By the first day of fall…

Hi!

I started this post shortly after writing my last post and discovered that the first official day of fall in the northern hemisphere is September 22, 2017. I don’t know how much the seasons mean to the average person, but throughout the year I like to observe when a new season officially begins because I like to think of each new season as an opportunity to turn a new page on life.

Because it is about a month away, I feel like there is sufficient time to get some stuff done by the start of fall and, therefore, have decided to list and share my three main goals that I would like to achieve by the first day of fall.

First, I want to be caught up with my Goodreads Reading Challenge. At the time of this writing, I’m seven books behind schedule. That means I need to read about 11-13 books by September 22, in order to be caught up. I’ll probably try to pick up short books or books that I’ve already read and, therefore, can speed read.

Second, I want to be writing my first draft of The Log. (See the post where I first introduced my current novel project.) My development of this story has become stalled while I began my job orientation, but I plan to pick it back up again this afternoon once I’m done with today’s shift. I still need to work on plot, character development, and world-building.

I expect to be working on this project for the rest of the year so I have no idea how NaNoWriMo will fit into it, but I do know I want to be writing before then so I may be participating to a less than official degree.

Third, I want to be happy with the direction I’ve taken this blog Betwined Reads. It’s not been easy getting back into blogging when I’ve been plagued with insecurity about the quality of my words or value of my thoughts, but I know I want to record this time in my life so I can look back when and hopefully see how far I’ve come. I feel like blogging helps me stay motivated to create and be productive.

End Note

I encourage you to think of what you might hope to achieve in the next couple of weeks if you’ve felt stuck the way I have, and feel free to share below in the comments if you like. I’ve got to head off to work soon so I best wrap this up right now. In my next post I will be sharing a book haul as I recently acquired a bunch of new books in celebration of my new job! I’m also hoping to have a book review up this week. See you then!

Thank you for reading!
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#MakeMeRead Wrap Up, Reading Update, & Blog Plans

Hey! 

About two days ago I finally finished reading Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, the only book I managed to pick up during the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon last week on account of completely forgetting what week it started on. I still completely plan to read Persuasion by Jane Austen, the second highest book on my poll, in the near future. I just didn’t feel a rush to jump into it right after Sense & Sensibility, as unlike that book or Pride & Prejudice, I have not seen a movie adaptation of this one and I worry if that’ll make it more challenging a read.

Currently Reading

I instead decided to reach for another book that has been on my TBR for over a year now, Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. I read Boy, Snow, Bird and The Icarus Girl by the same author in 2015 and was enthralled by them, particularly the former. So I’m leisurely trying to make my way through Oyeyemi’s colorful collection of works. Of Mr. Fox, I will say that it hasn’t been exactly what I was expecting, but I’m fully on board now, although it was intitially disorienting.

What I read next this month is still uncertain. I’m currently mood reading right now, with a mind still on catching up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m perpetually about 6–7 books behind.

I have secured a part-time job finally and while it’s nothing too exciting, I suspect it will mean I’m reading a bit more on my iPhone, whether on breaks or in bed when I’m too tired after shifts to hold up a book. Earlier this year I decided to purchase Amazon Prime for the first time with my student discount and I just learned that with the membership you can access certain eBooks for free! I’ve downloaded five and I’m eager to get to them.

Blog Plans

I want to start posting more on here, but I’ve also realized I’m no good at scheduling blog posts. I’ve found that it doesn’t allow me flexibility to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and all too often I’ve forgotten when I haven’t put finishing touches on a post before it goes up.

As I mentioned above, I just got a part-time job. At the moment I’m not sure what my schedule will look like other than I will be working around 30 hours a week. Also, it is my hope that I can find a full-time job by the end of the year that better suits me and my life goals.

With these realizations in mind, a blog schedule will most likely not suit me at this time. However, I do want to continue to work on this blog by recording my reading and writing journey as well as my other creative pursuits as they come and go.

In the next couple of weeks I know I want to work on my graphic design skills, update all my pages, and start doing more formal book reviews, so you can expect all that right now at the very least!

