January 16, 2018

The Post of False Promises and Lies | Books I Need to Read in 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Rainy Days Ramblings. The topics are diverse and span from books and authors to blogging and the meaning of life (at least in regards to literature). If you want to share your thoughts on the prompt, feel free to make your own post too!

Every year, I make a list of "must-reads" for myself. Every year I end up forgetting about that list, reading whatever I want, and then chastising myself for not reading those books at the end of December.

However, this year I am determined to finally read these books (or at least some of them) since they have been on my TBR for about one eternity. 

Feel free to call me out on not reading these at the end of the year--I will probably deserve it.

This week's question is.....

What books or series that are languishing in your TBR are you finally going to try this year?

January 13, 2018

The Power of Memoirs | How a single voice can make a difference

In today's world, it can be hard to believe that one voice can actually make a difference. While the Internet has become a place for anyone to express themselves, it is also so full of people that it can be difficult to be noticed.

In a world of noise, distraction, and chaos, I did not believe in the power of an individual's voice. My jaded attitude caused me to give up on the power of an individual's story. The books I read mainly consisted of fantasy, science fiction, and a tiny bit of contemporary romance. In case you didn't notice, the genre that is completely missing from my reading diet is non-fiction.

Instead of learning about the real world through memoirs and biographies, I dove into the escapist distractions of fantasy and science fiction. I used to read more for entertainment and fun than for knowledge and understanding. 

However, my mindset completely changed when I started reading memoirs. By dipping my toes into the murky waters of non-fiction, I became invested in a new genre that not only taught me about the real world around me, but also how to be a better reader.

January 6, 2018

The Mustering of Motivation | New year, same problems

New year, new me. That's what everyone says, right? As if the simple change from one year to the next, which is really just the switch from one day to the next that we experience every 24 hours, could fundamentally change who we are.

Maybe that is just a pessimistic view. Maybe I am just a little bit cynical. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't believe in magic of New Year's resolutions. I don't believe that a kiss on midnight will automatically ensure romantic prosperity or that a decision made on a whim when the clock strikes midnight will create any change in your life.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in the power of everyday decisions and goals.

A New Year's resolution is a one-time decision, often occurring as the result of pressure from society to instantaneously become a better person, that rarely lasts beyond January 31st. Resolutions made on a whim lack strength, longevity, and effectiveness. If a goal is not backed up by resiliency and motivation, it will never survive.

But that is exactly the problem: motivation. In my inconsistent blogging life, motivation is the scapegoat for all of my problems. Motivation is the continuity of choices you make all-day, everyday, which is infinitely more powerful than a singular decision made on New Year's Eve.

I am a long-life procrastinator who is more often motivated by the panic of a close deadline than the ambition of getting things done early just for the sake of having them done.

As you can probably tell, this becomes an issue for blogging, especially since it is self-motivated for me. I am always motivated for schoolwork (because I am obsessed with my grades) and my actual work (because I like money), but blogging is more self-rewarding. Since there is no salary or grade for blogging (at least I hope not considering my less than stellar record), it can be hard for me to find the motivation to write a post, start a blogging project, or sometimes, even read at all.

Going back to my skepticism of New Year's resolutions. I could have made the New Year's resolution to finally make a blogging schedule, to read at least 100 books in 2018, or to double the number of followers my blog has. I could have come up with all kinds of crazy goals and desires to wish on at the stroke of midnight. However, I didn't.

Instead, I am working on increasing my motivation and making the decision EVERYDAY to be a better blogger, better reader, and a better person. If you are of the same mind set (or you just want some motivational ramblings), here are my top tips to get and keep your motivation.

September 24, 2017

My recommended required reading | AKA Books that I Read for School and Didn't Hate

Summer has finally come to an end. For many people this means going back to school, either as a school or a teacher, and facing another year of studying, learning, and stressing.

School is made up of many facets; horrifying geometry pop quizzes, a list of extracurriculars longer than your TBR, and late nights trying to catch up on what you should have done yesterday. But all of these struggles pale in comparison to the beast of required reading.

The nature of required reading is a double-edged sword, which is perhaps the topic of another blog post. For now, let's just recognize that while being forced to read may not be the most pleasurable literary experience, it doesn't have to be the worst either. As with any book that you read, the reader has power with the story. Even with required reading, you have the choice to make the most of the book, or to dismiss it as another worthless assignment that you are determined to hate.

Teachers too often get hate about their required reading choices, but the students' displeasure is misplaced. The teacher is not the author of the book, or even the person who decided it was popular. As a society, we collectively put value on certain books that survived throughout time. So, let me say it one more time for the people in the back, IT IS NOT A TEACHER'S FAULT THAT YOU HATED A BOOK.

It took me a while to figure this out, since unfortunately, it is easier to blame a teacher than to blame yourself. But once you start at least trying to appreciate the required books, they will start to appreciate you as well. An open minds leads to understanding, connection, and eventually enjoyment while a closed mind only leads to disappointment.

I am not going to lie, I have read a fair amount of books throughout my education career that I did not like or downright hated. But I have read a ton of books for leisure that I hated too. So, in the spirit of trying to see required reading in a new light, I am going to share some of my favorite books that I was assigned to read.

September 3, 2017

When video games meet Spartacus | Arena by Holly Jennings

Arena (Arena, #1)By Holly Jennings
Arena #1
Published on April 5, 2016
336 Pages
Science Fiction, New Adult, Diverse

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She's died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...
The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses. 
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who's far more distracting than he should be. 
Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.