weekly rewind // 9-11-12

Hello, and welcome to the first Friday edition of the Weekly Rewind! I talked about doing a rewind on a day other than Sunday in a recent post about upcoming content plans, so we are giving that a try this week. This week’s rewind is basically going to be a rewind for September so far since I didn’t do one last week on September 4th.

weekly happenings

  • We got a target reopen date at the library. Originally, the library where I work had a reopen date of August, but because Covid cases were still high, they postponed it. We just got an email last week about the new date being October 8th potentially, and honestly, I’m really hoping they rethink that. As much as I know our patrons need library services, especially computer use, I’m just not comfortable working with people in person and I don’t want to risk exposure to Covid to help someone get on a computer even if it’s for an important reason. We will have social distancing measures in place of course, but I just have a lot of concerns, mainly not dying of Covid, and I’m really anxious about reopening.
  • My new work schedule was announced. Previously, the library had only been open Monday-Friday, but now they’re adding bi-weekly Saturdays, which unfortunately falls on my week. My main concern about this is that when we are open to computer appointments that I am not going to be able to adequately help everyone if I am the only librarian scheduled to work.
  • Basically, I’m really stressed about work. I’m trying to repeat positive thoughts about it to myself, and honestly the new schedule will be fine if we don’t reopen, but I’m really stressed about reopening because I DON’T WANT TO DIE. Even if we screen every patron before entering, they could still be asymptomatic and I also don’t want to end up in a situation like I’ve heard lots of librarians have faced where a physical altercation happens because patrons don’t want to adhere to social distancing guidelines. I did not sign up for this job to be physically assaulted.

on the blog

Here’s what I’ve posted so far in September:

what i’ve read

I’ve actually been doing super well on my proposed TBR this month so far? My initial goal was to read 4-5 September releases and I’m already on my fourth one! So far I have read:

  1. Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
  2. Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
  3. Horrid – Katrina Leno

My least favorite so far is WHO I WAS WITH HER, which wasn’t a bad book but hit me the wrong way, and my favorite is CHARMING AS A VERB, which I will definitely be recommending to everyone I know.

currently reading

I’m currently reading Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s book MISS METEOR. I’m a little nervous about it because honestly I haven’t liked any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books that I’ve tried even though they totally SOUND like Mel books. However, I am hopeful that this book may work for me with their styles combined.

good readance 2020 check in

Since I’m participating in Shealea’s Good Readance 2020 challenge this month, I wanted to include a brief update post on what I’ve done for that challenge. So far, I’ve accomplished 3 of my Good Readance goals, including wittling my tbr from 400 to 200, getting rid of unnecessary shelves on GR, making a professional GR for children’s books, and unhauling my physical book collection.

february rewind \\ where did it go

January felt like it took 18 years and February…where did this month even go? I know it’s already a slightly shorter month but it just felt…extra short? Was it just me? Am I crazy? The world may never know. On to the wrap up!

 

what happened

  • Honestly nothing of note. I’m finding it hard to remember what happened during the month now that I haven’t been putting weekly happenings as part of my Sunday Post posts (except for last week). But also maybe it’s because nothing really occurred?
  • I continued being stressed about work. I’m just ridiculously stressed about my job still and coworkers and programs and displays and just. Why is this my life.
  • I joined Bumble BFF. I tried Bumble the dating app a few years ago and was intrigued when I heard it had a BFF version for making friends. I have talked to a couple people on it and am hoping to make at least a couple new friends out of it because I have realized that
  • I’ve been super lonely. I think it’s partially because I miss my college friends that I’m no longer friends with, but also because of gender stuff and generally feeling like I don’t have anyone to talk to outside of my one or two work friends. I just feel very isolated and like I can’t talk to anyone outside my family.
  • I decided to go to Book Expo again this year. If I’m approved for funding again through my library system, then I will definitely go. I think I’ll have a better time this year because I’m planning to go for only one and a half days and I’ll be familiar with taking the train, which was the most stressful aspect for me other than getting around in NY, which still wasn’t too bad because I didn’t go anywhere where I couldn’t just walk there. But I’ll probably stay at the same hotel, so I’ll know how to get there and how to get to Javits from there.

 

what i read

I didn’t do much reading this month, as is my pattern for February. I don’t know why, but whenever February hits, things get crazy and my reading life suffers. My goal was to read over 3 books this month, but that did not occur. Best book was THE DEVOURING GRAY with all the magic and witchyness and disaster bis. Most disappointing was WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE because I found it predictable and did not ship the gays.

 

blogging life

I’ve been thinking a lot this month about where I’m at now with this blog and what I originally wanted to blog about. When I first transferred over to Cotton Candy Book Witch, obviously I thought my focus would be more around witchcraft-related things. I had also wanted to write more about books about witchcraft and highlight fantasy books or other fiction with magical elements and keep things very branded. Right now, I feel like I’m definitely not blogging about consistently themed things and blog about a mishmash of book genres and occasionally witchy stuff.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not having a niche, but for some reason I’ve just been thinking a lot about what I originally wanted my blog to be and being a little sad that it’s not that and is kind of a mishmash of a bunch of unrelated things. I would like to be known for blogging about a particular thing, but then I’d have to change my reading habits a bit too, perhaps.

On a semi-related note, I’ve kind of been thinking about taking another blogging hiatus. Or at least consciously trying to post less. I just don’t feel inspired and feel a bit burnt out. I’m also growing tired by all the book community drama that seems to happen every week, but it feels impossible to curate my Twitter because some people comment about only some of the drama so I don’t know who to mute. However, I do get some engagement on Twitter and have friends who I talk to on it, so I don’t know.

