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!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

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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I’m back! | 06.04.17

Hello, again!

It’s been about three weeks now since school ended and I moved back in with my parents. I had meant to try and come back with a bang on June 1st, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do quite yet. I still don’t, to be completely honest.

Just to get the ball rolling I wanted to update you on my life and some exciting things that have happened, as well as some things I still intend to do.

Life Updates

1. I started boxing.

Not gonna lie, I know boxing is kind of trendy at the moment and it’s the only reason I’ve felt like giving it a shot. And guess what? I don’t regret it, because I’m really enjoying it! My dad bought this dummy thing to box with a few years ago and it has been gathering dust in the garage. When I got here a few weeks ago I made some space to use it and it has honestly become my favorite form of exercise. I don’t even need music or distraction, I can do it and think about whatever’s on my mind and before I know it 30 minutes has gone by and I’m ready to conquer whatever else I need to do.

I’d love to start taking actual classes one day, but for my current fitness level I think I’m getting a good workout. Even if it’s just simple combinations. If it’s available to you and you’re able, I strongly recommend giving it a shot!

2. I cut my hair off!

Like, nearly all of it. My new hairdresser says it’s a pixie cut, but I think a pixie cut means its short all the way around. I have longer bits in front that feel like bangs. I’m not sure how good it looks on me, as I have very thick hair. But it doesn’t matter that much to me right now if it suits me. The good thing is it’s already growing, and, most importantly, IT FEELS SO GOOD. Texas summers are punishingly hot and I’m going to love not having to fuss over my hair much this summer. I get to have a completely fresh start, in more ways than one.

I’ll take a picture eventually to share my new look.

3. I started applying for jobs last Wednesday. 

I had a bunch to update on my resume after this past year, so it was actually kind of fun to update it and be reminded of what I’ve accomplished. Nevertheless, it’s not been entirely too fun to wait for calls or other responses to my applications, overthinking every last detail of everything out of my control at this point.

But on that note…

4. I have an interview!

This past Friday I was emailed to find that this upcoming Tuesday I have an interview for a technology-related job in the local public school district where I’m currently staying. I’m crossing my fingers I ace the interview and can conclude my job search with little time wasted! This job seems so ideal, and I’m fairly confident I’m more than qualified.

I’ve been very lucky to have been able to avoid applying for jobs until now, but I will also begin to apply for easier part-time jobs to help me start saving early as I will need to start paying off my student debt come August/September. I’m going to try my best to be responsible and on top of this.

Recently Watched

I don’t really want to get into the habit of talking about every show or movie I watch, but two are recent enough that they’re relevant to me and my life right now.

First, Girlboss from Netflix. I didn’t read the book (#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso) it was based on, but I remember seeing it years ago when it first came out and thinking it might be a good read. The main character in the show is incredibly insufferable but other characters are so much fun, but I like how the show portrays the rise of her online business from eBay to creating her own website after she is kicked off.

I’ve toyed with the idea starting a Etsy shop, but never really had the time or vision to invest in it, but this show made me want to figure out if the ideas I have are good enough. If only so I can become my own boss!

Second, and slightly less meaningful on a personal level: Twin Peaks: The Return!!!! I watched the two seasons from the original series on Netflix two years ago (right before starting grad school) when I learned that a reboot was in the works. It was a surprisingly intriguing show, which had me excited to see what the revival had in store. The first two new episodes were really wacky and nothing like I expected, but I think I like it. It’s hard to say. I have no idea where it’s going, but I think that’s part of the fun.

If you have thoughts on either of these shows, feel free to start a dialogue in the comments section! No one I know IRL is watching/has watched these shows!

Currently Reading 

I’m currently still rereading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. It’s been an enjoyable reread, but it’s been slow goings. I’m hoping to finish it pretty soon, though, so I can start A Court of Wings and Ruin! I’ve been avoiding everything that I worry might spoil me, and I hate living life that way.

After that book, I’m not sure what I’m going to read next. I just rearranged my bookshelves and there are so many books I haven’t read yet! Since I don’t know what kind of mood I’ll be in, I’m just going to wait and see what calls to me this month.