Writing Update

I don’t have much to share on the writing front, but in case you were wondering or find these updates useful (maybe for commiserating in failure?) I thought I’d share instead of just neglecting my problems. I’m still in the outlining phase of this book. I have no trouble envisioning any number of novel beginnings, but it’s the middles and ends I struggle with. I think right now, my problem is I don’t know what my character wants and I don’t know if that’s a problem of not fully knowing her or not knowing the world. Maybe it’s both.

I had hoped I’d be writing by this time this month, but I’m not sure when anymore. Part of me is like “I need to start this NOW” and the other is like “I should just shoot to be ready by NaNoWriMo.”

I could wax on about this a while longer, but better I get going so I can work on this problem tonight. I don’t know what life after tomorrow is going to look like.

End Note

Thanks for sticking with me and this blog! On my very first blog Books o’ the Wisp, I used to do this feature called Letter from the Blogger. I did it at the beginning of each season to talk about myself and my plans for the coming months. I may try to do one of these again soon, as in this weekend. Amongst the other things you might be able to expect soon, I’ve got a book haul to share and I want to do a book review of Mr. Fox because it’s a lesser known book and I think I want to dedicate do more to shine a light on the under-hyped books on my blog.

Thank you for reading!
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In Which I Did Not Forget This Week Was #MakeMeRead | TBR

Oops!

In my head, for some reason, the #MakeMeRead It Read-a-thon started next Sunday and not this past one! Luckily I think I should be able to make it through my top two reads voted for last month: Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion, both by Jane Austen.

I own both of these books in an large leather-bound anthology of Jane Austen’s work so that’s going to be interesting to read from again. I first read Pride & Prejudice from that tome, so I’m wondering if it will bring back any sense memories. At any rate, I look forward to finding movie adaptations to watch after I finish these books to see how they compare.

I’m just excited to beat this reading slump I accidentally fell into when I started The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I’m about halfway through it, but I moved it to the put-down-for-now shelf on Goodreads as I’m rarely in the mood in sit down and listen to it. I hope to one day find it in a physical format, as it was getting really exciting the last time I listened to it. My life at the moment just does not suit audiobooks.

Writing Update

I thought I’d sneak in a cheeky writing update to fill you all in on what I’ve been doing aside from reading (and to buff up this post since I don’t really like doing the odd short posts). Around last week I decided to commit myself to writing again as I missed it and have felt more motivated. I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos on YouTube ranging from author interviews to creative writing students sharing their writing journeys. It’s been really inspiring.

I’m currently in the planning phase of my novel. I’m using Scrivener to organize all my notes and the story has already changed a lot from its original inception. I feel like I’m in a visual headspace right now with envisioning settings, but per usual I’m stuck on what needs to happen in the story. In the past, I would probably just started writing and figure it out as I go. But I can’t shake the fact that the story will be much stronger if I know where I need to end up.

I have a list of things I was planning to work on today before I realized #MakeMeRead was this week, but an idea I had as I was preparing lunch was that maybe writing is the most important thing to do right now. I want to work on my craft without procrastinating because I don’t have a plot, so I’m thinking I might start writing a well-known story. Then I can begin practicing writing and take my time on my own novel…

I don’t know! I’ll fill you in on what happens later. I’m thinking about how I can bring back writing updates without killing my motivation to actually write. That reminds me, I still want to do a post about why I stopped blogging about writing…

End Note

I will definitely be back this weekend with a wrap up for this read-a-thon. I’m thinking it will be possible to read more than two books this week, but I don’t think I’m willing to read the rest of the options I presented in the poll. I might instead pick up some other books I’ve been wanting to read/reread.

It’s not fall yet, but it’s been rainy where I live and I’ve had fun pretending it is fall as it’s the time of year I feel most inspired. I’ve also been re-watching American Horror Story season one about the murder house and it’s reminding me of my first semester of college because my roommate and I would rush home every week to catch it when it aired. It was the best.