I also started a new bookstagram based on my new Tumblr because my old bookstagram that’s the same username as my blog is a HOT MESS. But I seem to have finally found an aesthetic on the new bookstagram.

Basically I’ve just been thinking a lot about the kind of content I want to be producing and where the best place is to write it. I have a lot more thoughts about this but this section is already too long so just be aware: possible hiatus in the near future.

 

around the blogosphere

  • Charvi posted the first in a new feature, Read the Rainbow
  • Kate wrote about creating her 2020 tbr jar
  • Sam posted about things she learned during a book buying ban
  • Charlotte & Anna made a list of amazing books by QPOC
  • Veronika created a list of excellent hate to love romances, aka The Best Trope
  • Clara created aesthetics for her favorite Disney movies
  • Emmie listed great books to read for Valentine’s day if you don’t want to read romance
  • Elara wrote a wonderful post about casting spells that work
  • Cam talked about how to create a healthy blogging mindset

 

favorites

  • Kesha’s new album. It came out on January 31 so I’m counting it as a February favorite. I was so pumped for this album and was not disappointed. I didn’t even stan Kesha until her last album, which really surprised me (in a good way). My favorite song off High Road is definitely Raising Hell. For some reason I really relate it to coming out of depression so it means a lot to me in addition to being super fun.
  • Manifest. I finally started watching a non-reality TV show that I discovered via Hulu. Manifest is basically Lost x The 4400 about a plane that takes off in 2013, but when it lands, it’s been 5 years later for everyone else and they’ve all been missing even though for the passengers they haven’t age and no time has passed (except the duration of the flight). It’s really weird and kind of feel-good-y but I’m enjoying it.
  • the Mystic Mondays tarot app. I used to use the Kawaii Tarot app because that deck has been super accurate for me, but I found that it skewed too positive and wasn’t as accurate as the physical deck, so I decided to try a new app for a daily tarot draw. I was really excited when I saw Mystic Mondays had an app, because I’ve been eyeing that deck for quite some time. The Mystic Mondays app is almost as accurate as my physical Kawaii Tarot deck, so I am very pleased with that outcome.

january rewind \\ crash and burn (well, maybe not *burn*)

Oh hello, end of January! Well, okay, as I’m writing this post I still have a week left, and if that doesn’t tell you I’m ready for the month to be over…well. Let’s get started with this wrap up.

 

what happened

  • Honestly, this was a really emotional month for me. I’ve been very stressed and very emotional about some stuff and honestly I just feel really alone but fortunately at least I’m not depressed anymore?? So that’s a plus.
  • We had another apartment disaster. Yes, a third apartment disaster befell our house. This time, our ENTIRE KITCHEN CABINET FELL OFF THE F***ING WALL. And my boyfriend couldn’t find our cats so he thought they were trapped or crushed inside. They were fine, they were just hiding and traumatized. This incident has also made me want to hide and I am definitely traumatized, even though I wasn’t actually in the house when it happened. But I do not feel safe in this apartment that seems to be constantly falling apart. And we just signed our lease for the next year, so…woof.
  • I stressed a lot about work. Which is weird because nothing has changed at the job except me? But now that I’m feeling so much better mental health wise, I feel enormous pressure from myself to excel and do super well at my job. I’ve just been questioning absolutely everything I’m doing, from how I run story times to what programs I’m doing to whether I’m doing enough programs and just. Ugh. Stress.
  • I started eating healthier and it’s going pretty well. I still eat out on weekends, but I’m doing a lot better in terms of healthy eating. I’ve also kind of given up sugar and sweets, which I think is helping me a lot.

 

what i read

This isn’t even all the books I read, because I read 10+ picture books also. I am very pleased with how much I read this month because I hoped so much that when I was less depressed I’d be able to read more and enjoy reading more, and that has definitely been the case.

My favorite book of the month was definitely RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, which I knew I’d love if I didn’t read it while depressed and I WAS RIGHT HA! I also branched out and read a middle grade novel that was really well written and compelling, ANA MARIA REYES DOES NOT LIVE IN A CASTLE. I also tried another adult fiction book, VERY NICE, which sounded really good and smarmy but was HORRIBLE because everyone in it was AWFUL except the dog. I also tried an adult thriller, LOCK EVERY DOOR, which was just okay but was fun to try.

 

blogging life

Honestly, I haven’t been feeling great about blogging lately. I’ve noticed my comments have dropped significantly even though I’m getting slightly higher views. I don’t know if it’s because my content isn’t good, if what I’m writing about isn’t relevant to bookish influencing, if book blogging isn’t as relevant anymore, or if it’s juts because I’m commenting on other blogs less. But I feel stressed about my place in bookish influencing and am feeling pressured to try other things like bookstagram and booktube in order to stay relevant. I love writing about books, but I don’t know if that’s the biggest medium right now in the book world.

I have been interested in trying out booktube since I started watching more videos in October, but haven’t had the time since going back to work. I like a lot of videos I see, especially reading vlogs, but am mostly worried about being on camera because I don’t know if my voice is annoying and I don’t like how I look right now. I also know nothing about video editing and tried iMovie but HATED it and need something more intuitive. Plus, I don’t have a cute aesthetic bookshelf or room to sit in or in front of.