Blog Plans

Without the structure of school, I’m going to need to be self-disciplined in order to get things done. There’s so much I want to do, it’s hard to stick to just one thing and follow it through. Right now, I feel like looking for jobs is my #1 priority, but I think it’s also a good idea to choose something that I’m doing just for me and giving it my all.

For this reason, I think Betwined Reads will be a hodgepodge for the next couple of months. Some of the things I’m interested in doing (and subsequently blogging about) are:

  • The results from my YA book blogger survey. The paper is still a work in-progress and there was a little hiccup with the results, but I do look forward to sharing some of the more interesting findings this summer!
  • Books (obviously)! I want to get more into themed recommendations and reviews for the ones I do read.
  • Digital art. I have a Wacom tablet I want to start doing more with, possibly on my YouTube channel. I’d also like to teach myself some animation so I can do some more visual storytelling.
  • YouTube. I want to explore the audio-visual creation with my YouTube channel. I have a few ideas for what I’d like it to be, but I don’t really want to go into them quite yet until I actually have videos in the works.

I will keep my blog’s overall focus on books, but I also want to do some lifestyle and critical theory work on bookishness as a concept, which was actually one of my other final papers for my Social Technologies and Games class. That paper still needs some work, but I think I’d rather use my energy to turn it into a blog post or online article.

One thing you might be curious about is the absence of a writing goal. Last week I officially decided to take a break from novel writing. I am not loving any of my ideas at the moment and feel like there are so many other things I work on at the moment, so I’m content to wait until November, if that’s how long it’s going to take. I may still write a little here and there, particularly if I need something original for animation practice if that takes off. But I’m not going to set a goal that I don’t have my heart set on making right now.

End Note

Sorry this post is all over the place, but personally I love these kinds of posts best. It’s 9:43 p.m. on Sunday night as I finish up this post so I’m going to wrap this up as I’d like to snuggle up in bed and get closer to finishing up ACOMAF. I’ll be working on content for the blog this week. Most likely I’ll do some more casual posts this week related to my plans. Hopefully, they’ll be interesting and/or useful in you’re in a similar boat as me.

Hope you’ve been doing well! Let me know if there’s anything you want me to make sure to make time for if it doesn’t look like it’s currently on the agenda (e.g. writing).

Thank you for reading!
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Welcome to Betwined Reads!

Greetings!

As I’m just about finished tinkering with the template and layout of this blog for now, I’ve decided to make my first official post of this new blog. In case you didn’t follow me from my old self-hosted blog Book & Pixels, formerly Ink Keys & Other Things, I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to me.

I start book blogging in January 2015 in my final year at Iowa State University where I was working on my B.A. in English lit. That blog was on WordPress.com Books o’ the Wisp, and I had a grand ole time blogging there, but once I started my Master’s at UT Dallas, I realized I wanted something different where I could talk more about my studies and life in general and also wanted to have a bit more control over customization. So I created a new blog with BlueHost and Wordpress.org.

As I anticipate taking a year off before my PhD, I’ve decided to start a new book blog focused more exclusively on books and have it hosted on WordPress.com again, because I think it’s just easier to connect with other bloggers here and I’ve realized I don’t need the extra frills of a self-hosted blog. I’m currently a Master’s student and TA at UT Dallas. This is my final semester here and has turned out to be my busiest yet, so please hang with me as I sort out my life and this blog. 🙂

To get a sense of the types of content I’ll be posting here, see my Features page with a list of the post ideas I have in mind. I can’t commit to schedule just yet, but I’d like to eventually be posting one of each type every month in addition to the random reading wrap ups, TBRs, etc. that I feel like doing on the spot on any given day. Also feel free to check out my other blog pages to find if you’d to get a better sense of me and if you’d like to follow my blog.

Before I go, I also thought I’d give a reading update. I’m currently reading The Fate of the Tearling, the final book in The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen. I’m loving it so much. I’ve been waiting for this book for almost two years since I discovered the first two and I’m so excited to find out how the story wraps up. I’m hoping I’ll finish this book by next weekend and be able to post my first book review on here sometime soon.

If you want to find me on my other social media places, I’m posting some links below. Some of them still need to be updated to reflect my new blog, but feel free to give them a follow if you’re interested. I’ll be updating them very soon.

 

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.