem with the way Priest talked about Chinese-Americans in the novel. Many of her characters are outright racist, but then what else would you expect from the Civil War era? I hadn’t batted an eye-lid at it when reading.

But as I started thinking about it, this is something I have noticed people critiquing other historical fiction for as well. Specifically the two things I most often see historical fiction critiqued for is racism or inclusion of asylums.

As I am right in the middle of reading a historical fiction novel with some extremely offensive language right at this moment, I thought I would take a second to weigh in.

First of all, let me start by saying that we can not go back and change the past. Like or not, people in the past made mistakes. They were racist, they were anti-gay, they didn’t know how to handle mental health problems, they killed people who were inconvenient to them. The past SUCKED. I don’t know why it is that we are so drawn to it, but there it is.

So the way I see it, any author writing a historical fiction novel has three choices for how to deal with history’s problems:

  1. Ignore the problem all-together. Make everyone white, straight, and healthy.
  2. Put the diversity in there, but make your characters okay with it, even if that means losing some authenticity.
  3. Write your novel authentically, even if that means leaving in some problematic content.
Continue reading “Discussion: Problematic Content in Historical Fiction”