 

favorites

  1. The new season of Project Runway. I didn’t finish the seventeenth season of Project Runway with the new judges, but I decided to give this new season a try anyway because I’m starved for petty back stabbing reality shows. This season is actually pretty good, but I notice I’m not liking the actual fashion as much and I’m totally confused as to the taste of the judges. And Nina Garcia is not as mean, so that’s less fun.
  2. HALSEY’S NEW ALBUM!!!! OMG, I LOVE Manic so freaking much. I didn’t like Hopeless Fountain Kingdom very much and never listen to it, but I could listen to Manic for months on repeat and never get tired of it. My favorite songs are definitely You Should Be Sad and 3am. I also love the songs Graveyard and Killing Boys. It’s just so badass and wonderful and I just adore it.
  3. Booktube reading vlogs. I’ve gotten a bit more into watching booktube videos again (and wishing I could booktube, but I wasn’t very proud of my last attempt at a booktube video). I’m especially into reading vlogs, which I love because I love hearing people talk and give updates about their daily reading and learning about books I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I also feel like booktubers read such a diverse array of books whereas with book blogs I read pretty much only YA reviewers, so it’s cool to learn about books in other genres for other age ranges.

november rewind \\ here comes the sun

I was going to make a joke or find a gif referencing the winter wrap up song from My Little Pony for the intro to this post before realizing it was a WINTER wrap-up, meaning it was actually about the end of winter, and it is now the beginning of winter. So instead I’m making my intro about that. Go me. Onward to the November wrap-up!

 

what happened

  • I went back to work. I had been on leave from the end of October through mid-November, and I’ve been back about two and a half weeks now. Things have been going a lot better at work, and I’m actually kind of enjoying the job now. I was relieved nobody asked why I’d been out and everything kind of just went back to normal, except not because I was feeling better about everything!
  • My treatment started working! The new more intense treatment I’ve been getting for mental health has been going really well and everyone says I’m definitely responding to it (hence my “here comes the sun” subtitle). When I saw my parents this month, they both commented on how I even look like I feel better, and I’ve been noticing how so much of my life is easier and better now that I’m not struggling with my mental health.
  • My parents visited for Thanksgiving. Since I couldn’t take off from work except on Thanksgiving, my parents decided to come down to see me and my boyfriend and their grandkitties for the holiday. We went out to a very nice and delicious restaurant sans my dad because he was unfortunately sick. I got to spend a lot of time with him and my mom on the other days though, which was very nice. I’m very happy it will be less than a month before I see them again.
  • I tried Book of the Month. I decided to give in and try the BOTM box. I’ve been wanting to experiment with adult fiction more but don’t really know where to start, but hardcover adult books are REALLY expensive and I don’t like all the junk that comes with most book boxes, so BOTM is a really good choice for me. So far, I’m enjoying both books I got, which were GET A LIFE, CHLOE BROWN and THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS. I’m really excited for my December box and for future picks.
  • I had another car disaster. I honestly think I might be cursed, because this car is super bad luck and something bad happens with it every 6 months or so. This time it was NOT my fault though, because someone stole the catalytic converter, which is apparently a thing because the part can make someone a good chunk of money, and a good thief can cut it out of your car in 5 minutes. It’s been a HUGE hassle and I’m just praying insurance will cover the cost, because it was very expensive to replace.

 

what i read

Girl, Unframed – Deb Caletti
My Summer of Love and Misfortune – Lindsay Wong
Sisters of the Winter Wood – Rena Rossner

I only read three books this month, but I really enjoyed them all. I ADORED the book THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD and absolutely need Rena Rossner to write more books ASAP. I also thought GIRL, UNFRAMED was completely and utterly AMAZING. It was a fascinating but super suspenseful look at how society sees beautiful girls and women and objectification and desire and just a whole mess of stuff. I’d never read a book by Deb Caletti before but if this wasn’t her best book I’d be shocked because it was fabulous and I can’t wait until June 2020 for it to come out so I can recommend it to everyone. I’m not even that annoyed at myself for reading so little in November because everything I read was great.

 

blogging life

I MADE IT TO 500 FOLLOWERS, Y’ALL!!!!!!! I’m still not over this and honestly every time I see that number, my heart feels so happy. I can’t believe it took me under two years of blogging again to reach 500 when it took me over 5 to reach 300 when I first started blogging at another site. I think it’s probably because I’m making much more of an effort to interact with the bookish community than I used to because I’ve gotten over my internet shyness.

On that note, I do feel a bit bad that I haven’t been blog hopping and visiting your blogs as much for the past couple of months. One of my goals for December will probably be to keep up with other people’s posts better again now that I’m feeling better and have more energy to do it. So if you’re wondering why I’m commenting on your posts from October, it’s because I want to catch up on all the wonderful things you’ve written and I know I’m very behind!

 

favorites

  • My new sets of plastic drawers. I bought a couple sets of plastic drawers because we don’t have a lot of space to store things in our tiny kitchen and I think they will be real lifesavers and make my life a lot easier and neater.
  • Watching Frozen with my parents. I decided to hype myself up for Frozen 2 even though I wasn’t that into Frozen 1 by watching the first one with my parents when they visited and…I actually really liked it? Frozen has never been one of my favorite Disney movies, but it used to be super low on my list of Disney rankings but now it’s probably somewhere in the middle instead of on the bottom because I enjoyed it so much this time. I already kind of want to watch it again, lol.
  • Book of the Month! I already talked about how much I liked my Book of the Month picks for November, but just to reiterate, I’m super excited to keep trying this subscription box! I hope it encourages me to try new genres and more adult books.