Thank you for reading!
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Writing YA: My Response to Slate

I’ve been thinking a lot about why people read and write YA. I’m re-blogging because I’ve been working on my own novel and wanted to share something that is still relevant six years later. WOW!

The most recent YA dustup revolves around author Katie Crouch’s take on “Writing YA Fiction” for Slate. It’s a cringe-inducing and infuriating read, not only because it is almost aggressively unprofessional (YA readers don’t care about good writing! Writing sex scenes makes us squirmy!), but also because it smacks of minstrelsy: “Hey, world. I don’t take myself seriously, so feel free not to take me seriously either.” Crouch doesn’t seem to have read widely in the genre. She’s a litfic author, and though she claims “there’s no shame in Y.A. these days” (was there ever?), she seems almost giddily desperate to let us know that, for her, writing YA is just a lark.

Poor Crouch has already been taken to task (most brilliantly by Courtney Summers), so I’m going to leave off beating her about the head and shoulders. But I’m often asked about the appeal of writing…

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Summer Biannual Bibliothon Wrap Up!

Hi!

It’s Saturday evening and I’ve made peace with the fact I’m not going to get much more reading done tonight before bed so I want to share my wrap up for the week of reading. In case you want to see the lofty goals I had for myself this time last week, here’s my TBR.

I started off really strong on Sunday and managed to finish two books this read-a-thon in a relatively quick amount of time. I started with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, as it was my least anticipated read on my TBR. I had tried to read it a few years ago and was not able to get into so I gave up. Little did I know this book takes the protagonist Bod all the way to young adulthood, so I was happy to find it wasn’t just a children’s book.

I loved the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of the book and the episodic way in which the novel was written. Now I see what the hype is all about and would love to recommend this as a bedtime read for any parents out there who read to their youngsters. It’s so good.

The next book I picked up was The Catcher in the Rye. I really enjoyed rereading it for the first time since high school. I still remembered a lot of the stuff we talked about in high school and felt a little nostalgic about it for some reason. I was a little scared going into this book again that I would not like it as much as I did before, but my worry was needless as I find myself as compelled by Holden’s story as much as I was 17.

I didn’t read at all between Wednesday and Friday, despite listing Never Let Me Go as my next read. I had to do some work on my research paper that was time-sensitive and am happy to report I finally finished it today! The literature review anyway. I mean, I know it could still use some work, but I decided to push my luck and see how little I can get away with right now. I’ve had a motivational problem lately about my research, related to issues I’m not quite ready to talk about.

Last night I started the audiobook for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I’m somewhat liking it, but think I would enjoy it more if I was able to read it and see the words on the page. For one thing, I could go faster if I just had the physical book, but also because my favorite thing about the book so far is the witty banter and I wish I could linger on some passages longer.

End Note

The main thing I’m happy about having accomplished is ending my reading slump and getting a bit closer caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I have a feeling I’ll be all caught up by the end of August with the #MakeMeRead It read-a-thon running August 6–13 (please vote, if you haven’t already).

I’ve been getting into bullet journaling a little bit, which I’ve found is inspiring me to be more productive so hopefully I’ll be a little more active on this blog soon. I also want to work on my blog design next month, so that’ll be fun!

Thank you for reading!
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Book Blogger Tag | #SummerBibib

Hi!

If you saw my post that went up yesterday, you’ll know that I decided to do the Biannual Bibliothon, which runs this week starting today and ending on Saturday at 11:59 p.m. In addition to reading and video challenges, there are also blogging challenges which I have decided to participate in, starting with the Book Blogger Tag, curtesy of host 4TeenLiars.

1. What are you planning to read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

The Graveyard Book, The Catcher in the Rye, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Never Let Me Go, Flame to the Mist, The Buried Giant.

2. What is your favorite genre to read in Summer?

Action-packed fantasy and cosy literary fiction

3. Where is your favorite place to read in the summer?

Year round, I find my bed super comfortable. But in the summer I also enjoy reading in my houndstooth IKEA chair by the window during the day.