october rewind \\ it was…a month

what happened

  • My mom came to visit. Since I have been off work for health reasons for the past couple of weeks, my mom decided to come visit me and keep me company (and drive me to all my many appointments, which was also nice, lol). It was really nice to spend time with her and to be taken care of. I was really sad when she left but I really enjoyed our time together and spending time with my family always lifts my spirits up when I’m feeling down so I’m really glad I got to see her while on leave from work.
  • I started a more serious mental health treatment. As you may recall from my September rewind post (and most of my posts since then, tbh. Honestly I feel like half of my online brand is being mentally unstable, lol), I’ve been really struggling with depression and anxiety and it seems to get worse every time it cycles back in, so I decided to look into a treatment in addition to meds to help things along. I’m really hoping it works.
  • I got a ukulele! Well, technically my mom got me a ukulele. I’ve actually wanted to learn ukulele for a really long time because I’ve always wanted to be able to play an instrument where I can accompany myself singing, and I’ve been interested in trying to write songs lately. I can currently play three chords and accompany myself singing “In the Jungle.” I’m really looking forward to learning more ukulele; I think it will be really fun and give me something creative to do.
  • I started a booktube channel and looking into booktube more! I’ve been avoiding booktube for the past few years because I was a bit of a book blogging purist, but when I went on leave, I really needed something to do, and so I decided to try booktube again and actually found a few booktubers whose videos I really like, though monicakim and readingwithcindy are my favorites. It made me want to try booktubing on the side of blogging as something different to challenge myself with, and I ended up posting my first video, which you can view here.
  • I realized I don’t want to write a novel right now. I’ve been pushing so hard for myself to go back to fiction writing, but through the Artist’s Way, I’ve realized that though I still want to write, I think I’m more interested in other types of writing at the moment. I realized there is no point in forcing myself to try to get back to something I’m not in the mood to do, and I’d probably be more creative in my life if I stopped trying to do something I don’t really want to do right now. This was a huge realization for me, and I think that’s why I’ve been more open to trying other creative activities like booktubing and learning ukulele.

 

what i read

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to make monsters out of girls  – amanda lovelace
girls with razor hearts – suzanne young

This was a very light reading month for me because my mental health stuff made it too hard to concentrate on reading. I finished my reread of Amanda Lovelace’s fourth poetry collection in preparation to read its sequel, TO DRINK COFFEE WITH A GHOST (or something like that. I always get this title mixed up for some reason). I also read the sequel to GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS, aka GIRLS WITH RAZOR HEARTS, which I absolutely LOVED. Honestly, if you haven’t read this book, GET THEE TO A BOOKSTORE (or library! or however you can get it!) These books are so badass and have such an important message about feminism and fighting the patriarchy but are also so fun and just entertaining stories. I will stan this series to the ends of the earth and I’m not sorry about it.

 

blogging life

I’m only THREE FOLLOWERS away from 500, which will be the biggest milestone I’ve ever reached in my 7 year blogging career. What I’m most happy about with that though is all the genuine connections I’ve made. When I first started blogging, I was so shy that I never commented on other blogs or responded to comments because I was scared, and had a couple bad experiences with comments that made me wary of commenting, especially on bigger bloggers’ platforms. But now, I feel like I’ve made genuine friendships with people, and that has made my blogging experience so much richer than just trying to amass followers.

I’m also really enjoying blogging a lot more now that I’m not pushing myself to post every single day. I have a general “rule” that I start posting on Wednesdays but don’t worry about posting during the beginning of the week anymore, and that has helped me feel less pressured by blogging. I’m also enjoying writing more witchy-themed posts, and am pleased that a couple of my favorite witchy posts have become my most-viewed posts of all time. I’m just having way more fun blogging than I was having right before my hiatus last month, and I’m still really glad I took it and realized I can blog differently and less and still enjoy it and be “successful” at it.

 

my favorite posts

 

favorites

  • Watching We Have Always Lived in the Castle. One of my most popular posts is my post about why the MC from this book is a witch, which makes me super happy because I loved this book so freaking much. I was psyched to learn that it had become a movie that was available on Netflix, so my mom, my boyfriend and I watched it while she was here. The book is definitely better, but they really captured the vibe of the story and Taissa Farmiga’s acting was spot on.
  • My grandma’s necklace. While my mom visited, she also gifted me a necklace that used to belong to my grandmother with the Hebrew symbol for “life.” It’s really pretty and I think it’s going to become a staple jewelry piece for me because it has such a special meaning for me coming from my family and the word “life” and trying to recover from depression.
  • My new gel pens. I FINALLY found the pens/journaling section in my local craft store and OMG, it is beautiful. I ended up buying a set of gelly roller pens in sparkly colors. I love using them to color in my mood charts and to write my morning pages for the Artist’s Way.

september rewind // really just…no

Y’all, September was…not good. I’m excited that’s fall, and excited that it’s over, but I’m not holding out much hope for October either to be honest. But…on the bright side, IT’S WITCHY SEASON!! Not that every season for me isn’t witchy season, but now it’s socially acceptable to be a witch all the time. I won’t wear a pointy hat in public but goddamn, I am ready to get my witch back on. October, let’s go!

And now for the September recap…

what happened

  • I started looking into other jobs. Again. There are times when being a librarian is okay and sometimes I like working with patrons, especially the kids, but overall, I think I need a new perspective on life and to see if being a librarian is what I want to do or not. I started the application process for a job I REALLY, REALLY want that I would just die to get, and it sounds like the perfect role for me and really intellectually challenging and interesting, and I want to go for it.
  • I started looking into more serious mental health treatment. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve tried a ton of treatments, both therapy and meds, and nothing seems to be working and I keep cycling in and out of severe depression. This past month I started looking into more serious treatment and I’m really nervous about it and hope my insurance covers it because I feel like I’m running out of options.
  • I started doing more witchy things again. Mostly bringing crystals to work every day and working on my grimoire. I also started a witchy pinterest (see homepage for link) just for this blog that will basically be aesthetic boards for signs, witch types, Harry Potter houses, and books. I’m looking into getting a separate planner for witchy/blog stuff to keep track of the phases of the moon, astrological happenings, sabbats, and blog posts relating to those things, since this is, after all, a book witch blog. Honestly, doing more witchy things has been one of the most helpful things to combat my depression so I’m glad I have the motivation to do that at least.
  • Oh, I went on hiatus. Things just got to be too much and I wasn’t feeling inspired to blog so I just disappeared for two weeks. I didn’t do anything on my hiatus except mope and feel depressed, so it wasn’t the most productive or useful hiatus I’ve ever had.
  • I picked up the Artist’s Way again. Some of you may remember that I did a course called the Artist’s Way a while back to try to inspire myself to get back to writing, but dropped it after the fourth week. I’m doing it again, but this time, I’m doing it at my own pace and not following the weekly time constraint, not overthinking the religious/spiritual aspect, and trying not to put too much pressure on myself about it. I can’t decide if I want to post about it again or not.

 

what i read

Honestly, I was not that thrilled by reading this month. I didn’t have the energy to read and couldn’t really concentrate. I read things that I know were good, and one that I genuinely enjoyed, but overall I didn’t have very strong feelings about what I read. My favorite book of the month was definitely GIRLS WITH SHARP STICKS, even though I guessed the twist halfway through the book. Somehow though, that didn’t deter me from enjoying it at all because the writing was so great and the characters were really interesting.

My least favorite book was probably HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS. I had such high hopes for this Ocean Gothic book, but honestly, I should’ve DNFed it when I originally thought I should. It was somewhat dark, but not as dark as I wanted it to be, and the romance made me gag. The MC literally fell for one of the first guys she spent time with and they barely knew each other. And also, she was so boring. I kept forgetting it was narrated in first person because she was so not integral to the story. The author would have been better off writing the book in third person because Annaleigh had, like, zero personality.

 

blogging life

You can expect some updates on how I’m going to blog differently soon to make it more manageable, enjoyable, and overall fun and fulfilling. BUT I did reach 492 followers this month! My goal for the year was to make it to 500 followers, and I definitely think I will be able to do that between October and January. Also, I already said this, but I took a hiatus. I was just feeling super uninspired and not motivated to do anything because depression, but actually, writing about blogging in my morning pages for the Artist’s Way really helped me sort out how I want to blog and how to make it better for myself.

Also, on a social media note, Phil Stamper, author of the amazing 2020 queer book THE GRAVITY OF US, followed me on Twitter and thanked me for being first in line at his first ever signing at Book Expo, and I was very flattered and also embarrassed that he read my post because I said we were both awkward. Go me. But it was one of the first times I’ve talked to an author on Twitter and it was very nice and not scary. So that was good.

 

favorites

  • Watching season 16 of Top Chef. I have been very vocal about my love of top chef in past wrap-ups so this will probably surprise nobody. I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday last month and I decided to spend part of it on the most recent season of Top Chef because I couldn’t find any other good versions, and let me tell you, it was an excellent decision. This season is so much better than last season and is one of my favorite seasons ever. I’ll be sad when it’s done and I have no more top chef (though tbh I’ll probably just go back and rewatch seasons 10 and 14 and maybe 7 even though I don’t like the winner).
  • Drinking tea again. I haven’t had much tea since moving for some weird reason even though I have a million and a half teas. I actually cleared out some of the teas that didn’t appeal to me also which was super hard to do because getting rid of tea???????? But now I only have teas that smell delicious and I’m excited for tea season.
  • My crystals. One of the few bright spots in my life is my crystals. I have a couple protection crystals that I carry around that are super effective, and also an anti-depressant crystal that helps on some days. I realize that any effect they have is probably a placebo effect of some kind, especially because I only use them on days when I feel like they’ll work because I think it’s silly to waste their energy.

june rewind \\ hell month is over!!

I knew June would be hell because work was going to be so crazy and prepping for a MAJOR event at the library, aka the biggest one we will probably do all year, and I was definitely right. Overall after this past month I feel overworked and underappreciated, so I’m glad it’s over and here’s to hoping July is calmer now that the big event is done.

what happened

  • Aforementioned major library event. Every year for the past five years (we think, we’re really not sure, lol) at my library branch, we’ve done a huge convention in celebration of comics and all things geeky that’s basically a comicon event for all the branches in my city. My work partner and I have been prepping for it literally since last year, and this month it finally happened.
  • I met Dhonielle Clayton. AND I DIDN’T DIE OF ANXIETY!!! She was super nice and cool and has excellent hair and was super cute and I want to be her best friend. Also the panel she was on was really good and she said so many on point things and I just <3 <3 <3 DHONIELLE!!!!
  • I accidentally dyed my hair navy. RIP, pink hair. You will be missed, and hopefully will come back after the summer and my navy hair fades all the way. I meant to dye my hair purple, but this was def more of a navy color and it is REALLY dark, so hopefully since it’s semi-permanent it will fade relatively quickly. I used this brand once before and remember it fading super fast so hopefully that happens again so I can at least get my hair a more purpley shade. The navy does look good with sparkles in it (though you can’t really see them in this photo) and I can finally wear the blue eyeliner I bought but couldn’t wear when my hair was pink, so I guess those are pluses?