4. What is your favorite challenge done in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon?

LGBTQIA+, as I don’t really feel pulled to read from this genre on the regular and I appreciate the challenge incentive to read more diversely.

5. What fictional character would you hang out with in the summer if you could?

Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle.

6. What are your plans for summer?

I’m really boring and appreciate the ability to be home, having the time to experiment with cooking, and reading more with less of the stress from the school year.

7. Do you have summer reading playlist, if not what would be on it?

I don’t like to read with music on, as I find it too distracting. If I had music on, it would be to drown out other sounds so I guess it’d be soothing classical music.

8.What is your favorite summer movie?

I’m a fan of blockbuster Marvel superhero movies in the summer. Captain America and Iron Man ones are my favs.

9.What book do you read every summer, if not what thing do you do every summer?

I used to read The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood every summer, but I haven’t yet this year and am not sure if I will. Every summer since I started going to college I’ve enjoying having full access to a big and stocked kitchen so I generally try out new plant-based baking recipes every summer.

10.What other book tags are you planning to do this summer?

I don’t know! If I’m tagged in something and find out about it, I’ll likely do those. I might see if there’s any tag I can do for August.

End Note

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me in this post. I’ll be back tomorrow with my second blog challenge, which I believe is to write a book review. I may do one for either The Graveyard Book, House of Many Ways, or The Perilous Gard, all of which I’ve most recently read!

Thank you for reading!
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Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2017 TBR

I’m excited to announce that I’ve decided to participate in next week’s Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2017, which runs from Sunday, July 23 to Saturday, July 29, 2017.

Reading Challenges

1. Read the group book

This is The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. I am not usually swayed by group reads in read-a-thons, but I just happened to activate my free 30-day trial of Audible, which grants you two free audiobooks so I’ve decided to use my second freebie on this one!

2. Read from the host’s favorite genre (Options: Kassie – Magical Realism, Caz -Historical Fiction, Brittni – High/Epic Fantasy, Emma – Diverse Books, Kelly – Dystopian/SciFi, Red – Paranormal, Momo – Urban fantasy)

For this selection, I’ve decided to read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I gather is some combination of magical realism and/or high/epic fantasy.

3. Read a book that has been or still is banned

I’m a big fan right now of reading classic YA literature and have decided to reread The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for this challenge. It’s been a good many years since I’ve read it and it’s one that really resonated with me in high school that I look forward to experiencing again.

4. Throwback challenge

For this challenge you can look back at past read-a-thon challenges and choose whichever suits your fancy. I’ve decided to go with “A book you’ve been putting off picking up.” One of my biggest personal pet peeves is putting books down that I haven’t formed a strong opinion about one way or another. I don’t like to dump books until I’ve decided I 100% do not want to ever continue reading it.

I started The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman a couple of years ago now and figure now is as good a time as any to revisit it as the read-a-thon environment will encourage me to read rapidly and just get through it.

5. Book to movie adaptation – read & watch

For this challenge I’ve decided to have another reread, this time of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. The movie adaption came out when I was in high school and I’d love to rewatch it for this challenge.

6. Read a book you’ve seen somewhere other than BookTube

I’m doubling up this challenge with challenge no. 1: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve not seen anyone I follow on BookTube ever talk about this book, probably because it isn’t YA.

7. LGBTQIA+ 

For this challenge I decided to utilize my free 30-day trial of Audible to listen to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which features a gay (or bisexual) male protagonist. I recently discovered it from one of my favorite BookTuber’s recent read-a-thon vlogs and sounds like it will be a fun listen. Also, I’m really intrigued to give this a listen as I recognize the name of the narrator as the voice of the original Tom Riddle actor, Christian Coulson!

End Note

If you would like to participate in this read-a-thon, it is not too late. You may also be interested to know that there are also challenges on BookTube and #bookstagram if you find that appealing! I meant to film a video with all this information but it’s a little late to do now. Maybe tomorrow! I plan to participate in the blog challenges as much as possible too so look forward to me posting a bit more than normal this week ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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