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  • School ended. For the children. Last year, summer was super chill and I’m hoping now that school is out things will be relatively chill again because the last few weeks before school ended were super awful and hectic and I need a break, man. I love my kids but I could use a little quiet time at the library.

 

what i read

I read more than I’ve been reading this month so I am pleased about that. I FINALLY read I WAS BORN FOR THIS by Alice Oseman, which has been sitting on my shelf for the past year, and let me tell you how much I loved it: SO MUCH!!! I totally dug her writing style and the fangirl discussion and both narrators. I also super loved both graphic novels I read this month, and usually I’m not too impressed or moved by graphic novels. CHECK, PLEASE! was about hockey and pie and a gay boy, and it was so cute and well-written and I can’t wait for book 2. I also really enjoyed SPACE BOY, which is about a girl who moves from a colony in deep space to earth and has to adjust to her new life, and she has synesthesia that makes her see people in flavors and she’s fascinated by a weird dude with no flavor. I put a hold on the second book in the series, which I’ve never done for a graphic novel before.

I also LOVED Seanan McGuire’s book, EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, the first in the Wayward Children series that I’ve seen on various blogs for years but never read. It was super quirky and creepy and weird and I can’t wait to read the rest of the books, especially book 2 which is about the twins, Jack and Jill, who are the epitome of creepiness. I also reread Amanda Lovelace’s second poetry collection and read her fourth one. I realized the first book in the Women Are Some Kind of Magic series that these books are from is really the best and the messages in books 2 and 3 are very heavy-handed and overall the poems just aren’t as powerful and are too preachy.

 

writing updates

OMG, this monthly wrap-up post has a WRITING SECTION now!!! This excites me so much, even though tbh I don’t have much to say. I did The Artist’s Way this month, but honestly I don’t know if I’m going to continue it. It’s supposed to be a course in creativity, but it’s too religious-y for me and I’m just not comfortable with all the talk about god-concepts when I am not spiritual in that way and consider myself an atheist. Some of it is also kind of hokey and I just don’t know if this is the best time for me to do it because I’m super busy.

I had the goal of writing once a week this month and am proud of myself for doing it for at least two weeks. I think next month I’ll just say “work on writing” once per week so that can include outlining. I did write a little and started work on my southern Gothic sapphic Jane Eyre retelling. I tried writing the opening a couple of times but still don’t like it and don’t think the story starts there so I’m going to go back and outline before I try writing again.

I had also talked about potentially taking a creative writing class on writing and healing with Francesca Lia Block, who is one of my idols, but I’ve decided not to do that because I honestly can’t afford it right now, and I’m worried about making the commitment. But mainly I can’t afford it because I had to make a big car payment this past month and have less money than I thought I would, so this is unfortunately not the time.

 

around the blogosphere

  • Anna and Charlotte discuss their perceptions of how queer books are marketed.
  • Charvi discusses how a book dragon is born!
  • Ally tells us how to use Goodreads like a pro.
  • Eline shares her fave bi protagonists for Pride Month.

 

book haul highlights

  • Song of the Crimson Flower | Julie C. Dao – I will read literally anything this woman writes because I LOVED her first book, FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS. This is apparently a companion to that duology, and is also based on Vietnamese folklore, so I am very excited to read more of Dao’s excellent writing again.
  • As Many Nows As I Can Get | Shana Youngdahl – This is apparently a whirlwind contemporary romance about particle physics and junk, and it seems somewhat typical white hetero YA-y but I’m still gonna read it. I don’t know why, but I just have a good feeling about this book even though it seems like a more typical YA romance.
  • All the Bad Apples | Moira Fowley-Doyle – This is a mystery about a girl whose sister goes missing and then she starts getting letters from her going on about a family curse. I’m very into family curse books so I’m hopeful about this one.
  • A River of Royal Blood | Amanda Joy – This is a North African-inspired fantasy about two sisters who have to fight to the death for the throne, and I am HERE FOR IT!!!

a triumph, a conquering \\ may rewind

I DID IT!! I survived May with flying freaking colors. I was so super stressed this month about everything but I DID IT and I am ALIVE and it is OVER and I had adventures and learned new things and it was actually not bad at all. So, without further ado, here is what went down in May:

what happened

  • I WENT TO BOOK EXPO!!!! When I started writing this post I honestly had to think really hard of all the stuff that happened other than going to Book Expo because that was so huge for me. I wouldn’t even have been able to go a year ago because my anxiety was so bad, so it really felt like a major accomplishment that I could even consider going to Book Expo this year. I got a few books, met some cool authors, and survived NYC without crying for the first time ever. I honestly don’t know that I’d go again, but it was a huge privilege and honor to be able to go and I’m super proud of myself for being able to do it.
  • I had my first big outreach event for the library. Outreach to the community is probably the biggest challenge for me being a librarian with anxiety because I am generally scared of talking to people I don’t know. Selling library services to the community is something I also haven’t had a lot of practice with, so when I had to go to a major convention in the city where I work to promote our own convention event, I was nervous to say the least. BUT I managed to successfully talk to over 60 people in two days and was not nearly as anxious at the actual event as I thought I’d be. So that is also an accomplishment I am proud of.
  • I started feeling better about my job. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions over being a librarian, and honestly I still don’t know if I don’t like being a librarian at my particular library or if I just don’t like being a librarian. After this month though, I’m starting to think that maybe I do like some parts of librarianship, and one of my coworkers said she thinks I owe it to myself to figure out if I’d like being a librarian somewhere else more. I know I want to work just with kids and teens because I do not enjoy working with adults at all, so I think I need to find somewhere where I can work with kids more than adults. I definitely go through a lot of periods of flat out hating my job, but I don’t know if that’s normal or if it means I don’t like what I do. But right now I’m feeling a lot better about being a librarian in general and I feel like I’m getting a lot better at the job itself. I think that someday, maybe even soon, I will be a GREAT librarian, and not just a good one.

 

what i read

I managed to read 9 books this month, probably because 3 of them were poetry and of those, 2 were rereads. I reread MILK & HONEY and THE PRINCESS SAVES HERSELF IN THIS ONE for the first week of The Artist’s Way when I decided to be a poet for a week. I also read WILD EMBERS for that. WILD EMBERS was kind of a mixed bag for me; there were some poems I liked but overall it was not super memorable other than some of the prose about goddesses and fairytales. I will definitely be reading the other Nikita Gill collection I have called FIERCE FAIRYTALES though, since the fairytales were my favorite part of WILD EMBERS.

I read a lot of really excellent books this month, but my favorites were definitely I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE and THE RIGHT SWIPE. I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE totally swept me away and was super addicting, I shipped the ship so freaking much, and the writing was completely excellent. This is the kind of contemporary that I used to LOVE, and I absolutely adored it and was reminded whey I love contemporary books. I also loved THE RIGHT SWIPE and thought the concept of two dating app people was really cute, and really related to Rhiannon’s struggle with her past emotionally abusive relationship. This book made me feel so seen for my experience with similar issues, and in addition to that Samson was just such a great Big Softie boy and I loved him so so much.

 

around the blogosphere

  • I found Holly’s post with 5 questions to help get rid of books super useful
  • I loved Chaima’s review of Like A Love Story and now need to read that book even more
  • Elise broke down how she organizes her blogging and regular life in a great post
  • CW gave some tips for those of you who want to diversify your reading list
  • Nandini offered some advice on how to better fit reading into your daily schedule
  • Kelly asked if tropes are really as bad as we think
  • Kristen wrote about some things she’d like to see more of in YA fiction

 

writing updates

omg I…can actually have a writing section this month? I kind of wrote stuff in May because I decided to be a poet for a week, which was the most useful exercise I could’ve done for my writing. I read and reread some poetry, and whenever I read poetry I want to write my own, so I did. I feel kind of inspired to share some on some form of social media. I’ve heard of some poets getting their start on Instagram or Tumblr. I feel like Tumblr might be a better avenue for me because I am not a very visual person and have never been able to maintain an Instagram. I know I don’t HAVE to share my work, but it might be motivational to share it. BUT anyway…I wrote poems! Go me!

 

favorites

  • Spotify. I’ve been listening to various playlists on Spotify for the past couple months because I have been bored of the music I have, so I like discovering new stuff via playlists.
  • The Wayward Children series. I just started the Wayward Children books by Seanan McGuire after seeing them all over the blogosphere for YEARS, and OMG, I was seriously missing out. As of the writing of this post, I’m on book 1, but I’m sure I’ll be done by the time this post goes up. It’s so magical and weird and wacky and I love this series so far and can’t wait to read more about Jack and Jill in book 2.

bi-weekly update // 5-18-19

It’s time for another bi-weekly update. Prepare for updates on my personal life and on my reading, and probably some other stuff too.

 

life updates

  • I’m feeling way better about my job. I’ve noticed I tend to go through phases of being somewhat okay with being a librarian and then periods of hating being a librarian and looking for other work, but overall lately, I’ve been feeling more positive than even just okay about my job. I’m getting a lot better at it and everyone keeps saying how much I’ve improved and my coworkers all seem to like me a lot, and most importantly, I’m forming a lot of significant relationships with my kids that really make my world go around. Even though I’ve thought about leaving my job, I’ve realized it would be super hard for me to do that even if it paid more because I love my kids so much and I really like the people I work with, and I might not have those things even at another library job.
  • I’m preparing to go to Book Expo!! I’ve been spending a lot of time at work browsing the education sessions and the signings at Book Expo and getting super psyched for my conference experience. I’m most excited to meet Leigh Bardugo and have her sign NINTH HOUSE. I’m also really excited to be going to NYC by myself when my anxiety is better than it’s ever been, because I’ve only ever been to NYC when it’s bad which drastically affected my experiences with the city. I also realized that everything is within walking distance to each other to all the places I’ll need to go, so I might not even have to take the subway unless I go on excursions after the conference.

 

reading life

After writing my post reflecting on my reading in 2019 and feeling down about reading, I’ve actually been feeling better about it since trying out reading multiple books at once. I feel like I’m reading somewhat faster and more this month than I have been reading, probably because I’ve read a lot of poetry collections this month. But I think reading multiple books is helping me feel less serious about reading and helping the problem of my focus and concentration.

 

what i’m reading

I’m reading two romances right now, and they’re making my heart so happy. The first one I’m reading is THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE, the companion to WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, which has restored my love of Sandhya Menon after the disaster that was FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE. I love the romance in SWEETIE and ship Ashish and Sweetie so much. The one thing that kind of bothers me is that so far all Sweetie thinks about is her weight, but that is kind of the point of this book that she’s dealing with her own feelings about herself and her weight and what other people, especially her mom, think about her. It’s also kind of hard for me to read at times because I struggle with issues about weight, but I’m still really liking it and actually like both characters and feel bad for initially assuming Ashish would be a jerk.

I’m also enjoying Alisha Rai’s book THE RIGHT SWIPE. It’s such a well-crafted, well-written romance and I ship Samson and Rhiannon so so much. I like both character’s narrations a lot, even Samson, and I never thought I’d want to read a book about a retired football star. This book is so positive about so many issues about modern dating without beating you over the head and makes discussion of dating issues fun and clever. It’s such an empowering story and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

 

books i’ve hauled

I’ve hauled 3 books I’m excited for lately. I’m really excited to read Renee Ahdieh’s next book (even though I haven’t read any of her others yet…oops) because it’s about VAMPIRES in historical NEW ORLEANS!! I haven’t read a vampire book in so long, and my teens are still very much interested in vampire books, so I definitely need to read it. I’m also somewhat interested in FRANKLY IN LOVE by David Yoon, mostly because he’s Nicola Yoon’s husband and it has a cool cover (yes, I know that’s shallow). I’m also PSYCHED for A RIVER OF ROYAL BLOOD, an African-inspired fantasy about two sisters who have to fight to the death to win the crown.

bi-weekly update: 5-5-19

As I’ve mentioned many a time, I LOVE doing wrap-up and general personal update posts. I don’t know if anyone else loves them, but it’s my blog so…I do what I want. I’ve been debating whether I wanted to continue doing a weekly update since returning from hiatus, and I saw another blogger do a bi-weekly update post, and I thought it was a good idea so I’m going to try it out. Plus I have things I feel like sharing this week, so we’re doing one. It’s happening.

 

life updates

  • I GOT APPROVED TO GO TO BOOK EXPO!!!!!!!!!!!!! In my monthly wrap-up from April, I told y’all how I applied for funding at my job to go to Book Expo, and I WAS FINALLY APPROVED! I got approved I think for the entire amount, which includes travel, hotel, and food! I am so excited and nervous because I’ve never been to Book Expo in an official or professional way, and I’ve also never stayed in a hotel by myself or traveled to NYC completely on my own. I’m somewhat scared because I’m still super terrified of taking the subway and have only done it by myself twice and both times I cried. Actually, I’ve cried literally every single time I’ve been to NYC because I find it so overwhelming and always end up having a panic attack. So…big city anxiety survival strategies welcome…
  • Two of my annoying neighbors moved. The ones who scratched my car moved a couple weeks ago and over the weekend, the neighbors who used to play ridiculously loud music at all hours moved! Now we only have to deal with our annoying college neighbors who live above us and have very loud intimate activities and never fix their loud garbage disposal. These adult problems are probably not interesting to anybody.
  • I’ve decided to do The Artist’s Way. I got this book called The Artist’s Way a while ago because I read that it had good journaling suggestions, but in reality, it’s actually a course designed to help any person open up their creative potential. Some of it seems kind of hokey, but I think I need to do it because I’ve been struggling so much to get myself to write again even though I have ideas. I’m really hopeful that this course in creativity will open up my creative well again and inspire me to think differently about creativity and be inspired to do creative things more often. Shout out to Christine’s blog for reminding me of this book and inspiring me to give it a shot! Expect weekly updates and a more official announcement soon!

 

reading life

I decided to do something weird this week and read MULTIPLE BOOKS AT ONCE. I have almost never been able to do this because I found it hard to split my focus. I decided to try it again though because my anxiety and depression has been making my concentration super terrible lately anyway, so why not try reading a bunch of stuff at once? I’ve actually been really enjoying doing this, because whenever I lose focus in one book, I feel I don’t have to force myself to keep going, which usually leads me to read really slowly or DNF something, and instead can just switch gears to something else. I feel very un-me with this strategy but it seems to be working really well for me so far.

 

what i’m reading

*me: favorite color is pink
*also me: is somehow reading all purple-schemed books

I’ve been reading Finale for what feels like forever now and I wasn’t liking it but now…it’s getting better? I still have a lot of issues with it but I’m enjoying the story more and omfg I ship Tella and Jacks so much but I know it’s not gonna happen and I’m a sad potato.

I’m really liking Julie Buxbaum’s new book, Hope and Other Punchlines. I wasn’t sure if I’d dig a 9/11 book, but it’s really interesting and the characters are well written and the banter is great and I am so hoping for a romance even though I’m not sure if I ship it? But Abbi and Noah are both so awkward and I just want to hug them. Also Jack is the most amazing best friend and I wish he had been my best friend when I was a teen.

I’m also LOVING Ashley Poston’s book Geekerella, and wish I’d read it sooner! It’s such a well-written and well-crafted book and makes my editing heart so happy. I feel bad for having judged her so harshly on her first book and then never giving her another shot after that, because this one is utterly delightful and I ship the heck out of this book and can’t wait to read THE PRINCESS AND THE FANGIRL.

 

books i hauled

Okay, this section is mostly just to scream about the fact that I GOT APPROVED FOR THE MADNESS BLOOMS!!!!!!!!!! aka the next book by the author of GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE, which is the best queer book EVER. I’m so excited for tulips and LESBIANS.

I also got approved for Meg Cabot’s latest adult romance, NO JUDGEMENTS, about love and hurricanes. I love Meg Cabot so I am psyched for this book. I’m also super interested in THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett; it sounds very feminist and horror-esque so I am here for it.